Fairy Tales for a Fairer World (English)

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Fairy Tales

for a Fairer World Kirsten Deall Carolina Rodriguez

This book has been conceptualized, written and designed as a creative outreach effort of the Perception Change Project of the United Nations Office in Geneva. It is not an official publication of the United Nations. Fairy Tales for a Fairer World is product of a multidisciplinary and international team: Concept: Carolina Rodriguez (Chile/Argentina) Authors: Kirsten Deall (South Africa) & Carolina Rodriguez (Chile/Argentina) Illustrations: Koyo Do (Viet Nam/Japan) Layout: Carolina Rodriguez (Chile/Argentina), Esther Cappelli (Italy) Digital Edition: Tudor Mihailescu (Romania) and Jon Mark Walls (United States) Online conversation platform: Tudor Mihailescu (Romania), Jon Mark Walls (United States) and Juan Manuel Olea (Spain) and Javier Hernandez (Spain) Original Language: English Translations: French, Spanish (forthcoming) and Arabic (forthcoming) The production of this book has been possible thanks to the kind contributions from numerious partners of the Perception Change Project that helped shape the stories. Special thanks to the Swiss Federal Government and Fondation pour Genève for the financial support and to Greycells for their help in making forthcoming editions of this book available in other languages.

Printed by Phoenix Design Aid A/S, a CO2 neutral company accredited in the fields of quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO14001) and CSR (DS49001) and approved provider of FSC™ certified products. Printed on FSC™ certified paper without chlorine and with vegetable-based inks. The printed matter is recyclable.


Fairy Tales

for a Fairer World Kirsten Deall Carolina Rodriguez


The Journey

Chapter One Old Town Page 1

Chapter Two Pig Town Page 17

Chapter Three

Elephant and Tortoise Page 35

Chapter Four Little Red Page 53

Chapter Eight The Shadow Page 129

Chapter Five

Bamboo Princess Page 71

Chapter Six Caleuche Page 93

Chapter Seven The Lamp Page 113

We only have one planet to live on and it depends on all of us to make sure future generations can use it too. This will only be possible if we all work together. This book takes us on a journey and shows us how working together across generations and across places is the way to go. It’s time to redefine partnerships to save the world.

Foreword he world is made up of stories. Stories shape our thinking and these thoughts steer our actions. Stories reveal truths about ourselves, people around us and the world we live in. They also have the ability to take us from reality into a world of imagination where ideas are born, creativity inspired, vulnerability exposed and a new hope for being the change is instilled. It is through stories that we connect with different characters, live through their victories, their challenges and ultimately develop a unique understanding of life beyond our own. Across genres, we empathise with others’ experiences, that like our own, are not always ending ‘happily ever after’.


Fairy tales have been passed along for centuries and have become part of our cultural heritage. In a way, we are united by the stories that we grew up with. Many traditional tales share the same plot but have been adapted to their particular


region. There are many stories where the princess must be married off to a suitable prince and although there are many variations, the backbone remains the same. We have all learned these tales and at some point reread them for our children. We also realise that some of these stories may also need updating. At the same time, we are at a unique moment in time. In September 2015, world leaders signed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This global agreement is a game-changer. We are at a point in human development where the conventional way of viewing our world is no longer an option. Preserving our planet and ensuring that humankind as a species survives is no longer about rich countries helping poor countries or about developing a certain industry at a high environmental cost. It’s not even about targeting a certain problem like poverty or maternal mortality and focusing on one issue at a time.

It is increasingly evident that we need more integrated approaches and a greater awareness that we are all sharing this planet and that if we manage it carefully, and sustainably, we, and the generations to come, have a bright future ahead. This book is about bringing traditional tales into one story under a new light. The tales come from different parts of the world and they are simultaneously intertwined with elements we have learned from other stories. In this eclectic mix, the predictable plots of the tales we know are transformed by modern day elements and challenges. The result is an exciting new story that collects and highlights elements that are part of our world today and that are linked to the the global challenges we face.

the forefront and people across generations to join an online discussion that concerns all of us. As we embark on the challenge of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, we must redefine how we work together. This book is an effort to innovate using traditional story-telling to enage people around global development challenges and engage through conversation. If we all join this collective effort to breathe life into these stories that carry timeless and precious lessons on how to preserve and save our planet, we can rest assured that we have taken a first step towards achieving these goals.

The stories link to the different Sustainable Development Goals providing gateways for interactive online conversations between the readers, experts, specialists and public figures. The aim is to bring these issues to

Michael Møller Director-General United Nations Office in Geneva


The Characters

Scarlet Great-grandmother of Little Red Riding Hood

Old Wise Pig

Old Lad Great-grandfather of Aladdin

Ruby Mother of Little Red Riding Hood

Granny Rose Grandmother of Little Red Riding Hood

Cranky Pig 1

Cranky Pig 2

Quelin Great-grandfather of Cadin

Aladdin Great-grandson of Old Lad


Little Red Daugher of Ruby


Cadin Great-grandson of Quelin

Bamboo Queen Great-grandmother of Bamboo Princess

Tusker Great-grandfather of Baby Ears

Bamboo Princess Great-granddaughter of Bamboo Queen

Baby Ears Great-grandson of Tusker

Little Tree Pig

Little Mole Pig

Little Water Pig

Baba Yaga


Miss Mosquito




Snow Prince

Prince Dreamy



Slipper Prince

Frog Prince






Hero Rat


Dedicated to future generations.



Chapter One

Old Town 1


nce upon a time in a small town known for its chocolate, lived a unique family. This family did not share the same mother but was was like none other because of something else they had in common. They were the heroes and heroines of their day who survived the fang of the wolf, the witches’ spells, or the strength of giants, and who ended up living happily ever after‌ which meant living all together in The Old Home, a home for older citizens. Their home was in Old Town, which was at the tip of a large lake, surrounded by mountains. It was a sight to behold. It was peaceful. It was their utopia. Their life displayed the perfect ending that only happens in fairy tales. Life was predictable, until one day, breaking news announced that the wolf had once again chased the three little pigs out of their homes, leaving them fearing for their lives. And this was the start of a new set of stories in a changed world.


Scarlet threw down her half-eaten sandwich and said to all her old friends, “I’ve had enough!” She wasn’t speaking about her lunch. Scarlet was the slimmest, fittest and youngest looking of all her friends. She was more commonly known by the name Old Red Riding Hood, but ever since she washed her favourite and only red cape with a fluorescent orange skirt her cape changed from red to scarlet. She was teased by her friends who said she should have known better, and this lead to her new name: Old Scarlet Riding Hood, or Scarlet for short. “I cannot listen to another bad news report”, said Scarlet. “History is not only repeating itself, it’s getting worse. The wolf continues to haunt the pigs’ lives. He is also crossing the forest to eat all of the weak grandmothers where I am from! The wolf must be stopped once and for all. We need to catch him! Who’s with me?” Wise Pig jumped to his feet. “I’m with you!” He was the wisest and most positive of the three old pigs. He always found a solution to every problem. The other two old pigs, Cranky Pig 1 and Cranky Pig 2, were twins and they had knack for always finding the problems with big ideas and dreams. Baba Yaga had immediately stopped eating her chicken legs with her iron teeth when Wise Pig bravely spoke out. Baby Yaga was Wise Pig’s favorite. They cared for one another and were both very near and dear. When he spoke, she listened. Baba Yaga had met Wise Pig in the forest where they both used to live many decades ago. They developed a strong friendship and the more time they spent together, the more she too became wise and kind. When Baba Yaga left her hut in the woods to start a new


life, she only took the chicken legs on which her hut stood and kept them under her bed. Snow White, who had over the years lost her sight, responded, “You’re on to something, Scarlet. I’ve just read an article about the resurrected magic lamp…” She was pointing at a newspaper she was holding. No one could understand what she was pointing to because it was in braille, but they knew what she was talking about. “It’s outrageous!” said Thumbelina, who was sitting on Snow White’s shoulder. Old Lad was hanging his head in shame, knowing too of the speculated reports of the magic lamp. Scarlet glided around the table towards Hansel and Gretel. “Do you want to stop the witch who tried to fatten you up before eating you?” Hansel’s eye twitched at the memory. She looked over to Jack, sitting opposite them. “Do you want your greatgrandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren’s lives to be forever threatened by the giant at the bottom end of the beanstalk?” The Little Mermaid was in the blow-up fishpond, which was just next to the terrace. Scarlet said to her, “How different would your life be without the Sea Witch who would only grant you legs in exchange for your tongue?” It was more of a statement than a question.


Scarlet walked over to Rapunzel who was sitting in her rocking chair, and placed her hand on her shoulder. “And my dear Rapunzel. The years the evil witch stole from you, keeping you locked up in that ghastly tower, isolated from the world.” Rapunzel looking up at Scarlet muddled, “Which Witch? What tower?” Her forgetfulness was getting worse. Wise Pig carried on, “It’s up to us whether this continues or not. Who wants to stop history from repeating itself? Who wants go out and make a change?” The Little Mermaid said, “I would join you, Pig. If I could” and flapped her tail in the water reminding the friends that, because she was made to swim, she couldn’t walk on land. Hansel stood up, “There’s no use. We’re all too old”, and he left the room, wheeling his catheter and medical devices behind him. Gretel, who did everything her brother did, followed him out the room. From down the hallway, Hansel shouted, “Besides, what do you do with a captured wolf? That still doesn’t solve everything…” “That’s right. We won’t just capture the wolf. We will build stronger homes for the pigs in Pig Town. We will teach Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother to stay strong and healthy. And prevent the bad things in history from repeating themselves once and for all!” Tusker the Elephant was wedged between the two Cranky Pigs. He tried to wiggle out from the table, but was stuck. “I never had a bad wolf in my childhood. In the wild, where I come from, I was the problem. I was so judgmental that I didn’t share




water with anyone who was different from me. It wasn’t fair. I passed down this bad character trait and I want to stop that. I want the future elephants to treat others equally.” Tusker then raised his trunk in the air. “So, Scarlet, I will join you”, he said while chewing on leafy greens. Don’t you hate it when you forget someone’s name, an appointment at the dentist, or where you left your book? Imagine how it would be if memory loss happened to you all the time, sometimes as severe as forgetting learnt behaviours like dressing yourself. Rapunzel is quite tired of her forgetfulness and wants to find out why she is having such a hard time remembering certain things. She is talking about Alzheimer’s disease and other health-related issues with experts and other leaders.

Cranky Pig 1 turned to Tusker and snapped, “Stop chewing so loudly!” Bamboo Queen, who was the cleverest of them all said, “I also didn’t have a bad wolf from my home town; there was no evil witch and no giant. I was just a girl born from a bamboo stalk and as tradition would have it, I had to go through an arranged marriage or disappoint my family. I rebelled and fought for education and in turn was rejected by my family. Since my rejection, many bamboo babies have taken the easier path – they’ve gotten married under their father’s instructions. I can’t bear to see more girls forced into arranged marriages. I’m coming with you, Scarlet.”


“Me too”, said Quelin. Everyone knew that Quelin’s story was a tragic one. He lost his younger sister to a warlock, Brujo. His sister was one among many girls who had been taken from their families. The others also knew that their journey just got harder, because they would all have to go with Quelin to Brujo Island where many had tried to rescue their stolen children, but had never returned. The two Cranky Pigs sighed heavily, “I don’t see how three old pigs can catch one agile young wolf, but Wise Pig, you’ve proven to make better decisions than us, so we’ll come too.” Old Aladdin was looking hopeful and ready for something new. “Count me in!” “You can’t possibly! Not with your lungs”, said Scarlet. “I will take this oxygen tank with me”, said Old Lad. Madam Pea Princess might have known what a comfortable bed felt like, but she didn’t know much more. “Old Lad,” she said, “you can’t possibly believe the lamp was resurrected! You destroyed it. You threw it into the hole you found it in. It’s over. The lamp is dead.” Aladdin, without hesitation said, “Don’t be so sure. Some believe that young Aladdin is aiming to destroy his entire nation with the lamp’s genie under his command. This wouldn’t be possible without the magic lamp and genie!”


