Story listed as: Fiction For Children | Theme: Fantasy / Fairy Tale | Subject: Fairy Tale / Folk Tale | Published here : 11/08/2016
Celestine’s magic stick
The small lakeside village of 100 inhabitants was a hidden gem on the map. The houses in this village were wooden with flower-strewn balconies while many swans were fluttering around the lake Kover. The village was located next to a mountain, which was full of trees. However, there was something strange about this stunning region.
Almost all the inhabitants in the village were quiet and silver-tongued but were distant to each other. The only person who was somewhat different was Mr. Paul. He was a musician playing the guitar. Mr Paul and his wife owned a small chocolate shop in the village. Mr. Paul had a great smile. He used to go to the cafes at least three times a week and chat with people.
Celestine was a 9-year-old very sweet girl full of energy and imagination. She was slim with dark curly hair. Her eyes were green yellowish. Her skin was very white, which made a small scar on her right cheek much more visible. When she was 5 years old she fell off the stairs in her house and got hurt in the face. The small scar is a living proof of that incident. Her family’s house was located at the very end of the village nearly up the hill. Celestine was trying to figure out why people were distant. Every day, after school, she liked to stroll in the village and notice people’s attitudes. She loved watching body movements.
On Monday morning she went to school. When she entered the classroom, she noticed that her English teacher was wearing a dark grey skirt. Her top was also grey slightly lighter. She wore purple glasses while her hair was tidy. Celestine was gazing at her and kept thinking.
Hm…, I can't explain, but there is something about the way she looks today. Maybe it’s the colours. Miss Jane always wears dark colours. There is no spark in those eyes.
“Celestine, is everything ok? You look pensive”.
“I am fine Miss Jane. I was thinking about our test today”.
“Oh don’t get stressed about the test. I want all of you to concentrate and do well. Okay then, I will write the topic of the composition I want you to write on the blackboard”.
Celestine noticed that Miss Jane used to move her hands a lot while she was talking in class. Celestine loved that. Miss Jane had lovely hands with slender fingers. She always wore big colourful rings. That day, her ring was purple. It goes with her glasses, Celestine thought. But still, there is something about her expression. She looks sad!
The topic of the composition was ‘Write about what would you do if you suddenly woke up in another village and no one could understand a word you said’.
That’s a nice topic, Celestine thought. She started writing immediately.
I will never forget that Sunday morning. It was raining and when I got up and I still felt tired. I got dressed quickly and ran down the stairs to have my breakfast.
“Mum where are you? Have you prepared those lovely pancakes? Peter, Kevin, John where are you?”
My brothers usually wake up earlier than me on Sundays and they are usually noisy making me wake up. But instead of an answer there was a strange silence in the house. Celestine started looking around the house. She went into the living room and she saw some people she has never seen before.
“Who are you? Where are my mum, dad and my brothers?”. She was frightened.
The people gazed at her talking to a language that Celestine did not understand. Celestine repeated
“Who are you?”
No one could understand a word I said. I had to find a way to communicate with those people. I started using my hands and legs. I gave the lady a hug to show her that I like her and that I wanted to become friends with her. The lady smiled at me and said something to the man sitting next to her. Then the man stood and started making funny gestures. He was so funny. I started laughing. Then the two other men started laughing as well. All of a sudden, my fear disappeared and I felt calm. Then I heard a loud voice behind my back. I turned and I saw my mum saying
“Get up you little lazy Celestine, it's getting late...”
I woke up. It was all a dream.
Miss Jane collected our compositions and said that we were free to go. The tone of her voice was blunt. All of a sudden, she was transformed from a sweet teacher to a faceless educator.
Celestine left school and started walking down the street turning left. At the very end of the street, she passed in front of the bakery. The owner was Mr Bob Walker. He was a tall man with a beard. He wasn’t always talkative. The bakery was small and always packed. Mr. Bob had the habit of standing by the bakery's door while his wife, Mrs Carol was attending to the customers.
“Hello Mr Bob”, Celestine said.
“Hi Celestine, my darling, how are you? Come in for a moment”, Mr Bob said smiling.
Celestine stepped in the bakery and saw Mrs Carol who was chatting with Mrs Joan. Mrs Carol was saying to Mrs Joan
“I need to buy teacakes because I like to serve them with tea to my husband. He is very choosy though. He prefers the ones with the triangle shape. I know it’s mad but that’s the way he is”, Mrs Joan said.
“Oh my husband is the same said Mrs Joan. He likes his carrot cake after dinner”, Mrs Carol said.
