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KOSTAS STOFOROS

A TALE IN YELLOW Illustrations by

STEFANY VELDEMIRY Translation from Greek by

ARTEMIS LAMPRINOU


Kostas Stoforos, A Tale in Yellow ISBN: 978-618-5040-90-1 August 2014 Cover, Illustrations Stefany Veldemiry http://stefaniaveldemiri.blogspot.gr

Translation from Greek Artemis Lamprinou a.lamprinou@gmail.com

Book cover layout - Pagination Iraklis Lampadariou www.lampadariou.eu

Proofreading, Editing Georgina Breeze georgibreeze@gmail.com

Saita Publications 42 Athanasiou Diakou str, 652 01, Kavala, Greece Telephone (office): 0030 2510 831856 Mobile: 0030 6977 070729 e-mail: info@saitapublications.gr website: www.saitapublications.gr Note: The font is used with the generous permission of Aka-acid (www.aka-acid.com) Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivs 3.0 Unported With the agreement of the author and publisher, you are free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work under the following conditions: attribution, non commercial use, no derivative works. Detailed information on the license cc can be found at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0


to Natalia and Tasos


The Yellow Princess was fond of princes who wore blue jeans. She loved the moons and could not help but wonder how others saw only one in the sky. During the evenings she slowly wandered the city streets, drinking ruby wine and counting moons, when all the others were counting starts. She couldn't grasp how people seemed blind to all these moons in the sky. What a shame... But one night, as she was strolling along looking at the sky, she heard a low voice whispering: “Did you count eleven moons tonight lass, or are there really ten?”. “Ten”, she replied, “the other is just the tower's weather vane”. Suddenly, the Princess felt her feet leaving the ground. Some wine dripped on the street and then... she realised she was flying...


“Grandma, are you joking with me?”, said the Princess with no name. “Why child?” “The Yellow Princess couldn’t possibly drink ruby wine. Didn't you explain that she only likes all things yellow?” “Fine, fine... Let's start again... she was drinking lemonade then”. “But lemonade isn't yellow!” “Yes, but lemons are”. “Well alright, then”. “...so”, Grandma continued, “she was slowly wandering the city streets drinking lemonade...”


The eyelids of the Princess with no name started getting heavy. Now, she was the one flying above a field of golden daisies... Her last thought was “Right! As if the Yellow Princess liked crimson poppies too... Grandma is going crazy!� But even though the Princess with no name fell asleep, the fairy tale was relentlessly unrolling; regardless of Grandma's silence.


And the fairy tale unrolls on its own

The Yellow Princess kept on flying. And this one definitely had a name: she was called Marigold... Just like the name the voice was whispering behind her as she was lifted up, above the Yellow River, and saw her beloved shore fading. The toneless voice sounded again and again; “Marigold”, “Marigold”, “Marigold”... And on top of everything else, she was feeling dizzy; why did she have to have wine when she was only used to lemonade? Don't be hasty to say Grandma was right though: the Yellow Princess would never have a red drink.


As Marigold keeps flying, let's go back to the day she was visiting the market. She had filled her basket with lemons, bananas, yellow apples and corncobs, when a unique new aroma reached her nostrils... “This has to be something yellow�, she told her companion. Without a second’s hesitation, she approached the stall of the Chinese man, her favourite merchant; he always had something new and delectable on his stall. The aroma was emerging from a newly opened bottle.


“What is this?”, she asked him. “Huangjiu, my Princess: yellow wine. It is made back in my country from rice, millet and wheat. We drink it either warm or cold and we also add it to our cooking. It makes me think of my country’s fields during the summer...” The Yellow Princess did not need to hear any more; she bought a few bottles to bring back to the palace. She would sip the yellow wine every night while counting moons. But after a few days she started having a strange feeling, almost like pre-travel restlessness. The only problem was that no travelling had been scheduled till late spring. ...And yet, here she is, flying towards an unknown destination. At least the yellow wine is keeping her warm and makes her brave. And tons of bravery is needed to keep her calm when her goldenyellow dress suddenly turns crimson; and when a green dragon approaches and she realises it was him whispering her name all along!


A sky full of... egg yolks!

...The dragon disappeared as if he had completed his mission, whispering as he went. Marigold, the Yellow Princess, slowly started descending. Under her feet, she could see an endless turquoise sea and, in the middle, two yellowgreen brushstrokes, like small shiny belly button rings: two islands almost touching each other. Without a doubt, the breeze was guiding her there. Every sign of fear had now disappeared!