“And if this is the case, how exactly does he plan to kill everyone? Lamps can’t kill people.” Madame Pea said matter-of-factly. “Not necessarily by killing people. But by taking away things that are important for them to live,” said Bamboo Queen who went on to recite from one of the many books she had read, “Life’s final breath shall be breathed when you remove every human need.” “Such as…?” Madame Pea was not following the conversation. “Well, by taking away food, water, shelter, education, money, hope… anything we need to live well.” Thumbelina added to what Old Lad was saying, “We have also heard that Prince Aladdin has been seized by the desire to be the richest in the world. He has bought himself a bigger palace; one that is famous for being the tallest and most beautiful. He has bought islands, jet airplanes, nature reserves, and even a pet lion! This is clearly only possible with the power of the lamp.” Old Lad added, “The magic lamp is a powerful tool and can be used for good or for evil. The wishes that Prince Aladdin is making are selfish, short-sighted and destructive. So, Pea that’s why I need to go back.” “What are you all waiting for?” said the Little Mermaid.


“That’s right. We need to go back. Let’s do this together!” said Wise Pig, cheering them all on. All the untouched jelly and ice-cream had melted and was cleared from the lunch table. Scarlet, Tusker, Bamboo Queen, Quelin, Old Lad and the Three Old Pigs mapped out their journey. To the side of the group, Rapunzel quietly gave Scarlet a sentimental gift for their adventure. Scarlet was touched by her generosity and tucked the gift into her red riding hood.


The next morning, the light rose before the sun and the Musical Rooster squawked. It was the same routine wake-up song for The Old Home. And it was the only time of day when those who relied on hearing aids, were considered fortunate. Suitcases were packed. Maps and magnifying lenses were slipped into front pockets. Their electric scooters were charged. And Old Lad’s flying trunk was wiped clean of the cobwebs that had grown around it. They were ready. Holding on to all the Goodbyes and Good Lucks, the eight old and brave friends drove off into the sunrise. They drove and they drove - Old Lad flew and he flew - until Old Town got smaller and Pig Town got bigger. When they arrived outside the gates of Pig Town they discovered their childhood forest was wrapped in flames.


It’s time for clean energy! We will not get far if we don’t find new ways to use renewable energy sources in our daily lives. Sustainable energy needs to be addressed urgently and the conversation starts with you. Do your choices matter? How can we make a difference? Why is sustainable energy important anyway?





Chapter Two

Pig Town 17


he Three Little Pigs were living in Pig Town. Their forefathers had taught them to never make their homes out of hay, sticks or even bricks if they wanted to survive the wolf. It wasn’t just the material they used to build their houses, but it was also important to find a safe location. As a result, they designed more durable and better located homes. Unfortunately for the little pigs, this did not stop the wolf from trying to eat them. All Three Little Pigs had different ideas of what the safest type of house would look like. Little Water Pig felt it was safest to move over to the lake because wolves hate water. Little Tree Pig felt it was safest to be above the ground in the treetops, where the wolf couldn’t reach. Little Mole Pig felt it was safest to move Pig Town below ground, where wolves and hurricanes wouldn’t threaten them. The pigs had never experienced a hurricane before, nor were they in a hurricane zone, but it was Little Mole Pig’s greatest fear that he would face one. So the Three Little Pigs changed the way pigs built houses in Pig Town because each felt strongly about his own idea of the safest spot to live. It was Little Water Pig’s first day on his houseboat. It was a simple, wooden house and it was fully powered by wind turbines. The turbines provided all the electricity and power needed for the engine. He loved his new house, although he found it rather small and quite limiting. He couldn’t clean the windows from the outside because there was no land to stand on. He also couldn’t hold a garden party for his upcoming birthday. But he could feel safe from the wolf.

Little Water Pig had just finished painting the interior of his home. He lay down on his safe bed that touched both ends of his house, bouncing the ball against the wall. The ball soon flew out the window and was lost as it landed with a splash in the water.


Many people do not know the many ways that sustainable housing can be achieved or why it is good for the environment and us. Sustainable housing can be addressed in the design, materials used, and energy-efficient appliances to help build environmentally safer communities that make cities good places to live in. What should our homes be made of to make them safe not only for us, but for the planet?


He then started flicking his bedside lampshade next to him until he flicked it so hard it fell over and the porcelain stand smashed. He then sat upright; his feet were tapping on the wooden floor. Tapping. Tapping. Maybe this house was a little too small for a hyperactive pig like himself. And then he heard the dreaded cry, calling from the side of the bank… “Little Pig, little Pig, come to the land so I can come in”, said the wolf. Little Water Pig replied, “No! Never! Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.” “Well then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.” So the wolf huffed and he puffed and he blew and he blew. The house didn’t fall over. It didn’t blow back either. In fact, the water between them didn’t even ripple. Little Water Pig punched his fist into the air, “Yes! I knew I’d be safe! I must tell the other two pigs.” Although Little Water Pig was very smart and creative with building his new water house, the wolf was smarter. The wolf knew about the approaching drought, which was spreading throughout the land. He knew it was a matter of time before all the water dried up around the pig. The wolf patiently waited on the side of the bank. With each passing day the soil became dryer until there was no trace of fertile soil left. Sure enough, not long after that, Little Water Pig’s boathouse was on dry, cracked land.


By then, the wolf was starving and he ran towards Little Water Pig for his next meal. Little Water Pig jumped out the window and sprinted as fast as his stumpy legs could take him all the way to Little Tree Pig’s home, who couldn’t have picked a tree further away from the lake. Little Tree Pig was standing below his tree house built between tall pine trees and one fir tree. Looking up at his house, he saw a leaf dropping, slowly swaying back and forth as is fell gently. It landed gracefully on the ground. He scrunched it up and threw it in his recycling bin. A second one started falling, but he caught it before it landed and threw it away. He felt triumphant for being able to catch and control the leaves as they dropped. Then it occurred to him, this is the perfectionism that Little Water Pig complained to him about. So he kicked the bin over and scattered the leaves. Resisting the urge to pick them up again, he climbed into his tree house where he had made a place for his best friends, the bees. From the top, Little Tree Pig had a bird’s eye view of all of the possible dangerous situations, although he was yet to see any danger. Until now. He saw the wolf chasing something. Could it be Little Water Pig? He threw down his rope ladder and waited for Little Water Pig, who came running as fast as he could around the corner. Little Water Pig grabbed hold of the ladder and scurried up. They reeled the ladder in before the wolf could climb up too. They were safe!



Now the wolf was angry. He shook the tree from the base, “Don’t think you’re getting away from me.” The pigs held on to the branches tightly as the tree shook. The beehive above them fell off the branch and bounced all the way down the tree until it hit the ground. The wolf opened his basket, grabbed the hive with all the angry bees and closed them inside. Little Tree Pig yelled, “Those are our bees!” But the wolf didn’t care. He gave an evil grin then called out to the Two Little Pigs, “Little Pigs, Little Pigs, let me climb up or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your tree house down.” The pigs said, “No! Never! Not by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin.” The pigs were smart, but the wolf was smarter. He used a magnifying lens, the sunlight and the dry sticks that had fallen in the forest to create a thin wisp


Did you know that humanity relies on bees for its daily food supply? Sadly, thousands of bees are dying every year from things like pesticides that protect the crops from insects. When the bees die, the plants are not pollinated. This is a cycle of consequences we need to manage. Tree Pig is discussing how living creatures and the planet are interconnected, and what we can do to help stop bees from dying.


of smoke, then he huffed and he puffed. With one final blow, he blew a force of life into the smoke, which ignited the beginning of a raging and uncontrollable wildfire. The pigs screamed and scattered out of the tree and away from the woods. They ran on the tip of their hooves through thick fumes and away from the wolf to Little Mole Pig. From underground, Little Mole Pig heard the screaming of the pigs through the crackling of the fire and the whipping of the flames. He curiously opened his trapdoor, which lead out to the dangerous world, peered over the top of his snout and saw the two little pigs trying to outrun the fire and the wolf to Little Mole Pig’s door. Little Mole Pig saw a tall burning tree that seemed to be falling in slow motion. He yelled out to them, “Watch out!” The tree landed with a thump. It didn’t completely miss the pigs. It singed the hairs on their tails, but nothing more. The fallen tree also managed to separate them from the wolf. “Phew!” they exclaimed. “That was close.” The Two Little Pigs went underground to Little Mole Pig, out of breath and out of danger. Little Mole Pig was smiling. His house had survived the drought and the fire. Back at the burning gates of Pig Town, Wise Pig and Cranky Pig 1 and 2 were still standing there speechless. Hopeless. They planned to save the pigs from the bad wolf, but instead they were faced with a fire. They can’t save the pigs from something much bigger and stronger than themselves. Quelin calmly said, “We came here to save the pigs, so let’s save them.”


The troop carefully navigated their way through the parts of the woods that weren’t already ablaze. Behind the layer of fog, they saw two figures charging on the tip of their hooves. “There they are!” said Little Wise Pig. “The smoke is making it very difficult to see far ahead”, said Old Lad. They followed after The Two Little Pigs, their scooters crunching over the dry sticks and leaves. They then pulled their brakes sharply when they saw the wolf standing over the trapdoor. Seeing the big, bad wolf, Wise Pig was not feeling as courageous as was before. He began to doubt himself. Scarlet saw his angst and said, “We came to save the little pigs, so let’s save them!” He looked at her and nodded. They all nodded back, and in first gear, spun their scooters to come face-to-face with their problem. They closed in on the wolf from all angles. Cranky Pig 1 said, “Ha! You’re not going anywhere, Wolf.” With that, the wolf jumped over their heads and vanished into the smoky woods. There was stunned silence, but Tusker, who was always quick to worry cried out, “Oh no! We were supposed to catch him! What do we do now?” “We do what we came here to do,” said Quelin, “the wolf may have gotten away, but he will be back so we must catch him.”


“We better go inside,” said Scarlet pointing to Little Mole Pig’s underground house, “come now; move along!” They shuffled across to the trapdoor and yanked it open. Underground, the Three Little Pigs were sipping their black tea and eating cake when the trapdoor burst open. In climbed seven old strangers and one enormous elephant’s head. Little Mole Pig held out his insect repellent spray in one hand and a lighter in another, “I’m not afraid to use this flammable spray if you don’t go away.” The Three Little Pigs had never met their great-grandfathers, the Three Old Pigs, so it took some time before they understood what they were explaining. Only then did Little Mole Pig put away his repellent and instead offered them a slice of Black Forest cake. Little Mole Pig, intrigued by the Old Pigs’ kindness, said with a mouthful of cake, “Why are our lives so important that you risked your own to save us from the wolf?” “We know what fear looks like. We know how it feels to live not knowing if you’ll see the next full moon. Everyone should feel safe and protected. Everyone should be free from fear. Everyone should have a safe house to live in. In our time, no one knew to help us. But today, the world knows more about its problems”, said Wise Pig.




Again, Tusker tried to squeeze more than his neck through the door, but he couldn’t. Little Mole Pig said to him, “My friend, I did not build my home with elephants in mind”, and they all laughed. Bamboo Queen held up her mobile phone and charger and asked Little Mole Pig if she could borrow his phone charger. He gave it to her, but his charger was not compatible with her mobile phone. Nobody else had a suitable charger, so in her frustration she threw her dead phone into the waste bin, but it was the wrong bin, so Tree Pig scuttled over to put it in the bin for recycling electronic waste.

Mobile phones and computers have revolutionized our world. These innovative technologies will play an important role in advancing our world. The flip side to this is that there is a rapid growth in electronic waste. The level of toxic electronic waste we are producing is getting out of control. After learning about this, Bamboo Queen has made it her mission to tell people about the ways to dispose of electronic waste.

While this was going on, Anansi the spider dropped down from the ceiling. Little Water Pig, who was tapping his fingers on the table, jumped up and snatched the insect repellent, pointing it at Anansi. “I hate spiders!” said Little Water Pig.


“Are you crazy?” said Wise Pig, shielding the spider with his wrinkled arms. “This life counts too! He might look harmful to you, but his role is valuable on this planet.” Anansi smiled and sat on the shoulder of Cranky Pig. Little Water Pig put down the spray and started tapping his fork. Cranky Pig’s eye was twitching from the constant tapping, a sure sign that he was about to snap. “Stop it! Stop fidgeting!”


There was an uncomfortable silence, but not for too long, because the wolf’s hairy hand burst through the surface of the earth and snatched the Three Old Pigs. Everyone was screaming, including Tusker whose head was now stuck. The Three Little Pigs left the seniors in the woods as they ran after the wolf without a plan. “Wise Pig would want us to continue”, said Scarlet. “You’re right, Scarlet. Lead the way…” said Tusker.




