Un encuentro inusual

Hace poco encontré un singular relato en un diario de mi tía bisabuela Elisa. El hallazgo del diario en sí ya fue extraordinario, pues estaba oculto en una caja de secretos entre sus pertenencias casi olvidadas, cuyo cierre sólo yo acerté a abrir. El truco estaba en presionar suavemente los laterales de la caja y a la vez soltar el pestillo casi invisible de la tapa.

Mi tía bisabuela Elisa siempre ha sido una figura legendaria en la familia. Una joven que a los dieciocho años se fugó de casa y desapareció sin dejar rastro, para reaparecer años después al otro lado del mundo como una reconocida escritora de cuentos para niños.

El por qué se fue así, nunca estuvo claro, aunque nunca faltaron rumores acerca de un matrimonio de conveniencia del que cualquiera habría huido. Esto era algo que mi abuela y su hermana comentaban a menudo, con expresión resabiada.

Cómo logró desvanecerse como si se la hubiera tragado la tierra, y burlar a todos y cada uno de los grupos de búsqueda que envió mi tatarabuelo es gran parte del misterio, así como sus cuentos de hadas, capaces de encantar a toda una generación.

Ahora, leyendo su diario he comprendido muchas cosas. La verdad sobre el matrimonio concertado, sobre el que se desahogaba en varias páginas del diario, intercaladas con algunos cuentos muy buenos, como ‘La Trenza del Hada’ o ‘La Flor Tardía’, en los que en retrospectiva puedo ver el talento innato y creciente que impulsaría su fama.

Pero la última entrada del diario es de lo más extraño. No es un cuento, o al menos no está narrado como tal. Es igual que tantas otras entradas anteriores, pero con una diferencia: lo que cuenta ahí Elisa no puede ser real.

Está bastante claro que era una criatura fantasiosa y quizá un poco lunática. Sin embargo, lo que escribió aquel 19 de abril de 1910, unido a su posterior desaparición, suscita muchas dudas y preguntas, y deja tras de sí muy pocas respuestas.

La versión oficial es que efectivamente huyó del matrimonio concertado. Yo ya no lo tengo tan claro.

Juzguen ustedes, a partir de la transcripción, palabra por palabra, de la última entrada del diario adolescente de Elisa Gascó, la famosa cuentacuentos.

19 de Abril de 1910

Ayer por la tarde le dije a padre que no me casaré, aunque me lleven a rastras ante el altar. No hay mujer cuerda que quiera pasar el resto de su vida junto a ese hombre infame. Pero padre no quiso escucharme.

Salí como tantas otras veces al monte, a respirar aire fresco y a ordenar los pensamientos, dejando atrás el caserón familiar y bordeando los campos de naranjos hasta la colina cercana, como acostumbre a hacer cuando arrecia la tormenta.

No obstante, ayer tomé una senda distinta a la habitual, y al poco me había desorientado. El Sol ya se había ocultado tras las montañas y su resplandor ya no era visible en el cielo, donde ya empezaban a aparecer las primeras estrellas. Sin embargo, no hacía frío. El aire primaveral era cálido y mecía mi vestido de algodón mientras avanzaba por los pastos.

Entonces quise fijarme en donde me encontraba, para tratar de hallar el camino a casa. A parte de unas pocas colmenas de madera para abejas, no vi nada reseñable que determinase mi paradero. Ninguna señal, ni marca alguna. Un sendero completamente desconocido y libre de presencia humana.

Vi que estaba en un camino de flores silvestres de vivos colores. Había margaritas, clavelinas, campánulas y lavanda, el aire estaba impregnado de su olor. Las flores eran preciosas, todas ellas, coloreando la falda de la colina como un ordenado mosaico.

Demasiado ordenado y demasiado pulcro. Me pregunté si no me habría metido por error en terreno cultivado. La visión de tan bonitas flores contrastando con las luces del crepúsculo y la villa a lo lejos, preparándose para la noche, junto con su dulce aroma silvestre era reconfortante.

Me incliné sobre una de las perfectas campánulas. Estaba cerrada, pero tenía todos y cada uno de los pétalos impecables, de un tono rosa intenso con el borde oscuro. La acaricié con delicadeza, asombrada de su belleza. Y la flor se estiró y me miró.

No era una flor después de todo.

Contuve la respiración y alcé la mirada. La senda de flores silvestres estaba ahora salpicada de pequeñas lucecitas, que eran en realidad más criaturitas como aquella, iluminadas desde dentro y observándome.

Me temo que me desmayé. Debió ser así, porque desperté tendida en el pasto rodeada de las flores y personitas brillantes. Sentía un regusto dulce en la lengua, como a miel. Supuse que aquellas criaturas me habían dado algo para reanimarme.

‘Un don por otro don.’- dijo la pequeña de color rosa que había visto primero, con una voz tan indescriptiblemente dulce como el roce de una brisa o el lenguaje de las mariposas.

‘¿Perdón? – dije, sin saber muy bien si el sonido había llegado a pasar por mis oídos.

‘Danos el mejor de tus dones, y nosotras te daremos otro a cambio’ – replicó el hada, y las otras se acercaron más y se sentaron rodeándome, unas sobre las flores, otras acomodadas sobre mullidas setas, sobre raíces, y de rodillas en la hierba. Las hadas más pequeñas saliendo de entre grietas en las rocas, llenando el lugar de decenas de luces. El olor del azahar y la madreselva, del romero y la lavanda, lo envolvían todo como un hechizo.

El mejor de mis dones. No sabía qué ofrecer, y no sabía qué podía pasar si declinaba la oferta. Pensé, miré mis manos, mi vestido. Ninguno de mis objetos personales podía considerarse un gran regalo, salvo quizás el relicario que llevaba colgado al cuello. Mas, ¿qué iban a hacer las hadas con un relicario? No creía que se refiriesen a eso. Al final, después de reflexionar un poco, decidí que les daría lo que mejor sé hacer.

Les conté una historia, sobre un sultán del Lejano Oriente que poseía todo cuanto pudiese desear, bienes materiales comunes y también fabulosos, raros y mágicos. Y sin embargo lo dejó todo atrás, partiendo a toda prisa en su alfombra mágica, con la única compañía de un mono, un áspid y un ratón hacia los confines del mundo, para encontrar una cura para su esposa enferma. Y otras historia sobre una hoja flotando en un lago que cambió todo un pueblo, y otra sobre una flor que no quiso crecer a tiempo y aprendió el sentido de la vida demasiado tarde. Y otra sobre un roedor que domesticaba un dragón con té. Y otra, y otra.

