Nov 1967 • Vol. XXIX No. 5 Department KR: A Section of Briefer Comment |

Landscape with Maple Leaf (The Canadian Readers, 1922-35)

I remember the dog. He was a Spitz, I think or a mongrel with a spitzy tail, and he balanced on his hind legs on the cover of the Canadian Primer. There was an old woman, too—I learned afterward that she was Mother Goose—contained, like the dog, within a sharp black circle. The angle of the old lady's scarf, blown forward with stiffly outthrust fringe, suggested wind, but the world of the figures was windless. The blackish, olive-tinted sky seemed absolutely serene; the meadow flowers, each separate on its tuft of careful grass, were still and perfect as the matching flowers on Mother Goose's gown. What was she saying, her pointing finger outlined against the sculptured scarf? Surely nothing so insipid as "Bow-wow-wow, whose dog art thou?" Momentous as an Egyptian hieroglyph on the door of an unopened tomb, the picture haunted me through all the hours in prairie schoolrooms. It mingled with the smell of chalk dust and eraser crumbs, of crude ink splashed into inkwells by unstead

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