She finally managed to relax and take a look around. What a huge surprise! First, she noticed a row of paper ships sailing in the sky. They were hiding behind an enormous omelette, made of egg yolks. Everywhere she turned she could see fried eggs and their aroma was teasing her senses. Ah, this golden taste! Usually, she could never start her day properly without dipping some bread into an egg yolk. And every afternoon, just right after school, she had to have an egg beaten with sugar... She must have become very hungry! So she reached her hand out and grabbed a fried egg. “If only I had some bread now� she thought and, all of a sudden, a piece of cornbread appeared in her free hand. Marigold relaxed and started eating, just as if she was in her little yellow living room.


She then caught a glimpse of some red, almost toy-like, ships; instead of smoke, their funnels were releasing little hearts. Suddenly, a mermaid jumped out of the sea, like a dolphin, grabbed a heart and took it with her to the depths. The air filled with the smell of strawberries and, for some reason, Marigold was certain that the little red hearts had a strawberry taste. That was the only red food she could stand and, secretly, admitting to liking. Neither watermelons, nor cherries, tomatoes, red grapes, red peppers, red apples, pomegranates, not even beetroots, would do the trick...


After a while, the Yellow Princess landed gently on to the larger of the two islands. A huge beach of golden sand was unfolding in front of her eyes, while a stream was flowing on one side. The stream shores were full of banana trees. “A banana would be just the thing I need after the fried egg�, she thought. So she walked towards the trees, picked a bunch of bananas and sat on the sand. These were the most delicious and aromatic bananas she had ever tasted; and their texture was almost foam-like! They were so light that you could have as many as you wished, and this is exactly what she did. Afterwards, she moved close to the stream shore, bent down and drank plenty of water. She did not realise that she was falling asleep... It was as if her mum was close, waving a smooth yellow sheet over her, till her eyes closed.


The Princess with no name wakes up and her Grandma continues with the fairy tale...

The Princess with no name saw the Chinese man in her sleep. He was smiling and dressed in a red shirt... ...However, Marigold, the Yellow Princess, saw the Chinese man under the lemon tree and in her sleep an aroma of nostalgia started diffusing. She could smell of lemon blossoms, corn, yellow apples and fried bananas... and, of course, Huangjiu, the yellow wine reminding her of summer fields in the dusk, just before harvest season. She woke up with slightly puffy eyes. Her grandma had prepared for her an ice-cold sour cherry juice, as if she had anticipated this..


“Grandma, I saw the rest of the fairy tale. I even saw the Chinese man in my dream...” “Really?” said Grandma, who was distracted, as if having a fairy tale unfolding in one’s sleep and dreaming of a Chinese man during a siesta is the most common thing in the world... “Marigold also saw the Chinese man, the only difference was that he talked to her”, grandma mentioned. “Did he tell you anything?” “No, he was just smiling”. “I see... I guess he wants me to tell the rest of the story. He feels very proud of his part in it, you know!”


And Grandma continued, as if she had been there, in her granddaughter’s dream: Well, Marigold did indeed see the Chinese man in her sleep and he told her something strange: “The Prince of the Lemon Tree Forest is about to arrive accompanied by yellow dolphins. He loves you deeply but you must be cautious”.


The Yellow Princess opened her eyes under a blinding sun. Her mouth was dry, so she drank from the stream and, then, jumped in with her clothes still on. The water washed away her fatigue... She walked across the seashore, heading towards the other side of the beach. She was getting bored all alone and growing worried as the sun was starting to set. The island was great, its bananas were great, the fairy tale trips on dragons were great but she was missing her friends, her siblings, her mother and father. Where was her nanny, her grandma, her grandpa? As she was walking, the lemon blossom aroma was getting harder to bear. A tear started running down her cheek... She finally got to the end of the beach and, from there, it looked as if the second island was within reach. The white blossoms from the lemon trees were glowing in the dusk. It was the Lemon Tree Forest!


It turned completely dark. And then, the sky filled with golden-yellow half moons and red stars. Marigold, charmed, was staring at the endless sky, forgetting every sorrow, forgetting everything; as if she was the breeze spreading gently across the land. So enchanted she was that she would have missed him if it was not for the dolphins’ cries, echoing like children laughing across the waves. He was approaching in his yellow boat while playing with the dolphins, spreading his arms and watching the dolphins joyfully jump out of the water. It seemed that he had not noticed her yet, as he had his back turned towards her.