Mi pequeña audiencia me escuchaba atentamente. Eran muy buenas oyentes, las hadas. Contenían la respiración en el momento adecuado y aplaudían con sus pequeñas manitas y con las alas al final de cada relato. No sé cuánto tiempo estuve contándoles cuentos, quizás una hora o dos, o puede que toda la noche, acompañada por el movimiento de la Luna Llena por el cielo estrellado, y las pequeñas luces brillando a mi alrededor.

Empecé a sentirme muy somnolienta, y creo que llegué a ver despuntar el alba.

Recuerdo a la pequeña hada rosada acercarse y decir:

‘El mayor de tus dones es especial y maravilloso. Verás tu don aumentado, por la gracia de las hadas. Las historias que nos has entregado serán joyas entre nosotras, y a partir de hoy, todas las historias que cuentes, serán tesoros.’

He despertado esta mañana en mi cama, con el Sol ya alto brillando a través de la ventana. Las imágenes del sueño de la noche anterior eran tan reales, y las sensaciones … notaba incluso aquel regusto como a miel.

Me incorporé, y vi en mi mesilla de noche algo que no estaba ahí el día anterior.

Una pluma. Una pluma estilográfica, de la más exquisita factura, plateada como un rayo de luna. Con mi nombre grabado en el capuchón. Descansando sobre una camánula rosada.

Así que no fue un sueño. He sostenido el regalo de las hadas en mi mano izquierda y las palabras han empezado a fluir como un río. La siento latir entre mis dedo, ansiosa por contar aventuras e historias encantadas.

Siento un nuevo coraje para perseguir mis sueños y encontrar maravillas. O inventarlas.

He visto que el mundo es un lugar mucho más misterioso y mágico que lo que percibimos. Ahí fuera está lleno de secretos, y voy a descubrirlos y a transformarlos en cuentos, para que los niños nunca dejen de creer en prodigios.

Saldré cuando todos duerman, y jamás darán conmigo, hasta que mi nombre y mis cuentos sean conocidos por todos.

Y creo que ya sé cómo conseguirlo.

The Fairy Plait

Inspired by the foreword to ‘The Forgotten Garden’, by Kate Morton.

Once upon a time, there was a young and handsome prince of a very powerful kingdom, destined to one day be the wise king of those lands, when his father gave him the throne. However, when the time comes the prince should prove his worth and pass a single test, proving that he was worthy of fulfilling his destiny.

Therefore, one fine day, his father the king took him to the edge of a mysterious forest, thick and tall, with the tops of the trees fading high above as far as the eye could see. He told him that his proof was in there, and that when he had overcome it leaving the forest, he would be the king.

The valiant prince hastened to carry out his father’s orders, and entered the forest, sword ready, prepared for any difficulty that presented him: a bear, a huge boar or some similar beast, perhaps a dark wizard to whom defeat, or maybe a fierce fire-spitting dragon.

The truth is, he did not have the slightest idea of ​​what his test could be.
Then the prince came to a clearing in the woods. In it stood a cottage, almost as tall as the tree that grew from it, breaking through the roof and disappearing high above. The brave prince entered the cottage, without knocking on the door, since he already sensed what was to be found.

At the end of the cabin, next to the hearth, was an old woman sitting in front of a loom.

‘But what manners are those? Don’t you know how to call before entering?’ said the old woman, who was a witch, in case you hadn’t noticed.

‘Here I am to fulfill my test, old crone, and thus be worthy of my destiny. Speak, then. Shall I defeat you in a battle like no other? Or do I have to disenchant a maiden under your hex? Perhaps solve a riddle on the edge of a magical precipice? Speak up!’

‘Sit down and shut up.’ said the witch.

The prince, to his surprise, obeyed.

‘I have a kettle on the fire. Do you want sugar? And some pastries, right?’

Instantly a pink porcelain tea set materialized along with a glass coffee table in front of them. The prince knew that he must be suspicious of anything the witches offered to eat or drink, or so they said… but the pastries were chocolate and the tea smelled to pennyroyal.

The prince then found himself chatting happily with the old witch while they were drinking tea and laughing like old acquaintances.

When the witch had finished tasting her tea and pastries, with a satisfied sigh she turned to her loom and began spinning a new piece.

‘Good. Now let’s talk about serious things. Your test. To seal your destiny, this is what you must do.’

The prince sat up in his chair, suddenly serious. He had almost forgotten what he was there for. He looked suspiciously at the tea and pastries. Were they enchanted to cloud his judgment? But he decided no. Something told him that the witch had a good heart.

‘You shall bring me three strands of the Fairy Kingdom sovereign’s hair, which you will find if you follow the path that brought you to my cottage and know well where to look.’

The prince considered the witch’s words. Is it? Was it all? No dragon to defeat in a singular battle? No dark wizard more cunning than any beast? No riddle with which to challenge his wits? The prince told himself that the task must be more important than it seemed, and much more difficult. It had to be.

‘But why must I bring back three strands of the Fairy Queen’s hair?’ spoke the young prince to the crone. ‘Why no other number, why not two or four?’

The crone leaned forward but did not halt her spinning. ‘There is no other number, my child.

Three is the number of family, for do we not speak of past, present and future? Three is the number of time, for do we not speak of mother, father and child? Three is the number of fairy, for do we not seek them between oak, ash and thorn?’

The young prince nodded, for the wise crone spoke the truth.

‘Thus must I have three strands, to weave my magic plait.’

The prince looked at the loom, and thought that the witch would surely want to braid the enchanted strands to weave a mighty or invisibility cloak. So he said goodbye to the old woman and with her best wishes, went further into the thick forest.

In search of the Fairy Kingdom. A place as wonderful as it was dangerous, where a wrong step could mean the loss of the man who dared to set foot there. Ruled by its own rules and symbols, rites and enchantments more powerful than any force on earth. Where the Sun, Earth, Moon and Starlight marked the passage of time that nevertheless seemed to stop forever. A place that very few managed to get to, and from which no one managed to get out.

The prince removed branches and leaves, and walked silently, respectfully, searching among the oak, ash and thorn. He did not dare to cut any branches or leaves, or damage any bush. He admired the brightly colored flowers from afar and was always watching where he stepped. It was not a good idea to break into someone’s house breaking things. One could end up cursed for life. The witch had told him.

