Cambio de papeles


Texto de María Bautista 
Ilustración de Raquel Blázquez
Mario era el humano de Zeta y Zeta, que tenía el pelo rojizo como un zorro, era el gato de Mario. A Zeta le gustaba mucho su humano, pero también le gustaba ir a su aire. Por mucho que el niño insistía, Zeta nunca dormía en su cama cuando él estaba dentro, prefería hacerlo acurrucado en un cojín junto al radiador. A Zeta le gustaba descubrirlo todo, ¡era tan curioso! y no tenía miedo a nada, o casi a nada. Porque el aspirador, en verdad, le asustaba un poquito.  Cuando olía, oía o veía algo nuevo, Zeta no se lo pensaba dos veces… acudía sigiloso a olfatear, escuchar y observar lo que pasaba. Era todo lo contrario que su humano. Y es que a Mario no le gustaban las cosas nuevas: le daban miedo.

Por eso cuando aquel otoño comenzó en una escuela nueva, un colegio de mayores, que decía su abuela, Mario no paraba de quejarse. Eso a pesar de que había muchas cosas que le gustaban de su nuevo colegio. Para empezar ya no tenían que llevar ese babi color verde que tanto odiaba. Además, el colegio nuevo era mucho más grande y en vez de un patio de arena, tenían una pista de fútbol y otra de baloncesto. Sin embargo, las clases eran cada vez más complicadas. Lo que menos le gustaba a Mario era cuando le tocaba leer en alto delante de toda la clase. Se ponía tan nervioso que todas las letras comenzaban a bailar y a mezclarse unas con otras. Al final Mario comenzaba a tartamudear y le tocaba a otro releer lo que él había leído.
Mario le contaba a Zeta todas estas cosas y el gato, mientras se dejaba acariciar con paciencia, pensaba en lo injusto que era que Mario, que no quería ir al colegio, tuviera que acudir a él cada día.
–Y mientras yo, que me encantaría, tengo que quedarme en casa cada día. ¡Con lo que me gustaría a mí ir al colegio y aprender a leer!
Para Mario, sin embargo, era todo lo contrario:
–Qué suerte tienes Zeta, tú puedes estar en casa todo el día… ¡Si yo fuera un gato: sería tan feliz!
Y tanto quería Zeta ir al colegio y tanto quería Mario ser un gato, que una noche de luna llena un hada traviesa que pasaba por la ventana decidió concederles el deseo.
–Durante una semana Zeta será un humano y Mario un gato…
Imaginaros el lío que se montó a la mañana siguiente… Zeta con su cuerpo de niño de 6 años y Mario lleno de pelo color rojizo.
–Y ahora ¿qué hacemos? –exclamó Zeta que ahora hablaba como los humanos, puesto que era uno de ellos.
–Pues tendrás que ir al colegio y hacerte pasar por mí –maulló Mario mientras se chupaba la pata con su lengua aterciopelada.
Y así lo hicieron. Zeta se marchó al colegio y allí vio con sus ojos todo lo que Mario le había contado. Lo campos de fútbol y baloncesto, los libros repletos de letras y aquella maestra que les hacía leer en voz alta. Como Zeta era muy curioso y no le tenía miedo a nada, estuvo observando a todos los niños, mirando bien los libros y descubriendo en qué consistía eso de leer. Pero aunque todo era muy divertido, Zeta estaba agotado. Así que cuando llegó el recreo pensó quedarse acurrucado en una esquina y echarse una siestecita: aquello de ser niño era muy entretenido, pero también muy agotador. Pero cuando estaba a punto de quedarse dormido, sus amigos vinieron y le obligaron a jugar un partido de fútbol con ellos.
Mientras tanto, en casa, Mario se había quedado en la cama tan a gusto que pensó que eso de ser gato era lo mejor del mundo. A mediodía se fue al despacho de Papá, se subió a la mesa y empezó a ronronear. Papá, que estaba revisando unos papeles muy complicados le apartó de un manotazo. Y el pobre Mario convertido en gato acabó de bruces en el suelo.
–Bueno, volveré a mi camita. No tengo nada que hacer más que dormir, comer y jugar…
Pero dormir tantas horas era aburrido, y no hablemos de jugar: perseguir una bola de lana no era la idea que Mario tenía de diversión. Tampoco era mejor comer: aquellas bolitas secas que Zeta solía devorar a todas horas sabían a rayos y truenos.
Y así fueron pasando los días. Zeta en el colegio, tan observador, había aprendido a leer. Mario, en casa, como no tenía nada que hacer, se dedicaba a curiosear por todas partes y a descubrir rincones en los que nunca se había fijado. También se estaba volviendo más valiente: ¡hasta había aprendido a enfrentarse al aspirador como nunca lo había hecho su gato! Y eso que al principio, cuando sintió la máquina apuntando hacia él casi se cae del susto, pero sabía que no tenía nada que temer, porque aunque esa máquina era muy potente, él era mucho más rápido.
Pero ambos echaban de menos su vida anterior: el colegio estaba bien, y leer era muy divertido para Zeta, pero era mucho mejor pasarse todo el día durmiendo y curioseando a su antojo. A Mario ser gato le parecía muy cómodo, pero también muy aburrido. No podía salir a a la calle, ni jugar al fútbol con amigos. Extrañaba el colegio, ¡incluso aunque le hicieran leer en alto!
Así que aquella noche, cuando habían pasado ya siete días desde que se cambiaron los papeles, Mario y Zeta empezaron a discutir cómo acabar con aquella situación:
–Yo no quiero ir más al colegio. ¡Vaya aburrimiento!
–Y yo no quiero quedarme todo el día en casa… ¡eso sí que es aburrido!
–Pero ¿qué hacemos? No sabemos por qué ha pasado esto, ni tampoco cómo solucionarlo…
Y justo en aquel momento, el hada traviesa que había creado el encantamiento apareció en la habitación. Era pequeña como una mariposa y no llevaba una varita mágica, sino una pistola de agua con la que disparó a Zeta y a Mario que volvieron a sus cuerpos originales.
–¡Espero que hayáis aprendido la lección y ahora disfrutéis con lo que sois!
Pero tanto Zeta como Mario habían aprendido algo más. Zeta había aprendido a leer y desde entonces, además de husmear por todas partes, jugar con bolas de lana, dormir y comer, también le pedía a Mario que le dejara abierto algún libro de cuentos para leer un ratito. Mario, a su vez, había aprendido a ser más curioso y a no tener miedo cuando la profesora le pedía que leyera en alto. Si se había enfrentado valiente a una máquina que absorbía pelos… ¿cómo no iba a atreverse con la lectura?
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Los regalos de septiembre


