Danilo (a message for El Persa)

Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2012 11:27:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Danilo

Hi, Pepe!

I must have lent the postal ball huller to someone, because I cannot find it. I have no other choice but to write to you using the cold method of the e-mail, although communicating with you through any means, including telepathy, has always been easy. Well, the question is this: I have to meet some friends for a reason you already know and I was thinking of reading something of yours.

I have been searching through the hundreds of e-mails we exchanged during the four or five years we played at making the book The Unknown El Persa, and found something that could do. I loved and am happy to remember that section we titled ‘Say it in PPB’, in which some friends sent you questions about the most diverse matters and you replied with the utmost discipline as if you were a Zen master or a kind neighbourhood ironmonger, or as both at the same time. I remember how much fun you had trying to find an answer to each question and how you decided to reply by always saying true things: out of respect for the readers, of course, but also for the pleasure of overcoming an added difficulty.

One of those questions was left out of the book due to space limitations. It read as follows:

The question:
‘Dear Pepe, I was going to ask you about the chewing mask, a project that has always intrigued me. However, when I was about to press the button to send the message, a very pretty green parrot with a yellowish orange head came in through the window, and I have no idea how to get it out or what to do with it. It will not stop looking at me. Please, tell me what you can think of. Danilo.’

Your answer:
‘My dear friend Danilo, I seem to recall that, while I was working on the chewing mask in Barcelona, a beautiful and intelligent parrot I had adopted was dying of sadness in Valencia due to my absence, even though it was very well looked after. Back then I knew little of Psittacids, but Salvador Llamas, an ornithologist friend, brought to my attention the delicate and intense feelings of these little animals. If the parrot has chosen you, there is nothing you can do about it: it will seduce you with its charms and you will not be able to get rid of it; in turn, it will gift you with a sincere, lasting friendship as immense as some of its great-great-grandparents, the dinosaurs. I have sent you detailed instructions in another e-mail.’

Pepe, I do not know if this text is appropriate. In case it is not, I have also found something else. The final paragraph of a biography you wrote, which says:

‘He lived what could be considered a full life: he started a family, became rich and famous and sailed the seas and oceans aboard his yachts. But he always thought of himself as the most unknown of men. Fortunately, he has left a way for us to get to know him; from his point of view, the best of all: by reading his stories.’

It is not you, but Jules Verne. But it could be you if we changed a few nuances: instead of ‘yacht’ we could say ‘lute’, etc.

I remember Verne’s alleged last words. You have passed them on to your friends as the best advice that could be given. Sometimes without speaking you would repeat them in your wise mischievous eyes. The words were these: ‘Be good’.


Vicente Ferrer

Text read at the meeting were us friends said goodbye to Pepe Cardona El Persa, who passed away on 19 June 2012 in Valencia. In the image: one of the two sides of the cutout El Persa made of a parrot.