Chapter Three

Elephant and Tortoise 35


ver since Baby Elephant told Rain he did not need her, Rain left. Without Rain, all the land as far as they could see became dry and barren. Plants were wilting. Lakes were drying up. In Baby Elephant’s territory, there was only one remaining waterhole that had not dried up. He kept it for himself, not sharing with any animal that was different from him. Baby Elephant needed to wander away from the watering hole in search for food, so he asked Tortoise to be in charge of the water, leaving him with just one strict instruction: “No other animals are allowed to drink my water, not even you!” Tortoise was perched on a rock while he kept guard. His chest was puffed out like a bullfrog



because he was the one selected to watch over the water. Tortoise said to the birds in the trees, “When Baby Elephant sees me perform my duties well, he will realise that I am not that much different from him. Then he will reward me with water.” Tortoise didn’t yet know what was to come. Under the pressing heat, the vapour lifted off the water’s surface. And out from the hazy layer, a mosquito emerged. It was a malaria-carrying mosquito. Mosquito questioned Tortoise, “Who do you think you are? You are not the god of the water. I am.” Tortoise was slow on most things. He was slow to speak up and he was slow to retreat into his protective shell when the mosquito charged towards him. The malaria-carrying mosquito bit him on the neck. Tortoise felt the sting, the itch and the infection passing through his little body resulting in waves of fevers and fatigue. Nothing could fight it, so he tucked his legs into his shell, until his final breath was drawn. From the tree above Tortoise, the bird of popular song was no longer singing her popular song. Meanwhile, lion, giraffe, buffalo and many other animals from the surrounding dry regions were wearily commuting long distances to have a sip of water. They approached Baby Elephant’s waterhole, now very desperate to drink and they saw Tortoise lying upside down, lifeless. They concluded that the tortoise must have travelled so far to reach the water and collapsed to his death from thirst and exhaustion upon his arrival. They were deeply saddened for the poor tortoise.


Water is an essential part of the world we live in. Marine life and plants need clean water to survive in, land needs water to produce crops and people need clean and healthy water for drinking and sanitation. Unsafe water threatens the lives of humanity as well as land and sea animals if not treated. Do you know how many people lack access to water? Did you know that even wastewater can be filtered and used to make clean and healthy drinking water?




Then, from out of the clouds, these nomadic animals heard a high-pitched voice project out. “Stand back. You cannot drink this water!” They wondered who was talking. They took a step closer. “I said, stand back!” Then they heard an irritating, high-pitched buzzing sound and they knew who was talking. The thirsty animals twitched their ears to swat the mosquito away. The Northern White Rhino bravely stepped closer to the water. “Miss Mosquito, we are all very thirsty and tired, please share your water with us. But if it is too much to ask, would you at least allow me to have a sip?” Mosquito ignored Rhino. So Rhino asked, “Miss Mosquito, why can’t I drink some water? Is it because I’m white?” “Yes”, said Mosquito. Rhino drooped her stumpy neck and started crying. “There are already so few of us


White Rhinos. I can’t afford to be yet another that doesn’t live on.” Pink Flamingo approached Mosquito in confidence, showing off her pink feathers. “No pink flamingos can drink from my water”, said Mosquito. Blue Crane, who was standing next to Pink Flamingo, took one massive step away from Pink Flamingo with his long, angular legs. Mosquito noticed this and said, “The same goes for you, Blue Crane.” Buffalo then stepped forward. “Miss Mosquito, why can’t I drink water?” “Because you’re a girl.” “This is so unfair!” wailed Buffalo. Warthog rolled forward in his wheelchair. He had lost both his legs to a landmine. “No-one without legs”, said Mosquito before Warthog could even ask. “But…”


“No!” Two male lions were holding tails. They stalked forward together. Mosquito said to them, “Out of my sight. No water for you.”

These animals have had enough with exclusion. There should be no tolerance for that in our world. Nobody should be discriminated against because of cultural beliefs, gender, or physical appearance. What are the types of discrimination that exist? How do we protect human rights for all? How do we reduce inequality?


Mother gazelle stepped forward, brushing her fur down over red bottom. She had an illness and it was very embarrassing for her to be seen in public. Mosquito said, “I don’t know what you have, but it stinks. You’re definitely not drinking from my water!” Jaguar, physically exhausted from the distance he’d travelled to find water, stalked forward. Mosquito saw Jaguar approaching, “You do not even belong here. You are from the Amazon! You are not welcome.” So Jaguar went to go lie down in the shade, breathing slowly and heavily.

Baby Elephant returned from his search for food and saw what was going on. He was outraged. Swinging his big trunk, Baby Elephant boldly spoke out to all the animals, “No one is drinking my water! Including you, Mosquito.” Mosquito’s laugh echoed until the small creature was eye-to-eye with Baby Elephant. She threatened Baby Elephant with his life, glancing down at Tortoise and his stiff legs in the air. Baby Elephant now realised his large size held no advantage, so he said, “We must vote on this”, looking around to the others for agreement. “There will be no voting!” ordered Mosquito. Without the Three Old Pigs, the old group shrunk from eight to five. All of the seniors had been driving on bumpy dusty roads towards the only waterhole Do you think voting is important? Having a say in how you get to live your life is significant. That is why democracy is linked to peace and the respect of human rights, from freedom of expression to choosing how your country is governed. All of these are important aspects of peace and justice. Those who already have the privilege to vote should take voting seriously and with responsibility as each vote counts a lot.


remaining, except for Old Lad who was gliding first class on his flying trunk. Bamboo Queen feared her dentures could dislodge. She put on the brakes; “I’m not driving on these bumps anymore!” Everyone agreed except for Tusker, who was enjoying the breeze blowing underneath his sweating ears. To keep the peace within the group, Tusker parked his mobility scooter alongside the other scooters. Old Lad, who had difficulty breathing at the best of times, jumped off his flying trunk with his oxygen tank attached to his back and sat comfortably on the trunk of Tusker. They all walked the remaining distance on the dusty road. The heat continued to lay thick and heavy on them. The more they walked, the louder and more distinct voices became until they were close enough to hear the conversations. They hunkered down behind the dry shrubs and bare sticks to inspect the situation. They were crouched down low, balancing over their plastic replacement knees. They were stunned at what was before them. They saw a lot of animals surrounding the waterhole, including foreign animals. It looked like a mosquito was controlling the group. Tusker didn’t remember any controlling mosquitos from his day. He scratched his bald head with his trunk. Back then, he was the problem. He was the one who told the animals to drink from another watering hole when the rain disappeared, but now there was a mean mosquito in charge. The wild animals at the watering hole were dehydrated and their lives were at stake. Old Lad nudged Tusker in the side, “You’re the biggest one here! Do something!” Tusker lurched forward. “Enough!” He had to pause and steady himself for a moment from a sudden head rush.


Mosquito and the other animals turned to see who had spoken up. “Someone important once said there should be equal rights for all and special privileges for none.” Tusker had no idea who he was quoting, but it didn’t take away from its truth. “Let all the animals drink!” The young, wild animals lifted their heads in hope. Mosquito, who felt she had been tested and disrespected, was enraged that Tusker brazenly and freely expressed himself, so she darted her long, malaria-infected nose into the middle of Tusker’ large forehead. The bite was immediately visible. It looked like a swollen red pimple. Tusker quickly took his place next to the frightened seniors. The bite started itching. Scarlet was furious. “This is crazy”, she exclaimed. She grabbed Little Tree Pig’s empty jar, and quickly tried to snap the lid closed over the mosquito. “Did you catch her?” shrieked Little Tree Pig.


There are more and more people on the move. Many of them are escaping wars, but others are looking to build better lives. It’s been proven that immigrants, for the most part, contribute towards the economic development of the countries they move to. They bring their skills and traditions, which help enrich cultures around the world. This is a hot topic not least due to misperceptions around the real economic impact of migration.

They leaned in closer to look. “No. You missed”, groaned Scarlet. The mosquito wasn’t caught. The wolf from Pig Town hadn’t been caught. Instead, the smoke above the water dissipated. The atmosphere appeared calm and there was no sign of danger. All the nomadic animals moved forward to drink water. It wasn’t quite the heroic victory they envisioned, but they celebrated making water accessible anyway. They danced, sang along with the bird of popular song, and they drank freely. While they were celebrating, Tusker unexpectedly collapsed to the floor. He was sweating profusely, while shaking severely from chills. His muscles ached. He felt nauseous. He twisted, squirmed and cried in his discomfort. All the animals flocked around him. “He’s got Zika!” cried the she-buffalo. “No! He’s showing malaria symptoms. We must give him water for his fevers and then find the bush doctor.” “There’s a bush doctor?” asked Old Lad. “She means a magic healing doctor,” said Giraffe, “who performs a healing dance.”



They all rushed at once to the watering hole to gather as much water as they could for Tusker. Baby Elephant sucked up and held as much water in his trunk as possible. Scarlet scooped water up in Tree Pig’s jar. The others cupped water in their hands, which was dribbling through their fingers. Giraffe was hopelessly failing at her attempts to pick up water with her hooves. With the water they could hold, they all turned around to face Tusker who was now levitating in the air, being carried away by a scourge of mosquitos.


they shouted, but they knew it was too late.

Old Lad focused his attention on the old folk. “We need to continue! I’m going ahead on my flying trunk to survey from above. You continue to the next planned stop: Red Town.” Scarlet objected: “No! The Three Old Pigs were kidnapped by the bad wolf in Pig Town. Tusker was taken away from his own land. I refuse to get snatched away by the wolf in my hometown. It’s time we go home! This is too dangerous.” She Shot Old Lad a nasty look and her face was the colour of her hood. Old Lad said calmly, “How do we expect to stop history repeating itself if we aren’t brave enough to step out of our comfort zones? You were the brave one who started this journey, something we should have done years ago. We can’t give up now. Let’s remember who we are doing this for. Are we together on this?” In silence, they walked back to their scooters.



Chapter Four

Little Red 53


eep in the woods stood a little wooden cottage. It was grandmother’s cottage. The clump of tall trees surrounding her only allowed a few fine rays of sunlight to slip between the gaps. Otherwise the forest was shadowed and cold. Granny Rose didn’t mind. It was all she ever knew. She spent most of her days indoors, especially now that she was suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. In walking distance from Granny Rose, lived her favourite and only grandchild, Little Red Riding Hood. Little Red and her mother, Ruby, had lived in the same house all their lives, which previously belonged to Granny Rose, but their surroundings had changed drastically over time. The land had been divided in two: The old Red Woods and the newly developed Red Town. In Red Town, the forest had been cut down and in its place stood high-rise buildings between roads that snaked over, under and around each other, all lit up by a string of streetlights. Little Red Riding Hood was nothing short of a city girl.



Granny Rose depended on her Little Red who washed her hair and brought her food into the woods every day. The food was not very healthy, but that’s because there was not much choice. Every day when Little Red was about to walk through the dark woods, Ruby would repeat the same strict instructions that Little Red could recite by now, “Be careful where you step. Don’t go off the path and don’t stop to talk to any strangers.” “Yes, Ruby.” Little Red sometimes called her mother by her first name to tease her. There were never any strangers. The dangers lay underground with the remaining landmines, which were placed long ago when dangerous wolves roamed the woods and threatened the people living there. Since the problem with the wolves was solved, many of the landmines had been removed. However, not all of them were found. This was the reason many locals owned a pet Hero Rat. The rats were trained to detect these explosives and Little Red was one of the


Did you know that in many countries there are still landmines in the ground? Every day people lose their lives by stepping on landmines. Nearly half of them are children. The mines were put in the ground during wars. Countries have now agreed not to use landmines anymore, but it will take some time to clean them all up. In Africa, some organizations use Hero Rats that are light enough to sniff out the landmines without triggering them.


many who owned one. So far, it had proved to be the safest and most reliable way to pass through the woods. One afternoon while Granny Rose was waiting for Little Red to arrive, she opened a packet of candy. “Just one”, she told herself. Granny knew that Little Red had to stop at the post office to pick up a very important parcel, which would delay her visit. She wondered what this parcel might be and while doing that she finished the whole package of candy. Then she started to think about the food that Little Red was due to bring and got even hungrier. But when Little Red didn’t knock on the door, Granny’s hunger turned to worry. Ruby was adding leftover cooked meat to a container of raw meat when the phone rang. It was Granny Rose, asking her why Little Red hadn’t delivered her food. Terrified, Ruby dropped the phone and ran through the city asking all the neighbours if they’d seen Little Red. Her desperation grew and her hope shrank with each frantic knock on the neighbours’ doors. A couple days passed after Little Red’s disappearance and the only sign of her was on the missing posters that were pinned up around the town. In the first two days of Ruby’s mourning, she didn’t welcome visitors and she didn’t leave her home. Granny Rose phoned Ruby to comfort her and to gently remind her that she still needed some food. Although Ruby couldn’t face grocery shopping, she knew that Granny Rose was not independent. Ruby also knew that any distraction would be a good distraction, so even though she was very sad, she walked to the nearest store, just a street away. It was the same store that Little Red used to buy groceries. It was a small shop, but it had everything they needed.


