СОВАЛКАТА „ТЕРА”

Фантастика “Строго секретно”

Светлината през кръглия прозорец – люка на кораба, бе нежносиня, но плътна, като че ли летяха край плътни стени и всички те бяха боядисани в синьо.

Необикновен кораб със сложно оборудване, в който малкият Славен разглеждаше заобикалящите го странни предмети, устройства и книги.

– Ела Мира, ела да се поразходим, опирай се на всичко, което е около нас – плахо покани своята сестричка малкият чипоноско.

Децата вървяха, залитайки, придържайки се едно друго, а очите им не изпускаха странните стъклени кутии, цветни копчета, фееричните като завеси спуснати от тавана сребърно-бели прозрачни прегради. Тези завеси- прегради бяха в края на всяко отделение.

Славен и Мира бяхa единствените деца, пътници в Совалката „Тера” и не помнеха как са попаднали в нея. До тях се доближи висок мъж в елегантно синьо облекло, кимна им с глава и ги покани да седнат на стъклена пейка. След това им се усмихна и запита:

  • Знаете ли къде се намирате? – гласът му звучеше не като на обикновените земляни, а като че ли през някаква тръба и кънтеше като ехо.

Славен се престраши:

  • Не помня защо и как се озовахме тук, но ние сме на летателен кораб. А вие кой сте – колко странно говорите?!
  • Аз съм Вен, а вие сте наши гости на Совалката „Тера”. И сме от планетата „Тера”, а вие сте Земляни. Говорим почти всички 6500 езика на земляните и пазим цялата им история.
  • Как така, как умеете да говорите толкова много езици? Къде са нашите родители? Има ли и други земляни на Совалката „Тера”? – попита Мира и сините ѝ очи се взряха във високия планетянин, а Славен стисна здраво ръката на малката си сестричка.
  • Вие сте тук, за да ви покажем нашата планета, да ви научим да помните. Вие деца, сте чисти, неподправени и всичко, което видите и запомните ще бъде достоверно. Не се тревожете, вашите родители са тук и с тяхно съгласие ще ви покажем тайни, които никой землянин досега не знае.
  • Ах – възкликна Славен – и на сън не съм си представял, че ние с Мира ще видим друга Планета.
  • Следвайте ме – подкани ги високият жител на „Тера”.

Изкачиха някакви стълби и пред тях се откри огромна зала със стъклени стени и множество огледални квадрати, като че ли някой ги е рисувал с гранитни камъчета.

  • Може да се доближите до стъклено-огледалната стена – предупреди ги Вен.

Мира се огледа в малките огледалца-квадрати  и видя, че цветът на очите ѝ е по-тъмен от обикновено. Това огледалце им придаваше дълбоко син цвят, а погледът ѝ стана проницателен. Мислите ѝ скачаха, прескачаха, като че ли отваряха квадрати.

Малката красавица се доближи и нежно се докосна до квадратно огледалце. Подскочи инстинктивно назад, тъй като квадрата се плъзна навън от стъклената стена. Това беше кутия-шкафче, което се отваряше при докосване. Славен доближи сестра си и двамата надникнаха любопитно в отворената кутия.

  • Това е нашата подвижна библиотека – насочи ги Вен.
  • Можем ли да извадим кожената книжка отвътре, да я разгледаме? – попита Мира.
  • Да, отворете я … – отвърна Вен.

Славен измъкна книжка, която тежеше доста и започна да я разгръща. На първата кожена страница бе изобразено животно, а над него звезди и други планети.

  • Но какво е това Вен, как да разгадаем тази рисунка? – заинтересува се Славен.

Вен взе книгата в ръце, наведе се и посочи:

  • Това е животно от преди хиляди години и е обитавало Планетата Юрис. Планета е загинала и по-късно се е родила Нова Планета. Била е заобиколена от много други планети и звезди.
  • А знаете ли коя е Новата Планета, появила се при загиването на Юрис? – попита Мира.
  • Новата Планета е вашата – планетата Земя с нови обитатели, вие – земляните.
  • Но това е невероятно… Откъде знаете това? Колко стара е вашата планета Тера? – попита Славен.
  • Ние сме в Галактиките от милиарди години. Ние не водим войни, а пазим това, което ни е завещано, пазим и това, което остава от тези, които загиват. Вие земляните сте едностранчиви и много агресивни. Вие търсите пространства, водите войни и тези, които оцелеят продължават същия процес. Трябва ви промяна.

Славен съзерцаваше книгата, огледалното чекмедже – шкафче от стъклената библиотека и виждаше своя образ. Не може да бъде, мислеше той, това е невъзможно, това е сън и точно тогава всичко изчезна. Тъмнина. Славен се разбуди, подскочи, огледа се и видя, че е в стаята си. Изтича бос в кухнята. После бутна вратата на стаята на Мира и видя как сладко спи малката му сестричка.

  • Какво става? – каза майката на Славен и на Мира. – Кой тича сутрин рано, рано бос?
  • Аз съм мамо, аз съм – Славен – и момчето видя как майка му се доближава.
  • Да отидем в кухнята, ела, ще направя закуска. Хайде, разказвай какво е толкова важно сутрин рано в събота. Да не би да пропуснем някое спортно мероприятие или филм, или панаир? – игриво го разпитваше майка му Йоанна.
  • Мамо ще ти разкажа съня си, но те моля да не ме прекъсваш и после да ми кажеш има ли истина и възможно ли е да съществуват други планети с други човекоподобни? – трепетно нареждаше Славен. Йоанна сложи печени филийки със сирене, каничка прясно мляко, мармалад на масата и се заслуша в невероятния разказ на сина си.

Гласът на Славен събуди Мира, а след нея и баща им. Седяха около кръглата маса, закусваха и продължаваха да слушат разказа на Славен. Никой не проговори. Като че ли някой рисуваше. Картини се сменяха, факти се поднасяха убедително, докато малкия разказвач спря.

  • Планетата „Тера” – повтори бащата – „Тера” означава Земя и съдейки по твоя сън съществува планета Тера, т.е. Земя в по-развит вид на нашата Планета Земя.

Мира скочи от столчето си и се доближи до Славен.

  • Разкажи ми, какво ни казаха от Совалката „Тера”, има ли тайна, която можем да научим от тях?
  • Мира, това е всичко, което помня от съня си. Искаш ли да отидем в старата библиотека и да потърсим книги, стари книги, най-старата книга…
  • Деца, не се бавете – им извикаха родителите.

Мира и Славен излязоха и се запътиха към трамвайната спирка.

Мира носеше на гърба си малка раничка, в която грижливо и предвидливо бе прибрала малък прожектор, тетрадка и химикал, а Славен разкопча раничката ѝ и добави от любимите си вафли с фъстъчен крем. Качиха се в трамвая и разговаряха разпалено за Совалката „Тера”. Хората около тях им кимаха и слушаха с интерес.

Трамваят спря, последната спирка беше недалеч от старата градска библиотека. Мира и Славен стигнаха до сградата и с радост видяха, че могат да влязат, библиотеката беше отворена.

Мира се забърза между огромни скулптури, стъклени витрини, в които имаше стари издания на книги, на грамофонни плочи, на ръкописи, на корици – облицовки на книги изработени от сребро. Спряха се на витрина, където се съхраняваше книга, изработена от кожа.

  • Славен, погледни, виж тази книга от кожа – провикна се Мира и сините ѝ очи засвяткаха, като че ли искаха да проникнат през витрината.

Децата бяха залепили лицата си на витрината, когато до тях се доближи пазачът, човек на средна възраст.

  • Деца, колкото и да се взирате няма да можете да разгърнете кожените страници на тази древна книга. Стойте по-далеч от стъклото и ако искате да научите повече за книгата, елате с мен.

Славен и Мира се стреснаха, застанаха мирно и заслушаха с интерес служителя на библиотеката. Последваха го до един малък монитор, на който можеше да се разглежда книгата страница по страница. Само с леко докосване се прелистваха страниците от книгата. Имаше и табелка: „Това е една от най-старите книги в света, с надписи на клинопис. Ранна логографическа система на клинопис”. Славен попиваше информацията, но това не беше книгата от неговия сън.

  • Да тръгваме – каза Славен на сестричката си и се обърна, но видя, че Мира я нямаше. Разтревожен да не я изгуби, Славен тръгна да обикаля от зала в зала, тичайки по коридорите и се заоглежда, докато погледът му бе привлечен от карта с множество Планети. Една от тях носеше името Юрис. Момчето се спря пред картата, докосна планетата Юрис и тъга се изписа по лицето му. Почувства как някой го дърпа за ръкава и подскочи от радост като видя малката, синеока Мира.
  • Бързо идвай, ще се учудиш какво намерих, следвай ме – оживено го задърпа Мира.

Хванаха се за ръце и с бързи крачки стигнаха зала цялата в стъкло, огледала и различни фигури по тях, нарисувани с камъчета от гранати.

  • Но това е невероятно… Като че ли сме в Совалката „Тера” – разпали се Славен.
  • Помниш ли от съня си, кой квадрат докоснах – попита Мира – Насочи ме.

Славен се огледа и подкани Мира точно към този, който с нежно докосване Мира бе отворила в съня си. Доближиха се и прочетоха надпис: „Не пипайте. Тези шкафчета са заключени и кодирани.” Но Мира се престраши и за учудване на брат й докосна квадратното огледалце. Шкафчето се отвори.

Любопитните им очи надникнаха бързо, но вътре я нямаше кожената книга от съня на Славен.

Мира извади малкото си фенерче, освети всички ъгли на шкафчето, но то беше празно.

  • Разбира се, това беше само сън – каза момчето – но в него аз видях тази стая. Навярно няма такава планета „Тера” и тази кожена книжка не съществува.

Силен лъч освети стаята през кръглия стъклен таван. Чу се шум, суматоха, хората тичаха по коридорите и бързаха да излязат навън.

  • Вижте, вижте, каква невероятна Совалка – се чу мъжки глас.

Мира и Славен, задъхани на изхода на библиотеката отправиха поглед към небето и видяха необикновена метална совалка да се отдалечава.

  • Мира, дали наистина сме били на Совалката, докато си мислим, че спим и сънуваме? И как е възможно да има тук в библиотеката същата стъклено-огледална стая с шкафчета? – развълнувано говореше Славен.

Малката Мира заподскача от радост, извади прожекторчето си, светна го и замаха за сбогом към отлитащия кораб.

Славен ядеше от любимите си вафли и говореше:

  • Нали ще узнаем един ден кои сме, коя е нашата планета и дали ще можем да общуваме с други планетяни.
  • Ще запазим ли земните 6500 езика – каза малката мъдра червенокоска, а луничките на лицето ѝ станаха още по-ярки.

——-

Утрото беше прохладно, високо в планината въздухът беше кристален. Чуваше се бибиткането на апаратура в станцията, скрита в огромния планински връх. Младият учен наблюдаваше измененията в графиката и записваше всеки кодиран сигнал. А сигналите идваха от космически кораб, от друга Галактика. Изведнъж сигналите спряха. Небето почерня. Славен беше сам и чакаше колегите си от поредната обиколка, която правеха всеки ден и проверяваха записващите устройства, които бяха монтирали наоколо. Опита се да се свърже с тях, но нямаше връзка.

Газеше в снега със скафандър, на който имаше три мини устройства: едно за улавяне на сигнали от други планети, второ, което беше видеокамера, а третото радио-предавател.

Не улавяше сигнали и никой не отговаряше на опитите му за връзка. Вървеше и не виждаше следи, много скоро щеше да е невъзможно да продължи. Беше -400С, въздухът добиваше странен син цвят, докато напълно стана светлосин и плътен. Преминаваше през синия въздух и не виждаше нищо, като че ли около него бяха издигнати сини стени. Досети се за съня си от детските години, как гледа през люка на Совалката „Тера” – гледката беше същата! Синя, светло, светлосиня! Плътна! Опитът и знанията му на учен, физик не подсказваше връзка и логика в това преживяване.

Думите на Вен: „Деца вие сте тук, за да ви покажем нашата планета, да ви научим и да помните, вие сте чисти и неподправени и всичко, което видите и запомните ще бъде достоверно.” – изведнъж изплуваха от малкото шкафче на паметта.

„Трябва да използвам паметта си.” – помисли си младият учен. Спомни си как изкачиха някаква стълба и попаднаха с Мира в голямата стъклено-огледална библиотека, в Совалката „Тера” от детския им сън. Започна машинално да вдига и сваля краката си, като че ли се изкачва по стълба. Вървеше трудно, студът сковаваше ръцете, мускулите на краката ставаха все по-неподвижни. В огромната, бяла, заснежена площ пред себе си не виждаше стълба и отчаяно започна да си удря краката, да тъпче на едно място. Силна светлина заслепи очите му, чу сигнал, радиостанцията му крещеше тревожно:

  • Славен, Славен, чувам те, чувам дишането ти, къде си – викаше Мира, а гласът ѝ звучеше точно като на Вен, като че ли идва от тръба, като ехо.
  • Мира, Мира, вървях дълго, за да ви открия, премръзнал съм, но виждам как огромно светещо тяло се доближава…
  • Славен, Славен, говори …

—-

Мира погали премръзналото лице на брат си. Дръвцата горяха в камината. Славен отвори очи и съзря засмяното лице на Мира, видя и колегите си.

  • Славен, всички ние сме добре, а ти си направил страхотен запис. Но никога, никога не тръгвай сам в тези условия…
  • Давай, пускай филма – оживен скочи от леглото Славен.

Насядали около камината младите физици гледаха филмчето, което Славен бе заснел когато видя огромния светещ обект и не помнеше повече нищо, премръзнал от студ.

Светлината идваше от Совалка, която се снижаваше близо до Славен. Всички впериха поглед в момента, когато Совалката се доближи и се виждаше как някакви хора се движеха в нея. Различни съоръжения и две малки деца хванати за ръце следваха висок планетянин. Децата бяха отведени в огледално-стъклена стая.

