“A long, long time ago …”
“Next,” called Alvin.
“As in ancient times …”
“Go on.” Alvin knew exactly which fairy tale he wanted to hear, and so he called “continue” until the voice said, “Once upon a time, when the earth was still a blue planet was called … “began.
Satisfied, he snuggled into his pillow, pulled the blanket up to his chin and stared at the screen on the opposite wall. At last the blue and white ball appeared against a black background. He loved this picture. This and the ones that came next: primeval forests, exotic animals, waterfalls. At the sound of the sea he fell asleep and dreamed that he was riding on a wild tiger over the sandy beach.
“Get up, this is a group day at school.”
Alvin rubbed his eyes in agony. His mother had leaned over him and pressed hard on the buttons on her handheld computer.
“Hurry, I have to leave earlier today. I just ordered a vehicle for eight o’clock. ”
” But Mam, can not I ride alone? I do not have to be at school until nine. ”
” Two vehicles, just so you can hang around here an hour longer? You know, we have almost exhausted our transport quota for this month. And you wanted to go to the book-pavilion this afternoon. Unless you do without it. “
“No, certainly not.” Alvin jumped out of bed and sat five minutes later at the breakfast bar. After mixing his cereal and tapping juice from the machine, he looked out the window. A light wind whirled up reddish clay dust. The rugged slopes of the nearby chain of rocks stood dark with a leaden sky. Every day the same picture.
“You’re dreaming again, Alvin. It’s five to eight. You know, the car only waits ten minutes, then it drives back to the vehicle pool and we still have to pay. “
“Oh … of course.” Alvin rushed down his juice. He did not want to risk his visit to the book-pavilion. Then he lost his ticket, which he had received from Professor Kalonymos as a reward for his talk on the water cycle. And who knows when the next opportunity came for such a visit.
That meant nothing to his mother. “You have enough electronic books,” she said constantly, “and there is only one story in the paper books, such a waste.”
As they sat in the car, his mother typed “school” and then “hospital” in the onboard computer.
“What are you doing today?” She turned to Alvin as the car drove off.
“Professor Kalonymos wants to create a natural garden with us.”
“Outside, right next to the sports facility.”
“Does he get extra water for that?”
“He wants to show us how to use natural water storage, and …”
“Oh kid, old Kalonymos has always been a bit crazy, but that he now gets permission for such a project … You do not think that has any chance of success? ”
” But somehow it has to work. Earlier … ”
” Nothing earlier. All fairy tales, child. You just hear too many fairytales. The world is as it is. ”
Alvin said nothing more. He wanted to look forward to the day, the group lessons and the book pavilion. He loved leafing through the pages of books, the rustling and the smell of paper.
“Such a bad habit of sacrificing trees to make paper for books,” his mother used to say. He sighed. That was the dilemma. Of course, the few trees that existed had to be taken care of and cared for. He did not want that any other way.
“There used to be enough trees in the old days,” he had objected recently.
But his mother had answered with her standard sentence: “Fairy tale, boy, all fairy tales only. Where should they go? There are not that many books. ”
” Most of the books broke down. ”
” So? Does that say your favorite professor? ”
” It’s in a book. Previously, they used bad paper. That’s what the books ate. “
“I’ve never heard such a nonsense. You mean there were trees everywhere, then books were made of it, they have eaten themselves and now there are not any more? Neither the trees nor the books? Only desert, red loamy soil and a few nature reserves? ”
Alvin had to admit that sounded strange. And surely there was another reason that there were no trees left, but discussing that had no purpose.
They had arrived at the school and he jumped out.
“I’ll pick you up at four,” his mother called after him as the car drove on.
The lessons, which took place outdoors, made Alvin’s heart beat faster. They learned about pioneer plants and foliage plants, sowed seeds of such “pioneers” into a minibeet that they put on some black earth – the professor called it potting soil – and put a small glasshouse over it all. This would absorb the water of evaporation. Ventilation flaps, which could be opened if necessary, provided the necessary fresh air. An almost perfect irrigation system.
The bookshelf, which Alvin entered with his mother in the midst of excitement in the late afternoon, was subdued light. Alvin knew exactly which books he wanted to see and went with his ticket to the rental area. His mother sat down at a table in the visitor’s area for escorts.
“Look, Mam!” Alvin came running to his mother’s table with two large books. “There you see it. A jungle and a waterfall. And here’s a tiger. ”
” That’s probably a book about the fairytale movie you have at home. ”
” No, this is not a fairy tale. There, Brehm’s animal life stands on this, and here, on the plants of the 21st century. “
“Alvin! I do not want a fight now, otherwise we’ll go home right away. I think I have to say a serious word to the professor that he does not put such fleas in your ear. Or better right with the director. In books, anyone can write what they want, for titles, the same applies. You can believe in ghosts right away. ”
” Mam. ”
” Stop it now. That with the green earth is as much a fairy tale as that of ghosts, fairies and witches or the land of milk and honey. You might as well dream of a world where roast pigeons fly into your throat. It never existed, does not exist and will never exist. Out. Basta. You finally have to learn to live in reality. Otherwise you’re just making yourself unhappy. “
Alvin crept back to his own table, where there were more books: The Jungle Book, the story of a boy growing up among wolves. Also, one that Professor Kalonymos had especially recommended, a book that was not easy for him to understand because it was written for older teens. But he realized that this was about watering and greening deserts. So there was a way. One day he would study science and start such a project. He would turn the earth into a jungle, or at least half the earth.
Carefully he wrote down the pages he would like to have and went over to the copy room. He was lucky, all pages were released for copying. An employee took Alvin’s books and his electronic book and disappeared into the back of the room. A short time later, he returned the book with the words “Everything on it”.
When Alvin was in bed that night, he was overjoyed. On the bedside table lay the electronic book with the valuable contents. He picked up the remote control, switched to bedtime stories, and called “on” until his favorite tale came. He listened to the voice and dreamed of the blue planet with green jungles and wild animals.
“Start small, but think big,” the professor had said, and dreams would one day come true.
Yes, he really wanted to believe that. Even if it was just a fairy tale, he would turn the earth into a blue-green planet, creating a jungle of green plants with many animals. At school he had already won a few comrades. They would launch the “Blue Planet” campaign and then … then they would make a fairy tale come true.