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The tin forest

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Once upon a time there was a large, windswept place, near nowhere and almost forgotten, that was full of things no one wanted.

Right in the center of this place, and exposed to bad weather, was a small house with equally small windows overlooking the rubbish others had made.

In this house lived an old man.

Every day the man tried to get rid of the trash by sorting and picking, burning and burying.

And every night the man dreamed.

He dreamed that he lived in a forest full of wildlife, in which there were colorful birds, tropical trees, exotic flowers, toucans, tree frogs, and tigers.

But whenever he woke up, the world he saw remained the same.

One day something caught his eye and an idea took shape in his head.

An idea that took root and germinated.

Which gained leaves by feeding on the trash.

That gained branches.

Larger and bigger.

Then an entire forest emerged from that man’s hands.

A forest made of trash. A forest made of tin. It wasn’t the forest of his dreams, but it was nonetheless a forest.

One day the wind brought with it a small bird to the desert plain. The man laid a few crumbs on the ground that the bird soon ate, then perched on the branch of a tin tree. The next day the bird departed, and the old man was alone in the silence, his heart aching with emptiness.

That same night, in the moonlight, man formulated a wish…

The next day, he woke up to the song of birds. His visitor had returned and was bringing a companion. In the nozzles, they carried seeds, which dropped into the arid soil. Soon there were shoots all over the earth.

The song of the birds mingled with the buzzing of insects and the rustling of foliage.

The time was passing.

And little animals were creeping up, crawling through the forest of trees. Wild animals appeared, sliding through the green shadows.

Once upon a time there was a forest, near nowhere and almost forgotten, that was now full of things everyone wanted.

In the middle of it was a small house with equally small windows. In this house lived an old man who had never ceased to dream… Helen Ward; Wayne Anderson The Tin Forest New York, Puffin Books, 2003 (Translation and Adaptation)

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