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The other day I met a woman from Italy with the most extraordinary story.
She was from Bologna. Her family was typical Italian - with many cousins, uncles, aunts. Bianka, as we are going to call the lady for this story, was a happy child, who lived with her parents and often visited her grandparents in a village nearby Bologna. Their house was the center of the "familia".
One summer weekend Bianka's parents left her in the village to spend some time away from the city and with her grandparents and cousins. "And the summer, as you know, is a magical time", told me Bianka and winked.
One evening at sunset Bianka's grandmother called her and asked her to go together for a walk. Bianka didn't really want to go, because she was in the middle of a great game with her cousins, but could not say no to the old lady. They walked around their house and took the road through the village to the fields around it. The grandmother was walking slowly, it was a pleasant summer afternoon, the heat had started to withdraw and Bianka soon forgot about the game and really started enjoying the walk. Then her grandmother pointed a huge oak in the field ahead and said "You see, Bianka, this tree has been here for many, many years. It had been here before I was born and it will remain here after all of us have died. This tree was founded here by our ancestors, long ago when our family came to these lands. They started their life here and the oak was a witness, a friend, a guardian for them and they called it El Padrone (The Land Lord) and it became a member of the family, a symbol of our unity. These - she handed to Bianka three acorns - are for you. They are from El Padrone. Everyone of our family has three of these. You need to keep them safe and to choose very wisely what to do with them. In a hard moment of your life you can plant one of them and make a wish. You need to be very careful what you wish for, because it will come true." With these word the grandmother handed the acorns to Bianka, turned back and walked back to the village.
Bianka was stunned. She remained on place, spending several hours, until dark night, under the oak, thinking about her grandmother's story and the family history. At the end she took the acorns and came back home.
"To tell you the truth - said Bianka to me the other day - I had forgotten the story. But a few years back I was in a huge career and life crisis and remembered the acorns. I planted one in the park and wished for guideline and success. Two weeks later I was invited to a job interview from which, in time, I got a leading expert in my field.
Then three years back my son was hit by a car very badly. He was in a coma and the doctors were afraid that he won't survive. Then I planted the second oak in the hospital's garden. In three days my boy woke up." - she smiled at me.
She didn't tell me what happened to the third one.