Since 27/May/1997 A Dog of Flanders

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To everyone, especially children who do not yet know about Nello and Patrasche.

I was seven years old when I first read this story. Ever since then, I have cherished the tale of Nello, the kind boy, and Patrasche, the old dog. Painting pictures, singing, and writing stories were all joys that I learned when reading this story. It hasn't provided me with money, but it has given me happiness.

And yes! It surely taught me to dream.

You will grow up and you will need to know how to make a living in order to survive. But remember, this will not be enough to LIVE. There are many things in life apart from money and food.

"Some people win and others lose"
"Some people live long and some die young"
"Some become rich and some are poor"

Everyone lives different lives. The story teaches us to live in hope, but also shows us that some people have so much despair, that they will lose the will to live. It also teaches us that everybody can hope, even though not everybody will become wealthy.

If you must be succesful, what happens to the people who fail. What do the sick people do. (A lot of people in Japan died during the big earthquake several years ago.) Nello and Patrasche were unfortunate but they had hope and the moral of their story is that even unhappy people can have hope.

Their story does have a tragic ending but the characters were happy. They longed to see the two pictures by Rubens and, after they managed this, they went to Heaven.

Yes ! This proves that anyone can have hope. That is their message.

Those of you who have not read this story may not yet understand this.

There are two versions of "A Dog of Flanders" Two ? Yes, one is the original story written by Ouida (Louisa de la Ramée'), and the other is a different version made by someone else. I would be very grateful if my message inspires you to read the wonderful ORIGINAL story and I hope that you will see and feel it the way I do.

In the original version of "A Dog of Flanders" the two characters go to Heaven. Yes, to Heaven ! After reading this story you put your self in the place of Nello and Patrasche and ask yourself "Why ?" or you may feel angry or sad. This feeling shows that you are kind.

I was very lucky to be able to see Rubens' pictures in Antwerp myself, with the help of a kind person, and before I saw the pictures I expected that I would cry with joy. Instead, I felt as though Rubens' pictures were telling me that it is too soon to cry, that there are still things that I have to do. I felt courage growing within me.

I sincerely hope that those people who read my message will someday encounter the original "A Dog of Flanders". I am sure that this is a story that you will never forget.

24/October/1998 Your Friend Kazuyoshi OSHIMA


A Dog of Flanders