Celestine couldn't help overhearing the conversation. It's funny but we all have food preferences she thought. I also like my pancakes in the morning. Sometimes I think I could live by just eating some specific dishes.
Then Mrs Carol interrupted her thoughts.
“Celestine, how is your school going? How are your brothers?”
“I am fine Mrs Carol. School work is getting harder. Miss Jane is giving us loads of assignments for homework. My brothers are boys making my life difficult”.
Mrs Carol laughed.
“What did they do to you sugar?”
“Oh nothing in particular, they poke their nose into my life and they always laugh at me” Celestine said.
“Sugar they don’t laugh at you; they laugh with you. You are the apple in their eye”.
“I don’t understand why they are laughing then. Whatever I say or do is funny for them. Oh boys are strange then. They are all the same”, Celestine said.
“Don’t make overgeneralisations Celestine. When you get older, you will realise that”.
“Let’s see then whether I will change my mind in a few years. Have a nice afternoon”.
Celestine left the bakery thinking about the conversation. People say strange things. Is that the reason why everyone looks sad in this village? Or maybe not. She couldn’t find the answer, not that day.
The next day on Tuesday, Celestine went for the usual walk after school and popped in the grocery’s. The owner was Mr Tilkinson; a fat man who liked his food. He was always arguing over this with his wife Mrs Dorothy. Mrs Dorothy has tried many times to convince her husband to go on a diet but he was stubborn. They had serious wrangles in front of customers.
When she entered the grocery, Mr Tilkinson was chatting with Mrs Rose. Mrs Rose wanted to buy some spinach. She wanted to prepare some crepes. Mr Tilkinson said
“Are you a vegeterian Mrs Rose?”
“Not really, I eat everything but lately I prefer eating vegetables and fish”.
“Nothing can be compared to meat” he said.
“I like sweets”, Celestine broke in on the conversation.
“Chocolate is my favourite”.
Both Mr Tilkinson and Mrs Rose grinned. Mrs Rose said
“Celestine you are like all kids. My daughter eats jelly beans all day. You know though the saying ‘all things in moderation’. Brush your teeth dear every morning and night”.
Mr Tilkinson nodded and added, “Celestine listen to Mrs Rose, don't overdo it”.
Celestine couldn't resist saying to Mr Tilkinson
“Follow your advice then. Listen to your wife and stop eating so much”.
Mr Tilkinson was taken aback. He remained silent for a moment and then replied rather angrily
“Celestine behave. It's none of your business what I am having for dinner”.
Mrs Rose took her purse out of her bag and paid for the spinach.
“Well it's late I have to go. My daughter is waiting at home”.
Celestine turned to Mr Tilkinson who still looked upset.
“I apologize for what I said Mr Tilkinson. My teacher always says that we should listen to what we say because some people say other things and do different things at the end”.
“Celestine you’ve grown a lot. Sure, your teacher is right. But I am an adult and things are more complicated. Enjoy your childhood, my darling”.
Celestine was puzzled by this answer. She could not understand what he meant. She left the grocery thinking about this comment. So, is that the reason why adults look sad in this village? She couldn’t give an answer, not that day.
On Wednesday, Celestine couldn’t wait to finish school. It was her favourite day. She was given pocket money by her dad to go to the chocolate shop and buy sweets. Mrs Helen, the owner was an elegant lady who always wore very nice dresses. That day she was wearing a Casmir green dress. Her face was glowing while her white skin was impeccable.
Celestine could stay in the shop for the whole day looking at the different types of confectionery. All the sweets were on display while children and adults moved around trying to choose what to buy. There was a selection of different types of choc bars like choc frogs, choc pigs, choc pink hearts, choc skiffle discs etc. Celestine had tried all of them. As she was looking around the sweets, one of her classmates with his mum stepped in the shop. It was Robert. Robert was a shy boy and very quiet. Teachers at school were trying to make him become impertinent but in vain, Robert was still lowering his eyes every time teachers talked to him.
“Hi Robert, what are you getting?”, Celestine said.
He pointed at the chewy toffee bonbon.
“I also like chewy strawberry bonbon”, he said.
“Get them both”, Celestine uttered.
Then Mrs Nicola said abruptly
“Robert is getting only one. Which one would you like Rob?”
Robert scrounged the chewy toffee bonbon. Mrs Helen was standing next to the two children and felt the tension of the moment.
“Celestine which one are you getting today?”, she said.
“Oh I don’t know Mrs Helen I think I’ll get the choc skiffle discs”.
“I see… You stick to the choc bar selection. That’s lovely!”
