I’m like You

A story by Katharina Lamprecht

Listen to me, the water whispered, foamed, wooshed, how I hiss and sizzle, light and dull, quietly gurgling and loud and full. I am so many but you can see only one. I sing a whole opera but you just hear one voice. I change myself every second but I´m constantly the same. I give myself up any minute to find myself again at once.

Look at me, the water whispered, foamed, wooshed. I am like you.

El lobo de mar y el lobo de madriguera

Antaño el lobo de mar recibió visita del lobo de madriguera. Ambos se conocían ya de la escuela de lobos. Después de terminar la escuela el lobo de mar había salido para recorrer medio mundo, había superado muchas aventuras y al final había regresado rico de tesoros y de vivencias.
El lobo de madriguera se había quedado en su propia cueva. Había encontrado a una loba de madriguera y habían tenido pequeños lobos de madriguera. Mientras tanto tenían muchos nietos y bisnietos de lobo y todos se habían hecho verdaderos, buenos lobos de madriguera.
“A veces deseo poder recomenzar mi vida”, dijo el lobo de madriguera al lobo de mar.
“A mí me pasa lo mismo”, contestó este.
“Haría de otra manera muchas cosas”, dijo el lobo de madriguera.
“Sí, yo también”, contestó el lobo de mar.
“Sería marino”, soñó el lobo de madriguera.
“Yo me casaría”, suspiró el lobo de mar.
“Superaría aventuras”, declaró el lobo de madriguera.
“Engendraría hijos de lobo”, constató el lobo de mar.
“Yo sería un lobo rico. Habría hecho experiencias malas y lindas de las que podría contar”, se apasionó el lobo de madriguera.
“Tendría nietos y bisnietos que me quisieran y que cuidaran de mi cuando me pusiera viejo y enfermo”, sostuvo el lobo de mar.
“Y ahora estaría sentado contigo en esta guarida de lobo de mar”, continuó el lobo de madriguera.
“… y yo contigo …”, le interrumpió el lobo de mar.
El lobo de madriguera confirmó: ”Y entonces me dirías ahora: ’A veces desearía que pudiera volver a vivir otra vez.’ Y yo contestaría: ‘Sí, a mi me pasa lo mismo’.”

(Por Stefan Hammel, traducción: Bettina Betz)

El aroma del pan

“Mujer“, dijo el panadero, “me vuelvo más viejo y mis fuerzas están disminuyendo. Durante toda mi vida he hecho el pan para el pueblo. La gente venía aun de lejos para comprar mis panecillos. ¿Y cuando llegue el día en que yo tenga que dejar para siempre el cuenco de la amasadura, quién seguirá llevando el negocio?” Los dos no tenían hijos.
“Anda”, habló la mujer, “busca a un hombre joven que te eche una mano y a quien puedas enseñarle todo en cuanto a tu arte. Cuando seas viejo y ya no puedas trabajar, él podrá continuar con la tienda y estarás orgulloso de él como de tu propio hijo.”
Dicho y hecho. El panadero hizo divulgar por los pueblos vecinos que buscaba a alguien al que le gustase hacer pan y que quisiera aprender este oficio de él.
En los días siguientes se le presentaron cuatro hombres jóvenes, y no sabía por cuál decidirse. Como la decisión le resultaba tan difícil, acudió a su esposa y le preguntó a ella lo que podía hacer. Dijo esta: “Haz venir a todos otra vez. Te diré a quién vas a tomar.”
Entonces el panadero pidió a los cuatro hombres que viniesen de nuevo. El primer hombre se presentó y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Me gusta madrugar y me gusta acostarme temprano. Y un panadero se entera muy pronto de todas las novedades que se cuentan en el pueblo y en sus alrededores.”
Vino el segundo y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Mis padres son difuntos y tengo que mantener esposa e hijos.”
Vino el tercero y le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Lo considero un honor hacerle a la gente el pan que dios nos ha dado.”
Vino el cuarto, y a él no le preguntó nada.
“Tomamos a este”, le dijo a su marido.
“¿Y por qué a él?”
“Al entrar aspiró profundamente el aroma del pan.”

(Por Stefan Hammel, traduccíon: Bettina Betz)

Pantomime

After a while of pausing I would like to continue with some stories…
However, I would like to change the format a little bit and take turns between different languages. So, in addition to therapeutic stories in English there will be some in French and Spanish, as well. But, first of all, let’s continue in English . Here’s one which I have personwitnessed in our local hospital.