  • Славен, това е невероятно, необяснимо…

Изведнъж светлината започна да намалява и Совалката отлетя.

Всички гледаха като онемели черния екран на монитора.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Shuttle “Terra”

Fiction, “Strictly Prohibited”

The light through the hatch of the ship’s window was soft blue in colour but deep, as if they were traveling over (around) thick walls coated in blue.
An extraordinary ship with complicated apparatus, in which little Slaven was examining the peculiar objects, devices, and books he was surrounded by.

“Come along, and take a walk, lean on the neighbouring objects to maintain your balance” the snub nose boy has timidly asked his little sister.
The children walked, staggering, sticking to one another, and their eyes couldn’t miss the rare glass boxes, bright buttons, and the fairy curtains that fell from the ceiling, silvery-white transparent barriers. These curtain-barriers were at the end of each chamber.

Slaven and Mira were the only youngsters in the “Terra” Shuttle, and they couldn’t recall how they both got into it. A tall man approached them in elegant blue attire, nodded and invited them to sit on a glass bench. He smiled at them and asked:
”Do you know where you are?”

His voice didn’t sound like the ordinary Earthman’s, but sounded like it was coming from a pipe and vibration from an echo…
Slaven got over his fear and asked,

“I do not remember why and how we got here, but we’re on a flying ship, and who are you? You sound strange…

“I am Ven, and you’re our visitor at the “Terra” Shuttle. We are from the planet Terra, and you are Earthians. We speak almost all 6500 languages which belong to the Earthians and we keep archiving their history”
“How do manage to speak so many languages? Where are our parents? Are there any other Earthians on the “Terra” Shuttle?” – asked Mira, as her blue eyes were staring at the tall Planetian.

Slaven gripped his little sister’s hand firmly.

“You are here so we can show you our planet and teach you to remember. You children are pure, genuine, and everything you see and memorise will be genuine. Do not worry, your parents are here, and with their consent, we will show you secrets that no Earthian knows so far.”

“Ah…. even in my dream, I never imagined that Mira and I would see another planet!! “- Slaven exclaimed.
“Follow me” the tall Terra resident said.

They climbed up a staircase, and before them, a huge hall with glass walls appeared. Mirrored squares were nicely laid over the glass wall, as if someone had drawn them with granite pebbles.

“You can get close to the glass-mirror wall” – Ven smiled at them.

Mira looked herself in the small mirror-squares and saw that the colour of her eyes was darker than usual. This mirror gave them a deep blue colour, and her gaze became insightful. Her thoughts jumped, as if they were opening the squares.

The little beauty approached and gently touched one of the square mirrors. She jumped instinctively back as the square slid out of the glass wall. It was a locker that opened at the touch. Slaven approached his sister, and they both peeked curiously into the open box.

“This is our mobile library” Ven said.
“Can we get this leather book out of the box to look at it?” Mira asked.
-“Yes, open it”… – Ven encouraged his guests.

Slaven pulled out a heavy book and unfolded it. On the first leather page, was carved an animal, stars, and other planets above it.

“But what is this, what kind of animal is this?” – Slaven asked Ven curiously.
Ven took the book in his hands, bent down and pointed:

“This is an animal which existed thousands of years ago and inhabited the Planet Yuris. Many other planets and stars surrounded the old Yuris. This Planet has died, and a New Planet was born”.

“Do you know what the New Planet was when Yuris died?” – Mira asked.
“The New Planet is yours, the planet Earth with its new inhabitants, you Earthians.”

“But that’s amazing … How do you know? How old is your planet Terra? “Slaven asked.

“We’ve been in the Galaxies for billions of years. We do not wage war, we keep what we inherit, and we keep what remains of those who perish. You Earthians are one-sided and very aggressive. You are looking for more space, you are provoking wars and those who survive continue the same process. You need a change.”

Slaven stared at the book, and then his eyes moved at the mirror drawer in the glass library, and he could see his image. “It can’t be”, he thought, “it is impossible; it is a dream”, and then it all disappeared. . Slaven awoke, jumped, looked around, and saw he was in his room. He ran barefoot into the kitchen. Then he pushed the door of Mira’s Room and saw how sweetly his little sister slept.

“What’s happening?” said Slaven and Mira’ mother. “Who runs early in the morning, early barefoot?”
“I am Mom, I am, Slaven” and the boy saw his mother approaching.
“Let’s go to the kitchen, I’ll prepare the breakfast. Come, tell me what’s so important early on Saturday. Do we miss a sporting event or a movie or a fair?” – Joanna asked.

“Mom, I’ll tell you my dream, but I ask you not to interrupt me, and then tell me the truth, are there other planets with other human beings?” – Slaven was talking to his mom with a trembling voice.

Joanna puts toasted bread, slices of cheese, a jug of fresh milk, and a jar of jam on the table, and listened to the incredible story of her son.
Slaven’s voice awakened Mira, followed by their father. They were sitting around the round table, having breakfast and still listening to Slaven’s story. No one spoke. As if someone was painting. Paintings were changing, facts were convincing while the little narrator stopped.

The “Terra” Planet“ the father repeated, “Terra” means Earth, and judging by your dream there is a planet Terra, another Earth in a more developed form of our Planet Earth.

Mira jumped from her chair and approached Slaven.
“Tell me what they said whilst on the “Terra” Shuttle, is there a secret we can learn from them?”

“Mira, that’s all I remember from my dream. Do you want us to go to the old library and look for books, old books, the oldest book …?”
“Children, do not get late” parents called.

Mira and Slaven went out and headed for the tram stop.
Mira wore a small rucksack on her back, she carefully and cautiously put a small projector, a notebook, and a pen. Slaven added a box of his favourite waffles with peanut cream. They got into the tram and spoke warmly about the Terra Shuttle. The surrounding people nodded and listened with interest.

The tram stopped, the last stop was near to the old town library. Mira and Slaven reached the building and gladly saw they could enter, the library was open.

Mira hurried around huge sculptures, glass windows, with old books, gramophone records, manuscripts, covers of books made of silver. They stopped at a window displaying a book made of leather.

“Slaven, look at this leather book” Mira pointed to the window case and her blue eyes glowing as if it penetrates the window.

The children had glued their faces to the glass behind which was a leather book, when the guard, a middle-aged man, approached them.

“Children, no matter how much you stare, you cannot unfold the leather pages of this ancient book. Stay farther from the glass and if you want to learn more about the book, come with me.”

Slaven and Mira were startled, stood quiet and listened with interest to the librarian. They followed him to a small monitor where the book could be viewed page by page. The pages of the book were scanned and with a gentle touch, the screen could all be viewed. There was a sign: “This is one of the oldest books in the world with cuneiform inscriptions. Early Cognitive Logography System “. Slaven absorbed the information, but it was not the book he saw in his dream.

“Let’s go” – Slaven said to his sister and turned, but Mira was gone. Concerned not to lose her, Slaven started to walk from room to room, running through the corridors. A map of Planets drew his sight. One of them was Yuris. The boy stopped in front of the map, touched the planet Yuris, and sadness run all over his face. He felt someone pulling his sleeve and jumped out of joy when he saw the little, blue-eyed Mira.

“Come on quickly, you’ll be amazed at what I found, follow me” said, Mira.
They run hand in hand, and with quick steps, they reached the hall with walls all covered in glass, Mirrors Square shapes on them, painted with gems of garnets.

“But that’s unbelievable. As if we were in the “Terra” Shuttle” – Slaven said.
“Do you remember from your dream which mirror-drawer I touched?” Mira asked.
Slaven looked around and pointed the one from his dream to Mira. They reached out and read the words: “Do not touch. These lockers are locked and encoded.
“But Mira cleared her throat and surprised her brother when she taped the square mirror. The drawer opened.
Their curious eyes peeked quickly, but there was no leather book as it is in Slaven’s dream.
Mira took out her little flashlight, illuminated all the corners of the drawer, but it was empty.
“It was just a dream” the boy said “but I saw this room”. Perhaps, there is no such planet “Terra” and this leather book does not exist.
A strong ray illuminated the room through the round glass ceiling. There was noise, bustle, people were running down the corridors and rushing out.
“Look, see, what a great Shuttle” a man’s voice said.
Mira and Slaven, panting at the exit of the library, stared at the sky and saw an unusual metal shuttle move away.
“Mira, have we really been to the Shuttle while we think we’re sleeping and dreaming? And how is it possible to have the same glass-mirror room in the library with drawers?” – Slaven spoke excitedly.
The Little Mira jumped from joy, pulled out the projector, lit it, and waved the departing ship a farewell.
Slaven was chewing his favourite waffles:
We will know one day who we are, what kind is our planet, and whether we can communicate with other planets.
“Are we going to keep the Earth’s 6500 languages” – said the little wise redhead girl, and the freckles on her face grew brighter.

**
The morning was cool, high in the mountain, the air was crystalline. There was a signal – like noise coming from the equipment in the station hidden in the huge mountain peak. The young scientist watched the changes in the chart and recorded every encoded signal. And the signals came from a spacecraft, from another Galaxy. Suddenly the signals stopped. The sky blackened. Slaven was alone and was waiting for his colleagues to arrive from the lap they were doing every day, checking the recorders of the little measuring gadgets they had mounted around. He tried to contact the team, but there was no connection.
He was wading through the snow with mini devices adjusted on his helmet: one to capture signals from other planets, the other was a video camera and the third radio transmitter.
He did not catch signals, and no one responded to his contact attempts. He walked for a long time and saw none trace, it would soon be impossible to continue. It was about 40 degrees Celsius; the air was a bizarre blue until it became bright blue and dense. He passed through the blue air and could see nothing as if blue walls were raised around him. He remembered his dream from his childhood, looking through the “Terra” Shuttle hutch – the view was the same! Blue, light, light blue! Dense! His experience and knowledge of a scientist, a physicist, did not suggest a connection and logic.
Ven’s words: “You children are here so we can show you our planet, we can teach you to memorise, you are pure and genuine, and everything you see and remember will be real.” suddenly these words emerged from his little memory draw.
“I have to use my memory,” thought the young scientist. He remembered climbing a ladder and getting into the Mirror Library, on the “Terra” Shuttle from his childhood dream. He began to mechanically raise and lower his legs as if he was climbing a ladder. It was difficult, the cold stiffened his arms, and his legs muscles became stiffer. In the vast, white, snow-covered area in front of him, he did not see a ladder and desperately struck his legs, to trample in one place. Strong light blinded his eyes, he heard a signal, his radio screamed alarmingly:
“Slaven, I hear you, I hear your breathing, where are you?” – Mira called, her voice sounding exactly like Ven as if coming from a trumpet, like an echo.
“Mira, Mira, I’ve been walking long enough to find you, I’m cold, but I see a huge luminous body coming up …”
-“Slaven, Slaven, talk, say something……”
**
Mira stroked her brother’s cold face. The burning logs in the fireplace kept the room warm and cosy. Slaven opened his eyes and saw Mira’s smiley face and his colleagues around him.
“Slaven, we’re all fine, and you made a great record. But never, ever leave alone in these conditions …”
“Mira, go on, play the record” Slaven hurried up from his bed.
Sitting around the fireplace, hearing the crackling logs, the young physicists watched the record Slaven had managed to capture when he saw the huge glowing object and remembered nothing.
The light came from a Shuttle which was moving near Slaven. Everyone stared as the Shuttle approached so close to Slaven that one can see how some Planetians moved into it. It was also visible how two small children caught hand by hand followed a tall Planetian. The children were taken to a mirror-glass room.
-“Slaven, it’s amazing, inexplicable …”

Suddenly the light diminished, and the Shuttle flew away.
Everyone was staring at the black screen on the monitor.

In the world of the fairy tales

In the world of fairy tale - Anastasia Kulish-15yrs)Illustration by Anastasia Kulish -15yrs

In the spring morning, the sun smiled and lit up the River Arno. A flock of birds flew over, looking at their reflections on the river’s surface.

The twittering of the winged beauties and the sound of the river Arno traveled through the air as it intertwined (merged) into a magic song. The enchanting sound made little Mary to cheerful human tune as she enjoyed nature. Running along the river, Mary reached a sweet-scented grove of green pine trees, wildflowers, crocuses, and daisies. Butterflies fluttered around, from flower to flower. Mary’s eyes followed every elegant and graceful movement of the colorful beauties. She stretched her arms out so to catch them.

Unexpectedly the little girl came to a cave, from which a dim light was seeping out.  She stepped with fear towards the entrance and slowly went inside. Leaning on the damp walls, Mary continued to walk along, until she reached a huge room with high, high, ceilings which were lit by the light of a Hundred Suns.

The little girl exclaimed, in dismay at the sight of a beautiful doll with braids and a crown covered in pearls.  The princess doll had a little box in her hand. Mary felt something touched her shoulder; she could not believe it, one of the graceful birds that had flown over the river Arno was suddenly in the cave, perched on her shoulder. Mary smiled and then heard a strange voice:

–    Mary, take the box from the hands of the doll and open it.

–     Who are you and how can you talk with a human voice – asked Mary – How do you know my name?

–     I am your bird – protector, bequeathed to you by your predecessors to protect you and guide you – said the white beauty.

Mary wondered for a while and asked:

–    And what does predecessor mean?

–    My dear, your predecessors, are your relatives who lived long before you were born. They were little like you, then they have grown as your parents, and then they became adults like your grandmother and grandfather, and then they became older, and of advanced age, they have left life. And today, when they are gone, I am your protector, and I bring you their covenant of the past.

Mary listened in awe (with bewilderment) and with a trembling hand opened the box held by the royal doll. A beautiful gold ring with ruby crimson flashed before her eyes. Mary put the ring on her finger and could only admire its beauty. Suddenly, her eyes moved and got fixed on a golden leaf, where there were glowing, shiny pebbles with a written word. Little Mary spelled the word letter by letter “S” “E” “C” “R” “E” “T.” While she studied and chanted (repeated) the word SECRET, SECRET, SECRET the bird flew high with a beautiful tweet. Mary watched her and waved goodbye, sending her a kiss, and she quickly rushed towards the cave exit. Hurrying home, she could not wait to tell her parents what had happened.

