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A Nameless Country

Once upon a time, there was a state. The name? Nameless. The people who lived in this state were very apathetic. One could never see a smile on their faces. Even the clothes they wore were only black and white. There was no television, they never played music or danced.

In this nameless and cheerless country, there lived a very cheerful girl. The people considered her very strange and always avoided her.

One day the little girl, bored and lonely, decided to go up to the attic of her house and to play there. When she entered the attic, she suddenly saw a large chest. Oh, what a miracle! Is it possible? The chest was full of colorful dresses. The girl cried out in surprise. Soon her mother appeared, closed the chest quickly and told her the whole story.  

“I’m an immigrant. My home country is Sakartvelo. It’s a paradise with magnificent nature and people. This is a place where everyone enjoys a carefree life, warmth and kindness…

“Mom, what is kindness?”

Copyright © Talentarea

“Dear, it’s ineffable, difficult to put into words. You can’t even feel it unless you live in Sakartvelo.”

“Is it far away?”

“No, it isn’t. But we are forbidden to talk about that fabulous country.” The mother, whose eyes were filled with tears, stood up and disappeared without saying a word. The child was staring into space excited and surprised.

The afternoon was well along. The girl prepared some food on the journey and put it in a bag. She left a letter for her mother: “Dear Mom, I love you so much! I’m sorry but I’ve decided to find Sakartvelo. I would like to feel warmth and love, and to know what kindness is. I’ll come back as the Queen of Kindness and save our people.”

The girl set off with her heart beating happily. She reached the border after asking passers-by. She saw strange colours across the border. The nature was irradiating colours she had never seen before. Suddenly two men stopped her and asked her smiling: “What are you doing here, little girl? What are you looking for?”

“I’m looking for Sakartvelo and kindness.”

The child’s answer astonished the men.

“This is Sakartvelo. Kindness is all around. You also have to be kind and benevolent and always ready to donate.”

“Donate? How?”

“You seem to be in Sakartvelo for the first time and you are in need of help. Look! Can you see that building? Many generous people work there. They’ll help you.”

The girl thanked the men and rushed firmly to the building. At the entrance, a woman offering help with a friendly smile greeted the girl. At first, the child looked at her with distrust. In the end, she decided to tell her everything. Suddenly, many people surrounded her. They were listening to the girl, some with surprise and others with admiration. Giorgi, a young employee of the organization, calmed the child down and promised her to show different regions and customs of Sakartvelo. He kept the promise. The girl explored the whole country. Then she decided to go back home and tell everyone about the beauty she had seen.

“It’s very good you are going back home. You don’t forget your country and the people. But how will you introduce Sakartvelo to them?” Giorgi asked.

The girl reflected on it. How? There is no television broadcasting, nor she is allowed to read. The hopeless situation cast a chill over the girl. The gathering was contemplating. At once, a boy approached the girl and gave her his painting. The girl’s eyes sparkled with joy. She decided to paint every part of Sakartvelo. The people helped her too: some of them were painting, doing needlework, and weaving a carpet. Eventually, our little girl was seated on a cart full of gifts. The people wished her a happy journey.

On the way to her country, the girl would stop and show the beauty of Sakartvelo to the people she was meeting. Some of them met her with anguish and some of them were astonished. However, the girl achieved her goal. All of a sudden, her country abruptly changed, people opened up their eyes, and a smile ran over their faces. In the beginning, their laughter was reserved, but later it turned into roars of laughter. The girl’s mother also opened her chest and put on her colorful dress. Moreover, the nameless little girl was also given a name – Queen of Kindness. The Queen of Kindness did not forget the kind people who lived in Sakartvelo. She invited them to her country and with their support, she established an organization – “Art Will Save the World” which always helped people and financed art professionals.

Copyright © Medea Pagava

Copyright © Talentarea

The Elephant with Butterfly Wings

Once upon a time, there was a naughty girl named Mari who would very soon turn nine. One fine summer morning, as soon as she woke up, she started to cry loudly: “I want to go to Sakartvelo!” She was crying so bitterly that Frau Bertha, her neighbor in Berlin, even summoned the police officers and told them there was a Kartvelian immigrant girl crying next door and somebody was apparently using violence against her. I forgot to say that Mari lives in Berlin with her mother. They heard a police siren sound and then a knock on the door. When the police officers entered the flat, they saw a child weeping in the living room in an unknown language.

