Joker

French version

He had been going around it for so long that he had forgotten when he started doing it. It was at that point. He was spinning in a space so small that he was practically spinning around. He kept seeing the same things over and over again, but that wasn’t the saddest part of the story. He would forget what he saw seconds after he saw it. So he constantly felt like he was discovering new things. Maybe that was the most pathetic thing.

He knew that he was living with a human who was taking care of him by feeding him and changing his water. But if not, that was what his life was all about: going around endlessly in a rather small space, without ever remembering that he had been there the day before, the day before, and also a few seconds before. What a life!

But sometimes things happened that were different from his interminable routine. Humans had other animals besides themselves, and sometimes he would meet more or less nice people with these other animals. For example, he had barely escaped death a few days before. For him, who had no sense of time, it was not a memory that remained in his mind, nor did he remember the day in which these horrible events occurred.

On that day, therefore, he was spinning endlessly as usual, when suddenly a huge scary face appeared in front of him. It was all deformed by the glass, which made it even more frightful. But he was not afraid. The shape behind the glass came closer again, and suddenly something came into contact with the water. Curious, he went to see, interrupting its infinite circles. He went to bump into the strange shape, amused to have a visitor.

Believing he had made a friend, he stayed close to the unknown form. But he became frightened when something long suddenly entered the water, almost hitting him. He went to hide at the bottom of the water, very surprised by the betrayal of the form, which had seemed friendly to him.

The human had seen that the cat was going to hurt him and he caught it before he could try to hit the fish with his paw again. The fish got an unexpected joker when its fate seemed to be sealed.

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Chained

French version

Chained. He was in chains. Like a convict, like a criminal. Yet he had done nothing. He was sure of that. Why was he so sure? Why was he treated like that? It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. But the person who had done this to him didn’t know right from wrong. He said it was for his own good, but something that compelled him and hurt him couldn’t be for his own good, could it? Something that made his living conditions worse instead of better could not be for his own good? Something that made him suffer could not be for his own good?

No, he definitely did not want this life. He wanted to escape. A place you want to escape from shouldn’t be a good place, right?

Attached. He wanted to leave. He couldn’t.

A little girl saw him walking with her mother. She pointed at him as children often do. He looked at her. She was free. The little girl shouted something, but she was too far away for him to understand what she was saying. She and her mother came closer. The little girl wanted to touch him, but the mother wouldn’t let her. They left. He had understood what the mother had said, and that saddened him. « He may be dangerous, don’t touch him. « Him? Dangerous? She had probably said that because he was tied up. It broke her heart. He wouldn’t have hurt the little girl. He wasn’t evil, like the one who had locked him up like that.

One night he managed to escape. The bond had finally broken. It had taken him days, but he was free! Free to run away from that awful house where he had never been able to enter anyway. Free to run with all his strength, until his paws hurt him so much he had traveled so far. Free to bark at will, not to be chained to his kennel. Free!

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Successor

French version

Today, the family was going on a cultural outing. The two teenagers were not very happy to come too, they would have preferred to stay on the beach to sleep or play in the sea. But we couldn’t always choose what we could do in life, right? Their father had left them no choice, and now they followed their parents grumbling on the gravel path. The car ride hadn’t been fun either. They had spent their time ignoring their parents by putting their headphones on their ears. But visiting dusty castles was not their favorite activity. Far from it. Those two didn’t really like to read either. In fact, they preferred to be outside, rather than having to do indoor activities that seemed stupid to them.

After passing the ticket office, they waited for the guided tour to begin. The parents took the opportunity to rest on a bench, but their children kept grumbling. Eventually, they told them to go to the store to buy something. As they watched them walk away, they thought they could have five minutes of peace and quiet. But they were wrong. Their teenagers, who had definitely gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, returned shortly afterwards, complaining that a girl their age had pushed them into the store. The girl came to apologize, but said that they were exaggerating what had happened. She left. The visit began shortly afterwards.

The two teenagers were twins, a girl and a boy. Their interest changed a little during the visit. But not in the same way. While he was more interested in the outdoors and the gardens, she wanted to know more about life in the castle. The girl from the souvenir store, the one who had allegedly pushed them around, was also in the tour. The parents were happy that their children stopped grumbling and became interested in the visit. So they relaxed and let them come and go as they pleased, without really watching them.

During the tour, the twins decided to stop following the guide and go explore the castle as they wished. The girl who they said had pushed them around followed them and told them that they should not do that. But in the end, she just followed them, not trying any more than that to make them go back. She was curious, too. They learned her name was Fanny. During the visit, they had learned that the Dauphin, the king’s grandson, had lived in this castle. They did not remember very well which king it was, but they wanted to find the room of the Dauphin, because they had been told that this room was closed to the public because the tapestries were being restored.

