Who Lives in the Sand Castles?

Texto por María Bautista
Traducción por Dani Moore
Ilustración por Raquel Blázquez

After a long day at the beach, Carla finished her sand castle and contemplated it with satisfaction. Carla loved to construct buildings from sand with her bucket and her shovel. Sometimes the towers of the castles were mountains full of dimples, others, square towers so perfect and smooth like the concrete buildings of the city.

But, what Carla loved most was to imagine who would live in the sand castles that we build on the beach. That day, her grandmother Federica observed her castle, stroked her curly head and, with the expression she always wore when she was about to tell an amazing story, exclaimed:

– Well who is going to live in the sandcastles: princes, princesses and dragons!

Carla looked at her grandmother not understanding; how could she know such a thing? Perhaps she had visited a sand castle some time? Grandmother Federica told her that a time long ago, when the kids constructed sand castles on the beach, they could, if they grabbed four shells, a bunch of seaweed, and a little bit of salt water, enter the castles that they built.

– But, how? The castles are small and we are so big!
– Very easily, Carla: we become small, as small as nine grains of sand placed on top of each other.
– And what do we do with the shells, the bunch of seaweed and the salt water?
– Those are the gifts that we give to the habitants of the castle. When they see us arrive with all that, they open the door and allow us to enter their castles.
– And you have been in a sand castle one time? – the young girl asked excitedly.
– Well of course, many times. Before, it was in style and everyone did it, until one day, no one knows well why, the waves became angry and began to destroy the castles while the kids were still inside. And the kids…disappeared like the sand castles!

Carla looked at her sand castle and checked as the waves were coming closer timidly. If they continued nearing, they would destroy her precious square towers and the castle would become a mountain of sand. Why would those waves do that?

Carla was thinking about it for days and, although she asked her grandmother, she was unable to say why the waves had angered with the children that visited the sand castles. And such was her curiosity that one morning at the beach, she had a plan:

– Grandma, would you help me enter a sand castle?
– But Carla, this is very dangerous! If the waves crash over you while you are inside…we will never see you again!

But Carla had already thought of this: to begin they would make the castle far from the shore, so that the waves needed more time to destroy it.

– I will not keep long, grandma, just long enough to discover why the waves got angry with the kids and their sand castles.

Although grandmother Federica was not totally with her, she relented. In reality, she was also feeling curious to discover why the waves had gotten mad. So, bucket and shovel in hand, the grandmother and Carla constructed a precious sand castle. When they finished, both searched for four shells from the beach, a bunch of seaweed and a small glass of seawater.

– Now you are ready, Carla. You only have to desire it strongly.

Carla closed her eyes and began to wish to be so small as to be able to enter the sand castle. In a moment, Carla felt a brief dizziness and began to see how grandmother Federica and the colorful umbrellas on the beach were growing bigger and she was becoming smaller and smaller. Also, the castle had become much larger. So much so that it no longer seemed like a sand castle, but rather a colossal stone building.

Carla grabbed her bag where she carried the shells, seaweed and seawater (and which had become as small as her) and called to the door of the castle.

In that moment, the heavy door of the castle opened and a sound of trumpets and a sharp chirp bid her welcome. Excited, Carla entered into the sand castle.

Will she achieve her goal?

Chapter 2

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