Childhood fears

I associated all my experiences at that time with the books I read. I was not so far off-target in seeing the uninhibitedly laughing mob of adults as cannibals, such as I knew and feared from The Arabian Nights and Grimm’s fairy tales. Fear thrives strongest; there is no telling how little we would be without having suffered fear. An intrinsic characteristic of humanity is the tendency to give in to fear. No fear is lost, but its hiding places are a riddle. Perhaps, of all things, fear is the one that changes least. When I think back to my early years, the very first things I recognise are the fears, of which there was an inexhaustible wealth. I find many of them  only now; others, which I will never find, must be the mystery that makes me want an unending life.

Elias Canetti, The Tongue Set Free: Remembrance of a European Childhood, Trans from the German by Joachim Neugroschel

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