– Where did you find the Music?
– Music is everywhere. I am sure you also have your own kind of music in the bottom of the sea. I found this particular one, along with the gramophone, on Earth.
– There it goes, that Earth again. There are many pretty things on this planet, right?
– Yes, there are many pretty things. And many beautiful people. But there are many ugly things too.
– What do you mean?
– Well, people of Earth are sometimes a bit…let’s say different than us. They don’t always respect nature or other creatures whom they share their planet with. For example, their tribes are separated based on their skin color or religion and they are very strict about this division. They often fight just because of this diversification.
– Wow! They fight because of their different skin? I wouldn’t like to imagine what a human would do if he ever found himself in a village full of Orians. He probably wouldn’t know who to fight first, said the young girl and made The Wise laugh.
– They did discover music though. And the gramophone. So they can’t be so bad, said The Wise supporting the humans.
– Yes, that’s true. What kind of powers does Music have?
– Music can do simple things like give you a pleasant evening or wake you up with joy in the morning. It can make you dance slowly and romantically with your mate but also insanely crazy with your friends. It can accompany you at your travels, your dreams, your everyday life, anything you do, music can always be there. There is music for any kind of mood, any kind of moment, this you should know. When you are happy, sad, disappointed, excited, in love. There is always that particular music or song that can express your feelings. Or change your mood if that is what you want. And in that way music can do great things as well. It can trigger your imagination, make you dream, take you to places inside your mind you would never have thought, inspire you and make you create, show you new emotions, motivate you to change and be a better person, teach you how to love, remind you of the past but also make you envision the future, give you hope. Music can even save lives.
– Does it? Does it save lives? asked the girl who was taking notes unstoppably during the whole time The Wise was speaking. Have you seen it happening?
– Yes. Music was keeping in life the woman I loved. And guess what, she was a human.
– What was wrong with her?
– She was sad. Incredibly sad. She herself didn’t know the reason. But every time this gramophone played her heart was filling with hope. There are many songs that can fill you with hope you know. Not just with their melody but also with their lyrics.
– What are lyrics?
– Lyrics are the words of the songs.
– Ah yes! I know! My mum sings lullaby’s lyrics to me sometimes.
– Let’s listen a song with lyrics then. A song with hope, what do you say?
– Yes! said the girl happily.
The Wise gave to the mermaid a disk and with his guidance she placed it on the gramophone and made it play. It was a sweet melody and soon a man’s voice started singing about an imaginary world of love, with no religions and borders, a world of peace.
– This man was singing about Orion, concluded the girl when the song was over.
– Yes, he was singing about the hope for a world like Orion on Earth. The song is called “Imagine” and the man is John Lennon. You see, beautiful music is created by beautiful people like him.
– It is very pretty. I wish Mister Lennon to be able to see what he hopes for on his planet soon.
The Wise smiled and caressed the mermaid’s blue hair.
– And what about the woman? Was she finally cured by the songs of hope? asked the little girl.
– No, said the Wise sadly. No matter how powerful music is, unfortunately it can do no miracles. It couldn’t heal her completely even though it saved her life. Despite that, things would have been much worse for her if it was not for this magic right here, he said and pointed towards the gramophone. And perhaps if she herself could control her dark thoughts, she would have been totally fine. And she would have come with me to Orion as I asked her to do back then. But she didn’t, said the Wise and remained silent for a while, lost in his thoughts.
The little mermaid was looking at the Wise patiently, waiting for him to talk to her again. She didn’t want to interrupt his thoughts, no matter how melancholic they might were. Finally he looked at her again and smiled.
– I am sorry about that. You see sometimes old people get lost in the labyrinths of the past and we find it very hard to find our way out to the present. So the woman could have been healed if she wanted it to. Take a note of that, my little blue mermaid. No one can help you achieve anything, especially find happiness, if you yourself don’t want to. Try to understand yourself, who you are and what you want to become. And then love yourself. Don’t hate and don’t curse yourself. You are the most precious thing you have in this life.
The girl’s tiny pencil was on fire. She was taking notes of as much as she could while she underlined three times the phrase “love yourself”.
– Well, said the Wise, is there anything else you want to ask me?
– I think I have one last question.
– Go on then, I am listening.
– I want to know which is the best and the worst thing in the world.
