Magda told me her story

Magda told me the story, which happened more than 50 years ago. Magda was then not even 10 years old. She was very small and thin and the people thought that she was 3 or 4 years younger than she really was. In the neighbourhood there were many children Magda played with. One of them was Elena. Magda didn’t particularly like Elena but when they played in groups both always joined in. They were almost the same age but Elena was almost two heads taller than Magda and about 15 kilos heavier.

In a quarrel, as happens between children, Elena grabbed Magda’s doll and held it high in the air, so that Magda could not reach it. Magda jumped as high as she could but Elena only laughed, because she knew that Magda had no chance. In the meantime Magda had become quite angry and tried to hit Elena. Elena, surprised, let the doll fall to the ground and stood with one foot on its face. Magda saw red with anger. Her favourite doll in the dirt, possibly destroyed. Magda began to hit out at Elena, but Elena, being taller, stretched out her arms and prevented Magda from reaching her body with her small fists. Magda changed her strategy and began to scratch Elena’s arms fiercely. Elena screamed with pain and it wasn’t long before she ran off in tears. Magda picked up her doll. The doll’s plastic face was dented, its dress was torn and the doll covered in dirt.

Magda washed her doll. It took almost an hour before she succeeded in restoring the doll’s plastic face to its original form. With the dress she could do nothing. When she got home, her mother called her into the kitchen for a talk.

Elena’s mother had already visited her mother and complained about Magda. As both mothers were very close friends and got on well with one another, Magda didn’t get a chance to tell her side of the story. Magda had to bend over and her mother spanked her bottom 10 times with a wooden spoon. It hurt there, but not so much as the emotional pain that Magda felt. She had only defended herself against Elena, she had only defended her doll. And what had the mothers do to with the matter, it was something between her and Elena. After 50 years one could still feel from the story the injustice of the smacks, the humiliation suffered then.

The result was that Magda did not build up a real bond of trust with her mother. But another result was that throughout her life she never once struck one of her many children. She had learned her lesson the hard way.

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