Fairy Tale Sereya's Song by Silvia Hartmann
by Silvia Hartmann
A Fairy Tale in the classic format by Silvia Hartmann about a girl who doesn't speak, and an angel
by Silvia Hartmann
Once upon a time, in a very far away land indeed, there lived a little girl who didn’t speak.
There was nothing much wrong with her, or so we would have thought. She once had a voice and although there was no-one now who would remember how it once had sounded, it might have been quite sweet.
She once had words, too, but now there was no voice, no words, just silence.
No-one noticed this, however. There were many people in the town where she lived. There were mother and father and brother and sister and uncle and aunt and cousin too, and neighbours and people in the church and in the school and in the market square but all these people were talking loudly and living loudly and thinking not at all, and least of all about some little girl that was seen yet never heard.
One day – it was late summer – she stood, as she did, in the shadow of a tree and looked and watched and listened and drank the world all up with her big eyes as she always did. On this day, there was nothing special. As always, people were going about their people business, and the little birds in the tree were going about their bird business, and a dog and a cat in an alley were going about their business, and the tree beneath which the little girl stood was going about its business too of growing and of groaning a little in the wind and of shaking its dusty leaves under the sun. You could say that it was a day like any other but on this day, the little girl came to noticing that no-one knew she was there and that she might have been a rock, or a little tree herself, or perhaps a fence post or a letter box.
This made her sad and she walked away from the town that day, out into the open road and past the fields that were bare and stubbly, with the straw bunched up in rows and scare crows standing all alone, once in a while, and birds sitting on their broomstick shoulders.
She walked for a long time and slowly, it got darker and the sun went down, red and round and then the sky began to show the stars, first the big ones and then the small ones too as all the light went away, as all the colours went away and it was very black and very still.
The little girl was very tired by then and hungry too and her feet hurt from all the walking. She knew she should probably be afraid, all alone out on the dark road with no light to show her the way and the night sounds all around. But she wasn’t afraid at all and as it was too dark to see the road now, she went and sat down on the verge amidst some dry grass that smelled nice and was soft under her bare legs and bare arms as she lay down and curled up and thought to go to sleep.
Now, we can’t be sure what happened next. Perhaps she slept and dreamed and perhaps the light she saw approaching on the darkened road was real – who knows? But there was the light, far away and to the left, just a shine that lit up the tops of the little trees and the higher bushes that lined the road and it moved this way and that as it followed the winding country road and came closer, closer, towards where the little girl was lying in her nest of late summer grass.
She watched the light come closer and sat up, then stood up to see it more clearly, to see what might be making this golden bright shine in the night that was not at all like any lamp she’d ever seen, much brighter it was and big and round, and finally, up the road came a figure and it was the figure itself that was the light, like the shape of a person but all lit up from within, and the little girl felt a shiver of excitement because she understood that this was an angel, passing by on this road tonight.
The little girl had never seen an angel before but that didn’t matter for there is something about angels that is very special and you recognise it right away, even if no-one ever told you that there even were such beings, or if you’d never met one before, or if you didn’t even know the word.
When the angel saw the little girl, it stopped in the road and turned to look at her.
It was quite big and it didn’t have any wings. It was hard to tell if it had eyes or a nose because it was made all out of light, a light that was alive and bright, swirling and yet it didn’t hurt your eyes at all to look at it, which is very different from the light of a fire or a lamp.
The little girl who didn’t speak lifted a hand to give a small wave so the angel would know that she had seen it and that she wanted to say hello. She wished she could say something to it and she was afraid that it would think her dumb or stupid and would move along, just like all the people always did, without really having seen her at all.
But the angel did see her, and it raised a shining hand and waved right back at her, and it smiled, too, not in a way like people do but it smiled and she could feel the angel’s smile touch her on the shoulder and brush a strand of wayward hair from her face.
Oh, but the little girl wished that she could speak! Oh but how she wished she could tell the angel something, just a little something from all the things that were locked up right inside her mind and in her head, behind her tongue that wouldn’t move and her teeth that were like prison bars and held all that and so much more behind it, but it had been such a long time that now she didn’t even know how to speak anymore and no words came, no sound was made and she got so afraid that the angel would just drift away from her that she had to cry.
