THE STORY OF A KING

A king went to a Zen Master to learn gardening. The Master instructed him for three years.
The king had a large and beautiful garden, in which many gardeners were employed, and whatever the Master said the king did. At the end of the three years, the garden was finished and the king invited the Master to visit it.
The king was very apprehensive, because that Master was severe, inflexible: would he have appreciated it? Would he have said, “Yes, you understood my teaching”? It was a sort of exam… every care was taken to ensure that the garden was completed, that nothing was left unfinished. And only then did the king bring the Master to come.
But immediately the Master was saddened. He looked around, went from one side of the garden to the other, and his face became more and more serious. The king was frightened: he had never seen the Master so serious: “Why was he so gloomy? Did I make such a serious mistake?”. The Master shook his head all the time and said no to himself; finally, the king could not help asking: “What is wrong, Master? Why don't you say anything? How come you frown so, and shake your head in denial? This garden is the fruit of your teachings”.
And the Master said, “This garden is too finished, it is so complete that it is a dead thing. Where are the dry leaves? I don't see a single dry leaf!" All the dry leaves had been removed, there was not a single yellow leaf on the trees, not a fallen leaf on the paths.
The king said: "I have instructed my gardeners to remove every imperfection, so that the garden would be perfect!".
“That is why it is so devoid of life,” replied the Master, “because it is absolutely artificial, it is the work of man: the things of God are never accomplished, they are always incomplete.”
Outside the garden all the dry leaves were piled up. The Master ran out, fetched a bucket of dry leaves and scattered them in the wind. The wind took them, began to play with them, the leaves rolled on the path. The Master was thrilled. He said: “Look now how alive this garden is!”. With the dry leaves a sound had entered the garden, the song, the music of the leaves blown by the wind. Now, the garden had a whisper; before, it was dead and silent as a graveyard.

STORY OF A MAGIC ROSE

Once upon a time in a distant country there was a family made up of father, mother and son. They were very poor and the father was forced to beg on the street. One day the man saw a rose different from the others, this one was of 7 colors: yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green and white. He took it home to his wife and son who, seeing it, marveled at the beauty and strangeness of the color of the rose: it could be a magical flower so they began to make wishes hoping that the flower would grant them.

"I would like a huge table full of food, a huge house" said the wife and so it was; then the child said "I wish we were a family of nobles and that I had a room all to myself." 

And this too came true, finally it was the turn of the father who asked "I would like to live partly with a family of nobles and have many servants".

All this came true but the little family realized that only one color remained in the magic rose: purple!!!! So they put the flower in a room, the highest in the castle protected by the strongest guards to ensure that the rose was not stolen. The years went by and the relations between the neighbors became more and more intense, they spent every afternoon together. Matteo, an orphaned boy, and his aunt Anastasia lived in the neighbor's house. Matteo had lost his parents when he was born to a sorcerer who had transformed them into frogs, but his aunt had told him that they had died in the war. Matteo spent his days in the orphanage except for Sundays which he spent with his aunt in the fields he owned. Not many years went by when the father of the family, which had become rich, was on the verge of death and asked his son to bring him the rose to ask for eternal life; but the son brought it to him late as the father was already dead. So they decided, mother and son, to leave the last wish to Matteo who wanted to know who his parents were. So he asked: 

“Rosa, show me my parents!!!” 

And immediately he heard voices: 

"Son, help us, we're here!!!" 

So he understood that his parents had been turned into frogs. The rose hadn't lost its color and Matteo asked: 

"Rosa please make mum and dad return to humans" 

And Matteo's parents became human again and hugged their son. Then they went to look for the sorcerer who had turned them into frogs and realizing that he had done it because he felt lonely, they forgave him and welcomed him into their home, living happily ever after.

