Do you believe in superstitions?Undoubtedly, superstitions are an integral part ofa people’s culture. For this reason and for theneeds of Comenius “A Culture Rainbow AroundEurope”, students from Poland, Spain, Turkeyand Greece have written together an imaginarystory unfolding superstitions of these fourcountries. While reading this story someone canrealize that the things that unite us are much morethan the things that divide us…
The four friends were walking in the streetsof Manresa.- Grandmother used to tell me a lot of fairytaleswhen I was younger, said La Pubilla while she wasguiding her friends into town.- Really! Tell us one! Asked Hermes. I feelnostalgic of the fairy tales my grandmother usedto tell me in Nea Karua, a village in northernGreece, and I would like to hear one…
«Once upon a time», started La Pubilla, « it was a girlcalled Mariam. She lived in a tree where there was abig house. One day, while Mariam was cooking in thekitchen, she poured the salt on the floor.- Oh! My God! Seven years of bad luck, said Mariam.
She was sad. Mariam decided to stop her badluck. Without second thought she said to herself:I’m going to go round the tree 7 times.
So she did. Mariam came back home andtouched the wooden table of her dining room. HerBad Luck stopped for ever and she lived happilyever after! »
- Very nice story! commented Ali from Turkey. While they were walking they saw a lot ofpeople gathered. La Pubilla immediatelyvolunteered to go and see what was happening.She informed them that there was a competitionand the prize was a trip around Europe with aballoon. Everyone happily agreed to take partand … they WON!
- Let’s go to my country! Suggested Aria.- I always wanted to go to Poland, Ali agreed.- Me too! Added La Pubilla.
The only one who had an objection about the date of the travel was Hermes: - I suggest that we should start tomorrow. - No! No! Let’s start today. The weather is nice, the others also disagree and …THE JOURNEY STARTED!!!
Soon Ali, Hermes, La Pubilla and Aria were flying over Poland. They admired the amazing views andinteresting architecture. They saw the Palace ofCulture and Science in Warsaw, they stoppedfor a while in Torun to taste the traditionalgingerbread, they saw the Wawel Castel inKrakow … until they noticed a group of childrenplaying football.
- What do you think of joining them? Alisuggested.- It’s a great idea!!! Everybody agreed.The balloon landed and the kids get off.- Hi! We travelling around the Europe. Could weplay with you? Aria asked.-Sure!After a while the match started and children had alot of fun.
At some moment Aria kicked the ball away.As she went to bring it back, shouted to herfriends:- Look what I found! A four – leaf clover! It’sthought to bring luck. I hope I score more goalsnow. Let’s go back to our play.
But the verynext moment the ballfell on the Aria’s mirror.- Oh no! My mirror! It’s broken!- I’m very sorry. I did it by accident… the boyapologised.- Everyone who breaks a mirror is thought to havebad luck for the next seven years!- Oh, what I should do then?- To avoid bad luck you have to throw a handfulof salt through your left arm.- Let’s go to buy salt then!
On their way to the shop Aria stoppedthem saying:- Oh! Look! This is a chimney – sweeper! Grabhold of the button! It brings good luck. And so they did…
After their leaving the shopwith the salt they realised that it was getting dark, so they decidedthat it was time for them to leave. So the children got on to their balloon, in order to continue their adventure.
The four friends while travellingreached over Greece.- Wow! What a beautiful city! Said Ali.- Where are we? Asked Aria.- What is this tall building by the sea?Wondered La Pubilla.- This is the beautiful Thessaloniki, thesecond largest city in Greece, Hermesstarted explaining, and this whitebuilding that dominates the coastal roadis the White Tower.
Suddenly the balloonstarted to lose height.-I told you we shouldn’t havestarted today… but you …this day is bud luck.Mumbled Hermes.- Why, what day is it today?Everybody wondered.-It’s “Tuesday 13th”! Here inGreece we consider this dayas bad luck.
Everybody panicked. - Do you think that we will fall and drown in the sea? - Do you think that we will land on a tree and be unable to go down?- Do you think…- “Bite your tongue”! Hermes interrupted them.- Why should we bite it?
- So as what you say will not happen. Greekswhen we want to avoid something bad we “hitwood”, “move from our spot” or “we bite ourtongue”. Oh I just remembered! We still have onebottle with helium.-Whew! We are lucky! Everybody sighed withrelief!After filling up the fuel they happily continuedtheir journey.
