Due to a perverse intellectual precocity, Barutzu confuses literature with lard... "You'll get a D in Romanian!" Daddikins shouted at him, offended in his pedagogy. Barutzu feels no emotion whatever. He aberrantly lacks the common sense of merit, the patriotism of class registers, and the civilisation of general reports. Moreover, with his mind on cakes, he would be content with a D, and does not even think of an A, because Mummikins has on a number of occasions explained to him what he can expect after so much food. In any case, his arithmetic is anarchic in appearance. Counting plums, he says: "One, two, seven, eleven, five." And, indeed, he eats twenty-two at a single sitting, claiming to have eaten four. We count the plums that are left, we count the stones, and that's how many results: four. And nor could it be otherwise, as long as Daddikins' children have been promised that they will never go to school and that they will get up at lunchtime all their lives. And school, as Daddikins would wish it, has no spectacles wearing old miss, no exams and no certificates. Daddikins draws ducks on the drawing pad, then Mitzu draws a duck, and Barutzu draws a duck after her. If the duck has to go "quack, quack," then Daddikins does like a duck; and then all the school around the table, after dinner, in a chorus, do like a duck and like Daddikins: "Quack, quack!" And because Daddikins draws all the ducks in profile – so as to look more alike – and always with their bills on the left – because it's easier – if Mitzu is not happy about the duck having only one eye, then Daddy draws two eyes on the same side of the head, and the duck comes out whole. And, in the end, according to Barutzu's wish, Daddikins can draw the eyes of eight drakes on a single duck, because it's all the same thing, and it still tots up as two eyes. But Daddikins is also as conciliatory as can be and refrains from didactic difficulties. On a supervised count, no matter how he went about it, Barutzu turned out to have nine fingers on each hand. "If you like, Barutzu, then alright, and you should know that, in the end," Daddikins elucidates, "8 plus 5, 22 plus 3, it's all the same thing… When you grow up, what use is it knowing how to count 1000 plums? You won't be able to eat more than nine. What concern are the rest to you? Do you think that Daddikins wants to turn you into a costermonger? Daddikins wants you to avenge yourself on Society, the State and Free Will, and he's going to make you an idler, Barutzu: that is your trade. I've chosen it for you already and you'll see how good you'll be at it." Life is a plaything, and everything has been made just for play. Mitzu and Barutzu know this full well, from Daddikins, who plays all night long with a pen and a piece of paper, and who plays all day long at chasing imaginary green horses. Ah! One day he will show them a green horse. But don't ask him for it to keep, because Daddikins won't give you it. He has kept at least that much for himself. Mitzu is thinking of something else: what has the Barber of Seville been doing? She went to the Opera once and saw him. Since then, it seems to her that it is the Barber of Seville singing on the radio and the gramophone all day long. It is true, the Barber of Seville has a whole heap of brothers, who can all sing, because their daddikins, the Barber of Seville the Elder, has taught them to sing, just as Mitzu's and Barutzu's Daddikins teaches them how to sleep, to draw ducks on sheets of paper, and, in the light of the lamp, to make shadow rabbits on the walls with crooked fingers. Mitzu is thinking of something else. She doesn't understand the difference between the Opera and the Cinema. Both sing and both play. But it's different somehow. "Is the Barber of Seville a real man?" asks Mitzu. "Of course, a real man," answers Daddikins. "And is Rio Rita a real girl?" asks Mitzu. "What do you think?" asks Daddikins. "I don't know," answers Mitzu, wanting her to be real and nonetheless supposing that she might not be completely real. But if she is not real, then how is it that she cannot be real? At the Opera, the curtain came down and the whole Barber of Seville vanished. At the cinema, the lights came on and the whole of Rio Rita was erased from the screen. What does it mean? "What do you think, Mitzu! I'll tell you some other time," says Daddikins, avoiding the question. "I want to know now!" demands Mitzu. "It's not possible right now." Mitzu is convinced that Daddikins is stupider than he is. If he can't explain anything to her then it's clear: he's stupid. Mitzu perseveres, and Daddikins, rising to the challenge and boastful that he knows, goes into ridiculous details, something which has definitively convinced Mitzu that Daddikins has less brains than her cardboard donkey, which nods, agrees with everything and is incapable of saying anything. At last, Mitzu has an idea: to play in the cinema, with Barutzu. Both of them will go inside the screen and cut capers with Rio Rita. On hearing this merry piece of news, Barutzu claps his hands and laughs loudly, with his mouth wide open, in the way that only he knows how to laugh. "I'll bring the drum too!" says Barutzu. "It's not allowed!" argues Mummikins. "How can you play in a film without being invited?" But Mitzu has an idea for all such complications. She proposes to invite mister Burgheni, the manager of the cinema, to her house, to sit him at her table with the little chairs, to serve him using her dollies' plates, to show him her playthings and her toy iron, to kiss him lots, and to corrupt him into putting her in a film with Barutzu. "Fine!" agrees Daddikins. The discussion goes on to props. Barutzu wants to be in the film with his drum. Mitzu thinks the drum is too scruffy and advises him to leave his drum at home and to take his rocket instead. He doesn't like the rocket. She likes the rocket. So she takes the rocket and he takes the balls. He doesn't like the balls. She takes the balls too; he will take the toy bricks. He doesn't like the toy bricks either; the only thing he wants is his drum. Yes, and he'll take his trumpet too! Impossible! The trumpet makes too much of a din. Daddikins and Mummikins, who have gone into the next room, arrive just in time. Mitzu is pulling Barutzu's hair, and Barutzu is pinching Mitzu's cheek. With their free hands they are giving each other punches on the sly. They are arguing and crying. This process went on for five minutes, and then the two parties, obliged to kiss each other – something done at once – were put to bed.

by Tudor Arghezi (1880-1967)