Texto de María Bautista
Ilustración de Raquel Blázquez

De repente, llegó septiembre. La gente volvió a casa y poco a poco, las ciudades, tan vacías durante agosto, fueron llenándose de habitantes. 
          ¡Se acabó la playa! ¡se acabó el descanso! –se escuchaba lamentarse a todo el mundo por las esquinas.
Y todo el mundo parecía triste. Los mayores fruncían el ceño y maldecían los madrugones. Los niños agotaban los días de vacaciones y suspiraban. Los perros volvían a sus pisos de ciudad, a sus parques de ciudad y echaban de menos correr por la playa.
Septiembre deseaba tanto que la gente le quisiera que se dedicó a regalarles cosas. 
          Todo el mundo se siente feliz cuando estrena algo, ¿verdad?
Fue así como decidió regalar a todos aquellos adultos gruñones unos zapatos nuevos, para que en vez de arrastrar los pies de camino al trabajo, brincaran y bailaran sin parara. A los perros, que echaban ya no podían correr por la playa, les regaló apetitosos huesos que esconder en los parques. Pero sin duda, los más afortunados fueron los niños: septiembre les regaló una caja de lápices de colores para que pudieran colorear sus libros nuevos.
          ¡Qué divertido es estrenar cosas! – exclamó septiembre al ver las caras de felicidad de los niños. 
Y tanta envidia le dieron, que quiso estrenar algo. Y estrenó el otoño.

