A Tale of a Tale

A tale of a tale
© Lisa Falzon
With grateful thanks to Inizjamed Malta
© Lisa Falzon
A short tale by Trevor Zahra

Translated from the Maltese
(Storja ta' Storja, Merlin Library: Malta, 2006) by Albert Gatt

Once upon a time, there was a story that lived in a book. It was a wonderful story, a story full of jokes and laughter. But the book had been closed for many years. Nobody read the story anymore, and as a result, the story felt very sad.

Soon enough, the bookworms in the library discovered it. "Now, now, now, this looks like a good story, the worms said." They tasted the first sentence. "Hmmm ... tasty!" The second sentence tasted good too. So did the third and the fourth. And so the bookworms ate up all the jokes and the laughter in the story. When they had finally eaten enough, they curled up to sleep.

The bookworms slept soundly this time. They hadn't slept as soundly after eating that other story, the one about pirates. That one had been full of battles and storms and had made the worms feel sick. The same had happened after they'd eaten the story about cars. The petrol and exhaust fumes had nearly poisoned them. But this one was different. This story tasted really sweet.

Not long afterwards, two children walked into the library and began to browse. "Oh, look at this book. It's got so many holes in it," said Sara. "I wonder what the story's about," said Elton. "Well, let's read it," replied Sara. But the story was impossible to read. All the words had holes in them. The children couldn't make anything out. "This story's no good!" said Elton. "Completely senseless!" agreed Sara. They put the book back where they had found it.

The bookworms had been eavesdropping on Sara and Elton. "If only you'd had a taste of that story before we did, you'd think differently," they thought. "But it's too late now. We're the only ones who know what the story's about!"



With grateful thanks to Inizjamed Malta


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