She felt a great impatience as she saw the lemons drawn on the vessel’s flag and remembered the words of the Chinese man. Could the man approaching in the starry night, playing with the dolphins, be the Prince of the Lemon Tree Forest? She took a deep breath to help herself calm down. And then, he turned and saw her...


The first encounter

... The dolphins disappeared. And he looked right through her, as if she was invisible. A strange noise, like a loud grinding, made her turn around. Behind her, through the green grass, lemon trees were sprouting, loaded with golden fruits, growing and growing till they reached human height. When she gazed back at the sea, the “Prince of the Lemon Tree Forest� - as she had already named him - was sailing fast, passing just in front of her in his yellow boat. He was holding a book with such reverence, as if he was holding the entire world in his hands; so absorbed he was.


Suddenly and completely unexpectedly – although this is a pleonasm – (“Grandma, what does pleonasm mean?” / “Let’s just say an exaggeration”, grandma replied, “but please try not to interrupt”) he shut his book noisily and his gaze fell on her, full of amazement. He drove the boat towards the shore and, as soon as he reached it, he jumped out and pulled the boat onto the sand...


“I was expecting you”, he simply said and she could feel her heart pounding up and down, from the sky to the sea depths. Her cheeks blushed and were burning as he came closer and, like any genuine Prince, he kissed her hand... “I think it’s time for you to get to know me”, he said “since I have known you for years.” “The first time I heard about you it was from the Chinese man, when he came to your country with his father to sell lemons, corn, wheat, wine and their kites. Both of you were very young. You were crying because you were not allowed to wear your favourite yellow dress. Despite your brother’s, Prince Akilas, and your best friend’s, little Aisonas, efforts to cheer you up, you were terribly upset. Then, the little Chinese man begged his father to show you the kites, the magic flower-creams, the ice-cream tree and the moon-tree. He told me that, when you saw all these, you opened your eyes wide, the tears disappeared and your face blossomed with a smile.


You all held hands and started dancing and singing. I was falling in love just by hearing him talking about you. And when he showed me your face, trapped in one of the small moons of the magic tree, I knew that when the moment was right, I would ask you to be my wife! He swore to me... And now, thanks to the yellow wine and my loyal Dragon, you are here in the Kingdom of the Two Isles, The Principality of the Lemon Tree Forest and the Banana Tree County�. He then explained to her that the lemon trees which had suddenly appeared were necessary for him to be able to travel to the Banana Tree Isle, where they were both standing now. He revealed that he could not survive without breathing the scent of fresh lemons or lemon flowers.


“It is for me what oxygen is for other people. I wouldn’t be able to survive for more than a few minutes without my lemon trees... This is why I didn’t travel to your kingdom to officially ask your parents for your hand in marriage. It was you who had to come here, to get to know each other, so that you could freely decide how to proceed. Whatever is your decision, I will respect it. If you ask me to leave this very moment, I will let you, even if my heart is breaking. However, if you decide to be my wife, you need to understand that we will have to live here, forever...” Princess Marigold was standing there, speechless. When he realised this, he stopped talking and asked her to just sit on the sand for a while, quietly. He gave her a drink from a flask filled with fresh cold lemonade. A light breeze was playing with their hair and she found herself breathing in delight...


First days

It was late at night when the Prince left the island. He told Marigold that he may be leaving her but that she should not be afraid. The vigilant guards of the Countess of the Banana Tree, his sister, would keep an eye on her, even though she could not see them. His sister was off on a long journey, but he was sure that they would become good friends after her return. He took her to a beautiful cabin covered with banana leaves and showed her to the yellow hammock where she would sleep. On a table she could see the most delicious yellow treats imaginable...


...And so the days went by peacefully... He was reading his sea books. When the books were opened they would raise stormy seas; but whoever was reading them would remain so calm that they were not even aware of the storm, and could not even be distracted. The Yellow Princess was resting in the new Lemon Tree Forest created upon the day of her arrival on the island. Two canaries were holding her sea book...


Home-sick

In her dream Marigold saw her Grandma; she whistled three times and covered Marigold with a yellow sheet... and then she was a child again... The words of a book were still ringing in her ears: “Pebbles prove that at least some things are perfect. They’ve got a language of their own; each of them is beautiful in its own way. We understand them. Each of them is telling us something, and we understand”. [...] That’s the beauty of pebbles [...]: they don’t form any attachments. They rest on the seashore. Pebbles and cockleshells more beautiful than you could ever imagine, resting on seashores across the world, waiting. For you. Hoping you’ll come and find them. Hoping against hope”. (Mağden 2012:24)* *

Extract taken from Mağden, Perihan (2012) Escape. Las Vegas: AmazonCrossing. Translated by Dakan, Kenneth.


