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Beethoven's Death Mask

Page 5

Peter Symons

We made our way into a room – it was full of glass cases filled with boring stuff. The only thing not surrounded by glass was a big piano in the corner.

“Can I play the piano, dad?”

“Harpsichord. No.”

He was prowling around the room looking for something. Then he stopped and said, “Ah!”

He turned to me and beckoned me over with his index finger, then turned to that finger to point at a glass case he was leaning towards.

“This,” he said.

He was pointing at a mask. It was the face of a man with his eyes closed, with a deep frown.

I looked at it for a moment.

“Why is he so sad, dad?”

My father was too absorbed to answer for a moment but eventually said, “What?”

“Why is the mask man so sad?”

My father frowned. “He’s not sad. He’s dead.”

I thought about this for a moment. I didn’t understand how a mask could be dead.

“But..” I wasn’t sure how to put it. “How can he be dead?”

“It’s a death mask. What they used to do is make a copy of a person’s face just after they died.”


Page 5

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