A bedtime story for children
In olden times there was a man who fought fire with fire, swords with a sword and floods with oceans. This man wanted to serve his nation and make his people be as glorious as they could be. He wanted to be like his father Lech who made an old oath with an eagle to protect the sky of Poland as there are holes in the sky that let other demonic creatures land on earth. The oath was made at a time in which normal people could communicate with animals by a sense which cannot be defined by the vocabularies of our modern age. The closest definition of the communication method we can come up with shall be called the language of the nest. People called it thus, as this sense was nested between humans and animals starting from the first contact between them.
The man understood from his father that the power of Poland resided in the oath that he made with the eagle and he must keep people who do not like Poland from breaking it. This man was named Krakus. Since Krakus’ childhood, he keened to understand the children around him and played with them at the same time. He was analyzing them in order to make them cheerful and happier. His main motivating drive at that time was to understand what kind of games brought joy and the kind of suffering that children typically go through.
One day Krakus felt so cold as winter approached. The winter was so brutal that it started to feed on people’s hunger and pain. Krakus promised himself that after winter passed, he would suggest to his father to build a castle to guarantee a safe shelter for the tribe. It was not such a good time for Krakus to share ideas with his father Lech as a monster other than cold was approaching the tribe. The monster was one of those demonic creatures that landed on Earth before sealing the agreement with the eagle.
That monster was called Zubran. It was a very fast runner on four legs, and anyone who attempted to kill or hurt it was going to be cursed and get turned into a Zubran. The thing is Zubrans lost their magical ability to hunt for food once the sky had been guarded with the eagle and they started to become vegetarian. Zubrans hadn’t cared much about this limitation at the beginning, but at this time they started to feel much colder. Zubrans wanted Lech to break the oath and grant them the ability to hunt for their food again but Lech had the knowledge and sanity to solve their issue with feeling cold. He provided them almonds and encouraged his people to store more almonds to use in the winter. It was a hard time, but it passed.
Krakus grew up and was very strong and kind. He was aiming to increase the trade rate and areas of farming land. He developed the three-field system that depends on farming a part of the land and leaving the rest of the land unpropagated. This system allowed the land to stabilize and rebuild soil nutrients. It was the time for Krakus to get married but he did not feel anything towards any girl from the tribe. He was always caring for them and never thought that he could marry any of them one day. During the spring, Krakus was with men of his tribe at the boundaries of the forest cutting trees for wood supply. At that moment, he felt something strange as if his soul was flying in the sky. He headed to the heart of the forest closing his eyes but in every step, it looked like his eyes were open. No one noticed that he went inside the forest, as they were busy cutting trees. The feeling of flying was rising and he felt safe and fearless. There were eyes following him, eyes of a person who was going to change the life of Krakus.
Suddenly, the feeling went away and he opened his eyes and found himself inside the forest with no one around him. He laughed and said what he was thinking out loud: “It was like drinking warm milk after swimming in a cold lake.” It was not so strange that when he said that, he saw a lake the moment he turned around to come back to his tribe. He shouted: “How is it that I came cross this lake without getting wet?” It was a surprise when he found a woman sitting on the edge of the lake swirling her legs with the water and looking at him with her big eyes.
Krakus: “Oh, my stars and garters, who are you?”
Her: “Do not ask me this question, you are the stranger who comes to my lake.”
Krakus: “It is my lake, my tribe lives nearby outside the forest.”
Her: “You said it yourself, you come from outside the forest, then you are the outsider.”
Krakus: “How can you live here without being noticed? I always come to the forest and it is first time seeing you and this lake.”
Her: “Because I speak and appear to whomever I want to. I am not interested in people passing by here as I see their souls and they are not eager to be immortal.”
Krakus: “A good cause, but why do you let me see you. I have never thought that I am immortal.”
Her: “You never thought about it but inside yourself you have the concept of being immortal. You want the best conditions for your tribe and to raise the nation’s pride.”
Krakus: “Father in heaven! How can you know that? Who are you?”