She woke up...What was her grandma trying to tell her? Was her Prince like the pebbles? Or was he trying to keep her close, tied onto him? She walked up to the new little harbour of the Lemonade Lake. Everything seemed too much. She had imagined love to be simple: like a pebble; like an ear shell hanging from some fishing line! She sat at the lake shore and cried. Her salty tears were clouding the tasty water with the floating lemon slices. Now this very scent started to suffocate her, the same scent that was urging her to imagine the moon as a huge lemon cut in two.


She remembered happier days, filled with the beautiful books that the Prince was offering her as gifts, the yellow birds braiding her hair, the lemon trees producing fairy tales; the same fairy tales that the Prince would read to her during the night with his melodious voice, by the fire, under the enchanted sky of many moons... One night, they even went off and found themselves flying and later sitting back to back on a golden crescent moon. It was that very night that the Prince narrated the story of Poulia and Avgerinos*.

*

*Poulia and Avgerinos are the names that Greek tradition gives to Venus, a planet also known in many cultures as the Morning and the Evening Star.


Once upon a time, there were two children: Poulia and Avgerinos, living in two neighbouring stars. Poulia’s star was clean, shiny and tidy like no other. On the contrary, Avgerinos’ star was the dirtiest star you could possibly imagine, with scattered clothes and food, dust everywhere, and forgotten thirsty plants... A complete nightmare! In the end, it was as if the star had disappeared from the sky. Because of this situation, the Queen of Stars called her Fairies and asked them to report what the problem was. At first, the Fairies tried to hide from her the truth – you see, they really loved Avgerinos, who might have been bored of cleaning, but had a heart of gold. However, eventually they had to tell her everything. The Queen got on her chariot with its six golden horses and drove straight to the star. Avgerinos was dumbfounded to see her and hear that he had just one week to turn his star into the brightest one in the sky, otherwise he would be evicted.... Once the Queen left, Avgerinos found himself drowning in despair. Poulia, having witnessed the whole scene from her little star, decided to


comfort him. So, she called him and offered her help. Avgerinos quickly regained hope as Poulia’s tidiness was, not only obvious, but also wellknown to the entire Star Kingdom. But Poulia had one condition: He would start cleaning his star on his own. And if, and only if, he proved to her that he was willing to turn it into a beautiful and tidy home, Poulia would help him. “Don’t you think for a single moment that I will do the cleaning for you! And even if I was alright with it, the Queen would know”. Avgerinos accepted the term and got down to work. On the second day, Poulia started helping him and, thanks to their combined efforts, within a week the star was shining in the sky like never before... The Queen quickly arrived on her chariot, already wearing a big smile that got bigger and bigger as she walked down Avgerinos’ well-kept gardens. She gathered some Four O’clock flowers and inhaled their aroma... “I would like to give you a present”, she said. “Is there anything you really wish for?” Avgerinos blushed but did not utter a word. “What happened? Cat got your tongue?”


“I would like... I would like...” “Yes?” “...Poulia to be my wife!” The Queen laughed. “This is not something that I can give you; it’s up to Poulia... Poulia?” “...” “What is your answer? Did you hear what Avgerinos asked for? Do you wish to be his wife?” “...yes”, said Poulia, so coyly that her voice was barely audible. But that was enough for Avgerinos to shine brighter than his star. The wedding took place soon and the Queen’s present to the couple was to unite their stars. And this is how the brightest star in the sky was born. It is the first one appearing in the evening, preparing us for the night to come... And the last one remaining up in the sky in the morning to keep us company when we wake up. In the evening, we call it Poulia and, in the morning, Avgerinos... Those in love call it Venus!


It was the most beautiful night that Marigold had experienced on the island. The previous morning she had found an ear shell and pinned it in her hair... But now she was home-sick and everything seemed bland. In a sudden fit of resentment, she took the ear shell off her hair and tossed it into the Lemonade Lake... Then, she turned and walked away. This is why she did not see a figure who appeared behind the lemon trees, after making sure she was gone... It was the Chinese man! Saddened by the Princess’ tears, he dived into the lake. He dived again and again until he found what he was searching for: the very same ear shell that the Princess had thrown away in her anger. Feeling slightly relieved, the Chinese man quietly disappeared, holding the shell like some precious charm...


