I chose to read “The Mallow Coloured Garden” as a farewell gesture to the children’s books that once captivated me, and which I now plan to donate to a local school. I was a child when I first read this book, and I still love it. The author, Branko Ćopić, enjoyed such popularity that his works adorned the shelves of every school library (maybe it was even compulsory reading). My parents likely purchasing this book, along with several of his other books, for me.
Upon revisiting the book, long-forgotten words sprang back to life. Though I intuitively grasp their meanings, they belong to a version of the Serbo-Croatian language that may not align with dictionaries of that non-existing language. If there are any left. Despite my desire to translate his stories, I found the task challenging. English isn’t my native language, and translation is a specialized skill, particularly when dealing with local languages. Fortunately, luck was on my side, and I stumbled upon a well-crafted translation on page 53 of Nevena Lazić’s thesis.
The watercolor sketch accompanying this text replicates the book’s front page (Publisher: Veselin Maslesa, Sarajevo, 1973). Inspired by this sketch, I aim to embark on another project related to a different story in the book: “Blind Horse.” Perhaps, that will be my next undertaking. Unfortunately, I’ll have to tackle the translation myself, but it won’t match the proficiency of a professional translator.