FIRST, THE DISCLAIMERS: I don’t own Daria, MTV/Viacom does. I don’t own anything worth suing me for, so please don’t. I wrote this for fun, of a sort. May you have fun, of a sort, reading it.




i like to read

yet another Daria ficlet by wyvern 337


“You know, it must really be frustrating to her,” said Amy.

“What must really be frustrating?” replied Helen, looking up from the book she was reading to her elder daughter.

“The way you keep turning the pages before she’s through with them.”

“I take as much time as I can, Amy. Even if I had the time to wait for her to finish looking at every picture before I turned the page I’d completely disrupt the flow of the story and she’d never be able to follow it.” As if to emphasize what she’d just said, Helen quickly flipped the page she’d just finished reading from. With her attention focused on her sister, she didn’t notice as Daria, who’d been squinting at the book open in her lap, frowned and first reached -- too slowly -- to try and stop her mother, then looked up at her in annoyance. “At least I take some time to let her look at the pictures -- when Jake reads to Daria he always turns the page as soon as he’s finished.”

“Are you sure it’s the pictures she’s interested in?” asked Amy, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.

“Well of course it is,” said Helen, “what else would she be looking at, at her age?”

With her mother’s attention momentarily focused elsewhere, Daria was intently poring over the page before her.

“Well, hadn’t you noticed the way she tends to want to linger the longest over the pages that have the most words on them -- including ones that don’t even have any illustrations?”

“Amy, what’re you getting at?”

“I’m beginning to suspect that Daria’s at least begun to realize that the words’re there on the page for a reason, and is trying to fathom what that reason might be. I’m even starting to wonder whether she hasn’t realized that that’s where the stories are coming from.”

“Are you saying that maybe it’s time I started teaching Daria to read?” asked Helen incredulously. “She’s not even going to be four years old for another few months!”

“I’m suggesting more than that, Helen,” Amy replied. “A lot of what actually goes on when people read is a recognition of word-shapes...if Daria’s made the connection between the words on the page and the story, I think she might actually be starting to associate a few written words with their spoken forms.”

Teaching herself how to read?! ” Helen had passed incredulous and was now genuinely astonished. “Don’t be ridiculous!”

“Well, there’s one way to find out,” replied Amy. She took the book she’d brought to the Morgendorffers’ house -- a belated birthday present and her main reason for visiting that day -- and, opening it, placed it on top of the book from which Helen had been reading. “Here’s a simple one.” Pointing to the first word on the page, she asked “Daria, can you tell me what that says?”

Daria squinted hard at the page. The blurry doubled image of the print swam into a kind of focus. Not realizing aunt Amy had meant just a single word, she began at the top of the page: “...aand....the-n...thhaaat”

Sensing that something was not quite right, Daria stopped reading and looked up at the two adults. There was something about the way they were staring at her that, although she wasn’t familiar with it, made her very uncomfortable. Had she done something wrong?