‌with the moon pinned in her hair‌


The Prince saw her sorrow and his heart broke... He wanted her by his side but did not know what to do. He could not live away from the Isles and his lemon trees; yet he could not imagine his life without Marigold. He knew that she was missing her country and her family. He knew that he could help her return in the same way she had arrived in the first place, and, within a night, she would be back to her far away land. But if he did this, he was afraid that he would never see her again... A night with a full moon, he reached out for it and lowered it from the sky. He took one of her fragrant braids in his hands and, with the help of a small golden chain, he attached the moon’s golden halo to her hair... She was absorbed in one of the books he had given her that afternoon entitled ‘The Lemon Tree Forest’, lost in the narration of a complicated love story and captivated by the heroine with the strange name Virgo. So absorbed was she, that that very moment she did not realise anything until she saw the moonshine falling on the book pages.


She raised her eyes and met his, lit up by the moonshine. There was no place she would rather be. Fear, resentment, sadness, homesickness, all immediately disappeared like a stone in the water... She found herself experiencing that magical moment about which she had only read: past, present and future intertwined, forming a bright body, a sunbeam, a ray of light falling on only one spot for one unique moment. And now this beam was shining on them...


He was singing her tunes about the moon: Fly me to the moon Moon river Goodnight moon Kiko and the lavender moon Dancing in the moonlight Moon over Bourbon street ... Slowly, gently night unfurls its splendour. Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender. And listen to the music of the night*. ... Singing till dawn within each other’s arms, with the sea waves splashing at their feet, with the overwhelming scent of the lemon tree flowers wrapping them. They fell asleep...

* The Music of the Night: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe.


Their dreams were sweet: he dreamed of her as a little girl, as he had never met her but imagined her from the descriptions of the Chinese man. A yellow dove was lightly resting on her hand, while another was bringing her a star for a necklace. A yellow crescent moon was smiling at her from up in the sky...


Marigold dreamt of herself and the Prince on a cloud of notes and music, like a feather pillow... They were both children again. Marigold had hung her clothes across the palace towers to dry and was wearing a red shirt and a green skirt, clothes out of a fairy tale about big and small strawberries. Such clothes would normally make her cry but, in her dream, she did not care... Next to her clothes on the washing line lie hanging and dripping a pair of the Prince’s blue jeans and, next to that, a yellow crescent moon. The water from both moon and clothes was dripping on some pots underneath; soon, colourful flowers emerged, making their way towards the sky....


...The Chinese man’s melancholic face appeared from behind the banana trees... When he saw the wide smiles on the faces of his two sleeping friends, his melancholy faded away, as if the brightest sun was peeking behind the heaviest clouds... He lightly touched the ear shell hanging around his neck on a fishing line, blew on it and then kissed it like a charm. Just before the shell disappeared under his shirt, a sunbeam fell on its mother-of-pearl, making it shine... The same shine from the shell fell on Marigold’s face; she opened her eyes briefly, saw the Prince lying next to her and went back to a peaceful sleep...


…A drop of red …


“If you lie down on an ear shell, the sea may become your sky”, Grandma said enigmatically to the Princess with no name before turning silent. “My mouth has dried”, she added after a while; both of them had come back to reality. A light breeze came in from the open window, chasing away the lemon tree scent that had filled the space. “Wait, tell me what happens next! Is Marigold staying on the island? Why is the Chinese man hiding? And what’s all this with the ear shell?”


The Princess was bombarding her Grandma with questions, but Grandma was adamant. “Everything in its right time. The tomatoes will become rotten if left any longer in the garden. Come and help me and, then, we will prepare your favourite red sauce!” What sort of grandma does not know her granddaughter’s favourite delicacy? Both of them loved tomatoes and, especially, the aroma of a nice tomato sauce simmering. They both occasionally dipped the wooden spoon in the pot, just to taste to see if the sauce was ready... Or so they claimed!


So, tomatoes beat lemons and grandmother and granddaughter found themselves in the garden collecting and, later, peeling and chopping tomatoes. Then, they added grandma’s magic ingredients, all from her garden: mint, basil, garlic and peppers... Their red kitchen was bursting with wonderful smells... They filled dozens of glass jars and stored them everywhere... In the mean-time, they had also cooked pasta to bring out the taste of their sauce... They shredded their favourite cheese, parmesan, on top and ate their food with great appetite. Later on, they sat at the balcony and while Grandma was drinking her aromatic cup of coffee, the Princess ate rose-petal preserve. The scent of the firm rose petals was flooding her mouth, giving her a sense of all the beautiful things to come.


