ITALY

Proserpina and Cyane
Deucalion and Pyrrha
Philémon and Baucis

“And with this,  they are  50 likes”. In this way  Proserpine proudly commented looking at the photo she had posted on her Facebook profile.
Two days earlier she had posted a photo of herself in Piazza San Marco in Venice. She loved that picture because she was wearing her favourite jacket and a new hat that suited her particularly well. Certainly, however, she would never have expected to receive all this attention. But had  really all these people  access to her Facebook profile? She could hardly believe it because most of those followers  were totally unknown to her.

The next morning at school she had received many compliments for that photo and one in particular  impressed her. Pluto was a guy of 4 B, who had been  haunting her for a little time: he tried to speak to her for the slightest pretext and often met her during the break in the most unexpected places: in front of the coffee machines, or on the stairs or even in the school office.
Proserpine was flattered by all the attention, but at the same time she felt fear and concern about this presence that often showed itself as morbid and disturbing.

With the excuse of the photo, that morning Pluto didn’t limit to appreciate her for  her beauty, but he  tried to kiss her pushing her into the bathroom. Proserpine  reacted violently and  realized at that time that Pluto was a violent , aggressive and insensitive guy whom she did not want to have contacts with.
As she was trying to explain her reasons to Pluto, the bathroom door was suddenly opened and Cyane, her best friend, appeared with a threatening and aggressive expression: “What’s going on”?
Cyane’arrival had had the desired effect: Pluto  had stopped bothering Proserpine and  had left threatening dire consequences.
The two friends had decided to keep the incident secret fearing to complicate things if they had talked to the principal or a teacher.
It had been a few days since that incident and Proserpine had not had the opportunity to meet Pluto again. Perhaps he had learnt his lesson.
Actually, Pluto, insulted and injured in his pride for being refused,  was meditating revenge.

Cyane was the first to be “punished”: her brand new scooter was repainted blue colour and the engine was taken apart piece by piece.
Inexplicably  insults and offensive statements appeared on Proserpine’s profile.
Pluto was in fact able to take possession of her password to access her private information and was openly ridiculing and offending her.
Her profile did not belong to herself anymore. Her photos were commented vulgarly, insulting images and injuries appeared on the net.
Proserpine felt wounded in her dignity, ridiculed and furious at the same time for this violence against her. What could she do?

The only solution seemed  to turn to an adult.
But she didn’t have time enough, because her mother,  while surfing the internet, had got across her Facebook profile and had already figured out what was going on.
Concerned for her daughter, Ceres, who was a determined woman,  immediately contacted the postal police  denouncing the  illegitimate appropriation of the profile and the violation of privacy.
 The agents immediately discovered the culprit.
Pluto had been summoned to the police station and, having confessed, he had been imposed a fine of 2,000 euros.
Pluto had finally learnt his lesson, but also Proserpine had realized, by experiencing it in first person, the danger of the “network”.
It takes little to spoil  a person’s reputation, to hurt her and “rape” in her privacy.
For four months Proserpine decided to stop using the computer: she wanted to detox from that terrible adventure.

What once was a place of history and culture, today is nothing more than a place of destruction, famine, war and especially death. Many men to escape across the Mediterranean on board ramshackle boats that often became the grave for those who was there. Many men dreamed of a better life and among them there were Deucalion and Pyrrha. Their dream was to travel the world to find a place “perfect” to live and start over. Before the civil war, the couple lived a life stupend, were young and had so many plans for the future including having a family.

One day, however, their lives change forever, their city was bombarded, thousands victims, and the two were among the few survivors and afflicted them a question every day: “Why us?” . Deucalion and Pyrrha vowed to thank Allah for the gift of life praying and doing good deeds. Since that day in the two he grew more and more the desire to go to find a place to live. After several attempts at December Deucalion managed to acqistare two tickets for a trip to Italy in the Mediterranean. Pyrrha was disgusted by the fact that someone earned on the desperation of people, but it was not so, cruelty and dependence on God of Money did not know borders. After long days of travel, finally Deucalion and Pyrrha had arrived in Libya, from where it would be boarded the boat that would take them to Italy.

Towards late at night, the journey began. There were too many on the boat, there was neither space nor food for everyone. It had been a day since they had embarked, chaos reigned, the fighting men, were fighting each other, they did not pray and does not help either. Near the two spouses were two couples with two small infants, who had not eaten for days, so while everyone was thinking to himself, Deucalion and Pyrrha and gave them bread and water. The new year had just started a few days ago, the sea water was cold and soon died seconds almost everyone. The darkness of the night was interrupted by the light of the Coast Guard ship, which rescued the few survivors. The Coast Guard members for the strong pain in seeing that scenario, said nothing, barely smiled to encourage them to survivors. After a few hours Deucalion and Pyrrha arrived in Italy, in Lampedua. They were tried by what they had experienced. every time I closed my eyes came back to mind the screams, the fear, the darkness and see their own lives and those of others hanging by a thread.