“I want to go to Sakartvelo!”

The police officers did not understand anything, as they could not speak the Kartvelian language.

“Why are you crying, little girl?” one of the police officers, a woman, asked. In fact, little Mari was from Sakartvelo. Nevertheless, she spent there only three months, the time that cannot be counted as an age, that is to say, the time spent in her mother’s womb… Since then, she has mainly heard German. Accordingly, she was fluent in German but she replied the police officer in her mother tongue: “I am not little at all! I want to go to Sakartvelo!”

The confused woman turned to her colleague imploring: “What is this child asking for? What can we do?” The police officer asked Mari’s mother who looked like a teenager and no one could say that she was the mother: “Whose child is this?”

“Mine!” Keti answered.

“Why is she crying?”

“She wants to Sakartvelo!” she said.

Mari, as if a translation program was turned on, carried on crying in German „Ich möchte nach Georgien…” Keti also wanted to return to Sakartvelo. She missed her homeland she had not seen for more than nine years. She relieved homesickness with her care for the daughter. She taught her the Kartvelian language, reading and writing. Afterwards, a poem came – “My icon is the homeland”. How happy she was when Mari asked her to buy paints to draw a picture of Sakartvelo. Since then, Mari has been painting Sakartvelo, sometimes even weird figures or animals. When Mari turned six, Keti started to look for a school in Berlin where classes would be conducted in Karvelian, but her endeavour was in vain. As a result, Mari went to a German school and Keti herself was her daughter’s teacher of the native language during the evening classes. First she got Gogebashvili’s Dedaena (‘mother language’), and then she found other books as well. She remembered Sakartvelo, graduation, August spent in Batumi, an avalanche of love, dizziness… the doctor… the heartbeat of a new life within herself…, startled Giga, a recent high school graduate as Keti, and his words: “We have no time for our baby and matrimony yet, we ourselves are still children, I can get money to have your pregnancy terminated.” Then she felt hatred towards the man she once adored. Her dream was motherhood and she could never get rid of her baby. Keti left Giga and returned to Tbilisi. She confessed to her parents. This was followed by the parents’ worries about their only daughter, concerns, and sleepless nights, death… and after eight months, she was left alone. Keti’s friend lived in Germany who advised her to move there. 

The police officers checked their documents. Keti, with dual citizenship of Sakartvelo and Germany, was a graduate student at the University of Berlin. Moreover, Mari was born in Germany.

“My little girl, why do you want to go to Sakartvelo?” the woman asked.

“I am not little, I am Kartvelian. Sakartvelo is my homeland!” the girl answered in German proudly.

“Where is Sakartvelo?” now the man asked.

“Over here!” Mari pointed to her heart.               

“You are putting me in an embarrassing situation, Mari. Haven’t I promised you to take you to Sakartvelo? Please, be kind and don’t make me nervous any more, okay?” Keti said to her child when the police officers left.

“Mom, you promised me last year, too!”

“You are not so little not to understand, dear! In order to arrive in Germany, I had to sell our flat. Now we need a flat there, don’t we? We’ll also have some other expenses, we need money! What’s the matter with you this morning?”

 “You know, Mom, I found someone called the Queen of Kindness on the Internet. If anyone asks her frankly, she makes his/her dreams come true. Last night I saw her in my dream and I asked her to let me return to Sakartvelo. Later, I saw as if the elephant with butterfly wings I had painted was flying to Sakartvelo without me. I’ll get money! I’ll sell one of my paintings and…”

“My weeping painter, my girl, you made me laugh. Art will save the world and us! How well you told the police officers that Sakartvelo is in your heart! You are my Sakartvelo! You are my happiness! Come to me, I’ll cuddle you in my arms!” Mari refused to hug her mother and rushed to her room laughing. But Keti caught and hugged Mari and covered her with kisses.

Several days have passed. When Keti got back from the University, Mari met her at the door with the eyes sparking with joy.

“Mom, my elephant has been sold. Do you remember that you were laughing at me? You were saying that elephants have no butterfly wings.

“I’ve had a hard day, my dear! Let me have a rest for a while. What has been sold?”

“My painting. I’ve received a letter from Sakartvelo. It turned out that the Queen of Kindness exists in reality. She bought my painting for twenty thousand Euros. Once you said that if we had that money we could return to Sakartvelo and buy a house in the countryside, you would find a job and I would go to school. So now, we’ve got that money!”