It was only then that Grandma picked up the thread of her story and continued narrating her Tale in Yellow...


The fairy tale continues to unfold

That was the last peaceful sleep... The sun was already high in the sky when they woke up. They walked up to the lake and drank lemonade greedily, till their stomachs were full. As she was now calm and certain about their love, Marigold told the Prince that she would like to visit her family and explain what was going on; to let them know about their love. She would return shortly and, then, they would be together forever. However, instead of showing signs of happiness at the news, the Prince’s gaze turned harsh. With every word his stare became more and more icy... “You are not going anywhere”, he hissed. He turned his back on her and left without saying another word.


Marigold was desperate... She stood up and tried to follow the Prince who was disappearing behind the lemon trees. However, she was careless and injured herself with a tree branch. The lemon tree thorn scratched her forehead slightly and a droplet of blood rolled hesitantly towards the ground... ...A shadow fell upon her. She turned around, scared, but it was just the Chinese man. Relieved to see a fellow human being, and especially a familiar face, she fell into his arms; he smelt of freshly harvested wheat and rice, boiled reassuringly in a clay pot.


She did not have to say anything. The Chinese man, although the same age as her, seemed to carry the wisdom of ages. And, suddenly, she realised that she did not even know his name! For years and years, he was simply the Chinese man: a smile under a straw hat; a child, a teenager, a young man. Initially working with his father and then alone, selling the most beautiful yellow things from his far away land... She remembered her yellow silk pyjamas which were making her sleep so peacefully. She felt ashamed... “What’s your name?” she asked suddenly. “Leung Chiu Wai”, he replied smiling... “What?” “In your country, you would probably call me Ling Chou Vi... You can call me Vi, if you’d prefer that...” His smile was lifting the weight from her heart. And as if he could guess her thoughts, he gave her news from her homeland... Your parents are doing well, your brother is getting married to his sweetheart, and grandma is so cheerful. “The best is yet to come”, she


repeats, wandering around the palace. She decorates all the rooms with daisies and marigolds. “My favourites!” said Marigold... “She has collected quantities of St John’s wort and is preparing herbal * oil . She is giving it out to everyone in the palace. She also gave me a vial for you...” “How...” “How does she know? I told her everything to spare her worry... She is the one sending me to you, to bring you the vial. She said that you will experience sadness, but it will soon pass... She also told me to take with me a small bag of rice, gave me another little bag with herbs and spices, and asked me to collect fresh zucchini flowers at dawn”.

* St John’s wort is a herb known for its therapeutic properties in treating depression and conditions that may, occasionally, be related to depression, such as anxiety and trouble sleeping.


Vi opened the basket that he was carrying and pulled out all the little treasures that grandma had sent. “Now, I only need a...” “...wok?” And, like a magician, Vi pulled the strange deep pan out of his bag. “Can you start the fire?” Marigold asked. “I will cook stuffed zucchini flowers. Grandma sent me all the ingredients I need; the only difference will be that I am going to use sundried tomatoes instead of fresh ones and herbal oil instead of olive oil”. And all of a sudden, it was as if she had in front of her the page from grandma’s notebook of summer recipes. On that page Marigold had drawn a girl’s smiling face: her own...


Stuffed zucchini flowers

Ingredients

Method

40 zucchini flowers 1 bunch parsley 3 large onions 1 cup olive oil 1 ½ cup rice 2 + 1 fresh tomatoes Salt & pepper (Season to taste. It is also possible to add other herbs like mint, basil etc.)

Wash the flowers. Mix all ingredients apart from a tomato and 1/3 cup olive oil. Stuff and then seal each flower by folding the petals one by one around the filling. Place the stuffed flowers on a baking dish previously sprayed with olive oil. Grate the remaining tomato and pour its pulp, together with the rest of the olive oil, on top of the flowers. Add a cup of water and place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 1 ½ hour.


The only difference was that they would now cook the flowers in a wok and see what happened. Vi assured her that the round bottom of the wok had the advantage of evenly distributing heat to the entire vessel; that would allow the food to cook from all sides without much oil. “You can prepare the flowers and I will do the cooking... I have also brought some yellow wine�, he said playfully... Marigold laughed light-heartedly. Using a cut palm tree branch as a table, she was now laying, filling and sealing the flowers one by one and then tenderly placing them in the wok, like babies in their cradle.