Celestine scratched her head and left the shop. On her way out, she saw her dad.
“Dad I bought my choc bar, today is Wednesday”.
“That’s great go home now to do your homework”, he said.
Celestine’s dad was usually more lenient than Celestine’s mum. Celestine’s mum was strict and could tell right away if something went wrong. Celestine reeled out her choc bar and started eating it. The taste of the chocolate was amazing and the feeling of its melting in her mouth was exciting. Her dad jibbed for a while Celestine ate her choc bar.
“Dad where are you going?”
“I am going to the pharmacy to buy some pain killers. Your mum has a headache”.
“Why? What happened?”
“Don’t worry Celestine, she is only tired. She had loads of chores to do at home”.
“Was it Kevin again?”
“No darling, your brother is playing with your brothers at home. Your mum was tidying up your bedrooms and the kitchen, that’s why she got knackered”.
“I am going home now to see mum”, Celestine said.
Celestine was walking at a brisk pace while thinking about the incidents of the day. Rob and I got our sweets and dad was caring again. Suddenly Celestine realized that she felt her dad’s warmness. This warmness was better than the choc bar. A thought crossed her mind; is that the reason why people are sad in our village? People need a warm hug. Rob looked sad even though he got his sweet. I got my sweet but my dad’s affection made me feel better. Then, maybe people do have a warm heart but they do not realize it. Celestine couldn’t find the answer, not that day.
On Thursday, Celestine went to the medical center. It was busy that afternoon. Celestine asked someone who was waiting at the queue.
“Why is it so busy today?”
An old lady replied immediately.
“There is a new vaccine for people over 65 and it was announced that all those people should be vaccinated”.
“Oh that’s good news”, Celestine said.
“This vaccine though doesn’t mean that we will live forever”, the old lady said.
She sounded disappointed.
“I am 73 years old and I’ve got no stamina any more”.
Celestine blanched. This lady looked so sad. Celestine didn’t know what to say.
Suddenly the doctor came out of the main entrance of the medical center.
“The rest of you who are waiting outside please come back tomorrow, I am very busy today”.
The old lady said “No I want to do it today. I am frightened”.
“Don’t be frightened. There is nothing to worry about”.
The doctor sounded reassuring but Celestine could see the fear in the lady’s eyes.
“Don’t worry” Celestine said to the lady. “You heard the doctor. Come back tomorrow”.
“Tomorrow might be late”, the lady said. “Tomorrow is another day”.
Celestine stood there looking at the lady.
“Go to your grandchildren and play with them, this will make you happy”.
“I haven’t got any grandchildren. My daughter is not married. She lives with me”, the old lady said with a quivering voice.
“Come to our house then and play with me and my brothers” Celestine said.
The lady followed Celestine to the house. The lady sat in the living room and Celestine’s mum offered her a cup of tea. The lady narrated the story of her life. She was happily married in a nearby village but when her husband died, she and her daughter moved to this village. Her daughter has been wasting away ever since her father died and did not want to marry. She found consolation in gardening. Their garden was full of beautiful and rare flowers and plants. The lady's eyes misted with tears and stopped talking.
“Can I visit you in your house? I want to see all these flowers and meet your daughter”, Celestine said.
The old lady sighed.
“You can come whenever you want to but my daughter won’t feel any better. Nothing seems to please her, only her flowers. I have to go now. Thank you for the tea and your company”.
She left with a heavy step. Celestine felt pity for this lady. So, is this the reason why people look sad in this village? Do they all have a family matter that worries them? I don't know Celestine thought. She couldn’t find an answer, not that day.
On Friday, Celestine walked down the main square where two cafes the Toro’s and the Laro’s were built. Every weekend the cafes were very busy. That Friday, the president of the village was having his coffee in Toro’s café. He used to go to both cafes by turns. The president was retired. He used to be the teacher in the village a few years ago.
It was a sunny day and people were sitting in the outside tables next to the big pomegranate-tree. The president was having a chat with Mr. Paul, the musician. They were bantering when Celestine went by the cafe.
“Celestineeee”, Mr. Paul shouted. “Come over here for a while”.
Celestine approached their table and put out her hand to both of them.
“That’s a nice dress you are wearing Celestine” Mr. Paul said.
“Indeed”, the president added.
Celestine was wearing a smoked orange dress while she wore a hairband.
“Thank you”, she lisped.
“You know Celestine I was suggesting that it would be a great idea if we established a music night every Friday here at the cafes. I could play the guitar and a friend of mine from a nearby village could sing along”. Mr Paul said.
“That’s a fabulous idea Mr Paul”, Celestine said.
