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Liana Margiva

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Books by Liana Margiva
The Planet of Rose-Colored Birds
By Liana Margiva
Posted: Saturday, October 07, 2006
Last edited: Saturday, October 07, 2006
This short story was "not rated" by the Author.
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Short Story by Liana Margiv
Late at night when celestial bodies dot the dark blue velvet of the nocturnal garment, one can barely make out a star which somehow stands apart from its heavenly brothers and sisters. It is different not because of its size, which is quite diminutive, but because of a special glow. It is situated apart from familiar constellations, its warm glow like a smile on the face of a child who is gazing with love at those around him. Even on the haziest of nights, when the vault of heaven is obscured, this one tiny star finds the strength to penetrate the cloudy veil of the Earth.

Any earthling dreamer, the custodian of sleepless nights, can easily pick this star out of hundreds of the brightest constellations. Perhaps this was the reason why other stars disliked it, distanced themselves from it, made fun of it, and harassed it in many different ways; however, the lonely star held no grudge against its offenders: despite its midget size, it was full of love for the entire universe.

Behind the little star, at a distance, the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds was spinning slowly in the lifeless expanse of space. An average-size planet, it was, nevertheless, one of the most prosperous and happiest planets in the universe. The inhabitants of the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds worshipped the little star, holding annual festivities in its honor with local dances and songs dedicated to the heavenly body. The little star couldn’t help noticing such deference, which made it very proud of itself, and in return, the little star bestowed prosperity and happiness upon the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds. To be completely honest, not everyone on the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds was happy: Universal bliss is an attribute of a fairy tale, while this narration is as far from fiction as Alpha Centauri is from Earth.

What can be prettier than an abundance of bright, multicolored birds? Although orange, red, blue, and green birds were not less pretty than rose-colored ones, still the women preferred the latter, hence the name of the planet. As for the male population of the planet, no woman ever bothered to ask their opinion. Alas, if a man is of no strong character or overly genteel, a woman eventually loses respect for him and begins to dominate him. Many intelligent people dwelled on the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds, but it was the smartest of the smart who became the rulers. At first they destroyed the biggest planet in the neighborhood, one which often cast a discomforting shadow upon the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds. The satellites that were completely dependent on the big planet soon declined and stood in a miserable line before the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds, hoping for a handout. The Planet of Rose-Colored Birds was, indeed, blessed with the smartest leadership.

The big planet was called the Planet of White Clouds, and its curse was the lack of a patron star. Its people decided to alter the course of history, naively assuming their planet had a special, superior mission. They renounced their faith, obliterated shrines, and did many other absurd, completely senseless, and sometimes horrible things in order to prove to other planets the superiority of their cause.

Needless to say, they were eventually severely punished for that. The name of the planet alone was puzzling: It would be completely absurd to assume from a common - sense point of view that clouds could be anything but white. Perhaps the name originated from the fact that the Planet of White Clouds was shrouded in snow and ice for the greatest part of the year, hence the preference for all things white and the name of the planet. The inhabitants of the planet could not comprehend that a planet may not survive for too long if it would give preference to a single color.

Unlike on the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds, the people of the Planet of White Clouds had absolutely no regard for human life. After all, there were so many of them, almost three hundred million! A ruler never bothered with group or individual destinies of their subjects: Having come to power, he would immediately get busy filling his private coffers with people’s money and making sure that all planetary troubles could be blamed on his predecessor. Meanwhile, starving and overworked miners fainted on the job; people threw themselves on the rails to halt railroad traffic in order to draw the attention of their heartless rulers to their plight. Misery had come to the Planet of White Clouds; its core convulsed, and the ground parted, swallowing people and their pitiful creations. A massive exodus from the planet began: Scientists and engineers now toiled as cleaners and waiters, serving far less educated people on other planets.

Things were completely different on the Planet of Rose-colored Birds. Unlike on the Planet of White Clouds, theft was considered a crime here - thieves were prosecuted and thrown in jail. The Planet of Rose-Colored Birds, therefore, became a safe heaven for those White Cloudian immigrants who either detested stealing or had already stolen so much that their children and grandchildren could live comfortable lives.

