CULTURE

Room for all the children in the world

«Children really love this place,» said Stella Greka, as we sat on a comfortable sofa in the reading room. «I tell them its history, we read stories and I try to get them to see how a book can take them to other worlds. One of their favorite stories is Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Selfish Giant,’ especially the moment when the giant shows his love to the child, the garden is transformed and spring comes again. Then I ask them, ‘Does love exist? Is there room in this garden for all the children in the world?’ And the answer is always ‘Yes!’ Children are so responsive. I’ve almost never had problems with them. It’s the adults who need training.» Greka tells me the classic tale of the mermaid who became a woman and married a human. When the day came that she had to return to her own world, she left behind a kerchief so that her family would remember her. «Once I had told that story. Some time passed, the children had all left and one of them ran back to find me. In his hand he had a leaf he had found in the garden on which there were a few droplets. ‘I found the silver dust that the mermaid left behind,’ he exclaimed.»