One more! One more! One more! he demands, while leaning back against the pillow and stretching his legs towards the ceiling. The mother has to quickly make up a new story, weaving the tale that puts her child to sleep. So she mixes the creatures of the Brothers Grimm with others, pulled from national cartoons, to narrate a nice fairy tale, moral included. The bottle falls to one side, the feet relax and the eyes start to close. Finally, the child is asleep. On the other side of the door are several hours of housework. The dishes to wash, the water to be heated for her husband’s bath, and the beans to be softened in the pressure cooker. But at least the child is now asleep.

Despite the speed of modern life and the hardships of housing, many Cuban parents still tell their children stories at bedtime. Some prefer to read them, while others make them up or recall those they heard in their own childhood. Video games and Disney movies have contributed new situations and characters to relate. It’s not unusual for Tom Thumb and Buzz Lightyear to be friends in these stories, or for Harry Potter to fall victim to a poisoned apple. When it comes to mixing the genres, it’s also not surprising for a bit of reggaeton to emerge from the mouth of some kingdom’s wizard or the bad witch of the story. The point it to make the eyelids heavy and sleep to come as soon as possible.

A few days ago a friend told me that his daughter had asked for a new story. “One, papá, that’s not in any book,” she specified. The father, tired out from his workday and unable to invent a new fiction, decided to tell her his own routine. “Once upon a time there was a man,” he started, “who got up every morning at six.” While he was talking his daughter’s eyes were hanging on every gesture, waiting for the protagonist to turn into a hero or a villain. “He went out to get the rationed bread,” he continued, “and then went to work on the bus that sometimes comes and sometimes doesn’t.” A small grimace of impatience started to play across the kid’s face, but the voice didn’t stop. “At the end of the month he would receive a salary that was barely enough to pay the electric bill and buy a little food, so the good man had to do some bad and illegal things to survive…”

A snort of frustration interrupted the monotone narrator. As the girl’s little hands tossed the pillow away from the bed, she shouted, “No, Papi! No! I want a story where the good guys win…!”


9 thoughts on “Bedtime

  1. Pingback: Cuban bedtime stories | THE TEXAS SCRIBBLER

  2. Well “Socialist worker”, the quality of the followers is also important, not only the number. You can literally buy followers, but it is more difficult to make them write on a blog. I enjoy Yoani writings, and I know she has many followers and translators all over the world. She has a stable presence in many newspapers (NY Time in USA, La Stampa in Italy, for instance), so people like her plain and simple. Is that so difficult to understand ?


    SUN SENTINEL: Marlins’ Fernandez treated to living Cuban history lesson – Jose Fernandez spent Thursday in Miami getting a first-hand education from prominent members of the Cuban Exile community. – by Juan C. Rodriguez

    MIAMI — Gold numbers pop from a gold-bordered black plate spanning the top of Luis Gonzalez Infante’s thin right wrist. Double strands of gold link chains connect on the underside, keeping the bracelet in place.

    Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez couldn’t take his eyes off it.

    Infante caught Fernandez, the National League Rookie of the Year, staring throughout Thursday’s lunch. Fernandez was itching to know what 3 4 0 2 8 represented but didn’t dare ask. At one point he whispered to Ralph Fernandez, his Tampa attorney, “That can’t be good.”

    His belly full Thursday after devouring a foot-long strip of churrasco steak at the iconic Versailles Cuban restaurant in Miami, Jose settled back and got the story. So began an educational undertaking months in the making.

    For upward of 25 years, Ralph Fernandez (no relation to Jose) has represented Cuban freedom fighters in federal cases nationwide, all pro bono. Fernandez made it a mission of sorts to inculcate Jose, 21, with an understanding and appreciation of the community that’s come to revere him.

    Jose proved an eager pupil, agreeing to return to Miami this offseason to spend a day meeting some “titans,” as Ralph refers to them, among Cuba’s exiled.

    Added Jose Fernandez: “It’s incredible how much a number can mean to a person. They went through all that stuff just because they thought different than Fidel Castro. It’s a lot different in Cuba. When you’re going to school they only let you know what they want you to know. They tell you completely opposite stuff. Having Ralph in my life talking to me about this, I wanted to really learn and see these guys and talk to them.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!,0,2821044.story

  4. Dear Socialist worker: you have no idea how this blog thing works.It is not the followers but the hits and that number is the good lady’s own business. My guess is that you are some government hack who’s job it is to keep track of people. A pathetic job I know but I understand, we all have to eat.

  5. I can’t even fathom why it would bother anyone that Yoani would have a huge following, or that she would win awards for her wonderful writing. But I absolutely love it that it gets your goat so much, and that you idiots spend so much time on this blog that bothers you so much. LOL.

  6. Hi, Socialist Worker

    This blog has a huge following in the spanish versions and a very limited one in other languages. It is a political blog, and readers who are not exile Cubans do not easily jump on the “Castro is guilty of everything” theme. Some of us (Nick) have been to Cuba and have courage to say no to anti-Castro groupies.

    On the other hand I don’t think the journalist awards should be given for the number of Likes. Yoani got them for dedicating her writing talent to the cause of the State Department in Washington, DC.

  7. Socialist Wonker,

    Yoani seems so very important to you.

    Why are you and Castro and Marabu and Nick so obsessed with her?

  8. I get a nice little popup that asks me to become a follower by what I assume to be wordpress the hosting site for the English language translation. This popup asks me to Follow ‘Generation Y” and join 91 other followers. There are more US senators than English language followers of her ‘ground braking journalism’! Yet Yoani receives these all these major journalism awards from Time magazine and Columbia University (Columbia University in New York) for a blog with fewer than 92 English language followers. It seems awful low for such a ‘ground braking journalist’ who’s writing is considered to be so very important on a worldwide scale by the US Free Press and their associated partners in Government and Academia.

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