The president raised his eyebrows and said: “Very interesting. I’ll think about it and I’ll get back to you Mr Paul”.
After a while he said: “Well, he burbled, this music night might be interesting but we need to ask the cafe owners. Mr Hill..., the president winked at the cafe owner”.
Mr Hill came over and said
“Is everything ok Mr president”?
“You know Mr Hill, Mr Paul was suggesting to establish a music night at your cafes every Friday night. He could play the guitar and a friend could sing along. What do you think?”
“I don’t know Mr president. Who is going to pay for this service?”
“I am not asking for any sort of payment for this Mr Hill. I enjoy playing my guitar. You and Mr Brown from Laro’s might have to pay the singer”.
“I don’t know how profitable this could be for my business Mr Paul. Let me think about it and I’ll talk it through with Mr Brown”.
Mr Paul pouted and raised his shoulders and whispered
“There is nothing going on in this village. It’s boring”.
“Mr. Paul don't take this the wrong way”, Mr Hill said. “I said I’ll think about your suggestion and maybe we can come up with a solution together”.
Celestine looked at both men and said
“Why don’t you announce to our fellow-country-men about this music night and see their reaction?”
Mr Paul asked the two ladies sitting next to them.
“My ladies, would you like to go to a music night and enjoy the music?”
The two ladies were surprised and one of them said
“What sort of music will we listen to?”
“I can play any sort of music with my guitar. As for the songs, we'll make a decision with the singer”, Mr Paul said.
“Nice idea Mr Paul, there is nothing else to do in this village on Friday night”, the other lady said.
Mr Paul smiled at the lady saying
“So, you seem in favour then”.
The lady nodded.
Then Mr Paul said:
“You see Mr President, some people already like my idea”.
“Mr Paul, you need to have a word with your friend and we’ll talk again next Friday at Laro’s”, Then he turned to Mr Hill saying
“Mr Hill please talk about this with Mr Brown”.
“Will do”, Mr Hill said.
“Great”, Mr Paul uttered. He was already thrilled.
Celestine also liked this idea of a music event. This could motivate people to go out more often she thought. So, is this the reason why people look sad in this village? They are bored because there is nothing interesting to do. Celestine didn't know if that was true for everyone in the village. She couldn’t give an answer, not that day.
On Saturday morning, Celestine used to go with her brothers to play with other kids in the playing area in the northern part of the village. There was a slide, swings and seesaw for younger kids to play. There was a pretty wooden playing house as well. This house had two rooms. One room was used as a library. There were shelves with books and tables and chairs for children to sit down and read. Miss Rose was working there every Saturday helping the kids choose the books. The second room was full of board games and puzzles.
Celestine used to go to the library. She was reading children's fiction stories. She went to the shelves and started looking for a fiction story to read. An interesting title of a story caught her attention. The story was entitled ‘Mary's trip to dreamland’. She began browsing the book. One of her brothers came nearby.
“What are you reading Celestine? Come one and play with me. Kevin and John are playing football outside. I prefer to play a board game”.
“I can’t play with you now Peter. I am reading. Why don’t you ask somebody else?
“I want to play with you Celestine.” He nudged her to make her look his way.
“Don’t be stubborn, go and find someone else”, Celestine replied.
Peter frowned and left the room. Celestine didn't even bother to check on him. She was so absorbed in reading the story. The story was about a girl who decided to go on a trip by herself without telling anyone. I wouldn’t do that, Celestine thought. It can be dangerous.
All of a sudden, Celestine heard someone screaming. It was her brother’s voice. All the kids in the library room went in the games room. Celestine saw her brother pushing another boy. Miss Rose was there trying to separate them. Celestine ran towards him.
“Peter please stop pushing this boy. What happened?”
The other boy said
“He is cheating. I don't want to play with him”.
“He started it. He took my turn!”, Peter said.
“Peter, what did you do?”, Celestine said.
“He was the one who cheated Celestine, not me. Oh let’s go now. I don't want to stay here”.
Then Miss Rose came over and said
“Don’t push each other boys, you might get hurt”.
“Miss Rose this boy hit me. I didn’t do anything to him”, Peter said.
“I am not here to take sides boys. You should sort this out yourselves. You are big boys now”.
The other kids goggled at them.
“Peter, please leave him. Come and play with me”, Celestine said.
Peter immediately stood up and gripped Celestine's arm. That moment Kevin and John entered the room. Some kids told them about Peter's fight.
“Peter are you ok? Martin said that you pushed Tim”. Kevin said.