“Good morning. My name is … ” he began his speech. “She can’t speak,” explained the nurse. “Stroke… ” The helpless gestures of the young lady patient let him know that she did not understand his words, except for a few, for which he managed to coax from her a nod or a shake of the head. How can you still communicate with such a person? With gestures he painted in the air a steep staircase for her with high steps. But alas he sighed “Too steep!” He shook his head in disappointment. Then he drew with his hands a staircase with long low steps. With his fingers, he went along the whole staircase.
The woman looked attentively and nodded. With his hands he painted a high mountain in the air. A man of two fingers wanted to climb it. But he fell again. Then he found a path with a gradual slope, a zigzag, with many turns. He went this way. The woman’s eyes began to shine. And so the pantomime took its course. “Keep your eye on the goal” and “passion” followed as the next images. The movements of a marathon runner and an upwardly clenched fist; they inspired to perseverance and a fighting spirit.
The turning hands of a clock showed that it would take time. He continued the charade with his hands together on the side of his inclined head. “Sleep” and “wake”, “sleep” and “wake”, and many many times they would have to “sleep ” and “wake” until they would be at the peak, which he kept looking upwards at with his eyes and pointing to with his outstretched forefinger. With hands and feet, with his whole body, he portrayed the picture of how her children would hook into her left elbow, and her parents the right and how they would all go together with her, all the way.
Once again he stretched out his fist to the sky. She would have to fight for all she was worth. Three days later, he again visited the woman. “You know,” said the lady in the bed next to her, “she has been here for four weeks and nothing really happened but in the last three days she has made amazing progress”. He spoke with the patient again and this time she understood every sentence. Then he took his leave. “Goodbye” she said. It was her first recovered word.

Everything Else

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.

Merciful

We talked about music. “The ear is merciful”, she said. “It hears what is meant, and not what is actually played.” The woman who said this was a piano teacher. She had taught pupils for decades and had thought about how ear and brain process the music. “The ear is merciful”, I repeated. “How do you mean that?” She said: “When we hear music as an audience, then we blot out the mistakes. We hear what is meant. What arrives in our consciousness is the complete melody. The artists and teachers pay attention to the mistakes, but the audience hears the music.”

In the Country of Begonia

As a traveller I once had to cross the country of Begonia. They really have a very strange custom there.

That is to say, on the streets and pathways of the country they don’t have any signs which could help you to find your way from village to village or from one town to the next. But at every crossroad there are flowers which you can ask in order to get directions from them. According to the way in which they give directions, one differentiates between point-around guides, point-away guides and point-toward guides.

The point-toward guides are especially pleasant for all those travellers who simply want to get to their destination as fast and as comfortably as possible. They tell you kindly where you should go.

The point-away guides are often crude and blunt in their speech. They can sound very spiteful. Nonetheless, they can also be very useful. They tell you where you should definitely not go, so that you will keep misfortune and trouble at bay.

Last, but by no means least, are the point-around guides who speak to you in a peculiar way. They speak in riddles. They start to advise you to go one way and then continue with the other direction. They tell you about the destination, but not how you reach it. They ask you questions rather than give you answers. They tell you things, the sense of which you will not understand until later. Some travellers see what the point-around guides say as useless stuff. Yet others only find their destination through these guides.

Island Map

“Look here”, said the old seafarer and rolled out a map. “This here is the Island of the Blissful.” His grandson regarded it attentively while the man stood up and took another map from the shelf. “And this here”, he continued while he unrolled this second map, “is the Island of the Ill-Fated.” “But that’s exactly the same island!” exclaimed the young man. “Perhaps it is the same, and perhaps it is not”, said the old man in a mysterious tone. “But I can tell you this much: The maps were drawn by two different cartographers. Both have visited the island. One went to all the bleak and desolate mountains on the island and measured all the spaces. The other went to all the beautiful, fertile places, and measured the island from there. Look here: they have also drawn in the paths along which they wandered. Whoever makes his way with the first map, looks from one beautiful peak to the next, and the dreary areas are hidden by the beautiful mountains. However, whoever makes his way with the second map, looks from one desolate peak to the next, and the beautiful scenery landscape remains hidden behind them.”

The Seafarer

He was a seafarer. He sailed with freight ships to different countries along the coasts of Europe, Africa and South America. I asked him if he had ever experienced a bad storm. “I have experienced many storms”, he said. “I have experienced some storms where I thought: “We will never survive this!” And he stood before me and had survived, and could tell me about the adventures he had experienced.

Mary

“I won’t die before Mary is in her place again!” It sounded quiet and sure from Erna’s mouth. It was autumn. The pneumatic drills hammered on the street and a sweet, biting smell of tar lay in the air. This was the house of Erna’s parents. She had lived here since she was a small child. She could still remember this place when the horses and carts used to be the mode of transport and then, later the first trams! She hung on to this place which was filled with memories.

But mostly she loved the fountain in the centre, the fountain with the statue of the Virgin Mary. The marketplace had been extensively pulled up. The workers had carried the fountain away. Experts had first carefully marked each stone so as to be able to rebuild it exactly as it was. When the new year came, the square was newly plastered. And finally the fountain with the statue of the Virgin Mary also returned to its place.

For a couple of days Erna enjoyed the new and yet long-familiar view. Then she was ready.