from page 399-400, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 924-926
This is one of only two or three collages I had the great pleasure to actually make in the E. Boston studio with Team Tolstoy. It was amazing to me to see the many different ways of working, many of them looser and more abstract that mine. I still remember sitting on a pillow on top of a plastic cooler -- just the right height and surprisingly comfortable! -- working alongside these five very talented women.
In this passage, Pierre is walking through the burning city of Moscow when he discovers a woman, an old nanny and three children sitting by "a heap of household belongings: featherbeds, a samovar, icons, and trunks." The woman throws herself at Pierre's feet. "'Somebody please help us,' she managed to say through her sobs. 'My little girl! ...My daughter! ...My youngest daughter got left behind!"
I guess I imagined the sad cartoon of the little girl with the bird on her head to be the lost daughter and hoped that she would make her way through Moscow to be reunited with her family.