I do plan to use it with T-Rex (though because of the book's age and condition, it will, as Mom says, "be one you read to him, not one he gets to read"), but it is fascinating in and of itself.
|Prayers for Little Ones|
The book is called Prayers for Little Ones (Gebete fuer die Kleinen = Prayers for the small), and it was published in 1909 by the Lutheran Book Concern of Columbus, Ohio.
|Little Prayer Book for Children|
|"Ask, and so it will be given to you all."|
(Did you know that both the command "Ask"
and the you are plural in that verse?)
Upon Getting Up
The Holy Father (Lord's Prayer) and the Creed
(I guess this indicates you should say them, since they're not printed.)
Before the Meal
Bless, Father, this food
For our nourishment and your praise. Amen.
As I paged through the book, however, one prayer caught my eye:
|Upon the Pre-commitment of a Corpse|
Lord, teach us to remember that we must die,
that we might become wise. (Psalm 90:12)
Because I was pretty sure I knew what Leiche means.
Leiche means corpse.
But I read through the title again: Beim Voruebergeben an einer Leiche. By the...pre-over-giving?...of a corpse. Uebergeben means, literally, give over, i.e. commit. Vor- is the prefix pre-.
So. Here was a prayer to say before committing (resigning? surrendering? this isn't a term we use much these days in English) a corpse. A prayer, basically, before a funeral.
In a children's book.
Let's just pause for a moment to reflect on the fact that, a mere hundred-and-three years ago, we were routinely teaching children prayers to say for dead people. Prayers that would probably be recited while you sat up all night with the corpse in your living room, the corpse washed and clothed by family members and laid out before it would be collected in the morning, taken to the church and then the graveyard.
In some parts of the world, corpses are still a part of every child's life.
I've mentioned before that I'm something of a worrier, and there's plenty I fret about with T-Rex even now, before he's even born. But then there's this prayer, beim Voruebergeben an einer Leiche.
I need to remember that kids are tough, and resilient, and if children can survive hanging out with dead bodies, they can probably survive the occasional diet soda or Disney movie.
I look forward to reading these German prayers to T-Rex, to teaching him a bit of Deutsch. At some point, we'll probably even say the prayer beim Voruebergeben an einer Leiche. Because people are born, and people die, and though we've sanitzed and sterilized and distanced ourselves from the entire process, there's really no hiding death from anyone.