Hugo’s Training Wheels


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


Hugo was already older. Or so he felt, much older. So he did not understand why his parents refused to buy him a real bicycle. Not a tricycle like the one he had, but rather an authentic cyclist’s bicycle, with which one day he will become champion of the Tour de France. He insisted so much and wished for it so much that, finally, on his birthday, his parents gave him a lovely bicycle.

– I love it!! Can we go to the park to try it out?


But what Hugo did not know was that riding a bicycle was much more complicated than he had thought. And, that his mother would have to help him the whole morning. 

– I am holding you Hugo. Pedal!

And that was a marvelous feeling. You see, Mom could not hold on the whole time. It was not very practical if he wanted to become a cyclist. Where had he seen a Tour de France where the moms were running behind the athletes? So when everyone thought Hugo was already able to ride alone, they let him go and BOOM! Hugo crashed so hard he even broke a tooth (thank goodness it was a baby tooth, which was about to fall out). 

After that fall, Hugo wanted nothing to do with the bicycle. That machine was devilish and horrible and the cyclists of the Tour de France were crazy people that risked their lives on that dangerous device. Until one day, Dad arrived home with a new gift: training wheels for the bicycle. 

– With these you will never fall! You will see.

Hugo fearfully tried that new invention and noted with joy that, now, he could pedal without losing balance. From then on, Hugo went everywhere with the bicycle: to buy bread (although the bakery was just around the corner), to school (although the school was at the end of his street) and above all, to the park. 

In the park there were no cars, so Hugo could ride at his leisure. He rode up and down the slopes so fast that he felt like a pilot about to take off, or a cyclist about to win a stage. All around him, the kids with new bikes tried to learn to ride without training wheels and fell helplessly to the ground. Hugo, upon seeing them fall, laughed at them and passed by them very fast and happy with his green bicycle, his training wheels and his feeling as champion of the Tour. 

But with time, all those kids that fell on their bicycles without training wheels were learning how to ride their bike alone, and with their two wheels were much faster than Hugo and his four wheels.

– Hugo, are you sure that you do not want to try again without training wheels? –his mother asked him one day upon seeing him watch the rest of the kids seriously. 
– No! I am very good as I am. I will wait for you at the bottom, Mom.

And upon saying so, Hugo dropped down the slope. Why did he want to ride a normal bike? He did not want to lose balance and hurt himself. Further, he also could go very fast and win the Tour with his training wheels. To demonstrate this, Hugo began to pedal with such force that he felt how the wind ruffled his bangs sticking out of his helmet. It was an incredible feeling! It felt so good that, without realizing, he closed his eyes for an instant and got carried away, until a sharp yelp surprised him so much that he almost collided with a tree. But upon trying to dodge it, he fell noisily to the ground.

The boy brought his hand to his knee and saw that he had a small wound and felt like crying. But, Mom would not hear him cry, so he decided to resist the urge and get up as if nothing had happened. 

But something had happened. Tons of bad tempered squirrels were staring at him. 

– Savage! You almost ran over one of our friends.

Hugo could not believe what he was seeing: A squirrel that talked!

– What were you thinking?! Closing your eyes when you ride a bicycle!
– And riding so fast! At that speed it is lucky that you did not crush your head.
– Of course, it was because you are wearing a helmet! But our friend does not have a helmet; what if you caught her…

For a moment, Hugo forgot how amazing it was that there were talking squirrels and he felt very, very embarrassed. Upon noticing that, a squirrel, the only one with gray hair, felt a bit sorry for Hugo and began to defend him: 

– Leave him alone. He is only a small boy. Look, he even has training wheels on his bicycle!

Far from relieving him, that comment bothered Hugo a lot. He was already older! And besides, what would those squirrels know about bicycles?

– Well yes, I have training wheels, but that is so I do not fall. 
– But you didn’t think you could win any race with those tiny wheels, did you? Besides, who said that you could not fall with them? You just fell! – another squirrel laughed loudly. 

Hugo thought for a moment, so ashamed, that the gray squirrel again pitied him. 

