Pantovola was born many moons ago,
in a small country called Wladi Ladilu,
as the seventh and youngest daughter of Wlad Tovola and his wife the Persian Princess.
Pantovola spent her first years with her mother, six siblings and a big white pet swan at their family home Tovola Castle, that stood surrounded by the evergreen hills and woodlands of the home land.
Most evenings an impressive and slightly frightening tall Wlad would sit at the head of the table,
speaking very little, eating his pheasants and apples in silence.
He, Wlad Tovola VII, was an infamous mighty Emperor of his ancestral land, who was feared by many and loved by few, and husband to the Persian Princess who, during a time of poor judgement many years ago, had agreed to marry him and be the mother of his children.
But the Princess kept a great secret; her youngest child, Pantovola, was in fact not the biological child of Wlad the mighty emperor ...
This is an old photograph of Pantovola's mother and her beloved Great White Swan, taken at their family castle when Pantovola was still a young child.
Pantovola's real father was in fact a handsome and mysterious man from the Caucasus mountains. A famous magician, who traveled the world with his Theatre of Tales, bringing magical stories and shows to the furthest corners of the world. You see, the magic of The Magician was in the telling of marvelous tales, transporting, almost hypnotizing , the minds of his audience. But he worked not alone, the magician kept a beautiful owl.
The owl was his faithful collector of tales which were gathered from far away places. And then there were the creatures, strange personalities who, over the years, had joined the theatre for unknown reasons, but who were crucial to its success. More about them later though, I want to tell you first how it did so happen to be that the Persian Princess and The Magician fell in love...
The Persian Princess had always loved the theatre, so when she heard news of the famous "Theatre of Tales" setting up stage in the woods nearby, she crept out of the castle one night, and on her flying rug (of course) she made her way there. She was so intrigued by what she saw and heard that evening, that she came to see the show all seven nights of the week, each time falling deeper under the spell of The Magician and his magical tales.
On the night of the final performance, The Persian Princess wrote a secret love letter to the man whose story telling abilities she so admired. She wrote in great detail, lyrically, using exquisite and refined curly lettering.
She had the letter delivered to him by her Great White Swan; the loving pet she had kept for many years, and a giant among his kind. The swan flew out of the window, the ever so important letter held tight in his beak, in search of the mysterious Magician.
Upon reading the beautiful letter the Princess had written to him, the Magician instantly knew that the conjurer of such poetry was the one with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and this is of course, is how their story began.
Many love letters were exchanged and secret rendez-vous took place. Pantovola was born the next year. But the Persian Princess did not leave her husband Pouroupoulus the Great for another seven long years. She could not, for when he found out his wife sneaked around on flying carpets, spending evenings at the theater with handsome men, he had all carpets removed from the castle and replaced them with coconut mats. Needless to say, these were useless for flying...
It was after seven long years of imprisonment, the Persian Princess decided time was ripe to change her fate. Her six older children had moved to big bright cities in far away places, and it was now only her and little Pantovola left at the family castle. Pouroupoulus was away most of the time, doing things mighty emperors do, so timing could not have been more perfect.
The Princess had watched her Great White Swan fly off with her love letters many a time, and she figured that it would be quite possible to fly on a swan. Now that the carpets had all gone, it was her only option. So it came to be that the Great White Swan flew the Princess and Pantovola to their long awaited freedom. They found the Theatre of Tales camped up at the edge of the woodlands and the rest of this episode is history. The three of them spend their family life happily together, traveling the world with their theatre. There, Pantovola grew up semi wild among the strangest of creatures.
I will briefly introduce these creatures in this following section...
There was the Big Brown Bear and his tiny Moth Circus, The Blue Moon Man who lit up the theatre tent ever so beautifully, Huppel and Hoppel the Hare people; responsible for the painting of the set and the stars. There were the Singing Starlet Sisters who sang the most captivating and exquisite harmonies together, the enchanting Lady Nightsky who kept a starlit night sky inside her dress. A most beautiful lady all dressed in glitter on her silver flying horse, the little harlequin boy called Blue Skies Yellow Skies who glued day and night together, or to be more precise of his job description at the Theatre, he switched off the sun and lit up the Blue Moon, just before the show would commence.
And finally there was Bragi the Clown...
Bragi was a most unusual clown creature, full of sadness and melancholy. Ever since Pantovola had moved to the Theatre, she had a secret crush on the melancholic clown, but she had never told a soul about these immature, romantic feelings out of fear the sad clown would become a happy clown. She could not think of a thing more frightening than a happy clown. Bragi had never uttered a word, he kept quiet and to himself.
Each month during the full moon, he would go off alone to a tall hill to cry one-hundred teardrops that were made of pearls. At sunrise, Pantovola would collect Bragi's precious pearl tears and weave them into necklaces. She wore the necklaces to feel a little closer to the creature she so admired from afar, adding one each month, until they started to weigh her down, heavy with melancholia. So she decided to keep the sad jewellery in a box instead, and hid it under her bed. There the pearl teardrops slept in silence, but gave a blue hue to Pantovola's dreams.
The theatre and its strange family spend their lives traveling from country to country and because they never stayed in one place for very long, Pantovola was unable to sustain any meaningful relationships with normal humans.
Instead of chit chatting about the weather and who loved who, she made best friends with an old sewing box that her grandmother (The Old Stitch Witch) had left to her.
Pantovola spend her days sewing and stitching the strange adventures of her traveling life and the magical tales written by her father.
But when Pantovola was only seventeen and one half years old, tragedy struck the Theatre.
A shooting star had crashed into the stage tent and set it on flames. The merciless fire burned the entire theatre to ashes until nothing was left of it...
Only the pearl tear necklaces and the old sewing box were saved from the flames.
Luckily nobody got hurt, but the theatre ceased business and its inhabitants moved on to different lives and places. The Persian Princess and her tale telling husband started a new life in 'See Ghee Swahr' ah', where they took up residence in a small tower apartment on top of a candle shop.
They were forced to move out however after the magician had burnt up all the candles during a night of fierce romance, leaving their landlord (owner of the candle shop) without one single candle to sell, thus in debt and darkness.
The sad clown Bragi was never seen since the disaster, but rumors were that he had moved to the North Pole where he now lives with the penguins.
It is said he no longer cries pearl teardrops, but that silver snowflakes float from his eyes.
Pantovola had had enough of the traveling life and decided it was time for her to settle down. When spring had sprung she took flight with the Great White Swan her mother had left to her, bringing with her only her grandmother's sewing box, and of course, Bragi's pearl tear necklaces.
They flew over fields, mountains, rivers and oceans...
...until on a tiny island in the middle of a big stormy sea she noticed an abandoned house breaking the waves with its impressive architecture. There she decided to stay.
One day, when the winds were particularly fierce, a small ship got battered by the wild waves and spat out a strange boy and his small silver fox animal. They were close to dying a terrible death at sea, but luckily the local mermaids successfully assisted with the rescue of the drowning pair.
Once brought to safety, Pantovola lay them down on a couple of sheepskins in front of a roaring fire and fed them warm soup of seaweed and mussels. It goes without saying that this completely revived the two and they got back to full strength that same day.
Pantovola still lives on the island today, with the Strange Boy, the Silver Fox and the Great White Swan. Their home a windswept house, at the ankles of the sea. Only the mermaids are among their closest of companions.
And Bragi's tear necklaces, they are kept safe in their box under the bed, and from time to time Pantovola likes to wear one or two of them. Then their glow sprinkles a melancholic blue hue over the house, and in those times she remembers with fondness the sad clown and that little theater of her curious childhood.