Before entering the Fairy Realm, something said to the prince that he should leave the sword behind. The prince did not know what he was going to find, but that impulse was much stronger than his fear. So he put the sword down and entered another clearing in the thick forest.

And at once he was captured by beings of overwhelming beauty and steely gaze in their slanted eyes. They were dressed in what looked like oversized leaves and flower petals, and their spears were made from branches that were sharper than any sword.

Oh, yes. They were beautiful and fearsome, but none of them was as beautiful and fearsome as the Fairy Queen.

The Throne Room was a rounded space of trees that the prince had never seen before. They were cobalt blue in color, with silvery thin branches and flexible like hair. The Fairy Queen was sitting among them, in garments as transparent and translucent as her great iridescent wings. Her honey-colored eyes seemed to know everything, on a face of unearthly beauty. But most impressive of all was her hair. Long and silky to the feet, dark blonde in color, braided and interwoven with the thin branches of the blue trees. It was such an intricate design, so complex, so delicate, that it was impossible to tell where the Queen ended and the trees began. It looked like she was wearing the forest as a crown.

The prince’s famous intuition spoke to him again, indicating that the strands of the fairy plait the witch desired were those and not others.

Then the Queen spoke, and her voice filled the entire clearing, and the prince’s ears and mind :

‘Speak, unknown, and tell why you entered the Fairy Kingdom without invitation. ‘

The prince would have fallen to his knees before the Fairy Queen, if he had been able to, but the guards held him tight, still without injuring him. He managed, however, to bow and said,

‘Your Majesty, I present myself before you and your people as a humble visitor who has not come to do any harm. I am the prince of the neighboring kingdom. I have come to ask you to give me three of the strands of your plait, the silver ones, for a friend who needs them.’

There was a shudder among the faerie people. It seemed that they had even stopped breathing.

‘We should execute him immediately’ said one of the guards, bringing his spear closer to the heart of the prince.

‘No’ said the Fairy Queen. – ‘He has come as a friend and not as an enemy, because he does not carry weapons or tricks, and he has spoken with ignorance, not with evil. You see, prince, these trees here are not ordinary trees. They are as old as the time of fairies on this earth, and will remain here as long as fairies and magic remain. They watch over, care for, and guard the Fairy Kingdom, and keep it secret except for a few. They are the true kings of the forest. They are the ancestors and memory of our people. Their name cannot be pronounced by any mortal, and they are nourished by the magic of the Fairy Queen, by means of these threads that you covet, in exchange for their innumerable gifts. There is nothing more important to fairies. Nothing.’

The prince was thoughtful at the Queen’s words, pondering what to answer, for he did not intend to surrender so soon.

‘What if I offer you something in return? Something to match its value?

The faerie people shuddered again, but this time with what seemed laughter. The amused Fairy Queen raised an eyebrow, and her gaze was a little less relentless.

‘What could you give us in exchange that can be so valuable? Such a thing is unthinkable. ‘

‘I still don’t know, if I have to be honest. But give me three days. Let me remain here among your people, and I will find a way to compensate you for your incalculable gift. Give me three days, and if my offer is not to your liking, I will leave forever and make sure no one else bothers you again. You have my word.’

Perhaps it was because of the prince’s courage, perhaps because the faerie people had begun to languish before the tedium of so many equal days and needed some fun, perhaps out of curiosity. The Fairy Queen accepted the deal and the guards released the prince.

‘Be, then. But we are going to change the conditions of your stay a little, before sealing the pact. If you are not able to offer me something that equals or exceeds the value of my precious strands, you will be executed for your daring. Do you still wish to stay?’

The prince nodded, for this was proof worthy of his courage and the prize to which he aspired. They sealed the deal, then, in a way that only pertained to those who were there.

Then the guard who had proposed to execute him arrived, and sulkily offered him a bowl of soup. The prince looked puzzled at the Queen.

‘It is nightfall. And you must supper something. We do not neglect our guests.’ She said with a musical laugh.

The prince thought fairies were very strange, but this time he did not distrust the food they offered him. He believed in the deal they had made and in the word of fairies, and he had three days before these people wanted to end their lives.

What a great hospitality.

So the prince sat next to the Fairy Queen’s throne to eat. It turned out that what they had given him was rice pudding.

The Queen stared in surprise at the prince sitting on the ground without remorse, in silent company. In her thousands of years of existence, no one had wanted to sit with her, leaving her alone with her regency.

The prince fell asleep curled up in one of the roots of the blue trees, and slept like never in his life. A long and deep dream, like in stories.

The next day came and went, and the prince and the Queen began to talk to pass the time. And at dusk, with the lights of the faerie village lighting up in the distance, the Queen Fairy asked:

‘Have you already decided what are you offering me in exchange?’

‘No, not yet, Your Majesty, but tell me more about the language of birds.’

And the Fairy Queen told him everything she knew about the countless birds that populated the forests, which was a lot, and she introduced her owl, the wisest of all birds, her friend and guardian, with whom she had long conversations about everything that happened within the limits of her Kingdom. The prince listened to the Queen’s words and contemplated her face, shining with fairy dust, absorbing her voice in wonder.

The next day came and went, and the prince and the Queen entertained themselves walking through the clearing. It turned out that the branches of the blue trees were infinitely long, so they could see fairies working, eating, singing, dancing and playing instruments that moved everyone who heard them. And at dusk, with the lights of the faerie village lighting up in the distance, the Fairy Queen asked:

‘Have you have already decided what are you offering me in exchange?

‘No, not yet Your Majesty, but tell me more about the things that grow.’

And the Fairy Queen told him everything she knew about the countless species of trees, shrubs, flowers, mushrooms, and herbs that grew in her domains, which was a lot, and she introduced to him each of the blue trees, having each one its name and personality. They spoke to the Fairy Queen in their sweet voices, which only she could understand, and she recited to the prince an ancient faerie poem that the trees remembered, about everything green and good in the world. The prince listened to the Queen’s words and contemplated her face, shining with fairy dust, absorbing her voice in wonder.

The next day came and went, and the prince and the Queen watched sadly the movement of the Sun across the sky and the rising of a beautiful silver-colored Full Moon. For they both felt an unexpected bond that had been forged between them, a bond that was to be broken when the day came to an end, one way or the other. The fairies gradually gathered around the throne with the arrival of twilight. And at dusk, with the lights of the faerie village lighting up in the distance, the Queen Fairy asked:

‘Have you already decided what are you offering me in exchange?’

