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The Magical Pool

For my goddaughter Lara. A beautiful ray of sunshine. It was very early in the morning and Otto the Octopus was still sound a...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Swan’s lake

With the whole lake for itself, the proud swan seemed to be enjoying the quiet moments by itself. Of late, there had been quite a few of those quiet moments. The thought that this silence was not natural did cross the bird’s mind from time to time, but the fact was that in that silence he had no one to fight for space with, so he didn't delve too deeply into it.
Now he was the king of the lake!
This went on until the day some men carrying a huge pole with a noose at the top arrived at the lake, caught Swan by the neck, attached a tight tin ring around his left foot...and kidnapped him.
Poor Swan shivered with fear. How could this be happening? Why would they want to tear him away from his home? Why did none of the other animals come to his rescue? They were probably hiding, leaving him to his fate. The cowards!
*
Swan was taken to a pond that lay near a huge mansion. Above the house and the pond there were some almost invisible laser beams which, as Swan soon found out, would stun anything which tried to fly through them.
That was it. He had been imprisoned in a Guantanamo Bay-like prison. He’d never be able to escape, that’s for sure.
*
Everyday a little boy would come to the pond and spend hours telling him stories he'd read in books. When he ran out of stories to tell, he started inventing his own: he was a precocious little one, he was.
However, Swan didn’t want to listen, or pretended not to listen. He felt miserable in that pond – he had never wanted to leave his lake. Why had he been kidnapped? So many questions left unanswered!
So, one day, Swan decided to go on a hunger strike.
His not eating worried the little boy – it was painful to see how the once strong and proud swan withered away by the day.
'Something must be done,' the boy mused, with a sad frown on his forehead.
The prospect of losing his only friend was heartbreaking, but nevertheless, he pleaded with his father to take the swan back to his original home.
You have to hand it to the boy’s father, for he did make the effort to persuade his son otherwise. However, the little boy was resolute in his decision and the man had no other choice than to drive the swan back to its lake. It pained him to leave the bird in that highly polluted and toxic water, but he couldn’t go against his own dying son’s wish. ‘Good luck,’ he whispered as he set the bird free.
The bird was first ecstatic then little by little began to realise that there was no longer any life on the lake. Something had gone terribly wrong and he knew that like the other animals he, too, would not be able to survive there.
Suddenly, the harsh reality dawned on him: everything started to fall into place. He could see things so clearly now. In the end what had actually happened – he realised – was that he’d been rescued and not abducted.
How he longed for the little boy and his stories! That’s when Swan decided to go back. He flew and flew until he saw the red roof and the pond down below. He remembered the shock he had once got trying to escape and knew that what he was about to do was really risky. But he had to take the plunge.
He nose-dived without a second’s thought.
A painfully electrifying shock crossed his body from head to tail but he persisted in his downward flight, heading straight to the place where he could see the little boy lying on his back. With a thump, he was right there beside his friend, managing to rest his head on the boy’s shoulder.
The boy smiled weakly as he said, ‘I knew you’d come back my friend,’ and put his arm over Swan.
And that’s how the boy and Swan were found, arm in wing, wing in arm, on the same rock where the boy used to sit and tell his stories…both sleeping the eternal sleep.

