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Picture and recollection

  The other day, as I was looking at a book of paintings by 16th century European artists, I saw a picture of a man with one arm shackled to a great rock, the other rising in the form of a wing; it all seemed extremely familiar, and after careful thought what emerged was something that happened when I was five or six:

  The yard of the unfenced house next door to ours in the village was covered with grain spread out on straw mats to dry, and the whole family living there had gone out; the door of the main room was open, and up on the roof of the earth-floored space in front of it a hen was flapping around, one leg tied by a cord to a heavy stone.

  After observing it for a while, having made sure nobody was near, with a great effort I snapped the cord, then ran away fast, went home and spent the rest of the day hiding in my room.

  When evening came I emerged and this time peeped into the yard from a distance, only to see that the hen was back flapping around at the end of the cord attached to the stone.

  Immersed in my recollections, I began to feel that my whole existence has been rather similar to that picture, to that hen.