She stands beneath the web, seemingly oblivious to its occupant whose legs could reach around her small waist twice should it choose to move closer. In front of her, a man in a white coat with a stethoscope draped around his neck is playing with a syringe the diameter of a toilet roll. The girl stands perfectly still, unafraid and unflinching.
All around the small plaza are figures from fairytales; goblins and princesses lurking beneath the trees; giant spiders hanging from webs strung between branches; strange creatures picking their noses.
Children fill every space; waiting in line to see the comedy doctor; sitting cross-legged on the ground in front of a small group with acoustic guitars who are leading them in a medley of hand-clapping, chorus-singing favourites.
There are trestle tables laden with story books and colouring books for sale. In the flower beds, children’s paintings are drying in the last of the afternoon’s sunshine. Outside a Wendy Hose, a storyteller is calling children inside to sit on tiny stools and listen to a tale from a far away land.
Since 1996 the little town of Los Silos has hosted the magical festival of storytelling to promote reading and stories. Begun by Professor of Literature and Drama, Doctor Ernesto Abad, storytellers from around the world travel to this small town on the north coast of Tenerife to tell their stories: African Voices, Nordic Tales, Through the Eyes of Women and Nights of Terror are all regular contributors.
Over a week or so in early December, stories come to life beneath the trees in La Plaza de La Luz and the magic of words reaches into young minds and teaches them to travel to distant and fantastic lands where anything is possible.
“Con voz de mujer o de hombre, el narrador, se siente bajo los árboles
y parece que las cortezes se abren y empieza el milagro.
Las historias viajan desde lejos por la sabía.
Los árboles encierran sabiduría Antigua.
Solo necessitan la voz de los narradores para transmitirla.”
D. Ernesto Abad
(“With the voice of a woman or a man, the narrator sits beneath the trees
And it seems like the bark itself opens and the miracle begins.
The stories have travelled a long way to be heard.
The trees contain ancient wisdom.
They need only the voices of the narrators for it to be heard.”)