Bravest of the Sioux

A little boy is standing in the dark. The darkness that surrounds him does not feed on a lack of light. It is the darkness of the past feeding on a lack of memory. A faint ray of light that is growing steadily and with increasing speed illuminates the vision more and more and the boy comes slowly into view. This is no fiction but genuine childhood remembrances. But can we call it reality? Memory, as it seems, always fuses fact and fiction - but be that as it may, it is little Hendrik we can see clearly now as the darkness lifts.Apparently he is not listening too carefully to what the kindergarten teacher is saying. Standing in front of a wall that is covered with feathers and drums, the only thing he understands perfectly well is that each child will get its own ribbon with real feathers and its own drum to perform at the kindergarten's summer party. After the Indian dance - and that's the thing that really makes Hendrik's excitement explode - he will be allowed to take one of the drums home.Hendrik has been bravest of the Sioux in his imagination many times before. He doesn't really care about the feathers, and his rubber tomahawk at home is all he needs for a weapon, but boy - the drum. So he is standing there again, not for the first and not for the last time, mouth open, staring at the drum he must not touch for many weeks to come. The drum has been sitting up there on the wall for so long now, he just wants to touch the leather once to shorten the time of waiting, knowing there's no way, he is too small and the teacher is too vigilant, but his time will come. (The drum is not made of real leather, of course, but in his imagination the fiercest of buffaloes has been slain to build it).Indians never use drumsticks on their drums, do they? But this doesn't matter to Hendrik who is still dancing the Indian dance on his way home, he likes the sticks especially, he who will be bravest of the Sioux again when he reaches his room. There are wide plains, wild horses, mighty rivers and great battles in his room when his imagination sets to work, and from now on his drum will call out over hills and valleys time and time again.There seems to be a problem in the wild wild west: Little sister who unfortunately shares the room with Hendrik doesn't fit into the scene. The drum may be played but will not sound right as long as reality remains in the room.What's happening now? Alright, alright, as far as reality is concerned, the drum is the perfect thing to boast with, look, little sister, what I've got, little sister looks, little sister takes the drum, big brother's beaming with pride, little sister beats and one of the drumsticks is broken in an instant.Here is someone who's learning one of life's many lessons: When anger has got such a hold on you that you could hate the person causing your pain but you cannot because you love her, there's nothing left to do but cry. Of course Hendrik is not able to formulate such an insight: that will take another twenty years and his first creative writing course, and even then he might not be so sure. For the time being, the almost bravest of the Sioux is crying away as darkness slowly settles.