Ruby arrived, but the store was closed. A passer-by saw her looking through window of the dark, locked-up shop and said to her, “They closed yesterday after they ran out of supply. All the other nearby shops have the same problem. You’re going to have to go to the next town.”


“What? Why?” “Nobody knows. I would never have expected a food shortage here.” Ruby eventually arrived at a store after taking a train and two connecting buses. This grocery store had a larger variety than she was familiar with so she stood in the aisles longer than she’d have liked, reading the different labels and comparing prices. First on Granny’s grocery list was a dozen eggs. Why are there so many types of eggs when they all look the same, Ruby wondered? There were Farm Fresh eggs, Cage Free, Free Range and Organic, each claiming to be the healthiest option. She even saw eggs for vegans, which looked nothing like eggs, but rather a bunch of bananas. She chose the organic eggs until she noticed the price, and then replaced them with the second-highest priced eggs, ignoring all of the labels. She always believed that higher priced items meant better quality, but she saw now that sometimes the highest priced item was daylight robbery. Ruby looked down at her long shopping list and decided she should better speed things up. She knew what Granny was like when she was hungry. While walking towards Granny’s cottage, Ruby kept close behind Little Red’s pet Hero Rat. Every few steps she had to put down her parcels and stop for a breather; and with every stop, Hero Rat would start chewing ferociously, despite not having any food in his mouth. From a distance, Ruby saw Granny Rose standing at the front door with two friends. Mom is looking healthy and slim, she thought. When Ruby reached Granny Rose and her friends, she greeted Granny Rose with a kiss on the cheek and said, “What smooth skin you have, Ma.”


For the first time in history we have a disproportionate number of people with malnourishment. On the one hand we have a large number of under-nourished people, while on the other hand, we have too many over-weight and obese people. This is what the World Health Organization calls the double burden of malnutrition. In 2015, more than 1.9 billion grownups were over-weight. More than 600 million were obese. How did we get to this point? Can we trust all food labels? How do we know which food is healthy and nutritious?



“That’s because I protect myself from the sun, darling.” Ruby said, “And what a good posture you have.” “That’s because I do yoga everyday.” Ruby was very confused as this was not the mother she knew. Ruby then said, “You are looking so strong, Mother.” “That’s because I eat so well.” “You are not my mother, are you?” Scarlet shook her head, “You haven’t met me before. I am your grandmother and these are my two friends, Bamboo Queen and Quelin.” When they were inside Granny’s house, Scarlet explained the reason for their journey and everything they’d been through so far. “We are feeling defeated and doubting our efforts. We foolishly believed that life would be just as we left it. Our first stop, not too far from here, was Pig Town…” Ruby nodded, “Yes, I know the Three Little Pigs.” Scarlet continued, “We planned to save the pigs from being eaten by the wolf, but our


friends, the Three Old Pigs, were instead taken by the wolf.” Ruby sat still; her body didn’t look like it was filling with air. Scarlet mentioned that their next stop was in the wild where Tusker was from. “Now you understand why we’re in the Red Woods. The wolf has always eaten weak and sick grandmothers. So we’re here to make Granny strong and healthy so he doesn’t eat her too.” Ruby laughed. “The wolf? We haven’t had any problems with wolves in decades, ever since the landmines were planted.” Scarlet raised an eyebrow, “Landmines?” “Yes, they were planted to chase away the wolves”, said Ruby. Quelin asked her, “Where is Little Red now?” Ruby’s shoulders and her head dropped low. The palms of her hands were lying limp in her lap. “Little Red is missing.” And then …


on the front door.

They all hid behind the door, armed with kitchen appliances and Granny’s walking stick. The door slowly creaked open. Ruby, who was closest to the opening, saw two small hooves step in.



“Excuse me for bothering you. I’m Little Tree Pig and I live not too far away from here. I was just wondering if you have seen any bees?” He shook his empty jar. “Little Tree Pig! Why are you walking through the woods alone?” asked Ruby. The others realised they were still holding their breath and exhaled loudly. Little Tree Pig came in and waited patiently under Ruby’s instruction to not walk back alone. Ruby first had to cook for Granny Rose and then she could take Little Pig home. Ruby started deep frying potato chips then dropped the crumbed fish into the oil. The fat was spitting everywhere. Granny Rose felt a meal was never complete without gravy on top, no matter what the dish. Scarlet, who was watching Ruby prepare the oily meal, thought she could help her learn about healthy cooking. She also thought about how Ruby had to travel far to get food, so Scarlet knew it would be a good idea to start a self-sustainable vegetable garden outside Granny Rose’s front door. Bamboo Queen was standing over Quelin’s shoulder squinting at their map he was looking at. Their next stop was in Bamboo’s hometown. They stood up to leave but Scarlet said, “I’m going to stay and help Ruby look after Granny Rose. I will meet up with you later.” “You know where to find us”, said Quelin, waving his map in the air. He looked at Bamboo Queen and said, “From a group of eight, it’s down to just you and me.” He smiled, pulled his red poncho tight around his face before he and Bamboo Queen walked out into the cold, leaving the others inside Granny Rose’s warm cottage.


Little Tree Pig was still waiting patiently for Granny to finish eating before being walked home. He only hoped for her left overs, but she left nothing on her plate. In fact, the only evidence that she had eaten was the greasy layer around her lips, where there was enough oil to fry up another portion of potatoes. Then, Little Tree Pig heard the other two little pigs running towards Granny’s house shouting something to them. Little Tree Pig opened the door and saw Little Mole Pig and Little Water Pig tearing through the woods while waving a piece of paper in hand. The two pigs arrived out of breath and buckled over, hands on their knees. They were huffing and puffing. Little Mole Pig, who was holding the Missing poster of Little Red, pointed to it and said, “We’ve just seen Little Red! She’s on the other side of the woods.” Ruby grabbed her coat. “Wait”, said Scarlet. “Don’t forget to take the Hero Rat with you.” “You’re not coming?” “I’ll look after Granny. I’ve also got some garden work to do around here. You go with the pigs.”


Ruby was so grateful that Scarlet was there to help, even though she didn’t understand what she meant by ‘garden work’. She didn’t have time to ask so she raced out the front door. Ruby, the Three Little Pigs and the Hero Rat rushed out of the room, slamming the door behind them.

BANG! It was not the loud bang from the door that frightened them all. It was the explosion outside that made the trees shake.



Chapter Five

Bamboo Princess 71


urrounded by fields of bamboo, lived a prosperous bamboo cutter and his wife. Despite all of their wealth, they still longed for children of their own, which they were unable to have. One day, while the bamboo cutter was in the field, he saw a bright light shining from inside a bamboo stalk. The closer he got, the brighter it shone. He opened up the stalk to see what was causing this light. When he opened it up the light unfolded like a blooming flower and, sitting right in the middle, was a tiny girl. The bamboo cutter had heard of Thumbelina being born from a flower, but he’d never seen or heard of bamboo babies. He took the girl out, held her in his palm and admired her radiance. He then took her home and showed her to his wife. They looked after and loved her as their own. They named her Bamboo Princess and gave her the bamboo stalk she was born from as a reminder that one doesn’t have to look far to find happiness. Bamboo Princess grew up into a sweet princess. Her relationship with her father grew stronger than the bamboo that surrounded them. This was as a result of the amount of time they spent together. Their working days were dedicated to the bamboo fields. Her free time was split between walking her pet panda, playing Kendo, a martial arts game, and – in secret - reading. Bamboo Princess grew more and more talented in each of these areas. However, it was not her talent that was spoken of throughout the village. It was the fame and fortune she came with as a result of being the daughter of a successful bamboo cutter. Any prince, who was charming enough to woo Bamboo Princess, would inherit the comfort of a good life.



Millions of women do not have the opportunity to become leaders in their professional field of choice. Their career path is often influenced by various factors such as culture, religion, race or the social class that they are born into. Young girls and women can be forced into marriage from a young age or forced to do work associated with patriarchal images of womanhood. If women are allowed to reach their full potential in society, it will improve their country’s economic growth and mean equal chances no matter the gender.


When Bamboo Princess turned 15, the Bamboo Cutter sent out a letter to five of the wealthiest princes, inviting them individually to a banquet on five consecutive evenings. The princes knew this was their chance to charm the princess, but more importantly it was the chance to get her Father’s approval. Ultimately, it was the father who would make the decision to match her with the most eligible prince. Bamboo Princess knew from her family tradition that she would be a bride from a young age, which would end her chance to study and go further in school. The older she became, the more anxious she grew about this inescapable tradition. Marriage was meant to be a choice: a choice of timing and a choice of a life partner. She felt too young. She dreamed about travelling somewhere new and educating herself. More specifically, she dreamed of becoming a scientist or a computer engineer. She loved to develop apps and hang out on social media. Her father, on the


other hand, was suspicious of everything modern and in particular what he called ‘unsafe forms of communications’, such as the Internet. In his house, televisions, mobile phones and computers were forbidden … until the day his wife pointed out that their neighbours seemed to be much better off than them now that they had a TV and mobile phone. Bamboo Princess finally got the phone she wished for, but without money or a decent data package to use it. She relied on public Wi-Fi and this was hard to find. The first evening of the 5-day gala banquet had arrived. Snow Prince made an entrance as he rode in on his white tandem bicycle, the back seat empty. Bamboo Princess expected Snow Prince to have a snow-white complexion just like his greatgrandmother, Snow White, but she was pleasantly surprised to see he didn’t. Over dinner, Snow Prince asked what Bamboo Princess’ interests were. She revealed her enquiring mind for how the universe was formed, leading to her desire to study physics and become a scientist. She also told him that she was also interested in coding and engineering. Snow Prince was mortified. He told her that ladies’ skills should lie in the


kitchen, not in the classroom. As he understood, this is how ladies proved their womanhood: By serving and looking after their man. Bamboo Princess took a deep breath to try stay calm, while Snow Prince explained what he thought about the roles of women. Snow Prince continued. “It was my greatgrandmother, Snow White, who stumbled upon a home in the woods where seven dwarves lived. It was her safe haven from the Snow Queen who wanted her life to …” “Become the fairest of all...” interrupted Bamboo Princess impatiently. “To earn her right in the home, Snow White washed the floors, made the beds, sewed the clothes they wore and cooked the food they ate. She was a great example to all women.” Snow Prince didn’t notice Bamboo Princess looking out of the window and rapping her fingers on the table. “Because of this, I would like to honour my greatgrandmother by having seven children and name them after the dwarfs she was so fond of.” Bamboo Princess stood up from the table and clutched onto her bamboo stalk until her knuckles went white. Her father was quietly looking in on the situation. He sensed this date wasn’t going well, so before she could embarrass Snow Prince any more, Father bid the Prince goodnight before dessert was served. Snow Prince thanked Bamboo Princess for the dinner and rode off on his tandem with the back seat still empty.


The second evening could only go better than the first. Loman, the much talkedabout son of the emperor was on his way. Both the Emperor and his great-grandson, Loman, were known across the land for their spectacular sense of fashion. Bamboo’s father figured that Loman and Bamboo Princess could talk about silk patterns and fashion trends. In the dressing room, Bamboo’s servant pinned in the Princess’ last twist of hair when the doorbell rang. He was not a minute before or after the arranged time. Bamboo Princess shuffled right behind the butler towards the front door. Her servant was walking closely behind Bamboo, fluffing up her puffed-out dress. Father noticed her eyes were already dazzling, but then realised it was just her heavy-laden glittery eye shadow. The door opened. Bamboo Princess jumped back with horror, gasping for breath at what was in front of her. She started choking on her surprise. Loman quickly stepped in, and in his attempt to help the situation, he started patting her back. This made it worse for Bamboo Princess. She turned away, averting her gaze. Loman didn’t understand her reaction. Does she not like my new suit, he wondered? Again, the bamboo cutter and his wife were, unbeknown to Bamboo Princess, crouching at the top of the staircase, spying down on the date. It took a moment for them to realise what they were looking at before they both gasped, “He’s naked!” Bamboo’s father darted down the stairs with a spare royal robe and covered the inappropriate sight from his precious daughter’s eyes. Loman kept resisting the robe, but Father insisted he wear it if he wanted to stay.


