STORIES, MOSTLY TRUE
Ever since he started to walk, Johnny never stopped roaming around the house scrutinizing everything with great curiosity. He wondered what was this and what was that.
He had many questions to ask but nobody to answer them. There was no man in the house.
His Mom and his grandmother had no time for him and, what was more, they didn't know much themselves.
Growing older,the questions in his mind grew with him. Now he wondered who he was, what was he doing here and who were all those people around him.
Still no answers; only questions.
He had heard other kids talking about a man in the family whom they called Dad. Dad answered their questions and explained things, but most of all he was a big and strong fellow and “you'd better stop buggin 'em cause they'd tell their Dad!”.
So Johnny now wondered some more: 'Where was his Dad?”.
Alright, they had shown him pictures of the man. He looked so nice; good looking and dressed in a fancy suit. But he was very far away, they said.
Some pictures showed tall buildings that almost touched the sky. They showed strange things with wheels but no horses dragging them; and strangely dressed people, and so many of them.
Johnny wondered some more.
'Where was this place that looked like the ones in the fairy tales?'.
Questions,questions and more questions. But still nobody to answer them.
Jonny grew older and started going to school. It didn't take long before he discovered books.
Some of them seemed to have answers to many of his questions. What bliss!
Reading them he could travel to strange places and learn about strange worlds.
But still, there was no answer to the question that bothered him most : why wasn't his Dad home like other kids' dads.
“Don't worry, your Dad is coming home for Christmas”, his Mom would say.
Christmas came but there was no Dad. Perhaps, it would be at Easter time, or maybe later in the summer.
Christmas, Easters and Summers came and went but 'Daddy' was still away. So Johnny was just happy looking at the pictures. ' Maybe some day he would get to see his father', he hoped.
But he wondered: ' What was a father like?'. 'Would he be happier and proud about him like other kids did?'
He had found the best companion in the books he read. His imagination kept growing. There were more unanswered questions in his inquiring mind.
Winters and Summers and Springs kept coming and going. And there were so many fascinating things
to see in this, what gown-ups called, life. And life was a mystery to Johnny: what was it,who created it and why.
As the beautiful snow flakes were falling on his face in winter, he kept examining the shape, and the design, wondering who made them so pretty and why.
Questions, questions questions.
The cold winter nights.
The crackling of the burning wood in the fireplace and the purring of the happy cat that was stretched
out in front of it were the only sounds of the night.
Johny sitting at one side and Grandma across from him were just trying to keep warm.
It was dark and cold outside, that night. All day long the snow was coming down without mercy, covering the footprints of the day.
And there was no moon to shine on the pitch dark village; no stars to be seen in the sky either but only
millions of snowflakes falling down.
In this mountain village, winter nights were too long. And after dark there seemed to be little life outside.
But once in a while, a dog would be heard barking, excited by the cries of a wolf coming from the forest nearby.
The wolf was heard crying tonight, and grandma spoke: “Oh!” she said, ”this is not a good sign”.
“Even the owl was heard last night”.
“Somebody in the village will pass away”.
She was a very superstitious old woman. So were most women in the village, living in a mythical world
of spirits and untold happenings.
They had just as many unanswered questions in their minds as Johnny did.
'What was life. Why did it have to come to an end?'. There! Another question without an answer.
He knew something about it: When the church bell in the bell tower would sound softly every two seconds, the bad news would spread fast.
People would ask one another, “who is it?” And the following day they would swarm the church to pay their last respects. This was everybody's duty in the village.
Superstition was a way of life here. There were mountain shepherds that would forecast tomorrow's weather, and even the weather of the coming winter.
Even the chickens could make predictions after dinner: holding their breast bone against a light, people could see things written on it.
'Oh, things didn't look so good; the colors and shadows were strange. The bone showed that there was another war coming soon'......
Nobody dared to pass by the four fountains at midnight , the village main water supply. It was an open ancient building with two high arches in the entrance and the fountains far back inside.
'The water fairies would come out every night at 12 o'clock'. 'They were evil and it was best to keep away from them. There was no telling what they might do to you'.
But Grandma's fairy tales were always interesting. Some of them were true, too. But the true ones were
not so pleasant.
Yes, there were thieves roaming the streets at night. That answered Johnny's question of ' why do we have so large and heavy locks on the doors; and always a heavy log across the large door in the back yard and the very strong one at the entrance in the basement of the house.
'This was a strange world indeed', he thought.
O well, he could always travel away to imaginary, fantastic places reading the books he borrowed from the village library.
'Alli Babbah and the Forty Thieves' was a wonderful escape to imagination, and it all sounded so real.
Johnny's mind would drift away, living in his own world.
It looked much better than the one he was in..............
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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.