Drawing: Cristina Daniela Gagiu
Storyteller: Oana Maroti
Exterior, winter. Frozen branches crackling, crowds of people, a narrow but bright lane. The thicket leading to the count’s house was dark yesterday, but today it’s filled with fairy lights. The children are joyous, the adults whisper:
Wow, so beautiful! Mom, come see! They’re like stars…
That’s good, it was getting cloudy anyway. I couldn’t see a thing and the light is with your father. I need a flashlight too, said the mother.
After leaving the starry tunnel they were in awe again stepping on the fresh snow, watching as colored bulbs lit up and untuned instruments quietly screeched in the background with a horrifying sound.
Someone in the crowd couldn’t help it and cried out:
“It froze the piss out of me!”
The kids giggled.
Once they got in front of the house the villagers preened, coughed, and started caroling. The priest starts:
Oh what lovely tiiidiingssss! Lalala
On the last verse of the carol, the door flew open and a quiet catalan carol started to be heard:
tió de Nadal,
no caguis arengades,
que són massa salades
que són més bons!
The table in the main hall was brimming with exotic foods: mango and pineapple, fish and seafood, olives, cheeses, even dolmades – greek vine leaf rolls.
Dracula suddenly appears:
Good evening and welcome, welcome to my International Dinner! Children, crunchy crunchy, new music, juice, comics?
The kids yelled out in a cacophony of voices:
Yeesss, crunchy, crunchy, comics!!!
Dracula snaps his fingers at once and a table full of treats shows up: chocolate-covered fruits, jellies, juices from every fruit and a beautiful multi-tiered honey cake called Albiniƫa. The children rushed to the sweets.
Villagers: Greetings, mister Count! We brought some food too.
Dracula: Place it down, there’s room on the table.
And even if there was no room, the table was quickly freed up: huge rounds of bred baked on leaves, crackers with cheese and caraway, eggplant salad and potatoes au gratin, nettle and pine nuts pesto, mayonnaise a la maison, crema de Focsani, maturated cheese in Pinaceae Abies wood, smoked cheese and river fish, schnitzels and vegetable meatballs, boletus pate and cabbage rolls with millet, grape leaves stuffed with corn and dried fruits, sweet bread with poppy seed and walnuts, cake with cream and honey, cozonaci filled with cacao, rahat, nuts and dried sour cherries, meringue nuts – along with drinks, strong quince spirits and cherry brandy and even some barrels of the priest´s own homebrewed beer and of course, tremendously much red vine.
While munching on some plum sweetrolls, someone asks:
Why did we bring vegetarian food?
The priest whispered:
We thought it best not to tempt the Count with blood and meat, right?
Turning towards Dracula, he shouted:
Shall we serve you with a specialty from our vegetarian menu?
Dracula lifted the goblet in the air and answered:
No, thank you, it’s not safe for me. Bon appetit! I have my artificial blood. Science does wonders for us all! Cheers, cheers, and let your children go to school!
Someone from the crowd whispered in Romanian:
Lăsaƫi copii să meargă la şcoală.
Hyper Ion, a villager who worked abroad says: I totally drink for that. Prost!
Umbra Mirabelei: Why do you say prost?
Hyper Ion: It means Cheers, in dutch. I worked in Holland.
Umbra Mirabelei: Ahahaha, interesting. So, in Transylvania it means stupid, while in Holland it’s a toast. How curious.
Someone in Spanish: Dejen los ninos a estudiar, pero a jugar y a estudiar no a estudiar sin jugar.
The rowdyness starts, the glasses clink and the well-wishes are flowing:
Noroc! Sănătate! Visinata! Foaie verde de mărar tu eşti extraordinar.
In the background, you can hear the music: JASON AND THE STRAP-TONES – I Found The Brains Of Santa Claus. Nobody can understand the lyrics, so everyone is having fun.
Suddenly, Dracula stands up and fixes his gaze on the children, lifting them up by his magic power. There was a green baby among the children, with an old mans face, and he had obviously shit himself.
Someone clinks a glass and yells: Play, then study! Everyone joins in, clinking their glasses and shouting: Play, then study!
The children were still hanging in the air like Captain Planet’s team until one of them yelled:
Leave the kids alone!
So Dracula lowers his game and lets them float back to the ground.