Micul Cantemir și cireșul – rezumat

„Little Cantemir and the Cherry Tree” is a short story written by George Bălăiță, considered to be one of the classic prose writers of our contemporary literature. This work opens the volume entitled „Events from the night of the milk sun”, first published in 1968.

The action of the story takes place in the spring. Cantemir, the child, receives a fox cub as a gift from the forest ranger’s wife. Due to the imagination and naivety typical of children, the boy imagines that the fox can talk, as he had read in fairy tale books. Upon further reflection, he begins to suspect that only the wisest foxes could talk.

The fox cub was given a bed in Bob’s green cage, the dog. The narrator says that Bob had been sent to the country, to his grandparents, because he was quite sick, but we suspect that he was no longer alive, and the parents had told the child that Bob had to „change his fleas and get some fresh air” so as not to worry him.

Under the cherry tree in the garden, Cantemir hears some strange chords and discovers a world of fairy tales. The first person he sees is Hans Christian Andersen, who writes stories at a glass table. Next to him, at an organ also made of glass, a Laplander plays softly. The boy is fascinated by what he sees.

However, the cherry tree interrupts him shortly after, as it had started to bloom. In a mysterious way, it reveals to Cantemir that he was „one of the lucky ones”, implying that the cherry tree’s flowering was a miraculous phenomenon. The frost on its branches had been transformed into white flowers. Then, the tree urges Cantemir to ask for what he wants, as it had to go to a „council”.

The boy looks at it as an old advisor, with answers to all the big questions. That’s why he addresses it with the term „old man”, meant to suggest wisdom, not an advanced age. Their conversation is playful, the cherry tree suggests that the boy could become a talented poet, while he wants to become an engineer. The conversation hides subjects such as human fragility and maturation, although, apparently, it is simple and even senseless at times.

Thinking about the gentle fox cub, which slept in the green cage, Cantemir reflects on the contrast between the lives of the fox’s ancestors and that of the cub, which „was silent, drank sweet milk from a gentle cow and was always tamed and flattered under the hand of man, purred like cats and frolicked like foals, and the man believed in it”.

In the end, the cherry tree goes to the council, not before asking Cantemir not to forget it. Surely, the boy will remember the quite unexpected conversation that took place between him and the tree in the garden, as well as Hans Christian Andersen, the little Laplander playing the piano, and the fresh scent of the cherry blossoms.

In conclusion, „Little Cantemir and the Cherry Tree” by George Bălăiță is a story about maturation. Furthermore, the text presents an imaginary dialogue between Cantemir and the freshly blooming cherry tree. Like the tree, which transformed its frost into flowers, the boy was also to experience a beautiful period of development and follow his destiny.