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Anastasia S. Parra
A Little Girl in the middle of nowhere lost
Her Happy Thought
Anastasia S. Parra
Translated by: Eva Melisa Mastroianni
This is a story
of courage and changing.
A fairy tale, a great adventure, a growth.
A nemesis, a social and personal revolution.
Passing through the features of the high-sounding French names,
you will enter in Alice’s Wonderland through its ventricles and narrow streets.
You will meet the Aristocats and then you will go back
to the 101 Dalmatians in a dreamy Paris.
You will encounter distant memories of characters
known only in children’s imagination, and
you will meet other real
but carelessly and unfortunately unknown characters!
In this story, you will cross a good part
of the vast and colorful world of fairy tales.
You will travel with few bags to fill
at every single stop.
Through a small arc of white roses, you will enter
the garden of a faraway fairyland.
You will enter a world that, in some way,
it belongs to us and leads us to the true reality
of our childhood...
When animals and plants were able to speak.
When a small stone could be magical.
And when every happy thought
could also come true tomorrow!
J. D. Goodman
To Joel Buton
When he was still a child.
When you could already see a little glint
If attentively looking into his eyes.
A glint slowly lighting in the darkness.
And from that fragile glint, guessing in him, little child,
the birth of his great dream.
This story begins in Paris.
One night, years ago, a few days before Christmas, while softly snowing and the first lights of the street lamps being powered off by a long candle-snuffer.
- Crazy things! There's people doing
odd jobs for living!
Madame Tussauds thought to herself.
Outside it’s snowing big twitchy flakes,
dancing in the wind and
in the glow of the lights,
before settling on the roofs and
the streets of Paris.
- How cold it is! What a rough night out!
Mary Jane thought, leaning on the fogged glass window overlooking the courtyard.
Facing Ladurée House, the residence of one of the richest families in the city.
And lastly, the street lamps on the luxurious entrance of the villa are powered off, as if even the light felt a certain subjection to the richness.
Coincidentally, the useless person doing an odd job is the one to ensure that eventually, the street lights on the road beneath that window are turned off. Where far away, he - maybe he’s the only one - can see the shape and face
of the beautiful and sad Mary Jane.
So, the last light in Paris remains lit on the landing full of snow
beyond Ladurée’s backyard...
Then there is only night and few stars in the sky.
You can make out a stealthy shadow, fast in the little and only light on. Maybe a thief beyond the gate? ... After an imperceptible second, the shadow vanishes into thin air, and
in the dark of the deep night.
To Mary Jane’s misted eyes it seemed to have bent like a caress or a kiss; she was still motionless in her strong melancholy, watching the snow falling.
Then there was only night and few fragile stars in the sky.
So, the last light in Paris remained lit on the landing full of snow, in
Ladurée’s backyard. Where now there was a cradle at the large gate, lightly resting on the soft
blanket of snow.
Inside the cradle, under a big blanket of heavy wool,
there is a child who screams, cries and
despairs; on the edge of the cradle there’s a name,
written with the painters’ bloody red:
The sharp crying of the newborn is like a magic flute, like an ultrasonic fluctuating and invisible call.
Lights up and awakens the other houses in the neighborhood.
It’s creating a small gathering of useless and curious people who want to know.
Even Mary Jane comes down and the guy comes up; he who switches off the street lamps with its long iron
now abandoned on the ground.
Oh God! How little is he!
Mary Jane shouted astonished, bringing her little hands on her cheeks.
Surely he was abandoned; let's get him out of the cold into the house!
Mary Jane’s stepmother falsely
ordered the housekeeper.
While she invited the priest to enter the house, looking at him with watchful and vile eyes.
Leaving out the rest of nosy neighbors.
The snow kept falling in large flakes.
Now, in the enlightened hall of the villa there were three people plus the priest and the little cradle.
They were all standing still, waiting for someone to start speaking, a task that was quickly acquitted by Madam Tussauds, resourceful and dictator, but also very scenic and theatrical.
- Insolent peasants! They creep even into
our homes to bring the evil fruit
of their sins! It’s incredible!
Isn’t it, Reverend? They have fun and then
they wash their hands!
Good lord! ... Peasants and poor people are convinced that your money can free them from their mortal sin!
Rev. Dumas said with his hands clasped in a vain prayer.
Mary Jane became all red with anger.
Don’t you think that poor people, the peasants
are just hungry? And they hope that here we could nourish and grow their son?
And who knows why and how much pain they had on abandoning him!
Mary Jane blurted out, nearly in tears,
imploring her stepmother with shining eyes,
who, however, was absorbed by a silent whisper with the priest and had not seen
nor heard the words of her stupid and hated niece, now her
little desired adoptive daughter.
In the meantime, outside it was getting snowed
stronger and the snow was coming down like a white blanket around the chatter of the curious...
It was coming down on the heads and hats of people asking information to the coachmen of the parked cab,
in that rough night out, near Ladurée House.
In the meantime in the glittering salon,
Madame Tussauds and Rev. Dumas
had already decided on where and how
little Jean Baptiste
would spend his first Christmas.