That is when the angel spoke to her but it didn’t speak in words or voices but in colours and they made a sense and came straight across to her so she would know its meaning and its purposes, and what the angel said without a word or voice was this:
“Why are you crying, Sereya?”
The little girl Sereya, for that was her name, didn’t know what to do because she couldn’t speak and didn’t know how to make the colours that would tell her story in return and so she cried more, she cried harder, and her hands made strange and pleading gestures to the angel who stood and watched her for a time and then it came forward and picked up the little girl Sereya in its arms of light and lifted her easily off the ground, held her close and without a further word or sound or colour, began to move on, first along the road and then Sereya became aware that they were no longer on the road exactly but gliding above it, and then she could see from the light as it passed below along the road that they were flying, higher and higher still until the land of night lay dark below and there were just the clouds, and high above, the stars bright and white, so many there were, so beautiful they were, and the angel was warm and the little girl Sereya felt entirely safe and entirely enchanted, held close and tight and soft.
For a long time they flew and Sereya might have slept, snuggled close to the warm angel and the music of the stars a rushing that was soothing all around, but then there came a time when they moved in closer to a sense of blue and green, and not long after that, the angel came to set them down on a green hillside somewhere, beneath a blue, blue sky, by the side of a small brook that leaped and bubbled clear sweet water.
Sereya was very thirsty and she drank from the brook, washed her hands and face and all the while, the angel was watching her and once again, she wished so hard that she could speak, that she could ask about this land, where it was, why they were here, ask the angel’s name, tell it how wonderful it had been to fly amongst the stars, to thank it for taking notice and taking time – oh! so many things! but still, she couldn’t speak and all those things inside of her that wanted to come out, they made a heavy pressure on her heart and although this time, Sereya didn’t cry, she sat down on the wonderful green grass and wished she was another, any other, someone who could laugh and dance with the angel, someone who could be worthy of its time, someone who would be interesting, and loved, instead of being good for nothing and with a stone for a heart and the silence.
So she sat and waited for the angel to turn away and fly away but the angel did not turn away, nor did it fly away. Instead, it came and sat down next to the little girl so both of them were sitting in the grass, looking at the little brook as it leaped with joy and bubbled clear bright water.
They sat for a long time, and at first, the little girl was very uncomfortable and got more and more unhappy, thinking that the angel must surely have much better things to do than to be here, and wondering what it might want from her, and how she was doing wrong by not doing anything, and how she didn’t know what she could do to please the angel, and all the while hoping, praying, that the angel would stay and not leave her all alone her by this brook, for the truth was that she liked the angel more than anyone she’d ever met and she wanted it to stay, very much indeed.
More time passed and Sereya got so weary with all the worrying that she couldn’t worry properly anymore. She found it hard to keep her thoughts as they used to be, here in this beautiful place, where the brook made its little water sounds and sparkled diamond bright in the sunlight, beneath the sky so blue and on the grass so green, and in the grass were little flowers, half hidden, half peeking out with their flower faces, looking at the little girl and the angel who were sitting side by side and watched the brook flow by.
More time passed and the angel hadn’t gone away. Sereya glanced at it once in a while but the angel sat beautiful, calm and flowing light right by her side and said nothing in word nor colour, and it didn’t even seem as though the angel was waiting for anything, it was just there and seemed to be happy enough to just be there and in no hurry to be going somewhere else.
More time passed. Sereya yawned and stretched out her legs, wriggled her toes and came to think she would like to put her feet into the sparkling brook. She looked to the angel but it was just sitting there so she thought, perhaps it wouldn’t mind if she did and so and very slowly and cautiously, she crept closer to the brook, close enough and dipped her toes into the cool and bouncing water. Oooh! it was cold but really nice and Sereya put her feet right into the brook, until they touched the round cool stones at the bottom and it felt so wonderful that she wanted to laugh and splash, but she wasn’t sure if that was alright and she looked to the angel for she was afraid that it would leave if she did the wrong thing but the angel was just sitting and looking at her and the brook and it said nothing and did nothing so she gave a careful little splash with the tip of her toes at first. The angel didn’t seem to mind and Sereya thought that perhaps it was alright then and she splashed very carefully and slowly at first, but it was too much fun and she stood up in the brook, held her skirt up high so it wouldn’t get wet and splashed for real, being real careful not to splash any water into the angel’s direction because she didn’t want it to be angry or upset with her.
