Once again this year Al Pascià wishes to offer a Christmas tale to read in the comfort of an armchair or to your children, perhaps while you are quietly smoking your pipe. A tale that we hope will provide warmth on a cold winter’s evening and be heart-warming for the whole of humanity. The world needs more of the colour red.
Every new day that is born on this Earth as we know it is the work of an extra-special team of little creatures. All the colours, sounds, and tastes in the world around us are designed and overseen by these special beings. There are the Kromes, the tribe in charge of painting things and feelings the right color at the dawn of each new day. Next there are the Klangs, who fine-tune all the sounds, from the rustling of leaves to the crying of new-born babies. Then we can find the Zests who adjust the strength of flavours – strawberries must taste of strawberries and a kiss must taste of love. What about aromas? Well, the Odoes take care of them. In fact, they are the ones who made roses the most famous of all flowers. In other words, every day these creatures secretly put on a show whose success depends on the harmony in which they live, 365 days a year and no holidays, with some special days that need even more work than others.
Well, Christmas is certainly one of those special times of the year. The Klangs are busy with jingle-jangles, songs and choirs in the streets and shops, crackling log fires, not to mention laughing children. The Odoes and Zests have their work cut out with roasts, soups, cinnamon biscuits, incense and pine needles. Finally, the Kromes are overwhelmed by wrapping paper, lights and decorations, and snow can complicate everything. The two most important colours in this period are red and white. Work starts at the beginning of December and increases until the whoosh and bang of colours at the end of the year. However, one particular December something unexpected happened in the tribe of the Kromes – the colour Red was gradually making himself scarce. You can imagine their alarm. They all looked for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. At first, the other colours tried to fill the empty spaces where possible, but it was impossible to ignore the fact that there were no more sunsets, there were only six colours in a rainbow, ladybirds were only black-spotted, and traffic lights could no longer control traffic. Not to mention that teachers could no longer mark homework, but that did not seem to create so much alarm. Things came to a head when Santa Claus went to his wardrobe to try on his outfit to see if he could still get into it, and found that all that was left of his lovely jacket and comfy trousers were the white fur trim. Even his cheeks were strangely pale and Rudolph’s nose was just an ordinary reindeer nose. How on earth could he deliver gifts this year? Something had to be done fast and so Santa called a meeting with all the magical creatures, Zests, Klangs, Odoes and Kromes all sitting around the table. They had to find the color Red and bring him home double quick. The last creature to speak to Red had been a Zest when they were mixed together in a child’s cherry lollypop. Actually, now that he thought of it, Zest remembered that Red was off colour, saying that he was tired of what was happening around him which involved him against his will. He spoke of too much bloodshed, of too much hate and too little love that he had to impersonate. Too much insolence and an increasing lack of shyness on the faces of people. He had disappeared after that. A Klang remembered briefly meeting up with him on a bird’s breast while he was tuning its chirp and then seeing him flee to the horizon while the sun sank into the sea. Well, having pieced together all these facts, Santa thought he knew where to find Red. It was up to him to get him back, as the other creatures already had their hands full trying to make up for the lack of the colour red. So one morning he got into his sleigh and headed for Mars, the Red Planet. In fact, there he was, perched on the edge of the perfect sphere gazing at the universe. Santa went up to him and sat down next to him, and before speaking took out his pipe, filled it and lit it up. It was an important moment, and he needed to take time to think what to say and above all what to do. Smoke drifted up and lights twinkled here and there in the silence of the universe. Then Red spoke. “I know why you are here”, he said, “and I also know that everyone is asking why I have done this. But, can you give me just one reason why I should go back and soil the streets with death and faces with hate, when all I want to do is bring love, life and passion?” At that precise moment a “ding” caught their attention. A new letter had arrived for Santa.
I know that you have a lot to do at the moment, what with all the preparations, but at home strange things have been happening lately. My Dad has a red pullover that Mum made him and he can’t find it, what I mean is that it’s there but it isn’t red anymore and so is not the same and he won’t wear it. Then Mum used to wear lovely red lipstick in the morning which made me feel good and when she kissed Dad he would laugh. Now this doesn’t happen anymore. For Christmas I had thought of drawing a big heart to tell them that I loved them, but I couldn’t find red crayons. Could you bring me all the red that you can find so I can fix things here? It would be great if you could do this before Christmas so that I can draw my heart.”
They looked at each other, not saying anything. Santa passed his pipe to Red, who took a long puff on it and then said: “Can you give me a lift? It’s time to go back.”
Happy Christmas to those who know what is important in this world and that without the colour red the world would be a less beautiful place.
Milano, Christmas 2014