-‘Yes, Your Majesty. Now I have decided’. And he knelt before her, before the entire Fairy Kingdom. ‘I offer you my heart. It is all I have, and more valuable than my kingdom, or my crown. Take it, for is yours, but in exchange for nothing. I no longer desire the strands of your plait, but tell me more about you, and what makes you laugh, before I’m gone forever.’

The Fairy Queen looked him in the eyes, while the faerie people held their breath. Then he could see in her beautiful eyes the same tenderness that he felt, the same connection that in a short time had become so strong. The Queen could see it clearly, a bright and indestructible braided thread that bounded them both. A bond that united two equal souls, stronger than the very roots of her land.

The Queen looked at the blue trees, listening for a moment to their voices, and at that moment three of the silver strands were released. And she herself with a magic pass cut all the others, leaving her free.

Everyone present looked at her in shock, and she turned and spoke to her people:

‘These trees are old enough. They are strong and wise, and they are firmly rooted in this powerful land. It’s time to change things up a bit. I think they can go on without me. ‘

‘But I want, and can, follow my heart.’

They married some time later in the witch’s cottage. The three strands with which she made the magic plait served to join their hands as they pronounced their vows, looking into each other’s eyes, the future and their destiny. They were the sovereigns of both kingdoms, which lived a prosperity and happiness never seen before.

The new couple planted some of the strands of the fairy plait in pots, to extend the enchanted forest beyond its limits. New silver leaves have already started to sprout in the pots. A beautiful new beginning.

El Lago y la Hoja

La Luna siempre tuvo fama de vanidosa. A la Luna le gustaba reflejarse en la superficie de un lago. Una noche estaba admirando su reflejo, cuando una hoja salió a la superficie y se quedó flotando en la superficie del lago. A la Luna esto no le gustó, pues estropeaba su reflejo. La Luna intentó deshacer la hoja con sus rayos, pero tan sólo consiguió formar un charquito de luz.

Al poco, llegó volando un hada desorientada por la polución del pueblo cercano, y se detuvo a descansar. El hada se limpió con la luz de Luna, y luego remó hasta la orilla del lago y bajo la hoja se durmió.

La mañana siguiente, llegó un joven del pueblo y recogió la hoja. Le llamó la atención el color plateado y brillante que se le había quedado por el toque de Luna y de polvo de hada. El joven se la llevó a casa y mirándola sintió la inspiración de escribir.

Escribió una sentida carta al Ayuntamiento pidiendo que limpiasen el pueblo y los alrededores del lago, y apagasen el alumbrado público. El Ayuntamiento cumplió sus deseos. El pueblo entero admiró la luz de la Luna y los millones de estrellas que se reflejaban en el lago. Tanta luz atrajo de nuevo a las hadas, que hicieron su magia sobre las cosas que crecen.

Y así, el mundo fue un poco más verde y un poco más bueno, al menos en aquel rinconcito de cuento.

The late flower

In the old days, when mankind was still innocent, and couples were forged in long engagements born from a shy courtship, a humble student would fall in love deeply, and also learn a valuable lesson.

The young man lived in a modest, two-floor little house, with a small balcony in the upper part, which leaded to a tiny studio composed only by a table, a chair, and four walls fully covered by books. Before he sighted his beloved lady, the young man devoted entirely, body and soul, to his studies, but he always found time for his friends, family and hobbies, specially to his dearest books.

One of his secret longings was to write the most moving story ever told. However, in the blink of an eye everything changed completely.

It happened that the student, one day looking out the window trying to get inspiration for his story, realized that his balcony was very cold, lonely, lacking in color. So, without thinking twice, he went out to buy a planter and some plants that were decorative and pleasing to the eye. The sun was shining brightly from the beginning of March and the student enjoyed the walk, just as he used to do when he went out to stretch his legs, feeling the warm rays on his pale skin. Smiling, he greeted the passers-by in the street, elegant gentlemen on the arm of refined ladies who carried colorful parasols with which to protect their marble faces.

The student finally acquired half a dozen hyacinth bulbs that promised to become spectacular flowers, and the young man sank them into the ground with this hope shining in the eyes.

Then he looked up and thought he was in a dream, or perhaps a mirage caused by the bright sun. Because that vision could not be of this world.

In front of his humble little house was another much larger, richer and more important one, where richer and more important people lived. The eldest daughter was a sixteen-spring beauty, with a face chiseled into pale skin with rosy cheeks, high cheekbones framed in golden curls, full lips, and aquamarine eyes that could melt frost. That morning she had come out on the balcony to arrange her exquisite roses, sheathed in a wonder of blue silk brought especially for her sixteenth birthday. And her slender waist girded by that dress that looked like flowing water made the student forget to breathe. Then the world stopped spinning for him, since it had a new king star to orbit around. She.

The young man suffered a change in his way of being. He stopped hanging out with his friends, paying attention to his relatives. He no longer read, he hardly ate, and the rays of the sun seemed cold to him compared to the radiant presence of his beloved, who he hoped to glimpse on the balcony, or in some window, perhaps a glorious piece of her peeking out from the curtains of the big house.

Days turned into weeks, and the student racked his brains for a way to make the splendid girl his own. Meanwhile, the hyacinths timidly appeared from their bed of soil. The six were gradually breaking their lilac outer cover, and dyeing a tender leaf of its cocoon with an intense green. During the weeks in which the bulbs became fat taking strength from the soil, the water and the sun, the student withered for love. He could only get a brief smile to see a beautiful morning to their little bulbs in bloom. But wow! All except one.

The last of the bulbs did not want to flower. Not yet. It was not prepared, because it needed much more time to fulfill its goal in life, to be a beautiful flower.

So, while the other hyacinths were putting on their finery in the spring sun, brightening the street with their vivid blue, pink, yellow, and orange colours, the unopened bulb didn’t even know what its colour would be, but it was sure it would be much more beautiful than the others. That it would dazzle everyone on the street, that it would be admired and desired to adorn the headdress of a young marriageable woman, the bouquet of a blushing bride, a lavish living room or perhaps the cradle of a beautiful baby.

