12 Chapter 12

The swallow and the young salmon enjoyed the gleaming light of many a moon together. Here and there, up and down the river, they wrote their love story in the waters of the river during their time together. Throughout the day they had friends around them, but as soon as night fell they would go to the dark corners they used for being alone and there they happily stayed for hours on end.

The salmon travelled further and further down the river, looking for new lands and wondering when they would reach the sea. One day they met some salmon that had never known a fishfarm and those wild salmon told the rest about the sea. Apparently this place that had no boundaries wasn’t far away and the wild salmon were intending to go there the very next morning. After the long journey across the sea they would come back to the river one day to lay their eggs. When the wild salmon invited the others to travel with them the fishfarm salmon were so happy they lept with joy.

The swallow however, was overcome by sadness. She knew that the young salmon, together with the others, would head out to sea to fulfil his dream of reaching complete freedom. And even though, like the wild salmon, he would also return, she didn’t know how much time she would have to spend without seeing the salmon she loved so much. From then onwards the nights and days would be lonely and unhappy for the swallow. If she burst the bubble of the salmon’s dreams then he would be hers, he wouldn’t go out to sea. But then he wouldn’t be a true salmon and the swallow loved the salmon, without any ties, free. He had already spent enough time not knowing what freedom was and she wouldn’t be the one to set up barriers and lay out conditions. Besides, she knew that the salmon would venture into new places so that he could tell her tales from far away seas on his return.

The next morning, therefore, she sadly said goodbye to the salmon. She accompanied him as far as she could down the river, on his way to sea. They reached a coastal village, where the sea and the river become one. The mountains, the harbour, the windows full of tulips, the colourful boats… the whole scenary was so beautiful. Nevertheless, the swallow wasn’t able to hold back a tear, which got lost among the splashes of the salmon. She would have gladly taken to sea with the salmon, but there is nowhere to rest at sea and that would have been the end of the road for the swallow. Now, waiting was the only way to show the salmon her love.

She waited for as long as she could, on land, perched amongst the red tulips whilst looking out to sea from the harbour. Waiting. Always waiting. When autumn arrives, however, swallows also have to make a long journey; they fly away from the cold and head towards warmer places. So, knowing that the salmon had gone north the swallow sadly took her path towards the south, but she had no other choice if she was to stay alive. She spent the everlasting winter waiting for spring and in May she returned to the coast, to that same village where the mountains and the river meat. Once again she spent the days and nights waiting, until finally she recognised the sparkle of a young salmon.

After reaching the seas where ships get stuck amongst the ice, the salmon had finally returned to lay eggs in the river. And once again the swallow and the salmon were able to tattoo their kisses on the surface of the water.

Then, they quickly and gracefully headed up-river towards the hidden corners of the riverbanks they knew so well. In the flowing water they came across unfamiliar salmon. They were young ones that had all just jumped out from a fishfarm further up the river.

The salmon that had just returned from the faraway seas began to tell them about the sea and about freedom.


Red Tulips Copyright © 2002 by Gari Berasaluze. All Rights Reserved.


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