“Don’t listen to them. Tim is telling lies. Let’s go home. I want to leave”.
Celestine and her brothers left the house and were heading towards the central square of the village. On their way, they met Mrs Carol.
“You are wearing a nice perfume Mrs Carol”, Peter said.
“Thank you Peter. You are so polite”.
“He is not always polite”, Celestine said. “He had a fight with Tim today at the playhouse. He pushed him”.
“Did he? I don’t believe it. Is that true Peter?”, Mrs Carol said.
“No, it's not true. Tim took my turn and I lost”.
“Peter, it’s only a game, there's always a winner and a loser. When you get angry, it’s not ok to hit”.
“He started it Mrs Carol”.
“It doesn’t matter whose fault is it Peter. Playing a game is about communication. You need to communicate with others. Next time you get crossed, give it a half an hour cooling-off period. Then you can talk again and make things right”.
“You sound like my teacher Mrs Carol”, Celestine said.
Mrs Carol smile saying “I am a mother Celestine. My kids argue loads. The important thing to remember is that it’s not about competition, it’s about love. Love each other and learn to share”.
Celestine thought about these wise words for a while. So, is that the reason why some people look sad in this village? They are not sharing things. She couldn’t find the answer, not that day.
This Sunday was a special day for Celestine, it was her birthday.
“Happy birthday darling”, Celestine’s mum said. She gave a her a big kiss.
“We are going on a picnic by the lake to celebrate your birthday”. You are turning 10 today”, Celestine’s dad said.
Celestine's mum took the picnic basket from the kitchen and said
“Off we go then”.
The area around the lake was strewn with daisies, orchids and cyclamen while the sun was shining. The lake itself was a major natural habitat of enormous ecological value with significant stocks of fish.
“What a lovely day to have your birthday”, Peter said.
“Thank you”, Celestine said.
Celestine approached the shore of the lake. The waters of the lake are so calm she thought.
“Look at the reed thickets. The birds nestle there”, Celestine’s dad said.
Celestine's mother spread a clean cloth over the board of the lakeside table. She deposited food down the midline- sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, ripe yellow bananas, crisp green apples, small bowls of chips and plates of fresh-baked cookies.
“Come on kids, lunch is ready”, she said.
Everyone stepped across the table’s built-in benches. Celestine's dad got the thermos, and started pouring orange juice in opaque plastic cups. Celestine's mum passed around plastic plates.
Everyone was eating, enjoying the view of this gem of the village.
“I have also made a birthday cake for you darling”, Celestine’s mum said.
She took out of the picnic basket a birthday cake in the shape of a pink heart.
“Wow, it’s huge”, Kevin said.
“Well, we need 10 candles sweetie. Here you are. Make a wish and we'll sing for you”.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Celestine, happy birthday to you”, everyone sang.
Celestine blew the candles right away. She kept thinking ‘I wish all the inhabitants in this village were happy’.
“Your birthday present is at home. We’ll give it to you when we get back”, Celestine's dad said.
Celestine's mum was cutting the cake into pieces when Mr. Thomas passed by.
“Is there a party going on here”? he said
“It’s Celestine's birthday”, Kevin said.
“Happy birthday love”.
“Have a piece of cake”, Celestine's mother offered.
“I won’t say no. I have a sweet tooth you know”.
“Well, how are you Thomas”? Celestine’s dad asked.
“I am fine. I felt like walking. It's a beautiful day”.
“We never get an eyeful of this place. We live in the most beautiful village in the whole world”, Celestine's dad said.
“You are right”, Mr Thomas turned his gaze towards the mountain.
“I am going now, thanks for the cake. Wish you all the best Celestine”.
Mr Thomas looked sad, Celestine noticed. He didn't sound happy.
Celestine kept thinking about Mr Thomas' behaviour. Why did he go out for a walk alone? Is that the reason why people are sad in this village? They haven’t got any friends. Or maybe not. Some people like being lonely. I also like my strolls every day.
For the next couple of hours Celestine played with her brothers and mum and dad. At the end of the afternoon they were all tired. It was time to go home.
When they arrived, Celestine's dad said
“Go to the back yard and see what's there for you darling”.
Celestine, ran to the back yard and started screaming.
“Oh my god! A water trampoline. I love it. Thank you very much”. Her face was glowing with joy.
“There’s another present for you upstairs in your bedroom sweetie”, Celestine's mum said. Celestine ran upstairs as quickly as she could. On her bed, she found a set of brush and comb, pony tail holders, ribbons and headbands.
Celestine picked one headband, it was pink, flowery and glitter.
“Cool”, she said.