They finally found what they were looking for. The door was not guarded, nor closed. Moreover, it opened rather easily, for a room forbidden to the visit. They entered one by one. Fanny examined the room, pointing out that apart from the tapestries, everything seemed to be in place. The Dolphin could have emerged from a corner of the room, that would not have shocked them. (but he had died many years before, therefore nothing of such was going to happen).

Suddenly, one of the twins started behaving strangely. He fell to the ground shaking violently. The two girls ran towards him, frightened. What was happening to him? After a few minutes, he stood up, telling them that he was fine. But he didn’t seem to be himself anymore. He spoke as if the room belonged to him, claiming to be the Dolphin. This went on for several minutes, with the girls looking at him as if he were crazy. ( and maybe he was, after all) Then Fanny took matters into her own hands. She grabbed the arm of the sister of the man who seemed to have gone more mad than mad, thinking he was the son of a king who had been dead for centuries. She got her out of the room, then she went in again and took the brother out the same way. When he crossed the threshold, he fainted. He woke up a few minutes later with his head resting on his sister’s lap. He couldn’t remember anything.

The parents of the twins, realizing that their offspring had disappeared, had started looking for them. They found them in the same corridor, dazed. The teenagers tried to tell them about their journey, but they did not tell them that they had entered a room that was off-limits to visitors, but the parents did not believe them. How could they be believed? The story was far-fetched. And the teenager who played the biggest role in it didn’t even remember it.…

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Researcher

French version

It was the long-awaited day for the schoolchildren. Announced several weeks earlier by the teacher, the career day was finally here.

That morning, she got up for once with a smile on her face. She hated school, but that day she felt she could handle it. For once, there was no blackboard, no lessons to recite, no exercises to do, and no interaction with the teacher. Because the class was going to receive parents of students so that they could present their trade. It was the teacher’s idea, an idea strongly supported by the students, who had obviously thought of the fact that thanks to this day, they would have a day where they would do nothing in class. According to the teacher, the goal was of course to introduce the children to the trades to make them want to do the trade later. Or not, it was the principle of discovery. And it was going to give the children an idea of why they had to put up with going to school (for those who hated it, of course).

So when she came to school, she was happy. They weren’t going to do anything today! They had spent all of the previous day’s recess discussing it in detail. All they would have to do was listen to the parent who was on the blackboard at that time, or at least pretend to listen for the less scrupulous ones. In fact, it meant that they would enjoy having adults on the blackboard instead of them, as they did every other day. They would then see who was the most stressed out of the parents. Of course, they would also see which job seemed to be the one they liked best, because that was still the goal of the day.

A first parent would come in, then a second, then a third, until about 20 parents were in the classroom. All in all, she thought, maybe it was better that the parents weren’t there during the school day. She felt oppressed just to see them, because they weren’t usually there. The parents would smile at their child, and often it looked embarrassing that they had waved to her.

She observed the parents. None of them were dressed in any particular outfit, so she couldn’t really tell what they were doing by looking at them. But it was just as well, it was a bit suspenseful.

The first parent spoke. He had prepared slides. The video projector in the classroom made it look pretty bad on the board. The colors were a little strange. But the ease of the speaker easily overshadowed this little problem.

The second parent had nothing to project. She managed to captivate the class with miniature models that she explained in a few clear sentences. She explained almost better than the teacher.

The third, on the other hand, needed to be reviewed. He babbled, stumbled on a table leg, lost his words, only his slides were very well organized. Fortunately, by the way, otherwise the children would not have understood anything.

The fourth had difficulty explaining his job, but he managed to hold the attention of the student who did not like school. His trade had a complicated name, but he simplified it by saying that he was a « Researcher. He was a scientist. At that point she began to see school in a slightly different way. She hadn’t suddenly started to like school, no, but she had made a plan in her head. She wanted to do this job later, and she had to go through school to do it.

So after that day, she worked a little more at school, especially in science, her favourite subject.

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Tag

French version

He had to, he knew it. He really would have preferred not to. It was far from being his favorite activity. Of all the sports available, why did the teacher choose this one? He hated sports and he had just found a sport that he hated even more than sports in general.

A week before, they had been sitting in a circle in the gym, tired but happy that this class, which was hard for some of them to bear, was over when the teacher had announced it. The next week they would be doing orienteering! He had said it with such enthusiasm, that the students could almost have thought it was the best sport in the world. Most of the students seemed happy to hear that, swept away by the teacher’s joy. But not the teacher. He wasn’t the best at racing, and he couldn’t even find his way around a city, so why would he do better in the woods? If the two words that make up the name of the activity pushed him away, the activity itself was bound to destroy him.

On the day of the activity, the teacher was just as happy. On the other hand, some of the students, seeing the temperature outside and the thickness of the clothes they had brought, felt strangely worse than when the activity had been announced by the teacher. He was happy to see that he was not the only one to find this sport awful, even before the orienteering race began.

