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The Curse

The Curse
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The Curse

A Portuguese story by Vasconcelos Monteiro


They say in my country that there is a curse upon the seventh son born to any family. The curse will not befall any daughters, but if a mother gives birth to seven sons then the last of these sons will surely become a Lobizon – a creature that is half man, half wolf. They say that such creatures attack humans; they say that they are vicious and cruel. But that was not the case with Filipe.

A very long time ago, there was a small village on the edge of the great forest. This was a peaceful village most of the time, but the villagers lived in fear of the Lobizon who were said to dwell deep within the forest. The Lobizon were dark creatures, half man and half wolf, and every full moon it was said that these creatures would creep out of the forest in search of human flesh.

But how does such a creature come into being? That is simple: the curse upon the seventh son born to any family.

When Filipe was born his mother was afraid. She had hoped for a daughter, not a seventh son; but Filipe’s mother was kind and loving and she was not going to turn her back on her own child no matter what the villagers said about the curse.

Many years passed in peace. Filipe grew into a strong boy who was much loved by his mother and father and six brothers. But Filipe could not help noticing that he was treated differently from his brothers. He did not go to school because the teacher would not allow it. This was not fair because the young boy loved learning new things and wanted desperately to make friends with the other children.

If ever Filipe was sent to get bread by his mother the people of the village would never cross his path and always looked upon him with a mixture of fear and resentment that unnerved the young boy. The other children would not play with him and he was never allowed out into the garden when it was a full moon. This last point was perhaps the worst of them all because Filipe loved the moon very much, something about it - especially when it was full and round in the night sky - spoke to Filipe and roused his spirits and made him want to sing and dance and run.

The CurseAlthough life was peaceful it was far from happy. Filipe found himself more and more isolated with each passing year. He had no friends and was never once invited to play with the other children. Sometimes he would hear their laughter and imagine what games they were playing and how much fun they were all having. Filipe also noticed that even his mother and his brothers were beginning to look at him strangely.

‘What is so wrong with me?’ Filipe often asked himself. ‘I am not such a bad boy. I do my chores and I almost never misbehave. Why am I treated so differently from the other children?’

As he approached his fifteenth birthday Filipe was sadder than ever. His mother rarely allowed him out of the house and she often seemed agitated in his company. The mean children would throw stones at him if they ever saw him playing on his own next to his house, but when he turned to challenge them they would run away screaming as if he were a monster. Sometimes Filipe longed to escape into the great forest and never come back.

One day his mother sat him down and explained to him the reason for his troubles. ‘You are my seventh son,’ she said, ‘and there is a curse upon you, my child.’

Filipe was very confused. ‘What sort of a curse?’ he asked.

‘On your fifteenth birthday you will turn into a Lobizon, a creature that is half man and half wolf.

Filipe knew all about the Lobizon from his books and from the stories his brothers shared at night whenever they thought that he was asleep in his bed. But they had never told Filipe that he was cursed in such a way. He did not want to be a Lobizon. He did not want to be vicious or cruel, and he was not at all sure about the idea of having long claws and thick fur all over his body.

On the eve of his fifteenth birthday young Filipe was sadder than he had ever been before in his whole life. He sat up in bed in the dark and cried to himself. ‘I have always been alone,’ he thought. ‘I have always been treated differently. And now I am cursed to become a Lobizon. What am I to do? All I ever wanted was to be treated the same as everybody else. All I ever wanted was to play in the forest with friends and admire the beautiful moon at night.’

Just then Filipe looked out of his bedroom window and noticed the moon rising into a dark blue sky full of stars. It was a big beautiful full moon and it filled his heart with joy. Then something very strange happened: Filipe felt a stirring in his stomach and an itching all over his skin. From his chest there rose a howling sound and he raised his head to the moon and called to her as he had never done before. His body suddenly sprouted fur all over and the nails on his hands and feet turned to long ivory coloured claws. His clothes were torn to shreds and fell to the floor at his feet. And when Filipe looked in the mirror he saw the reflection of a tall wolf boy staring back at him with thick fur all over its body and wild red eyes that seemed to sparkle in the dark.

‘So I am a Lobizon!’ he exclaimed.

Filipe felt the calling of the moon and the forest and knew then that it was time to turn his back on his old life and embrace his destiny.

The young wolf boy opened his bedroom window. Just before leaping out into the night he stopped and took one last look around his old bedroom and thought about his mother and father and his six brothers. ‘I shall remember you always, my loving family, but now I must accept who I am and start a new life.’