“Mari, let’s have dinner at first and later check your lessons!”

“Mom, why don’t you believe me? Come with me. Let me show you. They told me to send them our account number!”

After a while, when Keti saw the money on her bank card, she made sure that the Queen of Kindness was a real person. She saw the written correspondence as well. The Queen was curious to know why Mari needed money. Mari answered that she and her mother were going to return to Sakartvelo and buy a house in the countryside. Perhaps, she is a philanthropist, Keti thought.

“My daughter, as we’ve already promised, now we should send the picture,” Keti told Mari. “If you regret, I can send the money back!”

“Mom, of course I regret, but the elephant is also flying to Sakartvelo. In the summer, we’ll go to Sakartvelo too. So let’s send the elephant to the owner!” Mari answered.

The summer came. Keti started to organize her stuff in Berlin. Her close friend and Frau Berta saw them off at the airport. The Queen of Kindness wrote she would meet them herself in Tbilisi. And indeed, as they got off the airplane, they saw a good-looking woman who had a poster in her hands – Queen of Kindness.

         “My name is Rusudan. Before you buy a house and settle down, we’ll visit one person. He’ll take care of your accommodation in Sakartvelo,” she told the mother and the daughter and led them to a car. She took them to a two-storeyed house on the outskirts of Tbilisi. They entered the living room. Rusudan left Keti and Mari alone in the room.

“Look, Mom! Our elephant!” Mari noticed her framed painting on the wall. Meanwhile, the door opened and Rusudan entered the room. Keti saw Giga with a bunch of daisies in his hand accompanying  Rusudan. Keti thought she would lose consciousness and she sat on the sofa. Mari did not understand anything and sat next to her mother. Holding the flowers and with tears in his eyes, Giga knelt down in front of them.

“Please forgive me if you can,” he begged them bending his head.

“Mom, who is this man?” Mari asked her mother and snuggled up to her like a fawn.

“Your father, dear!” Keti hardly uttered these words and burst into tears. Giga was also crying.

“Mom, you told me my father died in the August War!” she nestled close to her mother even tighter. Then she went to her father. She took the flowers and handed them to her mother.

“Mom, let’s forgive him, okay?” she said.

Everyone was smiling in the room. The Queen of Kindness was also there. 

 

Copyright © Levan Loria

The Tree of Wishes

 

 My name is Nino and I would like to tell you my story. This is a story about a romantic girl who can become the Queen of Kindness. Frankly speaking, dreaminess might be considered a weakness here, but I think that it is one of the valuable characteristics…

Recently, I have returned home from Europe. Once I came back, I gained self-confidence as well as assertion. I am now self-assured and I think I can achieve everything. Being an immigrant was not whatsoever easy. However, the opportunity to use the education acquired abroad for the benefit of your home country, makes you stronger. Since I came back to Sakartvelo, I have become very happy. Still the days were repetitive, only the weather was diverse. Nevertheless, when November struck, this difference faded away. Rains started to dominate. I am not afraid of the rain; I do not avoid it either. I can go out in any weather. And today, when it is drizzling and foggy, I go down my street. I overhear the following dialogue: “You have to give away something, Jemal. Why don’t you understand? Don’t you remember the saying – ‘What goes around comes around’? You get back everything eventually!” Tsiala flared up cursing her husband.

Copyright © Talentarea

Tsiala and Jemal are my neighbors. They always quarrel but such squabbles embellish their relationship. Tsiala is born for philanthropy. After Sunday liturgy, she always helps the people in need and even appealed to her husband to do the same. 

“No, I don’t believe that. I’ve given many alms, although God awarded me with you, is that fair?” Jemal said and burst into laughter.

I decided to call on them and knocked on the door. They welcomed me warmly. We had a friendly chat for a while. I was just leaving when Jemal handed me a newspaper.

“Nino, look! There is a contest for the Queen of Kindness. You should try your luck.”

“I don’t know. It’s hard to become a queen in the country where so many kind and creative people live. Thanks anyway for the information, uncle Jemal!” I told him. Then I took the newspaper and left.

Someone was drawing on the façades of a building. I could try painting. Then I would sell my paintings and… oh, no, so funny. I remembered the day when my father took me to painting classes. The teacher put a pot in front of me. I had to paint it. I thought it was easy and I started to paint. It would be better not to start painting. The teacher was looking at my painting from different angles for a long time and then she told me straightforwardly: “Nino, one day you’ll probably master painting. However, now I can’t see any potential.”