The teacher, dressed warmly in his colourful jacket, began his explanation. The goal was to punch their sheet and get back to the starting point first. All this while running and guiding themselves with the help of a map and a compass.

He sighed. He hated running, he couldn’t read a map or orient himself, and no matter how hard he searched, he couldn’t remember how a compass worked. Oh yes, he did! The red arrow was pointing north! He had better find a good team… The teacher said it was time to make up the teams. And so he made them himself.

He ended up with a team in which no one could read a map or use a compass. Well, good start! The departure was announced. Each team left on its own side, its precious map, the compass and the punch sheet in its hand, the not very sure step because almost nobody had done an orienteering race before.

He reflected. Well, the principle was rather simple, in fact. They had to find the beacons on the way. But it was better not to get lost in the woods…

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Money

French version

Money can’t buy everything. It was something that many people tended to forget.

In a castle located in such a mysterious country that was not written on any map lived a young girl and her parents. Her life was full of gifts, surprises, outings and fun. So her life was a perfect life for many girls her age who had never had the chance to live like that. But, for some reason that would have escaped all the girls who wanted to live like she did, she didn’t find her life perfect. Far from it. She didn’t like her life at all and regularly complained about it in her diary. And her unhappiness could be seen at any time of the day, so no one knew she was unhappy when they went to read it in her diary. It was too obvious. It was obvious.

Her parents showered her with gifts. Every day she had a dozen new things. And of course, this was to make up for the extremely frequent absence of her parents, who were sometimes not even around all year. Of the year! Of course, she would have greatly preferred that her parents were a little more present rather than only seeing them from afar and receiving more and more gifts. Moreover, these gifts didn’t make much sense because, since her parents never saw her, they were buying what they thought was good for a girl her age. But they didn’t really know her, and all the « trendy » things didn’t necessarily suit her.

Anyway, she was tired of her parents never being around and daring to offer her things to make her forgive them. One day, she fled the castle. Of course, since she had never done anything alone in her life and everyone was always passing everything to her, she found it hard to adapt to a life outside her parents’ castle. Fortunately, a maid she already knew from the castle helped her to get used to this new world and to hide from her parents. She soon opened a dressmaker’s shop, because if she was good at anything, it was sewing. No one ever found her and she lived a life where everyone appreciated her for what she had done, not constantly giving her gifts for no reason. Of course, happiness could not be bought.

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Authenticity

The work of art was there. Placed right in the middle of the wall. Jealously guarded. Covered with different alarm systems. When visitors came to admire it, they sometimes stayed several hours to contemplate it, to comment on it, to take pictures (without flash, so as not to damage it) or to try to draw it. It was a very beautiful work, which had its place in this museum. It had even more than its place, since it was the centerpiece of the precious collection of the place. It needed a whole team of guards to prevent theft. No one had yet tried, but it was better to be careful. This team of guards had a leader who coordinated their rounds. Surveillance cameras also allowed them to keep an eye on the roof to see what was happening in the area of the work. Night and day, they surveyed the corridors adjacent to the work’s hall. Some of them placed themselves directly in the room to be closer. No, really, this work was certainly the most closely watched in the world. 

The chief of guards made twice as many rounds as the guards under his command. He was directly responsible for the security of the work of art, after all. His duty was to protect it. Well, in reality, the artwork was far too big for a theft to go unnoticed. That’s probably why nobody thought it could ever be stolen. That and the impressive security system seemed to make it impossible. It wasn’t until one day, when the painting was sent to the restoration shop, that it was realized that it was the wrong painting. Someone must have stolen the real one and replaced it with an excellent copy that had been believed to be authentic until then. 

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Puffin

They came every day to listen to him speak. He was an old man who lived on the beach. No one knew exactly where he came from. When they asked him, he said he came from everywhere, which was an extremely vague answer. He had apparently traveled a lot, and perhaps he couldn’t remember where he was really from. He was old and sometimes his memory was a little fuzzy. But when it came to stories, it never let him down. He remembered a lot of the moments he had experienced. And he told them in a calm voice that made them fit into the story. His stories were always coherent, and they fascinated the locals who came to listen to him as often as they could, sometimes even paying him to continue telling them his past. 

A group of young people were particularly interested in this old man and his stories. One of them had asked the old man if he could write them down so that others could read them if he was ever not around to tell them. The old man agreed. Since then, the young man had come to show him the transcribed stories. He planned to publish them under the old man’s name. 

One day, the old man told them a rather peculiar story. Usually, his stories had humans as protagonists, but this time the heroes were animals. It was the story of a friendship between two animals. A puffin and a dolphin. It could happen, but it was still quite rare for these two animals to become friends. So the old man began to tell the story. 

