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A Journey through the Desert

( First posted in Portuguese,  in March 2016) For Julia , The Princess with the Green Slippers 'Julia! Bernardo!&...

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Princess Lara and the Quest for Shiny Objects

For my goddaughter Lara (5),
My beautiful ray of sunshine.

One day Princess Lara and her dog Laika went on a quest for shiny objects. Princess Lara loved all shiny objects, like diamonds. They walked and walked and walked, but they couldn't find any shiny diamonds. They walked some more, until they met a big, huge animal. It was grey. It had big ears and a very long nose. They stopped to talk to that animal.
'Hello!' said Princess Lara. 'Who are you? And why have you got such a long nose?'
'Hello! I'm an elephant. I'm a grey elephant. And this is not a nose. It's a trunk. It's called a trunk. And you're not supposed to go around telling others they've got long noses! That's not nice.'
'Sorry,' said Princess Lara. 'Oops!' she said to Laika. I didn't mean to offend Mr Elephant.
'Mr Elephant, I'm trying to find some diamonds. Some shiny objects. Where can I find some?
'Shiny objects?' asked Elephant. Why would you want shiny objects? You don't need shiny objects!'
'Yes, I do! Who are you to tell me that I need or don't need shiny objects?' said Princess Lara, sounding offended. 'I am a Princess and I need shiny objects!'
'OK, You Majesty! OK OK OK. I'm so sorry. Just continue walking along this path and you'll find your shiny objects.'
'Thank you Mr Elephant. Goodbye!' said the princess.
'Goodbye Princess Lara! said Elephant, muffling a laugh. 'Ha-ha-ha'
'Why did he laugh, do you think, Laika? asked Princess Lara.
'Woof-woof-woof.' Of course Laika couldn't reply. Laika was a dog and she couldn't speak. But if she couldn't speak, why could the elephant speak? This was all very strange for Princess Lara. Very strange indeed.

Princess Lara and Laika walked and walked and walked along the path. Straight on, just like Mr Elephant had said until she reached something that seemed very odd. It had towering legs, a short body and a very long neck. Right on the body...sprinkled on the body, were shiny, oh so shiny, sparkling brown patches.
'Excuse me. I'm Princess Lara and this is my pet dog, Laika, Who are you?'
'Hum-hum...I'm Mrs Giraffe.' said the giraffe, clearing her throat. 'Who are you?'
'I said, I'm Prin--Cess La--Ra!' said Princess Lara speaking more slowly, so that the big animal could understand her more clearly. 'Prin--Cess La—Ra...Tell me, why do you have those shiny spots on your body? I want them. Give them to me!'
'Ha-ha-ha!' the giraffe laughed. 'I can't give you my spots! They're not objects! They're part of my fur.'
'They're part of your what?' asked the Princess, making a very cute confused face.
'They're part of my body. My fur. Fur is the hair that covers my body. These patches aren't shiny objects that can be removed! I'm a stylish and well-groomed giraffe, can't you see? They're shiny because I take good care of my body. That's why my fur is always silky and shiny,' said Mrs Giraffe, bending her long neck way down so that her eyes could look straight into Princess Lara's eyes.
'But I want diamonds! I want shiny objects!' said the Princess.
'Awhhhhh! You can't take all the shiny objects you see with you. Some shiny objects – like the spots on my body – aren't removable. Why don't you get some shiny pebbles down by the river? said Mrs Giraffe.
'That's a good idea! Where is the river?' said Princess Lara, with a twinkle in her eye.
'Continue walking down this path and you'll soon reach the river. There you'll find lots of pebbles. Different coloured pebbles: red and orange and yellow and green and blue and indigo and purple.'
'Wow! Just like the rainbow, isn't it? said Princess Lara, feeling really excited now!
'Oh, yes, I suppose so. There are seven different colours.' said the giraffe.
'I also love rainbows!' said the princess, in a dreamy voice.
'So you'll find pebbles in all the different colours of the rainbow and they're all very shiny because of the water. Why don't you go there and pick up some pebbles to take with you?' suggested the giraffe.
'That's a brilliant idea, Mrs Giraffe.' said the Princess.

Princess Lara and her pet Laika set off again down the path. They walked and walked and walked some more until they reached the beautiful river.
'Wow! Look at the water! It's so clear! Wow! Wow! Wow!'
'Look at the pebbles in the river: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple - like the rainbow. Just like Mrs Giraffe said. Yeah!' said Princess Lara clapping her hands and jumping in the air. She was so happy. She had finally found her shiny objects. She was the happiest little girl in the world.
She took off her shoes, jumped in the water and started stuffing the multi-coloured pebbles into her pockets. And Laika? Well, Laika was so very happy to be able to play in the water as well.

The End