You ought to have known Aunty; she was so lovely. And yet, to be more specific, she wasn't lovely in the usual sense of the word, but she was sweet and charming and funny in her own way - just the type to gossip about when one is in the mood to gossip and be facetious over someone. She should have been put in a play, just because she herself simply lived for the theater and everything that goes on in it. She was so very respectable, even if Agent Nob, whom Aunty called Snob, said she was stage-struck.
"The theater is my schoolroom," she said, "my fountain of knowledge. There I have brushed up on my old Biblical history. Take Moses, for instance, or Joseph and His Brethren - they're operas now. It is from the theater that I've gained my knowledge of world history, geography, and human nature. I've learned about Parisian life from French farces - it's naughty, but very interesting. How I have cried over The Riquebourg Family - to think that the husband had to drink himself to death just so his wife could get her young sweetheart! Ah, yes, many's the tear I've shed in the fifty years I've been going to the theater!"
Aunty knew every play, every piece of scenery, every actor who came on or ever had come on. She really only lived during the nine months of the theatrical season. A summer without a summer stock company was enough to age her, while an evening at the theater that lasted till past midnight prolonged her life. She didn't say, as people did, "Now we will have spring; the stork has come!" or, "There's an item in the paper about the early strawberries!" Instead, she announced the coming of autumn, "Have you seen that the box office is open? They'll begin the performances soon!"
She reckoned the value of a house and its location by its distance from the theater. She was heartbroken to have to leave the narrow alley behind the theater and move to a wide street a little farther away, and live in a house where there were no neighbors opposite her.
"At home my window must be my box at the theater.
The Adventures of Haroun-al-Raschid, Caliph of Bagdad
Category: Arabic folktales
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