– If you are so embarrassed to ride with training wheels, why don’t you take them off?
– Because without them I do not know how to ride. I fall all the time and I don’t like that. 
– Of course, no one likes to fall, but sometimes there is no choice. Look at us. We climb the trees and we jump from branch to branch and rarely do we fall. But it was not always so. When we were small and inexperienced, we fell all the time. But, we did not throw in the towel. If we had done that…now we would only climb bushes. What a bummer!

Hugo realized that those squirrels were right. As much as he feared falling again, he had to learn to ride the bike (especially if he wanted to be the winner of the Tour). 

– But… don’t leave! 

In that moment, Hugo discovered that his mother was coming. 

– Hugo, are you okay? With who have you been talking?

The little boy was about to tell her that it was with the squirrels, but then he thought for a moment. Would Mom believe him even if he told her? At the end of the day…. adults never believe those things! So instead of explaining what had happened, he simply told her: 

– Listen, Mom…Do you think Dad will want to take off the training wheels?


Si quieres leer el cuento original, pincha aquí.

Berta and the Animals

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

Berta had never much liked animals, but since her cousin Laura’s turtle bit her on her big toe, she didn’t even want to see animals in paintings. No matter if it were an adorable and cuddly dog or a lovely butterfly: all animals scared and disgusted her in equal measure.

– Berta, please, the things of nature are not disgusting – Mom warned her when Berta screamed with fear because she had found a spider in her room, or because the neighbor’s cat had slipped out onto the terrace – Don’t be so prissy! Prissy. What an awful word. She had looked in the dictionary and saw it meant squeamish and dainty, but Berta was many things but dainty, that’s why she was the captain of the school’s handball team. Besides, it was not her fault that she did not like animals. They were strange beings, hairy, nasty and of little use. What did we need animals for? It would be so marvelous, a world where there were only humans, thought Berta every once in a while.

So, the day that Berta’s class told her that there would be an excursion to a farm school and that it was obligatory for everyone, Berta almost fainted. A farm?! With bugs, animals of all sizes, and the smell of cow poop. The horror!!

– Berta, what are you going to do? With how little you like animals! – asked her friend Mateo.
– Well I will pretend to faint just before getting on the bus, like the actresses in the movies.
– Yeah, but you aren’t a movie actress…
– Well I will paint my face with a red marker so that they think that I have the chickenpox.
– But if you had them last year…
– Well… well… well…
– Well you will have to come! Surely it won’t be so horrible – Mateo, who contrary to Berta loved animals, tried to console her.

But Berta was not so convinced and spent the whole week, until the day of the excursion had arrived, having nightmares every night.

– Come on Berta, don’t be prissy. A turtle bit you one time, but that does not mean that all animals are going to bite you each time you see them – Mom explained to her – Even more, the animals from the farm are docile, and surely you will learn many things.

And there Berta went with wrinkled face alongside all of her classmates that were happier than larks.

– They told me that we can make cheese and yoghurt, and that we can take them home with us – Mateo enthusiastically explained to her.
– Well what a thing, it’s not like we can’t buy cheese and yoghurt at the supermarket – Berta grumbled.

The farm school was enormous. In addition to a lovely stone house, they had an immense meadow where cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits ran at their will. Also, there were cats that milled about and dogs of all sizes: they had at least six!

– You are going to get lucky. One of our dogs is about to give birth – one of the monitors explained to the class – You are going to be able to see the new puppies!

Berta thought with horror about dog birth. That surely is disgusting! But she had no other choice than to follow her entire class towards the room where the dog was giving birth.

– Look kids: here comes the first one!

A wrinkled and trembling thing came out of the dog’s body. Berta did not know if she should cry or leave running in that moment. But as she did not want the others to think of her as prissy, like her mother said, she stayed there watching how five puppies were leaving the body of the mother. All the kids (minus Berta, of course) were fighting to touch them until the monitor gave direction.

– You can pet them one at a time. I will pass them to you.
– But, their eyes don’t open? – asked Mateo.
– No, it takes them fifteen days to open them.
– Too bad! – exclaimed Mateo while he passed Berta one of the puppies.

Berta looked with horror at that puppy, but she had no choice but to take it in her hands. It was so soft and so small that for a moment, Berta forgot to feel scared or disgusted.

