Short Story: The Gift of Reading

Living in the city in a middle class family, it was easy to take the gift of reading for granted. More and more, items from road signs to newspapers to menus conveyed information via the written word.

But out in the country, where animals outnumbered people, oral tradition remained strong, and most villages had at most two literate members, with many having to share a single literate person between them.

When she first followed her husband to the middle of nowhere, she worried that she wouldn’t be able to adjust without the comforts she was used to. That uncertainty disappeared once their neighbours discovered they could read.

From sunrise to sundown, they brought her all kinds of reading materials. A page of a newspaper traded from a travelling merchant, the corner of a poster, even a telegram from a rare trip to the city. She had never been more busy in her life.

When her husband’s outpost became more permanent, she also made her own plans. She had always wanted to be a teacher, something that was out of reach for her as a woman. Here, it didn’t matter.

It was time to share the gift of reading.


Genre: slice of life

Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 21/31

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