On June 1, 2020, the Czech Republic held an exhibition for the country’s artist, illustrator and film director Zdenek Miller. The happy and humorous “Little Mole” animated images created by Miller during his lifetime are deeply loved by children from all over the world. His cartoons are full of free and flexible life and exude a happy and humorous innocence and interest, which has won him a worldwide artistic reputation. But who knows that “The Mole’s Tale” came into being from the artist’s poignant love half a century ago. Recently, as the artist’s painting exhibition was exhibited, his experience appeared in front of the world——
Girl in the nursing home
In 1921, Zdenek Miller was born in Kladno, a small town in Prague. Since he was a child, his personality has been rebellious, curious, and adventurous. He has repeatedly caused headaches for his parents. Although the world was in turmoil due to the rise of the Nazis, his parents saved Miller to complete his secondary school and sent him to an art school in Prague.
In 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, German troops invaded. Various resistance movements were unprecedentedly fierce. The young and energetic Miller also participated in the protests. Unexpectedly, the organization was destroyed by the Germans and was arrested. After his father sold all his family property to redeem him, he was suspended from school and sent back to his hometown. My mother was frightened and contracted wind and cold, and unfortunately passed away. Miller didn’t even see the last side of his mother.
The reality has dealt a heavy blow to Miller. He is confused, painful, guilty, and decadent. After experiencing the war, he completely lost confidence in life. After the war ended in 1945, Miller returned to school, and after graduation he joined the publishing house as an illustrator. He has become bohemian, calling friends and accompany him every day, and he is also in love.
The feasting, unrestrained life finally destroyed his health. In August 1955, Miller had to accept compulsory abstinence due to excessive alcoholism. His father sent him home to the St. Louis Sanatorium in the dense forest on the top of Kladno Mountain, a small town in his hometown, hoping that he could reflect on his life.
A week later, the hardest and most painful days passed, Miller looked a lot more energetic, and he could move around. The sanatorium is located deep in the dense forest on the top of the mountain, quiet and empty, with fresh air, and the sound of gurgling water is heard in the distance.
Miller strolled over, and the sun filled the trees. A girl with blond hair was sitting by the water, with a clean face and white dress, just like a fairy who could not eat fireworks. Miller stared blankly for a long time, until the girl came over, “Hey, I’m Martina.” Miller stretched out her hand as if she had just woke up from a dream: “I’m Miller, an illustrator.”
Martina is also in a nursing home, 21 years old. She is not like Miller who is both psychotherapy and injection medication. She just walks in the sun or sits quietly every day, watching the sunset disappear from the treetops, and the day’s treatment seems to be over.
In this inaccessible dense forest, except for three or five people in the nursing home, every day is monotonous and boring, and Martina is like a flash of lightning, making his heart uneasy. Every time, Miller would go to Martina as soon as the treatment was over. She was completely different from the women she had known before. She had childlike innocence and melancholy mystery, which made him involuntarily want to search for answers.
Every day, Miller accompanied Martina on a walk. She was often exhausted and couldn’t keep up with the tall Miller, Miller went to hold her hand, but she stubbornly said, “I can keep up”; sometimes they walked, she didn’t know where to change Out of a small cloth bag full of pine cones, he watched her throw those pine cones into mole holes one after another. Their footsteps awakened those cute little creatures, and they ran around her flickeringly. She smiled softly at him: “Winter is coming, we need to store some food.” Miller felt that her smile was like a ray of sunlight in winter, illuminating his entire heart with warmth and transparency.
As the weather gradually cooled, Martina stayed alone in the room longer and longer. Miller was more curious about her condition. Miller asked the staff, and the answer was: “She is sick, she is like a healthy person, and she is killed at any time when she breaks.” Still unknown.
One night in October, Miller, who had always been watching Martina, suddenly heard a loud noise. He rushed out and kicked the door open, and Martina fell to the ground unconscious. Next, Miller witnessed a thrilling rescue of Martina, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiotonic injection, a full half an hour later, Martina opened her eyes.
Miller is by her side every day. Sometimes he brought Martina a bunch of flowers and plants, sometimes he read her storybooks, and more often, he told her about his work in the publishing house, fights in bars, and even the experience of picking up girls… all of this , Martina feels fresh and happy, because she has never been out of a nursing home.
From time to time, Martina would ask Miller to secretly take her out of the ward and go to deliver nuts to the mole. “You know, it’s winter. If you don’t give food to the little guys, they will starve to death.” Miller couldn’t refuse Martina’s pleading eyes. When they finished delivering the pine cones, if Martina was tired, they would find a place to sit down. Miller wrapped her in his arms with his overcoat, looking at Martina’s angelic face, he only dared to print a kiss. On her forehead.
