author/illustrator: Gilles Baum/Barroux
24 x 29 cm
Les Éditions des Éléphants
The Great Fire
An ode to books, to freedom, and to the power of words.
Black smoke is rising from the city’s center. A fire has been raging for days, perhaps months. In his palace, the Sultan rejoices. One by one, his kingdom’s books are being thrown into the flames and soon, all traces of the past will have disappeared. Only his own history will remain.
When the fire finally goes out, a child sifts through the ashes and finds a scrap of paper that has resisted the flames. On it is a line of poetry that reads: “O wonder, a garden in the flames.” Overcoming his fear, he copies it onto the palace walls.
The crowd starts to imitate him, writing down all the words they can think of before they disappear from memory. The weight of these words leads to the collapse of the palace walls – and of the tyrant.
Published in partnership with Amnesty International, France.