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THE SNAILS AND THE STRAY TURTLE
Short Story written by: Fernando Mansilla.
Lolo would go to his garden every afternoon where ther was a pear tree, an apple tree, a plum tree and a chestnut tree, but he preferred to sit in the shade under the vine that his grandfather had sown twenty years ago, and which had lots of bunches of grapes that season. There, he would wait for his snail friends to come for their food. He sometimes flew his kite during summer and imagined that he himself was flying over the city on a magic carpet.
That autumn evening the sun was shining in the blue sky and it was too hot. Lolo had the feeling that the afternoon was not going to be like others. He waited patiently for the snails to come, but they didn´t. When he was about to go home, sad and dejected, two snails appeared walking more slow than usual.
Lolo asked worried:
“What´s wrong, friends? I´ve been waiting the whole afternoon, I´m very concerned.”
The oldest snail said with his rough and faltering voice:
“Friend Lolo, we need your help”
“What is wrong?Tell me!” – replied Lolo with fear.
“Last night, a stray turtle came into our garden. we welcomed her cordially, gave her water and food, and she stayed the whole night telling us stories about the adventures she had had. About her travels and she talked about all the gardens in the world where she had been, such as Paris and Vienna. Three of my grandchildren went to bed very excited by these stories, and they weren´t at home when we woke up this morning! We looked for them everywhere, in the fountains, behind the trees, but we haven´t found them. They have gone.”
Lolo was thoughtful but didn’t know what to do, until she suddenly had an idea:
“Let´s ask the gardener!” – They ran to look for him and found him watering a rose bush.
“Mister gardener; have you seen three snails and a stray turtle?”
“Yes, my friends,” – said the gardener standing up – “They left your garden early in the morning and went to the port happily talking about oil tankers, sailing boats and pirate ships. ”
“Thank you Mister gardener” – said Lolo. Then he and his friends went running to the port. But nobody was there, just a fisherman repairing a fishing net and others carrying boxes. They asked them if they had seen the turtle and the snails, but none had.
There was an old man at the end of the dock repairing his fishing net. He had a long white beard and was wearing big rubber boots. They also asked him and he said:
“They have gone to “The Enchanted Island”, that one over there, can you see it? if you help me repair my fishing net, I´ll take you there in exchange”.
And so they did. Lolo, the snails and the old man took the ship to Enchanted Island. On the way, the old sailor told them amazing stories about fantastic marine monsters and his dangerous adventures. Lolo didn´t believe the stories, of course, but he liked them and the way the sailor told them.
Suddenly, when they had barely covered one nautical mile, the sky became dark, the clouds began to move and a violent storm started. Sea water filled the ship and the waves hit it making it capsize and finally break into pieces. They tried to swim, but weren´t able and slowly they began sinking and drowning.
Lolo woke up shocked right at that moment. He saw that he was still in his garden surrounded by his snails. He rubbed his eyes and realised that it had been a nightmare.
He took his blue kite, put all his snails on it and they flew together over the city. That was the most beautiful afternoon ever for Lolo, because there was a brilliant rainbow shining on the horizon.
And that is the end of the story.
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