Two courses into the evening and three more to go, Bamboo Princess was still feeling flustered from the rude awakening. Her father had taught her that first impressions matter the most, and now she believed it more than ever before. Loman’s naked entrance was by far the most exciting thing that happened that evening. In fact, his strong stance on the beauty of his new ‘suit’ was the only opinion she got from him all night. When she asked about his favourite books, he shrugged. When she asked about his favourite movies, actor, bands, and what his dream holiday would be. All he did was shrug, shrug, and shrug. The last she saw of him was when he shrugged Father’s robe off before bidding goodnight. Again, she looked away but she could not un-see what she had already seen. When he asked if he would see her again, she shrugged back. It was the third evening and opposite her was Frog Prince and his frog. He didn’t look


like a prince. His neck skin was hanging loose on him and, from the front, Bamboo Princess could only see two tufts of grey hair on the sides of his head, while the top of his head shone brighter than the sun. His frog was no more handsome and Bamboo’s cat, Puss in Boots, made his instant disapproval known. Puss in Boots jumped onto the table, hissing at the frog on the Prince’s shoulder. The prince swept the cat off the table, maybe a little too forcefully and said, “I don’t really like cats. I know this is your second cat, but it would also be your last cat once you marry me.” Bamboo didn’t recall telling him that this was her second cat after her first lost his ninth life. The only place she made that common knowledge was on her social networking profile page, but her account was made private to her accepted friend list. So, how had he viewed it? Bamboo Princess was certain that he had hacked into her social media account and stalked her. Not long after dessert, he was out. Out of the house and out of the question.

It’s invasive and unsettling to know that your email account has been hacked into, or that an unknown person had access to your private information. In today’s digital age, the right to online privacy is a human right. The Internet and social media are revolutionizing communication, but if not used with caution, can interfere with the right to privacy or freedom of expression.




Later that evening in the dressing room, Bamboo’s servant was wiping the make-up and tears from her face. She was exhausted and fed up. “I can barely manage five consecutive days of entertaining these ‘charming’ princes, how will I last the rest of life with just one?” The next morning, Bamboo Princess had errands to do in town. She used the trip as a way to access public Wi-Fi on her mobile phone. The previous night with Frog Prince, had given her the idea to learn about the fourth prince that would be joining her that evening. The only difference is, she wouldn’t hack into his account. She would only view what was made public news by the prince. And she certainly would be more discreet about it when talking to the prince. At her favourite cat café, Bamboo searched for Prince Dreamy on a social networking site and was happy to find his photo albums were made public. She worked her way through each album photo by photo and was surprisingly impressed. He looked good, he loved his family, and he even helped at a cat rescue facility. This was the one! This was the prince in shining armour. The evening announced itself and so did Prince Dreamy. Between mouthfuls of the of soup, Prince Dreamy unravelled each family story into excruciating detail, accompanied by albums of photos, all of which she had already seen on his social media profile. Each story about himself bled into another and the evening continued to play out in slow motion. His voice became a distant sound and the mocha ice cream she was eating was brought to the forefront of her mind. It was good. She reminded herself to thank the chefs later for another exceptional meal.


“That’s me in a nutshell. What about you, Boo?” said Prince Dreamy. Bamboo, who was lost in her dream world, took a couple seconds to register that he was one, asking her a question, and two, addressing her by a disturbing nickname. She opened her mouth to speak only to be interrupted. “Ah, look at the time. Time for my beauty sleep; I’m not called Prince Dreamy for nothing. Goodbye and goodnight my Sleeping Beauty.” Strike four. She lagged up the stairs, her legs too heavy to lift. Her father trying to be upbeat asked how it had gone but she responded by slamming her bedroom door on his toes. Night five. Prince Number Five. Bamboo Princess was quite disappointed at this point and tired from dressing up for each evening, so she dressed down. Her mother was mortified to see Bamboo wearing pants and told her that ladies don’t wear pants. She was walking behind Bamboo Princess from room to room, tearing a brush through her tangled hair, applying blush and spritzing her neck with an overpriced perfume.


The doorbell rang and so did Bamboo’s conscience thinking that maybe she should have put more effort into her appearance. But to not cave in to her mother’s pressure, she remained in her jeans and opened the door with her head held high. Maybe a little too high, because at eye level with her was not the face of a charming prince but an oversized jeep, that looked more like an open top military truck, than an ecofriendly people mover. The exhaust fumes were pumping out like a coal-burning factory. The prince wasn’t even in it! A sparkle from below her field of vision caught Bamboo Princess’ attention. Crouched on one knee, was the fifth prince cupping a slipper in his hands for her to try on. Chiselled jaw. Glow-in-the-dark teeth. Giraffe-like eyelashes. She must have stood there paralysed for some time as he interrupted the silence by clearing his throat, “Ahem!”

Many animals are threatened with extinction because of human activities such as poaching, trafficking, and development, which leads to habitat loss. We can help by not buying products made from endangered animals or by making sure to recycle electronics. It is important to take all “small” actions seriously because it all contributes to saving the existence of species, as recently seen with the panda bears, which are no longer endangered.




Bamboo Princess looked to the single slipper he held. It was made of snakeskin, just like the lace-up shoes he was wearing, with the laces made of whiskers from snow seal pups. She was trying to absorb it all and make sense of the rest of his attire. A harpoon was strapped on his back with a dangling fish speared through the eye. Slipper Prince’s flexed muscles bulged from his sleeveless vest made of mink fur. His narrow waist was drawn together by a crocodile-skinned belt with something attached to the front of the belt. A gun? This was no prince! Slipper Prince believed he was what all of the girls wanted; after all, girls loved animals. Bamboo Princess on the other hand thought he was a nature hater, wearing clothes made from endangered animals. She slammed the front door on him and ran up to her room crying. This is pointless, she thought. I’ll never find anyone and my life will be always meaningless in my father’s eyes without a prince. I want to go back to where I stemmed from. Bamboo Queen and Quelin had arrived in the bamboo fields. They hid in the moonlight shadows beneath the tall bamboo stalks, while they moved closer towards Bamboo’s home. Things looked just as they were when Bamboo Queen was a little girl. It was the same mansion with a pointed roof and the same stone bridge over the koi pond that she and her father built. The only difference was how much thicker the trees were that drooped over the trickling water feature. Bamboo Queen breathed in the memories of her earlier days, growing up there. Unfortunately, her memories did not end well for her. When Bamboo Queen was younger, she had chosen education over marriage. In turn, her father released her back to the wild, where her view on life, according to him, would be accepted. He didn’t see any benefit in her desire to keep learning. He


saw rebellion. He cut ties with her as brutally as he cut bamboo for a living and, to her saddened heart, he never met the prince she ended up marrying after graduation. He also didn’t celebrate with her when her prince took his position as King in his land, and he didn’t support her through her pain when she lost him to a tropical disease. There were too many lost years where Bamboo Queen didn’t have a father. She didn’t want that for young Bamboo Princess. She wanted her to have the choice of her own path with her father’s consent. Bamboo Queen snapped out of her daze when she heard rustling and movement from a close distance. They didn’t move. Just then Baba Yaga appeared. “Baba Yaga! You came! But my, oh my, you gave me a heart attack,” said Bamboo Queen. Baba Yaga answered, “I thought you could use a little magical help.” She was right. They needed all the help they could get.

Millions of children, especially girls, do not go to school for a number of reasons. They might not be able to afford it, they might not have access, or they are needed to help with daily duties such as taking care of family members, land or livestock. Often, those who do attend school do not receive good education because the teachers are not well trained. If we can help children receive better education, then they will be empowered and equipped to help others in similar situations.


Quelin pointed and said, “There she is!” Bamboo Princess was sitting in front of a log fire. She was staring into the flames, tears rolling down her cheeks. Quelin looked at Bamboo Princess and suggested that the ladies go speak with her. He was never good with emotions anyway so to make the best use of time, he began to build a raft before going ahead to Brujo Island. Bamboo Princess was transfixed on the flickering flames of the fire. She wondered what it is about fire that could make people become mesmerised by it. Her thoughts trailed to her last conversation with her father after all the princes had left. “All of these five princes are perfectly suitable for you because your mother and I selected only the best. If you don’t choose one, we will”, he had said, while lighting the fire she was sitting at and tossing her acceptance letters from various schools into the flames. Bamboo Princess was considering the consequences of running away. It was dangerous, but the better of the two options, she thought. “Ahem!” said Bamboo Queen, clearing her throat. Bamboo Princess spun around to see who was there. Bamboo Queen and Baba Yaga spent a long time talking to and comforting young Bamboo Princess. They then spent a long time talking to the Bamboo Cutter and his wife about what a young girl’s future should look like. The Bamboo Cutter was resistant to change his ways, so Baba Yaga waved her magic fingers over the parents. Sparks flew and smoke circled. Then Father turned to his daughter and said, “Bamboo Princess, it’s time for you to spread your wings. Go explore, go learn new


things, there is so much opportunity for you!” Bamboo Princess squealed, clapped her hands and squeezed her father tight. Baba Yaga winked at Bamboo Princess. At last something good had come from the old folks’ trip. Bamboo Princess knew exactly where she wanted to study first: The famous physics school in Old Town. She knew she would need to leave with Baba Yaga and Bamboo Queen who could take her there after their journey ended, as the school was only a short distance from the Old Home. The Bamboo Cutter thought this was a wonderful plan and offered his fishing boat for the three ladies to cross the seas. Unfortunately, they had to go via Brujo Island and pick up Quelin before their last stop in Aladdin’s hometown.



Chapter Six

Caleuche 93


n the Island of Seagulls, at the underbelly of the globe, lived the Royal Family of the Sea. Millalobo was King. He had the body of a sea lion and the head of a human and fish. He ruled over all the living sea creatures. His wife and Queen of the ocean, Huenchula, was half human and half seahorse as she was born from a beautiful unicorn and a strong lumberjack. Huenchula first met Millalobo when she was living on land during the winters. She was retrieving water from a well. She looked into the well, but instead of seeing her own reflection, she saw the face of Millalobo staring back at her. It was truly love at first sight. They started a relationship and later got married. Huenchula then went to live with Millalobo at the bottom of the sea, but would still come visit her parents, and come up for air. Millalobo and Huenchula had three beautiful children: Pincoy, a merman and prince of marine botany, and two mermaid princesses, Pincoya and Sirena. All three children helped their parents take good care of the seas. Huenchula’s first interest was the Island of Seagulls, where she was born and raised. Her parents, Mrs Unicorn and Mr Lumberjack, were the first family to live on the island after the great flood, where the water levels rose over the once lively and densely populated city. No one survived. Years later when the waters dropped and the land resurfaced, it was only the seagulls who returned‌ until Mrs Unicorn and Mr



Lumberjack discovered the island, while sailing the seas. The island was beautiful with lush forests so they decided to stay.

Overfishing is a serious problem that is not only threatening to the fish, but millions of people that depend on fishing and fish to live. The world needs healthy oceans with balanced ecosystems to preserve life on the planet. Do you know how many species have been overfished?

