Pedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”
Moonchild was blowing bubbles. Big, pearly moon bubbles they were, floating off into outer space. Some burst upon the spikes of stars. Some floated all the way to earth and burst wherever they landed.
One landed by an earth baby’s ear. “Pop!” it went, wrapping the child up in silence. But this was no ordinary silence. This was the silence of the moon.
“Oh no, not deaf,” said the soothsayer. “This child can hear, but not earth sounds with his ears. He hears different sounds, in a different way.”
Because he could not hear, Orla did not learn to speak. The King and Queen were heartbroken. How could their child ever be a king?
Until one day, when Orla was five years old. He was playing in the palace gardens alone when he spied a moonbird in a tree. The moonbird spread his patterned wings and spoke to Orla.
Orla was so surprised to hear a voice that he could only do as he was told. There was magic in the moonbird’s song. Whoever heard it found themselves in a moon garden, where fruit and flowers grew never seen on earth, and where animals had magical powers.
At first Orla slept in the moon garden. When he awoke, he found a soft-eyed gazelle staring into his face. Just like the moon bird, the gazelle spoke so that Orla could hear.
“As I speak with my eyes, you can listen with yours,” she said. “It is a gift. You will be able to share it with your mother and father.”
Soon, Orla could talk with his hands as well as any of the young silver monkeys. They could send messages across great distances as they leaped along the treetops. They made mischief and played jokes. With the gazelles he heard the music in the trees when the breeze blew. “Eye music,” they called it. They heard voices in pools and laughter in leaves and singing in waving grass.
Orla did his best to tell them but they could not read his eyes. They watched the strange and beautiful dance of their son’s talking hands and his silent mouthing.
“He seems to be talking to us, but we don’t know what he means. We don’t know how to talk back to him,” they said to the soothsayer.
Orla felt so sad. He so loved his mother and father and he wanted to share what he knew. Just then, the moonbird flew in through the window.
He blew an enormous moon bubble which floated off into space and landed right over the Kingdom. Everyone was wrapped in the moon silence. And what did they hear in this silence?
With their eyes they heard the moonbird’s song of the earth. In their hands they held the moonbird’s song of the moon and sun. In their hearts they felt the moonbird’s song of the stars. They saw and heard and understood as never before. The King and Queen put their arms out to their son.
Orla had something else to show his parents – a pip from the moonfruit in the moon garden. Together they planted the pip in the royal garden.
Joyce Dunbar; Jane Ray
London, Picture Corgi Books, 2007