She always admired the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds. Dreaming of everlasting love, she knew it was waiting for her there. She also knew that someday she would travel to the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds and find it. She had nothing and no one to leave behind on her cold, cloudy planet. Every time she fell in love, she felt as if it was her first love, and men would walk away from the strange young woman, alarmed by her explosive passion, which threatened to blow up their comfortable existence. Kindness and honesty placed her apart from the mainstream of women adored by most of the men, but those wonderful human qualities were hardly noticed by the men who inevitably chose other women (not burdened by those qualities) over her. Years of bitter disappointments, however, failed to break her resolve: She stubbornly continued dreaming of the true love as her miserable life dragged on unlit by mutual feeling.

In their overwhelming majority, female species are extremely naïve. Their heads harbor notions that cannot be translated into any male language, for example, “to love and to be loved back.” And what is love to a man? Any woman can answer this one easily even if you wake her up in the middle of the night.

But let us get back to our stranger who finally made up her mind and one perfect summer day arrived on the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds. Oh dear, I completely forgot to introduce my main character! Well, her name was Laura. She stayed with Inga, a friend who had immigrated to the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds several years ago and was making a living as a sales clerk in a bookstore. On the date of Laura’s arrival to the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds, the old friends who had not seen each other for many years stayed up very late, catching up on the old times over the kitchen table. Next morning Inga invited Laura to come to work with her and, having nothing better to do, Laura instantly agreed.

The bookstore where Inga worked overwhelmed Laura by its size and beauty. She had never seen so many books before, even in a public library back home. Laura slowly moved down the aisles lined by tall cherry wood cabinets. From time to time she would pick up a book with great care as if it was fine Venetian glassware, touched its leathery jacket with awe, then put it back on the shelf. Suddenly, a glossy cover of some sports magazine caught Laura’s eye. From the cover a burly man with chocolate skin and clean-shaven head was smiling at her. He was wearing a dark blue polo shirt with an unbuttoned collar, his powerful biceps bulging under short sleeves. But what really stunned Laura were the eyes of the man in the picture, the eyes which radiated warmth and virtually glowed with astonishing kindness.
‘’ Oh, my God!’’ exclaimed Laura, holding the magazine to her chest. A strange, mighty tremor shook her entire body. Gripping the magazine with her both hands, she hurried back to her friend.
‘’ Look, Inga.’’ Laura said, pointing to the portrait on the cover. Her voice quivered oddly.
‘’ Who is this?’’ Inga inquired, puzzled by Laura’s excitement.
‘’ A Chocolate Prince.’’ Laura uttered, lowering her eyes.
‘’ A what? Chocolate Prince?’’ Inga asked with incredulity. ‘’ You know him?’’
‘’ No, but… Look how gorgeous he is!’’ Laura blushed.
‘’ You are right, he is gorgeous.’’ Inga took the magazine from Laura and took a close look at the picture. ‘’ There are plenty of good-looking people on this planet, and they come in all shapes and colors, but I wonder what kind of soul is hidden behind these looks.’’
‘’ Oh, I am positive- well, almost positive that his soul is as beautiful as his face. God couldn’t make a mistake when he created this man. Inga, can I buy this magazine?’’
‘’ Of course, silly; you can buy the whole store if you want!’’ Inga laughed.

Laura paid for the magazine and settled on a soft bench in the reading area of the store where several other people were relaxing with newspapers and books. She kept looking at the picture of the “Chocolate Prince”, unable to take her eyes off him. An old man beside her folded his newspaper and gave her a long look over his reading glasses as if trying to comprehend why this young woman was staring at the cover of the magazine in some kind of trance.

Meanwhile, Laura was riding on a cloud of her imagination. Her heart was overfilling with sudden, unexplainable joy, and her thoughts were taking her on a long journey which culminated in a rendezvous with the new object of her adoration. No one knows how long she was sitting on the green leather bench, staring at the magazine cover, but when she finally came out of her trance, the old man was already gone, having left his newspaper on the bench. Reality hit her like a bucket of icy water. She recalled all the instances in her life when men rejected her and suddenly had the strangest feeling that she had already met the man on the magazine cover and that he was completely disinterested in her.
‘’ Too gorgeous.’’ sighed Laura. ‘’ He wouldn’t take another look at me.’’
His face kept beaming at her from the photograph. A happy, handsome man incapable of comprehending what she was feeling now, rejected and abandoned by him. How can one explain to a man idolized by scores of female fans the alien concept of sleepless nights, passionate kisses born inside the soul? And those eyes, oozing kindness and warmth, with enough love in them for the entire world! How could those same eyes harbor a good measure of chilly indifference for the one who loved him so selflessly and unconditionally?