Then he leapt out of his bedroom window and raced into the forest, all the time howling at the moon, his heart full of strange new hope for the future.

When Filipe was deep within the great forest he stopped in a beautiful clearing and looked up at the ancient trees and the beautiful moon high up in the sky. He howled and howled and jumped and danced and laughed... and when at last he stopped howling and dancing, he looked around and noticed that other Lobizon were gathered in the clearing. Some were young like Filipe, some older. They approached Filipe and welcomed him.

‘You are home now, in the great forest among friends,’ said one in a kind and gentle voice. And it was then that Filipe realised he was not cursed at all.

‘I am a Lobizon and I am home!’ he said with a smile as he raised up his head to the full moon and howled with all his might. The other Lobizon all joined in and sent a mighty chorus up into the night sky in honour of the moon.

Many miles away, Filipe’s mother stood in her garden dressed in her nightgown and listened to the chorus of the Lobizon drifting on a gentle breeze from within the great forest. The old woman smiled to herself because she knew that her seventh son had finally found himself a home where he would be welcome and where he would have many friends and live a long and happy life.

The Curse
Find out more
about the contributors

The Curse

A Portuguese story by Vasconcelos Monteiro


A Maldição

Uma História Portuguesa

De Vasconcelos Monteiro

Dizem no meu país que existe uma maldição que recai sobre o sétimo filho nascido em qualquer família. A maldição não recairá sobre as filhas, mas se a mãe der à luz sete filhos então o último será com toda a certeza um Lobisomem – uma criatura que é metade homem, metade lobo. Dizem que tais criaturas atacam os humanos; dizem que são ferozes e cruéis. Mas este não era o caso de Filipe.

Há muito, muito tempo, havia uma pequena aldeia à beira da floresta. Na maior das vezes, era uma aldeia pacata, mas os aldeões viviam cheios de medo do Lobisomem que diziam morar nas profundezas da floresta. Os Lobisomens eram criaturas escuras, metade homen metade lobo e dizia-se que quando era noite de lua cheia estas criaturas rastejavam para fora da floresta em busca de carne humana.

Mas como é que uma criatura destas é criada? É simples: a maldição que recai sobre o sétimo filho nascido em qualquer família.

Quando Filipe nasceu a sua mãe estava cheia de medo. Esperava uma filha, não um sétimo filho; mas a mãe de Filipe era bondosa e carinhosa e não iria voltar as costas ao seu próprio filho e não se importava com aquilo que os aldeões diziam sobre a maldição.

Passaram-se muitos anos em paz. Filipe cresceu e tornou-se num menino forte, muito amado pela mãe, pelo pai e pelos seis irmãos. Mas Filipe notava que era tratado de forma diferente dos seus irmãos. Não ia à escola porque a professora não o permitia. Não era justo, pois o menino adorava aprender coisas novas e ansiava fazer amizade com outras crianças.

The Curse

Quando Filipe ia ao pão a pedido da mãe, as pessoas da aldeia nunca cruzavam o seu caminho e olhavam para ele sempre com um misto de medo e ressentimento que desencoragava o rapaz. As outras crianças não brincavam com ele e nunca o deixavam sair para o jardim em noite de lua cheia. Esta última questão era talvez a pior de todas porque Filipe adorava a Lua – sobretudo quando estava cheia e redonda no céu escuro –, havia algo nela que lhe despertava os seus sentidos e fazia com que ele tivesse vontade de cantar, dançar e correr.

Embora a vida fosse calma, estava longe de ser feliz. Filipe estava cada vez mais isolado a cada ano que passava. Não tinha amigos e nunca foi convidado para brincar com as outras crianças. Às vezes ouvia as gargalhadas e imaginava os jogos que estariam a jogar e como se estariam a divertir. Filipe também notava que até a própria mãe e os irmãos começavam a olhar para ele de forma estranha.

O que é que está errado em mim? – perguntava Filipe muitas vezes a si próprio. Eu não sou assim tão mau menino. Faço as minhas tarefas e quase nunca me porto mal. Por que é que sou tratado de forma tão diferente das outras crianças?

