Little Louise had, at the age of nine, everything a little girl could have wanted: Good loving parents, a wonderful home, nice and affectionate classmates, good grades in teaching. But she didn’t understand all the news on television that only spoke about wars, earthquakes and other misfortunes. She had asked her father something, but he always found a subterfuge to not answer her directly.
So it was all about doing her homework conscientiously, playing with the family’s gorgeous white Caniche and friends her age.
One night she had a strange dream: She was supposed to be in an unknown place, where there was a huge palace, like those she had only read about in fairy tales. It was called the Palace of Miracles, on the outside it was entirely white, but it could not enter because the gates were closed to it. She suddenly woke up, still surrounded by the image of the dream exterior of the palace, bathed in the sunshine.
For a few weeks, she could not get these images out of her mind.
It was something strange, though she knew it was just a dream, though she was sure that every morning she would wake up in her room, in bed, she had the feeling that she had penetrated into some sort of parallel world, that everything that happened in his dream echoed into a completely unknown world.
What is it, Louise, what is it with you? his father said her.
Did you tell me why wars are going on? answered the girl.
Every morning she would say her prayers for the children, go to school, then to the amusement park. But she could not take her thought from the dream palace for a moment, especially since she had never met him, neither in fairy tales, nor in cartoons, nor even in his parents’ albums, which she had looked from time to time. So she didn’t understand what was with her, why she had dreamed of him, so clearly, so immaculately, why she couldn’t get inside in a dream.
For a while, she had to stay at home, enjoying the videos her parents had bought for her vacation. A maniac had assaulted one of her classmates, and police had given the order for the students to stay under strict supervision for a week.
She didn’t understand much of what her parents were trying to explain to her on this subject, just as she hadn’t understood with the war.
"Father, if children are better than grown-ups, then why should they become grown-ups and not remain children all their lives?" she ask with disarming sincerity.
"Quiet, Louise, we'll talk about it," the father ditches, as usual, to whom the little girl's question still brought a little tear in the corner of his eyes.
Dream of the palace again. At the entrance, the good Fairy was waiting for her, who told her that she would see many wonders in that Palace, and that all she had to do to visit him was to be as good and obedient a little girl as she had been before. He had to be ten years old to open his doors.
She could not take his eyes off the beautiful, sun-flooded walls, yet she wondered where the Palace might be, because the place did not resemble any known country.
The next day, she went on a small trip with her family. Everyone was having fun, it was a wonderful weather, only she tended to isolate herself and puff up.
“What are you doing, Louise, are you angry?”
When I am ten years old, I will take you to a wonderful place. It is called the Palace of Miracles. But don’t do anything stupid, otherwise I won’t take you.
“Well, Louise,” said the father laughing, “we’ll be the best parents in the world.”
Discussions about wars, big people, as well as a ban on attending school for a week, have never finished them. They gave her the necessary information, of course, but they did not know very well where exactly the boundary between good and evil lies that her still young and naive mind was not allowed to cross.
He was a gifted child, maybe not even precocious, but she understood very quickly and correctly, assimilated well and only raised commendation from teachers and colleagues. In his little video library she had all sorts of wonderful stories, but also wonderful landscapes from all over the world.
But she knew that everything that was known could not be compared to that unique dream palace, as if built specifically for her, but whose interior she had never seen. Until she is ten years old, until the good Fairy let him in, she will have no peace.
She dreamed that she came in. She had only one day left before she was ten years old, but she had no patience. She had made sure that the Fairy was not around, then she managed to open the gate a little, so that she could get inside, helped by a little elf who was spinning there.
The walls were all made of gold and silver, and the paintings she could see were absolutely stunning. Some of them had been seen in their parents’ art albums, but others were completely unknown to them.
There were twelve entrances. The forest room, the springs room, the mountain room, the ancient Greek room were waiting for her.
What she saw did not think she could contain in a lifetime. Dreamy beauties of nature, wonderful landscapes, breathtaking waterfalls and crystal-clear rivers, forests full of magical green, mountains that seemed to be born of ether. It was a world of absolute magic, of the fantastic became real.
She tried to focus as much as possible on an image, because she knew she might not see it again, but she did not have enough time, it was like a real avalanche that she felt he could not cope with. If she had taken the camera with her, how stupid it was, how could she not think about it!
He also saw the Chamber of fantastic animals, they were none of the known ones, they resembled to a point, but they seemed larger, more beautiful, even more friendly than the real ones.
She could no longer control her emotions in front of this ecstatic knight, she did not realize how much time had passed. She wanted to look at the clock. She couldn’t, she forgot her watch.
She was in front of the last room, the Miracles. She looked curiously at the door and felt that this Chamber was the most special of all, that nothing, even what she had seen before, could rival it.
Suddenly she was afraid, a terrible fear, as she had never felt in her whole life. Fear of that huge Palace where she was completely alone, fear that the one who attacked her colleague might also be in the Palace, fear of the good Fairy, who might catch her entering the day before the deadline, fear of the parents who might ask where it is.