He was so close, and so infinitely distant at the same time. Laura would have given anything for a miracle that would make this dark-skinned giant step out of the glossy cover and take her by the hand, look into her eyes… Oh, she would have given herself to him entirely, unconditionally, lavishing her entire supply of unexhausted love on this one man!
‘’ He may be looking for her his entire life, for the one and only who will cherish him above all, but he may never find her, will never know it is me who loves him with all my heart. It is so unfair!’’ Laura thought sadly.

Days flew by quickly as Laura kept exploring the amazing Planet of Rose-Colored Birds. She took long walks, enjoying the beauty of nature, relishing the kindness of the people. In her purse was the magazine with the picture of the Chocolate Prince - she would take it out from time to time to take another look at the irresistible stranger, and her heart would fill with a mixture of sadness and joy.

One evening when the misty twilight was settling over the ocean, Laura got helplessly lost in the maze of stone-paved streets that cascaded toward the beach. It was getting dark, and Laura realized she would never be able to find her way home unless she asked someone for directions. She headed down a narrow, deserted street toward the ocean, looking for a late passerby. The street, like most of other streets in town, deadened in a boardwalk with an empty beach on one side and a line of neat houses on the other. The corner house, a white stone cottage with a luscious garden around it, had a large patio which opened up to the boardwalk, and as Laura peered into the darkness, she seemed to have spotted a shape of a man against the white wall of the cottage.

In the growing dusk behind her, Laura could hear the murmur of the waves lazily lapping the sandy beach, filling the air with unmistakable sweetness of the ocean. She paused, gathering her courage, then walked up the stone path towards the house.
‘’ Who is it?’’ A man’s slightly coarse but pleasant voice inquired from the patio as Laura approached the house. The man was lounging comfortably in a beach chair, a long cane resting next to him on the floor. At his feet a small red dog lifted its nose, sniffing the air, and wagged its tail in a lazy greeting.
‘’ Oh, it’s… me. I am sorry, I was just taking a walk and it looks like I am completely lost.’’ Laura apologized.
‘’ How old are you, child? A young girl shouldn’t be taking lonesome walks on the beach at night, didn’t your mother tell you?’’ The man said thoughtfully, without turning his head in Laura’s direction.
‘’ My parents passed away long time ago,’’ Laura uttered awkwardly, feeling silly.
‘’ Uh-huh, then you are not a child after all.’’ the stranger concluded, finally turning his head to face Laura.
‘’ It’s not that dark not to notice this obvious fact,’’ Laura said scornfully, regretting to have been dragged into a meaningless chitchat.
‘’ It is for me.’’ The man sighed, shifting in his chair. ‘’ I can’t see anything even in broad daylight. I’m blind, you see.’’
‘’ You are… oh, my apologies.’’ Laura blushed. ‘’ But you said “at night” earlier. If you are blind, how did you know it was night?’’
‘’ The birds.’’ The man pointed his finger to the sky, and Laura’s gaze inadvertently followed. ‘’ The birds stop singing when the light dies… Also, the ocean smells differently at night. Blind people develop an extraordinary sense of smell and keen hearing, just like dogs.’’ He laughed.
‘’ You can’t see at all?’’ Laura asked, and blushed again, cursing herself for the obvious preposterousness of the question.
‘’ I see a lot,’’ the man said thoughtfully.
‘’ But… I don’t understand…’’ Laura muttered, suspecting ambiguity.
‘’ Not with my eyes, with my soul. For example, I can’t observe your face, but I see that you are a good girl, and that I like you very much.’’ He chuckled.
‘’ You are blind. If you could observe my face, you wouldn’t take another look at me, you would turn away from me like… others,’’ Laura said miserably.
‘’ You know, it’s amazing.’’ The man sat straight in the chair, and the red dog at his feet stirred and opened its eyes. ‘’ When I could see, I only noticed the good-looking women. Didn’t care much about what was behind the looks. When I lost my vision, it was like I gained a sixth sense! I can see a person’s soul, and, to tell you the truth, I haven’t made a mistake yet!’’
‘’ What do men care about soul?’’ Laura sneered. ‘’ All they care about is a bright wrapper!’’