– Ha ha! You little fox, these were two questions, said the Wise making the girl giggling behind her notebook. So the best thing in the world. That’s easy. Love. I already told you to love yourself so that you can be strong in life but life makes sense only if you share this love. With everything that surrounds you. It is easy to share the love with your family and your friends because they love you too. But how easy it is to give your love to a stranger, to someone you will only meet once in your entire life? To someone that you don’t really like? To someone that irritates you or someone that you don’t really understand, to someone completely different than you? It is not easy at all but once you do it you will feel like you have just conquer the universe. And that is the best thing in the world, isn’t it? said the Wise and laughed.
– And the worst? Which one is the worst?
– The worst. I used to believe that the worst thing in the world is stupidity. Being stupid can lead you to awful acts. But this is only because fools don’t realize that what they are doing is wrong. They cannot understand it even if they want to. Now I believe that the worst thing is being malevolent, not stupid.
– What is that? asked the mermaid.
– Malevolent is a person that knows exactly what he is doing, he is fully aware of his actions and their consequences but he chooses to do awful things and hurt people around him if it is for his benefit. He has no empathy and compassion and he doesn’t care about anything and no one except for himself. He understands evil and yet he goes for it. That is the worst thing in the world my little mermaid and unfortunately I found it in this beautiful planet, Earth.
– I am so sorry for the good people of Earth, like Mister Lennon, that have to share their planet with this tribe of Malevolents, said sadly the mermaid. I wish the magic of Music to be able to change the Malevolents so that everyone can live happily together just like we do with the Orians.
The little mermaid unintentionally made the Wise laugh once more.
– Thank you very much Μister Wise, said the mermaid finally while closing her notebook. You answered to all my questions. You are truly wise. I wish I could do something for you too.
– There is something you can do.
– What is it? asked the mermaid impatiently.
– Before you go, lift the needle of the gramophone and place it on the side.
– But … but that would stop the Music. And if the Music stops, you will …
– I will be just fine, don’t you worry. Do me that single favor, I beg of you. I feel so tired for so long.
The little mermaid agreed by nodding her head. She took the needle and pulled it aside. The Music stopped. She looked at the Wise. He slowly closed his eyes and put his arms around the wooden bed. A soft creak was heard and the whole tree trembled. When the noise and the trembling stopped, the girl could not tell the Wise from the tree any longer.
– Thank you, the deep voice of the Wise was heard from afar for the last time.
The mermaid came out of the tree hollow and found her father waiting for her on the same spot where he left her. She hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
– Well? he asked.
– Well, I will learn how to make Music, father! And to love the whole world! And myself! I should not forget about myself said the Wise. And in that way I will conquer the universe!
And so it happened. The little mermaid grew up and everyone knew her now as “The Last Who Saw The Wise”. Every day she was going in the tree hollow and listening to the magic Music; she learned the lyrics of all the songs and she could recognize the melodies from all the disks. She learned to love herself and she motivated anyone she met to do the same with themselves. For that reason, there was no one on the Orion that knew the mermaid and didn’t love her. The mermaid realized that this was what the Wise meant when he was saying that only in that way she would conquer the universe. And she was truly happy.
Until the day came that foreigners visited Orion again. This time, their spacecraft landed on the beach, close to her favorite reef and so she saw them. She went close to them, excited to meet them, and as soon as she found out that they were humans from Earth she asked them to take her with them when they would leave.
– I have conquered the universe already but I would love to see the planet where the Music was created. And I want to learn to make this magic myself. Please take me with you, she said to them and they, charmed by the mermaid’s different nature, made her wish come true.
So the mermaid became human forever and left her marine nature behind, she went to Earth and learned how to make music. She learned to play many different musical instruments and to write her own melody and lyrics. But she also found out about war, hunger, poverty and environmental destruction. And met the malevolent humans. And she faded. And only music gave her hope anymore. She could not get back to her beautiful and peaceful planet, not before many years had passed and the time came when humans planned a mission to Centaurus, a planet close to Orion. Then she asked for their help to return to her home. The spaceship’s crew, which consisted of many friends of hers, did so with pleasure. Orians, mermaids and fishmen celebrated gloriously her return but she was feeling so tired from all the things she had seen that she moved inside the Wise’s hollow and stayed in there, with the gramophone and the musical instruments she had brought with her from Earth, and never came out again. The kids started visiting the big tree of the Wise again and the gramophone would not stop playing, not even for a single moment, just like in the old days. And like that, after having conquered the universe, the mermaid became Wise herself.
Until the day a twelve-year-old Orian boy with blue skin, blonde hair and green eyes, made her a favor and pulled the needle on the side and then she closed her eyes and turned into water and salt and returned to the ocean.
And this was the tale of the Music and the Mermaid.