It was a summer evening long ago. A stormy evening. The thunder was roaring and the lightning was having a blast. The storyteller was a teenager during this story. At midnight, he had woken up with a thunderclap. Then he didn’t go back to bed, having found the spectacle of lightning in the sky fascinating. Being young and unconscious, he went out in the rain to see the lightning more closely. Stopping in his story, the old man told the group of young people not to imitate him, that it was very dangerous. It was better to stay inside during a storm. So he had gone out under the torrents of water. Nothing could have stopped him. He had gone to the pier which gave directly on the sea. To this day, he still did not know exactly what drove him there. The hand of fate? In any case, when he arrived on the pier, he had seen a bird fall into the sea, probably exhausted from having to fly in the rain. He had taken his binoculars out of his pocket, the ones that had never left him since he had received them for Christmas, and he had seen something amazing. The bird hadn’t drowned as he might have thought. No, it had just been saved by a dolphin.

The dolphin had come to carry it to the pier. The teenage boy who was the storyteller at the time had been amazed to see that. The bird, lying on the pontoon, had begun to move weakly. Then, little by little, it had regained strength. The dolphin was still there, right next to the bird, which was a young puffin. Usually these birds had no problems with the sea, but this one had been exhausted. His forces had abandoned him and he would have died without his savior. The teenager had watched the whole scene from a distance. He had seen the encounter that would lead to an incredible friendship between the two animals. Since that night, he had seen them together very often. Ims had never left each other. He even remembered taking a picture. But he didn’t know where it was. He had come every day to see if the two animals were still there. One day he never saw them again. The day after the old man had told them this story, the young people returned to the beach. They looked for the old man. They could not find him. No one ever found him. Several years later, the young man who had transcribed the stories had a book published in the old man’s name. It was very successful. The stories went on but the old storyteller had disappeared. 

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Hope

Every night she went there. Every night she had to come home. Every night she hoped. And every night it was the same. She would look at the horizon, she would stay there for hours, and nothing ever happened. It never happened. So why did she come back there every time? Mystery. She herself wasn’t so sure anymore. What was she really waiting for? What did she want to happen? The more time passed, the more she was lost. She had hoped so much, and it had not happened. In fact, she was beginning to seriously think that it would never happen. She really wished that one day, looking at the sea from the beach, she would see something unusual. Something that would make her smile. Something that would make her run towards the water. Something that was just a dream. And dreams, we always ended up coming out of them. By waking up. Her dream, it imprisoned her. She came back every day to see if something was going to happen by the sea, making the water shake and disrupting her life. 

It had already been turned upside down for the first time, her life. She wasn’t sure if she could handle that kind of big change again. That was why she wasn’t sure she wanted something to actually happen. In addition to waiting every night, she would check every day to see if the ship carrying the food and letters had any mail for her. Of course, she could have waited for the city hall employee to make his rounds, but she didn’t want to wait. Tonight, she was still on the beach, and she was hoping. As always. That this person was going to come back. Or at least send her a letter. To give a sign of life after her departure from the island by announcing a quick return. This person had already left 5 years ago. And she was still waiting. Her life had stopped because of this person. 

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Miracle

Miracle. Usually, hearing this word, something positive was expected, something wonderful, something unexpected. It was a bit like good weather after rain, a real rainbow in a lifetime. It was a good thing, and above all, it was rare. Rare enough that you can’t get tired of it. It only happened once in a lifetime, and sometimes it didn’t happen at all. So we hoped for a miracle. It was hard to get, a miracle. It was random. It was precious. It was the ultimate. A great happiness. Few people had seen it, and even fewer had personally experienced a miracle. So in people’s minds, a miracle was wonderfully positive. 
But not everyone thought like that. Sitting on a bench, she had just experienced a « miracle ». She usually experienced it several times a day, and she was not happy about it. Why was she not happy about it? Why had she experienced so many when it was supposed to be very rare? Was she luckier than others? 

Simply because for her, the word « miracle » didn’t mean what most people thought it meant. It wasn’t something positive, unexpected and rare. It happened to her every day, she suspected it was going to happen, and it was the opposite of something positive. It was even really negative. In fact, her version of the word was the exact opposite of the meaning adopted by ordinary people. A miracle was (ironically) a moment of profound misfortune, like the fact that she had accidentally broken her coffee pot on a day when she was particularly in need of caffeine, or a moment when, in an extremely wide street, she had managed to bump into another pedestrian because she was looking at the pretty houses in the neighborhood. This time, she had missed a step on the stairs during her workday and found herself in the arms of her boss who was just climbing the stairs. The story could have ended there, but it wouldn’t be funny otherwise. She had a cup of hot coffee in her hand when she fell and she spilled it on her boss’ shirt as she fell. What a piece of bad luck! That day, she had hoped that no more miracles would happen to her. And that was when she had dropped her keys out of the sixth floor window….

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