Shortly afterwards, John Clarke took us to the attic of the house, where I found, to my amazement, Grandfather's missing library. Feeling a wave of emotion, I bit my lip and Rita gave me her hand.
I then approached the window overlooking the inner courtyard of the house and opened my mouth in astonishment.
There I saw the plane — the plane my Grandfather had seen crash many years ago in a pine forest near the beach.
John Clarke smiled:
“These books are yours. And this too...” He gave me a thick envelope, which I opened quickly. Inside, I found an old VHS tape.
“Your grandfather's last story. You’ll hear from him why we killed that Nazi. If you’re lucky, he’ll also tell you where that treasure is...” And he winked at me with a grin.
I put the tape in the video player that was there waiting for me and started listening to my grandfather telling the last story of the Treasure of Saturn.
My grandfather's last story. I can't quite remember what the first story he told me was — perhaps the one about the whale that swallowed a Spaniard; or, more likely, the strange tale he told me many, many years ago about Nazis and Englishmen lost in a forest.
The forest, I later found out, was nothing more than a pine forest in the Cesaredas plains — but, for my imagination as a child, this pine forest where the Nazis and the English hid among the trees in a death chase, was a mythical forest.
That story began with my grandfather walking along Consolação beach and seeing a British warplane approaching until it passed right over his head, with the metallic sound of the engines working hard.
Grandfather told me that story in a hushed voice, after dinner, with me sitting at his feet while the rest of the family watched TV. My mother, when she heard him mention guns and Nazis, became worried and asked what the story was.
He laughed, stroked my hair and said:
“I'm telling Duarte ‘the Three Little Pigs’.”
My mother frowned and he continued, quietly telling me how he had entered the war, many years ago...
I would have been about five years old: I can hardly remember anything. I know it was the first time I heard about the treasure. Years later, when I was a spotty teenager, Grandfather told me the story again. But as I could no longer or didn’t want to sit at his feet listening to him whisper a story to me, what Grandfather told me, at the dinner table, was a censored version, where no one died and no one was chased. The story was now almost an anecdote, about the day when two English pilots were taken by people from Atouguia to a café in Peniche after their plane had crashed. In that café, everyone tried to help... But it was the madman of the town who, in passing, guessed what the Englishmen wanted, as if madness helps in understanding all the languages of the world.
I'll get to that story about Nazis and Englishmen in a forest. But now that I'm trying to remember all the stories my grandfather told me, perhaps it's better to start at the beginning. It all started a long time ago, when Rome still had Emperors…