Laura moved closer to the man in the chair, trying to take a better look at him, when he reached behind his back and there was a distinct click of a switch. A white globe on the wall lit up, flooding the patio with soft incandescence.

This was a large, handsome man in his late thirties. He was wearing a dark blue polo shirt which accented the magnificence of his lean, muscular body. His thick, brushy eyebrows arched above a warmly glowing pair of dark eyes. His white teeth glittered like the first snow under cold winter sun. His full lips emanated a strange, irresistible magnetism. A light shiver ran down her spine as Laura felt an overwhelming desire to kiss those lips.
‘’You?’’ Laura whispered, not believing her eyes. Her heart pounded, and her entire body went numb. She stood motionless, unable to move a finger or utter a word. The silence on the patio became almost palpable.
‘’You… who?’’ the man queried with slight bewilderment in his voice.
‘’Oh, I was… I meant to ask… What is your name?’’ Laura asked, not hearing her voice.
‘’Name’s Jess.’’ He turned to face Laura as if trying to take a look at the young woman. ‘’ Have we… met somewhere?’’
‘’ No, we haven’t.’’ Laura had to clear her throat before she could speak again. She had recognized him instantly. It was him, the Chocolate Prince! He was wearing the same blue polo shirt as in the picture, and matching blue shorts. His long, athletic legs were like two mahogany pillars against the white canvas of the beach chair.

