Worthless Words. K O’Grady.
The Silent Fairy-tale.
Once upon a time there was a little deaf boy who lived in a beautiful rain forest. In his own little head he built his world. Alone and free from all the shapes of speech and words, he made his own private language but because he was unable to speak, the nastier animals in the forest would hurt him again and again. So without a voice he was unable to say “STOP.”
The nicer creatures heard the little boy cry a lot again and again but because they couldn’t talk to each other they could not say “Stop!” either. In fact nobody in the whole forest could talk to anyone who was different. The Squirrels couldn’t talk to the Monkeys, even nasty Mr Fox couldn’t talk to the grumpy Eagle. So in the end they wasted a lot of their days screaming at each other. Except for the little boy, he had been given a gift from the old witch in the middle of the forest, the gift was so special that it made him cry but also it made him very happy.
The gift was called imagination.
Every night the little boy would curl up in his favourite tree and sleep in his feather blanket.
Every night he would have the same horrible dream and every morning he would fly awake terrified that his forest would all be gone. You see what he had been dreaming was that a GIGANTIC MACHINE was carpeting the whole world over.
It would unroll a massive red and black carpet that even flattened entire herds of elephants. Squish. Squish. Squish. Even the mighty oceans of the small planet were coated with this horrible and ugly carpet. So finally one morning the exasperated and scared little deaf boy waved bye bye to his squirrel friends and went to see the very very very old witch who was the only other person who was nice to him. She was also the wisest character in the whole of the rain forest. When he arrived she was cooking a snake and banana pie on her campfire which was delicious. YUM YUM
The little boy and the old woman had an ENORMOUS obstacle. It was a very big problem. You remember that he could not hear and that meant that he couldn’t speak either. So when the very old witch realised that he needed to tell her something she decided to teach him to read and write. It took a very long time but the witches shop was very quiet as most of her customers couldn’t talk either. It took so long that he wasn’t a little boy any more he was a young man. In fact he had even changed colour. The first word that he learned was her name.
She was called Dolphin.
Dolphin knew that he didn’t have a name so the second word he learned was his own name. She called him River. He had never had a name before and it made him feel very special. Finally he explained his awful dream and how it had forced him to come to see her because he was sure that there was the gravest of dangers for all who lived in the little paradise. River was very surprised when she had told him she knew it was happening but that it was “The Civilised People.” They dwelled in massive places called cities and had little time or use for a forest. Apparently his dream was a pictorial translation of something that the people of the cities called pavement and roads. The cities grew by gobbling up everything that was around them and then the young man got very scared.
Even though some of the animals had been nasty to him River loved his beautiful home, He would wash in the morning in the waterfall and every evening he would watch all the animals yelling at each other but now as he had a language he felt sad for them slightly, even nasty Mr Fox. So as he watched the sun go to sleep he knew that he would have to talk to the city people.
When he packed his fishing rod and his feather blanket, Dolphin made him promise to come back home then she hugged him and gave him a pie to eat on the long walk. He walked until he came to the rocklike surface of the what he thought was a road. The next day he came to a house, there was nobody in, then there were more houses and a young woman screamed and ran away. River’s first thought was that they had no words either and he wondered if Dolphin was the cleverest person in the world. Then very strong men in blue clothes put him in chains and into a very fast smelly thing that growled loudly as it moved. They put River in a dungeon and he sat thinking of his home because these people were insane. The sun had gone to sleep three times and their food was not recognisable to River but just before the moon woke up a lady who was not in blue wrote her name and told him she was a doctor.
River discovered that he was a survivor of something called a war, he had been lost in the rain forest as a tiny child, apparently soldiers had broken his ears and his mom and dad had been killed. The strange civilised people did not care about his home but the doctor wrote one word for him. Spacers.
It took a long time o meet them and he became sort of famous with the civilised people, River got very confused by them and finally he went to his forest and waited for a spacer to come. One day as he watched the sunlight reflect through the leafs that made up the roof of his cottage he felt an incredibly loud roaring noise. A white streamlined ship came down from the sky and sat in his potato patch, he was furious until the old woman jumped from the ship and smiled to him.
As they stripped the forest from him he was shocked and almost ran away until one day river was strapped into a chair and they flew into the great nothing, which is what the spacer people called the place between planets. The crew Blindfolded the deaf young man and he felt the floor harden beneath his feet, then he felt the grass, it was also funny to be lighter, almost like he could float. It was a relief to know that all his friends and his home was safe from the pavement but he was very nervous about it all. Then he took the blindfold off and they were all smiling as he ran to his water fall, everyone even nasty Mr fox was there eating with Dolphin and she was teaching them all to speak one language, so in the holds of the mighty Asterio ship, River lived happily and safely ever after. The end.