Mary’s mum was waiting at the door with concern:

–     Mary, you are very late, where have you wandered to so late?

Mary’s charcoaled eyes sparkled. Her little face was beaming, and the dimples on her cheeks grew deeper. She spoke breathlessly about her walk along the river, about the beautiful forest and the magical cave. Her words echoed and her story impressed and excited her parents, but they did not believe the little enchantress. They warned her not to walk alone in the woods and not to enter the cave. Mary frowned, but hunger prevailed, and she began eating with such speed as if she’d been chased.

The next day Mary was playing in the garden in front of the block in which they lived. Her closest friends joined her and Mary shared with great joy the oddities of the previous day.

–    Take us to the forest, show us the cave, we would like to see the doll with the pearl crown and to talk to your bird protector- girls shouted all together.

Mary struggled in the beginning, as she promised her parents not to go into the woods, but decided that with her friends she would be safe.

The noisy group headed for the forest. They whistled, mimicking the birds, chased butterflies, and plucked flowers. The children’s noise was in the air in the silent forest. They reached the cave and were amazed by the light of the room, lit by a Hundred Suns. Shushan, the curly-haired blonde girl, was mesmerized of the beauty of the doll, wearing the royal crown with pearls. Shushan’s eyes became brighter and sparkled like emeralds. Mary intuitively anticipated danger and warned her friends:

–    Those who touch the doll are to expect trouble.

The words from Mary reached Shushan’s ears quickly, and she didn’t dare to move. But the gentle and quiet Sofia unexpectedly reached out to the crown of the doll and ripped out a pearl.

–    Sofia, you should not take this pearl as it is not given to you as a gift. We do not know who owns this doll; it is not ours – sobbed Mary.

But Sofia frowned and did not want to hear the desperate pleading of her friend. Shushan continued to stare in awe. Suddenly the girls heard a strange noise coming from above, like a flutter….

The girls’ eyes were blinded by the beaming light in the room of a Hundred Suns.  A voice, soft and melodious gradually approached them. It was the bird- protector which hovered anxiously in the big room and repeated,” day will turn into night, day will turn into night.”

Suddenly it began to get darker in the room of a hundred Suns. Mary desperately asked her bird protector:

–    My protector, please help us, advise us.

Then the bird replied:

–    Mary, look at the ring that you are wearing on your hand, and you’ll get your answer.

Mary stared at the ring but received no reply. The red stone shone, but it could not speak. Then Mary thought for a while and got the meaning of the bird’s message. The ring was given to her with the consent and the love of the bird protector. Force wrested the pearl that Sofia took away from the crown. As the light of the room diminished, so was the chance of the girls getting out of the cave.

Mary looked at her friends and felt a tear rolled down her cheek. Shushan, who starred in silence till then, suddenly got frightened and quickly moved towards Sofia. Shushan took Sofia’s hand and begged her:

–    Let us return the jewel of this regal doll.

Sofia dropped her hand and together with Shushan arms in arms stretched out to the crown and returned the pearl to the doll.

The light in the room grew brighter and brighter, and girls’ face relaxed. They heard the bird off and happily walked to the exit of the cave. The girls didn’t realize how they spent the whole day in the cave. It was dark outside. Fear fell upon them in the dark forest. Mary fingered something rustling in her pocket and pulled out the gold leaf. The next minute the girls spelled the word SECRET and were astonished by the brilliance of the small stones that carved the word(SECRET).  So the path through the forest in which they walked hesitantly, was lit by the stones. When they reached at the end of the forest, they saw the golden pebbles of the leaf moving into a new word ‘FRIENDSHIP.’

HAPPY END!

This is a story from my book “Our Planet In The World of Fairy Tales” and if you are interested it is available on Amazon.

 

Book published in Bulgarian, if you would like to order please contact me/leave a message.

 

THE CHESS GAME — WISDOM AND CULTURE by Levon Ovanezov Minassian

 

Translated from Bulgarian into English by Stefan Nikolov

The oldest game — the chess — dates back more than 1500 years. There are many legends about its emergence as well as the chess game — whether it is art, mathematics, logic, psychology, etc. I would share with the players of this game, that it is above all a set of material and spiritual values from its creation so far and will continue in the future.

Here are some advantages of the chess game:

–    It is a great way to develop imagination, to display science and creativity. An important role is played by two factors in the game — intuition and logical thought.

–    Inherent from the chess game are the experiment, the discovery, the creative process and the plan to achieve the strategic goal MATE.

–    There is no other sport, that requires concentration for a long time on attention, analytics, and a rapid completion.

–    Strengthens belief in one’s own power, helps for psychological communication with people.

–    Raises emotional sustainability, teaches mathematical calculations.

–    It requires rapid reflexes and active participation of the chess player’s sensory organs.

–    It requires an assessment not only of the existing position of the board but also of moves (to think for many days, months ahead).

It is no coincidence that in many countries the chess game has become a school subject. The international school chess development project, developed by specialists, scientists and pedagogues from Russia, the United States, and England, deserves attention. Its main goal is to raise the culture of the growing generation, to prevent the negative sides and to fight, above all, drug addiction and crime. In this direction, there are statements in the press from many world champions such as Robert Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Veselin Topalov, and many others.

For several decades, chess in schools has been applied in many countries and places – Montreal, Cape Town, Amsterdam, and so on. Curious is the experiment, which takes place simultaneously in two schools one next to another in a location in Venezuela. The average level of development of students, the social environment, the economic development of the area is the same. In the experimental school, chess is being taught as a school subject. The results are astounding. The average level of development of pupils studying chess increases significantly, increasing is also their success, discipline, cultural behaviour. Improving is the functioning of a number of mental cognitive processes. A similar experiment is taking place at Harvard University, which confirms the results obtained in Venezuela.

An important cultural and humanitarian quality of chess is that it helps to develop the skill to respect the opinions and ideas of the partner. Chess as a game form is easily accessible and shapes the struggle between two bits of intelligence very well. The chess game, like wisdom and culture, is recognised as a cultural treasure of the modern civilised world. Chess contains objective, non-economic, non-politically and discriminatory restrictions on truth and fairness.

The connections the chess has with philosophy, cybernetics, psychology, mathematics, computer science, pedagogy, art, heuristics, and others are considered to be proving productive.

The role of the chess game for the efficient organisation of mental work as well as for the more complete recreation of the central nervous system is enormous. One of the contestants of our chess house, Stoyan Velichkov, says: “When I play chess I feel like I am in another world of peace and quiet. I play chess for a healthy and harmonious body.”

(БФШ)Bulgarian Chess Federation has made multiple proposals to the President, the Ministry of Education, and other institutes, but for the time being, chess is not introduced as a regular school subject. In some schools, both in Varna and in other cities in the country, it is organised for optional teaching as an experiment. In Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and other countries chess is introduced as a compulsory subject to third grade. There is an Academy of Chess in Yerevan. This year sets the foundations of the World Academy of Chess in one territory.

The chess goddess and patron of the ancient game, Caïssa, was first mentioned in the poem by Marco Girolamo Vida, “Scacchia Ludis”, published in 1527. It tells of a chess game between the gods Apollo and Mercury. The name Caïssa later appeared in 1763 in a Latin poem by English poet Sir William Jones. In it, the poet describes how Mars, the god of war, is dazzled by the beauty of the nymph, called Caïssa. But she does not respond to his feelings. Mars does not accept the rejection and seeks the help of Euphron, the god of sport and games. Euphron creates the game of chess and gives it to Mars, to win with it the grace of the beautiful nymph. Mars teaches Caïssa to play chess and so earns her love. For her part Caïssa wins glory through all chess players around the world, who love and play this wise game, their muse is a goddess. Caïssa’s prisoners are the admirers of the chess game, who remain faithful to their muse throughout their lives. For chess players, Caïssa is a patron, a source of inspiration and luck. “Caïssa was with me in this (партия) chess” often the winners say.

The King’s Gathering

The year was 315! The enormous wooden door, with fruits and animal heads carved on it, drew the eyes of the crowd, waiting to rush inside. The gate opened, and men and women hurried to sit inside the beautiful theatre – the pride of the great architect Nalbantian.

The theatre was one large hexagon, built with different in form stones, called tuffs[1], in their natural colour, flowing from pale yellow to dust of roses.

The light was entering from the six massive windows, which welcomed the sun with hospitality. There were beautifully crafted metal candlesticks hooked on the walls, and in the middle, there were benches, arranged in the form of an ellipse, like in an Amphitheatre. The benches were made from a solid wood material with different ornaments.

A middle-aged man stepped into the centre of the Amphitheatre, glanced at the audience and raised his hand to salute with the words:

– Welcome, dear people. On this day our great leader, the King of the Ararat Kingdom, send me here to tell you his covenants and requests.’

A loud greeting was heard, smiles lit the faces of the subjects of the Kingdom.

– I stand before you and feel how strong and united you are – the speaker stopped, stepped forward with the words – Our King tells you:

“Your words are the laws of the Kingdom.”

“Your faith – the strength and eternity of the Kingdom.”

“Your skills are the future of the Kingdom.”

The wild shouting of joy and applause carried away, and the echo did not stop!

The orator waited patiently, and trusting his instinct, repeating the three great messages of the King, but this time he continued with an exalted voice:

– Let the Kingdom live with its talented and brave people. There will be a meeting coming up between kings, khans from the Caucasus and the Balkan regions, a meeting dedicated to peace.’

 

The people clapped fiercely and shouted:

– We want peace with the Assyrians, with the Persians, with the people from the Caucasus, past the Caucasus, from the Balkans.’

– We want to trade beyond Ararat’ – shouted a young woman.

The orator curiously looked around, trying to find the brave subject of the Ararat Kingdom, but she had already stood up:

– Here, look, I made this Kachkar[2] cross from wood and stones from Lake Van, and I embroidered this handkerchief with the image of the sacred Mount Ararat – continued the young Zabel.

People rose up, and everyone wanted to look. Voices of admiration, approval:

– It is wonderful!

Then the orator approached her, looking curiously at her beautiful face:

– This is commendable; you are brave and skilful. Let me take these souvenirs to the King with your message “for trade beyond Ararat.”

Zabel’s delicate face blushed, her eyes got even darker. Under the beautiful headscarf, two chestnut braids came forward.

The orator raised his hand as a sign of approval, asking for silence.

– Dear people, here in this cloister will be convened the World Gathering Council.

– World Gathering Council – was heard from the crowd.

A man with enigmatic age stood up. His white hairs were as white as his shirt.

– Yes, say what you have to say, come here- the orator turned around to the old man.

The old man stepped down the stairs energetically with a light step and went to the orator, smiling and looking at the seated people.

– I live in this land before our people to be baptised before these doors were carved so beautifully before the building of this cloister. I remember times of trekking, of starvation, of wars, victories, and greatness.

It was quiet; everyone was staring at the old man. Some stood up, some nodded, straining to hear the soft voice of the white-haired man.

– I remember the birth of our great King and even the birth of his father. I remember the foreign rulers, their conquests, robberies, treachery- the old man continued, his voice was trembling – After each battle, I walked a long way, climbed to the top of Ararat. I breathed the crystal-clear air, pure, calm. I gulped of courage, of love, of the hope that the fighting would end, that the weeping of women and children would stop. I felt nature as our Lord; I wanted her to reign the peace of mankind. But she also wept with us, with our hearts. The mountain was angry; snow avalanches were dragging in. Then I hid in a cave.

Zabel was looking at the old man, and secretly she wiped her tears.

The old man stopped as if he was swallowing a big bite…

– Continue, continue – the crowd shouted.

– I lit a fire in the cave; it was my second home. I often went there and left my special “helpers” in case the snow had accumulated.

The audience held her breath. The old man continued with a playful look this time.

– I had made thick wooden sticks, like canes, the ends of which I had carved in the form of a bird’s foot, a rapacious bird, flying only in our holy mountain. I had watched her landing in the snow, and the power of nature awakened my mind. This bird is active, and in the shape of its legs, my canes can flounder in the snow. My message lies in one word- the old man said and stopped.

Then the brave Zabel guessed the message, which it was the magic and power of Ararat. Zabel stood up and said:

– Ararat, Ararat-and then the crowd took over:

– Ararat! Ararat!

The echo seemed to carry the sacred name infinitely.

– Dear people, peace lovers, all your desires, words, objects, souvenirs I will bring to the King. Until the convening of the World Gathering, there are 12 sunrises and 12 sunsets. Let’s honour the high guests, with a lively market, with dishes, with music – the orator said at one breath.

There was full activity; people were discussing the upcoming Great meeting. They came out of the great cloister.

The doors closed, the local blacksmith locked up with a large padlock and handed the key to the orator with the words:

– Give this key to the Great King of the Ararat Kingdom. This key keeps all the words spoken here today in this cloister.

The speaker took the key and set off.

Eleven sunrises and eleven sunsets changed.

Crafty carpenters were making wooden wine vessels, wooden dolls, craftsmen were selling adornments, colourful rugs, fabrics, and were shouting in the market. Inheriting the mastery of their predecessors from the Kingdom of Urartu, the locals produced copper objects combined with timber and precious stones from Lake Van.

A young man appeared in the marketplace in apparel strangely for the subjects of the city of Van, the capital of the Ararat Kingdom. The stranger looked with curiosity, stopped and bought various items from different stalls. He moved away and nodded to the sellers with gratitude.

Walking with a bundle on his shoulder and looking around the stone buildings, the stranger’s gaze stopped on a beautifully crafted Kachkar. He reached for the wall made from tuffs, on which the cross had been carved, he touched it with his hand, his fingers were dangling as if they felt lace.

The stranger walked away with a sense of admiration, and the joy in his soul doubled, and his steps accelerated.

The sun went down – Sunset!

On the next day, the sun rose slowly, until it reached the highest peak of Mount Ararat. This was the twelfth sunrise from the day, in which the orator had announced the start of the World Gathering. The roads were loud, lively. People ran from different directions in front of the large gates of the hexagonal stone cloister.

