Friday, July 24, 2009

Postcards from Forever


This is a true story.

Towards the end of his life, Franz Kafka, who suffered from tuberculosis, took to walking in a park near his home. He became friendly with a little girl of about ten, and they often walked in the park together. One day, he found her crying.

When he asked her why, she told him she had lost her favorite doll. Kafka replied that she hadn't lost her doll - the doll had just gone on a journey, and was having adventures. And in the weeks that followed, whenever Kafka met his young friend, he would tell her all about her doll's travels, the places and people she was visiting. It became quite a travelogue.

Shortly before he died, Kafka bought her a new doll for the little girl. But when he gave the new doll to her, she became upset. "She doesn't look the same!" she cried. "Well," said Kafka, "that's because she's been traveling, and she's changed. People always change when they have adventures."

Many years later, when Kafka's friend was much older, she found the doll he had given her, packed away in a trunk. And she discovered a little note, hidden beneath her pinafore, that she had never noticed before. It said:

Everyone you love
will go away

and come back again
to love you in another way.

With thanks to Carl Hammerschlag, M.D.

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