THE MOST ORIGINAL GIFT
“ What can I give her?” Peter was wondering for days. His friend Lisa was about to turn eighteen, she would give a big party for her birthday, to which all her friends were invited. She had announced that she wouldn’t accept any gift if it was not exceptionally ORIGINAL. She didn’t want the usual presents that people get for their birthdays.
Peter particularly cared about Lisa, perhaps he was even in love with her. He was certainly fascinated by her, he was enchanted by her extravagance. Lisa was an artist, she painted and sculpted, and she made dance performances. Lisa led a wandering life, maybe the next year she wouldn’t be with them, in that city anymore. Peter wanted to give her something so special also because wished her to remember him. Unfortunately, with the money he had in his pocket, he could have bought only a few candies. He would have to strive to find something at a very low price that was truly original. So Peter found himself hoping to find a little treasure hidden somewhere, some incredible object that someone had lost. He even dreamed of finding extraordinary jewels lost on the street, hidden in some ravine, or thrown by mistake in the garbage can. But these remained dreams. He had to find a gift as original as possible for Lisa.
Peter also tried to make some objects with his hands. He tried to carve wood, to paint, he tried to make a composition of flowers and leaves. But he couldn’t realize anything that satisfied him.
One day, walking on the beach, he bent down to collect shells and saw a small stone that seemed to him to be heart-shaped. It wasn’t actually heart-shaped, it was rather a triangular shape with rounded corners. The small stone was gray with pink veins. Peter was sure he had finally found the gift for Lisa. He squeezed the stone in his hand and meanwhile, he thought about how to make it even more original. It seemed to him that the solution to adopt would be to accompany it with very small and special wildflowers such as the eyes of the Madonna or Veronica persica. Peter starched some of those tiny flowers, drilled a hole in the center of the stone, and stuck the flowers in. The result was an object that he thought was original enough to satisfy Lisa. Unfortunately, Lisa didn’t seem to particularly appreciate the gift that Peter had struggled so much to find and of which he was proud. Lisa took it in her hands, and looked at it puzzled. “ And what is this?” she asked dazed. Peter felt like dying. “ It’s a heart of stone that I found for you. To soften it I added the little blue flowers, the eyes of Madonna” he said hesitantly, with a bitterness in her mouth. “ Oh, but it’s not in the shape of a heart at all! It looks like a bird’s wing to me” Lisa said, with nonchalance. “ Anyway, thanks. IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS” she added. Oh, to dismiss him with those words when he expected to be appreciated for the original of his gift and for the meticulous work he had done to embellish it with the little flowers.
Lisa for her birthday received truly fabulous and unthinkable gifts. She was given a mole with a starry nose, a baby panda, an Australian spider, a Betta splendens, a Botao flower, and Rare Caudex. She also received jewels with phantasmagorical and inimitable designs. Poor Peter felt out of place, cornered with his pebble. But the worst was yet to come. A few days after her birthday Lisa realized that the small stone he had given her was radioactive. She decided to get rid of it. Peter, embittered, did not want the small stone to end up in a deposit of radioactive materials and took it back with him. Peter didn’t want to believe it was radioactive, however, he built a small lime and lead bunker to store it. Needless to say, Peter felt dejected and mortified. Months went by and he, despite the danger that his stone was radioactive, felt the urge to see it again, indeed to have it in his hands. He never expected what had happened. His small opaque stone had turned into a luminous and transparent stone with the color of topaz and amethysts. Amazed and incredulous, Peter looked for someone who could explain what had happened. He contacted some renowned gemmologists who were dumbfounded. They could not believe what Peter was telling. As far as they knew the transformation of a stone found on the beach into a precious stone was an impossible phenomenon. Wasn’t it rather ( quite) that someone had replaced his pebble with a precious stone? Because the stone into which it could not have transformed was a very precious and rare stone. It was possible to find it only in a fossil bed in Brazil. It was called the Moon at Sunset.
Perhaps, the gemmologists asked, was Peter making fun of them by telling them of that incredible transformation? Where had he really found that precious stone? They offered him a huge amount of money to sell it, but he didn’t accept. He thought that this stone now, oh yes, would have been a very original and special gift for Lisa, who would no longer be able to say: “ “What counts is the thought”
Peter tried to find a stone on the beach like the one he had given to Lisa, but he couldn’t find it.
He was disconcerted, and incredulous, but determined to keep the precious stone with him. He would not have sold it or given it to anyone.
One day he met by chance Matthew, an old man who lived as a hermit outside the city, who was considered by some people a great sage, by many people a poor madman.
“ Eh, dear boy, I know that you’ve had a fortune that disoriented you, that you can’t explain….eh, you got the Moon at Sunset from a simple worthless stone,” Matthew said to him. Peter was amazed. How did Matthew know the transformation of the stone? “ Ah, my dear boy, you had to know that extraordinary news….have wings. They reach the ears of those who can receive them” Matthew said, looking at him slyly. It seemed that Matthew had learned of the transforming of the small stone not from someone who had told him but…from the stone itself, that is from the phenomenon that had taken place. Matthew in fact also had a reputation as an alchemist. Matthew told Peter that sometimes, albeit very rarely, the transformation of base matter into precious matter happens spontaneously, so to speak, due to a particular combination of factors. It takes ( you need) the favorable astral conjunction and the predisposed, welcoming environment: thin air, a mild wind, a rarefied light. In addition in his case, some benevolent forces had intervened because Peter, who had worked so hard to find the original gift for Lisa, first he had to be told: “ What counts is the thought” and then the stone had returned to him since it had been considered radioactive.
The pebble he had found on the beach was not radioactive at all, Matthew said, it was only turning into the very precious Moon at Sunset.