The extremities of her hands and feet had already cooled. A noise was heard, then one of the paintings hung in the wall fell with a bang.
She pulled out a sharp scream and covered her face with the hands. Then she ran back to the exit. The palace seemed overwhelmed by the earthquake, the walls shook terribly, the paintings did not stop falling. Then the noise got louder, and huge cracks began to appear.
The palace was destroyed.
She began to cry in a howl, both because of the wonders lost forever, and because of the fear that she might be crushed by any of the walls before reaching the exit.
She ran faster and faster, and when she finally got out of the palace, she saw only a whole army of goblins giggling, and behind him an inert pile of rubble that had once been the Palace of Miracles.
She woke up crying.
Louise, what happened? Her parents heard her from the other room. Louise!! Reply!!
Leave me alone!! Leave me alone, I don’t want to talk to anyone!! she almost yelled, which rarely happened to her.
In a week, she was unrecognizable. No more talking, no more going to the amusement park. She drank only water and ate very little, and her eyes were icy. She would always close herself in the room, where only some almost animal cries were heard.
They tried to talk to her, but in vain. It became a kind of small walking ghost.
Of course, they couldn’t convince her to go to the doctor. He kept talking about how foolish she was, then crying again and talking to no one. However, she had to go, because at school they asked him for such a certificate at that time.
After the examination, the doctor asked to stay alone with Louise's father.
”Believe me, I don’t know how to do it. Are you a strong fire?”
He suddenly changes his face.
"How about you," he said, "what do you mean?"
”I can't, I can't”, but the doctor hesitates. ”You need to know the truth”.
”Louise has a very rare form of cancer, which usually does not occur in children, totally incurable. She has at most a few months to live”.
”No, not my daughter. I'm killing you, fool, you can't do it, shit doctor, make it live... Not my daughter...” he screamed as he left the office.
The weeks that followed were a nightmare for both little Louise and her parents. After days of prayer, the resignation followed. Death, sinister, cold, calculated, although it had not made its presence felt, announced its arrival, demanded its tribute.
“Louise, my dear angel, the light of my eyes,” he said. I will give you everything you want, anything you can ask, but talk, talk, my princess...
"I have nothing to ask of you," Louise replied, absent, and then she locked herself in the room again.
He felt that he could not go to work, the thing he usually did with pleasure, everything had become terrible, an unbearable chore to perform, no, no, no Louise, anything, but not her. He began to drink, but the picture of the young child in the coffin followed him day and night, whatever he did, was not strong enough. He thought that after it all ended, he might end his days.
"Father," Louise said, finally one evening. ”We have to talk”.
Her eyes were filled with tears, while she was gently holding her hand.
"Say, Louise," say, my princess...
- Do not cry... There is no point in pretending. I know I’m going to die, you’ve tried to hide this from me in vain. But you don’t know something, that it’s just me. Do you remember the promise I made to you with the Palace of Miracles?
”I couldn’t hold on to it, I broke it. The good Fairy told me that I would see wonderful things like I had never seen, but that I must be ten years old I had no patience and entered the day before. I saw those things, but before the last Chamber of Miracles, I was afraid and could not enter. Then the palace destroyed itself, there was nothing left of it. But in fact I destroyed it, I am the only one to blame”.
"Louise, my dear, what do you say there?
”Where I am going, this will never happen again. Do you remember our unfinished discussions about the war, about the one who attacked Sophie, about the grown-ups and the children? Men, whether they are grown-ups or children, are only making all kinds of commitments and making all kinds of promises to God in the hope of obtaining some riches. Then, because they are evil, they can no longer keep the promise, they break it and thus destroy everything. There is no difference between what I did and what those who started the war did. But there, where only the good Fairy is, none of this will happen again, I’m sure. Don't cry... I may have earned my right to happiness”.
- Louise... Louise... forgive me, I can’t speak anymore, said the father, among the cries of tears.
She dreamed she was inside again. She was again in front of the Chamber of Miracles, just like when she was ten years old. She tried a little fear, but she defeated her this time and entered. Inside was the good Fairy, with a magic medallion.
“Louise, my dear, I knew you would come back. Before we see the Chamber of Miracles, we have to talk a little. What did I tell you to do when I told you that you were allowed to enter?
But look, because you were a good little girl and you understood what you did, and because for me everything is possible, I rebuilt the Palace. It is intact, nothing has happened. Promise me that after we see the last Room you will go back to your parents, who love you very much, and you will not repeat in your whole life the mistake you talked about with your father. You promise?
”I promise, good Fairy. This time, I will keep my word”.
”Wear this medallion from me. With him, you will never be afraid again”.
After months of terror, the doctor told him that he could not explain the results of the latest tests in any way. The girl was completely healed.
”I’m not going you to see the palace yet. You weren’t good enough”, she said one night.
“As you say, Louise, you are the expert,” the father replied with a smile.
Author Notes: Photo: Pexels, Janko Ferlic