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Chapter XI:

A fairy tale as told by Topo Gigio and Friends.

Now to change subject, I can tell you a story of the film “Rosy’s Birthday”, that incredibly mirrors really well the personality of us little mice. It’s one of our adventures that we live at night in the workshop. As a matter of fact it’s Maria that created us and loves us to the point of imaging who we are, as she knows to balance between fantasy and reality. The only difference is that she thinks fantasy is only an invention. Now imagine a smiling and happy countryside, near a lake and a thick green forest, you see three little houses belonging to us little mice Ino, Gigio and Rosy, protagonists of this story.

In a nutshell the whole thing about our story tale starts on February 14, Saint Valentine’s day, the day of those in love, that happens to be Rosy’s birthday as well. In an exceptionally cold winter day, the roads are was impossible to walk, because a layer of ice had formed as the previous days had snowed a quite a lot. It was only 8 a.m. and Gigio was about to have breakfast, warmed by his little house, when his doorbell rings and grudgingly opens the door. His annoyance increases when he realized that his visitor was none less than Ino, his rival, but not showing any displeasure he opens the door.

Ino: Hi Gigio.

Gigio: Hi Ino, what brings you here at 8 a.m. and with this cold weather? But, come in, we may catch a cold! Now that you are here come and have breakfast with me, I am sure you did not have it yet!

The two mice move towards the kitchen, passing through the living room, that was full of books, newspapers and magazines scattered about, a lit fireplace, but no television. From the kitchen comes a nice aroma of apple fritters and coffee and Ino moves so fast that Gigio does not get a chance to welcome him to his home. Done with breakfast, Ino broaches the subject why he came to Gigio’s house.

Ino: You know today is Rosy’s birthday?

Gigio: Of course, I already got her a gift!

Ino: (Interested) Oh Yes? What is it?

Gigio: Really... it’s a secret!

Ino: (Faking his disinterest) Ok, fine... don’t tell me then!

Gigio: (Was dying to know Ino’s opinion as he knew that Ino was a mouse of the world) But… if you don’t tell anybody else…

Ino: Oh my god! It’s not a rocket stolen from NASA, right!

Gigio: No... I just don’t want anybody else taking my idea... but I will show it to you! Follow me and look.

Gigio along with Ino, go to the pantry, he shows off a marvelous basket garnished all kinds of pink ribbons and on the back of it a sign... “Happy Birthday Rosy”, but the most magnificent thing about the basket, it was full of good things to eat!
Ino is really amazed, but doesn’t show it, indeed with an air of indifference only says:

Ino: Humm...

Gigio: You like it?

Ino: Humm...

Gigio: Nice, right?

Ino: Yes, yes… is this all?

Gigio: What do you mean: “Is this all”, not enough? Two potatoes, a radish, a large carrot, a sausage, two tortellini, all types of cheeses, cookies that my grandmother made, etc....

Ino: Yes, yes certainly. Listen up Gigio, don’t get offended if I tell you the truth...?

Gigio: No.

Ino: Women, you see, must be treated a bit with “savoir-faire”... a floral gift, a bow of your head, these are the things that impress women... not tortellini!

Gigio: But what are you saying! Bowing... flowers… a “samovar-fair”... these things! You really think Rosy would like these?

Ino: Oh yes women...!

Gigio: But Ino, sorry where am I going to get flowers, with this snow I can’t go the city and the roads are closed!

Ino: You! Coward. I knew you would stop at the first obstacle: I really ask myself if truly love Rosy!

Gigio: But then… this is a challenge! I will show you if I can find a flower or not! Till later, you unbeliever, incredulous and on top a skeptic… (He leaves).

Gigio started marching on foot to the city and tries to take the way through the woods, thinking that he would hit less snow, as the path in the woods would be protected by the thick vegetation that would serve as a roof. Indeed the path was much clearer and he could walk fast. By chance he meets a mushroom, a strange character, one of those gnomes with a cap similar to that of a mushroom, always happy and pulling jokes!