Suddenly, the tiny puppy opened its eyes, two enormous and precious mustard colored eyes and looked sweetly at Berta. It was only a moment, but Berta felt that sweet gaze and suddenly wanted to take the puppy home. It was sooooooooo beautiful!

– Have you seen it? It opened its eyes and looked at me!
– That is impossible Berta, did you not hear the monitor?

But Berta was sure of what she had seen.

– Maybe it wanted to show you that animals are not as ugly nor as bad as you think – exclaimed Mateo.

Berta had to admit that that puppy, and the rest of the puppies, were so small and beautiful that they did not scare her, much less disgust her.

– But cows and sheep are another thing. They smell bad! How gross! – she affirmed while the class was being directed to the place where those animals were found.
– Try this very rich milk: we just milked it.

Berta thought that she would not try that milk that came from a cow for anything.

– Well, from where do you believe that milk comes that you drink at home? – the monitor asked her – from the cows!

And so Berta was not left with another choice but to try that milk. It had a very strong flavor but she had to admit that it was delicious. And the same with the yogurt. This is not to say about the goat cheese. Berta had never eaten anything so delicious!

– Mateo, well yes it is true that the animals are very useful! To think I thought they served for nothing!

And Berta, who had quit being prissy, finished playing with all those animals and spent the day well at the farm school. After everything, like her mother said, the things of nature were disgusting. They were simply perfect.

Lluvia veraniega



Texto de María Bautista
Ilustración de Raquel Blázquez
Después de un mes entero sin llover, el campo se levantó un día tan seco que, de haber tenido la oportunidad, se habría bebido toda el agua del mar (¡aunque fuera salada!).

–¿Dónde estará la lluvia? –se preguntaban los campos de trigo, los árboles repletos de fruta y los ríos sin agua.

Pero la lluvia no estaba por ningún lado. Ella, como todos los niños, había llenado su maleta de sandalias y bañadores y se había marchado de vacaciones.

La luna, muy preocupada por todos los seres que vivían en el campo, decidió hacer algo para devolverles la lluvia.

–¡Si yo pudiera convencer a las nubes para que llovieran! –se repetía una y otra vez.

Pero la luna no mandaba en las nubes, sino en las estrellas. Por eso la única lluvia que podía mandar era de estrellas.

Y eso hizo.

Fue un 11 de agosto y la visión de aquella lluvia maravillosa no sació la sed del campo, pero les dejó tan maravillados que se olvidaron de esa otra lluvia hasta la llegada de septiembre.

The Anger of the Waves

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

Chapter 1

The door of the sand castle opened and Carla saw a dragon looking bored laying on a mat, a freckled princess playing with a ball, and a clueless prince dancing around with a floatie. The three were in a room with large stately windows, which, however, were very dirty and messy. There were plastic bags cluttering the room, banana peels and cigarette butts…instead of a castle, it looked like a pigsty!

None of the three inhabitants of the castle appeared to realize Carla’s presence, so she coughed and exclaimed:

– Hello. Can you see me?

The princess, the dragon and the prince looked at her surprised:

– A girl?
– It cannot be! It has been centuries since we have seen one!

Carla suddenly felt all their gazes fall on her, and a bunch of questions rained down on her: What’s your name? How did you get here? Do you know that the waves can destroy us? Will more kids come now? How old are you? Do you like to swim? Did you make this castle?

Carla thought that if someone had questions to ask it was she…she was inside a sand castle! That was incredible. But until she quenched the curiosity of the dragon and the prince and princess, she could not ask any questions. She thus learned that the princess was named Philomena and was the oldest of the tree. Then there was the dragon Misifú, which before breathing fire from its mouth, had been a cat. The youngest was the prince Galindo who was born inside of a shell and so his hair was curly and rebellious.

– We have always lived in sand castles. When one is destroyed, we go to another and so on. Sometimes it’s tiring changing homes so many times!
– Nor is it fun – exclaimed the prince.
– Well, it was more fun when more kids came to see us. Now…we spend the day without knowing what to do!

Carla felt like suggesting to them that if they did not have anything to do…they could dedicate themselves to cleaning their castle! Incredibly gross!