Mr Lumberjack built palafitos, colourful timber houses built on stilts above the treacherous waters. Their home could be seen from the mainland and soon people from the coastal towns of the mainland moved to the Island of Seagulls, also building their homes on stilts, creating a vibrant little village. Mrs Unicorn’s efforts to build a stronger community were evident in the islanders’ ability to feel and stay connected on a piece of disconnected land. After achieving all this, they felt it was the right time to start their own family and so they had their first and only child, Huenchula. Since Huenchula was a young girl, she always loved and respected the sea. When she became Queen of the Sea, her investment in sea conservation only grew. She always ensured a sustainable ocean for people to survive. And while she loved far and wide, she strictly disciplined those who



didn’t obey her one rule, to not take more fish than needed for daily consumption. If the fisherman overfished, Huenchula would limit their supply. On the contrary, if they respected the oceans, their next fishing trip would be plentiful. Huenchula’s two princess daughters, Pincoya and Sirena were the messengers to the fishermen. They would swim to shore and deliver the news of whether the fishermen’s harvest would be short or plentiful. Pincoy would always go with his sisters, while also monitoring marine plantations. One morning, when the sun woke up slightly later than the day before, Huenchula looked out across the seas and saw that the seawater was blood red. It wasn’t the sun’s reflection staring back at her. Huenchula screamed. “The fish are being slaughtered!” But what she did not know is that it was not callous humans that were clubbing fish as she thought it to be, but something far, far more dangerous. All three children came to see what their mother had screamed about. Pincoy the marine botanist, gasped at the sight. “It’s red tide!” Huenchula was furious, but more than this, she felt out of control. She knew how to regulate marine life and human activity to a degree, but the mood of the sun and other elements were not in her hands. Water temperatures were above normal, which boosted the growth of algae and this produced harmful toxins. This is what made the water turn reddish-brown. And the effect of red tide is what was contaminating and killing marine life, not the fishermen.


The unhealthy ocean was now showing its signs of being terribly sick: Dead marine life scattered the beach. And what little fish remained, the fishermen were grabbing to sell, despite the fish being contaminated. Without hesitating, Pincoya, Sirena and Pincoy swam out to the coastal line of the mainland. Just before they reached the shore, they noticed a young fisher boy floating alone on the still waters. The fisher boy was crying. It was Cadin, Quelin’s great-grandson. “I understand you are upset about this red tide, but we need you to listen to us. I have to stop you from selling your fish to the market, for now. It’s too dangerous for others to eat.” Cadin was shaking his head. “It’s not the fish. It’s my only sister, Sakin. She has been taken by Brujo, the evil warlock!” Pincoya didn’t know how much more bad news she could hear. First the red tide and now the haunting existence of Brujo! Brujo had been kidnapping children for decades, most of whom were young girls. He lived on his own mysterious island marked by darkness, called the Island of Brujo. From the Island of Seagulls, his island wasn’t visible to the naked eye or even through binoculars with extra zoom, but it was there. It was believed that Brujo lived in a cave, set on the shoreline, where hairy monsters guarded the entrance. The monsters walked on one leg and two hands, and they were fed on black cat’s milk and goat’s flesh. Legend had it that these monsters were the mutated missing children from the mainland.


Recently, water temperatures are warmer than normal and this is because of climate change. The warm water temperature causes an overgrowth of algae, which releases toxins into the water, making the water change colour to reddish-brown and also posing a risk to the health of marine life and all of humanity who eat the contaminated fish.

Brujo wore a magic cloak. The cloak only covered his belly, harnessed on by straps that crossed over his exposed back. With the cloak on, Brujo had supreme powers he used for revenge, a result of being mistreated as a child, though nobody quite knows. He could concoct toxic potions to spill into the oceans and kill off sea creatures. He could lull and control people with his magic powers. He could fly if he wore a poncho. And he could transform little children into monsters. “We must do something fast”, said Princess Pincoya. Prince Pincoy said, “You stay here to help Cadin. I will tell the other fishermen about the algae problem.” He and his sister, Sirena, swam off, leaving Pincoya with Cadin. “We have to go save your sister! We have no other option!” said Pincoya. Cadin buried his head in his hands.



He was afraid. He had heard of the desperate parents who’d gone after Brujo to save their children. Only, they never returned. After a moment of thought, Cadin hoisted the anchor from the sea and put the weight of it on his boat. “Alright. Let’s go!” Pincoya pulled Cadin in his boat behind her, cutting through the strong currents and making white horses in the water run alongside her all the way to Brujo Island. Pincoya ramped the boat onto the sand bank of Brujo Island. There were beached Sei whales everywhere. Pincoya threw herself over one of the whales and wept. She knew this was a result of Brujo’s organised oil spills and other harmful schemes to destroy the ocean and all life in it. “How can someone be so cruel and malicious? What for?” she cried. Cadin drew near Pincoya, but she motioned for him to go rescue Sakin. Cadin was in awe of the beauty of the island. The coastline was lined with giant rock cliffs separating land from icy blue waters. Cadin bravely walked along the shoreline, while Pincoya waited in the water for his return. He could not see Brujo’s cave. Around the bend and behind rocks he could, however, see a shipwreck. “That’s the Caleuche… the ghost ship” he said to himself. It looked abandoned. He wondered if maybe he could climb to the top of it and get some clues of where exactly he would find his sister. Cadin found a dangling rope and hoisted himself up until making it to the deck. Standing aboard, the air around him felt eerie. Colder. Something caught his attention in the staircase leading to the cabin below deck so he decided to investigate




it with caution. He navigated his way through dark passageways, feeling the walls on both sides of him. He found a room that was closed up. Something in him decided to see what was there so he slowly opened the door. There was no movement. His eyes had adjusted to the dark and he could make out a lot of caskets stacked up on top of each other. He hunched over the box nearest him, unlatched the lock and opened it. It was crammed with dry bones. These were too big to be human bones. Feeling scared, he shut the lid quickly then noticed an engraving on the lid, reading, Mammoth. He looked from one casket to another reading all the titles on each: The Dodo. The West African Black Rhino. The Golden Toad. This was a graveyard of all the extinct animals from near and far! This cannot be, he thought. He was afraid and had to leave. On his way out he saw another box of bones: Locals from the Island of Seagulls. Quelin was now sweating from fear. This Brujo not only takes children and pollutes the waters. He kills off animal species and wipes out population groups through severe climate changes.

Many of us can name a few extinct species, such as the dodo or the Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs. But did you know that the World Wildlife Fund estimates that around 10,000 species go extinct every year? This can happen from climate change, over-predation, poaching, a lack of habitat, lack of food or things like volcanic eruptions. Which species are endangered today? What can we do to save them?



Cadin scrambled out of there as quickly as possible. From the deck he saw a tower roughly in the middle of the island, showing signs of life. He moved quickly and headed in that direction, while constantly surveying for possible danger. The tower had hundreds of windows spiraling upwards, one for each room. Some of the windows were flung open and some were tucked in with the blinds laid down. Cadin moved around the tower, following the voice of a singing girl. She was hanging her hair out of the window. It was a very short ponytail; too short to braid. As he scanned the open windows he saw a lot of girls hanging their short ponytails out from the window, but he couldn’t see his sister. Cadin was looking up with more questions than there were windows when a voice from behind him called, “Cadin!” It was his great-grandfather, Quelin. Cadin was thrilled to see someone he knew, especially his great-grandfather. “I thought my sister Sakin was taken by Brujo, but I don’t see her anywhere”, said Cadin, downcast. Just then Cadin heard his name being called again. He looked up to see Sakin hanging from a window that was previously shut up. “Help me!” she cried. Cadin automatically started running towards her but his great-grandfather caught his arm! “Careful! It’s dangerous here…” And those were the last words spoken before the force of a destructive tidal wave washed over them. At the same time, on the same sea not too far away, the Three Little Pigs, Ruby and


Baby Elephant journeyed together on Little Water Pig’s houseboat, tracking Little Red Riding Hood. Ruby and the Three Little Pigs had found Baby Elephant crying in the woods after hearing the landmine explosion in Red Wood. He told them his name was Baby Elephant and that he was looking for Tusker who looked like a big version of him. “Come with us, Baby Elephant,” Ruby insisted, “We are looking for Little Red and the Old Pigs who are also missing! We will look for Tusker too.” So here was Baby Elephant, sitting at the back of Water Pig’s houseboat, which they pulled from the dried up lake in Pig Town to the ocean. With headlights strapped on, they all called out, “Little Red… Pigs…Tusker”, but to no avail.

Did you know that UNESCO created a gaming app for children to raise disaster risk reduction awareness? What are other ways we can be better prepared for extreme events that happen suddenly and with great impact, including tidal waves, droughts, hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes? How can we help the lives of those living in affected areas?



Their slow speed was picked up by an ocean’s swell, which they quickly discovered was no small swell, but a destructive tide. They screamed,


with their eyes shut. The wave swept over Brujo island effortlessly and moved on without them, leaving them stranded on the island and surrounded by devastation: Uprooted trees, street lamps bent at right angles, and wailing young girls; girls who were desperately searching for something or someone under mounds of wreckage. Little Mole Pig who was petrified of hurricanes, jumped out of the boat, still screaming, and buried his head underground. His two hind legs and tail were sticking in the air. “There she is! There is Little Red”, said Ruby. Little Mole Pig looked up and forgot about his greatest fear. Ruby sprinted towards her daughter who was with two others, helping move some of the rubble. When the red hood turned around to face Ruby, she jolted to a standstill. It was not her Little Red, but old Quelin with his red hoodie pulled over his head. Ruby crumbled into a heap of tears. “I’m sorry!” said Quelin, truly sorry for her disappointment. “It’s not your fault”, said Ruby. “I saw what I so desperately want to see!” “Little Red is not here. You all need to leave; it’s too unsafe”, said Quelin. “Cadin, go with the Little Pigs and take all the young girls with you on the houseboat. I will


gather the remaining girls and make sure to bring your sister. Now go, before it’s too late!” said Quelin. Cadin knew he would keep his word so he hugged his great-grandfather before leaving. Quelin was watching Cadin embark the small boat along with the others. The boat was over crowded and very unsafe, but it was still safer than staying on the island. Quelin waved his friends off until they were just a small dot on a large ocean surface. That is when he saw another boat on the horizon that looked very familiar to him. Quelin hoped it wasn’t what he thought it was, so he reached for his binoculars. It was. “It’s the Caleuche…the ghost ship. And it’s being steered by Brujo”, he said to himself. Meanwhile, the Bamboo ladies were hopelessly lost at sea. There was no sign of land. No help. No mobile reception. They lay on the floor of the boat feeling hopeless and tired. But time must have passed and the boat must have drifted, because the next thing Bamboo Queen heard was her name being yelled out. She bolted up and spun around to see the Three Little Pigs, Ruby and a few other familiar faces. They were all so excited to see each other. They agreed to share stories along the way, but for now, they all had to keep going. They had friends to find.



Chapter Seven

The Lamp 113


ot only was Old Lad’s town the furthest away, but also he had encountered problems with his flying trunk. Needless to say he had a lot of time to reflect on his life while flying alone over the cities along the way: Old Lad was born into poverty. As a young boy, he aspired to a life of wealth; however, he was not prepared to work for it. One day, a wicked magician, a trickster, took Old Lad to an opening in the ground and asked him to retrieve the lamp from inside the hole. Old Lad, did so, but before he passed the lamp to the magician or climbed out of the hole, the ground closed over Old Lad and he was trapped inside with the lamp. That was when he discovered the genie. With the use of the genie’s magic powers, Old Lad returned to his town where he grew in wealth. He got everything he wished for as a young boy: A palace, being crowned prince, getting married to the most beautiful princess, and sitting at the king’s banquet every evening.

Eliminating poverty tops the global goal list and it remains one of the biggest challenges we face. Although a lot of people are better off today than they were before, there are still hundreds of millions of people that are living in extreme poverty. The world is committed to eradicate poverty by 2030. We all have a role to play.



But Old Lad noticed a difference in the wishes he made depending on whether he made a wish while holding the lamp in his hands, or letting it rest on the surface of a table nearby. With his hands on the lamp, his wishes were selfish and somewhat wicked. Old Lad didn’t want his wishes to be self-centered or cruel, so he placed the lamp in a glass box and promised to pass it down to the next generation the same way. Old Lad grew in his wealth, but he also made sure his community prospered with him. The town’s economy and its people thrived under his authority. A few years later, the magician located Old Lad’s palace. When the princess was home alone, the magician tricked her and took the lamp for himself. The impacts on the society were almost immediate. The magician took the lamp out of the box and held it in his bare hands. The magician took wealth from others. He took power from others. He took happiness. His authority ruled over the land and all the people in it. It even ruled over him. Old Lad chased after the magician and the lamp to destroy it. This, he achieved … …Or so he thought, until the next generation when his son met a magician and was taken to a hole in the ground to retrieve the lamp. It was the same story as the previous generation. The hole closed over Old Lad’s son and trapped him inside, which was when he discovered the genie for himself. Being taught by his father, the son used the lamp with care in a glass box. Only when the same magician tricked Old Lad’s son, did his son also throw the lamp in the hole underground. This repeated every generation. And it was the front-page headline that brought Old Lad out of the Old Home, to stop history from repeating once again. At long last, Old Lad approached his country. The degraded land alarmed him. It was


not at all rich enough for crops; much worse than pictures showed. Old Lad mentally prepared himself for young Prince Aladdin’s iconic palace contrasted against this decrepit landscape before him. When Old Lad arrived at Aladdin’s palace, something terrible had already happened. The palace was no longer there. Young Prince Aladdin had his face pressed against the hot, dry and dusty ground beneath him. He had been sleeping under the baking sun after a day’s work of herding sheep. He was working for a farmer not too far away from his once existing palace. Prince Aladdin lay there feeling hopeless, not wanting to get up. He was weak and had not eaten in days. Suddenly someone started shaking him vigorously.