Mushroom: (Jumping in front of Gigio and improvising a peace offering dance) Where are you going? Try and try again and again... where are you going?

Gigio: Truthfully... I was going to get flowers...

Mushroom: Why do you say “truthfully”?

Gigio: Because this isn’t the season... there are no flowers any more…

Mushroom: Who says that...? “Seek and shall find”.

Gigio: I don’t believe it!...

Mushroom: You have to know that flowers play at hide-n-seek, just like us mushrooms... give me your hand and sing the “Hide-n-Seek” song with us, sometimes it brings luck!

Lots of Mushrooms and Gigio (dance and sing):

Little mushrooms are hiding
In the places you can find
Behind a branch, behind a rock
In the bushes or under a boulder
Even when its colder
Under the shadows of a root
Or on the side of a mountain
On the banks of a stream
Under the nest of a robin

Gigio: (All enthusiastic) Chip Chip Chip

All together:
And of all the littlest one
Under the branches of a great pine!

While Gigio restarts to jump around and mimics the sounds of little birds: Chip, Chip, Chip and the mushrooms disappear, laughing and singing.

Gigio: And you…!!! Where have you gone…? You jokers!! And now here I am, alone, in the woods…! (But he was distracted by the sound of a little bell). Hey! Wait a minute… this little bell… if I am not wrong… belongs to a beautiful flower… No, no… calm down Gigio, it can be a masked mushroom… but it’s not possible! It really is a little flower, with all its petals…!  - He smells it -  It has a nice smell… I am going to take it: hoopla!

Gigio starts to chase a little flower but he can never catch up.

Gigio: Oh boy, it’s moving...! Wow... where did it go...?! Strange... a flower that moves on its feet... I will take care of it... Hoopla! (He jumps on top of the little flower that still eludes him and Gigio falls over onto his snow with his nose).

Little Worm: You mind leaving alone the little flower I have on my hat?

Gigio: Sorry, sorry, I didn’t want to offend you, but how you have flower on your hat?

Little Worm: Why? Is there a law that prohibits it?

Gigio: No, no... but why do you get so upset so soon! I just wanted to ask where did you get a flower out of season...?

Little Worm: It’s really a secret.

Gigio: But... beautiful little worm... I beg you! I am looking for a flower to give to my friend Rosy for her birthday... you know how women are... a bow of your head... a flower... a “samovar-faire”...

Little Worm: Have you gone mad...?! But if you truly want, I will take you where you’ll find little flowers, come on! Follow me down this hole.

So the Little Worm and Gigio go down the hole of a large tree, as they go down it get darker and less roots to dangle from as the descend, but the two can’t hold on and down they tumble.

Gigio: Oh no, what a fall, I am all banged up!!

Little Worm: Don’t be a cry-baby, I have bump on my head too.

Gigio: Oh no, I am hurt.

Little Worm: Stop complaining! Do you want the flowers, or not!?

Gigio: Yes, sure I want them, but where are they?

Little Worm: When we come out of the tree you’ll see them!

The two come out of the tree and they find themselves in an immense garden, full of flowers, of colors, of aromas and the Little Worm walks fast towards where the flowers and plants become thicker and Gigio was saying over and over: “Marvelous! How Splendid!” Gigio gets lost admiring the unexpected scenery. Noticing that Gigio was not following him, the Little Worm loses his patience and calls him.

Little worm: Hey you! Slow poke, move on? The Spring Fairy has no time to waste!... By this time she has to give color to the wisteria and she has little time for us.

Gigio: Oh boy! What are you saying Little Worm, we came here to find the Spring Fairy? I didn’t know she even existed!

Little Worm: Ehhh! I realized you are really naive! Move on and say as little as possible. Let’s follow the butterfly, she will sure take us to the Fairy.