- COPYRIGHT/CONTO REGISTADO NO IGAC


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O Lago de Cisne

Com o lago todo para si, o orgulhoso cisne disfrutava de deliciosos momentos de silêncio. Ultimamente até que pareciam haver bastantes desses momentos...
De tempos a tempos a ideia de que esse silêncio não era natural atravessava o pensamento da ave, mas o facto é que, nesse silêncio, Cisne não tinha que lutar pelo seu espaço com mais ninguém e por isso não dedicava demasiado tempo a tais pensamentos. Agora ele reinava sobre o lago!
Viveu assim ainda durante uns tempos até que um dia, uns homens com um pau enorme com um laço de forca no topo, chegaram ao lago. Apanharam o cisne pelo pescoço, puseram-lhe uma anilha de metal no pé esquerdo e...raptaram-no.
O pobre Cisne tremia de medo. Como é que isto lhe podia estar a acontecer? Porque é que alguém quereria arrancá-lo à força da sua casa? Porque é que os outros animais não tinham vindo em seu socorro? O mais certo era estarem escondidos, deixando-o sózinho à sua sorte. Cobardes!
*
Cisne foi levado para um lago pequeno que se encontrava perto de uma enorme mansão. Sobre a casa e toda a propriedade havia uns raios laser, quase imperceptíveis que, como Cisne depresa descobriu, serviam para aturdir tudo o que tentasse trespassá-los.
Era isso. Havia sido feito prisioneiro numa prisão do tipo Guantanamo Bay. Uma coisa era certa, nunca conseguiria escapar.
*
Todos os dias um rapazinho vinha até ao pequeno lago onde passava horas a contar-lhe histórias que havia lido nos livros. Quando o seu reportório acabou, passou a inventar as suas próprias histórias: era um menino precoce, lá isso era.
Contudo, Cisne não queria ouvi-lo, ou então fingia não estar a ouvi-lo. Sentia-se miserávelmente triste naquele lago artificial – nunca havia querido sair do seu lago. Porque o haviam raptado? Tantas perguntas sem resposta!
Por isso, um dia, Cisne decidiu iniciar uma greve de fome, o que preocupou seriamente o menino. Como era penoso ver o antes forte e orgulhoso cisne a murchar dia a dia!
– Tenho que fazer alguma coisa – pensou para consigo o rapaz, enrrugando a testa com preocupação.
A perspectiva de perder o seu único amigo era desoladora. Mesmo assim, suplicou junto do seu pai para que levasse o cisne de novo para a sua verdadeira casa.
Temos que reconhecer que o pai do rapaz se esforçou por persuadir o filho do contrário. Contudo, o rapazinho estava resoluto na sua decisão e o pobre homem não teve outra alternativa senão conduzir o cisne de volta ao seu lago. Afligia-o ter de deixar a ave nessas águas tão poluídas e tóxicas, mas também não podia contrariar os últimos desejos do seu filho moribundo.
– Boa sorte! – sussurou ele ao libertar o pássaro.
Ao princípio o cisne estava extático, mas a pouco e pouco foi-se dando conta que não havia nenhuma outra forma de vida no lago. Havia algo terrivelmente errado e sabia que à semalhança do que acontecera aos outros animais, também ele não seria capaz de sobreviver naquele sítio.
De repente, começou a aperceber-se da dura e triste realidade: as peças começavam a encaixar e conseguia ver as coisas claramente. Afinal de contas, não havia sido sequestrado mas sim resgatado.

Como tinha saudades do menino e das suas histórias!
Foi ao tomar consiência de como elas faziam falta, que Cisne decidiu regressar. Voou e voou até que por fim viu o telhado vermelho e o pequeno lago por baixo dele. Lembrava-se do choque eléctico que em tempos sofrera ao tentar escapar e não tinha ilusões de que o que ía fazer era realmente perigoso. Mas tinha que arriscar.
E assim foi...Mergulhou, sem pensar duas vezes, e lá foi ele a pique.
Um choque dolorosamente electrificante atravessou o seu já frágil corpo. Lutando contra a dor quase incapacitante que se assenhoreava do seu corpo, continuou com a sua descida vertiginosa, dirigindo-se exactamente para onde o menino se encontrava deitado de costas. Com um baque surdo, aterrou mesmo ao pé do seu amigo, conseguindo ainda poisar a cabeça sobre o ombro do rapaz.
– Sabia que voltarias, meu amigo. – disse o rapaz com um sorriso esmaecido ao mesmo tempo que abraçava Cisne.
E foi assim, entrelaçados braço em asa, asa em braço, que o rapaz e o cisne foram encontrados, deitados sobre a mesma rocha onde o miúdo costumava sentar-se a contar as suas histórias...ambos dormindo o sono eterno.

- COPYRIGHT/CONTO REGISTADO NO IGAC

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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Arrumar é Divertido

          Fico feliz por poder contribuír com o meu conto, para uma causa meritória e para o bem estar das crianças envolvidas, fazendo votos para que as boas energias deste começo me possam augurar um futuro de sucessos na escrita.
           Neste projecto, estão envolvidos: 
                    - Fundação António Aleixo
                    - Projecto Akreditar - Valência da Fundação António Aleixo
                    - Fotógrafa Profissional, Ana Abrão (http://www.anaabrao.com/)
                    - e Ver o Verso Edições, Lda.

(Assim que puder, postarei mais informações sobre como e onde poderão adquirir este livro.)

