Do you believe in superstitions? Undoubtedly, superstitions are an integral part of a people’s culture. For this reason and for the needs of Comenius “A Culture Rainbow Around Europe” , students from Poland, Spain, Turkey and Greece have written together an imaginary story unfolding superstitions of these four countries. While reading this story someone can realize that the things that unite us are much more than the things that divide us…
Chapter 1 Once upon a time â€Ś in Spain!
The four friends were walking in the streets of Manresa. - Grandmother used to tell me a lot of fairytales when I was younger, said La Pubilla while she was guiding her friends into town. - Really! Tell us one! Asked Hermes. I feel nostalgic of the fairy tales my grandmother used to tell me in Nea Karua, a village in northern Greece, and I would like to hear oneâ€Ś
«Once upon a time», started La Pubilla, « it was a girl called Mariam. She lived in a tree where there was a big house. One day, while Mariam was cooking in the kitchen, she poured the salt on the floor. - Oh! My God! Seven years of bad luck, said Mariam.
She was sad. Mariam decided to stop her bad luck. Without second thought she said to herself: - Iâ€™m going to go round the tree 7 times.
So she did. Mariam came back home and touched the wooden table of her dining room. Her Bad Luck stopped for ever and she lived happily ever after! Âť
- Very nice story! commented Ali from Turkey. While they were walking they saw a lot of people gathered. La Pubilla immediately volunteered to go and see what was happening. She informed them that there was a competition and the prize was a trip around Europe with a balloon. Everyone happily agreed to take part and â€Ś they WON!
- Letâ€™s go to my country! Suggested Aria. - I always wanted to go to Poland, Ali agreed. - Me too! Added La Pubilla.
The only one who had an objection about the date of the travel was Hermes: - I suggest that we should start tomorrow. - No! No! Let’s start today. The weather is nice, the others also disagree and … THE JOURNEY STARTED!!!
Chapter 2 First stop: Poland!!!
Soon Ali, Hermes, La Pubilla and Aria were flying over Poland. They saw They admired the amazing views and interesting architecture. the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, they stopped for a while
in Torun to taste the traditional gingerbread, they saw the Wawel
Castel in Krakow â€Ś until they noticed a group of children playing football.
- What do you think of joining them? Ali suggested. - Itâ€™s a great idea!!! Everybody agreed. The balloon landed and the kids get off. - Hi! We travelling around the Europe. Could we play with you? Aria asked. -Sure! After a while the match started and children had a lot of fun.
At some moment Aria kicked the ball away. As she went to bring it back, shouted to her friends: -Look what I found! A four – leaf clover! It’s thought to bring luck. I hope I score more goals now. Let’s go back to our play.
But the very next moment the ball fell on the Aria’s mirror. - Oh no! My mirror! It’s broken! - I’m very sorry. I did it by accident… the boy apologised. - Everyone who breaks a mirror is thought to have bad luck for the next seven years! - Oh, what I should do then? - To avoid bad luck you have to throw a handful of salt through your left arm. - Let’s go to buy salt then!
On their way to the shop Aria stopped them saying: - Oh! Look! This is a chimney – sweeper! Grab hold of the button! It brings good luck. And so they did…
After their leaving the shop with the salt they realised that it was getting dark, so they decided that it was time for them to leave.
So the children got on to their balloon, in order to continue their adventure.
Chapter 3 Greece and its beauties!
The four friends while travelling reached over Greece. - Wow! What a beautiful city! Said Ali. - Where are we? Asked Aria. - What is this tall building by the sea? Wondered La Pubilla. - This is the beautiful Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, Hermes started explaining, and this white building that dominates the coastal road is the White Tower.
Suddenly the balloon started to lose height. -I told you we shouldn’t have started today… but you … this day is bud luck. Mumbled Hermes. - Why, what day is it today? Everybody wondered. -It’s “Tuesday 13th”! Here in Greece we consider this day as bad luck.
Everybody panicked. - Do you think that we will fall and drown in the sea? - Do you think that we will land on a tree and be unable to go down? Do you think… “Bite your tongue”! Hermes interrupted them. - Why should we bite it?
- So as what you say will not happen. Greeks when we want to avoid something bad we “hit wood”, “move from our spot” or “we bite our tongue”. Oh I just remembered! We still have one bottle with helium. -Whew! We are lucky! Everybody sighed with relief! After filling up the fuel they happily continued their journey.