One month later, Martina’s face slowly turned ruddy, and she became the cheerful and smiling girl before, and she no longer resisted Miller’s frequent visits. This girl who has never experienced the taste of love becomes attached to Miller.
“The Mole Tale” is born
In December 1955, the top of the mountain was full of silver. On New Year’s Eve, Miller asked Martina what gift she wanted, and Martina joked that she wanted to eat pine cones. In order to show his courtesy in front of the beautiful women, Miller picked up the small bag and went out, patrolling for a long time in the snow, but found nothing.
Suddenly, under his feet, with a sharp pain, he fell to the ground. When he pushed aside the floating snow, he could see that it was the mound formed by the mole that the mole made to store food. He wanted to stand up again, but found that the ground hurts. I tried a few times, but I couldn’t stand it. He sat in the snow lamentingly, watching the snow in the sky getting denser and denser, he suddenly felt fear, shouldn’t he die here silently?
From a distance, suddenly a figure staggered towards him, and he happily cried out for help. It was not until he got closer that he could see that it was Martina. She struggling to approach him with one foot and one foot shallowly, her anxious expression and her awkward movements made Miller feel warm. “I knew that you are too stupid, and there will be accidents.” Martina looked at Miller’s swollen feet, tears welling up.
Miller could no longer hold her in his arms and kissed her lips. He saw her close her eyes in panic, trembling eyelashes, and cold snowflakes falling on their cheeks. It took a long time before he let her go. Her eyes met, she was shy for a while, lowered her head to say something, but gave a soft “ah”. He followed her gaze and saw that a little black mole was lying quietly beside the hole, blinking his small eyes and paying attention to the lovers.
After staring at each other for a long time, Miller stretched out his hand to hold Martina in his arms and looked at her flowery smile. Suddenly the inspiration came and he wanted to draw! Painting that cute little mole is as simple, cute, naughty and innocent as she is. that’s it!
The people in the nursing home followed Martina’s footsteps and found them and carried the injured Miller back. Although it was just an Achilles tendon strain, Miller lay in bed for half a month.
During the half month, Martina scrubbed and changed his dressing, and cooked him alone. He conceived a sketch while she helped him sharpen his pencil. In the evening, Martina would push him in a wheelchair into the lobby of the nursing home. By the raging fire, she would snuggle in his arms, and from time to time kisses were placed on his lips. That cute little mole became Their main topic, Martina asked, is it so cold, does Little Mole have clothes to wear? So, Miller told her a story about a little mole making pants: the little mole dug up a lot of treasures from the ground, but it lacks a pair of pants with pockets to hold them, crayfish, weaver birds, etc. Helped it, this is a story about finding, fulfilling wishes and helping each other, warm and interesting. Martina clapped her hands with joy and shouted, “That’s it.”
Miller drew and drew, and suddenly he found out, isn’t this just the script of a comic movie? He couldn’t sit still anymore. After drawing the story, I immediately sent the script to old friends in the publishing industry, and began to wait anxiously for a response.
Due to the heavy snow covering the mountains, it will take two to three months for the letter to be delivered. The wait has become long, and the years have also become long. It is cold outside, and they can only stay in a limited number of rooms to keep warm every day; there is no TV signal, only an old radio, and only some books have been turned over. Except for Martina’s affectionate style, he hardly knows how to spend time.
He found that he missed the colorful world like never before. Art, movies, investment, stressful and stressful life, competing interests, all kinds of temptations, he knows that he loves Martina, but compared with the colorful world, this kind of love seems thin.
Finally, in April 1956, my friend’s reply arrived. The letter exaggerated his ideas and paintings, and asked him to go back immediately to discuss matters such as investment and shooting.
Seeing the compliments of his friends, Miller was dizzy: “This is what I dream of!” But how to tell Martina, he couldn’t help hesitating.
It seemed to be a hunch. That night, Martina walked into his bedroom for the first time. Miller couldn’t help being stunned when she wore an off-white nightgown, which made her even clearer. Without waiting for him to speak, Martina took the initiative to kiss him, and her clothes slipped off instantly. She clung to him like a vine, active and enthusiastic. Miller was instantly ignited. She muttered: “I love You, don’t leave me.” Miller couldn’t help telling a lie: “I won’t leave you, dear.”
It was late at night and Martina had fallen asleep, but Miller tossed and turned. stay? Live your whole life in this closed jungle? go away? What about Martina?
Miller finally made a decision when it was almost dawn. He left a note to Martina who was sleeping, saying that he would go back to deal with some chores and come back to accompany her in half a year. Then, while everyone was still asleep, he quietly left the nursing home.
