As a child of the 80’s in America, The NeverEnding Story was a constant presence in the world of pop culture references. Even those of us who were never really into fantasy or sci-fi were familiar with the movie’s lovable flying dog-like creature, Falkor the “luckdragon”.
It was this photo, in fact, that spurred me into drawing a somewhat stretched, but ultimately fun, analogy between The NeverEnding Story and the saga that is the installation of our new stufa. (A stufa, by the way, is a stove – usually wood burning or pellet here in Italy.)
If you don’t know the plot of The NeverEnding Story, shame on you. Read this. Basically, there’s this beautiful fantasy land called Fantasia that is being threatened by a dark void called The Nothingness.
Much like here, there is a beautiful land called Casa Nostra (our apartment) that is being threatened by the dark void of Inverno (winter).
The ruler of Fantasia is The Childlike Empress, and she has fallen ill due The Nothingness. The ruler of Casa Nostra is M (me), and I have fallen ill repeatedly due to the Inverno every year for 5 years. (I blame my wussy Texan winter upbringing.)
The only thing that can save The Childlike Empress and Fantasia from The Nothingness is belief and imagination, in the form of wishing for the restoration of the land. Much like the only thing that can save M and Casa Nostra from Inverno is belief and imagination, in the form of wishing for a stufa.
The Childlike Empress then employs a young warrior from the Plains People (seriously), named Atreyu, to find out how to battle The Nothingness.
Here’s where the analogy falters a bit. In our version, M employs an old worker from the Po Pianura (we’ll call him Gianni), to find out how to install a stufa to battle the Inverno.
Now, in stark contrast to Atreyu, who treks through the Swamps of Sadness and the Sea of Possibilities for his master, The Childlike Empress…
When Gianni comes to install the canna fummaria (chimney flue) and deliver the stufa, he forgets the piece of pipe that attaches the two together. Like you do. M reminds Gianni, “You know it doesn’t work without that part?”. Gianni snorts, shrugs, and says, ” I don’t know anything about that”. He then proceeds to completely botch the chimney flue installation, resulting in fallen chunks of wall and slab, a tilted flue, and a very upset neighbor. Now M and the people of Casa Nostra can’t connect the stufa to the tilted flue because they are amid negotiations with the people of the Po Pianura for fixing the botched job of their defected warrior… I mean worker.
*Spoiler alert – If you need to pause to go watch The NeverEnding Story, I understand. This is a gripping plot, I know.
In the end we discover that the only way the warrior, Atreyu, can battle The Nothingness is by taking along with him on his adventures the human child, Bastion. Bastion’s wishful imagination is the only hope for restoring Fantasia from the one grain of sand that has been spared by The Nothingness.
I have informed my bel marito that he must play the role of this human. I am too weak, and I have many other responsibilities as ruler of Casa Nostra. I must prepare my kingdom for the coming Inverno.
He didn’t seem very excited about that prospect until I suggested that he may get to go forth in his quest with the aid of our very own luckdragon…
Meanwhile, somewhat similar to how The Childlike Empress had to sit in her Ivory Tower awaiting the return of her warrior and the human who believed in the future of a restored Fantasia…
M sits in her Soggiorno Freddo awaiting the return of the substitute warrior from the Po Pianura, and the human who is foolishly deluded into believing that the stufa will be attached before the Inverno consumes Casa Nostra.
I’m not sure we’re going to get a Hollywood ending here, folks.