- Do you want to see the Acropolis in Athens? Someone suggested. - Yes! Yes! Everybody screamed simultaneously.
- â€œTouch redâ€? Hermes urged them. - Why? - Because we said the same word simultaneously and we might quarrel. This is what people who believe in prejudices argue.
The journey went on without any difficulties. - We arrived in Athens! Screamed Aria. - How did you get it? Asked Ali. - Look down, it’s the Acropolis! It is really beautiful! - Why don’t we go for a tour in Cyclades? Suggested Hermes. Of course it is late. It is dark and we won’t be able to dive into the crystal clear water of the Aegean.
Everybody agreed and in a while they were flying over the
uncountable island with the whitewashed houses and the imposing windmills.
Wow! Everything is so beautiful! Letâ€™s fly lower so that we are closer to admire the view, said La Pubilla impressed. I am impressed of the white scenery I see everywhere. In the houses, the pavements, alleysâ€Ś - Look how nice the windmills are! Admired Ali.
-Oh! What is this red bug -that sat on my hand?
Shouted Aria while trembling. -Itâ€™s a ladybug! Donâ€™t send it away! It is good luck! Hermes calmed her down. But as the sun was setting and casting the last rays of daylight over the Aegean Sea, the company decided not to lose any more time. So they headed east towards their last destination.
Chapter 4 A special day in Turkey!
Now the balloon was flying over Istanbul. The children were admiring the monuments and its beauty. Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, the Golden Hornâ€Ś everything was magical!
As Ali was explaining to his friends about the way of life in Turkey and his everyday life he remembered one special day for him and he started telling them about it:
“I will never forget the day that… almost everything that could happen, happened to me! If I am not mistaken it was last year, around this time. As usual I left home to go to school. It was a usual day for me and I was unaware of the things I would live. I saw my best friends Nazlı and Zeynep. I said “Good morning” to them. And they told me while smiling: “Your hair looked nice, Ali”. You see, I had my hair cut and had used hair gel to style it. I felt very nice that my friends liked my hair.
I was so happy that I didn’t notice the ladder and walked under it accidentally. All the children on the road shouted: “Ali what have you done? You have walked under a ladder, it is bad luck!” I was surprised and fell down. The paper of my poem, which was to be read that day, fall out of my school bag and got dirty.
All the children were looking at me with frightened eyes and thought that bad luck had started.
I stood up and went to the class. The teacher had already entered the class and was angry with me because I was late. I was very sad. I sat down on my chair and started to think about the poem that I was going to read in the second lesson.
But the poem paper was so dirty that it became illegible. Not only, in the first lesson, did I fail to solve the Maths problem on the board, but also I was furious with my best friend, Nazlı. My trousers were dyed by his paint and I quarrelled badly with him. It was break time. When I was at the school garden, a ball struck my face. I was in pain and started to cry. I looked at the sky and asked myself: “Why me?”
At that moment a mad bird left its droppings on my head. This meant good luck. I was hopeful that bad luck would leave me from now on.
I went into the class smiling. The teacher wanted me to read my poem, but the paper was still illegible. I walked hesitating to the board. I tried to remember the first line of the poem andâ€Ś I DID IT!
I said the whole poem by memory because I had memorised it without having a clue about it. The other students applauded me with enthusiasm, since I was the only one who said it by memory. Eventually Nazli made peace with me and he wanted us to sit in the same desk. We also sang together in music lesson.
At break we went to the garden. My sister had made sandwiches and I brought them to school. I shared them with my friends, Nazlı and Zeynep and we were all so happy! I looked at the sky again and remembered the last line of the poem: “Life is feeling the taste of happiness at every minute.” At that moment I decided to be happy from now on.
I went home happy. My sister was sewing trousers for me. Just as she was cutting the rope with the scissors, I spontaneously took the scissors from her hand. - My dear, I can cut it by my own! I said wanting to give a helping hand. - Ali what have you done? You received the scissors directly from my hand, this means we will quarrel.
- Nooo! You must stop believing in these things!
My sister sewed the trousers and I wore them at once. I kissed her and gave her a big hug. I realised that believing in superstitions made me unhappy. I told my sister that we must estimate the real value of life. Superstitions aren’t true. I said: “We live exactly as we would think.” I thought about all the things I lived that day and looked at the sky happily.»
- You are right! Everybody agreed with him. It was too dark now. The four friends hugged and looked at the night sky and wished at a falling star â€Ś
â€Śtheir friendship to be forever!