Her: “I am Rusalka! Now go before I change my mind about you.”
She stood up and pushed him with both of her hands and he flew away across the sky so fast and landed near the men of his tribe as he fell on his back.
John: “Guys! I found him. He is here.”
Piotr: “Where in tarnation have you been?”
Krakus stood up and everybody was looking at him and he did not want to tell his people about what he had seen otherwise they would become afraid of the forest or they probably would have thought he was crazy. Many ideas came to the mind of Krakus and he decided it was not the right moment to share what had happened.
Krakus: “I am okay. I just fell down, no worries. Let’s go back to work as it will become dark soon.”
Piotr: “You think that we all want to work after feeling afraid about what might have happened to you. Let’s all go back to our tents as I smell Kasza from here. It will be getting darker soon anyways.”
Krakus smiled and moved to the tents to eat dinner.
In the night Krakus could not sleep before thinking about Rusalka. For the first time, he felt so happy and wasn’t worried about his nation. He slept with the idea that everything was going to be okay and that tomorrow was going to be a nice day.
Every morning, Krakus woke up very early and went to the forest to meet with Rusalka, but he did not find her nor the lake. He kept calling her as somebody looks for a lost item. An item that made him feel almost complete. After searching many times, he decided that he would never look for her again. On his way coming back to the tribe, she appeared to him. Krakus was speechless and looked at her with happy and angry eyes.
Rusalka: “Never ever lose the hope of chasing your dream.”
Krakus: “I lost the hope, but you will always stay in my heart.”
Rusalka: “Then what are you waiting for. I know what is inside you, you just need to speak it out loud.”
Krakus held her hand, kissed it and said: “We can be together in this life forever.”
Rusalka: “You love me, but your care for your nation will destroy them one day as you do not allow them to depend on themselves.”
Krakus: “I do care about them because I live for them. I live for Poland.”
Rusalka: “Yes, you do but you do it in the wrong way and if you trust me we can make Poland put its leg on the first step of the stairs.”
Krakus: “Tell me, I am listening.”
Rusalka: “I will come and live with your tribe and let them see me and talk to me, but after one hundred years you have to leave your tribe and come live with me in the forest. No one will be able to see you and no one will be able to talk to you.”
Krakus: “If you help me to build Poland, then I agree, but I will die anyways and leave my tribe forever.”
Rusalka: “There is still a part of the deal, your life and your existence will be remembered as a legend, not as a real person. The tribe will recall you as a myth that only happened in imagination.”
Krakus: “I don’t care about my existence as much as building a country that will thrive in hard times.”
Rusalka: “Well done Krakus. You never failed my faith in you.”
Krakus came back to the tribe telling them he found a woman in the forest and that he would marry her. Every person in the tribe became happy and asked him to bring her. Rusalka came and astonished the people of the tribe with her beauty and they all welcomed her. Krakus and Rusalka got married and had a daughter. On the night that their daughter was born, Krakus asked all people to go outside to speak a little with his wife.
Rusalka: “Easy time has gone so fast. You cared so much about me while I was pregnant. Now it is time to care about you and our tribe.”
Krakus: “Are you not helping now? You made the tribe grow bigger by your knowledge of the forest and the places that we can inhabit.”
Rusalka: “There is still more, there is still more to give.”
Krakus: “We are together and we will do it side by side.”
Rusalka: “What about the child? We still did not give her a name.”
Krakus: “How about Wand? I always thought that my child will control the crowd as a wand leads a ceremony.”
Rusalka: “Let’s add letter ‘A’ so that it will sound more feminine. Let’s name her Wanda.”
Wanda started to cry, as she needed to sleep. Her parents kissed her and blew out the candle.
Proofread by Micah Hightower.
Mohamed has no limits for his imagination and always likes to present his ideas in funny and acceptable ways. He used to be engaged more in life sciences research, but decided to take a break. During his time in Poland, he got astonished with the Polish character that prospered through ages and keeps its originality today.