The days passed slowly, and the young hyacinths grew taller and brighter, taking advantage of every drop of sun and every spark of rain and swaying in step with the spring breeze that made them sing. Not for the human ear, of course, but with a much sweeter voice. The little bulb missed all this, since it remained firmly closed, its tender leaves keeping its secret, taking time to dedicate it to each of its petals, to paint them in a color never seen before, to sculpt them superbly as the most dedicated artist.

The student saw spring pass in front of his balcony, but was not aware of its fertile beauty because he had found a way to approach the source of his sleeplessness and have the right to woo her. The young man was determined to finish his career before anyone else in his promotion, and title in hand, he would offer the girl a household and a standard of living comparable to that of her wealthy family, which he would pay for with his efforts. He finally shut himself up in his study and closed the doors on all distractions. He only cared for his hyacinths, hoping that they would draw her beloved’s attention to his window. In his feverish determination, he ended up losing his friends, greatly saddening his relatives, he stopped writing, walking and dreaming. He only studied and studied, but he no longer put heart to his profession. It was just a mean of achieving his goal.

His five hyacinths witnessed for him the height and departure of spring, which put them in their maximum splendour, feeling with pleasure in their leaves the mystery of full life, and in the course of the other seasons, with the already brown leaves, they slept dreaming of everything beautiful in the world, even if his world was a street. It was enough for them.

With the arrival of a new spring, they woke up again with renewed energy, and they watched expectantly the hatching of the last bulb, which finally felt ready. It was a magnificent shade of white with peach highlights. A real flower beauty that would make anyone who set his gaze on it sigh. The hyacinth was filled with pride and stretched its branches to life.

Meanwhile, the young man arrived at the studio, with the coveted title under his arm. He could already appear at his beloved’s house. Satisfied, he noticed the beauty of the late flower. It was the first one he cut for the bouquet of flowers that he would give to his beloved.

After hours of waiting, and when he was finally received at the neighboring house, he was informed that the young woman could not attend him under any circumstances since she was already promised to none other than a young man of the nobility. Someone who would not have worked in his life, but who would give her a title in exchange for being his rich, decorative wife.

The student left the house with his dreams shattered, realizing for the first time in a long year that he had wasted time that he would no longer recover chasing a chimera, regardless of how he lost things on the way, things as important as himself, having become a lonely shadow, a faint reflection of the vivacious young man of yesteryear.

Just like the late flower, who ended its day of existence in a garbage can with its brothers in the ill-fated bouquet, but who nevertheless had enjoyed the life it wanted to put off for a fatuous end.

Readers, do not postpone the enjoyment of life for fear or to achieve a goal since full life itself is the destination of a quick trip without a return ticket and a single stop.

La flor tardía

En un tiempo lejano, en el que el hombre aún conservaba la inocencia y las parejas se forjaban en largos noviazgos nacidos de un tímido cortejo, un humilde estudiante habría de enamorarse profundamente y también aprender una valiosa lección.

El joven vivía en una modesta casita de dos plantas, con un minúsculo estudio y un pequeño balcón en el piso de arriba, compuesto solamente por una mesa, una silla, y cuatro paredes cubiertas completamente de libros. Antes de avistar a su dama adorada, el joven se dedicaba en cuerpo y alma a sus estudios, pero siempre encontraba tiempo para sus amigos, familiares y aficiones, en especial a sus queridos libros. Uno de sus secretos anhelos era escribir la historia más conmovedora jamás contada. Sin embargo, en un abrir y cerrar de ojos todo cambió por completo.

Sucedió que el estudiante, mirando un día por la ventana tratando de inspirarse para su historia, cayó en la cuenta de que su balcón era muy frío, solitario, falto de color. Así que ni corto ni perezoso salió a comprar una jardinera y algunas plantas que resultasen decorativas y agradables a la vista. Lucía un sol radiante de principios de marzo y el estudiante disfrutó del paseo, tal como solía hacer cuando salía a estirar las piernas, sintiendo los tibios rayos en su pálida piel.  Sonriente saludaba a los transeúntes con los que se cruzaba, caballeros elegantes del brazo de refinadas damas que portaban coloridos parasoles con los que proteger sus delicados y marmóreos semblantes.

El estudiante adquirió finalmente media docena de bulbos de jacinto que prometían convertirse en espectaculares flores, y el joven los hundió en la tierra con esta ilusión pintada en el rostro.

Entonces levantó la vista y creyó estar dentro de un sueño, o deslumbrado por la brillante solana. Porque aquella visión no podía ser de este mundo.

Frente a su humilde casita había otra mucho más grande, rica e importante, en la que vivía gente más rica e importante. La hija mayor era una belleza de dieciséis primaveras, de rostro exquisito en piel pálida de mejillas rosadas, altos pómulos enmarcados en rizos dorados, labios llenos y unos ojos del color de la aguamarina que podrían derretir heladas. Aquella mañana había salido al balcón a arreglar sus primorosas rosas, enfundada en una maravilla de seda azul traída especialmente para su decimosexto cumpleaños. Y su talle esbelto ceñido por aquel vestido que parecía agua de las profundidades hizo que el estudiante se olvidase de respirar. Entonces el mundo para él dejó de girar, puesto que tenía un nuevo astro rey alrededor del cual orbitar. Ella.

El joven sufrió un cambio en su forma de ser. Dejó de salir con sus amigos, hacer caso a sus familiares. Ya no leía, apenas comía y los rayos de sol se le antojaban fríos en comparación a la presencia radiante de su adorada, la cual esperaba atisbar en el balcón, o en alguna ventana, quizá un pedacito glorioso de ella asomando entra las cortinas del caserón.

Los días se convirtieron en semanas, y el estudiante se devanaba los sesos buscando una manera de hacer suya a la esplendorosa muchacha. Mientras tanto, los jacintos fueron asomando tímidamente de su lecho de tierra. Los seis fueron poco a poco rompiendo su lilácea cubierta exterior, y tiñendo de un verde intenso cada tierna hoja de su capullo. Durante las semanas en las que los bulbos crecieron tomando fuerzas de la tierra, el agua y sol, el estudiante se marchitaba por penas de amor. Tan sólo le pudo arrancar una breve sonrisa el ver una bonita mañana a sus bulbitos en flor. Pero ¡vaya! Todos salvo uno.

El último de los bulbos no quería florecer. Aún no. No estaba preparado, pues necesitaba mucho más tiempo para cumplir su objetivo en la vida, ser una hermosa flor.