Vi was watching over the wok and served a finger of yellow wine while the meal was cooking... Shortly, its smell overcame the aroma of the lemon tree flowers... Marigold’s mind wandered to joyful mornings, endless games on fields covered with daisies and camomile, nights with yellow stars flooding the sky. When Vi bent down with his fork to try one of the flowers and see whether they were cooked, a small shiny object appeared from inside his shirt, hanging above the food steam. It was the ear shell tied on a fishing line! The same one she had angrily thrown in the Lemonade Lake. She was astonished but did not say a word. Vi swiftly hid it, thinking that Marigold had not seen it.


He cut a zucchini flower in half; it was like an explosion of summer scents. Their eyes met and Marigold now had in front of her all the answers she needed... They shared the flower and St John’s wort oil quickly ran through their bodies... They ate all the flowers by sharing them, bite by bite. “I think it’s time to leave”, she said. And before she finishes her sentence, the green dragon that had brought her to the island was standing before them. Vi whispered something in the dragon’s ear, then they both got onto his back and soared up into the sky... Marigold’s eyes were welling up but she could feel great relief. A part of her heart would always belong to the Prince of the Lemon Tree Forest. She looked down at the two islands and knew that they would be featuring in her dreams...


“When you

love

somebody, set them free”,

She wrote on the sand just before leaving…


Epilogue

“You are right. She married the Chinese man and they travelled a lot. He told her that he had always loved her, since the very first moment that he saw her crying. He thought that he could not make her happy, that they were not meant to be. But he loved her so much that he wanted to find her the perfect match. Who could be better than the Prince of the Lemon Tree Forest? His heart was breaking when he gave her the yellow wine and sent her to the Kingdom of the Two Isles on the back of his beloved dragon. When he saw her tears pouring over the Lake and her throwing away the ear shell, he knew that he had made a mistake...�


The Princess with no name could not accept this turn of events. “I really did not like your story”, she said stubbornly. “Well, I think you are still too young to understand it”, grandma replied. And that made the Princess even angrier: “I am not too young!” Grandma bit her tongue and decided to resort to an old trick: “Anyway... There is still some cherry preserve left. How about finishing it?” Ah, for a wise grandma she had yet to learn that children should not be bribed. Grandma looked to the north and saw a woman painting and mixing her beautiful colours... Then, she turned to the south: somebody was striving to write a story and was constantly getting confused. Then, as if talking to herself, she added:


love

“When there is real , no moment is lost. Even if it lasted for as long as a lit match... And if you ever see turquoise seas, seas whose bright colour seems unreal, just remember: These are the seashores where Marigold and the Prince slept in each other’s arms. You see... his blue jeans tend to fade...”


Kostas Stoforos studied economics and film studies, and worked for twenty years for some of the most prominent Greek TV networks, till his tolerance and stamina ran out. Ηe was employed for three years by the Greek Institute of Continuing Adult Education, while he currently collaborates with the Centre for European Constitutional Law (Themistocles and Dimitris Tsatsos Foundation). He has produced a series of documentaries about travelling across Greece and continues to write in magazines and newspapers. And as if all these were not enough, he is also the proud father of three! He has authored many books, completely different from one another: a novella, two short story collections, a history book, a scrapbook, a fairy tale and four books about parenting. To his very own amazement, he has penned down (or actually typed) four Colourful fairy tales (A Tale in Red, Yellow, Orange and White), inspired by Stefany Veldemiry’s artwork. In the two years that these fairy tales have been freely available on the web, thousands of people have read them. In autumn 2011, Kostas and Stefany created “Fairy Tale Cooking” and, since then, they have travelled across Greece, concocting fairy tales with young learners. Every Saturday noon, rain or shine, it was fairy tale cooking time at their usual venue “Technis Vimata” [Art Steps]. In December 2011, Kostas and Stefany created “The Magic Deck of Cards” which facilitated their goal of creating even better stories.. As grown-ups were getting jealous, they created a 15 month Calendar including 15 short fairy tales with the support of the periodical “Eksostis” [Gallery]. Kostas has often publicly talked and discussed with parents about the raising and diet of children. Starting this autumn, he will be combining work with pleasure (!) teaching creative writing to both children and adults, whilst also creating fairy tales with children through plays, puppet theatre and cooking. Personal blog: http://stoforos.blogspot.gr


