Thursday, October 17, 2019

The lion and the mosquitoes

Stories and News No. 1177
 
At home, on this planet, somewhere.

A man and his son meet again for dinner in the kitchen after their respective paths during the day, both fueled by an unshakable faith in the belief that however the day goes, at the end of the journey one will be there for the other.
Because that, forever, it is exactly what Hanna, wife and mother left behind, would have wished for, on the umpteenth travel towards the promised survival, even before the land.
Yohaness is ten years old and his eyes, of size and depth nourished by a burning desire for lightness, confirm that.
At the same time, however, the thick wrinkles that sometimes ruffle the forehead sound out of time with the necessary joviality on the face.
It is a real pity, but that is the price that is paid by those forced to experience the roughness of life ahead their natural trip. On the other hand, you can shell out this unfair toll in far worse ways.
"What’s up?" Ephrem asks his son. "You're particularly thoughtful tonight."
The child swallows another sip of soup and then, with a theatrical gesture, puts the spoon on the table.
Aware of the importance of the moment, the father does the same and leans on the back of the chair, widening his ears and heart, as if the former were directly connected with the latter.
"Today the teacher read us a fable by Aesop, a writer from ancient Greece."

"Beautiful. But why that face? Didn't you like it? "
"Yes, I liked it a lot."
"So what's wrong?"
"It’s what the teacher said immediately after."
"What she said?"
"She explained to us that fairy tales are very important and, although full of imagination and invented stuff, they teach us things that have to do with the every day reality, today too. Even if they were written a long time ago. We must listen carefully and think about it calmly, she added, to better understand what comes into our lives. "
"It's true, your teacher is absolutely right. What fable she read you? "
Yohaness's forehead is always furrowed, but his face becomes less tense, since he has got the umpteenth confirmation that his father is there, completely present at the usual evening appointment, before entrusting the helm of the ship to the deserved sleep.
"The mosquito and the lion, this is the title, I think."
"I don’t know it. Tell me about it."
With immense pleasure, it is the underlying answer.
"There is a mosquito that challenges the lion to show who is the strongest. When they do the duel, in front of all the other animals, the insect settles on the snout of the king of the forest and pricks it several times, while the lion does nothing but strike and injure itself, trying to drive it away. So the mosquito wins the challenge, but distracted by the joy of triumph it’s trapped by a spider web. It’s about to be attacked by the spider when the lion comes and saves it."
"Beautiful, really beautiful. It looks like one of our stories, when I was little kid as you..."
"Also the moral of the story is beautiful, dad. It teaches that you should not be too bold because, exactly when you convince yourself that you are invincible, you don’t see the small obstacles and you fall down."
"Right, I repeat, it's a beautiful fable. But then why are you so sad?"
"Because later I thought about it calmly and I’ve understood what comes into our lives. I mean, mine."
"Tell me everything, then. What did you understand?"
The priceless eyes mentioned above expand and become damp, a sign that there is something vulnerable at stake, as well as serious. As a result, Ephrem moves forward and brings his face closer to his son.
"I realized that we’re no longer lions. Maybe we used to be in Africa. Surely you was, dad. And mom too. But here we are something else, I am something else and I still have to understand what it is. But the mosquitoes... they are always the same, everywhere. Their buzz is the bad words and the hate looks with which they attack us every day. They never have the courage to challenge us alone, they always do it in so many. They also don't hit us on our nose but all over our body, outside and inside. Especially inside. Trying to protect ourselves often we hurt ourselves, that's what it's like in the fairy tale. Some of them fall down, but most don't and I think the spider has already given up."
Ephrem is deeply impressed by Yohaness's words and wonders if he has a vague idea of what a metaphor is, since he has just made one.
Now it is his look that widens his boundaries and he is moved. Because, metaphor or not, the child's words concern him personally exactly in the same way.
Ever since they lost Hanna they have never been so close, soul that touches soul, respective sensations that merge and horizon that becomes very common.
Read it also as our irrepressible story for the future.
"You know what, Yohaness?"
"What?"
"Even what you thought is like a fairy tale, to me. And as you did with Aesop, I also intend to think about it calmly and understand what comes into our lives, I mean mine. "
"Well done, daddy."
"But one thing I can tell you right now."
"What?"
"The fact that here you are something else, but you have not yet understood what it is, is your greatest strength."
"Why?"
"Because unlike the vile mosquitoes, the spiders that surrender, the old lions like me and all the others, the day will come when you’ll be everything you want, my son."


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