Excerto:         
            A Avó Patachoca era uma pata roliça e cheia de genica; tinha um repucho de penas amarelas platinadas no topo da cabeça que a distinguia de todas as outras patas. Durante anos ensinou o ABC... a muitos patinhos, em vários pontos do globo, mas agora já estava reformada e finalmente tinha tempo para se dedicar aos seus passatempos preferidos, como a escrita, a pintura, o crochet...Bem, ter, ter, lá isso deveria ter tempo para todas essas coisas, mas a verdade verdadeira verdadinha é que afinal não tinha! Ao reformar-se, o seu dever cívico chamou mais alto e num piscar de olhos, sem se saber exactamente como, estava envolvida de corpo e alma, na política local, com o intuito de tornar o seu bairro num lugar melhor para todos os seus habitantes. Por isso, reformada, lá isso estava, mas a sua agenda estava mais do que nunca preenchida com compromissos políticos, inaugurações e reuniões da Junta...
           Aqui entre nós, que mais ninguém nos ouve, o Avô Asa-Para-Toda-A-Obra, de temperamento mais calmo e dócil, é que passava o dia a abanar a cabeça – agora com muito pouca penúgem – e a resmungar entre bico, pois não entendia as idas e vindas da mulher. Porque é que ela não queria gozar uma reforma calma e sem demasiadas emoções, como ele? Por um lado até tinha razão, pois às vezes quase que era necessário marcar uma reunião oficial para falar com a Avó Patachoca.
           Contudo, e apesar da sua muito ocupada agenda, a Avó Patachoca tinha sempre tempo para a sua até-então-única netinha, a Patajeca. (...)
          

- COPYRIGHT/Registado no IGAC

Friday, 10 September 2010

Mali’s Quest

           The darkness and dampness of the attic invaded the young girl’s body as she opened the old chest. Rummaging through the old clothes and timeworn photo shots, and not really looking for anything in particular, just something, anything that could bring some colour into her orphaned life, the young girl’s eyes sparkled with excitement as they caught sight of a rag doll.  Filled with emotion and burning eyes  whose tears had long run out - she clutched the doll in her hands. 
           ‘I’m never going to be alone again. I’ll be your friend and look after you; you’ll be my friend and protect me from the shadows of this house,’ she whispered in the doll’s ear.
           That very moment, the rusty door creaked open and she had no time to fully enjoy her fortunate discovery. There, looking down at her, stood the tall, angry figure of aunt Imogen.
Without uttering a word, the embittered woman grabbed the girl by the hand and dragged her first downstairs, then through the front door, heading fast towards the rugged cliff, leaving behind them the lonely dark mansion.
           The young girl was shell-shocked and dared not complain about the tight grip the elder woman had on her.
           On the cliff, the woman, with a mixture of lunacy and a hint of sadness in her eyes, bent over, picked the girl up as if she were a rag doll and hurled her off the cliff, into the cold sea water. 
           Holding on tightly to the doll, the little girl - let’s call her Mali - plunged painfully into the water, sinking deeper and deeper into the deep blue.
           How all the bones in her little body hurt! But soon everything went numb and her mind drifted backwards in time. A time when she had been happy… were they real memories? Or memories of an invented past, she couldn’t tell: she was now running in a huge lily field, with her arms wide open as if ready to take off at any moment and join the gentle waltz of the butterflies fluttering beside her. That place felt like the safety of home she had once upon a time lived in.

           Standing on the red coral reefs, the warrior-like Indian jumped in to save Mali. He’d been expecting the moment when he’d have to swim to the bottom of the sea to rescue a girl, that girl.
           Back on safe ground, the girl struggled to free herself from the man’s arms. ‘No, my doll, my friend, she’s still down there. I’m going back for her. Let me go! Let me go!’
           That’s when the warrior king grabbed her by the shoulders and looked deep into her eyes…Mali knew instantly that she had to stay put, and watched the Indian disappear into the sea. A couple of minutes later, he jumped up from the deepest of depths, gasping for air and holding the
rag doll in his right hand.

           There was no time to waste. The man got on his brown stallion and motioned for the girl to follow him. They were on their way, him on horseback, she trotting along behind him, her arms tightly wrapped around the doll.

           Once they reached the camp, Mali heard him tell the others that the girl – she – should not be harmed in any way. And so it was. From the moment she arrived she became his unpaid apprentice, his student.