The reality is that millions of people around the world are unemployed largely because of a lack of education or skillset. And many of the people who do have jobs are exploited or working in unsafe conditions such as miners who are often affected with lung diseases or a loss of hearing. Reducing poverty around the world will ensure that many more will be better qualified to find decent jobs. And increasing the amount of decent jobs will help reduce poverty.

“What’s going on? Where’s your palace? Where is the lamp?” said an



old man frantically. It took a few seconds before Prince Aladdin saw that this old man was his great-grandfather, Old Lad. “Great-Grandfather! What brings you here?” he asked. “I came here to stop this, Prince Aladdin…stop the growing gap between your wealth and the terrible poverty of the rest, but I expected you to be playing croquet on your lush lawns, not sleeping in the dirt. Where is the lamp?” asked Old Lad, pointing to the front-page news article he had kept in his pocket. “Lamp? You mean the gravy server? I sold it. I sold everything I owned except for my palace and pet lion”, said Prince Aladdin. “You sold the lamp?” Prince Aladdin didn’t understand Old Lad’s distasteful glare, nor did he understand what he meant by the ‘lamp’. Prince Aladdin explained himself. “I spent every last cent of my inheritance from my wealthy father. I spent it on properties, gadgets, gambling and a pet lion that would do tricks to earn me more money. I never thought it would run out, but it did. I then became so desperate that in order to live I had to sell all my belongings too. Unfortunately that included the gravy server that Father gave to me in a glass box. He said to never take it out the glass box and to use it wisely. But how can I use it if I can’t take it out the box? It didn’t bother me, though. I’m not a fan of gravy anyway. I put the glass box in my bottom drawer and never brought it out until the day I sold it in the same state I received it. As soon as I sold it,


the most bizarre thing happened. My palace vanished and so did my lion, which was my only source of income.” Old Lad was mortified. He spoke each word deliberately and slowly. “You mean to tell me that you don’t know about the genie who lives inside the lamp – your gravy server – and grants wishes?” Prince Aladdin erupted into laughter. If there was time, Old Lad would have used it to sigh. “Who did you sell it to?” asked Old Lad. “I traded my goods online. When interest was shown and money transfers were made, I shipped off the sold items to various addresses.” The newspapers made the world believe that Prince Aladdin was in possession of the lamp and consequently robbing others of any means to survive. But someone else had it and Old Lad knew exactly who had tricked Prince Aladdin for it. Old Lad hurtled off, with a confused prince following hot on his heels. There were eight travellers who were en route, but it was not the original eight who started the journey, except Bamboo Queen. The rest were the energetic and enthusiastic Three Little Pigs, Ruby, Baby Elephant, Cadin and Bamboo Princess. They were being lead by the Hero Rat and Bamboo Princess’ mobile navigation app.



Cadin asked the tired Little Pigs if they wanted a piggyback so they all hopped on. They covered some miles in silence, before running into Old Lad and Prince Aladdin, who were both on the flying trunk whizzing towards them. The trunk stopped a few centimetres from Baby Elephant’s eyes, who was forced to squint when it almost brushed his lashes. Prince Aladdin and Bamboo Princess’ eyes met. Prince Aladdin swept his long fringe to the side and Bamboo Princess twirled a long strand of her hair around her finger. Everyone noticed the interaction. “Prince Aladdin sold the lamp!” said Old Lad brusquely. “He what?” asked Little Mole Pig. Little Water Pig said, “But if Prince Aladdin doesn’t have the lamp, then who does?” “Whoever it is, we need to find him and then destroy the lamp”, said Old Lad. Everyone accepted the call of duty without questioning and darted off behind the flying trunk, repeatedly chanting, “Find the lamp. Find the lamp.” The Hero Rat was leading the group out of the city, passing up and down undulating dunes. The flying trunk was on the rat’s tail and everyone else was close behind. Ruby was trailing behind, breathless, but determined to keep up.


Bamboo Princess said to Ruby, “It was very courageous of you to continue through the woods after you heard the landmine explosion”. “My lost daughter is in more danger than I. Besides, we had Hero Rat leading us.” “I’m still wondering who stepped on that landmine in the woods”, said Bamboo Princess. “I don’t know, but if the wolf is back then I would like to think it was him”, said Ruby. The landscape changed from sand dunes to rocky terrain. It was at this point when the flying trunk started jerking and stuttering before it stopped cold and refused to go further. Old Lad said, “Not again! This hasn’t stopped giving me problems! Anyway, we need to keep going.” Old Lad hopped off his trunk. “You can’t walk, Old Lad! Your lungs!” said Bamboo Queen. “I’m fine, we’re close enough. Let’s go!” Old Lad held his oxygen tank close to him and charged ahead. All of a sudden, he stopped and held up his right hand, signalling to the others to stop behind him. It was a perfect excuse for Ruby to catch her breath. She was trying to breathe quietly next to the energetic kids, but she couldn’t disguise her heaving chest. Ruby – along with all the others – stared straight ahead of them.



They were standing on the edge of a huge crevice. On the other side of the crevice was a crater. It looked as if a planet fell out of the solar system and landed right in front of them, leaving a sizeable and perfectly round dent in the earth. “What are we looking at?” asked Prince Aladdin. Old Lad answered, “Ahead of us is the opening in the ground where I first retrieved the lamp from and where I thought I’d destroyed it.” Cadin looked through his binoculars. “There’s a cage with…it can’t be!” Cadin looked over his binoculars then back through the lens, “Tusker!” Baby Elephant started flapping his ears furiously. “And a second cage with a lion!” “That’s my lion!” said Prince Aladdin. “There’s another cage with…Oh no! The pigs!” Ruby burst out, “And my Little Red?”


Cadin surveyed more and then shook his head. Nothing. Ruby wept. “Wait…There’s a rock cave with a flickering light coming from inside. All I can see is a really large shadow of someone on the wall. He’s standing up!”




Chapter Eight

The Shadow 129


ranny Rose was feeling healthier and stronger, so Scarlet decided it was time to go where her help was more needed: Aladdin’s home. She was wandering through the bustling Arabian markets when someone tapped her on the shoulder. To her surprise, it was her dearest Quelin, who had come straight from Brujo Island on his raft. “Out of all the places in Old Lad’s town, I knew I would find you shopping”, said Quelin. They laughed and then together they searched for the others. Quelin could not wait to tell Scarlet about saving the girls from the tower and that he took Sakin safety home.

Old Lad and the others were standing on the edge of the crevice. “We can’t get across. The gap is too wide”, said Old Lad. “Ahem!” said a voice from behind them. They all spun around to see Scarlet and Quelin. “We started this trip with you and we’re here to finish it with you”, said Scarlet. “Rapunzel gave me a gift before we left the Old Home and now is the time to use it.” With that, she slipped off her red hood, unclipped her hair extension and unravelled Rapunzel’s long braid. They all cheered. They could now get across. Cadin circled the braid over his head three times and with all his strength, thrust the braid across the gap, which then latched on to a tree stump on the other side. They then made a tightrope out of it, fastening it around a rock on their side. Cadin said, “We must cross one-by-one and then hide behind those boulders.” He then spoke to all of the elderly, “If you can distract the villain, the rest of us can come up from


behind him and catch him.” No one could think of a better idea so they agreed. One at a time, they steadied themselves as they crossed over the ravine on Rapunzel’s hair. Cadin was leading the young group. When he got closer to the other side, he could hear a whistling voice coming from inside the cave. It was a sweet, cheerful tune. The others could hear it too as they moved closer. The shadow stood up and was enormous in stature. “Could it be the notorious magician?”, wondered Prince Aladdin aloud. The shadow glided along the cave wall towards the exit until it stood in broad daylight. He had one wooden leg, a basket and behind him he dragged out a casket of bones. “It’s not the magician. It’s Brujo!” said Cadin, horrified and confused. Bamboo Princess said, “His leg! He was the one who got blasted by the landmine.” “That doesn’t make any sense”, said Cadin. “Why would he be wandering through


Red Woods?” Brujo started rubbing the lamp, while whispering something to it. The genie slid out the spout of the lamp and then smoke started forming and spreading around Brujo, getting thicker and clouding Brujo from their vision.

POOF! The smoke blew off and evaporated and where Brujo stood was a transformed Little Red Riding Hood. Cadin and the others were in a state of shock. Was the lamp able to turn Brujo into Little Red? And if so, why would Brujo want to turn into innocent Little Red? They continued watching. Little Red skipped lopsided on her wooden leg towards the crater, while singing merrily. She placed her basket down, next to the cage that Tusker was locked in. She faced the genie. “Right! I’m ready”, she said.





Little Red placed her basket down, next to the cage that Tusker was locked in. She faced the genie. “Right! I’m ready.” The genie sighed and then said, “As you wish.” He paused and then with authority spoke again, “From this spell that you shall make, it is your wish you choose to take, that life’s final breath shall be breathed when you remove every human need.” The genie paused. “Now combine a symbol of all the human needs into the crater that you collected, according to the list of ingredients I gave you.” “And then will the planet will be destroyed?” asked Little Red maliciously. “Yes, and so will everyone on it, except for you. You will be ruler of the new world.” Little Red rubbed her hands together with excitement. She opened her basket and one by one started pulling out every human need for survival that she collected. “A colony of bees… No bees, no pollination. And no pollination, no food.” Little Red pulled out the beehive she got from Tree Pig. “Check.” She threw the hive into the hole. “Fertile soil” said Little Red, continuing to read off the list of human needs. She picked up a handful of the dry, dusty sand that had not been rained on in days, and threw it into the pot.


“Housing.” She moved towards the pigs. They squealed as she moved closer. Little Red couldn’t get a grip of them as they were twisting and turning so she decided to leave them for last and moved onto the next item on her list. “Climate stability.” Little Red pushed the casket to the edge of the crevice, opened the lid and tipped in all the collected skeleton bones into the mix. “It took a big flood to drown everyone on the Island of Seagulls.” “Education.” She threw in a library of burnt physics books. “Clean air.” The lamp was sitting on the ground in front of her. Reaching down to stroke it, she said, “Genie, Genie on the floor, make some smoke for us all.” The Genie grew out of the lamp and produced so much air pollution that her eyes started watering. Little Red and the caged animals started coughing uncontrollably. “Lastly, income.” Little Red looked at the lion and then at Tusker’s tusks. Little Red said to both Tusker and Lion, “Now time for you two and the pigs to be thrown in… Genie… I need your help here!” she called.


Old Lad was the last of the grumbling seniors to cross over the ravine on Rapunzel’s hair. The others were on the other side anxiously waiting and encouraging him. He was only a little more than an arm’s length away from reaching them when he started coughing from the encroaching pollution. Old Lad tried to muffle the noise of his cough. He wobbled a little. “Don’t look down”, ordered Ruby in a hushed panic. “Quickly, throw your oxygen tank to me”, said Quelin. Old Lad threw the tank, which would have landed squarely in Quelin’s hands if he were not so short-sighted, but instead it hit the rock’s surface with a loud clanging sound.


Little Red snapped her head around with her ear to the noise. “Who was that?” The seniors stood frozen. Old Lad clung on to the braid. His hands and legs started to tremor. “What have we got here? A few saviours trying to stop their friends from dying?” Little Red chuckled, and then in a flash snipped the hair braid with a pocketknife. Instantly, Old Lad dropped out of sight and into the mouth of the crevice. “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” shouted Prince Aladdin from behind a rock.