But the walking on the smooth stones and the splashing in the brook was too much fun and Sereya forgot for a moment and she jumped up and really – SPLASH! – made a big splash and water went everywhere, including on the angel. She stopped immediately and put her hand to her mouth but the angel just reached up and caught the water droplets in the air with its shiny hands, threw them up even higher and let them rain upon itself like diamonds falling that melted into its warm skin of light and it was laughing!
Sereya watched the angel and very cautiously, very carefully, put her hand in the brook and splashed a little more water across to the angel. The angel bent forward to catch the splashes as before and it was happy and so Sereya was happy too and splashed the angel more, and then the angel got up and put its feet of light into the brook and all the brook became both water and light and they splashed each other, laughing out loud in sound and in colour, and it was wonderful and so much fun, much more fun than Sereya could ever remember having had before.
Exhausted from the splashing and the laughing, Sereya went to the bank of the brook and collapsed into the grass and it was then she noticed that she, too, was now glowing with light across her skin, everywhere where the light water had touched her and that was everywhere, because she and the angel had been splashing real hard and slipped and fallen in the water too between times.
The angel still stood in the brook that was living with its light and it looked to Sereya and then it came across and carefully, touched a light finger to her arm and as it did, something happened and she knew the angels name, and that its name was like the sun but smaller and more joyous too, and it wasn’t a word at all but something else entirely and she found that she could think the angel’s name and when she did, it made a sound that was the angel’s name and it was here, and real, and you could not just hear it but really feel it and you knew completely that it was that one angel’s name out of all the many angels, all the across the universe.
And then the angel said Sereya’s name, and her name too wasn’t a word at all, but it was like a small star of many colours, bright and beautiful it was and it too was what you could feel and know that it was her, just her alone, the name by which she was known entirely and it was the only name like that amongst all the many, many children there had ever been across the time and space of all the universe.
So they said their names to each other many times, and other things besides, and at first Sereya would listen to learn how to say things in this way but as the angel told her many things and showed her many things in its language of light and colour, sound and feelings, Sereya recognised that she already knew this language well, that she spoke it in her dreams and that it was the way that people’s words were dead and dull compared to this that had made her give up on human speaking in the first place.
And when she recognised this, and remembered the angel language not just in her mind but all of her, the angel told her that the time had come, and that she was ready once again to come to that very special place of old where truth is told and listened to and where a little girl can tell her story in the language of light.
So they bade goodbye to the brook and the brook sang its delight at having been right there for both of them that day as they rose and travelled, purposefully and with knowing, hand in hand, across the time and space it takes to go to where there is a place of old, a very special place, high on a rounded hill beneath the stars so bright and watchful there, the sky a colour you have never seen and all the suns of all the time are here, each one a star.
On this hill there is a temple, round it is and bordered by white columns that indeed, are shafts of light that talk to the myriad suns above each one and it was here that the angel and Sereya came and went right to the center of the temple and this is where the angel sat down at Sereya’s feet and where she stood and looked around and then, she told her story in the language of light, and it was a story such as had never been told before in all the times spent, all the days of all the worlds of all the universe, because it was her story and it was unique, as unique as her name in the language of light, which was just like a star of many colours, bright and beautiful.
And the angel listened to her story, and so did the stars above, and the ground below in silence and in reverence and Sereya sang in many colours, many lights, her one voice soaring clearly through the heavens and all the worlds, and it found its place, its rightful place that had lain empty and waiting for her true voice, for her true song, for her true story.
When she was done and all the universe stood first in silent devotion, then vibrated back in reverence and gratitude for all she’d done and when she knew that her voice and being had become recorded in the fabric of time and space exactly as it should, Sereya took a deep breath and knew that she was free and all was right and when the angel took her back to her life in the little town, there was no sadness, no regret and she could speak the words of human language once more, could speak them freely and with ease because she no longer had to try to make it be that language of light she needed to have sung the song of Sereya.
And on a still night, or in a still place, if you just care to listen, you can hear her song, and you can hear the angel’s song and all the other songs, each one a miracle and each one so beautiful, it fills your heart with gladness and if you listen even closer still, and if you pay attention, you can tell that one, that very special song of light that is your own.
© Silvia Hartmann 2001