He struggled all the way, several times he wanted to return to the nursing home, and Martina happily and carefree in the two world. But his feet stopped for a while and moved forward, tears streaming down his face unknowingly.
In 1957, the cartoon “Mole Makes Pants” was released and won the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival. Zdenek Miller is known internationally and is known as the “father of the mole”. Suddenly, fame, wealth and wealth came in, and at this time, a full year had passed since Miller’s half-year promise to Martina.
Lost my life favorite
After becoming famous, Miller lived a sensual life. However, without even realizing it, his whole person has changed. He no longer feasted and feasted day and night, or even did not want to do more entertainment. The smell of alcohol made him intolerable, and he used to linger on the flowers the most. Now looking at the enchanting or coquettish women can only make him unreasonable. Feeling irritable. He can only feel peace of mind when he lifts the paintbrush and walks into the quiet and lush world of moles.
He wanted to write a letter to Martina more than once, but in the end he didn’t have a word. He didn’t know how to face the girl who was pure as snow. Perhaps the cruelty to her was also the absolute determination to himself. They are people from two worlds, she belongs to Shanshui, and he still can’t escape the secular temptation.
In order not to remember Martina anymore, there were always different women around him, even though he had no feeling for them. This is the only way to make yourself forget.
On New Year’s Eve in 1958, he went home after a script in the studio. Just after taking off his coat, the door was knocked. Opening the door, he was taken aback. It was Martina. I haven’t seen each other for two years. She became pale, worried and thin. Before Miller could speak, his cohabiting girlfriend raised her voice in the house and asked, “Miller, who is it?”
Martina heard the words, handed the cloth bag in her hand to Miller, smiled and said: “I’m just coming to Prague to do errands to look at you on behalf of the patients in the nursing home.” Then, she turned around and jumped into a taxi as if fleeing. .
Miller opened the cloth bag, which was filled with pine nuts. Those familiar times appeared in front of him scene by scene: the first sight by the stream, her gentle smile, the cute little mole with a simple head, the kiss in the snowy night…
He fool, what did he miss! He stood up, put on his coat and ran straight out, he was going to chase her back. However, the taxi no longer knew the direction.
When he got home, Miller was desperate. He knew that Martina had found herself, not knowing how much she had walked, and how many people had been asked. And her sad smile is more like a steel needle, piercing her heart…
In such days of repentance, loss and confusion, Miller shut himself up at home and kept drinking and scolding himself: “Why do you treat that beautiful girl like this.”
Finally, one day after 3 months, he made up his mind to go to Martina again. Miller drove toward the San Luis Nursing Home, which was still the quiet mountain road, and the dense forest in the distance was so beautiful in the sun. Only then did he understand where the beacon of his soul was lit, and where the endless inspiration came from!
However, Martina will never see again! The staff of the nursing home only handed him a letter and took him to a new tomb in the back mountain. Martina died the night before due to hereditary heart disease in the family. She was the last survivor in the family. None of the members of this family lived to be 24 years old. As she grew older, her condition became more and more serious, and she, who was unhappy in her heart, insisted on saying goodbye to him.
Martina’s letter contained words of gratitude. She said that she thanked him for the love he gave her, and that she met someone who loved her in her limited life. She said that death is not terrible because there are parents and siblings. Will bless him in heaven. And he, can he send his little mole to the sky to see her?
Miller held her letter and burst into tears, desperate for life. Only after losing did he realize that he loved her so much. What he has been avoiding is what he loves most!
Miller returned to Prague. Martina’s optimism and innocence made him ashamed, and Miller had a new understanding of love. From then on, he began the creation of the “Mole Story” series with no distraction. Humorous, exaggerated, lyrical and elegant style, permeated with happy life interest. It is a combination of Miller and Martina, with her cuteness and optimism, and his thinking and questioning about life.
Miller has not been married in his life, and he dedicated all his energy and love to this little mole.
For nearly half a century, the Mole series has published audio-visual book products in more than 80 countries, filmed various movies and TV series, and has influenced generations of children and brought joy to their childhood.
In 1997, due to the influence of current political affairs, the 86-year-old Miller finally put down his paintbrush. He strongly requested to move to the St. Louis Nursing Home in Kladno, where he would spend the rest of his life with his beloved girl. Whenever he wandered by the water in the forest and picked up pine cones with a Mabu bag, Miller would think of the past, but the playful smiling face never appeared in the shade of the trees again…
On November 30, 2011, the 90-year-old Zdenek Miller passed away. On the day of his death, snow fluttered from the top of the Sanatorium of Saint-Louis, and the mountain breeze whizzed through the forest, as if to see him off.