- The orphanage?! ... Oh my God, Madame! ... And you, Mr. Reverend! ... Christ! ... That's a terrible place!
Mary Jane had so voiced her anger, which was now unstoppable.
You should tell your daughter she ought to not use the Lord's name in vain!
Rev. Dumas promptly replied with
And you, Reverend Father... Shouldn’t you do good deeds?
The beautiful and brave little girl said with a trembling and fearful voice.
Mary Jane, shut up! Go to your room! Nooooow!!!
Madame Tussauds blurted out, possibly becoming more
ugly than usual and red as a pepper.
Mary Jane, although little, was well acquainted with the nastiness and pettiness of the adoptive Stepmother...
So in a heartbeat, she grabbed the cradle
and ran out!
She ran breathless as fast as she could,
towards the light of the Full Moon.
She ran a long time, without knowing
where to go and not knowing what to do,
nor why she had done
that gesture so clumsy and stupid.
The snow was still falling in white and quilted big flakes, as dancers for a music box overturned in the sky.
Dancers who, with their skirts, cover and swell
of a kind of bridal white
all the roofs and the streets of Paris.
So, in this story, in this long night,
there are still white flakes of white snow falling incessantly and creating an unbreakable and inexplicable connection
between Mary Jane’s and
Jane Baptist’s hearts.
Exactly this connection, which arises from
a past lived at the orphanage for her,
and a future snatched to the orphanage for Jean Baptiste.
Exactly this connection set out
under the light snowflakes
shortly before Christmas in Paris.
This unique and unspoken connection,
this embrace as fugitives.
Like a flake
tightened in this strange story,
it was author of a great little miracle.
On that night like two fugitives,
they found shelter in a barn, a stable,
among cows and lots of animals.
Clear is that the little girl did not know what to do. For the cold and for feeding the little Jean Baptiste, but above all she did not know how to make him stop crying and screaming!
So, a bit for the cold and a bit for
that sense of worthlessness that
for the needs of nature and life,
Mary Jane burst into tears and sobs that joined the strong ones of the newborn. Fortunately the barn was far enough away from the house inhabited
by the farmer.
STOP IT! We have to work tomorrow!
A big voice thundered.
A voice from darkness and nowhere, in the bottom of the barn where there were the cows.
Is anyone there? Is anyone down there?
The little girl’s trembling and tearful voice whispered.
More than anyone! We are a herd!
Don’t you see?
The booming voice from the darkness said.
No sir, I do not see anyone! It's dark down there!
That baby is crying because he is hungry and cold! Bring him here to us!
No! And who are you?
The blonde girl
asked curious and courageous.
There was an infinite moment of darkness and silence, while still snowing outside,
at that moment also Jean Baptiste
suddenly fell silent.
The two small hearts beat fearful and in sync, as one big heart.
I am Hélène the cow,
the white one with black spots.
I am Antonin the bay horse.
I am Fabien the black horse.
I am Geneviève the chicken.
I am Ernest the pig.
I am Faust the sheepdog.
I am Jean-Marc the rooster.
I am Cècile the black cow.
I am Geraldine the brown cow.
I am Basil the pony.
I am Ismael the bull.
I am Eloise the owl.
I am Bernhard the mouse.
I am Thomas the cat.
Stop it... Stop it!Please, I'm going crazy!!!
Mary Jane said, holding her head tight in her hands,
and her palms over her ears.
Get that baby down here, come on!
Hurry up, Mary Jane!
The cow’s gruff voice continued;
she knew the girl’s name.
The night passed in the animals’ warmth that fed Jean Baptiste and the young Mary Jane.
It fed them like puppies of the she-wolf, with the same udders of a same, single mother.
Warming them in that warmth much more than family.
That warmth called: Mother Nature!
They slept on the cows’ bellies and their huge and warm udders.
They fell asleep together,
like two newborn calves.
So that white night just before
Christmas, spent in the animal warmth and
under the starlight, it marked as a line drawn on the ground, like a street in the snow, the new life and the living path of the two innocent little hearts.
The Moon, enlightened for a quarter,
came out to a split in the stable wood, on the side where the two children were sleeping. Its clear light, like a comet star, radiated their redemptive faces.
Christmas was by now!
But the animals did not seem very interested. For them, the next morning,
it would be one morning like every other one, with the usual things of all time.
Meanwhile, in the luxurious Ladurée House.
Little Mary Jane’s Missing family former home, now owned by her mother’s stepsister and now adoptive stepmother... That is: Madame Tussauds,
the Gendarmerie had come,
commanded by Commissioner C. Monet.
What a something' to happen to me, a few days before Christmas,
Oh my God!
What are the neighbors going to think? What will they say about this absurd story? Damnable!
The wicked and sour Madame Tussauds, was babbling and begging loudly
to be heard by Commissioner Monet
and by Reverend Dumas.
Do you have any idea, Madame, where the children could've gone to find refuge?
Does Mary Jane have friends or relatives where she might be hiding?
Commissioner C. Monet
asked with a blank look on his face,
as if he were following one of his thoughts.
