Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Student: "Hi. I was looking for a book that I'm hoping you have. Have you heard of a story called Beowulf?"
Somehow I kept a straight face...
Me: "Yes...I've heard of Beowulf and I'm sure we have it. Let me just look up where it is."
Beowulf, according to Dewey, is 829.3, so off I go towards the stacks with the student following behind.
Student: "History? Why are we in the history section?" he said rather nervously. "I thought Beowulf was fantasy. I don't want history!"
Me: "Actually, this is the literature section. You know that Beowulf is old right? Like really REALLY old? Some consider it to be the first story EVER?"
Student: "You mean, Beowulf is like the first ever fantasy? COOL!"
Keep it cool, keep it cool...
Me: "Which English would you like it in?"
Student: (blank stare)
Again, I somehow maintained a straight face.
Me: "Beowulf was written so long ago that it was written in an English that is very different from the English was speak today. Here let me show you."
This was obviously the first time the student had ever heard of Old English or was introduced to it. It was an amazing thing to see his eyes light up and his jaw drop open.
Student: "This is English?! Do you have Beowful in like now English?"
In the end, the student walked out of the library with a facing-pages copy of Beowulf with Old English on one side and modern English on the other. That was an awesome experience and I just can't stop laughing.