It was an amazing day. Celestine lay on her bed thinking about the day. She still didn’t understand why Mr Thomas sounded so sad on such a lovely day. She went downstairs. Her mum was in the lounge watching TV.
“Mum, can I talk to you?”
“Of-course sweetie. What's the matter?”
“It’s about Mr Thomas. Is he always sad like he was today?”
Celestine's mum looked at her and said
“It’s a long story”, Celestine.
“I like long stories mum”, Celestine said.
“Okay then, some years ago, Mr Thomas was a different man. His grand- father, who was a Greek merchant from a Greek town called Karditsa in Thessaly, became very rich and when he died, Mr Thomas inherited everything. His grandfather left a will asking Mr Thomas to donate a huge amount of money to our village and build a theatre”.
“Is it the old building at the southern part of the village?”, Celestine asked.
“Yes, sweetie, that’s the one. There was a special note in his grandfather’s will. The theatre should be built like the Hadrian’s library”.
“Who was Hadrian, mum?”
“Hadrian was a Roman Emperor who admired Greece and ordered the construction of many temples in the city of Athens. Hadrian’s library was a big library in ancient Greece. The building followed a typical Roman Forum architectural style, having only one entrance, with a propylea of Corinthian order.”
“What is proplylea and Corinthian order mum?”
“Propylea, Celestine is any monumental gateway. Corinthian order is one of the principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. In addition, this building had a high surrounding wall with protruding niches at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle. The pool in the middle library was on the eastern side where rolls of papyrus books were kept”.
“What is papyrus mum?”
“Papyrus Celestine is a thin paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant. Also, adjoining halls were used as reading rooms while the corners served as lecture halls”
“You know a lot about Greek civilization, mum”, Celestine said.
“I bought a book Celestine and read about Greek history and its civilization. Hopefully, we will all visit Greece someday”.
She continued saying
“Mr Thomas carried out his grand-father’s wish. The theatre was built. It was so beautiful. The board of trustees comprised of 6 members. The chairman was of-course Mr. Thomas. It was noted in the will that Mr Thomas should be responsible for choosing the other 5 members of the board. Mr Thomas chose the then president Mr Johnson, Mr. Johnson, the doctor of the village, Mrs Wilson, the teacher, Mr. Hamilton, the priest and Mr. Mitchel, a farmer.
“Mr Thomas was planning to put on plays and make our village famous. At the beginning, everything was going well. Plays were produced regularly and many of them were very successful. Many people came from the nearby villages to watch the plays. One day Mr Thomas suggested to stage a musical, performed by a music band, whose philosophy dictated that its members should be flamboyant in appearance. Mr. Thomas was widely travelled and open-minded”.
Celestine’s mum sighed and said
“Some members of the board of trustees raised objections about this suggestion. They said that their village was traditional and therefore, it wouldn’t be a good idea. Anyway, Mr. Thomas decided to finance the musical. Everything was ready and a date was set. The theatre was packed and when it was about to start, some people started throwing stones at the actors on stage because some of them were half-naked. Our country-men got panicked and some were seriously injured. The police came and many were arrested. After this incident there were no more plays produced and ever since Mr. Thomas feels guilty for what happened and the trouble he has caused to the village”.
“How sad! It's a pity that all this happened”, Celestine said.
“You know Celestine, Mr Thomas did not get married and he always go for a walk around the theatre area. It’s getting late; you need to go to bed Celestine”, she said looking at her watch.
“I want to learn some more about Mr Thomas mum”, Celestine said
“Another day Celestine. Go to bed now”.
Celestine went to her room. As she covered herself under the duvet, she couldn’t sleep. She brought back to mind what her mum said about the theatre. So, is this the reason why people in our village seem sad? Do they still remember what happened that day? She could not find an answer, not that day.
The next day after school, Celestine went to Mr Thomas' house and knocked on his door.
When Mr Thomas opened the door, he looked at Celestine in astonishment.
“Celestine, I didn’t expect you to pay me a visit”.
“Can I come in Mr Thomas?”, Celestine said.
“Of-course you can dear”, Mr Thomas replied.
Celestine came to the point and said spontaneously
“Mr Thomas, my mum told me the story. I think that the theatre should open again”, Celestine said with a loud voice.
“Celestine darling, this is out of the question’, Mr Thomas said.
“Why Mr Thomas? I know that you feel guilty because some people got injured but don’t you love this village?”
“God knows how much I love this village Celestine. I could have left right away after that incident and move to Greece, to my grand-father’s home town, but I stayed here”.
