The Whale Song
Once upon a time in a far away land lived an old sailor with his young 8-year-old grandson in a small fishing village. This land was called Alfar, and it lay between fjords and mountains covered with perpetual snow. The wind echoed across the forests causing the leaves to rustle, like waves breaking on the rocky shores. Every night they could hear the raging sea battling and crashing against the cliffs, the sound was so deafening that it overwhelmed their spirits. It was a stunning land, yet wild and untamed. The villagers had an immense respect for this place thus they honoured it and also all the creatures that lived in it.
Though the villagers lived in harmony with the sea, still the latter could be treacherous and take away children from unaware parents to the deep blue land. There was a small cave between the cliffs and next to a rocky beach; a cave that villagers believed was cursed by sea nymphs, as many people had disappeared when they dared to enter inside it. The child was a very curious little man and he always asked his grandfather about the cursed cave. He believed in his childish imagination that it held secrets and unimaginable treasures, but his grandfather warned him relentlessly about the dangers of that place and made him promise that he shall never go there. The boy loved his grandfather dearly and wished no preoccupation overthrow his poor soul, so he was obedient and stayed away from the mysterious cave.
One day, the boy was collecting shells in the beach and when allowed by the naughty waves, he was able to catch some crabs for a feisty dinner later in the evening with his grandfather and other villagers. He was thinking how proud his grandfather would be when he showed him all the delicious crabs that he had caught by himself. Perhaps now he would be given the chance to become a real fisherman from the village of Alfar. Lost in his reveries, the boy did not notice that a huge wave was coming to shatter his fantasies. It came with force and crashed without mercy against the small wooden bucket where the child so meticulously had put his crabs some moments ago. The child saw with anguish how the little creatures were running back to freedom and rapidly burrowing themselves in the sand and underneath rocks. The boy cried disconsolately as he believed his grandfather would be disappointed and not allow him to become a fisherman, for who could be a fisherman when you cannot even catch those little ones? The boy felt ashamed and sadly began to walk back to the village and tell the dreadful news to his grandfather. While walking he suddenly heard a distant melancholic sound. His curious nature pushed him to look for the creature or nymph that was making this mysterious music. As the boy approached, he noticed that the sound was coming from the cave. He was startled and was ready to go back home but the music became more beautiful and drew him to the cave, as if a spell was cast on the child.
When the child reached cave, it was dark and a strong smell of rotting algae penetrated his nostrils. There was nothing extraordinary about the place and he thought that perhaps the villagers, including his grandfather, were afraid without reason. He laughed and decided that this will be his new playing and hiding place. He began again to daydream about pirates and treasures, and decided that he urgently needed to plan an exploration expedition to this place, possibly a map was hiding somewhere near the shore. He was determined not to tell anyone, not even his friends about this discovery. The boy grabbed a kelp leaf and started to imagine that it was a treasure map. He went deeper into the cave, looking in every corner and underneath every rock for any possible sign of this glorious treasure. The child was not aware that it was becoming late and the tide was high. Without noticing it, the sea took him away rapidly and with fury, and his poor child body was swirling and he could barely reach the surface. He believed he was going to die, more water was entering his small lungs, drowning him slowly. Despite all the turmoil underneath the water, he still could hear the beautiful song and felt that something was getting closer to him. Suddenly a massive and majestic black figure with two flippers was approaching the child, it was blue with beautiful penetrating brown eyes and it was all covered with barnacles. The mouth was gigantic but with the sweetest smile, it had a strange hole on his head and its tale was longer than the fisherman’s boats. Despite its size, the boy was not afraid for he could see its pureness and kindness and he knew that it intended to help him. The creature softly pushed the boy with his flipper towards the surface and led him slowly to shallow waters. The boy was gasping but he was able to swim. When he turned around he could not longer see it. He was heartened by its kindness; it has saved his live from a certain death. Unexpectedly, while he was gazing the horizon he saw the creature jumping out from the water and an abrupt splash roared in the sea. Surprisingly, there were more of them coming out from the water, and they continued to sing with strength their resplendent song, a song that will always echo in the heart of the young boy. The boy was still in the water when he started to feel a tingling in all his body. It became stronger every second and when he looked at his arms, he saw that they turned into flippers. He was becoming one of them.
The grandfather and the villagers looked for the boy in every corner of Alfar but he was never found. After many days they found his wooden bucket next to the cave. Now, there was no doubt that he was taken by sea nymphs into a place that they could not follow. Little did they know, that the boy and the other children that had disappeared where close to them, for they were the creatures that protected the shores of Alfar. They were the sea nymphs, which sang their eternal song under the horizon sunset.
Submitted by: Laura De Luca