A story for children from eight to twelve yrs old, from my book to be published at the near future, titled: Pipina D. Elles, “Symposium of the Statuettes”…and other
children’s stories, Sydney…
“Symposium of the Statuettes”
Happy Duck smiled and said politely:
‘Oh, I don’t have a problem not being in a puddle, you know! The moisture of the fern above, keeps me cool. I lived this way for more than fifteen years, you know’.
‘Me too, me too!’ hurried Duckling, as if he was worrying, he might be left out of that interesting conversation, which had just started developing between the statuettes, lived in the foyer of the Gipplings residence.
Duckling, somehow anxious, continued:
‘None of you asked me, how I really feel, living with the Gipplings!’
The statuettes looked down at Duckling. ‘Such a demanding little Duck!’ they gossiped quietly.
It was early in the afternoon, when this conversation flared up between the petit statuettes, animals and birds initially, and soon other objects, including the ones sitting on the long stairway adjoining the foyer of the Gipplings residence, became interested in the conversation.
‘Well… of course dear… you too have the right to express a view!’ said Mrs. Kangaroo gently, fondling with her paw, little Joy’s head. The curious baby was observing every single presence and was listening to every word spoken in that part of the Gipplings residence.
‘Well, we are ready to hear you’, said the gracefully crafted Great Pelican, one of the famous foreigners in the foyer. Great Pelican had been imported from Philippines. Soon after he had arrived in Australia, Great Pelican found himself in an Arts-Crafts dealer’s shop, at the seaside Entrance. The Gipplings strolling on the footpath along the main street of the city saw him at the shop’s window and purchased him.
Everyone in the foyer was surprised Great Pelican had shown compassion to Duckling’s demand for attention.
‘Yes… Well, I just wanted to say that… Oh, yes… All I like to say is that when Mrs. Gipplings waters her lovely young Begonia…’ Duckling stopped and showed the large blossomed Begonia next to him, and continued; ‘I get lots of moisture, similarly to Happy Duck. Therefore –and this is true- it doesn’t bother me whether I live in a puddle or not. After all, we are concrete statuettes and we don’t have the needs of the true birds. We are only their imitations aren’t we?’ asked Duckling humbly, to everyone’s amazement.
Duckling, because of its small stature, considered insignificant, by the rest of the statuettes in the foyer. However, this conversation had revealed that Duckling had brains in his tiny head, and more so, he was using them at the right time, it seemed to them!.
‘Yes… of course… the actual living creature… requires a lot of different things to be able to survive… Duckling like all of us; it is an imitation, a craftsman’s copy!’ said the big wooden Elephant between two dry coughs, impressed by Duckling’s initiative.
It was common knowledge between the statuettes, that Elephant was the oldest presence in that foyer. In their low tone conversations, they would address him as ‘His Majesty’ whenever they were referring to him. Everyone who had entered the foyer would remember him, standing in that spot.
It was true; for twenty or more consecutive years, the huge timber Elephant had stood in the same spot. Positioned in the most prominent side in the foyer, just across the impressive entry of the house, had been the first to welcome every new arrival.
The Elephant was carrying the same large pot, with the same lovely, green fern, permanently on his back.
Everything in that part of the household of the Gipplings had some kind of respect towards the ‘Old Chap’; this is how the Gipplings were calling Elephant.
Like Great Pelican, Elephant was also a foreigner. He had arrived to Sydney, from the far away Thailand.
‘I didn’t understand all this talk about us being imitations, Your Majesty; since you have, could you please explain?’ asked Sleepy Tortoise.
Elephant with no desire to elucidate Duckling’s statement, replied to Sleepy Tortoise’s request with an ironic tone in his voice:
‘Sleepy Tortoise, I meant to add something… to Duckling’s statement, earlier on, but now, I’ve changed my mind; I assume you know the reason!’
Everybody was listening with interest to ‘His Majesty’ the Elephant.
‘Oh, please! We’ d like to hear more about that… craftsmanship business… as you’ve mentioned, Your Majesty! We don’t fully understand it’, said Duckling humbly.
‘Since you insist… I will explain; so… please pay attention. I like to say a few things, because you might not be aware of all the facts about us, the Statuettes. Since I, myself, am a carved piece of timber, I believe that I am closer to nature than most of you. My father was a great tree, in the forests of Thailand.
However, in order to be in good health, I need the care of our Mrs. Gipplings. You have probably noticed that Mrs. Gipplings besides dusting me off -similarly, as she does with you-, she also applies on my body special oil, as to preserve my good looks.
‘Well now Elephant! What you are telling us, is that you are kind of royalty! Forgive me ‘Sir’, but you are not the only presence in this foyer, made of timber, you know! Great Pelican, Rabbit and Cat also are made of timber. There is something else too… Don’t think that because we are made of marble powder or some other material, we are worthless! We are very, very handsome, thank you very much; people love to have us scattered inside their house or outside in their court yards or in their gardens, and they purchase us, ‘non stop’! I know this, since I was sitting along with my brothers and my sisters on one of the shelves in the lovely flower shop down the street. As soon as we were ready and exhibited on those shelves, we didn’t have to wait very long. Do you know why? We are so cute and hardwearing that people love to adorn their surroundings with us. This is the reasons they purchase us all the time. Mrs. Gipplings did exactly, the same. What does that tell you?’ asked Sleepy Tortoise, quite awake this time and rather upset from what she had characterized ‘as an aggressive attitude’ from Elephant’s side. ‘And to think, that I always have respected ‘His Majesty!’ Tortoise thought loudly, in disappointment.
‘Bravo, bravo! I totally agree with Sleepy Tortoise!’ cheered the small concrete Pelican who was listening quietly to Sleepy Tortoise all this time.