Laura stood petrified, dazzled by her sudden discovery. This was impossible! Was she dreaming? She must be dreaming, because this just couldn’t possibly happen to her. Not to her, the one who had been so unlucky all her life. And yet it was all there - the Chocolate Prince, magnificent and royal in his canvas chair, the canopy over stone-paved patio, the murmur of ocean behind her. He was far, far more handsome than in the picture on the glossy cover of the magazine. Powerful and almost majestic, he had the demeanor of an ancient god or giant in a fairy tale, capable of taming the ocean by a mere shrug of his mighty shoulders.
‘’Why did you come to the Planet of Rose Colored Birds? The way you talk, I understood that you are not from around here.’’ Jess patted a beach chair next to his, inviting Laura to sit down.
‘’I was looking for love,’’ Laura said simply, still not believing her eyes.
‘’Looking for love?’’ Jess looked surprised. ‘’That seems like a pretty futile venture. Does it really exist?’’
‘’I just hated the idea of dying without experiencing it,’’ Laura said, ignoring his bitter remark.
‘’So, you have traveled from one planet to another just to look for love?’’ Jess murmured, as if speaking to himself. ‘’Oh, women, who would ever be able to understand them?’’
‘’I couldn’t find it on my planet.’’ Laura lowered her eyes.
‘’You won’t find it on this planet either. It doesn’t exist.’’ Jess announced solemnly.
‘’You are so wrong.’’ Laura shook her head and smiled shyly. ‘’My search is over. I have found it already.’’
‘’You are luckier than I am, then.’’ Jess sighed, leaning back in his chair. ‘’But beware: Destiny may yet cheat you, send misery upon you… I am alone, abandoned by friends and shrouded in misery. Unlike you, I couldn’t find love, although I was looking for it everywhere, all my life. When I lost my eyesight, the murmur of the ocean became the voice of a lover, the caressing of the waves replaced the loving hands of a woman, and the sun burning on my lips replaced the burning of passionate kisses. Never will I feel the embrace of a woman on a warm summer night, only sand, waves, and the Rose Colored Birds in the sky will pledge me their eternal love. Oh, women! Always scheming and cheating, looking to take advantage of you! I am mad at all womankind; all the women in my life were dishonest. Each and every one of them had one arm around me and the other hand in my pocket… They took everything from me, everything! Except for my soul, which none of them cared for… And here you are, stranger. Where have you been all my life?’’
‘’I came from far, far away, and my soul is pure like the Rose Colored Birds flying over your home, but it is wounded and bleeding just like my home Planet of the White Clouds!’’ Laura said with tears in her eyes.
‘’I have lived half of my life and couldn’t find love anywhere. How did you find yours?’’
‘’I have found it here, my Chocolate Prince! You are my love, my dream come true !’’ Laura cried out with passion.
‘’You called me “Chocolate Prince”? Oh, my God, what am I hearing? Only one woman who loved me truly called me that. My mother.’’ Jess’s voice trembled.
‘’ Now there are two women. I fell in love with you the moment I saw your picture on the cover of a sports magazine. I keep it with me all the time; even now I have it in my purse.’’
‘’ You fell in love with me before you actually met me?’’ Jess sounded genuinely astonished. ‘’Incredible! I never knew that women differ from one another’’
‘’ You were… an athlete?’’ Laura asked gently.
‘’Yes, you can say that.’’ Jess muttered. ‘’A swimmer, actually. A good one, too. It’s all in the past now, obviously.’’
‘’I will be your eyes from now on, if you let me,’’ Laura said with feeling. ‘’And I will love you like no one has ever loved anyone in the whole universe!’’
‘’My beautiful stranger, your kindness is breathtaking. Where have you been, why have you made me wait for you so long? You have come when I already stopped waiting for you!’’ Jess’s eyes filled with tears.
‘’Oh, don’t cry, my Chocolate Prince, you are breaking my heart!’’ Laura cried out, reaching out for him.
‘’Don’t leave me now, stranger. Promise? I will be lonely without you.’’
She drew closer still, her cold, shaking hand touching his powerful, almost Herculean cheekbones gracing the face of a true fairy tale giant. She pulled his head down gently, guiding it to her bosom, and her quivering, craving lips touched the prickly stubble of his shaved head.
‘’ You will be my Chocolate Prince the rest of my life! I am the one you have been waiting for, I have come to love you forever. I will kiss your beautiful dark eyes, and you’ll forget that they can’t see! I will never leave you, I’ll always be near you,’’ she whispered, dropping a solitary tear on his temple, ‘’ I am lonely, just as you are, abandoned by all!’’
‘’ My darling stranger, I can’t see your face, but I do feel the presence of your soul, the likes of which I have never seen before,’’ he said, lifting his head, and a beautiful smile blossomed on his face, washing away all her chagrin. He put his mighty, mahogany-colored arms around her fragile body and brought his full, passion-filled lips to hers…

They were together from that night on, basking in pure happiness. Laura was right - not only was Jess handsome, but his soul was beautiful, too. He adored tiny, fragile Laura, who was now taking care of her chocolate giant like a loving mother, although she herself looked like a child next to him.

Every day they took long walks along the beach, enjoying the fresh ocean air, and talking about everything. Jess wanted to know all about Laura’s planet, and she was eager to learn about the Planet of Rose Colored Birds. All the time during those long walks he would hold his cane in one hand, while his other arm was around her - he needed to feel her close constantly, as if afraid that if he let her go for a fleeting second, she’d take off and fly away like one of those Rose Colored Birds. The little red dog was trotting in front of them along the beach, rejoicing at its master’s happiness.

When twilight fell, they often had dinner on the patio in front of Jess’s home which was now filled with joy and love. They listened to the breathing of the ocean just across the boardwalk, sometimes a pleasant, peaceful murmur, sometimes the mighty roar of a lion.
Swimming was yet another favorite pastimes of Jess and Laura. That morning, the sun was fighting its way through a solid cloud cover, and the ocean in the horizon was obscured by a grayish haze. By noon, the skies cleared, but the wind picked up, chasing whitecaps toward the shore. The beach was deserted except for occasional flocks of birds that took off briefly to hover over the rippling water, snatched their prey, and returned to the shore.
‘’Jess, I don’t want to swim too far today. Let’s stay close to the shore this time,’’ Laura said, holding him by the hand. ‘’ When I call you, we’ll head back, all right?’’
‘’ Darling, you are forgetting that I am the swimming champion of this planet. Well, an ex-champion anyway. Ex-everything, oh, my God!’’ Jess muttered bitterly, lowering his head.
‘’What about me, Jess? I am in your present, here, beside you, loving you more than anything in the world. I don’t want to and will never be able to live without you,’’ Laura whispered soothingly, reaching up for Jess’s wide mahogany shoulders.