No, I have no idea! The little girl has no family or friends in the world!
Nobody’s going to stand that ungrateful little brat! If it weren’t for her poor unfortunate mother!
Madame Tussauds sighed continuing her painful recitation. Then she slowly started to talk again.
Ah! I’m too kind-hearted... I should have left her at the orphanage!
So she would have learned what
the hand feeding you means.
Then? Mary Jane is not your daughter; and whose? If I may ask?
the Commissioner inquired, attentively, following the movements of all
in the room around him.
She is the daughter of my stepsister and her husband, the infamous Count Ladurée.
My sister died of a strange and unknown debilitating illness.
Her beauty faded day by day,
she slowly went out,
as if carried away by the wind.
About the Count, I guess, you well know
the story of his diabolical madness.
The Little Girl was brought to the orphanage.
I still did not live here and when I came back, I immediately had the good heart to take the baby with me.
Madame Tussauds said, while Reverend Dumas nodded with his hands clasped in a monotonous prayer.
I'm not completely informed about this nasty story, please Madame, would you tell it to me?
And so saying the commissioner C. Monet
moved his chair and sat in wait
to hear this strange story.
- It all began with the slow death
of my adoptive stepsister.
The Count had gone a little mad, he began
doing strange and meaningless things.
He did not want to bury his great love,
he embalmed her, saying that he would keep her close forever.
I remember that in those days the Count was as crazy or invaded, perhaps demeaned or who knows what.
He was studying all day and all nights,
then he wrote; he wrote millions of formulas
which for me have no meaning.
Oh! But me, Commissioner, I am a smart woman and I understand things.
I know what the Count was studying! He was studying
the Magic... The Dark Magic, Commissioner!
More and more the Count Ladurée
lived in a straight-up fantasyland,
an impalpable world made up of visions.
He talked to his wife, as if she was still alive, but she was motionless, embalmed, a stuffed puppet! He talked to plants and animals! He no longer talked to people! He didn’t say any other word!He didn't say a word!
We are one of the wealthiest families in Paris, Mr. Monet, and we cannot afford certain rumors on our behalf.
We can’t! It’s trashy!
Oh!But me... I am a woman of high society, of great nobility and I know well certain things! So, I took my fur and my puppy dressed for the occasion and went to Reverend Dumas to denounce the facts and confess everything to God!
Then I went to the police with Count Ladurée’s documents and denounced him for his magic rituals and his heresies.
Thus, Count Ladurée had to take all of his stuff and run away from Paris, otherwise people would pilloried him as a heretic and / or Satan's follower!
Reading through his things I think he has fled to some distant or exotic country,
bringing the embalmed body of his beloved wife with him.
So he disappeared in a flash leaving their only beautiful daughter
in a shelter for orphans.
My adoption papers are all in the parish of Reverend Dumas.
what Count Ladurée left before escape his properly punishment, is all in his office; you can visit it whenever you want!
I left it as it was to facilitate the course of the investigation and now it is still as it was at the time.
Madame Tussauds said looking at
Dumas with a cunning glance.
It’s not a great story! ... It’s not a great story at all!
Commissioner Monet mumbled
beneath his long black mustaches,
while he was a long way off from hearing.
Her voice was too irritating for his ears. As a music that does not sound good. A scratched disc that stops the pin and blows up ruining
the melody of things.
Would you like something to drink?
A brandy or some coffee? Maybe some tea?
The waitress said to all
the guests in the salon.
In that night of shock-white snow
on the windows steamed up.
In this strange story, full of
It seemed that everyone, listening to the story about Count Ladurée, they had completely forgotten why they were there.
At that late hour in a night
a few days before Christmas.
They had completely forgotten about
Mary Jane and little Jean Baptiste.
They drank and had conversations again, about this and that, they talked about the weather changes and Madame Tussauds was a very good host. Then they drank a toast again,
making wishes each other.
Meanwhile, a few kilometers from there,
the two children slept with the animals in the warmth of the stable, dreaming of a happy Christmas.
Only after all the unnecessary pleasantries Commissioner C. Monet,
seemed to get away from the group, pursuing a quick thought that
it seemed to fly away and be unreachable.
Then, calling his Gendarme, he said:
Unleashed the dogs and look for the little girl and the baby boy all over Paris!
Arrest anyone who has not reported
the facts and protects the two fugitives!
Madame Tussauds and the Rev. Dumas nodded, as if Commissioner Monet
had addressed directly to them.
Unfortunately for the Gendarmerie and fortunately for the two children,
the next morning it looked like spring and
the snow melting fast,
hid all traces at sniffer dogs.
Sniffer dogs that, under the shining sun
of that morning, they found themselves in rivers
of running water to smell in vain.
Water followed its paths,
made of descents and slopes,
curves or recesses, and then puddles,
small ponds and canals.
Water, as was its mission,
besides the fact of irrigating the ground and
nourishing plants and all living things,
it was hiding with careful parsimony
the smell of the two fugitives.
It seemed that all Nature somehow protected the two children.