– I know what you are thinking – exclaimed the princess when she saw Carla look around with a disgusted face – but this trash isn’t ours. Before, our castles were clean and many kids came with shells and seaweed that left our rooms beautiful. Now, no kids come, nor do we have shells, but in exchange we have these mountains of rubbish everywhere. It is the trash that people leave on the beach.
– And as we clean…there always appear new things!
– Punctured floaties, forgotten sand buckets, lost flip flops, finished soda cans, half-eaten fruit, foil with melted cheese and the most disgusting of all: cigarette butts! It’s repugnant…
– So much so that the waves, enraged, began to destroy castles with kids inside to see if their parents would learn…but the only thing that followed was that kids stopped coming to see us!

So that was the motive for which the waves became angry: they did not want there to be so much garbage on the beaches!

– Ay! If you could lend us a hand… – exclaimed the dragon suddenly.
– Me? What can I do? I cannot talk to the waves and neither can I alone clean all the trash on the beach.
– Yes, but you can tell everyone what is happening to us.
– And remind them that they have to take care of the beach…we don’t want trash castles! We prefer sand castles.

Carla also preferred sand castles, so she promised to help them before saying goodbye. She could not stay much longer…the waves could destroy the castle and she would disappear transformed into nine grains of sand. So Carla left her shells, her bunch of seaweed and a bit of salt water and left the castle. She wished hard to return to being a big girl. She wished and wished and wished and when she opened her eyes, her grandmother Federica looked at her curiously.

– Carla! Tell me about your experience! Do the princess Philomena, the prince Galindo, and the dragon Misifú still live in the castle?

Carla recounted all of what had occurred. As well, the problem that the sand castles had with the trash that people left on the beach.

– This is why the waves have become angry; we have to do something.

Grandmother Federica, after much thought, exclaimed:

– We have to create a story!
– A story?
– Of course! If we write a story, the kids will read it and will learn of what is happening on the beaches. And it won’t let parents leave cigarette butts and trash on the sand or in the ocean!

And it was so that bore the story that grandmother Federica and Carla told to their neighbor Valerie, who told her brother Ishmael who told his friend Alejo, who told his cousin Mercedes, who talked with her daughter Vega, who decided to tell her aunt Marieta, who recounted it to her friend Raquel. And between them all they wrote this story that you are now reading.

With this story, many people have learned of what happens with sand castles. So, with luck, soon there will be no trash on the beach and the waves will no longer be angry with us. And maybe very soon, the children will return to the sand castles to the delight of princess Philomena, the dragon Misifú, and the prince Galindo who will return to wonderful castles full of shells and seaweed.

Can you imagine?

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

The House of Horrors

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

Tito was waiting impatiently for the arrival of Friday. That day he was to leave for an outing at the amusement park. Tito wanted to take a ride on everything: the Swings, the Pirate Ship, the Shoot the Chute and the Tilt-a-Whirl.

– On everything? Even the House of Horrors? – Thomas asked him craftily.

Thomas was Tito’s older brother and passed the day cracking jokes: he hid all the pairs of socks so that Tito had to go out with mismatched ones, he moved the toys around so that Tito could not find them, he exchanged Tito’s colored pencils for black pencils, and he put tape on the scissors so that Tito could not open them. Thomas always laughed at him because he was small, so Tito tried showing him that now he was older and said convinced:

– Well, of course. Those things do not frighten me….

But when Tito entered the haunted house and saw those vampires with sharp fangs, long manes and red eyes, green hairy monsters, toothless witches, and werewolves howling nonstop, he was so scared that he could not sleep without having nightmares for the next three nights.

From then on, Thomas’ pranks changed. One night, while Tito was brushing his teeth, Thomas hid underneath the bed and when his brother was wrapped up in bed reading, he began to hit the mattress.

– Tock, tock, tock
– What is that sound? Who is down there?
– Tock, tock, tock…the vampire from the house of horrors has come to see you!

When Tito, very scared, began to whimper, Thomas came out from his hiding place in fits of laughter:

– How can you be so naïve! Vampires don’t exist.