STORY OF A CAPPUCCINO

"Excuse me, how much does a croissant cost"?
I have breakfast at the station bar, waiting for the 6:00 train, when I hear a guy ask the bartender: 
"Excuse me, how much does a croissant cost"?
You hardly hear the price of the croissant or coffee at the bar. So I look at the boy and notice that it is as if he were doing the math. After a while he asks for a croissant. But nothing else.
He leaves the bar, I follow him, I notice that after a few meters he stops leaning against the station wall.
My train hadn't arrived yet, his regional was almost ready for departure.
I approach talking trivially about the weather, the wind ... and then ask him: 
"how was the croissant?" And he: “it wasn't bad. Why are you asking me? "
I use the utmost caution:
 “out of curiosity, I didn't like it that much. However, I haven't had coffee yet. Would you like to take it together? "
He looks at me curiously:
 “sure, thank you, he's very kind. But I only have 10 minutes. Then I absolutely have to take the train, today is my first day of work ”.
We go back into the bar and I say to him: 
"Look, don't you want a cappuccino"? 
Accept. We consume and immediately go back to the tracks. The boy stops, sad look, low voice: 
“I know he understood. And I thank you because you didn't make me weigh it. Today I start working, and it is not the job I expected. But I can no longer weigh on my family. Because my parents can't take it anymore. I always have a few coins in my pocket, but now at the end of the month I will finally be able to take something home too ''. Thanks again for the cappuccino and above all for the grace. These are not things to be taken for granted ”.
 He runs to catch his train. Mine arrives almost immediately.
I leave with a sense of sadness, imagining how many people every day cannot afford even a cappuccino at the bar. But when this happens to a boy, sadness turns to anguish. It's not right.

STORY OF A SEAL

So far away from us, in Antarctica, lived a colony of seals and one of penguins.
They lived close together, but they had no relations with each other: the young penguins all played together, and so did the seals, but never mingling with each other.
One day the seals decided to go for a swim, and shortly afterwards the penguins also dived into the water with a thousand splashes, from their iceberg.
At one point a shadow appeared from the deep sea, threatening and fast.
It got closer and closer, and the terrified animals fled in all directions.
Only a small seal could not escape, wedged somewhere in the thick seaweed.
The fochina asked for help, but no one heard it in that general stampede.
The sea monster was getting closer and closer, and everyone had already fled.
Only a little penguin, hearing the cry of the seal, stopped to help her.
He tried to pluck the algae with his beak, and one after the other he had torn off most of them.
But it wasn't over, and the sea monster was a stone's throw from them: a hungry whale, greedy for seals and penguins.
The whale had smelled the scent of those two cubs in the sea, and his mouth was already watering.
Finally even the last seaweed was uprooted, and the seal was free.
The whale had already opened its jaws when the seal yelled at the penguin to latch onto its tail.
He obeyed, and the seal launched into a mad and very fast race, escaping by a breath to the teeth of the hungry whale.
Seal and penguin darted away very quickly, chased by the increasingly angry monster, and slipped left and right, now high and now deep, while the orca closed its teeth in very dangerous jerks, always missing them.
Finally the two reached the iceberg from which they had started, and in an instant they climbed onto the ice floe.
The whale was left with a dry mouth!
The friends of the two animals were waiting for them very worried, and when they saw them they made a big round of applause: Onk! Onk! seals did, flapping their fins. My! My! My! the happy penguins shouted instead.
The little seal and the penguin embraced each other full of joy.
"Thanks for saving my life!" said the seal.
"Thanks to you: I would never have managed to escape from the orca at that speed" and from that moment they became inseparable.
Even today in that area of ​​Antarctica penguins and seals live together, and their cubs all play together, because they have understood that by joining their forces there is no enemy that can win them.





STORY OF A CHILD AND THE WOOLF

Once upon a time there was a child who lived in the forest in a small box with his mother and father. One day the boy, whose name was Alex, asked his parents if he could go outside to play. After some time Alex heard a noise behind the bushes, went to see what that noise was and saw a wolf cub playing with a piece of grass, Alex immediately fell in love with it. He took it and took it home. When the parents saw the wolf cub, they were frightened and said: "Alex, what is that?"
Alex replied: "It's a wolf pup I met in the forest."
The parents were surprised and asked: "My love, you can't keep a wolf in the house ..." Alex replied, "Why?"
"Because his mother will come looking for him and he won't be so happy that we took his son," replied his mother.
Alex said: "But, Mom, I've always wanted to have an animal to love ..."
The mother thought about it together with the father and together they said: "Okay, you can keep it, but only for a few days, until the cub is old enough to live alone". And the child cried out for joy.
After so many days the little wolf was starting to grow, the wolf was beginning to get attached to Alex and to protect him from dangers, but one day the parents said to their son: "Alex, you can't have the wolf in the house anymore".
Alex sadly said: "OK, but at least let me keep it just one more night ..."
The parents thought about it and said it was fine. Alex had packed a backpack and some food at night, and went off into the woods with the wolf.
The next morning the parents noticed that Alex had disappeared into the woods and immediately got dressed and started shouting: "ALEX, WHERE ARE YOU!"
But Alex was already too far away and couldn't hear his parents' screams until he saw a light in a cave; Alex went to see what that light was and saw a girl of about ten or eleven who was sick.
Alex asked her: “Who are you? Where are you from? What is your name?"
The little girl replied: "My name is Laura and I come from a very distant city".
Alex said, "How did you get here?"
Laura replied: "I was out for a walk and suddenly I saw that a bear was following me, so I started running and found myself here".
Suddenly Alex and Laura heard noises, they were scared, but it was only Alex's father and mother who were very scared, and asked: "Who are you?"
Alex replied, "She is a friend of mine who got trapped."
The sorry parents said: "Alex, if you want, you can keep your wolf." But at some point the wolf family came and they started cuddling each other.
Alex said, "Mom, I've made my decision: I want to leave my wolf with his family so they can live happily ever after." And then the wolf left with his family. The child returned home with his mother and father, Laura returned to her village and the wolf with his pack.