Indeed the little butterfly showed them the path they should go along on and was taking them towards where the flowers were thicker. While walking they heard sweet chanting, that for sure was the song on the Spring Fairy and it went like:

There are flowers, flowers, flowers... everywhere
A thousand colors and much more
Roses, lilies and tulips
Are here all in my hands...

Finally they are before the Spring Fairy and Gigio’s jaw drops as he sees her beauty and grace and the colors of the flowers that she immersed in particular bowls. In that precise moment she was immersing some tulips that came out of the bowl in multicolor, even though the bowl only contained water. Gigio goes near the Fairy, amazed and confused exclaims:

Gigio: Oh Boy!… Am I awake or dreaming?… Dream or waking…? This is so delightful… this is a wonder!… And this is the flower depot!… And so she must be the Spring Fairy?!…

Little Worm: Sure you simpleton! That is the Spring Fairy in person and the butterflies are her maidens. Are you convinced now that I have connections in high places? She was the one to give me my little flower...!

Gigio: How do you address when you want to speak with her?

Little Worm: Wait, I will do the honors... Mrs. Fairy... this little mouse is a friend of mine, go on introduce yourself!!

Gigio: I am Topo Gigio, Majesty, Mrs. Little Fairy...! I am at your orders, to serve you.

Little Worm: He is a bit shy and very clumsy, but wants to ask a favor…

Fairy: Go on ask... you seem like a nice little mouse.

Gigio: Really no!… But ok: then... but... mmmhh... I am embarrassed... I wanted (speaking all in one breath)… wanted to ask you... for a flower for my friend Rosy.

Fairy: Ok... what flower do you want?...

Gigio: Well really... I am not an expert... I know a lot about food and really had prepared for her a basket full of good things to eat... with pink ribbons and all that... but Ino said…

Little Worm: (Interrupting) Hey, there don’t talk too much!? You now you are getting the gift of the gab, she has no time to waste... select a flower and we must go!

Fairy: Ok... I will make some for you... you choose. Little butterflies, please, let “Rosellina” (little rose) enter.

A rose come forward and before Gigio she starts doing a belly dance, shaking all her leaves. Gigio looks on admiring and then, with an air of expertise, says:

Gigio: Beautiful!... What a nice smell!… Really a beauty!

Little Worm: Let’s take this one then?...

Gigio: But it’s a bit small!... I would like a larger one! It’s that OK, Mrs. Fairy?

Fairy: Let me think... would this one be OK... butterflies let “Sunflower” enter.

A Sunflower enters in a cart, drawn by a little sun that, as soon as he sees Gigio, starts playing a trumpet. The sound excites Gigio, who improvises a dance, but the Spring Fairy warns:

Fairy: I warn you Gigio, don’t judge flowers by what they do here, because when they go to the world of mankind they are only still objects and only have a role as ornaments. They get bored and can’t wait to wither and get back here with us.

Gigio: What are you saying Mrs. Fairy! But if later it won’t play the trumpet, then I would like to have a bigger one!...

Fairy: How big then?

Gigio: I’m not sure... leaving it up to you. Quarter pound... half pound! Since I love so much Rosy... even a pound!...

Fairy: (Laughing) OK , I have what you need! - talking to the butterflies - Butterflies, little butterflies, I order you this instance: bring to Topo Gigio of all my flowers, the giant one...

Readily the two butterflies place a package in front of Gigio, who from the joy starts jumping and making cartwheels. Then tames back and bows, thanking the Fairy.

Gigio: Oh thank you, Mrs. Fairy!... What a beautiful package! You see Little Worm how big it is and what a nice pink ribbon on it?… Thank you Spring Fairy, I am going to bring it to Rosy straight away...

The two move away from the Fairy, bowing before going back into the tree to climb out, but the Fairy sees, from a mirror that surveys the woods, that they were hampered by the big box. She sends two little birds to help with the package and two more birds take Gigio and the Little Worm from the seat of their pants and up away to the top of the surface. Gigio was so very happy and couldn’t wait to see Rosy open up the box and see what flower the Fairy had chosen for him. He felt bad to separate from his friend Little Worm, so before parting he invited the Little Worm to the party. Both headed for Rosy’s house, who was busy preparing dinner.