I went home disappointed but with a soothing thought that even Van Gogh’s paintings were appreciated only after his death. I have been so ambitious… At this stage, I can enjoy the creative works and masterpieces that belong to others.

I got home late. My father met me at the door.

“You look concerned. What’s the matter with you, dear?” he asked.

In the past, my consciousness divided people into two parts: “the people like books” and “the people – yellow press”. My father belonged to the first part without a doubt. Finally, I woke up from my thoughts and asked him: “Dad, what do you think, can I become the ‘Queen of Kindness’?”

“Sure, honey. You are so amazing. Even if you don’t achieve anything, you’ll always be the queen of my heart!” he told me and embraced me tightly.

Perhaps there is no father on earth who would not tell his daughter the same. Still, my father is different.

Before I fell asleep, I got obsessed with an idea. At six o’clock in the morning, I got up. I put on warm clothes and went out. It was still dark. It would be hard to leave a warm bed in such a cold weather. Bustling road sweepers have been up and about for a long time. They are sweeping silently, taking care of others’ sleep. It is drizzling again. Bare trees in the light of lanterns look like statues. Oh, uncle Jemal and aunt Tsiala! I could hardly recognize my neighbours in their orange uniforms. I gave them a heartfelt greeting and an idea crossed my mind: I’ll be the Queen of Kindness for the sweepers. My idea is like a naked woman who needs fashionable clothes, a good makeup and hairstyle.

“Hello, Maiko, how are you? I need your help!” I am crying out loud and telling her about my idea over the phone.

That evening I gathered ten of my friends. I told them we had to get up early in the morning and ask the sweepers about dreams and wishes. The next day we were running with colorful papers. Uncle Jemal and aunt Tsiala also wrote down a list of wishes on yellow and blue papers. As a rule, I put the wishes in the folder. However, I put their wishes unintentionally into a pocket of my trousers.

We were running around during two days and we already had quite a lot of papers of wishes. Here they are:

“I wish to have tea or coffee when I work!” wrote Louisa, 46.

“I simply want others to greet me and smile at me. Don’t consider me as a street decoration,” Givi, 38.

“I would like to study abroad and that’s why I work here,” Salome, 24.

“Yeah, I know who can help her,” I exclaimed.

We read many more wishes; some of them were even eye-watering. Now it is important to find a sponsor, said Nick, and he opened Google. Although Google found 137 000 results in two seconds, it was still difficult to find a sponsor. Eventually, three organizations agreed to support us. The Bank of Wishes paid for the wishes that were connected with books and education. One of the organizations bought tea and coffee-machines in order to warm up our sweepers during chilly winter days.

“And what about those who need attention?” Nuka asked.

I already knew what I was going to do. The next day I started from my block. Next to the inscriptions ‘Nicko+Mari=LOVE’ and ‘Here lives Vardena’, I wrote ‘Greet, cherish and take care of our sweepers!’ We left similar messages everywhere we were allowed to do so. Very soon, many blocks in our district were covered with impressive and hearty words.

It is December 2. It is drizzling. It’ll probably snow. I’m putting my clothes away. Two sheet of papers fell out of my trousers.

“Oh, my God! These are Jemal’s and Tsiala’s papers. I’ve forgotten them.” I exclaimed tossing my head.

The project has been already finished. Anyway, I’ll make their dreams come true at my own expense. First I opened Jemal’s yellow paper – ‘I want you to become the Queen of Kindness!’ Then I unfolded Tsiala’s blue paper – ‘Let my husband’s wish turn true!’

I was crying.

Traditionally, we put up a fir-tree on December 3.

“This year we are going to have the weirdest fir-tree, Dad!” I say to my dad and start setting it up. “This will be the tree of fulfilled wishes.” I am hanging colorful papers one after another and I am enjoying our colored fir-tree a lot. I keep those yellow and blue papers apart.

“Why haven’t you hung them, Nino?” my father asks me and collects the papers.

“Leave them, Dad. I am going to hang them once the wishes come true.” 

We are smiling at each other. For my father, I am still that playful naughty, indomitable, knee-scratched girl for whom he drew squares for playing hopscotch. I am hugging my father tight.

May all dreams come true. 

 

Copyright © Nino Zedginidze