STORY OF A LUNCH

It is seven in the evening and, on the fifth floor, Mrs. Kapoor is ready to devote herself to preparing dinner. Like every night. At that time, you will be able to see her busy in the kitchen. The first thing you'll notice through the open curtains is the flamboyant color of her Sari. Looking closely, you will notice the graceful decorative effect created by the folds, similar to the petals of a flower. In many years, I have never seen her dressed differently. It holds true to its traditions, despite having moved here to Venice for some time now. He does it with clothes and food. Every day, at seven in the evening, you will always find her there, struggling with the preparation of Roti. You will see her carefully knead all the ingredients, expertly dose the spices for the accompanying curry, divide the dough into many small balls of equal size, heat the usual old plate until it becomes hot, place each cooked disc in a cloth after having brushed it with oil and close the flaps with extreme delicacy. His are habitual gestures. Simple. Family members. Actions repeated almost mechanically every evening. Year after year. Mrs Kapoor, every evening, without knowing it, makes me feel at home.
Mrs. Kapoor is a certainty in a world full of uncertainties.

THE STORY OF A SAD TOAD

Once upon a time there was a pissed off toad who was always sad. He went around and said bad things to everyone. Nobody knew his story but one day a fairy asked him something.
But he replied very badly and told her that she too was bad for all the others.
The fairy ran away crying and flustered began to look at the river.
The fairy had always done spells to help everyone but this time she didn't know how to do it.
She felt really tired and was crying at being so badly judged.
While she was crying, a small puppy dog ​​approached her asking for strokes. But she was very sad and apologized for not being able to caress him because at that moment he was sick. But she said to him "Come near here, I'll keep you with me while I cry." So the puppy came alive and started licking her tears. And as she cried the puppy turned into a wizard. And he asked her "What happened to you, sweet fairy?"
And the fairy replied "It was a toad, he told me bad things."
And the scowling wizard asked her "And why do you think she said all those bad things to you?"
The fairy thought about it and replied "Maybe because she is suffering, I hadn't thought about it, it must be so."
The magician took her hand and said to her: "You fairy have a good heart but at this moment he sees neither you nor your good heart. He is full of pain and he does not like his life. him. Go, go back to your house. "
But the fairy replied: "I can't be calm if I know that the toad is in pain. Maybe I got it all wrong and now I don't know how to fix it, I'm desperate. What can I tell him to make him feel good?"
The magician told her again: "He would not listen to you, whatever you would tell him for him now it would be all bad."
Then the fairy, disconsolate, threw herself into the nearby river. She could not swim and was immediately dragged to the nearby waterfall.
But at one point a huge toad leapt into the water and grabbed it. She was already passed out and did not notice what had happened. When she came to, she saw two big eyes staring at her in a sweet way and she said: "Excuse me, fairy, I treated you badly, you had nothing to do with it, it was not with you that I wanted to vent."
The fairy looked at him with her shy and sad eyes and then passed away. The toad didn't believe she could be dead. He tried to revive her but the fairy remained dead because this is not a Disney story but what happens in reality.

