Many people think … they know me. So I’ve decided that the time has come for me to step forward with the truth.
You see … I have a medical condition. I have a very good memory, I can remember all the names, but I cannot tell which one is mine…
It may seem like it, but I’m not here to make a confession of sorts. I’m here to share a story.
So I sat down one evening to write. The room was warm and cozy. On the table, my pen was scribbling the beginning of a story I’ve already written before. Soon enough, as it often happens, I fell asleep. And dreamed. In that dream, I heard a story. And the name of the story was: Confucius. Here it goes:
Once upon a time or, twice… I don’t remember, there was a lovely girl locked in a tower, guarded by her stepmother, obviously… And on the top of the tower, higher than the highest clouds, there was a tini tiny window, which trapped a ray of sunshine into the small room where our princess lived. The one thing that made her special, besides her beauty, was that her hair grew really fast. But her stepmother was envious of her long hair. The old woman wanted herself to have the longest hair in the kingdom, yet her hair couldn’t grow nearly as fast as the step daughter’s. Every month or so the stepmother would ask: “Mirror mirror on the wall, what’s the longest hair of all?“ And whenever the answer was her stepdaughter’s, she would go and cut down the girls’ hair. Day by day passed like that, until one day, actually, one night, when the stepmother died, suffocated in the length of her own hair, leaving our princess alone, locked in her room at the top of the tower.
She left her hair grow long, so very long,
To catch at least one lover, attracted to her song.
Who’d climb up to the window on her hair,
And save her from a life she couldn’t bear.
But who could know how long would take
For a brave prince a trip to make
To climb up to the window on her hair,
And save her from a live she couldn’t bear.
So she decided to sleep and wait,
And leave her hair fall down as bait.
She took some tea, fell down asleep
But didn’t plan to nap so deep.
And her pure song without a score
Turned to a loud and rhythmic snore.
… And she slept, and slept, and slept the sleep of beauty, and dreamed the dreams of freedom. For hours, days, and years.
In the meanwhile, far, far away, in the country of Neverland there was born a child who refused to grow up. And because he didn’t want to grow up, he grew forward instead, his back curving as a hunchback. The princess had already slept for too long hidden in the tower when our guy turned into a handsome 25 year-old, well, save for his hunchback. He didn’t have any friends, so he was really surprised when at his birthday he received a bag from an unknown sender. Yet even more surprising than the bag itself was its content: an old rusty lamp, a Persian carpet, a pair of lady’s shoes, a shiny knight’s armor, and a brand new horse. Don’t ask me how the horse fit in the bag cos’ I don’t know.
He tries the shoes and they don’t match.
They’re lady’s shoes, yeah, that’s the catch.
He doesn’t know, o poor hunchback.
And puts them slowly in the sack.
Then takes the armor, puts it on,
And plans to leave before the dawn.
The horse is ready, breathing fire,
The guy says go, the horse: yes, sire!
They ride along, and chase the sky,
To Neverland, they say goodbye,
They ride along, with wind behind,
Through sunny days, one of a kind.
They run through deserts, storms, and rain,
With sadness, fear, joy and pain.
Until one day, one of a kind,
Our mighty tower they do find.
They hear music from up there,
A clear theme that fills the air,
It’s not a song without a score,
but just a loud and rhythmic snore.
He sees her hair, it’s grown so long,
And tries to climb, he’s not so strong,
And then annoyed, for such an ending,
He tries a trick, rather mind-bending.
He takes the magic carpet, jumps on it,
And flies up there, and there… and there … and there… he sees … Her.
For a minute he freezes at the sight of her beauty. He wakes her up. it takes about 5 minutes for her to figure out what is going on because, we’ll she’s been asleep for years, even decades. She’s now much older than him, yet, having slept through most of it, she lived less than he did. Time freezes when beauty sleeps, so she still had the face of a child and the mind of a young princess.
He tries the shoes and they do match,
They’re lady shoes, yeah that’s the catch
“Hmm … Cinderella … is that your name?”
“I’ve seen the mirror on the wall,
Snow white, you’re honestly too tall.”
“You slept so long,
I heard the song,
Hey Sleeping Beauty is that you?”
“Your hair grew, down from the sky,
You are Rapunzel, oh … oh my!”
And then she looked at him bemused:
“Those lady shoes were perfect fit, are you the Prince?
Came all the way from Neverland, you Peter Pan?
I see a Hunch sits on your Back, from Notre-Dame?
A flying carpet you have brought, you Aladdin?”
“It’s so confusing, who are you?”
In that moment, when time slowed down, the two looked at each other confused and answered, together … “I have … a very good memory. I can remember all the names … but I cannot tell … which one is mine…”
Suddenly the guy remembers that in his bag there was the magic lamp. He didn’t have any use for it yet. Now was the time! He rubs it 3 times, and then the grand spirit of the lamp comes out, filling the small room where they were. Together, the guy and the girl looked up to the spirit of the lamp and said: “My dear genie… I grew up … with sooo many stories. With so many wonderful people around me. I learned to speak as they spoke, to act as they acted, to think as they thought. I learned all their names, but … I forgot mine… My dear genie, what is my name?”
The spirit of the lamp looked down, smiling, to the two beautiful people in front of him, and answered: “I live to fulfill other people’s wishes. I have a very good memory. I can remember all names, but I cannot tell which one is mine. So how do you expect me to tell you what your name is? But one thing I know: the best story that you can tell … the best story you can be … is not somebody else’s. It’s yours!”
It was morning … or evening, when I woke up from my dream… I don’t remember. I have a very good memory! I can remember all the names, but somehow, I couldn’t tell which one was mine. That day I remembered my name. And it wasn’t Confucius anymore.
There is one thing you can try. On a random day, at a random time, go to one of your friends and tell them, Congratulations! And unless they think you’re a bit random, and, off, all the time, they will come to you and ask: Congratulations, what for? Answer back: For everything! Congratulations for who you are, for what you represent! For your story, told, or untold. For your fights, and dreams! Congratulations … to every single one of you … for everything!