At some point while they were eating, they both saw the Coast Guard members with two infants, were those of the two couples near them. A few months later ….. Deucalion and Pyrrha had adopted the two babies and more importantly had obtained passports, their dream was coming to realize, they were to discover the world in search of a place “Perfect” to live, even if in their hearts they hoped one day to return to their land. For them it was sad to see in the newspapers and on television their country, once a place of culture and history, a place of deep cultural roots, now destroyed, empty and without identity, man and earth have lost a piece of their history because in countries such as Syria and others destroyed by the war, from which come the migrants in boats, was born and partly written his own history the Man.

One day two foreigners  came to the hut where i had been scampering for some time.The two owners of the house, called philemon and baucis, an elderly couple, welcomed them. I had learnt to distinguish them through my numerous eyes and after listening to their conversations, i understood that they had been living together in that hut since their youth; there, they had grown old without feeling ashamed of their poverty and dealing with it serenely in such a way that they didn’t even feel that burden. As soon as they had entered the hut, stooping in order not to hit the door jamb, which was too low, the old owner invited them to have a rest, offering them a bench upon which baucis put a rustic carpet where up to that moment, lots of my counterparts had been hiding. The good old lady spread the warm ashes in the fireplace in order to light the fire of the previous day; she threw dried leaves and peels in it, and lit a flame by blowing on it with the little breath she still had. I came out my little hole near the fireplace in order not to be bothered while i was busy with the precious craft of weaving my web and, very quickly, i climbed up the old stone wall and i found myself in a corner where i was able to observe the whole scene.

In the meantime, baucis took some wood and well dried pine branches, broke them in order to put them under the little pot in the fireplace. After that, she started cleaning the vegetables that her husband had picked in the garden that they used to grow with so much love. The latter pulled down a smoked ham with a cane, a ham which had been hanging from the blackened beam that i had to stay away from, cut a thin slice and boiled it. Then, the good old man offered the two guests some warm water so they could wash their feet.

Then, they sat on a poor bed made of willow wood, but the mattress was made with soft seaweed, on which the good blanket was laid, good yet extremely poor. The old lady, tightened  her dress around her waist,  and started to lay the table. It was a table with three legs and she had to fix it because one leg was too short. When she had it levelled off, she rubbed the table with some fresh mint and served olives, cheese and hard-boiled eggs in crock plates. I would have come down but i didn’t want to bother them. I was a good-mannered spider and with all the difficulties the two hosts had, i didn’t want to embarrass them.

From my corner i noticed that a rough pot and beechwood bowls –  the interior spread with fair wax- were served. The dishes were eventually taken away, some wine was poured into the bowls but, after a while, they were replaced with fruit. There were nuts, dried figs, dates, plums, good-smelling apples and grapes. In the middle, a white cup full of honey. During the meal, every time that the bowl was emptied, i saw it being filled again spontaneously, as if the wine rose from the bottom, something i had never seen before. Stunned by such an extraordinary event, philemon and baucis were afraid and with their hands raised, they begged for pardon for their simple food and for their lack of furnishings. They only had one goose that i really hated, since it always tried to chase me, without succeeding.

It was the guard of the hut and the old couple was about to kill it to honour their guests, and i was almost sorry about that. The quick goose, flying around, managed to avoid the two slow hunters and finally found shelter on the laps of the gods, who eventually saved it. One of them began to speak saying he was a god and told stories according to which the two hosts would be the only ones saved.  They asked to be followed to the top of the mountain. The old couple obeyed and they went out of the cabin all together. Not sure about the destination but yet too curious, i came down from the wall and followed them, running as fast as i could.  Philemon and baucis walked with the help of their sticks, struggling to walk up the steep slope, as far as their old age could allow.

When we got to the top, i stood watching the scene in the grass, when a shot from an arrow shook the ground. After a few seconds everything around was submerged by a swamp; only philemon and baucis’s hut was safe. While, astonished, they were mourning their neighbours’ fate, the old cabin, too small even for two people, turned into a temple: the rooftop fork support posts became columns, the stems became golden, the floor covered with marble, the doors appeared magically carved. The two hikers finally told their story: they were jupiter and mercury, two gods, who came down to earth to test humans, asking for shelter in their homes, looking for some hospitality. They said they had knocked on innumerable houses and innumerable palaces, but everywhere they went they either found them locked or they were sent away. The only ones who opened their house to the two gods were philemon and baucis. Mercury asked in a resolute voice what the two old people wanted as a reward. They replied that they wanted to be priests, guard the temple and die at the same time.I approached and got up on philemon’s shoulder; he saw me, but he did not pull me off.

Their vows were accepted and the two old people became guardians of the temple. I stayed with them, they welcomed me and  i became a part of the family. At the end of life, they found themselves on the temple steps narrating their story to visitors. The two exchanged greetings as long as they could. They said goodbye to that life. At the same time their lips disappeared under the bark, their arms became branches, their bodies trunks, and they had now become two trees: an oak and a lime tree. I kept running from one branch to another, still feeling their love pulsation, and when my time also came, i asked to stay attached to them. The gods took pity on me and turned me into an acorn, the fruit of the oak tree. In that way i would stay forever with the two old spouses, whose goodness had “captured” me from our first meeting.