STORY OF A TENDER LIGHT

Your words, clear and clear in appearance, stun me. Maybe I'm the one who heard wrong, maybe you really said it, but I still can't believe it. I finally find the courage to ask you to repeat. "Four weeks" is the answer that, immediately, materializes on my temple like sweat that slides along the entire length of my profile, up to the neck, exhausting itself on the collar of my khaki shirt. You look down, but you look happy.
Now, listen to me because I'm not capable of being as good as you, smiling from the other end of the table, and not brave enough to repeat myself. Turn off. Put out the spark that burns in your belly, which in another eight months will ignite the projects we had of our lives reducing them to miserable ashes. Drown her in the bitter tears of a mother's ghost, let her not follow into this world. It is not to sadden you or to extinguish your hopes, but for your own good. "Mom" and "Dad" are not the nicknames for us, moody and distracted, who barely make ends meet. Would you say that my son could ever feel loved in my calloused hands and your soiled with paint? Would you say that his eyes are the same blue as your oil paints and his voice resembles the notes of my guitar? Would you ever say that we could be up to the task entrusted to us? I tremble for another split second when I realize I've already called him my son. I realize that I love him, out of nowhere, that I have given him a role in our future. Just as I would like to be able to see if it is as I imagined it, if it will derive order from chance, if it will make knowledge of our inexperience and of its own life as art, if light will flow from an incendiary spark.
"We will have a baby," I say in a faint voice that dies in my throat, suppressed by emotion.


STORY OF SO HIGH

Once upon a time in a beautiful city in a place where peace reigned, it was full of flowers, evergreen plants, little birds and butterflies. In this place Tibetan monks lived there who loved looking at nature and praying in the middle of the green. They had many birds and each of them had a name, but one day a golden finch appeared inside the convent walls.

It was beautiful, it had two large golden wings and two large paws from which 10 gold threads hung. When the monks saw the bird they could not understand what it wanted because it kept going around the convent walls. One day the youngest of all the monks clung to one of the ten strings and let himself be carried out of the high walls.
He saw a world different from his own, there were no more flowers but poverty, misery, darkness, the green he had always been used to seeing was gone.

So he called all the other monks and together they transformed that country into a huge green area full of golden birds and all the
colors, make holes, plants and flowers.

THE STORY OF A LADY

The snow was falling in large, wide flakes as she struggled to move, sinking into the fresh snow. She raised her head, covered by the hood she had raised in an attempt to protect herself, and watched the house on the hill glow in the night. He pulled a large cloak against his body and kept walking until he reached the door.
When she entered the room she found herself enveloped in warmth. With a sigh he lowered the hood.
"Was it really necessary?" She asked the woman who, sitting in the armchair in front of the lit fireplace, was looking at her.
"Mmm ..." Only the woman muttered, as she stood up and walked over to an old turntable.
Music filled the air as a counterpoint to the sound of fir logs burning in the fire.
Outside, the snow storm did not seem to want to stop raging, but there, in that room, everything seemed to be quiet and harmony. The contrast was striking.
He took off his cloak and hung it on the side of the door, then walked over to the fire and stretched out his hands towards its warmth. She might also know that this place, that bubble, was just dream magic, it wasn't real, yet her brain kept telling her she was cold after climbing the hill in the snowstorm.
“You knew it was going to happen. It was inevitable. " He said, turning towards the woman.
The record was spinning, playing an old song: a female voice telling of a lost love.
"Unavoidable." The woman murmured. "I'll kill him." He then added and the way he said it contained no inflection, it was not a threat, it was simple reality.
"No you will not." She said, approaching her and wrapping her arms around her, leaning her face against the woman's back. "You'll resist, you'll watch him touch me, while you can't even touch my skin, you'll watch him marry me when you can't even talk to me, you'll watch him possess me, when you can't even ..." eyes and placed two fingers on her lips, stopping her.
"How silly." He murmured, his eyes closed. "The betrothed of the king and his court sorceress ..." He opened his eyes to look at her, and they were splendid green eyes, the green eyes that he had sought in his sleep that first night and that had attracted her there, in that bubble in which they had talked, for the first time and for many more nights after that.
"My chains and my freedom." The woman countered, a smile on her lips, the song rang out its last verses, so bitter yet so beautiful, so desperate and yet so sweet. "He can do what he wants with my body, he will never have my heart."
He saw the woman's eyes stiffen again and then surrender as she lifted herself up on her toes to kiss her.
"This dream will be enough for me, this fiction will be my reality and, out there, just a bad nightmare, from which I will wake up in your arms." The snowstorm stopped howling and in the night there was only the sound of the crackling fire in the fireplace and the scratching of the tip on the turntable.

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