Book 1. Anastasia (1996)
“Tell me, Anastasia, is this the way your parents brought you up?”
She responded after a brief pause, during which, I gathered, she was recollecting her childhood.
“I remember practically nothing of my Papa or Mama in the flesh. I was brought up by my grandfather and great-grandfather pretty much as I have explained to you. But, you see, I myself had a good feeling very early on for Nature and the animal world around me — perhaps I was not aware of all the details of how it operated, but that is not the important thing when one has a feeling for it. Grandfather and Great-Grandfather would approach me from time to time and ask questions and expect me to answer them. In our culture, older generations treat an infant or young child virtually as a deity, and use the child's responses as a check on their own purity.”
I began asking Anastasia to recall some specific question and answer. She smiled, and told me:
“Once I was playing with a little snake. I turned around, and there were Grandfather and Great-Grandfather standing right beside me, smiling. I was very delighted, since it was always interesting being with them. They are the only ones who can ask me questions and their hearts beat in the same rhythm as mine, but with animals it is different. I ran over to them. Great-Grandfather bowed to me, while Grandfather took me on his knees. I listened to his heart beat and I fingered the hairs on his beard as I examined them. Nobody spoke. We were thinking together, and it was good that way. Then Grandfather asked me:
“‘Tell me, Anastasia, why do you think my hair grows here and here,' pointing to the top of his head and his beard, ‘and not here?' pointing to his nose and forehead.
“I touched his nose and forehead, but no reply was forthcoming. I could not give an unthinking answer — I had to understand it.
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“The next time they came, Grandfather again said:
‘“Well, I am still thinking, why my hair grows here, and not here,’ again indicating his nose and forehead.
“Great-Grandfather looked at me seriously and attentively. Then I thought: perhaps it is really a serious question with him, and I asked:
“‘Grandfather, what is it? Do you really want your hair to grow everywhere, even on your nose and forehead?5
“Great-Grandfather began pondering the question, while Grandfather replied:
“‘No, not really.9
“‘Then that is why your hair does not grow there, because you do not want it to!9
“He reflected on that, stroking his beard, and mused, as though he were putting the question to himself: And if it grows here, that means it is because I want it to?9
“I confirmed his thought:
“‘Of course, Grandfather, not only you, but I, and the one who thought you up.9
“At this point Great-Grandfather asked me rather excitedly:
“And who was it that thought him up?9
“‘The one who thought everything up,91 replied.
“‘But where is he, show me!9 Great-Grandfather asked, bowing to me.
“I could not give him an answer right away, but the question stayed with me, and I started thinking about it often.99
“And did you eventually give him an answer?991 asked Anastasia.
“I gave him an answer about a year later, and then he started asking me more questions, but up until the time I gave the answer, neither Grandfather nor Great-Grandfather had asked me any new questions, and I began to get very concerned."