I remember very clearly the day I found the hat in my grandfather’s attic. It was circular and it didn’t have a rim. It was blue and white and red.
“Grandpa?” I asked. “Where is this from?” My grandfather rushed over from the old linen chest he had been grumbling over and stood next to me looking down at what I had just found.
“Ah,” he said in his Castilian accent. “I see you have found my gorra. This is a special hat, you know?”
“Yes, a special hat that will take you to some many fanciful places.” Then he knelt down and spoke to me very softly. “Do you know what it means when I say the word ‘fanciful’?”
I didn’t know that my grandfather knew how to make his voice soft. He always spoke with a strong tone – a voice of knowing things.
I shook my head.
“Well,” he went on. “It means something that belongs to more of a magical world – something unlike this world.” Then he began to say the names of items and beasts and spirits that I had only heard in my youth in stories that my mother used to read to me. He talked about how he had seen some of these creatures, had touched them.
My grandfather passed away ten or so years ago after I found that hat. He let me keep it. And just recently, at night, I swear that I have heard his soft voice again, whispering the names of fanciful beasts.