Chapter 10

On the coast, in the village where the river meats the sea, some people had lived for years and years envying their neighbours, because the neighbouring villages had long, beautiful beaches and streets full of tourists which would always appear on the main pages of tourist guides.

However, nobody ever paid any attention to the village where the mountains and the sea embraced each other. You could sea sheep and the waves from the trainline, and the rowing and fishing boats moored at the harbour made a nice photo. The village had its attractions but the dirt and oil floating on the water at the harbour and the factories piled onto the riverside made tourists turn to the nearby beaches of the neighbouring villages. The elegant path created by the river at the foot of the mountain connected the sea and the harbour. Nevertheless, by then it was only poets and fishermen’s relatives who went there to see the boats going out to sea or coming back to port.

The harbour was pretty but it had been completely abandoned. It seemed cold, grey and dirty to most people. Sad. Even the beautiful old houses looked run down. One day though, someone put a red tulip on their windowsill. The beauty and brightness of the tulip stood out against the dark surroundings. The next day, on seing how beautiful their neighbour’s window looked another person placed two tulips on their windowsill. On the third day three tulips appeared on another windowsill. Many of the neighbours quickly followed the first neighbour’s initiative and soon red tulips could be seen all around the harbour. On their way back the fishermen were amazed to see the harbour. Before they got close enough, they had thought for a moment that the kisses they had sent to those on land had got stuck on the windows. Each flower looked like red lips that had been left on the cheeks of the houses. The harbour had never been so beautiful.

The seaside village soon started to appear in photographs. Most of the windows and balconies were filled with flowers. The neighbours cleaned their doorways and surroundings, and this colourful village full of boats, seagulls and tulips is now one of the most beautiful that could ever be. No other village appears on postcards.

The person who had placed the first tulip by the window had changed the course of the village.

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