À medida que se aproximava do seu décimo quinto aniversário, Filipe estava mais triste do que nunca. A mãe raramente o deixava sair de casa e muitas vezes parecia agitada quando estava ao pé dele. As crianças maldosas atiravam-lhe pedras se o vissem a brincar sozinho ao lado da sua casa, mas quando ele os desafiava elas fugiam dele como se ele fosse um monstro. Às vezes Filipe desejava fugir para a grande floresta e nunca mais voltar.

Um dia a mãe sentou-se com ele e explicou-lhe a razão dos seus problemas.

Tu és o meu sétimo filho –, disse ela e há uma maldição que recaiu sobre ti, meu filho.

Filipe ficou muito confuso.

Que espécie de maldição? perguntou ele.

Quando fizeres quinze anos, transformar-te-ás em Lobisomem, uma criatura que é metade homem metade lobo.

Filipe sabia tudo sobre Lobisomens que aprendera nos livros e nas histórias contadas pelos seus irmãos à noite quando julgavam que ele já estava na cama a dormir. Mas nunca contaram ao Filipe que ele estava amaldiçoado. Ele não queria ser Lobisomem. Ele não queria ser feroz nem cruel, e a ideia de ter unhas compridas e pêlo espesso a cobrir-lhe o corpo também não o convencia.

Na véspera do seu décimo quinto aniversário, o jovem Filipe estava mais triste do que nunca. Sentou-se na sua cama, no escuro e chorou sozinho. «Sempre estive sozinho,» pensou ele. «Sempre fui tratado de forma diferente. E agora estou amaldiçoado e tornar-me-ei Lobisomem. O que devo fazer? Eu só queria ser tratado como todas as outras pessoas. Tudo o que eu sempre quis foi brincar na floresta com amigos e admirar a bonita lua à noite.»

Nesse momento, Filipe olhou para fora da janela do seu quarto e viu a lua subir num céu azul-escuro cheio de estrelas. Era uma lua grande e muito bonita e encheu o seu coração de alegria. Foi então que aconteceu algo muito estranho: Filipe sentiu uma agitação na sua barriga e comichão na pele. Do seu peito surgiu um som de uivo e ergueu a cabeça para a lua e chamou-a como nunca tinha feito antes. O seu corpo de repente fico repleto de pêlo e as unhas das mãos e dos pés tornaram-se longas garras cor-de-marfim. A sua roupa estava rasgada em pedaços e caiu no chão a seus pés. E quando Filipe se olhou ao espelho, viu o reflexo de um menino lobo alto a olhar para ele com o corpo coberto de pêlo espesso e olhos vermelhos selvagens que pareciam brilhar no escuro.

Afinal sou um Lobisomem! exclamou.

Filipe sentiu o chamamento da lua e da floresta e soube então que estava na hora de virar costas à sua antiga vida e abraçar o seu destino.

O jovem menino lobo abriu a janela do seu quarto. Pouco antes de pular para a noite, parou e olhou para o seu quarto uma última vez e os seus pensamentos foram para a sua mãe, o seu pai e os seus seis irmãos. «Lembrar-me-ei sempre de vocês, da minha querida família, mas agora tenho de aceitar quem sou e começar uma nova vida.

Saltou da janela do quarto e correu para a floresta, sempre uivando para a lua, e com o seu coração repleto de uma esperança estranha para o futuro.

Quando Filipe estava nas profundezas da floresta, parou numa linda clareira e olhou para cima, para as árvores antigas e para a magnífica lua no céu. Uivou e uivou e saltou e dançou e riu... e quando finalmente parou de uivar e dançar, olhou em redor e notou que os Lobisomens estavam reunidos na clareira. Alguns eram novos como Filipe, outros eram mais velhos. Aproximaram-se de Filipe e deram-lhe as boas-vindas.

Agora estás em casa, na grande floresta entre amigos , disse um deles com voz gentil e suave. E foi então que Filipe percebeu que não tinha sido amladiçoado.

Eu sou um Lobisomem e estou em casa! disse ele com um sorriso enquanto erguia a cabeça para a lua cheia e uivou com toda a força. Os outros Lobisomens juntaram-se a ele e uivaram em uníssono para o céu em honra da lua.

A muitos quilómetros de distância, a mãe do Filipe estava no seu jardim em camisa-de-dormir e ouviu o uivo dos Lobisomens que uma suave brisa emanava da grande floresta. A velha senhora sorriu porque sabia que o seu sétimo filho tinha finalmente encontrado um lar onde seria bem-vindo e onde teria muitos amigos e viveria uma vida longa e feliz.

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