He repeated that prank every once in a while. Sometimes, Thomas was the Boogeyman, others an evil witch that came to turn Tito into a rat, others a green monster that was tired of sleeping on the floor and wanted to seize Tito’s bed. And the joke always ended the same, with Thomas bursting with laughter and Tito very scared:

– But Tito…monsters do not exist!

But Tito did not believe him. To begin, if those beings did not exist, who were those that he had seen in the House of Horrors? Further, if there were so many books about monsters, witches, ghosts, vampires and wolves…how could they not exist? So, one day Tito decided to talk with Mom.

– Of course monsters exist, but they only have powers in books.
– But…what about the ones in the amusement park?
– Those are the evil beings that, one day, tired of the books, decided to leave their stories. But when they left the books they discovered that they did not have powers anymore and, even more, they were so ugly that everyone banished them to the streets.
– And what did they do?
– Well, the monsters decided to go to the barbershop to see if cutting their green, blue, and purple hairs would scare people less.
– And the vampires?
– Well, they went to the dentist; they wanted to get rid of those fangs!
– So then, now they are normal people?
– No way! As much as they tried to rid themselves of their monster appearances, they could not. So they stay in the House of Horrors in order to remain there without anyone banishing them to the streets.
– So all of those monsters in the amusement park are real?
– Of course, but they cannot do anything. Without the books, they do not have powers.

That night, when Thomas, hidden beneath his bed, started making noises, Tito was not bothered.

– If you are a real monster and you have escaped from a story…you do not scare me because you have no powers! And if you are Thomas…well you do not scare me either! So leave me be to read.

And although Thomas tried to convince him that there truly was a monster, there was no way to scare Tito. For he finally understood that the monsters, the witches, the vampires, and the ghosts were only evil in stories.

The blue ball of yarn

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

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The little Marilo walked hand in hand with her mom through the antique market in the city. Finally it was getting cold and Mom searched for an old wall clock like the one that was in her house when she was a child. Marilo carried in one hand a small umbrella and with the other clutched Mom tightly afraid to get lost in those hallways full of junk.

And it was so that to Marilo, the antique market was scary, with all of those odd old objects, full of dust and memories:

1. The cuckoo clocks, with those disturbing birds that awake at each hour.
2. The porcelain dolls, with those window-like eyes and the complexion as cold as the skin of the dead (or so Marilo thought that they would have skin like the dead, because see, she had never seen one).
3. The headboards with female figures with strange hairstyles.
4. The tables with a smell of dried wood and drawers in which no one know what you could find.

But all of a sudden, something in between all of those antique stands called her attention. It was a stall full of vivid colors.

– What is this? – Marilo asked an old wrinkled woman who weaved with two huge needles.
– They are scarves, colorful scarves. Don’t you think that this market is very gray?

Marilo agreed while she felt Mom’s hand pulling her away from there. The old wrinkled lady continued talking in her soft voice

– Do you want to try one on?

Marilo, enthusiastically began to rummage through those stupendous scarves of brilliant colors.

– This one!
– Blue is also my favorite color – exclaimed the old woman. – Try it on to see how it looks on you…

Marilo wrapped the blue scarf around her neck and then felt lightheaded. She closed her eyes trying not to fall and when they opened, the plaza where the antique market had been was completely empty.

– Where are you Mom? And the scarf lady? Where is everyone?

Marilo ran scared and turned down the first street that she found. Was it her imagination or did those houses appear monstrous with enormous doors – mouths that could devour her? She raised her umbrella as if it were a sword and tried to protect herself from those house-monsters.

– Back, back, don’t you come any closer, leave me alone!

But the door-mouths of those houses were becoming larger and larger, until a door slam-bite tucked her inside one of those houses.

Marilo tried to search for window-eyes to escape through, but soon she realized that she could not walk, something was pulling her from behind: the blue scarf that the old woman had given her was caught on the door knob-tongue.

– Stupid scarf! It’s all your fault…

So she pulled and pulled until the blue scarf was frayed, tangled in the door knob-tongue of that horrible house-monster. When Marilo was about to convert the scarf into a simple ball of yarn without any form, a shrill sound surprised her.

– Cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

The door-mouth opened suddenly and right next to her, Marilo saw two kids her age dressed as ghosts.

– Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat!

Marilo looked at her side and discovered that the house-monster had disappeared and in its place she found the comfortable living room of her house. Had she dreamt it all up?

Then she saw a blue ball of yard thrown about the floor.

Definitely, on Halloween even the strangest things can become reality…

The love of the rain and the sun

Texto por María Bautista
Traducción por Dani Moore
Ilustración por Brenda Figueroa

There was a time when seasons did not exist. There was no flowering spring, no scorching summer, no nostalgic fall nor frozen winter. The trees mixed their flowers with their fruits, their yellow leaves with bare branches and on the same day it could rain and freeze, be freezing cold or have the most grueling heats.

During this time everyone went a little crazy with so much change in the weather. The snails extended their antennae towards the sun, to soon feel the rain on their spiral shells. The bears were about to hibernate during the cold and, before they had fallen asleep, they were already dying of heat in the depths of their cave. Everyone was clueless but as there were no rules, they all lived happily in absolute chaos.

The sun and the rain were also clueless, concentrated on something much more important than the weather, the animals or the trees: love. See, the sun and the rain, in this crazy time without seasons, had fallen in love. And as this time was one of firsts, the love between the sun and the rain was new, intense and overwhelming.

At first they met at the dawns, when everyone was still sleeping. For a few minutes the sun shone strong and the rain filled the leaves and fields with water. In time, the lovers felt more and more need to be together. Dawns became mornings and mornings became noons and afternoons.

But in this world of chaos where there were no seasons, no one was surprised that it rained while the sun came out at the same time, after all, this was a world without rules and everything was allowed.

However, one day the lovers went too far. In love as they were, the hours together passed them by in an instant, little did they know. Hence one afternoon when the sun was preparing to set, to disappear until the next morning, the rain felt the desire to have a moment more with the sun by its side.

– You can’t leave so soon! Stay with me a couple of hours more.

And the sun, moved by the sweetness of the rain could not say no. That day the sun set two hours later but nobody said anything: in that world without rules where everything was allowed.

Day after day, the lovers scratched hours off the night until it completely disappeared from the world. This provoked the biggest chaos that anyone had ever seen in this world already filled with chaos. The animals could not get to sleep, the land was flooded and the flowers were dying from too much sun and heat. Not to mention that the moon and stars had been left without work. Very upset, the moon began to ask for explanations from everyone who lived on the planet.

– Does anyone know who has organized such a mess? Without the night there is no need for the moon or the stars, where do you suppose I should go now? – the moon growled irritated at the top of the sky.

And after much questioning and investigating, the moon learned of the romance between the sun and the rain and of how this overflowing love had stolen the night. Very angry, the moon surprised them one night that was not night but rather day:

– You two aren’t ashamed of yourselves for having left the entire world without the night? – the moon yelled indignantly.

– Well this is a world without rules and here everything is allowed – exclaimed the sun proudly.

– Sure, as long as we do not disturb others. And your nocturnal adventures perturb the animals that cannot sleep, and lull the trees and flowers to sleep with so much water and heat. More so, what about the stars and myself? What will we do without the night? Have you stopped to think for a second what will become of us?

The rain and the sun hung their heads in shame. Surely they had not thought about this. They only had thoughts of their love and their feelings and everything else was not important. But that had to change.

And so it did change. The moon took charge of it and ordered the lovers to stop with those encounters. From this moment, the rain was always accompanied by a gray, sad sky. The sun, meanwhile, stopped traveling with the clouds. If these clouds appeared it was to create shade, but they never brought the rain, not like before.

It was a sad time, this one. In spite of that, the seasons were born and the animals and plants stopped going crazy from so much change of weather. However, everyone felt a little bit responsible for the sun and the rain, separated forever.

– Something must be done. It is too cruel to the rain and the sun.

After much insistence, the moon had to concede.

– You may reunite every once in a while, and always for short periods of time. But in exchange, for each meeting, you have to give us something as beautiful as your love.

The rain and the sun accepted. They returned to their encounters, and the world returned to being happy. The rain and the sun also fulfilled their promise.

They created something as beautiful as their love: the rainbow.