Have you ever heard the story of the Pandora's Box? Long long ago while growing up in northern Spain, I discovered a Pandora Box hidden away in the attic of the abandoned chateau that had once belonged to my great-great grandmother Anastasia, which in turn, had belong to her own great grandmother, the intriguing Arabella Countess of Aragon.
It was the most fascinating little box I had ever seen, made of pearl on the outside and an assortment of fabrics and tulle and some other rare materials on the inside. This beloved box had once belonged to Arabella Countess of Aragon, and it was as intriguing and bewitching as Arabella herself had once been.
I like to call this very special box a “Pandora Box” for what it means and what it represents, but of course, it really is just a Writing Box...
Back in the days of Arabella Countess of Aragon, back in 1750, a portable desk in the form of a box—hence a Writing Box, was a very important and necessary item. A Writing Box could be used on a table or on one's lap, and through it both business and personal activity were transacted. Arabella would use her Writing Box to sign contracts, letters and postcards were written on its sloping surface, but later her Writing Box became an elaborate piece of craftsmanship—a marvelous confection made by Arabella herself, where she would hide the strangest of personal things.
Thus, her Writing Box became a Secret Box; her confidant and keeper of her most inner desires and clandestine possessions.
Opening Arabella’s Pandora Box was like breathing magic into my childhood... a wisp of air came wafting straight out of the box the very minute I opened it, it smelled of lavender and peppermint and I clearly remember feeling as if I just had walked into a Christmas memory that didn’t belong to me and yet, it was all mine in a mysterious and inexplicable way.
There was a mood of magic in the room and I could see Arabella’s scent lingering in the air like kite tails. Whatever secrets or message had been hidden in her secret box now needed some way out... and I was there to find out. It was as if Arabella herself was standing beside me making sure I knew... knew all her secrets. So strong her presence was.
There were some old coins in Arabella’s box, and there were some tattered jewelry oxidized with time and a yellowish land contract in onion skin paper, and there was an old and very peculiar crucifix along with an old daguerreotype of the passionate and fearless Arabella Countess of Aragon.
All of a sudden the room got very quiet and I was sure I heard Arabella saying: "Prepare yourself for some delightful surprise, dear Cielo". And how true! You see, I was about to yet uncover another treasure... tucked away under the aged lining of the old box a real treasure was waiting! My hands moved rapidly through the box, my mind looking for clues... Until I saw them: Arabella’s famous love letters; those my mother and her sisters and mothers before them would always talked about in hush voices.
The love letters were from Arabella and her lover; a very mysterious man who, sometimes at the end of his letters would curiously sign as “Your Majesty, the King”. Under the lining of Arabella’s box, I also found an ancient medallion, which I’m now positive it’d belonged to that certain King. The strange medallion had an unusual inscription in it and an emblem on it pertaining to royal dynasty.
Its regal look reminded me of royal tapestries and carvings, and I could picture kings and queens using them as royal gifts for their courts. Some of the love letters where written and signed by Arabella herself... “heme determinado ante ti como una página escrita y borrada mil veces...”—read one of her letters. If you click on Arabella’s letter you can read the rest of it, or at least most of it, but that’s just if you dare snoop into her very dark past!
Indeed, the strange Arabella had a very dark past, and I can attest to that because among the things tucked away in her box I also found this bizarre “Wanted Sign” you see here... the sign had been tucked away among the few things Arabella was able to keep to the end of her days, and you could tell that someone had folded it almost reverently, as if it was some sacred totem needed to be forgotten or perhaps eternally remembered.
Arabella was wanted by the authorities of her time, and it had something to do with her lover being who he was and the way they both carried their ‘illicit’ love against all odds. It was taboo—that love was.
Oh but you must forgive me for ending Arabella’s story so abruptly here. You see, time is running out on me and I must part as soon as possible... I have a flight to catch—a carpet ride, that is! Ah yes, the magic carpet of Tangu (also called Prince Housain's carpet for those of you not acquainted with the story), has been parked in my garden for the last three days, and I cannot, or rather not, make it wait any longer, as this is a rather moody carpet, you know! But I promise I’ll share with you the rest of Arabella’s story real soon.