Por tanto, mientras los otros jacintos rendían todas sus galas al sol de primavera, alegrando la calle con sus vivos colores azul, rosa, amarillo y naranja, el bulbo sin abrir ni siquiera sabía cuál sería su color, pero sí estaba seguro de que sería mucho más bello que los demás. Que deslumbraría a todos en la calle, que sería admirado y deseado para adornar el tocado de una joven casadera, el ramo de una ruborosa novia, un fastuoso salón o tal vez la cunita de un hermoso bebé.

Los días pasaron lentamente, y los jóvenes jacintos crecieron más altos y más brillantes aprovechando cada gota de sol y cada chispa de lluvia y meciéndose al paso de la brisa primaveral que les hacía cantar. No para el oído humano, claro, sino con una voz mucho más dulce. El pequeño bulbo se perdía todo esto, puesto que seguía firmemente cerrado, sus tiernas hojas guardando su secreto, tomándose su tiempo para dedicarlo a cada uno de sus pétalos, para pintarlos de un color nunca visto, para esculpirlos perfectamente como el artista más dedicado.

El estudiante veía pasar la primavera frente a su balcón, pero no era consciente de su fecunda belleza porque había encontrado la forma de acercarse a la fuente de sus desvelos y tener el derecho a cortejarla.  El joven estaba decidido a terminar su carrera antes que nadie en su promoción, y título en mano, ofrecerle a la muchacha un hogar y un nivel de vida comparable al de su acaudalada familia, que él costearía con sus esfuerzos. Se recluyó definitivamente en su estudio y cerró las puertas a toda distracción. Tan sólo cuidaba de sus jacintos, con la esperanza de que atrajeran la atención de su amada a su ventana. En su febril determinación terminó perdiendo a sus amigos, entristeciendo sobremanera a sus familiares, dejó de escribir, de pasear y de soñar. Solamente estudiaba y estudiaba, pero ya no ponía corazón a su profesión. Era ya tan sólo un medio para conseguir su objetivo.

Sus cinco jacintos presenciaron por él el culmen y partida de la primavera, que los llevó a su máximo esplendor, sintiendo con gusto en sus hojas el misterio de la vida plena, y en el transcurso de las demás estaciones, con las hojas ya marrones durmieron soñando con todo lo hermoso del mundo, aunque su mundo fuera una calle. Para ellos bastaba.

Con la llegada de una nueva primavera despertaron nuevamente con renovada energía, y asistieron expectantes a la eclosión del último jacinto, que finalmente ya se sentía preparado. Era de un maravilloso tono blanco con reflejos de color melocotón. Una auténtica preciosidad de flor, que haría suspirar a cualquiera que posase su mirada en ella. El jacinto estaba henchido de orgullo, y estiró sus ramas a la vida.

Entretanto, llegó al estudio el joven, con el ansiado título bajo el brazo. Ya podía presentarse en casa de su amada. Satisfecho reparó en la belleza de la flor tardía. Fue la primera que cortó para el ramo de flores que obsequiaría a su adorada.

Después de horas de espera, y cuando finalmente fue recibido en la casa vecina, le informaron de que la joven no podría recibirle bajo ningún concepto, puesto que ya estaba prometida nada menos que a un joven de la nobleza. Alguien que no habría trabajado en su vida, pero que le aportaría un título a cambio de ser su mujer rica e influyente.

El estudiante salió del caserón con sus sueños hechos pedazos, cayendo en la cuenta por primera vez en un largo año que había perdido un tiempo que ya no volvería persiguiendo una quimera, sin reparar en que perdía cosas por el camino, cosas tan importantes como uno mismo, habiéndose convertido en una triste sombra, reflejo tenue del joven vivaz de antaño. Resolvió dedicar sus energías a escribir para poder ver algún día su nombre impreso en la cubierta de un libro, pues la pluma jamás le daría un disgusto como el que acababa de sufrir. Y así, con el corazón maltrecho, pero con ilusiones renovadas abrió las ventanas y salió a su balcón en busca de inspiración.

¿Y la flor tardía? Pues el joven decidió ponerla a secar y prensar junto a sus hermanas y fabricar puntos de lectura con ellas. Lamentaba no haber podido disfrutar más del sol, de la primavera, de la calle y del perfume de la vida, pero al menos viviría entre letras para siempre.

Lectores, no pospongan el disfrute de la vida por miedos o por conseguir un objetivo, puesto que la vida plena en sí es el destino de un viaje muy rápido, repleto de giros inesperados, pero con pocas segundas oportunidades.

Imagine…

Resting in a fold of the Interdimensional Motorway there is one of those curious holes (1) that connect two very different dimensions or realities (and at the same time, not so much): the Dimension of Imagination, and ours.

The Dimension of Imagination (or DimIm for friends, for lack of a better name), is the fabulous place where all those great stories that begin with “Once upon a time…”, “Somewhere in la Mancha…”, “Call me Ismael”, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…”, “Episode IV. A New Hope” , come from.

The Dimension of Imagination, for those privileged who have access to it, is the place where Ideas live. All Ideas, that the human being has been able to conceive, or that in the future are going to materialize in someone’s mind.

Ideas are thinking entities, intelligent concepts living their lives, which do not take a definite form until they are looked at. That is, until someone imagines them. Let’s understand this as a very complicated Slit Experiment.

The Ideas Exist, regardless of whether humans create them or not. But some of them, wish to transcend beyond their ethereal and fluctuating reality and long to reach Earth. All ideas, scientific, musical, artistic, technological, literary… It is a very large country, the DimIm.

Ideas only reach the World if there is someone out of all the people who has the means in the head to act as a receiving antenna. Each Idea spends eternity in search of someone capable of making it possible. All of them wait more or less patiently until someone comes into the World who is in a suitable position to imagine them. If possible, the ideal person, who will make the Idea something great.

Inspiration, a comfortable place, will and time, are the necessary ingredients for the Idea to grow, take shape and flourish in the mind and hands of its crucible. It is Big Magic.

Ideas come to reality on Earth, but the Original Concept remains anchored in its original dimension, becoming more powerful the more you imagine it. Right now, the concept of Tormented Romantic Vampires has begun to lose strength. Thanks God. The riot was brewing.