Jess was, indeed, an excellent swimmer. Laura loved to see him swim - his large body seemed to have been created for swimming, slicing through the greenish swells with the ease of a dolphin. When she realized he had gone far enough, she called out for him, and he turned back toward the shore. They fell on the sand, two blissful people deeply in love with each other.
‘’Oh, my prince, I feel like eating you like a piece of chocolate.’’ She laughed, kissing his body, studded with tiny droplets of salty water.
‘’I am quite a chunk of candy; you can’t eat me whole’’ He laughed, trying to catch her lips.
‘’I am going for a swim now. I’ll be right back.’’ she said, giggling and struggling out of his powerful embrace.
‘’All right, but only a short one. And stay close to the shore, there’s a rip tide.’’

Laura strode toward the water, from time to time casting quick glances back at the spot in the sand where Jess was sitting on a beach towel, his arms wrapped around his knees. She stepped into the ocean, paying no attention to the strength and height of the waves that had grown considerably since morning.
A huge wave crashed on the shore and showered Jess with its spray. He bolted on his feet, alarmed.
‘’Laura! Laura, darling, where are you? Come back!’’ Jess yelled across the roaring swells.
‘’Je-ee-se!’’ came the faint voice from afar, a panic-stricken voice.
He froze in horror, and his dark-skinned face took on a grayish color. After a split-second hesitation, Jess rushed to Laura’s voice, falling, rising and running again, feeling the heavy breathing of the ocean getting closer and closer. A large breaker hit him in the chest, and he struggled to keep balance. Another larger wave came up, but the dark giant anticipated it now and dove head first into the glassy greenish-gray wall.
‘’I am coming, darling! Hold on! Don’t be afraid!’’ he was yelling as his head popped above the water. ‘’ Laura, Laura, where are you, let me hear your voice!’’ Like a mighty lion rushing to save its cubs, he was pushing forward, slicing through the water with his mighty hands. It was as if he was fighting Mother Nature herself, trying to wrestle his loved one from the powerful grip of the ocean. He could not see that the lifeless body of his Laura was tossed and turned by the waves within reach of him. He paused and screamed at the top of his lungs, but it was more like a howl of a wild lion who has just realized its powerlessness to save the family. A mountain-like wave, its top foaming menacingly, crept up to him from behind, crushed on top of him with a tremendous force, and dragged him down into the dark abyss.

One month, only one month lasted Laura’s happiness on the Planet of Rose-Colored Birds, where she found her true love for the first time in her short life. And at the end of this month she found her eternal rest in the depths of the great ocean. Just like in a fairy tale, you might say! Only this is not fiction.

It is always like this in life: happiness is transitory, misery comes to last.

By Liana Margiva

Translation from Russian by Anatol Kardiukov


Reader Reviews for "The Planet of Rose-Colored Birds "

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Reviewed by JMS Bell 5/5/2010
Reviewed by Inspire Hope 1/13/2010
A very outstanding story! Written beautifully by a very gifted
Writer! I found it very interesting Liana! God bless you with
His presence and His peace!

Much Love,
Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 10/28/2008

Cleverly distinctive story here . . . BRAVO!!


Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 10/13/2008
Liana, you have told this sad story so beautifully. You are an incredibly gifted writer.
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 3/30/2008
Sad. Very engaging. You tell a fine tale, Liana. Thank you. Love and best wishes to you,

Reviewed by Mary Grace Patterson 3/10/2008
Great imagination in this sad story.... Life is filled with happiness, turmoil, sadness, strife, faith and love. I don't feel happiness is transitory, or misery comes to last. I refuse to let it overshadow our lives , no matter what challeneges or adversities we face. There is always hope for new tomorrows where ever they may be....M
Reviewed by Theresa Koch 2/5/2008
I love the title and the story was excellent``*
Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU 10/8/2006

The pen of the author of "The Planet of Rose-Colored Birds" has the energy of creativity, and a magic ink that gives the reader a sense of wonder.

Thank You for sharing Your literary jewels.

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU

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