The friends, Rose and Thelma followed the revival and were glad that they could see the Great King of the Ararat Kingdom and the guests from the Kingdoms of Caucasus, past the Caucasus, and the Balkans.

The girls skilfully made their way and managed to get to the big doors.

– Rose, I have my wooden doll with the moon stone-necklace – said Thelma, pulling a small wooden doll out of her embroidered cloak.

Rose looked at her friend’s doll and said:

– How beautiful she is, her legs move, her hands are so exquisite, and her necklace is like that of the Queen-mother of Persia!

– But how do you know what is the necklace of the Queen-mother of Persia? – asked Thelma; with a surprise.

– I love listening to the tales of my grandpa Vosken. He has seen the Queen of Persia, who received a Moonstone gift from the King of the Ararat Kingdom. The Queen of Persia wrote a poem about ‘the Moonstone of Lake Van’ as a sign of gratitude – Rose replied.

– And do you know the poem of the Persian Queen, please, please, Roe, tell me… – Thelma asked her friend.

– I do not know it, but today we can find out if we are allowed to enter the King’s Gathering – I will ask the King of Persia – Rose proudly said.

A hand touched Rose’s shoulder, and the little beauty jumped with joy:

– Grandpa, Grandpa, I knew you’d come. Thelma and I have a critical mission – said the ten-year-old granddaughter of Vosken seriously. – We need to ask the King of Persia if he knows the poem of his mother – the Queen-mother, the poem of ‘the Moonstone of Lake Van.’

The old man could not hide his excitement from the request of his granddaughter, from the brave little girls.

The gates were unlocked, and a loud creak was heard, the ground shook, under their weight. But the noise was dispersed when the soft music of duduk spread, the air shuddered as if a hundred birds sang the songs of a hundred people, different, sad, cheerful and intoxicating.

The guests arrived, dressed in beautiful robes from silk, velvet, with jewels of gold, stones of different colours. The orator entered the last, and the gates were closed!

Thelma and Rose were almost squashed from the crowd at one of the ends of the theatre path, and grandpa Vosken was looking at how to get the girls out of this lively place, when he glimpsed Zabel, trying to sneak in.

– Zabel, Zabel, here – the old man was waving.

The girls turned around, to see who was grandpa Vosken calling and in front of them they saw a slender young woman.

– Hello – said Zabel – we can’t enter, I just wanted to peer.

– Yes – said grandpa Vosken, but one more sunset and one more sunrise of the sun and we will hear the decision of the King, of the khans. – This is my granddaughter Rose and her friend Thelma. They are here on a mission-said the old man jokingly.

– Hello, I am Zabel, and you have managed to win me over, as you’re on a mission – and a smile brightened the face of the elegant Zabel.

– We want to learn the poem of the Queen-mother of Persia called ‘The Moonstone of Lake Van’ – Rose said and got her friend Thelma’s hand.

Zabel was about to say something when a squeaky boy’s voice interrupted them:

– And I want to learn about the poem of the Queen-mother of Persia – said the curly-haired Karen, dressed in white with stains of pomegranate on his shirt.

– Karen, what are you doing here? You had to be on the market and help dad – Zabel said.

Thelma and Rose looked at each other and grinned slightly.

– Children – said grandpa Vosken – we can look around the mountain and the lake. We will come back for the answers of the high-ranking guests, and probably for yours too little marmosets – said grandpa Vosken to the little friends.

Grandpa Vosken was making his way, followed by Zabel, Rose, Thelma, and finally the little Karen, who was carrying a pomegranate, and he was picking seed by seed, and his hands were all in red-cyclamen colour.

Looking around the high cloister and the crowd in front of her, the stranger in white, who was walking for days, noticed Grandpa Vosken and the children who followed him, and his gaze stopped on the slender Zabel. He approached them and asked:

– Do you know when the Great Gathering will end, the King’s Gathering? – And he stared at the old man.

Grandpa Vosken looked at the stranger, who spoke the language of the Ararat kingdom correctly, and asked:

– Boy, what is your name and where you come from?

– My name is Ara, and I’m from the neighbouring Persia. I, like you, want to know what will be decided at the King’s Gathering.

– Then join us, we will look around Ararat and Lake Van, and we will return here again before the opening of the huge gates of this theatre, which gathered the kings of our neighbours.

They walked for a long time until they reached the foot of the magnificent mountain. Tired, they sat down at the rocky heights and enjoyed the song of the birds, the trembling of the little flowers, scattered indiscriminately, on slender pine trees, and breathed in the crystal air of Ararat. Ara was the only one standing up, and he wanted to swallow up the whole mountain with his eyes. His eyes grew brighter, and their dark grey color was like a dark cloud, but his smooth face with matte skin collected the sun’s rays and gave a sense of nobility and tranquillity. His sophisticated features did not escape from the eyes of the wise Grandpa Vosken.

The group continued to climb the weedy hill. They climbed the height and very quickly went down the steep side, following grandpa Vosken, who did not let anyone in front of him with his lively nature.

Rose slipped away and Thelma, in her desire to keep her up, fell with her friend.

The two girls stopped in front of the entrance of the cave. Soon, the others joined them. Grandpa Vosken set fire on a wood stick, and everyone followed him.

For a moment the cave was lit. Thelma pulled out her small wooden doll from under her cloak, where she kept it when Karen looked at it and pulled it with his full power from Thelma’s hands. Everyone was confused. Rose was trying to pull the doll from Karen, Thelma was talking and crying at the same time, but Zabel caught her brother’s ear and calmly said to him:

– Give the doll back to the girls, you impish boy.

– But I, I carved this doll it from wood, and I assembled the hands and feet, and dad added the Moonstone and the dress – Karen was explaining.

Zabel wanted to answer, but she instead felt shameful, when grandpa Vosken intervened:

– It is commendable that you are so talented, hard-working and skilled in carving at this age. You will help me make wonders from wooden sticks. Return the doll to the girls.

At that moment, Zabel noticed the “helpers” – canes on the ground. She bent down and picked up one of them. The end of the cane was indeed with a bird’s foot. Karen put the doll in front of the girls’ feet, making it sit and playfully apologized to them:

– The doll had to take a little rest … I would not take it away … grandpa Vosken, this is a miracle what you’ve done with these canes, does your walking stick step like a bird?’

– Yes, child, when the next snow falls, we’ll get through it with these canes-replied joyfully the old man.

– But I can make a huge bird of pine tree and wings from the leaves of the tree, and we can fly, instead of walking in the snow-said the little-shrewd boy.

Ara felt that this little boy was not only naughty but smart, brave and very charming, and he told him, though briefly following what had happened:

– Karen, I would fly with your wooden bird to look at this beautiful mountain.

Karen looked at him with a joyous glance, and he quickly responded to Ara, as if he was seeing him as a defender.

– Yes, children, there will be birds, we will use to fly with- answered grandpa Vosken wisely – and such gifted and smart men Karen as you will build them, but I will need to live a very, very long life to see this happen and get on such winged bird.

The old man prepared a tea of shrubs picked up in the mountains. The cave was like his home; he had decorated it with colourful rugs, a teapot, and candlesticks.

– I know, you are surprised how a cave can be cosy. For years I carried something here so that I could spend more time here. I turned it into a home where you are the first guests!

They tried the miraculous mountain tea, and Karen continued to tease Thelma and Rose, who quickly hid the doll out of his sight, and Ara continued to think of the Moonstone hanging on the beautifully carved wooden doll.

They rested in the cave, and then they left and walked toward the lake. They walked on rocky surfaces, followed by grassy, weedy hills when Zabel stopped suddenly and looked around -the lake was at their feet.

– Turquoise waters in the embrace of the mountain- said Ara and then he glanced at Zabel.

Rose, Thelma, and Karen approached them, and to great surprise to everyone, Karen again did not resist the temptation and grabbed the doll from Thelma’s hands. They started to quarrel, and while Grandpa Vosken intervene, they saw the wooden doll fly towards the turquoise lake.

Rose squeezed Thelma’s hand and stretched out her other hand into the air, but it was too late. Everyone watched as the doll approached the lake and waited for the most painful moment- its fall into the water and sinking.

Karen looked guiltily and did not know what to say, standing aside, his eyes staring down at the doll, his heart beating loudly.

– What have I done? In my desire to keep the doll for a while with me, I became the reason to lose her at the bottom of Lake Van – the little boy said desperately.

– The people of Van are proud, open, hard-working, but also a very friendly – the voice of the white-haired old man was heard – this lake was called by the Mesopotamians “River of Nairi.” In this lake has sunk the great fortress of the time of the Kingdom of Urartu.

Everyone was listening as if they were under a spell, how quickly Grandpa Vosken drew the sadness from the faces of the girls and the curly haired man.

– The great River Tiger inflows in Lake Van, and this lake has secrets. Your wooden doll will become a princess in the turquoise lake – grandpa Vosken said to calm them.

Ara smiled and stared at the lake as if he was trying to read something. He took a breath and proclaimed:

The Moon has sent its glance to the Lake Van

And there she has left a part of her charm!

The Lake in a sign of gratitude

Gave her back with lunar Pledge.

And this pledge was the Moonstone

That carries all the magic of Mount Ararat

That shines in Pearl-white for peace and grace,

for love, for wisdom, for delight.

– This is the poem of the Queen-mother of Persia of ‘the Moonstone of Lake Van,’ is not it?’ – realised Rose and hugged her friend Thelma.

Thelma was repeating:

– The Moon has sent its glance to the Lake Van

– Son, you have to be from the king’s family line of Persia – excitedly said grandpa Vosken.

-Yes, grandpa Vosken, I am the grandson of the Persian Queen-mother. When I was young, she was telling me about Old Persia, about wealth, about ancient culture, but something that had captured her heart was the purity and magnanimity of the King of Van. For her, the Moonstone was more than an ordinary stone – she was born here, near Lake Van. She told me about the lake and trusted me, believing, that I would inherit the kingdom of Persia and make peace between the two nations -the Ararat and the Persian. That is why I am here today with you to get to know the people of your kingdom, and my father, the Great King of Persia, is in the great monastery of the King’s Gathering.

The meeting at the King’s Gathering continued for a long time. There were arguments, laughter, but no one could look through the thick walls of the hexagonal cloister. People outside had gone away. Only grooms and expensive saddled horses were in charge of the beautiful night.

It was late evening, and just as they brought the rich supper to the high guests who kept chatting lively, the Orator asked for silence:

– Dear guests, please let the King of the Ararat Kingdom relay to you the words of his people – and then the orator gave the key for the gates in the hands of the King:

– Dear guests:

“The words of my subjects are the laws of the Kingdom.”

“The faith of my subjects is the power and eternity of the Kingdom.”

“The skills of my subjects are the future of the Kingdom.”

The guests were trying the delicious, sweet red wine from pomegranate and were waiting for what would follow next.

The King of the Ararat Kingdom held the key up in front of the eyes of Kings and Khans and turned it three times in the air. The guests stayed quiet and were confused until voices were heard:

– We want peace with the Assyrians, the Persians, the people of the Caucasus, past the Caucasus, and the Balkans. We want trade beyond Ararat- an appealing female voice was heard. Then followed the fragile voice of the wise man, an old man with the story of Ararat, echoing the name of the mountain.

The guests turned their heads around, trying to look from where these voices came from.

Then the king returned the key, again, to the orator.

They continued to feast with the wine of peace.

In this way, the king of the Ararat Kingdom kept the peace for another few decades.

Zabel followed Prince Ara in the Kingdom of Persia, where she was welcomed as the Princess of peace from the kingdom of the moonstone.

Karen remained a faithful friend to Rose and Thelma, and grandpa Vosken forever remained in the cave of the holy Mount Ararat.

Happy end!

[1] Tuff – a light, porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash.

[2] Kachkar – also known as an Armenian cross-stone

With the “Golden Eagle” to Siberia

With the ' Golden eagle' to Siberia - (Anastasia Kulish - 15yrs)Artist – Anastasia Kulish – 15yrs

The train waited for the last signal before its departure. Malvina and Alex had stuck their little faces onto the window watching their classmates laughing at the platform. Their friends were calling, shouting something, but no sound reached the passenger compartment.

– Please all passengers to take their seats, the train to Vladivostok kicks off in five minutes – the conductor announced through the train radio.

Malvina and Alex pressed their little faces even harder to the window, their noses flattened; the window-glass went off. Malvina waved for a goodbye to her buddies, and Alex drew with a finger on the damp window a bear waving goodbye with its paw.

The train departed. The children on the platform waved their hands, they shouted, and Malvina and Alex continued to look at them like in a “Silent” cinema.

The ‘Golden Eagle’ rattled the iron rails and gradually began to speed up.

– Look, Alex, our friends, are already in the distance like little dolls, and the big church with the color domes as a beautiful toy – Malvina spoke enthusiastically.

– Yes -Alex replied – look, now they cannot be even seen, they turned into snowflakes, everything is white…

The train was already racing, the view in front of the window changed: beautiful towns, villages, deserted places, different forest trees, rivers, lakes.

Seven days and seven nights traveled the little twins, the stations changed one after the other, and the train conductor allowed them walks at and around each stop as soon as the train stops.

– Do not be late, be punctual and do not split up! I am waiting for you!

This was the sixth warning.

– And do not forget that the ‘Golden Eagle’ is not only a Trans siberian train, but it also has eyes of an eagle and watches its passengers – the conductor cautiously warned them.

The children nodded and approached the open door of the train jumped to the platform. They walked, but the feeling that they were traveling did not leave them. So, once they reached the river in the center of Irkutsk city, they read a logo: “The Angara River, which flows into Lake Baikal.”

Malvina’s face shone:

– Alex, we are near Lake Baikal.

Alex had looked at a camel image on a high wall and read aloud:

– A Caravan from Siberia to China.

– Yes – said a strange voice -my longest journey as if I was walking to the Moon and back.

Alex and Malvina saw a smiling, friendly girl with black braids, a big fluffy hat, a backpack, and ski equipment.

