Today’s post is meant as a goodie for all my English speaking and reading friends out there. This is the first time I can share one of my stories with you – “Tee auf dem Mond – Tea on the Moon”. I wrote it more than half a year ago inspired by a series of bedtime stories I invented for my boys. My dear father-in-law-to-be was so kind to translate this story and now I have the pleasure to share it with you. Thank you, Michael!
So here we go – meet Mr. Moon!
Tea on the Moon
Mister Moon sat in his tea gazebo and gazed sadly across the white distant moonscape. He held a long stemmed pipe in one hand from which white smoke drifted up into the dark heavens. From time to time a soap bubble would rise from the smoke. On the small round marble table sat a cast iron pot filled with steaming tea – next to it two cups, black and iridescent. Mister Moon’s cup was almost empty, his counterpart’s was full to the brim, untouched. Mister Moon turned to his guest and asked, “And I really cannot persuade you to take a cup of tea? Best moon tea with milk from contented moon calves?” The astronaut shook his head and pointed to his helmet. “I understand. You cannot remove it because you think you’ll suffocate, right?”
The astronaut nodded silently. Mister Moon sighed, “Your science makes dreams reality and true wonders impossible.” He went silent and took a sip of his moon tea. “Nevertheless you can see and understand me. That alone should be impossible for you yet here we sit and look out over this lunar landscape together. I doubt, however, we’re seeing the same thing.”
He looked at the astronaut. The helmet visor reflected his curious form. Mister Moon had a face which somewhat resembled a half moon, long and pale, his chin bent slightly upward. His eyes were friendly although a little sad. He wore a black dressing gown decorated with silver embroidery. His thin legs were tucked into tight trousers which ended just above the knee and he wore silver slippers which were decorated with such exquisite pearl embroidery that even Louis XIV would have approved. Mister Moon cut an impressive figure, but he was completely and utterly of a melancholy persuasion. He continued his one sided conversation. “Admittedly the moon is somewhat empty these days, a majestic desert with isolated moon monsters and other strange creatures. You should have seen it a few hundred years ago! Cities, oceans, wonders atop wonders – and you could reach the moon from Earth with an aerial balloon or a fireworks rocket. Read Cyrano, my friend. Trust Baron Munchausen!” He puffed on his pipe and as the smoke rose from his mouth into the dark sky – a dazzling and quite large soap bubble floated out of the pipe bowl. “But scientists also dream, do they not?”
The astronaut looked at the soap bubble as it floated close by him. Suddenly the astronaut became quite excited. He pointed to the soap bubble. As it began to rise he jumped up as though he was going to catch it.
“Every soap bubble a dream,” nodded Mister Moon.
The bubble stopped once more for an instant right in front of the astronaut’s eyes. In it he saw a small room – a simple child’s room. On the bed lay a small boy with short blond hair. He was enrapt reading a book: Peter’s Trip to the Moon. On the wall hung a poster of a Saturn V rocket. The soap bubble floated away. The astronaut looked around himself and saw instead of the white Moon desert a bizarre, magnificent, and wonderful landscape stretching out before him – trees with silver leaves, spacious meadows and fields over which flew birds with beaks shaped like flutes. In the distance volcanos and an ocean – all silver – white and surreal. Surprised, he glanced at Mister Moon, but slowly the landscape began to fade, as did the tea gazebo and Mister Moon himself. The astronaut heard a whisper and then the endless silence and emptiness of Earth’s satellite. As he shook his head his gaze fell on a piece of dark stone lying on the surface of the moon, black, iridescent, and hollow.
Many years later the astronaut remembered that curious meeting. When the moon was full he would look through his telescope to the heavens and could make out the outlines of the new moon colonies Luna I and Luna II. He laughed quietly, thought of Mister Moon, and hoped he was still receiving guests for tea.