‘Not so fast brother!’ said, Great Pelican.
Everyone looked at him waiting somehow anxious. Great Pelican seemed to be annoyed. This conversation was not leading anywhere.
‘Young man don’t cheer so enthusiastically about things you don’t understand! It is true that Mr. Rabbit, and I agree with Elephant; since both of us, are made straight from timber, we have some sort of a historical past. You can appreciate we are not products of any… kind of mould like yourself! We were not made in dozens, or perhaps even in hundreds, as you! We are authentic, original works of a charismatic artist who had used his talent and skill to transform us from a piece of wood cut off a grand old tree, to become what you see!
Some of these trees live for hundreds of years, you know. The truth of the matter is, that you and we are not compatible. Understood?’
The marble statuettes kept their breath. Things were going ‘out of hand’. Suddenly the forgotten Ms. Miaou spoke slowly and softly, from the staircase.
‘Miaou, Mr. Pelican! You didn’t mention me once, and yet we come from the same country, and who knows? We could even have been created by the same artist!’
Pelican looked at Ms. Miaou. ‘What she just said is true’, he thought. The cat had completely slipped his mind.
‘I apologize dear! You do understand, don’t you?’ he asked.
‘Will you please stop yelling at each other? I cannot sleep!’ said Sleepy Tortoise, complaining.
Sleepy Tortoise stated that she was unable ‘to put up with the ongoing argument between the statuettes’.
‘Is this news or what? You have always behaved like this Sleepy Tortoise; it is not your fault, but the artist’s. He is the one that has made the mould you came from! You cannot participate in a discussion neither you can listen to one!’ said Elephant ironically.
‘Well, well, careful Your Majesty; you had admitted, that we, the marble statuettes, are also art objects, made by an artist’, said Duck somehow triumphantly.
‘O.k. this has gone on far enough! We should really find a peaceful way, to sort out this argument. We are very lucky living in this lovely house hold and we should stop discriminating against each other; we should try to improve our relation. It is not difficult. We have Mrs. Gipplings’ help on that. She takes good care of us, by dusting our dust off; we are aware of the problems dust can cause; it eats things away, the same way, water does. So, try to be happy and stop complaining about things’, said the beautifully crafted Great Pelican.
‘Miaou… I totally agree with Mr. Pelican… We should be thankful for being the occupants of this foyer, always protected from the sun, the rain and the dust’.
Ms Miaou was speaking slowly, carefully, to avoid any possible mistakes in her expression. She was particularly sensitive about this. Everybody admired her intellect.
‘If you excuse me… please… I am about to take a nap… since it is afternoon…’ interrupted once again Sleepy Tortoise.
The statuettes looked down at Tortoise. She was as usual, obnoxious!
‘What a statement! It sounds rather funny; don’t you think?’ exclaimed Ms. Miaou looking at everyone. She continued with a question, concerning Sleepy Tortoise’s attitude and disrespect, towards the residents of the foyer.
‘I ask you, my friends: have you ever seen Sleepy Tortoise awake?’
All statuettes laughed, except for Mr. Rabbit. He just smiled sadly. They looked at Rabbit. They could not understand the reason behind his sadness. However poor Rabbit had a secret: he could not eat the lovely timber carrot he was carrying so close to his mouth. Although was made of timber, he could not get rid of the fondness that rabbits have for carrots.
Suddenly from the third step of the staircase, was heard speaking the big, polished, Water Pumpkin that lived in the Gipplings’ household for more than ten years. He was born in Tamworth.
‘I was listening to all of you, arguing about things of no importance. I wonder if one should really ignore the artist behind all of you… Allow me to explain. You might be able to appreciate that I am a ‘first hand’ natural product. Elephant, Pelican, Rabbit and Cat are works of an artist who used nature’s materials; so, as far as their closeness to the real thing, they are second in line. The rest of you made from mixed materials and forms made by artists. Never the less, we are all products of Nature… either directly or by processing raw natural materials, and polished by a human hand. We should all agree that after God, the Superior Creator of all, small and great, in the line of creators, second comes man, who is also God’s creation, he is taking care of us, and truly, he is our best friend’
There was a stirring up in the foyer. Mr. Pumpkin had said something that was worth paying attention to.
‘So, man is Nature’s best creation, best of God’s works!’ admired Elephant.
‘Yes; it is common knowledge that God made man, similar to His Own Image; emphasized Great Pelican seriously.
‘Of course, of course! This must be so; the statuettes hurried to agree with Elephant’s and Great Pelican’s, comments.
After all, they had repeatedly heard about the subject in that foyer. The Gipplings and their children had discussed this often enough in the dining room next to the foyer; the statuettes were able to absorb some of the daily information.
They looked one another in an agreeable mood; their controversy had diminished!
A door opened upstairs and Mrs. Gipplings’ voice heard, saying:
‘I’m sure I heard voices, dear… ‘
‘Perhaps it is Mark, love!’
‘I don’t hear anything right now. It is strange! ’
Mrs. Gipplings called out:
‘Mark is that you?’
There was no answer. Mrs. Gipplings waited for a moment or two and finally, certain that she had made a mistake, went back to her room shutting the door behind.
The Statuettes, certain they were on their own once again, went back to their previous conversation. Pumpkin suggested, that they should conclude finally.
‘Well, dearest let us conclude. I say… I am very happy living here with all of you. How about you?’ asked Pumpkin, eager to receive, a positive answer.
‘Hear, hear! The Statuettes answered and their long conversation ceased as quietly and as abruptly as it had started. Perhaps it was better this way… However, they would probably be quite, until some new interesting subject would stir them up again, sometime in the future!