The moon kept a cool watch out of the window as Hans Christian Andersen began a story for Asifa.
Once upon a time there was a boy who was a bully. He taunted a group of young storks with threats of beating, stabbing, lynching and hanging.
The young storks wanted revenge.
They wanted to peck his eyeballs out.
Their mother told them: “Learn to fly instead.
“I know where the garden is, where all the human babies lie, sleeping safely inside tiny dewdrops, till the stork comes and takes them to their parents.
“The babies sleep and dream things we know without knowing. Deep navy skies, moonlit seas, starry nights, misty white clouds, green mountains, yellow mustard fields, shepherds with flutes, bridges, rivers, goats with bells, trees with fruits, flowers with dew and love.
“We will fly with the dreaming babies to the children who are not cruel.”
“But what of the bad mean ringleader?” the young storks asked.
“Just outside the garden is a barren piece of land. There lies a baby made of stone; we’ll take that to him.” replies their mother.
“His punishment will be that he will live with lifelessness. He will have no one to play with, no one to talk to.”
Asifa smiled, wrapped herself in her mother’s wispy chiffon cloak and floated out of the window, outside over there, to fly with the storks.
She played a haunting flute song that made the ancestors dance in the cosmos. They brought the milky way closer to earth.
The goblins in red shoes and the fairies with butterfly wings descended down the ladder of the milky way and fished Asifa out of the dark, dark night.
They took her to the baby, cooing in a dewdrop, sweet as a strawberry, and ready to play with her sister.
PS: When we forget what we dream in the garden, we forget the ancestors who come close to us through the milky way, grandmothers who weave stories of journeys over seven oceans, cows that jump over goodnight moons, children who can fly to their nests, fathers who teach us to walk and mothers who plant enchanted gardens.
The dreams of the garden don’t disappear. They make a quiet home in some distant pocket of our minds. When we remember, the garden blooms again. Asifa, eight year old, raped and killed by temple caretakers and policemen, is safe in the home of our dreams.