Little Red spun around, “More of you?” she snarled, “Lock them all up”, she ordered to the genie. Before the genie reached them, Prince Aladdin dashed for Old Lad’s oxygen tank, smashed it open against a rock’s edge and slid it across the floor towards the smoking lamp. The oxygen tank stopped just short of the lamp, releasing more oxygen than there was pollution. Instantly, the smoke started to dissipate. Little Red was now redder than before. Her temper was more dangerous than a forest fire if not dealt with immediately. The others knew they had to act fast. Bamboo Princess gripped her lucky bamboo stalk, swinging it over her head like a samurai sword. A move she had learnt from one of her books. Then with one blow, she knocked Little Red off her little red shoes to land face down on the ground. Prince Aladdin was most impressed. In the meantime, Little Tree Pig ran to the hive of dying bees. “Their lives count too!” he shouted. Little Tree Pig tried gathering the hive of hurt bees, while the other two pigs tried to free the Old Pigs, but Little Red was too quick for them. “Genie, throw those little pigs into the cage and push all of them into the pot!” The smoke started billowing out of the lamp. Then the genie started pushing Tusker and the Lion’s cage towards the bubbling pot.


Cadin was still hiding behind the rock watching it all. He was trembling. He wanted to remain hiding or run away. It was the same fear he felt when Pincoya wanted to take him to Brujo Island to find his sister. He knew he had the courage in him. He just had to take that first step and so he did. He ran out to stop the two cages from being pushed in, but they were just pushing him closer to the crater. “What are you doing? Move!” shouted Quelin. Little Red let out a vicious laugh. “That’s it genie. Just a little bit further.” Baby Elephant charged forward and shouted, “ENOUGH!” He stretched out his baby trunk, flicked the lamp into the air and smacked it down into the bubbling mixture. Everyone stopped! There were bubbling sounds, sparks and whizzing noises from inside the mixture. Then there was a moment’s quiet before the explosion. A cosmic mushroom-cloud shot directly up, froze at the top in motion, and then was absorbed back into the crater. It pulled the genie down in its vacuum. Everyone, young and old, sat on the edge of the crevice, overlooking the Arabian dunes spread out before them. Bamboo Princess nudged Prince Aladdin and pointed to the sky. It was Old Lad flying towards them on his trunk. Prince Aladdin sprinted



towards him. Before Old Lad landed, Prince Aladdin burst out the good news. “The lamp has been destroyed!” Old Lad pumped his fist into the air, “Yes!” Little Red buried her head in her hands. “How could I have become so destructive? It started when I went to buy Granny Rose a gift. Granny loves gravy with her dinner. When I saw an online advertisement for a gravy server, I couldn’t resist. I bought it and went to collect it at our post office the following day. It was presented in this beautiful glass box. I was mesmerised by it. While on my way to grandmother, I took it out the box to give it a quick polish with my cape and -” The others were hanging on to every word Little Red said. “- And that was the last I remember.” Old Lad said, “That’s the unfortunate curse of the lamp. As soon as somebody’s hands take hold of it, the holder is overcome by selfish and wicked desires. That is all it takes and that’s why it was handed down to Prince Aladdin in the glass box.” Prince Aladdin said, “Ah, I was so foolish. My father was very ill when he gave me the lamp. In his final hours, his mind was failing and he was battling to make understandable sentences. He said the lamp is a powerful tool, but must be used wisely, that it was to be kept in the glass box for all to benefit. I thought he’d lost his mind because I always thought it was a gravy server. Prince Aladdin reflected a bit then expressed his thoughts. “Nothing harmful happened under my authority because I never removed it from the protective box. Nothing good happened either because of my ignorance.” Bamboo Queen added, “And Little Red, who was overcome by the evil powers of the lamp’s touch, used the genie to transform herself into the different evil villains so she



could wipe out the nation and indeed become ruler of the world. So, the legend was right. The lamp sure increased in rebellion. It was at the pinnacle of all destruction.” Everyone was deep in thought, processing it all. No one spoke for ages. The six pigs attached the beehive in the overhanging tree. “Now you can live freely without any fear, little bees”, said Little Tree Pig. Wise Pig was twirling the hair of his chinny chin chin before he started speaking to everyone, “A few days ago, we set out on a mission. We decided that we’d seen enough disasters in our time that were bleeding into today. We knew that if we wanted our great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren to see a brighter day, then we better do something about it now, because history is not just repeating, it’s getting worse. On this journey, we have seen and encountered more frightening experiences than we anticipated. We failed at most of our plans and often we wanted to give up. When us seniors decided to set off together, we thought we were the heroes. We were coming to save the young lives, the future generations. While we came to save you,” Wise Pig looked at all the young great-grandchildren, “you ended up saving us.” All the old folk erupted into applause and shouts of joy. The battle was over. The evil lamp was destroyed and everyone was safe. While they were celebrating their victory, Tusker and Baby Ears raised their faces to the sky and started chanting in their own language. The others could not understand what they were saying. Instantaneously, the clouds moved over. The darkness crept in. And the first drop of rain fell on the land. There was another drop and another, until there was a steady rainfall.


Everyone, young and old celebrated even more now that Rain was back. The Elephants promised to never again be so arrogant in believing that they can live without Rain. Lots of rain settled on the ground. Lots of laughter was made. Lots of happy tears were shared. Baba Yaga said to everyone, “We’ve done it! Today history has been made. Today is the start of a new future.” No sooner had she snapped her fingers together before The Old Home on chicken legs came running towards them. “Our ride home is here.” They all climbed into the house to meet all their supporting friends and began their journey back to little Old Town.

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development creates a realistic and hopeful future. Now that we are aware of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, it is up to us to not only tell our friends, family and teachers about it, but to also tell them what they can do to make a change so that we can live our future on a thriving, healthy and safe planet. This is our only home.




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End 149

About the Perception Change Project The Perception Change project was launched in early 2014 by Michael Møller, the Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva. The project aims to highlight the impact of the work done by all of the UN and international organizations, non-governmental organizations and other institutions based in Geneva. Its objective is to broaden the overall understanding of just how relevant the work carried out by international Geneva is, not only in the context of humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping or global health, but also to everyday life. The project specializes in collective outreach efforts that require innovative partnerships and concerted action between organizations. Several of the project’s activites are strongly focused on better communicating what International Geneva is doing to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The project operates around three main axes: • creative outreach and redefining links with media; • partnerships with academia to examine and highlight the collective impact of the international system; and • changing individual experience by connecting with audiences at more emotional levels, including through stories. As of December 2016, the project has brought over 95 partners on board including numerous UN agencies and offices, international organizations, NGOs and governmental entities.


Acknowledgements A special thanks to all of those who came to our brainstorm sessions, reviewed initial drafts, contributed ideas, gave feedback, advice and believed in this project: Louise Agersnap (World Health Organization), Abdulaziz Almuzaini (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Charles Avis (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Secretariat), Salman Bal (United Nations Office in Geneva), Sarah Bel (United Nations Development Programme), Christophe Barrull (United Nations Office in Geneva), Jana Bauerova (United Nations Office in Geneva), Jurgen Baumhoff (Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva), Alejandro Bonilla (Greycells), Alison Bellwood (The World’s Largest Lesson/Project Everyone), Mark Boerrigter and team (Saxion University of Art and Technology (Netherlands), Flore-Anne Bourgeois Prieur (Plan International), Daniella Bostrom (UN Water), Esther Cappelli (United Nations Office in Geneva), Paola Cerecetti (Mission of Switzerland to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva), David Chikvaidze (United Nations Office in Geneva), Xavier Cornut (Action pour la Genève Internationale et son rayonnement), Olivier Coutau (State and Canton of Geneva), Tatjana Darany (Fondation pour Genève), Ahmad Fawzi (United Nations Office in Geneva), Kim Florence (International Organisation for Migration), Raushana Garcia-Wickett (United Nations Office in Geneva), Marie-Rose Gerard (United Nations Office in Geneva), Valentina Goutet (student), Fabio Goutet (student), Gabriele Goutet (student), Marina Goutet (student), Natacha Guyot (Action pour la Genève Internationale et son rayonnement), Keith M. Harper (United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva), Barbara Hayden (U.S. Mission Geneva), Tereza Horejsova (Diplo Foundation), Sylvie Jacque (Greycells), René Kirszbaum (Greycells), Kira Kruglikova (United Nations Office in Geneva), Luca Lamorte (Kofi Annan Foundation), Sarah Landelle (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction), Brigitte Leoni (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction), Rhéal LeBlanc (United Nations Information Service), Anne-Sophie Lois (Plan International), Viviane Lowe (Translation Communication), Daniela Morris (Proofreader), Shannon O’Shea (United Nations Children’s Fund New York), Jemini Pandya (Inter-Parliamentary Union), Sarah McConville (Student), Irena Mihova (United Nations Office in Geneva), Céline Molinière (Greycells), Corinne Momal-Vanian (United Nations Office in Geneva), Beatrice Montesi (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), Naïs Mouret (World Federation of United Nations Associations), Gareth Paul (Proofreader), Francesco Pisano (United Nations Office in Geneva), Tom Peyre-Costa (Interpeace), Rachel Phillips (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Natalie Pierce (former Intern at United Nations Office in Geneva), Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal (United Nations Development Programme), Roxana Radu (Diplo Foundation), Céline Reyboubet (Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention), Jean Rodriguez (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), Mirta Roses Periago (former Director of Pan American Health Organization), Ségolène Samouiller (University of Geneva), John Scott (Centre for Public Service Communications), Edwin Schupman (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian), Laura Schmid (State and Canton of Geneva), Markus Schmidt (United Nations Office in Geneva), Xavier Seigneurin (United Nations Economic Commision for Europe), Alina Silborn (student), Lila Silborn (student), Mikael Simble (United Nations Children’s Fund), Pierre Sob (Greycells), Gabrielle Tayac (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian), Marina Tejerina Ortega (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), Manuela Tortora (Greycells), Sandrine Tranchard (International Standards Organizations), Bobir Tukhtabayev (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Hester van der Ent (Saxion School of Art and Technology), Alessandra Vellucci (United Nations Office in Geneva), Besa Veselaj (United Nations Children’s Fund), Marilena Viviani (United Nations Children’s Fund Geneva), Maria-Sabina Yeterian-Parisi (Greycells), Michele Zaccheo (United Nationsl Office in Geneva).


Additional background This book brings together elements of fairy tales and traditional folk tales from around the world into a new story. The overall plot has been designed to provide entry points for discussion and conversation around today’s global challenges, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals. Several traditional tales and characters from well-known stories have been reworked into the narrative of this book. Parts of this story qualify as derivative work of traditional tales and stories that are in the public domain. Chapters of this book are in part inspired upon or based on the following tales and versions: • The Story of the Three Little Pigs by Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales, 1890 • Elephant and Tortoise by James Honeÿ, South African Folk Tales, 1910 • Little Red Cap by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, 1812 (More commonly known as Little Red Riding Hood, a title given by Charles Perrault in the XVII Century.) • The Bamboo Cutter and the Moon-Child by Yei Theodora Ozaki, (also known as The Tale of Princess Kaguya), in Japanese Fairy Tales, 1908 • Caleuche, Chilean Oral Folklore with legends, beliefs, mythological elements and characters from the Island of Chiloe and Southern Chile • Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp by Antoine Galland, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, The Arabian Nights, 1704.


Minor references are made to: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Brothers Grimm, 1812 Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen, 1835 The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen, 1835 Rapunzel by Brothers Grimm, 1812 Baba Yaga, from Slavic tradition with first references of her dating back as far as 1755 The Frog Prince by Brothers Grimm, 1812 The Bird of Popular Song by Hans Christian Andersen, 1865 The Shadow by Hans Christian Andersen, 1847 The Emperors New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, 1837 Hansel and Gretel by Brothers Grimm, 1812 Jack and the Bean stalk by Joseph Jacobs, 1890 The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, 1837 Anansi the Spider by William H Barker, 1917

Some characters in this story make indirect references to the princes from Little Brier Rose by Brothers Grimm 1812 (Prince Dreamy), Cinderella by Charles Perrault 1697 (Slipper Prince) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Brothers Grimm 1812 (Snow Prince).






This book aims to engage readers of all ages in the discovery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The story is about a journey that takes well-known fairy tale and folk characters on a quest to prevent history from repeating itself and to save the world. These beloved charaters from around the world - and that many of us have known from our childhood - are not only part of this story but they are also driving conversations that affect the lives of people around the world, beyond the realm of fairy tales. A transmedia element links this physical book with online conversations between the book’s characters, experts, celebrities and the readers themselves. To read the book online visit:


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