           She learnt all about the power of the Sun, the Moon and fire…about the sacred herbs and how to dry them out and mix them in such a way that they would close an open wound, cool down a body burning with fever, and even make one’s sadness go away.
Hours turned into days, days flowed into weeks, weeks soon became months, and months cascaded into years.

           One day, breaking the long-lasting silence, the now aged Indian spoke to her for the first time. She must take her years of knowledge and help a dying woman…Come, they must hurry. There’s no time to spare.
           Once again they set off, him on horseback, while she followed on foot. They travelled a long way until they reached the edge of a cliff. There, the Indian pointed to a lonely dark house, just a few yards away.
           With glittering eyes, Mali, now a young woman, looked deep into her mentor’s eyes and without the slightest hesitation, headed towards her childhood mansion, carrying only a bag of herbs and her old tattered rag doll around her waist.  

           It was the same house, the same damp smell in the air, the same woman who had once thrown her off the cliff… but Mali didn’t mind. She had grown and had learnt her purpose in life: she was here to heal.
           Scrutinizing the signs of illness, Mali could see that there was nothing she could do for her aunt: no herbs or chants could save the thin, fading, elderly lady. Her heart felt squashed with squalor and for the first time in years - practically a whole lifetime - Mali felt water gushing into her eyes. She untied the doll from her waist and gently placed it in the woman’s hands.
           In a feverish tone the feeble woman began to chant:

Imogen and Lilibeth
Two girls in spring
were born.
Two sisters, in character and face alike.
There were two of them but to them
they were but one.

Together they would
face the troubled times.
Together they would celebrate
the joyous times.

On their 13th birthday
two twin dolls did they get…
Now, the four of them would,
forever,
carry on.

Then one day, Lilibeth,
the quiet one,
fell in love and a
baby - very much adored by everyone -
was born to consecrate that love.

But, oh, should
Unforgiving Fate dictate
the tragic death
of the beloved and the quiet one…

And in the care of
broken Imogen
did the poor infant end.

How could she go on without
Her Lilibeth?

Her spirit withered
and her mind, in grief,
forever lost.
Her other half was gone!

Forgive me, oh little one,
for I have failed you
…and the rag doll, too.

Forgive mad old Imogen
For once upon a time
you were indeed much
loved.


           And with a muffled “Thank you” the woman gave her last sigh and peacefully passed away.

           For Mali it was like a heavy burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She ran outside and waltzed towards the cliff, and with her arms stretched out in a cosmic embrace, she dived into the water below.
           There was no pain this time, and like a dolphin, she splashed and jumped merrily in that warm blue sea.
           Looking up, she saw the once-again-young Indian warrior standing on the red reefs. She waved at him, inviting him to come and join her. He smiled kindly but shook his head - she no longer needed him. So, she started swimming and then waded her way towards him.

           This time, both on horseback, they rode back to the camp. Upon arriving, her face was painted in preparation for her initiation ritual. Then, blindfolded, the Indian warrior led her to a trail of hot burning coal. ‘Trust me. Trust yourself. Keep walking straight on,’ he said softly. And so she did.

           Not at all surprised by the girl’s trust and courage, the Indian decided to meet her halfway. He removed her blindfold, and hand in hand, they made it to the end of the coal trail. But her quest was not over yet. After hugging her warmly, he gave her a sharp hunting knife.  Again no words were needed: she knew what she had to do. She cut open her chest, removed her heart  and handed it over to him…

           Mali had passed the test of pure love. She had learnt the greatest lesson of all, that of the humility of giving and the generosity of receiving.

           She was no longer a frightened little girl but a strong, powerful young woman who knew the might of humility and love.
           She had learnt that it was all right to be scared, for you can only be brave if you feel the fear. You can only survive if you allow yourself to be saved. You can only learn by making mistakes and by listening to others. You can only receive when you’re willing to trust and embrace what other people have to give you, and when you learn to accept gracefully. You can only give with your heart when you’re ready to make sacrifices, overcome hostility and the fear of the unknown.
           You, yes, you who are reading this now, don’t think about what was but what you have now. Don’t worry about what you can’t do but get on with what you can do.
           Young girls - yes, I mean you too - go and become great Malis. Learn the love behind the power of giving and receiving… Go and share your love and knowledge with rest of the world.
Go - and together - you can make this a better world for everyone.

-COPYRIGHT/Registado no IGAC


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