“Mr Thomas, people in this village are sad. I’ve been talking to them all week and noticed that they haven’t got a thirst for anything”.
“Celestine, you are so young and energetic. When people get older, they do not have the strength and the mood to be like you”.
“Mr Thomas, tell me about your grand-father’.
“My grand-father was a very clever man with a forceful personality Celestine. During one of his trips as a merchant he met his wife in London and he moved there to stay with her. They had two sons. One of them was my father. The other had an accident when he was twenty-eight”.
“Do you have a picture of your grand-father Mr Thomas?”, Celestine asked with a curious look on her face.
Mr Thomas went next door and came back with an album saying
“I’ll show you my family Celestine I haven’t seen these photos for years. We’ll see them together”.
When he opened the album, the first photo was a married couple.
“I guess these are your parents, Mr Thomas”, Celestine said.
“Yes love, this is my mother and this is my father”.
Mr Thomas remained silent for a moment.
“You know Celestine my father was a gambler and my grand-father didn’t like that. He was playing cards losing large sums of money. This is the reason why he disinherited him and I came into a fortune when I turned 18. My grandfather laid down a condition about this”.
On the next page of the album, there were some photos of a young boy.
“This is me Celestine when I was very young, younger that you”.
“Look at you Mr Thomas. You are a boy”, Celestine said with an innocent smile.
“I bet I am”, Mr Thomas laughed.
Mr Thomas turned the next page and there was a photo of an older man.
“This is my grandfather Celestine. Look at him. Look at this lordly smile. He was very proud of being half Greek. This is the reason why, he wanted to build a theatre like the Hadrian’s library.
“I think that you look like him Mr. Thomas”.
“I know; this is what my father used to say. I remember him saying to me I hope you take after your grand-father and become rich and successful one day Thomas. And I did become rich Celestine. You know I used to be a merchant. I was dealing with drapery. After that incident though I couldn’t work. I guess I retired a bit earlier”.
“Mr Thomas, I know you decided to stage the musical. It was a failure but please don’t get disappointed”.
“Celestine, you are very mature for your age, Mr Thomas said.
“Please Mr Thomas, try again. Your grand-father had the desire to build a theatre in our village. Please finish off what you started”.
“You know Celestine a child seems to be more persuasive than an adult sometimes. I think you are right. I’ll try to bring back the glamour of this theatre”.
Celestine jumped for joy.
“I am sooooo happy Mr Thomas”.
On her way back home Celestine was trying to imagine the opening of the theatre. She couldn't wait to get home and tell everyone about this discussion.
“Muuum.......I dropped by Mr.Thomas' house today. You can't imagine what happened. I convinced him to operate the theatre again”.
“Oh did you? That's a miracle”, she said.
The following days the news spread through the village. Everyone was holding back. The talk of the village at the cafes was this sudden decision. Mr Paul’s suggestion about a Friday music night was already forgotten. One day, some workers came to the village. They came to work by order and for account of Mr. Thomas. Their job was to renovate the theatre. They were working for many weeks and finally the big day arrived. The theatre was ready. Mr. Thomas went at the cafes in the square on a Friday afternoon. Everyone was hanging upon his lips.
“Compatriots”, he said. “This is an important day for our village. The theatre is ready to operate again. In one month we will inaugurate our theatre. A play will be staged by a troupe from the capital. We owe all this to Celestine. This girl made me find my feet again”.
Village life after this announcement was a long period of waiting. The inhabitants of the village couldn’t wait for that day to come. Mr Paul was invited by Mr Thomas to play his guitar while his singer friend could sing along on the theatre's stage before the actual play was performed.
The coveted day had arrived. The theatre was full and the inhabitants were wearing their Sunday best. Mr. Thomas appeared on stage. He looked haughty and smartly dressed. He said
“Ladies, gentlemen and dearest children, thank you very much for being here today. Today, is the revival of our village. Today, is the beginning of a new era. This village will no longer be a beautiful but remoted village. It will become a beautiful and famous village. We owe all this glory to my dearest Celestine. Celestine was the one who made me realise that I am still alive! This sweet girl with her maturity and energy made me lift my spirits. Celestine is our fairy godmother and like all fairy godmothers, she needs her magic stick. Here it is my Celestine, here is your stick”.
The curtain fell and someone appeared on stage with a box. Mr. Thomas waved at Celestine. “Celestine, please come on stage to collect your magic stick”.
Celestine was very embarrassed but happy. She went on stage, opened the box and found a wooden stick in it. It was engraved and polished. The audience applauded long and loud.