The girl took off on the skis, and Alex and Malvina couldn’t even answer.

They made their way to the railroad and panted, wading in snow, they reached the last wagon, and it was almost in front of them the angry face of the conductor who pulled Alex to himself and Malvina hid behind her brother’s back.

Their red faces, frozen by the cold, began to warm themselves up, the children tapped their feet, the snow was dripping from their boots, they headed for their coupe.

Malvina snuggled on the sofa. Alex looked across the window of the newly-emerging train. The trees are changing rocks, tunnels, other trees… Alex painted quickly, his eyes seeming to seal each painting, and his hand was moving intact with the rattling of the Trans siberian train…

The little artist fell asleep with a pencil in his hand.

A gentle knock on the door made the twins jump.

– Children, it’s time for breakfast… Very soon the train will stop for more extended stays at Baikal Station- said the conductor.

Alex and Malvina were running down the corridors, talking when they suddenly saw the girl with the black braids.

They sat down at a table by the window, and the strange girl approached them:

– Hello, can I sit with you?

– Yes – the twins said happily.

The girl bowed, sat down and waited for them first to start their breakfast. Then she took a cheese pie and jam and began to eat. Only the rattle of the train could be heard, and three pairs of eyes were staring curiously, staring at the window. When the little hungry children finished with their breakfast and were already full, Malvina smiled:

– I’m Malvina, and this is my brother Alex.

– I’m Lunaroza, and I’m from Chukotka region – said the girl.

– Lunaroza – whispered Malvina – what a beautiful name.

– And so is yours, Malvina, it is like a princess’s name from fairy tales – replied the little resident of Chukotka.

The ‘Golden Eagle’ began to slow down, then accelerated slightly, suddenly it became dark, went into a tunnel and then again they went out to light, the three children stuck to the window.

An incredible view was revealed before their eyes – a huge ice playground on which someone seemed to have painted white circles with chalk.

– It’s the lake; I can recognize it even in the winter – said exited Lunaroza.

The train stopped, the children grabbed their winter skates, dressed thick furs, hats, gloves, scarves, and ran to the door.

– Come with me; we’ll ride a dog-drawn sled -Their new friend told them.

The dog carriage was drifting down the ice, and modern ice- adjusted cars passed by, people with skates, sleds drove by deer. Suddenly the white circles on the ice disappeared, Malvina and Alex leaned forward they stared at the transparent icy lake. The Musher (the man who is riding the dog sled) slowed down, and dogs started barking.

– Let’s go skating here – Lunaroza said passionately.

Malvina put on the skates and first jumped out of the sled, followed by Alex and Lunaroza.

– Lunaroza, the lake surface is transparent, I saw something moving under the water – and as Malvina spoke to them, the three of them bent down and saw the deep black eyes of an animal!

– Those are the black eyes of the Baikal seal, so black and deep as deep as the lake -said Lunaroza.

The seal swiveled twice, looking curiously through the glass curtain and put its muzzle on the ice surface. At this very moment were several other seals who joined.

It was an unusual sight, the sun was shining, and the lake was icy.

– Malvina, give me your golden hair clip – Alex said to his sister.

Malvina pulled the hair clip out of her hair under the hat and gave it to Alex.

Alex directed the golden hair clip toward the seals, but so the sun’s intense rays would be attracted on it. As a golden ball, the sun was reflected on the ice, and the seals got a golden color. They started dancing, and their eyes swallowed up the light, and their eyes color were getting up deeper.

The children could not take their faces off the ice until they heard the bark of the dogs, and Alex dropped the hair clip from his hand. Gradually the light on the ice vanished, the seals started to ‘wave’ goodbye.

Malvina bent down, grabbed the hairclip and sped on the ice, made her favorite pirouette, pulled the little Chukotka girl towards herself and both span with joy.

Tired of the long walk, the three of them fell asleep in the warm coupe, and the ‘Golden Eagle’ flew to the latter station – Vladivostok. Malvina jumped, her huge black eyes peering out at Lunaroza, who first spoke:

– I fell asleep here and dreamed my sweetest dream of flying saddled real eagle, covered with gold.

– Welcome to Vladivostok – The radio train announced.

The children jumped off the train, waving farewell to the conductor.

– My lions – was the soft voice of twin’s mother and children flew in the air lifted from their father’s strong hands.

Malvina and Alex shouted with joy:

– Mom, Mom, Dad!

Lunaroza watched them as an old man approached her. The man had black eyes, a tanned face, and a white beard. It was her wonderful grandfather. Lunaroza bowed and grabbed her grandfather’s hand.

– Lunaroza -Malvina shouted, and ran towards her, to give her the golden hair clip as a token of their friendship- We will call it ‘The Golden Seal.’

Lunaroza embraced her girlfriend and replied:

– When the winter passes, with my grandfather we’ll take you to the blue pearl of Siberia, wait for us.

-Yes, yes –exclaimed the twins.

The next morning Alex and Malvina told their parents about the fairy-tale trip. At this moment their pet friend Tiger shrugged and smirked. The Siberian cat was missing his young masters and did not separate from them.

Long sleds, games in the Siberian steppes, hunting with local hunters, watching the sunrise and of the sunset, alternating the days with nights, the nights with days. The snow has melted, trees grew green, Tiger was running under the sun in the big yard, and Malvina and Alex were swinging.

– Alex, I’m reaching the sky, see how high I’m swinging- the warm, tender voice of Malvina was spreading.

The race in the swing was in high gear when a familiar voice was heard:

– Malvina, Alex – get out of the cradle, we could fly higher.

The children recognized the voice of their Chukotka friend and Tiger leaped around them.

Malvina and Alex rushed to Lunaroza and were racing to hug her.

Lunaroza’s face shone, turning to her grandfather, who was talking to the twin’s parents. The old man was making sure that they would agree to take the children for a little adventure with his helicopter.

– Grandpa, let’s go.

The children joined the old man, turned and waved their parents.

– By tonight, Mom, Daddy – shouted the children and they noticed Tiger (the cat) followed them.

The helicopter rose sharply.

– Now, we got to the sky – Alex said to his sister.

They were flying over the Siberian taiga covered in forests by coniferous trees and pine-like trees.

– What are these forests? – Alex pointed out to the pines.

– These are black spruce forests – replied Lunaroza’s grandfather who oversaw the helicopter.

Gradually lowered and the children managed to see animals, bears, deer…

The helicopter began to rise again and approached the Asian steppes, in which there was almost no vegetation, but they could see deer, antelope, and whole flocks fly mosquitoes. The helicopter made a slight bend over an island and began to decrease.

The young passengers took off one by one when the grandfather- pilot said to them:

– You have four hours for a walk and wait for me before sunset here so to fly back in the light.

The children hurried to the lake. The lake was calm and smooth, like a huge blue mirror. Alex and Malvina looked themselves at the lake’s surface and saw the reflection of their faces in blue-color.

Lunaroza approached her friends and asked:

– Do you want to climb on the little island opposite, from where the lake is like a small blue pearl?

The children were walking, and Tiger followed them. They have reached the hill and began to climb following the rapid pace of the little Chukotka who was tireless.

– Look here, look down and do not move. Look back in the blue water – Lunaroza said.

Tiger began to purr, to turn his tail and to look around, sensing that something would happen, began to walk around Alex, then around Malvina. A flying gull with pink feathers attracted Malvina’s gaze.

– See what a beautiful gull- Malvina pointed out the flying beauty.

– This is my girlfriend, ‘Rosalie the rose gull’ – said the Chukotka girl- Rosalie always finds me when I’m on this hill.

There was a mew whisper; Tiger began to wiggle and chase Rosalie, who was landing and flying, landing and flying repeatedly.

The seagull flew high above the Lake, and the Tiger again began to sneeze at the feet of his owners Malvina and Alex.

Lunaroza looked at the Rose Bird, closed her eyes and said something on a Chukotka language, incomprehensible to Alex and Malvina.

There was a silence in which only a slight purr was heard from Tiger, the Siberian cat. The gull fell and landed on Lunaroza’s shoulder.

The water in the lake began to rise like a volcano in the air and began to spin. In front of the young observers, the water-lake became a huge blue globe.

The children were perplexed at how the lake turned in a beautiful blue ball. The Tiger eyes changed their color; they turned dark and light green.

Lunaroza stroked the tender feathers of Rosalie, then the bird took off and began to circle the blue waterfall.

– Lunaroza, what is this splendid magic – said the shivering Malvina.

– I was born when there was a lunar eclipse in this hill. At the time the hill was a pink hill, sunk into beautiful roses. Then I was given the name Lunaroza with the loud wish to keep the beauty of our planet safe. I have shown you the planet through my eyes, through my heart, and through the rhythm of the magic blue pearl – the Blue Lake.

– I knew your name was magical – Malvina said.

– Magic – Alex repeated.

– This Pink Gull- continued Lunaroza – was born here, her ancestors lived here millions of years ago so to keep the Lake safe.

Alex grabbed Tiger in his arms and spoke to him:

– I will draw our Planet, as I have seen it here… – but his voice was muffled by the approaching flock pink gulls that grabbed and encircled the beautiful blue ball.

Tiger got scared and tried to free himself from Alex’s hands – the cat gasped and followed scratching then jumped to the ground and started to spin and move his tail.

The animal felt the approaching storm. Strong winds lifted the children from the ground and carried them into the air. The kids were flying with a flock of pink gulls, circling the blue planet.

Before their eyes were rivers, seas, oceans, countries, continents, the sun, moon, day, night – that was planet Earth and its companions.

Malvina started to touch the planet with her free hand, but the beak of a pink gull from the flock pushed her small hand.

It was the Earth globe with its entire splendor!

Pink gulls began to fly off.

Her girlfriend gull Rosalie accompanied Lunaroza. When Lunaroza touched the gull, the children landed where the cat was waiting for them.

Malvina and Alex went home tired, hungry. Their eyes still gave away the memory of the experience. Malvina was blinking with her long black eyelashes as if she were opening and closing the curtain to the big blue globe. Alex sat down on his little chair, set a large sheet of paper on the tripod and started painting, surrounded by their parents and Malvina. His hand moved quickly; the paints were changing, the colors were overflowing. The silence continued… The painting was completed with the words of the little artist:

– This is our Planet, through my eyes, through my heart…

Malvina kissed her brother, realizing she had seen the planet with her brother’s eyes; she had the same eyes and the same heart.

The train waited for the last signal before its departure. Malvina and Alex had stuck their little faces onto the window watching their classmates laughing at the platform. Their friends were calling, shouting something, but no sound reached the passenger compartment.

– Please all passengers to take their seats, the train to Vladivostok kicks off in five minutes – the conductor announced through the train radio.

Malvina and Alex pressed their little faces even harder to the window, their noses flattened; the window-glass went off. Malvina waved for a goodbye to her buddies, and Alex drew with a finger on the damp window a bear waving goodbye with its paw.

The train departed. The children on the platform waved their hands, they shouted, and Malvina and Alex continued to look at them like in a “Silent” cinema.

The ‘Golden Eagle’ rattled the iron rails and gradually began to speed up.

– Look, Alex, our friends, are already in the distance like little dolls, and the big church with the color domes as a beautiful toy – Malvina spoke enthusiastically.

– Yes -Alex replied – look, now they cannot be even seen, they turned into snowflakes, everything is white…

The train was already racing, the view in front of the window changed: beautiful towns, villages, deserted places, different forest trees, rivers, lakes.

Seven days and seven nights traveled the little twins, the stations changed one after the other, and the train conductor allowed them walks at and around each stop as soon as the train stops.

– Do not be late, be punctual and do not split up! I am waiting for you!

This was the sixth warning.

– And do not forget that the ‘Golden Eagle’ is not only a Trans siberian train, but it also has eyes of an eagle and watches its passengers – the conductor cautiously warned them.

The children nodded and approached the open door of the train jumped to the platform. They walked, but the feeling that they were traveling did not leave them. So, once they reached the river in the center of Irkutsk city, they read a logo: “The Angara River, which flows into Lake Baikal.”

Malvina’s face shone:

– Alex, we are near Lake Baikal.

Alex had looked at a camel image on a high wall and read aloud:

– A Caravan from Siberia to China.

– Yes – said a strange voice -my longest journey as if I was walking to the Moon and back.

Alex and Malvina saw a smiling, friendly girl with black braids, a big fluffy hat, a backpack, and ski equipment.

The girl took off on the skis, and Alex and Malvina couldn’t even answer.

They made their way to the railroad and panted, wading in snow, they reached the last wagon, and it was almost in front of them the angry face of the conductor who pulled Alex to himself and Malvina hid behind her brother’s back.

Their red faces, frozen by the cold, began to warm themselves up, the children tapped their feet, the snow was dripping from their boots, they headed for their coupe.

Malvina snuggled on the sofa. Alex looked across the window of the newly-emerging train. The trees are changing rocks, tunnels, other trees… Alex painted quickly, his eyes seeming to seal each painting, and his hand was moving intact with the rattling of the Trans siberian train…

The little artist fell asleep with a pencil in his hand.

A gentle knock on the door made the twins jump.

– Children, it’s time for breakfast… Very soon the train will stop for more extended stays at Baikal Station- said the conductor.

Alex and Malvina were running down the corridors, talking when they suddenly saw the girl with the black braids.

They sat down at a table by the window, and the strange girl approached them:

– Hello, can I sit with you?

– Yes – the twins said happily.

The girl bowed, sat down and waited for them first to start their breakfast. Then she took a cheese pie and jam and began to eat. Only the rattle of the train could be heard, and three pairs of eyes were staring curiously, staring at the window. When the little hungry children finished with their breakfast and were already full, Malvina smiled:

– I’m Malvina, and this is my brother Alex.

– I’m Lunaroza, and I’m from Chukotka region – said the girl.

– Lunaroza – whispered Malvina – what a beautiful name.

– And so is yours, Malvina, it is like a princess’s name from fairy tales – replied the little resident of Chukotka.

