his fairy-tale opens in a far away land, where all one could
see was the sea, with its salty air, the sandy beach, and the horizon melting into the sky. The countless pebbles of the beach gradually rolled up into an endless mountain valley, where, high above the clouds, wandering gypsies would stop to rest for the summer, while below, a little town perched cautiously on the mountainâ€™s edge.
n the very center of this town, there was an ordinary square,
but it was wrapped like a cocoon with the chaotic silk of sidestreets, all narrow and winding and bristling with tiny houses. A Triumphal Arch marked the edge of the village, and beyond it, one could just barely see those phantom mountains where the gypsies resided. Along the snake-like mountain paths, the flock of gypsy carts would descend into the town, gliding along the spiderweb of streets in a blur of brightly-colored fabrics, while the raucous crowds gathered to greet the show, echoing the excitement of the passing parade.
ow within this gypsy camp on the peak of the mountain,
there lived a young bayadĂ¨re, Fortuneâ€™s forgotten child, Maria Maar. Carousing with the gypsies as they drove their chariots through the streets, she would delight in the faces of the townspeople they passed. Once, among the beads in the string of these casual encounters, she caught sight of a black cockerel, living in the yard of the local tavern. Everything about this bird seemed extraordinary. Peering into the depth of his dark eyes, she let loose a smile...the cock nodded back, cheerfully waving his crimson crest. Thus began their friendship.
he summer days stretched on, joyful and even a little
tinged with mystery. There was something softly magical about this strange couple, though no one could put their finger on just what. Having left the gypsy camp behind, the girl would show up in town, hurrying towards the tavern yard. Through the fence, the friends met again. Wrapped up in a whirlpool with no thought of time, they would stroll day after day through the maze of empty streets, doubling back on their own enormous shadows, which were always right behind them. But soon, summerâ€™s searing heat begin to fadeâ€Ś
n the last light of summer, the town braced itself for its
Harvest Day festival. Bustling about to prepare for the feast, the townsmen congregated in the main square, while the gypsies, warmed up by the heat of days past, set about to start back up on their endless journey.
uring these fleeting August days, the girl, sensing the
eventual separation from her friend, suffered from a deep sadness, unlike anything she had felt before.
ith each duskfall
imperceptibly dividing the seasons, the hour of the feast at last arrived. The loud trills of trumpets accompanied the countless dishes as they were taken out from the tavern. Names were called, and the guests seated at one long table. With a deafening roar of welcome from the cheering crowds, the feast had begun.
he gypsies, eyes on the prizes, were there, too.
Drunken merriment coated the evening. The clamor of the street crowds just wouldn’t die down. The rickety wagon-tracks were filled with firework sprays. Lost in a patchwork apron, the cook, crowning the tabletops with rows of dishes, proudly proclaimed: “The Cock in Vine!” All of a sudden, Maria saw her friend. A snow white trophy, he was lying on the plate.
n fearful shock, the girl raced to the empty yard. There, in
the darkness was a lifeless lump of plucked feathers. The familiar silhouette had disappeared. The light around her dimmed. The torches burnt out. The tragedy had built its triumph. The revelry had reached its end. The gypsies returned to the road.
The lonely town is laced with moonlight. Soon, out over the dusty roads, the grind of the barrel starts up its monotonous song, announcing the birth of a child, a baby boy. Time will pass, and fortune will again bring them together. Looking into the depth of his dark eyes, Maria will smile again â€Ś and the morning rays of the rising sun will bring them life, love,â€Ś happiness.