Irene and the seal
By Olga Antonioli, Evi Kousidou, Marie-Helene Fasquel
Once upon a time, in a very strange land, in a place called Europa, a young girl lived with her family.
The whole country was close to the sea and everyone on this land loved the sea, the beach and kept enjoying seashore activities. Most people worked on the sea and this was a sailorâ€&#x;s place. Absolutely everyone had to own a boat, however tiny it was.
One day, Irene, our beautiful and long-haired young girl, decided to go for a walk with her two brothers. Walking toward the sea, she almost fell down, as she stumbled on an old dirty and sandy hairbrush. Even though this hairbrush was not very attractive, she felt drawn to it and picked it up.
Her brothers believed she had lost her mind and looked at the â€žthingâ€&#x; with disgust. She cleaned it into the sea water and started to brush her hair as if she had never had a hairbrush before. They did not dare say anything, because they knew she was a sensitive but eccentric person and they respected her decisions, as she had a mind of her own and would have hated to be told off by her younger brothers.
After that day, Irene used to take a morning walk at the seaside, almost every day. But it wasnâ€&#x;t a usual walk.
She walked up and down the seashore and brushed her long blonde hair with the old hairbrush, looking at the sea, as if she was expecting something. The strange thing was that the hairbrush was becoming like new, with a strange shine and Irene‟s hair was getting like pure gold.
Irene‟s brothers were anxious about her weird behaviour and her “magic” hairbrush. One day, she brushed her hair at home, wore her best dress, even perfumed herself and left for her usual itinerary at the seashore. But today she left the hairbrush at home! Her brothers saw her different “preparation” and they secretly followed her.
When she arrived at the beach, she didn‟t walk up and down as usual. She sat down at the seashore, looking at the little calm waves, staring at the horizon.
She seemed as if she was waiting for somebody. And suddenly a little seal showed, crying and trying to reach the beach. The seal‟s crying seemed like a lament. Irene stood up, worrying about the seal‟s effort to reach the beach. She ignored her best dress, she dived at the sea, swimming toward the seal.
After little, she reached the crying seal, she enfolded him and she helped him swim along to the beach. They reached the seashore, swimming together and Irene carried the seal out of the sea. He was bleeding and he was obviously seriously injured. She didnâ€&#x;t hesitate not even for a minute. She was going to take the seal home and take care of him until he got well. Her brothers were watching speechless. They watched her carrying the bleeding seal at home, ignoring the fact that her best dress was ruined, full of sealâ€&#x;s blood, and she was cold and wet.
She arrived home and put the seal to her bed! She cleaned his wounds, taking care of his injuries. Although the seal‟s wounds seemed to get well, the seal seemed to have serious pain. She decided to give him some painkillers to calm and relieve him. She tried to give him medicines with her silver spoon. Her mother used to give her and her brothers medicines with it, whenever they got ill. From her early childhood that silver spoon was magic and “healing” every pain. It was her mother‟s love and caring that was healing them, but now that she has passed away, the silver spoon was a healing memory that could help the seal too. The seal seemed to enjoy the care Irene was offering. He accepted the painkillers, the warm food and the comfort that the young girl was offering. Day by day he was getting well, until he was totally recovered.
Irene realised that the seal was finally totally alright and he needed his genuine habitat. Although she had great time with him at home and he became a best friend she never had, she had to take him back to the beach. They greeted each other with tears in their eyes. The seal started to enter into the sea, looking back at her. He unwillingly dived in the water, got out again, cried out to Irene.
Suddenly she was attracted by a phosphorescent shell, shining in the waves.
She took it, stroked it and showed it to the seal but...at his place she saw a very handsome young man! The shell had been like the Aladdin lamp!!!
The Prince got out of the sea and approached Irene with a big warm smile on his face. â€œWhat can I do to thank you? Nothing seems enough! You healed my wounds, you took care of me, you shared your home, your bed, your food with me, being a filthy seal! And now you released me from the magic spell that had transformed me into a seal! I am a human again! Free from spell! How can I thank you enough?â€?
Irene watched him speechless as if she was spelled! How handsome he was! She could not get her eyes away from him, nor he could! They were keeping staring at each other, sharing feelings and thoughts! They were obviously in love, stroke by a deep love at first sight! They kissed.
Suddenly he kneeled, took out of his pocket a marvellous diamond ring and... “Marry me Irene, be the queen of my heart and my kingdom”.
Irene couldn‟t believe it! She accepted and after a few days they married on the beach which had made possible this miracle! Everybody was happy, even Irene‟s brothers. They didn‟t think that she was weird anymore! Now she was a princess happily married to a handsome prince, with whom they lived happily ever after!