Storytelling: The Real History of the Watch – Exclusive tale by Max Spera

The Real History of the Watch is a great original and exclusive story by Max Spera illustrated by Nicola Lisci published for the first time in the Summer / Autumn 2014 issue 12 of the London Mums magazine. Enjoy it and read it to your kids at bedtime! 

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In any city, right near you, if you look carefully, you can find the Old Storyteller Lady.

She goes every day to places where she can find children, and, awaits that one of them asks her to tell a tale.

It is a wonderful day, a little boy with a sad face, walks towards a bench, and when he is about to sit down, he sees The Old Storyteller Lady reading a book…

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“Hello Old Storyteller Lady!”

…and the Old Storyteller Lady looks at him…

“Hello Pino! What’s wrong? I see you are a bit down!

“While I was running I looked at my watch and saw that it was broken!”

…the Old storyteller Lady hints a smile and says, “Have you heard it screaming?”

“What?”, says Pino utterly surprised by such a question.

“Have you heard it screaming?”

“Surely not! Its is just a watch! It can’t scream!”

“Are you sure?” The Old Storyteller Lady asks again.

“I am certain!”

At this point The Old Storyteller Lady closes the book she was reading, bends closer to Pino and asks him,

“Do you want me to tell you the real story of the watches?”

“Yes, I want to hear it. Your tales are beautiful!”

Thus The Old Storyteller Lady began telling her tale…

“There was once a time, a very, very long time ago when there were no watches and each day was defined by sunrise and sunset, but many people were unaware of the passage of time. It was very confusing because there was always somebody who arrived too early or too late. And when the day was darkened by storm it was complicated.

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Tired of all this confusion a wizard started building an instrument that could measure the passing of the time. After lots of work, the wizard presented his Horologium to the people.

It was beautiful, tall and blond, with blue eyes, exactly like a real prince. When they saw it people were so amazed that they immediately wanted to be shown how it worked.

The wizard switched it on and right there it stood hitting the time with a mighty voice, “It is eight o’clock in the morning”. The crowd were overawed and cheered and all the citizens thanked the wizard.

With the Horologium going around the village keeping time nobody was late any longer for their meetings. But after a while they became fed up because it did not let people sleep. It went around the village night and day screaming aloud the exact time and gradually the inhabitants grew to hate the Horologium.

So, the wizard modified his invention in a way that it would declare the time only to those who wished to know.

But even this adjustment failed to satisfy the people, as those who were too far from it could not hear what the right time was. Once again the wizard made changes and placed the clock in the middle of the village square.

This time the clock was unhappy because it had been designed to speak and became very bored when nobody asked for the time. So now and then it began shouting the time even when it was not asked.

So the wizard brought the clock back to his house to make more changes. The clock became very sad and said, “I cannot walk around the village anymore, and now you want  to take even my voice away?”

The wizard responded that it was not within his power to make this decision but if the clock was prepared to make this final sacrifice, he would remain at its side, to keep it in great order and to be its companion. With the help of magic he would enable it to speak once again, even if only the wizard could hear it.

The clock agreed and thus the wizard made the necessary changes.  He made it bigger. At the centre of the face he placed two pointers; one longer pointing to the hour and one shorter, pointing to the minutes. He positioned it on the highest roof in the village so that it could be seen by everybody, from everywhere in the village. From that moment onward all that the clock was able to say was ‘Tic’ and ‘Tac’ to mark the seconds.

The inhabitants were happy about the change and even though from time to time the Horologium broke, the wizard was always ready to repair it.

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With time more clocks were built, they became smaller and called watches – because they watched the time – and the wizard revealed his secret only to those who would take care of them. The secret is that watches are designed to talk, they cannot be silent, so, sometime they scream so hard that the internal mechanism blows off and we have to take them to the watchmakers. These little wizards are the only ones able to hear their voice.

At this point, Pino was not upset anymore. He stood up from the bench and said,

“Thanks Old Storyteller Lady, now I will take my watch to its wizard, so that the wizard can talk to it and repair it!”



The Author

Massimiliano (Max) Spera’s goal is to create a social-business system where creativity can be also used as a tool for the community. His slogan is “Ideas made out of Dreams”. Info: /


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