The boundaries of the Dimension of Imagination are blurred, even more today, where everything is full of crossovers, collaborations, homages, featurings and others, and it’s so damn complicated to create something new, pure and original. Ideas are grouped by affinity, forming colonies and countries. Sometimes these countries are irretrievably fused or separated, like the Great Schism of Astronomy and Astrology, by irreconcilable differences.

The Country of Science borders the Country of Technology. At the limit arise ideas that sometimes are very theoretical but not so useful, and sometimes, very practical but unreasonable ideas. The Country of Symphonies lives in harmony with the rest of the territories of the Land of Art, a vast continent from which the most beautiful Ideas that mankind can harbor come out.

A small but powerful corner of the Dimension of Imagination is perhaps the most special of all. It is widely recognized throughout the world, as we all visit it once as children. And therefore, it is the most neglected and to some extent the most dangerous, if it is completely forgotten.

In this place coexist Ideas or Eternal Concepts, known by humans for a long, long time. It is the birthplace of, for example, the Concept of ‘Captive Princesses to Rescue’: in towers, in castle, in caves, at the bottom of the sea … to which more feminist ideas are finally arriving from places very far away.

Evil Queens, Wicked Stepmothers, Dark Sorcerers, Witches, Fairy Godmothers, Schooling Wizards at all levels … Talking Animals, Mad Scientists Locked in their Labs … the list is endless and as familiar as the back of your hand. At the end of the XIX century, Aliens began to appear on the border with the Country of Science Fiction. All of them green, or purple, reptilian, amphibious or octopusy. Because we are unable to imagine anything better.

From that place also come more abstract ideas, such as the disturbing obsession with Number Three: three musketeers, three brothers, three kings, three movies, three little pigs, past, present and future, the Holy Trinity … Ideas are complex, and some very old.

In this place, which throughout the History of Creativity has received many names, such as The Other Place, The Other Side, Faerie, the Land of Fairies, Middle Earth, the Land of Tales…

This story begins.

(1) This, of course, is the Black Hole Idea that comes to us directly from Science Fiction Country to the scripts of catastrophic film directors. It is that black hole that countless evil and / or crazy scientists can generate at will, comfortably transport it and drop it here and there to make pieces of continental crust disappear or travel in time and kill a prehistoric mosquito. It is that Black Hole at the entrance of another nice Wormhole, which becomes a vulgar shortcut in the Multiverse.

That Black Hole.

Imagina que…

Descansando en un pliegue de la Autopista Interdimensional hay uno de esos curiosos orificios (1) que conectan dos dimensiones o realidades muy dispares (y a la vez no tanto): la Dimensión de la Imaginación, y la nuestra propia.

La Dimensión de la Imaginación (o DimIm para los amigos, a falta de un nombre mejor), es el lugar fabuloso de donde vienen todas las historias que empiezan por “Érase una vez…”, “En un lugar de la Mancha…”, “Llamadme Ismael”, “Todos los niños crecen, excepto uno”, o, “En un agujero en el suelo vivía un hobbit”, “Episodio IV. Una nueva esperanza”…

La Dimensión de la Imaginación, para aquellos pocos privilegiados que tienen acceso a ella, es el lugar donde viven las Ideas. Todas las Ideas, que el ser humano haya podido concebir, o que en el futuro vayan a materializarse en la mente de alguien.

Las Ideas son entes pensantes, conceptos inteligentes viviendo sus vidas, que no toman forma definida hasta que no se las mira. Es decir, hasta que alguien las imagina. Entendamos esto como un Experimento de la Rendija muy complicado.

Las Ideas Existen, independientes de que las personas las creen, pero algunas desean trascender más allá de su etérea y fluctuante realidad y ansían llegar a la Tierra. Todas las Ideas, las científicas, las musicales, las artísticas, las tecnológicas, las culinarias, las literarias… Es un país muy grande, la DimIm.

Las Ideas sólo llegan al Mundo si hay alguien de entre todas las personas que dispone de los medios para que su cabeza actúe de antena receptora. Cada Idea pasa la eternidad en busca de alguien susceptible de hacerla posible. Todas ellas esperan más o menos pacientemente hasta que llega al mundo alguien que esté en condiciones de imaginarlas. A ser posible, la persona ideal, que haga de su Idea algo grande.

Inspiración, un lugar confortable, voluntad y tiempo, son los ingredientes necesarios para que la Idea crezca, tome forma y florezca en la mente y las manos de su crisol. Es una Gran Magia.

Las Ideas se hacen realidad en la Tierra, pero el Concepto Original permanece anclado en su dimensión de origen, haciéndose más poderoso cuanto más se lo imagina. Ahora mismo el Concepto de Vampiros Románticos Atormentados ha empezado a perder fuerza, afortunadamente. Se mascaba el motín.

Las fronteras de la Dimensión de la Imaginación son difusas, y más en los últimos tiempos, donde todo está lleno de crossovers, colaboraciones, featurings y demás, y es tan tremendamente complicado crear algo nuevo y original. Las Ideas se agrupan por afinidad, formando colonias y países. A veces estos países se fusionan o se separan irremediablemente, como el gran Cisma de la Astronomía y la Astrología, por diferencias irreconciliables.

El País de la Ciencia hace frontera con el País de la Tecnología. En el límite brotan ideas a veces muy teóricas pero poco útiles, y otras veces, ideas muy prácticas pero poco razonables. El País de las Sinfonías vive en armonía con el resto de los territorios de la Tierra del Arte, un vasto continente del que salen las más bellas Ideas que el hombre pueda albergar.

Un pequeño pero poderoso rincón de la Dimensión de la Imaginación es quizá el más especial de todos. Es ampliamente reconocido en todo el mundo, pues todos lo visitamos alguna vez de niños. Y por ello es el más descuidado y en cierta medida el más peligroso, si es olvidado por completo.

En este lugar cohabitan Ideas o Conceptos eternos, conocidos por los humanos desde hace mucho, mucho tiempo. Es el lugar de nacimiento de, por ejemplo, el Concepto de ‘Princesas cautivas que rescatar’: en torres, en castillos, en cuevas, en el fondo del mar… a las que por fin van llegando ideas más feministas desde lugares muy lejanos.

Reinas Malvadas, Madrastras Perversas, Hechiceros Tenebrosos, Brujas, Hadas Madrinas, Escolarización de los Magos a todos los niveles…Animales Parlantes, Científicos Chalados Encerrados en sus Laboratorios… la lista es interminable y tan familiar como la palma de la mano. A finales del siglo XIX empezaron a manifestarse Alienígenas en la frontera con el País de la Ciencia Ficción. Todos ellos verdes, o morados, de forma reptiliana, anfibia o pulposa. Porque somos incapaces de imaginar nada mejor.