- Do you want to see the Acropolis in Athens?Someone suggested.- Yes! Yes! Everybody screamed simultaneously. - “Touch red” Hermes urged them. - Why? - Because we said the same word simultaneously and we mightquarrel. This is what people who believe inprejudices argue.
The journey went on withoutany difficulties.- We arrived in Athens! ScreamedAria.- How did you get it? Asked Ali.- Look down, it’s the Acropolis! It isreally beautiful!- Why don’t we go for a tour inCyclades? Suggested Hermes. Ofcourse it is late. It is dark and wewon’t be able to dive into the crystalclear water of the Aegean.
Everybody agreed and in a while theywere flying over the uncountable island withthe whitewashed houses and the imposingwindmills.
- Wow! Everything is so beautiful! Let’s fly lower so that we are closer to admire the view, said La Pubilla impressed. I am impressed of the white scenery I see everywhere. In the houses, the pavements, alleys…- Look how nice the windmills are! Admired Ali.
-Oh! What is this red bug-that sat on my hand?Shouted Aria while trembling.-It’s a ladybug! Don’t sendit away! It is good luck!Hermes calmed her down. But as the sun was setting and casting thelast rays of daylight over the Aegean Sea, thecompany decided not to lose any more time. Sothey headed east towards their last destination.
Now the balloon was flying over Istanbul.The children were admiring the monuments and itsbeauty. Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, the GoldenHorn… everything was magical!As Ali was explaining to his friends about the wayof life in Turkey and his everyday life heremembered one special day for him and hestarted telling them about it:
“I will never forget the day that… almosteverything that could happen, happened to me! If Iam not mistaken it was last year, around this time.As usual I left home to go to school. It was a usualday for me and I was unaware of the things I wouldlive. I saw my best friends Nazlı and Zeynep. I said“Good morning” to them. And they told me whilesmiling: “Your hair looked nice, Ali”. You see, Ihad my hair cut and had used hair gel to style it. Ifelt very nice that my friends liked my hair.
I was so happy that I didn’t notice the ladderand walked under it accidentally. All the childrenon the road shouted: “Ali what have you done?You have walked under a ladder, it is bad luck!” Iwas surprised and fell down. The paper of mypoem, which was to be read that day, fall out of myschool bag and got dirty.All the children were lookingat me with frightened eyesand thought that bad luckhad started.
I stood up and wentto the class. The teacherhad already entered theclass and was angry withme because I was late. Iwas very sad. I sat downon my chair and started tothink about the poem thatI was going to read in thesecond lesson.
But the poem paper was so dirty that it becameillegible. Not only, in the first lesson, did I fail tosolve the Maths problem on the board, but also Iwas furious with my best friend, Nazlı. Mytrousers were dyed by his paint and I quarrelledbadly with him. It was break time. When I was at the school garden, a ballstruck my face. I was in pain and started to cry. Ilooked at the sky and asked myself: “Why me?”
At that moment a mad bird left its droppingson my head. This meant good luck. I washopeful that bad luck would leave me from nowon. I went into the class smiling. The teacherwanted me to read my poem, but the paper wasstill illegible. I walked hesitating to the board. Itried to remember the first line of the poemand… I DID IT!
I said the whole poem by memory because I hadmemorised it without having a clue about it. Theother students applauded me withenthusiasm, since I was the only one who said it bymemory. Eventually Nazlı made peace with me andhe wanted us to sit in the same desk. We also sangtogether in music lesson.
At break we went to the garden. My sisterhad made sandwiches and I brought them toschool. I shared them with my friends, Nazlı andZeynep and we were all so happy! I looked at thesky again and remembered the last line of thepoem: “Life is feeling the taste of happiness atevery minute.” At that moment I decided to behappy from now on.
I went home happy. My sister was sewingtrousers for me. Just as she was cutting the ropewith the scissors, I spontaneously took thescissors from her hand.- My dear, I can cut it by my own! I said wanting togive a helping hand. - Ali what have you done? You received the scissors directly from my hand, this means we will quarrel.
- Nooo! You must stop believing in thesethings! My sister sewed the trousers and I worethem at once. I kissed her and gave her a big hug. Irealised that believing in superstitions made meunhappy. I told my sister that we must estimate thereal value of life. Superstitions aren’t true. I said:“We live exactly as we would think.” I thoughtabout all the things I lived that day and looked atthe sky happily.»
- You are right! Everybody agreed with him.It was too dark now. The four friends hugged andlooked at the night sky andwished at a falling star their friendship to be forever!