Stefany Veldemiry is a conservator of Antiquities and Works of Art, collaborating with various museums in Greece (Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Museum of Byzantine Culture – Thessaloniki, the Archaeological Institute, Natural History Museum of Crete, Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest) and abroad (University of Missouri-St. Louis, Smithsonian Institution, American Museum of Natural History) for the conservation of antiquities and the creation of casts, fossil copies, and artwork to display. She also provides in-situ conservation during the excavation and study seasons of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Iklaina project, a project focusing on the prehistoric finds at Iklaina, Messenia, Greece. Since 2002, when she became a mother, she has been trying to find simple and playful ways to pass on to children her love for both every day and art objects of all historical eras. That’s how she started working as a visual artist in extended primary schools and teaching History of Art through interactive activities, games, experiential exercises, audiovisual stimuli and, most importantly, encouragement within a happy, yet orderly, environment. During the most recent years, she has also produced paintings and illustrations for fairy tales. Already she has under her belt 5 solo exhibitions of paintings, where the paintings are paired with fairy tales produced by Kostas Stoforos, with the active help of children. She often welcomes young children to her studio, helping them learn about art through play. She loves her contact with the world of children and is very grateful when she is invited in. The following could easily summarise how she feels, as a visual artist, after the end of her classes: happy. Personal blog: http://stefaniaveldemiri.blogspot.gr


Kostas Stoforos’ literary work 2013 “The Tallow Candle- an unknown tale by Hans Christian Andersen”, translated into Greek by Kostas Stoforos and Christina Markoulaki/ introduction and illustrations by Stefany Veldemiry (Openbook). “Of the dead brother – 41 Letters from the Greek Civil War front”. 2012 Collaborator in the collective volume “Parents in the 21st century – Dilemmas and prospects”, produced by Doukas Schools. “Calendar to remember or forget”: 15 short fairy tales for grown-ups, accompanying Stefany Veldemiry’s paintings (a publication of the periodical “Eksostis” [Gallery]). 2011 “The Magic Deck of Cards”: a collection of 21 cards to create your own fairy tale; a collaboration with the visual artist Stefany Veldemiry. “The Green Fairy Tale”: a story which is part of a project about teaching children how to eat properly. 2010-2011 A Tale in Red – Yellow – Orange – White: four fairy tales with illustrations by the visual artist Stefany Veldemiry. The fairy tales are freely available on the web.


2010 “20 chefs, 10 moms and me! 111 recipes and ideas for children to eat properly”: a book about children’s diet by Kritiki publishing. 2009 “A father’s journal: Dad, what’s sex? ... and more stories of family madness”: the third part of “A father’s journal” by Kritiki publishing. 2008 “A father’s journal: Parents for the first time – prepare for the big change” (Part 1) and “A father’s journal: from his/ her first steps to going to school” (Part 2): books for parents by Kritiki publishing. 1998 “Imvros”: a scrapbook by Kastaniotis Editions. 1997 (Πρωτοχρονιά) “Fifi and Pipis, or how green was brought back to town”: a fairy tale produced for the Greek Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works and the Advertisement and Tourism Company of the Municipality of Athens. 1989 “Once upon a time, there was an island”: a fairy tale by Lotus publishing.


1986 “Hunting grounds”: a collection of short stories by Aiolos publications. 1984 “A fragile time”: a collection of short stories.


The idea of Saita publications emerged in July 2012, having as a primary goal to create a web space where new authors can interact with the readers directly and free. Saita publications’ aim is to redefine the publisher-author-reader relationship, by cultivating a true dialogue and by establishing an effective communication channel for authors and readers alike. Saita publications stay far away from profit, exploitation and commercialization of literary property. The strong wind of passion for reading, the sweet breeze of creativity, the zephyr of motivation, the sirocco of imagination, the levanter of persistence, the deep power of vision guide the saita (paper plane) of our publications. We invite you to let books fly free!


A summer tale with a twist.

The Yellow Princess finds herself in a far away island, flying on the back of a dragon. The island is filled with the scent of lemon trees… There, she will meet a love-struck prince, however the end is not the one you might expect… Yet again, Stefany Veldemiry’s enchanting illustrations take readers on a journey to another world, where love conquers all.

A fairy tale about summer. The second in this collection which also includes:

A Tale in Red for spring A Tale in Orange for autumn A Tale in White for winter ISBN: 978-618-5040-90-1

A TALE IN YELLOW  

A summer tale with a twist. The Yellow Princess finds herself in a far away island, flying on the back of a dragon. The island is filled wit...

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