The Book Thief

The child reappeared on the screen of air

Photo by Kourosh Qaffari on Unsplash

There were always plenty of books, for there were no children, and the house was kept from being still. In summer the curtains of the garden were covered with grass, and along the path there were several little shrubbery and flowers. One day Dr. Holder had a few books for the children, and we left them a nice little bag behind, with the blue water sloshing in the bottom. They were very kind to bring up these little treasures, and they made nests in the bushes.

One day when I was walking up the garden path, we found the pond red and red with the sunset, the great cat in the sun, looking very well pleased by what he had seen. Just as he sat down, the child disappeared. For a minute I sat wondering where she was. But I saw from his face that he didn’t like this garden much better to die than to miss him. Then I made an effort to look in the window.

As I stared, the cat turned round again and began to trot away. A little off in the distance, the sun gleamed upon a small farm of white-tiled woods that lay along the path. The child reappeared on the screen of air, but I saw her better than she had gone.

I could have asked him to walk over and look at the little house, but he didn’t, and soon he was disappearing again. He didn’t say what he had seen, but he could only repeat what he had seen. I waited three, four days after he went away, and when I asked again what he had seen I had to be polite. He couldn’t have told me. He didn’t tell me whether it had been a man or a woman, but he seemed to be thinking he was seeing what a lovely, soft-haired man was, as they call it.

The girl came back to the parlor where she had left the little room for half an hour back. I heard the distant sound of music when the door closed behind her, and the soft, low murmur of the sang of the piano and the soft tap beat. The parlor was still as I had left it, and though I had a new interest for poetry and myself as to the meaning of life, I couldn’t find my way to the old chairs, or to the door and look round. But I did not go after the girl as I tried to do when I knew she was looking at me, for when I stepped into the room, I remembered that the girl lay on the stove and had finished her book.

In my dream I was walking the little street, it’s not much more than a street. On one side was a shop, with a window in the back. It was a little shop in the back that had got things put to good use. The window had a sign outside, “Ida Ingram, Reeves Street, New York.” On the counter was a bottle for my beer, so I took a glass I found there, and sat down to enjoy the drink. The girl sat next to me, her book under her arm, and took her handkerchief from under the corner of the jacket. It felt so cold she didn’t have any, and she had such a young hand she didn’t have any fice.

At first I looked at her, so I had no suspicion of her. But then she started up in her chair and looked at me with a first look of surprise and terror that made me jump and try not to jump.

“I told you not to watch her, Mr. Parker,” she said, trembling. “She got into my house last night as I planned to read it.”

“Good heavens! Then you knew how dangerous she would be. So you came and scared her and threatened — ”

“And I was going to read it.”


Editor’s Notes


Changed names, cut off first, last sentence for flow. Deleted a sentence in the middle that seemed inappropriate for the story.

GPT-2 Settings

This sample came out after 183,151 steps of training on fiction novels.

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