Then the president of the village appeared on stage. He started off saying
“It’s an honour to make a speech this day. Today, we are all here for a common reason, our love for our village”.
Suddenly he stammered. His face turned red and then he wet his pants.
The audience fell about laughing. Even the president laughed. Celestine looked at all those people laughing. Finally, everyone is happy. My birthday wish came true, she thought.
Then Mr Paul with his singer friend appeared on stage. He played the guitar and his friend sang. It was pure magic. The audience was enchanted. Then the play commenced. It was a classic drama. Everyone relished the performance.
The success of this performance hit the headlines. After this, the theatre started to operate formally. Mr. Thomas was the chairman of the board of trustees and designated the other five members of it. Their tenure of office was one year. Every year different members were designated by Mr. Thomas. He wanted all the inhabitants of the village to take part in this. Months passed and the theatre gave a rosy view of life in the village. Many visitors came to the village to watch performances.
One day Mr Thomas received a letter from a lawyer. His grandfather had written a letter and wanted it to be sent to his grand-son 50 years after his death.
Mr. Thomas opened the letter. His hands were trembling. He started reading it.
By the time you read this letter, you'll be a grown man. I wish I could see you and take a great pride of your success. I knew it from the day you were born that you are gifted. I could see it in your eyes. Unfortunately, your father didn't listen to me and went on the wrong way. I am counting on you Thomas. I want you to be a credit to our family.
I want to share a story with you Thomas. I never told anyone, not even your grand-mother. During one of my trips in Europe as a merchant I met a woman. She was old but well-preserved. We had a cup of coffee together in a cosy bistro café in Paris. She said she wanted to talk to someone and confide her secret to me. I asked her why she chose me. She looked at me and said ‘I know it by intuition’.
She said that one night, she went to the theatre with her husband. Outside the theatre, there was one young girl who looked sad. The lady asked her if she needed any help. The girl said ‘I only want to watch the performance but I can't afford it’. Then the lady paid for her ticket. The girl was very happy. The lady said that the feeling of making one person happy made her think about the meaning of life. She decided to donate money to a very poor village of her country in order to build a theatre. She didn't want though her name to be revealed. She said that actions speak louder than words. Nobody knew about this, not even her husband. She wanted to share this to someone and talk about how good this has made to her. She said that this experience made her realise that sharing is blessing in life. Then she stood up and left. You know Thomas, I was touched by this story and was thinking about it for days. In the end, I decided to do the same. I was rich and thus I donated money to our village to build a theatre. The only difference is that people knew that I was the one who gave the money. Nobody knows however, what motivated me to do it. It was the chat with this lady. Now, you know Thomas. I wanted to share this with you and please take note of what I say. Share your money, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, whatever you think that you can offer. I gave my money and I received love and respect. I feel that my life came full circle.
All my love,
Mr Thomas stood there unable to move. This letter has helped him piece together the puzzle of his life. He was miserable because he hasn’t shared his feelings for years. But now, thanks to Celestine, he had an aim. He wanted to make people in the village happy and he had accomplished that by operating the theatre again. It was Celestine who shared her enthusiasm with him that encouraged him to do something about his misery. It was his grand-dad that advised him to share. Everything was crystal clear. Finally, he felt strong.
He wanted to walk and breathe some fresh air. The best place in the village was the lake. He went there and sat by the lake shore.
Suddenly, someone tapped on his shoulder. He turned his head and saw Celestine breaking into a broad grin.
“Mr Thomas, how are you?”
“Celestine, my love, sit next to me”.
Celestine sat down and Mr Thomas said
“You know Celestine, today is my birthday”.
“Is it? “, Celestine asked.
“It's my new birthday date Celestine. Thanks to you I was born again. I owe you my life”.
Celestine was listening to Mr Thomas and said. “I am a fairy godmother remember? I have a magic stick”. She opened her school-bag and touched his forehead with the magic stick.
“I now transform you into an angel. You are now our guardian angel. I need someone to listen to my needs and protect me”.
They looked at each other saying nothing for a moment. The waters of the lake turned golden. A sunbeam was reflected in the waters.
“This is your light Mr Thomas”, Celestine said.
“This is your radiance”.
Mr Thomas put his arms around Celestine's shoulders.
“My Celestine, my fairy godmother!”
So, this must be it, Celestine thought. This is the reason why everyone was so miserable in our village. This kind of sunbeam has never penetrated the sky of our village before!
This story's current rating, and the Storystar rating guide, may
be viewed by clicking on the above 'Rate This Story' link.
| Send this story to a friend.
|Tell Your Story Now Read This Month's Featured Stories