April 25, 2004
Excerpts from Majid Beenteha's "Once
Upon a Star"
(2003, Avesta Publishing Group, New York). Ten
dollars from sale of each book will be donated
to Iranian charities.
From chapter "Introduction"
When I was a child,
I believed in many things: ghosts,
dragons, witches, monsters, devils, and gods.
I believed in all that was impossible and all that was improbable.
Dreams were the masters of my soul -- all that I was worth.
When I was a child, good and evil had one face,
one heart, one soul; they traveled on one road.
I thought I was invincible; I saw no end and I sought none ...
From chapter "Starry Nights"
Before my sleepy eyes, the stars tiptoed their way over our house
to kiss me off to sleep. Through the window of my room, I would
cast my dreamy eyes on their
faces and try to imagine myself among them. The sound of their laughter, their
chatter and their
songs chased away the silence of my room. I had become familiar with the dance
of these celestial bodies as they waltzed by in the shimmering skies. I made
many attempts to count them all, only to run out of numbers. I connected their
glittering figures by drawing imaginary lines to form patterns and shapes of
fantastic creatures on which I bestowed magical names.
The skies were the playground of my imagination,
the stars my knightly, handsome companions whose faces I had sketched
hundreds of times in my little drawing
book. I had shared my secrets with them and they had patiently listened and
bared their shining souls to me...
From chapter "Fallen Star"
I stood there naked like a lone figure beneath the blinding stare of the
heavens; casting no shadow. It seemed I had drifted like a ship into the
heart of a
storm without a mast--without an anchor. I longed for the touch of life,
with all of
its imperfections, to escape the loneliness.
Instead, all that life granted was a peer into the depth of its indifference
and a snobbish nudge from its dark, broad shoulders ...
From chapter "Neda"
Neda said, "Listen well, child, and try to hold on to every word I am about
to tell you. Long, long ago in this city lived people of great might. The city
was full of life, and the sounds of laughter and music echoed through its walls.
The people gathered at this place and celebrated the creation of all things:
fire, the sun, and all that nature had given them. Fire was the symbol of their
civilization. It signified warmth, passion and power. They were peaceful and
just people who lived their lives by following three golden rules: seek wisdom
and obey your heart, behave justly and morally, and hold good, positive thoughts.
There lived among them great artisans, inventors and philosophers. They lived
in harmony with nature, and the city flourished in peace for years--that is,
until that cursed day that the Pure Ones arrived at the city's gate.
"They were not unlike other men. They had come from
a land far, far away from here that no one had ever heard of. They
numbered few and they looked very poor
and tired. Naturally, the peace-loving people of the city welcomed them and
provided them with shelter and all they needed to live and prosper.
For a while they all
lived together harmoniously. The Pure Ones had a leader among them whom they
called the Great One. He carried a book with him that he called
the Great Book. He said that
it held the great wisdom of a Great God and that this God had chosen him to
and spread the message of the Great Book to all mankind. Thus, soon after his
arrival, he set out preaching the words of his God to the people of the city
and warned them of a terrible punishment awaiting those who would not believe
or obey the words of his God...
From chapter "Penhan"
"But I don't see how that could make one invisible."
explained, "Allow me to give you another example. Imagine you are
sitting among a group of friends. A man approaches and presents you all
with a piece of an incomprehensible drawing and inquires to see if you can
out the image that he has sketched. With great enthusiasm one of your friends
up and proudly exclaims that the image is that of a horse's head.
Not wishing to look less intelligent, another one of your friends expresses
goodbye to spam!