Rosy is happy to host the Little Worm and then all very curious opens the package after hearing of their adventure with the Spring Fairy. But you see what was in the package? A cauliflower!

Gigio’s ears bent back from being disappointed and utter: “A cauliflower!”.

Little Worm: Sure, you did not like the rose because it was too small and the sunflower because it did not play the trumpet! You know what?… She wanted to give you a lesson!

Gigio: You are right: “He who too much wants, nothing gets!”.

Rosy: No that’s not how it played out!... With the snow I couldn’t go grocery shopping, so a cauliflower is what was needed! Indeed, I’m going to cook it... the cauliflower was always one of my passions!

Little Worm: (When Rosy walks away to go to the kitchen, Little Worm start laughing and exclaims) You are always so lucky.

The two of them are overtaken by joy and laughter and dancing start singing a song on cauliflower:

Long Live the cauliflower
With oil and vinegar
A great taste
It’s no longer a secret
You too can taste it as well
So aromatic and delicious!
And so good to delight
Such taste and delicacy
Fast, fast, don’t hesitate
Don’t lose a moment
Quick, run and eat it
Now that’s still steaming hot!...

Little Worm: Thank God she likes cauliflowers! Without it we would have had to skip dinner!

Rosy: (Yelling from the kitchen) Oh no! We had so many ingredients in the pantry to make desserts and lasagna, anyway Ino gave me a beautiful basket with lots of pink ribbons and full of nice things to eat!

The two of them look at each other and in chorus: “What?! The basket with the pink flowers?!”.

Rosy: (Coming onto the scene) Why are you guys so surprised?! What’s so extraordinary about a basket with pink ribbons?

Gigio: Nothing!... It’s a great idea! (But as he is saying this his ears fall back).

Little Worm: Hey you!... You can’t have your ears folded back the whole night. Tell her about Ino and the “samovar-faire”!...

Rosy: What is a “samovar-faire”?

Little Worm: Oh, really. Nobody knows, not even Gigio, nor the Fairy who wouldn’t have understood anything... but it’s since this morning that Gigio has been trying to say something!... (Then addressing Gigio) Are you going to tell her or am I?

Gigio: None of the two! I am sure that Ino was in good faith!...

Rosy: But what is a “savomar-faire”?

Little Worm: Ino told Gigio that with women you have to have “savomar-faire”, a flower and others such things!... But he only understood a flower, so he went looking for a flower, but he always wanted the largest one! So the Spring Fairy got angry and gave him a cauliflower... this is how things played out! Indeed it’s not all... furthermore Ino gifted you Gigio’s basket! Heisting it from Gigio with the excuse of the flower and “samovar-faire”! You understand now?

Rosy: Well meanwhile the only thing I understood is that “savomar-faire” is a mangling of “savoir-faire”, because Gigio never studied French! And I understood that my hero has been taken for fool more than one time.

All three laugh and make a ring-around-the-roses, when the doorbell rings. Rosy opens the door and there Ino come in with a bunch of flowers in hands, all are silent. Then the Little Worm approaches him and asks: “Where did you get those flowers, the roads are closed?”.

Ino: Not anymore, the snowplow came by and I was able to get to the flower shop in the city!

Little Worm: Oh sure! It’s really true, for some all goes smooth, for others the contrary! But you know what I tell you? Best laughs who laughs last! Look there.

Ino turns around and sees Gigio and Rosy who had just placed a steaming cauliflower on the table and hand in hand go towards the window to look at the falling snow that had restarted. They now instead see some butterflies with a beautiful bunch of multi colored flowers.

Gigio and Rosy: Thank you, Fairy! We love you!

Chapter XII - The story of Topo Gigio’s life continues >>