The ‘Golden Eagle’ began to slow down, then accelerated slightly, suddenly it became dark, went into a tunnel and then again they went out to light, the three children stuck to the window.

An incredible view was revealed before their eyes – a huge ice playground on which someone seemed to have painted white circles with chalk.

– It’s the lake; I can recognize it even in the winter – said exited Lunaroza.

The train stopped, the children grabbed their winter skates, dressed thick furs, hats, gloves, scarves, and ran to the door.

– Come with me; we’ll ride a dog-drawn sled -Their new friend told them.

The dog carriage was drifting down the ice, and modern ice- adjusted cars passed by, people with skates, sleds drove by deer. Suddenly the white circles on the ice disappeared, Malvina and Alex leaned forward they stared at the transparent icy lake. The Musher (the man who is riding the dog sled) slowed down, and dogs started barking.

– Let’s go skating here – Lunaroza said passionately.

Malvina put on the skates and first jumped out of the sled, followed by Alex and Lunaroza.

– Lunaroza, the lake surface is transparent, I saw something moving under the water – and as Malvina spoke to them, the three of them bent down and saw the deep black eyes of an animal!

– Those are the black eyes of the Baikal seal, so black and deep as deep as the lake -said Lunaroza.

The seal swiveled twice, looking curiously through the glass curtain and put its muzzle on the ice surface. At this very moment were several other seals who joined.

It was an unusual sight, the sun was shining, and the lake was icy.

– Malvina, give me your golden hair clip – Alex said to his sister.

Malvina pulled the hair clip out of her hair under the hat and gave it to Alex.

Alex directed the golden hair clip toward the seals, but so the sun’s intense rays would be attracted on it. As a golden ball, the sun was reflected on the ice, and the seals got a golden color. They started dancing, and their eyes swallowed up the light, and their eyes color were getting up deeper.

The children could not take their faces off the ice until they heard the bark of the dogs, and Alex dropped the hair clip from his hand. Gradually the light on the ice vanished, the seals started to ‘wave’ goodbye.

Malvina bent down, grabbed the hair clip and sped on the ice, made her favorite pirouette, pulled the little Chukotka girl towards herself and both span with joy.

Tired of the long walk, the three of them fell asleep in the warm coupe, and the ‘Golden Eagle’ flew to the latter station – Vladivostok. Malvina jumped, her huge black eyes peering out at Lunaroza, who first spoke:

– I fell asleep here and dreamed my sweetest dream of flying saddled real eagle, covered with gold.

– Welcome to Vladivostok – The radio train announced.

The children jumped off the train, waving farewell to the conductor.

– My lions – was the soft voice of twin’s mother and children flew in the air lifted from their father’s strong hands.

Malvina and Alex shouted with joy:

– Mom, Mom, Dad!

Lunaroza watched them as an old man approached her. The man had black eyes, a tanned face, and a white beard. It was her wonderful grandfather. Lunaroza bowed and grabbed her grandfather’s hand.

– Lunaroza -Malvina shouted, and ran towards her, to give her the golden hairclip as a token of their friendship- We will call it ‘The Golden Seal.’

Lunaroza embraced her girlfriend and replied:

– When the winter passes, with my grandfather we’ll take you to the blue pearl of Siberia, wait for us.

-Yes, yes –exclaimed the twins.

The next morning Alex and Malvina told their parents about the fairy-tale trip. At this moment their pet friend Tiger shrugged and smirked. The Siberian cat was missing his young masters and did not separate from them.

Long sleds, games in the Siberian steppes, hunting with local hunters, watching the sunrise and of the sunset, alternating the days with nights, the nights with days. The snow has melted, trees grew green, Tiger was running under the sun in the big yard, and Malvina and Alex were swinging.

– Alex, I’m reaching the sky, see how high I’m swinging- the warm, tender voice of Malvina was spreading.

The race in the swing was in high gear when a familiar voice was heard:

– Malvina, Alex – get out of the cradle, we could fly higher.

The children recognized the voice of their Chukotka friend and Tiger leaped around them.

Malvina and Alex rushed to Lunaroza and were racing to hug her.

Lunaroza’s face shone, turning to her grandfather, who was talking to the twin’s parents. The old man was making sure that they would agree to take the children for a little adventure with his helicopter.

– Grandpa, let’s go.

The children joined the old man, turned and waved their parents.

– By tonight, Mom, Daddy – shouted the children and they noticed Tiger (the cat) followed them.

The helicopter rose sharply.

– Now, we got to the sky – Alex said to his sister.

They were flying over the Siberian taiga covered in forests by coniferous trees and pine-like trees.

– What are these forests? – Alex pointed out to the pines.

– These are black spruce forests – replied Lunaroza’s grandfather who oversaw the helicopter.

Gradually lowered and the children managed to see animals, bears, deer…

The helicopter began to rise again and approached the Asian steppes, in which there was almost no vegetation, but they could see deer, antelope, and whole flocks fly mosquitoes. The helicopter made a slight bend over an island and began to decrease.

The young passengers took off one by one when the grandfather- pilot said to them:

– You have four hours for a walk and wait for me before sunset here so to fly back in the light.

The children hurried to the lake. The lake was calm and smooth, like a huge blue mirror. Alex and Malvina looked themselves at the lake’s surface and saw the reflection of their faces in blue-color.

Lunaroza approached her friends and asked:

– Do you want to climb on the little island opposite, from where the lake is like a small blue pearl?

The children were walking, and Tiger followed them. They have reached the hill and began to climb following the rapid pace of the little Chukotka who was tireless.

– Look here, look down and do not move. Look back in the blue water – Lunaroza said.

Tiger began to purr, to turn his tail and to look around, sensing that something would happen, began to walk around Alex, then around Malvina. A flying gull with pink feathers attracted Malvina’s gaze.

– See what a beautiful gull- Malvina pointed out the flying beauty.

– This is my girlfriend, ‘Rosalie the rose gull’ – said the Chukotka girl- Rosalie always finds me when I’m on this hill.

There was a mew whisper; Tiger began to wiggle and chase Rosalie, who was landing and flying, landing and flying repeatedly.

The seagull flew high above the Lake, and the Tiger again began to sneeze at the feet of his owners Malvina and Alex.

Lunaroza looked at the Rose Bird, closed her eyes and said something on a Chukotka language, incomprehensible to Alex and Malvina.

There was a silence in which only a slight purr was heard from Tiger, the Siberian cat. The gull fell and landed on Lunaroza’s shoulder.

The water in the lake began to rise like a volcano in the air and began to spin. In front of the young observers, the water-lake became a huge blue globe.

The children were perplexed at how the lake turned in a beautiful blue ball. The Tiger eyes changed their color; they turned dark and light green.

Lunaroza stroked the tender feathers of Rosalie, then the bird took off and began to circle the blue waterfall.

– Lunaroza, what is this splendid magic – said the shivering Malvina.

– I was born when there was a lunar eclipse in this hill. At the time the hill was a pink hill, sunk into beautiful roses. Then I was given the name Lunaroza with the loud wish to keep the beauty of our planet safe. I have shown you the planet through my eyes, through my heart, and through the rhythm of the magic blue pearl – the Blue Lake.

– I knew your name was magical – Malvina said.

– Magic – Alex repeated.

– This Pink Gull- continued Lunaroza – was born here, her ancestors lived here millions of years ago so to keep the Lake safe.

Alex grabbed Tiger in his arms and spoke to him:

– I will draw our Planet, as I have seen it here… – but his voice was muffled by the approaching flock pink gulls that grabbed and encircled the beautiful blue ball.

Tiger got scared and tried to free himself from Alex’s hands – the cat gasped and followed scratching then jumped to the ground and started to spin and move his tail.

The animal felt the approaching storm. Strong winds lifted the children from the ground and carried them into the air. The kids were flying with a flock of pink gulls, circling the blue planet.

Before their eyes were rivers, seas, oceans, countries, continents, the sun, moon, day, night – that was planet Earth and its companions.

Malvina started to touch the planet with her free hand, but the beak of a pink gull from the flock pushed her small hand.

It was the Earth globe with its entire splendor!

Pink gulls began to fly off.

Her girlfriend gull Rosalie accompanied Lunaroza. When Lunaroza touched the gull, the children landed where the cat was waiting for them.

Malvina and Alex went home tired, hungry. Their eyes still gave away the memory of the experience. Malvina was blinking with her long black eyelashes as if she were opening and closing the curtain to the big blue globe. Alex sat down on his little chair, set a large sheet of paper on the tripod and started painting, surrounded by their parents and Malvina. His hand moved quickly; the paints were changing, the colors were overflowing. The silence continued… The painting was completed with the words of the little artist:

– This is our Planet, through my eyes, through my heart…

Malvina kissed her brother, realizing she had seen the planet with her brother’s eyes; she had the same eyes and the same heart.

The train waited for the last signal before its departure. Malvina and Alex had stuck their little faces onto the window watching their classmates laughing at the platform. Their friends were calling, shouting something, but no sound reached the passenger compartment.

– Please all passengers to take their seats, the train to Vladivostok kicks off in five minutes – the conductor announced through the train radio.

Malvina and Alex pressed their little faces even harder to the window, their noses flattened; the window-glass went off. Malvina waved for a goodbye to her buddies, and Alex drew with a finger on the damp window a bear waving goodbye with its paw.

The train departed. The children on the platform waved their hands, they shouted, and Malvina and Alex continued to look at them like in a “Silent” cinema.

The ‘Golden Eagle’ rattled the iron rails and gradually began to speed up.

– Look, Alex, our friends, are already in the distance like little dolls, and the big church with the color domes as a beautiful toy – Malvina spoke enthusiastically.

– Yes -Alex replied – look, now they cannot be even seen, they turned into snowflakes, everything is white…

The train was already racing, the view in front of the window changed: beautiful towns, villages, deserted places, different forest trees, rivers, lakes.

Seven days and seven nights traveled the little twins, the stations changed one after the other, and the train conductor allowed them walks at and around each stop as soon as the train stops.

– Do not be late, be punctual and do not split up! I am waiting for you!

This was the sixth warning.

– And do not forget that the ‘Golden Eagle’ is not only a Transsiberian train, but it also has eyes of an eagle and watches its passengers – the conductor cautiously warned them.

The children nodded and approached the open door of the train jumped to the platform. They walked, but the feeling that they were traveling did not leave them. So, once they reached the river in the center of Irkutsk city, they read a logo: “The Angara River, which flows into Lake Baikal.”

Malvina’s face shone:

– Alex, we are near Lake Baikal.

Alex had looked at a camel image on a high wall and read aloud:

– A Caravan from Siberia to China.

– Yes – said a strange voice -my longest journey as if I was walking to the Moon and back.

Alex and Malvina saw a smiling, friendly girl with black braids, a big fluffy hat, a backpack, and ski equipment.

The girl took off on the skis, and Alex and Malvina couldn’t even answer.

They made their way to the railroad and panted, wading in snow, they reached the last wagon, and it was almost in front of them the angry face of the conductor who pulled Alex to himself and Malvina hid behind her brother’s back.

Their red faces, frozen by the cold, began to warm themselves up, the children tapped their feet, the snow was dripping from their boots, they headed for their coupe.

Malvina snuggled on the sofa. Alex looked across the window of the newly-emerging train. The trees are changing rocks, tunnels, other trees… Alex painted quickly, his eyes seeming to seal each painting, and his hand was moving intact with the rattling of the Transsiberian train…

The little artist fell asleep with a pencil in his hand.

A gentle knock on the door made the twins jump.

– Children, it’s time for breakfast… Very soon the train will stop for more extended stays at Baikal Station- said the conductor.

Alex and Malvina were running down the corridors, talking when they suddenly saw the girl with the black braids.

They sat down at a table by the window, and the strange girl approached them:

– Hello, can I sit with you?

– Yes – the twins said happily.

The girl bowed, sat down and waited for them first to start their breakfast. Then she took a cheese pie and jam and began to eat. Only the rattle of the train could be heard, and three pairs of eyes were staring curiously, staring at the window. When the little hungry children finished with their breakfast and were already full, Malvina smiled:

– I’m Malvina, and this is my brother Alex.

– I’m Lunaroza, and I’m from Chukotka region – said the girl.

– Lunaroza – whispered Malvina – what a beautiful name.

– And so is yours, Malvina, it is like a princess’s name from fairy tales – replied the little resident of Chukotka.

The ‘Golden Eagle’ began to slow down, then accelerated slightly, suddenly it became dark, went into a tunnel and then again they went out to light, the three children stuck to the window.

An incredible view was revealed before their eyes – a huge ice playground on which someone seemed to have painted white circles with chalk.

– It’s the lake; I can recognize it even in the winter – said exited Lunaroza.

The train stopped, the children grabbed their winter skates, dressed thick furs, hats, gloves, scarves, and ran to the door.

– Come with me; we’ll ride a dog-drawn sled -Their new friend told them.

The dog carriage was drifting down the ice, and modern ice- adjusted cars passed by, people with skates, sleds drove by deer. Suddenly the white circles on the ice disappeared, Malvina and Alex leaned forward they stared at the transparent icy lake. The Musher (the man who is riding the dog sled) slowed down, and dogs started barking.

– Let’s go skating here – Lunaroza said passionately.

Malvina put on the skates and first jumped out of the sled, followed by Alex and Lunaroza.

– Lunaroza, the lake surface is transparent, I saw something moving under the water – and as Malvina spoke to them, the three of them bent down and saw the deep black eyes of an animal!

– Those are the black eyes of the Baikal seal, so black and deep as deep as the lake -said Lunaroza.

The seal swiveled twice, looking curiously through the glass curtain and put its muzzle on the ice surface. At this very moment were several other seals who joined.

It was an unusual sight, the sun was shining, and the lake was icy.

– Malvina, give me your golden hair clip – Alex said to his sister.

Malvina pulled the hair clip out of her hair under the hat and gave it to Alex.