Many many moons ago, in a little village lost from the hand
of God somewhere in the mountains of Aragon,
there lived a very old and wise woman who believed that the universe is ruled
by supernatural forces and we ourselves, part of this vast dynamic cobweb of
The woman's name was María Luz de Luna Arrazán, and she was
our great great grandmother.
Every day at the kiss of sundown María Luz de Luna Arrazán
used to sit down and enlightened us her great great granddaughters with strange
stories and mysterious fairytales of a vast, unbroken forest full of shadows
and mysterious events that even made the little creatures of the forest to
tremble with fear. Stories that we always believed true, and always,
always left her side wanting to hear more.
She used to tell us that fairies materialize from sparkling
dew drops and that wood imps and other entities of the forest such as witches
and trolls would silently slip into dusky shadows whenever humans trod too
near. Some were described as being as small and delicate as mosquitoes, while
others were said to be as strong and coarse as bears. A few supposedly even changed their
appearance right before one's very eyes.
Which it always gets me to wonder if perhaps all these fur creatures I
happen to see wandering through my garden from time to time and disappearing in
front of my eyes (yes, disappearing!)
may be those invisible dwellers of a mysterious world in disguise our
great great grandmother María Luz de Luna used to tells us about....
The idea that a supernatural force may be at work somewhere
in the universe with the sole purpose of tricking humanity may sound odd at
first, but considering the vast wealth of reports of seemingly supernatural
creatures, it may deserve a second look, don't you think so?
It's been raining rivers all day today. Have I ever
mentioned how much I love rainy days? And have I ever mentioned how on
certain rainy days when heat and humidity levels are such that strange vapors
would exude from the earth like little soulless ghosts, strange and puzzling
occurrences are most probably bound to occur?
And would you believe me if I tell you that on those certain
rainy days imps and fairies and dwellers of the woods at the outskirts of our
gardens would come out of their dens and hiding places and cross the old wooden
bridge that connects woods with gardens? Would you... would you believe
Ah yes, I've seen some very strange things happening... strange
Puzzling occurrences, like fairies secretly converging
for tea and leaving remnants of their soiree behind... between the sun and
showers, while grasses whispered tiny things... about you, about us, about
this world of ours!
But you would ask, do fairies, gnomes, sprites and goblins
really exist? Well, suspend your disbelief for a moment, for all sorts of
real-life encounters with creatures from the land of make-believe can, and do
happen sometimes... how else would you explain what we're seeing here on this
photograph I took of the rain the other day?
I don't know about you, but I see a giant nymph... and I can
attest that this photograph hasn't been photoshopped in the least whatsoever...
an optical illusion? A trick of the light? You tell
...what I believe of the paranormal, is that there are things
our brains just can't understand.
But I do like to believe that fairies do exist...
Are they invisible and inaudible little things-like angels?
or are they more like us humans?
All I know is that magic sparkles everywhere in nature for sure!
Today, a cat I discovered in the garden between rain spells
disappeared in front of my very eyes the moment he saw me.
And I had seen a small gray dog who wanders around here from time to
time disappear right in front of my eyes... On both these occasions, we've looked at each other, but the moment I turn around they were gone. Where did they go? Really, where?
These creatures must be well
aware of some invisible hideout somewhere, from where they can freely come out
and go into another dimension or something like that. Otherwise, I don't have an explanation for these
Magic swirls all around here... If you step into that
entrance between those walls you see here for example, your hair will flow in a magic fairy dust wind
and your skin will get the goosebumps with the mystery floating in the air...
Maybe it's all to do with an inquisitive imagination and the soul of the storyteller? Maybe all is
true and there are things we just cannot understand?
Whatever it is, I believe a garden
must combine the poetic and the mysterious, don't you think so!... and maybe that's just what I'm trying
to achieve here? ;)
It all has to do with all that rain, I'm sure... for rain surely holds the key to all my tales! And it was a crazy rain what we had last evening... It rained so much that I was sure our little white cottage was going to float away, and the little creek on the back of the garden got all swollen up... waters rushed frenetically, while thunder cracked the skies in glimmering flames. It was scary, and awesome...
Good night world... may your troubles be less and your
blessings be more!