By Nicole Dominguez
Once upon a time, there was
A little girl who lived in a violin.
She was no bigger than a teacup and her name was Annika. She lived in a violin that belonged to A very old street performer in Vienna named Clàude.
He was known throughout the Austro- Hungarian Empire as one of the most accomplished and brilliant violinist. He never played popular songs or classical pieces, but whimsical tunes that made the soul ache with its beauty. People marveled that such an amazing musician could be content with street performing, living off of tips the people would give him, more than once he was asked why he never played popular tunes and he simply replied “I play whatever little Annika wants to sing.”
Everyday Claude would leave his little house and walk to the corner of the café and mutter into his violin, stroking its back all to wake up little Annika inside. She’d yawn, stretching and look up smiling at the old musician with his worn face. He’d placed the bow on the instrument, withered fingers arched over the strings and started to play. And Annika would begin to sing. Her voice rung through the instrument vibrating from the inside out. Claude would play, moving with her voice and as the strings began to vibrate from Annika’s singing he would catch them making note after note, weaving them into a tapestry of sound and emotion. Yet nobody knew about little Annika, singing inside with joy that made it beautiful.
Rumors of Claude’s talent reached one of the owners of Theater an der Wien, one of the most famous opera houses in Vienna. One day, while Claude and Annika was performing in the Keller Strasse a grand carriage rode through. Everybody in the Strasse stopped and looked inquisitively at the gilded carriage, whispering. “It’s the Emperor!” Some cried “its a foreign diplomat.” Others said. But out of the carriage stepped a stout man wearing a heavy coat with fur, rings were on every finger making him glint in the morning sun. He walked up boldly to Claude and said in a booming voice “Are you Claude?” Claude nodded and said “Yes, that is I. What can I do for you?” The man puffed out his chest and said “My name is Frau Van Lepzïn I represent the Theater an der Wien, we’ve heard of you wonderful abilities and I’ve come to ask if you would preform there, we would like to make you one of the most famous musicians in Europe.” The Strasse erupted once again with whispers, everyone looking at Claude, who remained silent. Claude looked down at the violin cradled in his arms and saw Annika looking through the sound hole, her face shy and fearful. Claude gave her one last look before nodding and facing Frau Van Lepzïn. “My dear sir,’ he said. ‘as flattering as your offer is, I cannot except.” The Frau looked flustered and became red in the face with rage sputtering. “What do mean denying my offer? I’m offering you an opportunity to play for princes and kings, in one of the finest opera houses in the world and you refuse?!” Claude smiled wisely and replied. “My music is beautiful because little Annika is happy, she sings because her heart is bursting to sing to those she knows and loves. I cannot play if Annika is sad. I love her to much.” The Strasse remained silent as the Frau angrily turned and wobbled back to his carriage screaming that he was wasting his time with silly old men who named their violin.
After the carriage left the Strasse everyone cheered, running to embrace Clàude and celebrated.
Claude and Annika continued to play for years and years. But then Claude became sick and his friends all flocked to be with him. Then late one evening, after everyone else went home a young man came to see Claude. He sat beside him and said. “As a little boy I heard you playing and I wondered, how is it your music sounded so beautiful?” Claude smiled wearily and said “Joy accompanied me.” The man smiled and just as he left he saw a photograph. “Who is this?”
“My daughter. Annika.”
By Nicole Dominguez