Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Girl in the Portrait


The girl in the portrait
Traditional Baltic Tale

The natives of many cultures thought that if someone made a portrait of them, they were robbing their soul. Could there be some truth in this?
A young sailor found a phantom ship adrift. When he went on board, he came across a series of useless objects...except for the portrait of a mysterious girl who seemed to look at him from the bottom of her soul. The sailor hung the painting in his house and from then on, no longer felt so alone. The girl, apart from looking at him, cooked and did the housework when he was away. One day the sailor visited a witch: "If you want the girl to stay with you, wait until she steps out the painting, and then, keep the empty frame, under lock and key, in the basement".
The sailor followed her advice and a few days later, he married the girl. In nine months, they had a son who also became a sailor. They lived happily for many years until the old sailor died. That night, when the woman was preparing the shroud, she found the key of the basement. There, she discovered the frame and returned to the painting where she had always been. When the son came home after a long voyage, he looked for his parents everywhere, even in the basement, where he found his mother's portrait when she was much younger. Then, he understood everything: he hung the portrait in the ship so that she returned to the sea.
Maybe portraits don't have a true soul, but they do have something that unsettles and attracts us.
Source: Sofia Adalid's Collection of Tales of the World.

2 comments:

Valme said...

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