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Date:11/28/2014 2:53:08 PM
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Sources, Part VI
Last time I introduced you to "The Little World of Don Camillo". This time I shall relate my favorite chapter. Its title is "Blue Sunday". It relates the visit to a boarding school that Don Camillo was forced to make on the behalf of one of his parishioners, old Grolini. The prosperous farmer was concerned about his youngest son Giacomino, who at eleven and "a quick-witted fellow", had been bundled off to boarding school with Don Camillo's assistance. Now the school had notified Grolini that his son was doing miserably and wanted him to do something about it. To placate the old man, Don Camillo agreed to go to the school on Sunday and straighten the boy out. After all, it was the big priest who had advised Grolini to send his son away to school in the first place.

When Don Camillo arrived at the school the headmaster told him that the boy was well behaved but simply refused to do any of his work. As the headmaster related: "He neatly puts down the theme subject or problem, then sits back with folded arms and waits for the time to go by. When he's asked a question, he makes no answer. First we thought he must be a perfect idiot. But we've watched him and listened to him talk to his companions, and we find he isn't an idiot at all. Quite the contrary."

Upon seeing the boy, Don Camillo was amazed at how thin and pale he looked. The priest took the boy for a walk out into the country and prepared himself to give him a severe scolding. Instead the boy asked him if he could run. "A run?" said Don Camillo severely. "Can't you run during recreation at school?"

"Yes, but not very far," the boy answered. "There's always a wall in the way." As the story relates: "Giacomino was off like a bolt of lightning, and Don Camillo saw him cross the field, duck under a fence and run parallel to it under some bare grapevines. A few minutes later he came back, with his eyes and cheeks glowing." A minute later the boy climbed an elm tree and found a clump of grapes missed by the harvesters. He went on to talk about how at home the grapes must by now have been hung out to dry.

As the two made their way back to the school, Don Camillo's lecture still unspoken, they happened across a street vendor selling roast chestnuts and peanuts. The priest finally gave in and bought a bag for the boy. The narration goes on to relate: "The priest held out as long as he could, and then finally stuck his hand into the bag. The taste of the nuts called up memories of the melancholy Sunday afternoons of his own youth, and filled him with a sudden sadness." (Please scroll up for Part VII)
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