An Artist and Two Rats – Tale for children  

There lived an artist. He was looking funny in appearance. His hands were often soiled with paints and on the tip of his nose there was a black spot from a chalk which he used to draw his sketches. The artist was very forgetful. He could forget to eat lunch. He could forget to go to sleep when it’s dark and everyone is asleep. He could forget a lot of things. In addition to his forgetfulness he also had a strange quality to be thinking and not to hear when he is spoken to, not being deaf. Simply he always thought about a new picture and therefore could not always answer to a raised question. But people assumed that he was deaf in fact and they started to talk to him louder. And this was very funny. The artist lived at a large studio with enormous windows under the very roof of five story building. Sometimes he walked up the stairs to the dark and mysterious attic. The attic allured him with its secret treasures. The bottle of milk, fresh bread, fruits, few boiled eggs, a piece of smoked meet, very appetizingly looking, were brought to his door daily. He almost never went out from his studio. A craw fish is almost like an artist in this habit never to get out of its shell, filled with secretive plans and ideas. The artist lived like this, like real hermit, for many years, because he was a man who dedicated himself to one business. He wanted to paint many pictures. He dreamed a lot about that time when he will come out from his studio with 1000 paintings and will stun all of the world with his art. For this he forgot all the fun and pleasantries. He could think of nothing but his pictures. From aside it could be thought of him that he was a little odd, but people around him knew that he was very kind and funny. But they also knew that it is in vain to talk to him, as to the question how is he doing he could answer off the point with another question like: Does it look like it going to rain? Looks cloudy! He was only concerned with the rain, as he was scared that clouds will close the sun and in his studio there will be no light. He will not be able to work on his pictures. As it is very important for the artist to have a lot of day light to see the true color of paints. The artificial light changes colors. Blue seems a bit greenish from yellow light.
Sometimes the artist felt very lonely. He had no friends, and sometimes he desperately wanted to chat with someone. As he occasionally could forget to eat his food, it remained on the table till the next day. But the next day the artist would notice that the bread, cheese and eggs were bitten off. He thought that he may not be as lonely as it seems. Now, even if he ate all food he would leave some food bits on the table.

And so, once, at night he didn’t go to sleep but instead quietly sat on the chair and awaited for the emergence of his unknown friend at the table in search for leftover food. Thinking about a picture as always he was as if in a dream when suddenly he heard a noise, a sound of stepping feet. He became alert. The moon light was illuminating his studio. On the easels as always there were blank canvases ready for the next picture. Paints were laying everywhere, on shelves, on the floor, on the table, on the chairs, on the bed, even in the sink. Brushes were sticking out here and there. As the artist was preoccupied with his thoughts of pictures he always forgot to tidy up. That’s why sometimes he had to search for a long time for necessary thing, lost in chaos. The sounds were very loud, and no wonder as in the huge empty studio the acoustic effect was v! ery strong at night with the absolute silence. The sound of running steps seem very loud as if it was a cat or a dog. The artist was surprised, how could he not notice such a big animal, and why does it show up only in the darkness? He even felt a little chill, what if it’s a ghost?

Commonly artists are like children, believing in all kinds of magic things. But soon the mystery was uncovered when in front of him appeared two well fed rats with long tails. They had sparkly little eyes. The artist was not at all upset. He liked rats unlike most people. He considered that rats are very smart animals and not at all ugly. The arrival of rats could be a result of food smell reaching the attic where they lived. One rat was named by the artist Black Ear. The other a bit smaller was named Laura.

Since that day he didn’t feel as lonely. When he wanted to chat he called the rats by names and with time they started to understand him and reply to his calls. Sometimes he dedicated time to special training. The rats got used to him and was not scared. With a degree of pleasure and virtuosity they carried out any set assignment. And the artist sometimes was touched as how smart and apt they were. The rats perhaps were greatly surprised by how many pictures they have seen at the artist’s home. At their hole in the attic they had none. They almost got addicted to art. The artist probably realized that as on one good day, in honor of the anniversary of their friendship he presented each rat each with the painting. And than the rats understood that the artist was unusually talented as he managed to bring out all the rat’s essence and meaning in his canvases.
The artist on his behalf respected his cute friends. As no other man he had learned about goodness, smartness and kindness of rats. Once they have saved him from horrific misfortune, a fire which could kill the artist, but more importantly all of his pictures. And this how it was: As soon as a burning candle fell to start up the fire with paper on the table, Laura miraculously ran up to the candle and overturned a staying close by can with water, used to clean watercolor brushes. And maybe if not this friendship of the artist and his rats, never the dear dream of showing the world the thousand pictures and pronunciation of his real genius would come true.

Text copyrights by Ellen Yustas Kotz-Gottlieb
All rights reserved New York, 2014 send private comments to author Ellen Yustas Kotz-Gottlieb @ellenykg on twitter

 
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