It would have been so, so easy to dismiss him as useless. And many did, at first.
His father died when the boy was still in the womb, and his grieving mother gave birth to him early. He was a runty little thing whom nobody expected to survive.
He lived, but when he was three his mother remarried and trotted off to start a new family, leaving the toddler in the care of his grandmother for years.
The boy wasn’t a good student, and when he was a teenager, he was sent to work in the fields of the family farm, where he nearly drove everyone mad with his ineptness. There were whispers that he was not quite right in the head. Unable to concentrate on the simplest tasks, he would wander the fields, staring at nothing, or fiddle with piles of rocks, allowing the sheep he was tending to escape.
It’s safe to say, in other words, that no one would have guessed that 350 years later, the brightest scientists in the world would still be referring to the boy’s mental gifts as “divine.”
I’ll be honest. I tend to swoon a little, when it comes to smart-ies. Continue reading