De allí vienen también ideas más abstractas, como por ejemplo la inquietante obsesión con el Número Tres: tres mosqueteros, tres hermanos, tres reyes, tres cerditos, pasado, presente y futuro, la Santísima Trinidad… Las Ideas son complejas, y algunas muy viejas.

En este Lugar, que a lo largo de la Historia de la Creatividad ha recibido muchos nombres, como El Otro Sitio, El Otro Lado, Faerie, la Tierra de las Hadas, la Tierra Media, el País de los Cuentos….

Comienza nuestra historia.

(1) Esto, claro está, es la Idea de Agujero Negro que nos llega directa de la Ciencia Ficción a los guiones de los directores de cine catastrofista. Es ese agujero negro que un sinnúmero de científicos malvados y/o chalados pueden generar a voluntad, transportarlo cómodamente y soltarlo aquí y allá para hacer desaparecer trozos de corteza continental o viajar en el tiempo y liquidar a un mosquito prehistórico. Es ese Agujero Negro a la entrada de otro simpático Agujero de Gusano, que viene a ser un vulgar atajo en el Multiverso.

Ese Agujero Negro.

The Interdimensional Motorway

Everyone has at least a vague idea about the space and time. There are about 7000 million opinions on this matter, only in this corner of the Multiverse. Opinions about what the Universe is, how or who did it, and FOR WHAT, among many other important questions and issues.

Everyone lives in his or her own Reality, the sphere of action, his little universe that interacts with the closer ones, and not at all with those far away. One can feel a person very close to her very center, even if that person is a thousand kilometers away, in other country. Or to perceive a person in another galaxy, even if he is sitting next to you in the couch.

The universe of everyone is absolutely different from that of the guy next door, and can consist in work, family, cars, God, the Environment, books or Bonsai breeding.

Every person is the center of his or her universe. Everyone is secretly convinced (even if doesn’t say it) that Creation was made specifically for that one. And that is applicable to each of the individuals that compose all the dimensions, the real ones, and the imaginary ones.

On the other hand, we have the Time. That big pain in the ass. Time sucks. Everyone has problems with time. Everyone lacks time. Everyone wastes time. An excess of time can kill you. Everyone travels along his timeline like in a motorway, without bumps, jumps or setbacks. Almost always.

We move linearly in the regular 3+1 dimensions, completely unaware of the truth out there.

(Here we are not interested about the Truth. Many people devoted their lives to solve such matter, inconclusively. Our truth is much funnier)

And the truth out there, is that there are much more dimensions apart from those that we know. Such disparate realities that a sane mind is unable to imagine. Those are, indeed, the Parallel Universes.

Most of people has ever listened about the Parallel Universes (it is very difficult nowadays to invent something new). Many of those theories are about versions of each individual replicated in the other realities but for example, being a master of surf, a king, or merely interesting.

If you ask me, I am not so sure about this. Statistically speaking (because you can get that stats always say what you want) what is most probable is that my most similar twin over there has purple tentacles in the head.

So, as I was saying, no one can alter his course by the 3+1 usual dimensions. Not really. Almost no one.

Generally.

Let’s say that there is one way, only one, of skipping all the boring physics protocols and travel between the Parallel Universes.

I am speaking. of course, about the Interdimensional Motorway.

We can imagine the Interdimensional Motorway as a dizzying and infinite flow of transparent, crossed, bundled and intermingled lanes, along which rides that matter more or less intelligent that dominates the interdimensional travels.

The Interdimensional Motorway

In the Interdimensional Motorway (or IM), at speeds of about 4c (four times the speed of light, the road traffic rules must be respected) one jumps from one Universe to another and from one Dimension to another, through this peace of reality that doesn’t respect at all the laws of the most conventional physics.

The IM is not lineal and has no intention of being that. If we watch at it from our ordinary reference system we see it from the front, next is sideways, and at the same time it dilates and disappears, and the same happens to the different parallel dimensions that drags with it. Some of them at any given time are infinitely separated, and next they touch each other at various points. Some of those points have sense of humor.

One can not simply walk in the IM. Of course not. It is needed a special vehicle.

For example, a witch’s broom.

How such object is capable to sneak in there (and is allowed to stay) is a matter of another post 🙂

The mysterious book

Once upon a time, there was a girl, a lonely, introverted little girl, who read tales curled up in her bed to escape her harsh reality at school. She used to tell to herself every night that she somehow was special, and that she should live in the extraordinary places from her books, where magic exists, where everything is possible and where no one, ever, feels sad.

One night, she dreamt about a fairy with read, pointy hair and bright eyes who was looking at her with affection from the window. She was leaving a package on the small desk.

The next morning, when she woke up the very first thing she did was to approach to the table and look. And she got vaguely surprised when she found a gift wrapped in celophane paper

It was a book. What she liked most in the world. Thick, with hard covers and illustrated. It smelled wonderfully to recently printed. The cover also had a beautiful illustration that reminded somehow to a mixture of the Snow Queen and the Princess and the Wild Swans.

That night, after wishing his mom and dad good night, and brushing very well her teeth, she switched on her night light and immersed in her new friend.

The book was excellent, the story trapped her at once, and the illustrations were delightful. The book was about a special girl who read a magic book and did a travel around the whole world. Sometimes, she was accompanied by the Three Wise Men in the Far East. Sometimes, by Santa Claus in Pole North. She went with Peter Pan to London, and accompanied to a very old and strange knight in Castilla la Mancha. Also chatted with the Little Mermaid in Denmark and helped her making an important decision.

Everyone seemed to know her and know her name. The little girl as she read the book she understood that the book was about herself, and they, her true friends, were waiting for her in the magic world where all they belonged. The way to arrive there, she was sure, could be found at the end of the book.

She spent the whole night reading, and she lived countless adventures without moving from her little bed. At dawn, she turned the penultimate page.

But she didn’t dare to read the end of the tale. She didn’t want to say goodbye to her mom and dad, as much kids mistreated her at school. Anyhow, she knew that she would never feel again sad or lonely. Because she knew that someone was taking care of her in that enchanted place where she always could go back among the pages of a book.

But not yet.

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