Cuando era niño, a menudo ayudaba a mis padres en el jardín. Me acuerdo de como mi padre me instruyó a cosechar zarzamoras: “Toma una mora en la mano y tira un poco de ella. No fuertemente, solo un poco. Si está madura, cae en tu mano por sí misma. Si no se suelta por sí misma, déjala. Todavía tiene un sabor agrio.”
En la rendija de un muro vivían dos lagartijas, Margarita y Lucía. Lucía estaba todo el día echada en el muro tomando sol. Margarita pasaba la mayoría del tiempo buscando insectos para sí misma y para sus hijos. Cuando veía a Lucía echada en el muro, se enfadaba.
“¡Tú cómo gastas el tiempo! Si fueras lagartija decente, por fin te preocuparías del bienestar de tus hijos. ¿Qué es lo que haces todo el día allí arriba?” Lucía pestañó y dijo: “Recupero energía. De esta manera sí que hago algo para mis hijos.”
“Lo veo diferente”, gruñó Margarita. “Y un día te llevará el águila ratonera o el halcón.”
“Esperemos a ver qué pasa”, opinó Lucía y se desperezó en el sol. Margarita prefiría buscar presa en la sombra de los arbustos bajos. Pasaba mucho tiempo cazando hormigas. A menudo parecía cansada. Su vida estaba cada día más amenazada: Ya no tenía nada que contraponer a la rapidez de los gatos y a la de las comadrejas.
Los hijos de Lucía se volvieron fuertes y despabilados, todo como ella misma. Pronto empezaron cogiendo las arañas más gordas, los cárabos más rápidos y aun grandes libélulas. Pero lo que les gustaba lo más era echarse en el muro al lado de su madre y estirarse a la luz del sol.
In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.
Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.
He had stayed alone for years. He had tried everything. Now he wondered how it had been possible for him not to find a girlfriend, even though he had wished for one. He looked at the uncomfortable sofa in his living room, at the stained armchairs, and at the oversized couch table. He looked at the creaking old bed in his bedroom, with a mattress that was too small for the wooden frame. “The furniture’s not ready yet”, he said. He bought a new sofa, new armchairs, a new table, and a new bed. Three weeks later he met a woman with whom he would share many happy days.
As a child I often helped my parents in the garden. I remember how my father instructed me to harvest blackberries. “Take a blackberry in your hand and pull at it a little. Not tightly, only quite lightly. If it is ripe, it will fall easily into your hand by itself. If it doesn’t come off by itself, leave it. That one still tastes sour.”
He had been living alone for six years, and for six years he had been wishing for a girlfriend. He had tried everything. He had tried to meet the woman of his dreams at work or in a disco. He had met nice and beautiful women at parties and at concerts, but nothing beyond that had happened. He had answered lonely-hearts ads and placed ads in the paper himself. He had participated in group tours and had gone on holiday alone. He had allowed his friends to introduce him to interesting women or do anything they could think of which might help him. Hurt and frustrated, he finally told himself: “It’s like going up the smooth walls of a deep dry well. Whenever I have climbed up a few feet, I fall down again. My fingernails break. I fail, I fail, and again I fail. It’s hopeless.”
“Who knows”, he now heard a second voice within himself, “whether this inner image represents only a consequence to your futile efforts – or possibly the cause of them. Many things in this world move in circles.”
“Who knows”, said then a third voice, “if these pictures really contain any reality at all. Maybe it is like this: the well you’re in is just a film in your brain, and you’re just the animated cartoon producer.”
So he imagined the walls of the well opening up and becoming flatter and finding himself in a funnel which was getting wider and wider until. Finally he saw himself standing in the middle of a structure resembling a large music record. He enjoyed turning it into a cone, and then into a pillar on top of which he was standingwould stand. He decided on a flat cone with a platform for him to stand on as the structure he liked best. Two weeks later he got acquainted with a young woman. After a few weeks some problems occurred – some imbalance in their relationship as he described it. He remembered that he was still standing on the cone. He turned it into a flat surface and the problems disappeared.