The library is closed

The zealous soldiers came at last
with kerosene at dusk,
in search of the forbidden books,
in search of manuscripts and dreams.

Dressed in black,
they didn’t even ring the bell before
they broke the door
They bound him,
gagged and mocked him.
made the aged librarian
a hostage for his books.

“Burn them, burn them all”,
the light-haired captain screamed,
and his soldiers laughed
while the old man cried,
watching how they burned
the phone directories, he had shelved,
replacing all treasures
he kept hidden down below.

“I knew that captain”,
he later said
“he never learned to read”.

Many of you have come a across my aged library and when I saw the fire I saw the burning of books, and wanted to make the old man a little bit victorious for once, as usual I will visit and comment throughout the weekend (at least)

Friday fictioneers is a community of bloggers trying to write stories to the same image in hundred words. Rochelle is our gracious high priestess and we try our best to follow the grand example she always sets.

February 6, 2018

83 responses to “The library is closed

  1. Dear Björn,

    Book burning is terrifying. Sometimes I wonder if Fahrenheit 451 isn’t on the horizon. On the other hand Hitler burned any books that didn’t agree with his politics. Well done.



  2. I get sad when I think about how many books fade into obscurity. But then again if they have been read and enjoyed perhaps they have done their duty. Just like your clever librarian

  3. I love this, Bjorn … books are my passion. Too many books burned because someone was afraid that the readers of those books might learn the truths about life more than the book burners ever could. Bjorn, may I post this poem on my blog, accredited to you of course?

  4. Well done and good for him for putting them boring phone books in place of the treasures. May the willfully ignorant be tricked.
    This was excellent! 🙂

  5. Love the twist that the librarian has taken advantage of his foe’s weakness to trick him into burning useless phone books! What delicious irony!

  6. I read a fantasy book called Inkheart many years ago. It had a sequence in which an ancient library gets burned down by the villain’s henchmen. It shook me up so badly that I kept thinking about it for days.

  7. No dearth of fanatics!
    I respect the wisdom of the old librarian for he hid the treasure trove of books! May there be more such librarian and custodians of culture.

  8. I’m grinning with delight. This so perfectly mocks the hateful ignorants who have to use violence instead of wits.

  9. It has been a very long while since I have written for FF and here I’ve come to read your excellent work only to find that we both have a library in our work today.

    I hope your librarian has no end of phone books with which to line the shelves.

  10. A powerfully told story – so imaginable. Reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in Chairman Mao’s day – when ignorance and mindless destruction of culture and learning ran amok.

  11. Björn, this is a wonderful poetry tale. You have me seeing a very different story so the twist at the end is beautiful.
    ” I knew that captain”,
    he later said
    “he never learned to read”.

    Great ending.


  12. That was a great finale – “he never learned to read”. I’d spent the story worrying that the poor librarian was going to accompany his books, so I was relieved as well as amused by the reveal.

  13. We do tend to fear what we don’t understand. That librarian clearly understood what was coming, and prepared wisely. And got the last laugh 🙂

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