Alex directed the golden hair clip toward the seals, but so the sun’s intense rays would be attracted on it. As a golden ball, the sun was reflected on the ice, and the seals got a golden color. They started dancing, and their eyes swallowed up the light, and their eyes color were getting up deeper.

The children could not take their faces off the ice until they heard the bark of the dogs, and Alex dropped the hair clip from his hand. Gradually the light on the ice vanished, the seals started to ‘wave’ goodbye.

Malvina bent down, grabbed the hairclip and sped on the ice, made her favorite pirouette, pulled the little Chukotka girl towards herself and both span with joy.

Tired of the long walk, the three of them fell asleep in the warm coupe, and the ‘Golden Eagle’ flew to the latter station – Vladivostok. Malvina jumped, her huge black eyes peering out at Lunaroza, who first spoke:

– I fell asleep here and dreamed my sweetest dream of flying saddled real eagle, covered with gold.

– Welcome to Vladivostok – The radio train announced.

The children jumped off the train, waving farewell to the conductor.

– My lions – was the soft voice of twin’s mother and children flew in the air lifted from their father’s strong hands.

Malvina and Alex shouted with joy:

– Mom, Mom, Dad!

Lunaroza watched them as an old man approached her. The man had black eyes, a tanned face, and a white beard. It was her wonderful grandfather. Lunaroza bowed and grabbed her grandfather’s hand.

– Lunaroza -Malvina shouted, and ran towards her, to give her the golden hair clip as a token of their friendship- We will call it ‘The Golden Seal.’

Lunaroza embraced her girlfriend and replied:

– When the winter passes, with my grandfather we’ll take you to the blue pearl of Siberia, wait for us.

-Yes, yes –exclaimed the twins.

The next morning Alex and Malvina told their parents about the fairy-tale trip. At this moment their pet friend Tiger shrugged and smirked. The Siberian cat was missing his young masters and did not separate from them.

Long sleds, games in the Siberian steppes, hunting with local hunters, watching the sunrise and of the sunset, alternating the days with nights, the nights with days. The snow has melted, trees grew green, Tiger was running under the sun in the big yard, and Malvina and Alex were swinging.

– Alex, I’m reaching the sky, see how high I’m swinging- the warm, tender voice of Malvina was spreading.

The race in the swing was in high gear when a familiar voice was heard:

– Malvina, Alex – get out of the cradle, we could fly higher.

The children recognized the voice of their Chukotka friend and Tiger leaped around them.

Malvina and Alex rushed to Lunaroza and were racing to hug her.

Lunaroza’s face shone, turning to her grandfather, who was talking to the twin’s parents. The old man was making sure that they would agree to take the children for a little adventure with his helicopter.

– Grandpa, let’s go.

The children joined the old man, turned and waved their parents.

– By tonight, Mom, Daddy – shouted the children and they noticed Tiger (the cat) followed them.

The helicopter rose sharply.

– Now, we got to the sky – Alex said to his sister.

They were flying over the Siberian taiga covered in forests by coniferous trees and pine-like trees.

– What are these forests? – Alex pointed out to the pines.

– These are black spruce forests – replied Lunaroza’s grandfather who oversaw the helicopter.

Gradually lowered and the children managed to see animals, bears, deer…

The helicopter began to rise again and approached the Asian steppes, in which there was almost no vegetation, but they could see deer, antelope, and whole flocks fly mosquitoes. The helicopter made a slight bend over an island and began to decrease.

The young passengers took off one by one when the grandfather- pilot said to them:

– You have four hours for a walk and wait for me before sunset here so to fly back in the light.

The children hurried to the lake. The lake was calm and smooth, like a huge blue mirror. Alex and Malvina looked themselves at the lake’s surface and saw the reflection of their faces in blue-color.

Lunaroza approached her friends and asked:

– Do you want to climb on the little island opposite, from where the lake is like a small blue pearl?

The children were walking, and Tiger followed them. They have reached the hill and began to climb following the rapid pace of the little Chukotka who was tireless.

– Look here, look down and do not move. Look back in the blue water – Lunaroza said.

Tiger began to purr, to turn his tail and to look around, sensing that something would happen, began to walk around Alex, then around Malvina. A flying gull with pink feathers attracted Malvina’s gaze.

– See what a beautiful gull- Malvina pointed out the flying beauty.

– This is my girlfriend, ‘Rosalie the rose gull’ – said the Chukotka girl- Rosalie always finds me when I’m on this hill.

There was a mew whisper; Tiger began to wiggle and chase Rosalie, who was landing and flying, landing and flying repeatedly.

The seagull flew high above the Lake, and the Tiger again began to sneeze at the feet of his owners Malvina and Alex.

Lunaroza looked at the Rose Bird, closed her eyes and said something on a Chukotka language, incomprehensible to Alex and Malvina.

There was a silence in which only a slight purr was heard from Tiger, the Siberian cat. The gull fell and landed on Lunaroza’s shoulder.

The water in the lake began to rise like a volcano in the air and began to spin. In front of the young observers, the water-lake became a huge blue globe.

The children were perplexed at how the lake turned in a beautiful blue ball. The Tiger eyes changed their color; they turned dark and light green.

Lunaroza stroked the tender feathers of Rosalie, then the bird took off and began to circle the blue waterfall.

– Lunaroza, what is this splendid magic – said the shivering Malvina.

– I was born when there was a lunar eclipse in this hill. At the time the hill was a pink hill, sunk into beautiful roses. Then I was given the name Lunaroza with the loud wish to keep the beauty of our planet safe. I have shown you the planet through my eyes, through my heart, and through the rhythm of the magic blue pearl – the Blue Lake.

– I knew your name was magical – Malvina said.

– Magic – Alex repeated.

– This Pink Gull- continued Lunaroza – was born here, her ancestors lived here millions of years ago so to keep the Lake safe.

Alex grabbed Tiger in his arms and spoke to him:

– I will draw our Planet, as I have seen it here… – but his voice was muffled by the approaching flock pink gulls that grabbed and encircled the beautiful blue ball.

Tiger got scared and tried to free himself from Alex’s hands – the cat gasped and followed scratching then jumped to the ground and started to spin and move his tail.

The animal felt the approaching storm. Strong winds lifted the children from the ground and carried them into the air. The kids were flying with a flock of pink gulls, circling the blue planet.

Before their eyes were rivers, seas, oceans, countries, continents, the sun, moon, day, night – that was planet Earth and its companions.

Malvina started to touch the planet with her free hand, but the beak of a pink gull from the flock pushed her small hand.

It was the Earth globe with its entire splendor!

Pink gulls began to fly off.

Her girlfriend gull Rosalie accompanied Lunaroza. When Lunaroza touched the gull, the children landed where the cat was waiting for them.

Malvina and Alex went home tired, hungry. Their eyes still gave away the memory of the experience. Malvina was blinking with her long black eyelashes as if she were opening and closing the curtain to the big blue globe. Alex sat down on his little chair, set a large sheet of paper on the tripod and started painting, surrounded by their parents and Malvina. His hand moved quickly; the paints were changing, the colors were overflowing. The silence continued… The painting was completed with the words of the little artist:

– This is our Planet, through my eyes, through my heart…

Malvina kissed her brother, realizing she had seen the planet with her brother’s eyes; she had the same eyes and the same heart.

Il Sogno e il Mappamondo – In onore dei miei antenati, sopravvissuti all’orrore di un impero crudele

locandina-premiazione-2017-tr-copia

This was published in ” Dodicesima Edizione Premio Letterario Firenze per le Culture di Pace dedicato al Dalai Lama” in 2017.

Traduzione dall’originale bulgaro:  Kristina Baykoucheva
Revisione e adattamento del testo italiano:  AZ Language Services di Alberto Zaccagnini – Firenze
Публикувано в дванадесетото издание на ” Edizione Premio Letterario Firenze per le Culture di Pace dedicato al Dalai Lama” – 2017.

                                                    Cap. I

Il  Sogno

    La lunga fila di donne stremate e bambini vestiti di cenci, scalzi, camminava nel Deserto ed io li seguivo dall’alto, nell’aria come un fantasma, testimone del processo di torture ed annichilazione di una nazione antica che camminava verso la propria rovina. I miei occhi si posavano di faccia in faccia, memorizzando ogni segno caratteristico della loro stirpe.

    Mi mancò il fiato: la mia mente scattava come una macchina fotografica, e il mio cuore rabbrividì. Tutto questo sembrava vero! Aprii gli occhi, non credendo che fosse un sogno. Come era possibile vedere facce che non avevo mai visto e percepire il dolore della loro anima? Mi sentii così strana. Non era facile scordare questo Sogno, ma la quotidianità cominciò; ed era diversa, moderna, piena d’ispirazione e di nuove stravaganze.

    Affrettandomi per le strade della città metropolitana, tra i multicolori edifici vittoriani, i grattaceli di vetro, i bei giardini e il viavai delle strade, arrivai alla grande porta del Museo Britannico.

    Il mio incontro con le amiche era vivace, facevamo a gara a condividere i momenti di gioia della settimana trascorsa. Mentre visitavamo una delle sale del museo commentando i fatti storici, i miei occhi si posarono su di un’antica carta geografica dove, in lettere maiuscole, era scritto “URARTU”. Davvero questo grande regno era la patria degli antichi armeni, davvero traevamo origine dalla tribù Urartu? Non potevo non condividere il fatto con le mie amiche e ciò provocò racconti emozionanti, che avevo già ascoltato dai miei parenti.

    Raccontai loro della mia bisnonna, che, scappando nelle terre di Van con suo marito per salvarsi la vita, dovette passare la notte vicino ad un lago. La donna partorì a notte fonda, e il neonato fu collocato in una buccia di cocomero invece che in una culla.

    Nel buio, la donna bevve l’acqua del lago, e la mattina l’uomo vide con orrore il sangue sulla sua faccia. Invece che acqua, la donna aveva bevuto il sangue degli sgozzati armeni gettati nell’acqua del lago di Van. I tre riuscirono ad attraversare il Mar Nero, e a trovare una casa dove stabilirsi per iniziare una nuova vita in Bulgaria.

    Le mie interlocutrici mi guardavano ad occhi spalancati, come se non capissero che non raccontavo un film dell’orrore, ma una realtà, una tragedia realmente accaduta.

    Condivisi con loro la consapevolezza che fu in conseguenza delle tante crudeltà perpetrate dai turchi ottomani, che gli armeni sopravvissuti abbandonarono la propria terra natale, andando a stabilirsi in luoghi diversi e lontani, dalla Russia, al mondo arabo, agli Stati Uniti, all’ America Latina, all’Europa.

    L’amarezza del mio racconto suscitò curiosità nelle mie amiche, che non sapevano granché dei fatti legati al destino del popolo armeno.

    Tornando a casa, godevo del sole primaverile, che soffriva di alta e bassa marea, ma ero abituata a questi cambiamenti d’umore del sole.

    Avevo fretta di finire di leggere il libro “The Crossing Place: A Journey Among the Armenians“, di Philip Marsden. Nella traduzione in bulgaro mancava un capitolo, come mi aveva confessato lo stesso autore, che conobbi durante la rappresentazione del suo libro “The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy“.

    La sua dedica a me, “Ad un’armena di Bulgaria, cittadina di Londra“, era un modesto tributo alla diaspora, per mostrare come siamo sparsi per il mondo intero.

    Marsden è un autore straordinario per il popolo armeno: basandosi su fatti storici reperiti tanto nei libri di libri di storia, quanto in documenti, e in racconti dei sopravvissuti al genocidio, esprime la propria valutazione morale su ciò che subirono gli armeni nell’Impero Ottomano.

    Il titolo del suo libro, “The Crossing Place“, è significativo: ancor oggi mi chiedo se il popolo armeno sia di nuovo a un bivio: se dopo 100 anni la verità sulla sorte degli armeni nell’Impero Ottomano stia per palesarsi come evidente.

    Dovevo fare un viaggio in Italia, e il mio cuore era pieno di gioia ed impazienza. Feci una visita al mio fratello gemello e alla sua famiglia a Firenze.

    I colori, l’atmosfera, mi davano una strana sensazione, e il temperamento italiano si sentiva al mercato, dove la gente parlava con ardore e gesticolava liberamente con le mani per esprimere le proprie emozioni.

    Uno dei venditori ambulanti ci chiese di dove fossimo. “Siamo bulgari — gli rispondemmo —  ma di origine armena“.

    La sua reazione non si fece attendere: “Io so del massacro del popolo armeno, del genocidio!“. Perfino un ambulante del mercato conosceva gli armeni ed il loro destino.

    Visitammo la “Casa Buonarroti” — noto museo fiorentino dove si celebra la grandezza del maestro Michelangelo. La casa era pervasa dall’atmosfera artistica emanata dai suoi dipinti e dalle sue sculture.

    Nel giardino della casa si teneva un concerto: ci immerse nella musica di Verdi, di Puccini, e di Hendel, e i musicisti erano vestiti con costumi e maschere del XV secolo. La mia nipote, Liussi, attese con impazienza il finale, poi si alzò, applaudendo ed esclamando “Bravissimo, bravissimo!”.

    I miei occhi incrociarono gli sguardi di gioia e approvazione di mio fratello.

    Liussi cominciò ad osservare il giardino con curiosità, come se cercasse un posto comodo. La trovai seduta su un divano rivestito di velluto rosso con finiture in foglia d’oro, e non potei fare a meno di ammirare la sua eleganza e raffinatezza, come se facesse parte della famiglia della casa.

    D’improvviso Liussi mi guardò con i suoi grandi occhi marroni e mi invitò a sedermi accanto a lei. Mi prese per mano e, sotto l’influsso della musica classica, cominciò a raccontarmi il suo sogno.

    Liussi parlava lentamente, ma con emozione profonda, e mi raccontò di un uomo alto e snello che, in una città a lei sconosciuta, entrò con tre armeni in una grande, vecchia casa. “L’uomo supplicò la padrona di casa di nascondere i profughi in cantina. Il giorno dopo, due zaptié[1] entrarono e perquisirono la casa.

    La nuora stava zitta e la donna anziana indicò, con un dito, la cantina. I tre armeni furono decapitati davanti alla casa. La piccola bambina cominciò ad urlare e a picchiare la sua nonna sempre più forte.”

    Con un gesto, interruppi Liussi, perché sentivo la sua tensione. Ma lei continuò: “La piccola bambina cominciò a balbettare, a singhiozzare, e perse completamente la capacità di parlare“.

    Questo sogno era strabiliante, ma la verità era più orribile, perché tutto ciò era davvero successo, ed era la storia del mio nonno Ovanès, che viveva nelle terre di Van, dove era famoso per il coraggio con cui difendeva gli armeni.

    Era incredibile: in sogno, Liussi aveva rivissuto quel che era accaduto a suo zio.

    Mio nonno Ovanès era andato da un suo amico curdo che era fuori casa.

    Si era affidato alla moglie e alla nuora dell’amico per nascondere un’armena e due adolescenti, armeni anch’essi.

    E così, come nel sogno di Liussi, queste persone erano state scoperte e decapitate.

    Quando nonno Ovanès seppe quel che era successo, incendiò la casa del Curdo, salvando la nuora e il bambino, mentre la vecchia gridava aiuto nella casa incendiata.

    Mi invasero sentimenti misti di pena, vendetta, rabbia e compassione.

    È possibile che il patriottismo del mio nonno sia la causa del nostro “karma”: come questo sognare, rivivendo gli orrori del passato; o la maledizione lanciata dalla vecchia donna curda bruciata nella casa incendiata.

    È come se il nostro pensiero operasse su frequenze diverse da quelle della norma comune, quando sogniamo. I nostri sogni sono la nostra eredità genetica, che ci ricorda le nostre radici, la nostra identità.

[1] Zaptié: poliziotti ottomani, NdT

Cap. II

Il Mappamondo

    Appena tornammo, da quel concerto così pieno di emozioni, a casa del mio fratello, Liussia mi cercò per poter continuare il nostro discorso.

    Liussia mi chiamò per mostrarmi un regalo che alcuni anni prima le aveva dato il mio fratello maggiore, suo zio. Era un lume da comodino: un mappamondo con cui Liussia si divertiva molto, ad accenderlo e spengerlo, e a seguire i diversi colori dei vari continenti e paesi.

    D’improvviso udii Liussi canticchiare, mentre faceva girare il globo.

    — Questo globo nasconde il segreto del mondo, dentro di lui sta la storia dei secoli, la storia dei popoli — canticchiava Liussi, come recitando.

Sentendo che recitava a memoria, le domandai:

    — Chi ti ha detto questo, dove hai imparato la storia dei popoli, il segreto del mondo?

    — Me ha detto il mio zio Mardik: quando mi ha regalato il globo, mi ha chiesto di tenerlo da conto, e mi ha detto che se voglio imparare la storia e la verità, devo guardarlo, e girarlo, e leggere e osservare i mari, i fiumi, i monti e i laghi, e la bellezza del mondo.

    Il mio cuore tremava dall’emozione sentendo le parole che Liussi aveva imparato a memoria da suo zio, mio fratello Mardik, che ormai non era più tra i vivi.

    — Liussi, vuoi che ti legga una fiaba sullo zio Mardik?

    — Sì, sì! rispose Liussi —, e si sedette dietro il banco, posandoci sopra il globo.

    Accesi il globo e, facendolo girare, cominciai: <<Un giorno, il piccolo Mardik, seduto sopra il tavolino — dov’era il suo regalo, un globo–lampada —, lo girò, e contò: — 5,4,3,2,1, stop!

    Il bambino guardava i contorni, e sillabava i nomi dei paesi, dei mari, degli oceani; e continuava a far girare il globo contando fino allo STOP successivo.

    Sceglieva un paese, quello dove il dito veniva a trovarsi quando il globo si fermava, e cominciava a studiarne le città, i fiumi…

    All’improvviso, la porta si aprì ed entrò la nonna Mari, facendolo sobbalzare dallo spavento.

    — Mardik, perche stai al buio soltanto con questo lume?

    — Nonna, nonna, sulla tua faccia c’è la Turchia…

    — Oooh, vedo lo stretto del Bosforo, non ti muovere! La luce proietta questa parte del globo sul tuo bel viso, nonnina.

    La nonna Mari rimase muta, si portò le mani al viso, e con le sue dita sottili si toccava il naso, la fronte. Tristezza e sorpresa, esprimeva il suo volto.

    — Mardik, ti racconto del Bosforo, il posto dove sono nata.

    — Va bene, racconta: per l’appunto, devo scrivere un tema sul Genocidio Armeno, ma ne so così poco…

    — Accendiamo la luce… prendi il quaderno e scrivi. Voglio che tu racconti a tutti del bellissimo Bosforo, del duro destino dei tuoi antenati, e che tu lotti perché mai più si ripeta, quel che è avvenuto nel nostro passato.

    Mardik aveva compiuto dieci anni e sapeva coinvolgere i suoi amici raccontando diverse storie. I suoi occhi guardavano timidamente, come se si aspettasse che qualcosa di pesante lo colpisse in testa. Come per istinto codificato, attendeva il peso del passato.

    — Nonna Mari, sono pronto, vieni, siediti accanto a me, e raccontami.

    — Ero piccola, e ricordo il viso della domestica, la dolce Zoia, quando si precipitò in sala di pranzo gridando: “Hanam Elbis, prenda i bambini, ho preparato la sua valigia, partite subito, camminate senza guardare nessuno, per i vicoli nascosti: la nave parte tra due ore!”

    La mia mamma, Elbis, si avvicinò a Zoia, l’abbracciò, e le due donne piangevano. Sentii la mano di mia madre, e dall’altra parte la mano della mia sorella Arusiak, che mi tiravano per farmi scendere velocemente le scale.

    Sentii Arusiak piagnucolare, chiedendo dove fosse il babbo. La mamma non le rispondeva.

    — Nonna, ma tu, cosa a cosa pensavi, perché vi affrettavate, dove andavate? chiese Mardik, seguendo attentamente il racconto della nonna.

    — Non sospettavo nulla: avevo cinque anni e Arusiak ne aveva undici. Correvamo per le buie strade selciate di Bescitkasc[1], la perla di Costantinopoli. Sentimmo delle urla da una delle case, si parlava in turco, le donne gridavano si sentiva sempre gridare a quel tempo , la tua mamma mi abbracciò e mi disse di stare zitta e di chiudere gli occhi.

    Arusiak aveva preso la mamma per la mano, correvano insieme.

    Ormai senza fiato, tutt’e due si fermarono dietro un albero per riposarsi.

    Ci rimettemmo in cammino ed arrivammo alla nave.

    Mi dovevo essere addormentata nelle braccia della mamma, perché quando mi svegliai, cercavo di mantenermi in equilibrio, ma era difficile: noi dondolavamo, e la nave navigava.

    La mamma mi diede pane e formaggio — avevo tanta fame.

    Arusiak mi baciò, e con gioia mi disse che andavamo in un nuovo paese, e che il babbo ci aspettava lì.

    Passarono gli anni, ero cresciuta ormai, e conoscevo la terribile verità, la crudeltà di chi rubò la gioia, l’orgoglio e il talento della nostra nazione cristiana.

    Per tanti secoli gli armeni erano stati architetti, pittori, compositori, soldati, intellettuali, artigiani… ma tutto ciò si fermò con il massacro di massa.

    Orrendi, feroci governanti organizzarono lunghe deportazioni di armeni dalla Turchia al deserto di Der Zor, in Siria. È difficile raccontarti della crudeltà, delle vittime, del trauma rimasto negli occhi di ogni sopravvissuta armena, testimone di quel che è successo.

    Gli uomini combattevano, ma era impossibile vincere contro quell’armata di migliaia di soldati.

    Più tardi, quando mi stabilii qui, in questa bella città, sul solito Mar Nero, tutti parlavano di quel che stava succedendo in Turchia, e continuamente cercavano di rintracciare parenti, amici…, con la speranza che fossero ancora vivi.

    La mamma piangeva di nascosto, io capivo, ma ero incapace di calmarla.

    Non capivo perché gli occhi della mamma, nonostante che fossimo salvi, fossero così spesso tristi e pensierosi, come se la sua mente si trasferisse altrove; e solo qualche spavento riusciva a riportarla indietro da questo suo “assentarsi”.

    Mardik s’intristì ed abbracciò la sua nonna.

    — Nonna, sono state sconfitte queste cattive, orribili persone? >>

– – –

    Nella classe regnava il silenzio, non si udiva che la voce della professoressa, che leggeva, ed ogni tanto guardava i suoi alunni come se cercasse la risposta nei loro occhi.

    La professoressa fece una pausa, poi terminò con l’ultima frase del racconto:

     — Questo è il racconto della mia nonna, nei cui occhi vedo non soltanto tristezza ma anche la forza dell’universo intero.

    La professoressa chiuse il quaderno, guardò d’intorno e chiese:

    — Indovinate di chi è questo tema?

    — Di Mardik, di Mardik , di Mardik! — gridarono insieme i bambini.

    Mardik leggeva nella biblioteca Etchmiadzin, ed era come se udisse le voci dei suoi compagni, nonostante che fossero passati quindici anni.

    S’interessava di antropologia, il ciclo della natura lo attraeva, come anche le scienze matematiche, ma, codificata in lui, la percezione armena del tragico passato dei suoi antenati gridava nella coscienza del giovane uomo con la voce della nonna Mari.

    Rimise a posto le opere dei fratelli Alexinian — i noti fisici —, si alzò, e cominciò a cercare qualcosa negli scaffali pieni di libri di storia. File di scaffali si susseguivano con scritte come: “L’Impero Ottomano”, “Il Genocidio Armeno”, “Resoconti Fotografici”.

    Tirò fuori uno dei tanti libri, e ne sfogliò le pagine: ed era come se le foto in bianco e nero lo colpissero in viso. Immagini terribili di gente affamata, di scheletri di donne e bambini, di morti…

    Si allontanò con un libro in mano, e vide un grande mappamondo. Come negli anni dell’infanzia, lo fece girare, e i ricordi si riaffacciarono, avvicendandosi nella sua mente. I suoi occhi si spostavano di continente in continente, di paese di paese… però i fiumi, i fiumi erano ancora rossi…

    — Girate per il mondo, giovane? — lo scosse, piacevole, una voce femminile.

    Mardik si vide davanti una donna di mezza età, dal viso allungato e dal raffinato portamento. Con le sue conoscenze di antropologia, subito la riconobbe come indoeuropea.

– – –

    — Benvenuti a New York; le temperature sono primaverili, Vi auguriamo una buona permanenza. Vi ringraziamo di aver volato con Air Armenia.

    Mardik aprì la cappelliera, prese la piccola valigia, sorrise alla hostess e guardò dall’alto dell’aeroplano. Una brezza soave l’accarezzò in volto, la brezza della speranza che presto avrebbe camminato sul tappeto rosso del Tribeca Film Festival.

    Le persone andavano e venivano, passavano belle donne con vestiti lunghi decorati con pietre luccicanti, uomini in frac, giornalisti, fotografi… si respirava un’atmosfera di festa.

    Mardik senti l’annuncio della proiezione di “Intent to Destroy” e vide la faccia sorridente di Joe Berlinger. Camminava sul tappeto rosso, abbagliato dai proiettori; camminò con modestia per la sua strada fino alla porta, dietro la quale lo aspettava il documentario sul Genocidio armeno.

    Le luci si spensero, suonava dolce una canzone armena, e sullo schermo apparve una foto in bianco e nero con un furgone pieno fino al tetto di bambini e donne in stracci.

    Le inquadrature cambiavano, anziani raccontavano… a un tratto Mardik ricordò la sua nonna Mari. Le voci dei protagonisti del film s’intrecciavano con la voce di nonna Mari.

    Il film terminò, le luci si accesero, nessuno si muoveva dal suo posto. Silenzio.

    Poi, pian piano, la gente cominciò ad alzarsi in piedi e ad applaudire. Mardik si girò, e vide accanto a sé una donna anziana con le lacrime agli occhi.

    Il suo cellulare suonò, una voce dolce lo cercò: una parente. S’incontrarono in uno dei quartieri più belli e ordinati di New York.

    Due belle donne lo abbracciarono e lo portarono in una splendida casa. Erano gemelle, d’un’incredibile bellezza.

    — Mardik, sei l’unico parente che conosciamo dalla parte di nonna Mari, la tua nonna.

    Le due donne facevano a gara a parlare, ed era difficile seguire il filo del discorso, mentre passavano dall’inglese, all’armeno e di nuovo all’inglese.

    Mardik raccontò la sua storia, e mostrò loro una foto di famiglia con l’amata nonna Mari. Le ragazze guardarono e all’unisono esclamarono:

    — Incredibile! Lei è la nostra nonna spiccicata: eh, certo: sono cugine…!

    Anche loro tirarono fuori una delle proprie tantissime fotografie. Da una delle foto, lo guardava una donna più giovane della sua nonna. Mardik guardò le sue bellissime cugine e disse:

    — Anche nei suoi occhi vedo la tristezza delle armene e l’amore e la forza del cosmo.

    Oggi, per la prima volta, ho sentito in cuore la speranza, mentre camminavo sul tappeto rosso e guardavo il film di Joe Berlinger.

    Camminavo sul tappeto della verità, del riconoscimento, della consolazione.

    So già che tutti noi saremo liberi, un giorno, di condividere la nostra tragedia coi nipoti dei nostri assassini: che loro piangeranno, e che i loro cuori batteranno per l’ingiustizia perpetrata dai loro antenati.

    Chiederanno perdono a noi, i giovani armeni, riconosceranno quel che è successo e lo condanneranno.

    Vorrei essere un falco, e volare, e girare, donando pace e amore.

    Le due donne lo guardavano sorprese, ed alla finestra si sentì un picchettìo: si girarono e videro un falco appollaiato sul davanzale.

— FINE —

[1] In turco: Beşiktaş, NdT