Roberto Roberto Guinigi
was fascinated by the ancient jewel-covered book which included descriptions of hundreds of extremely exotic trees and shrubs that could be planted atop a fabulous new tower that he was planning to build in Lucca.
He experienced an exciting, almost electric, thrill as he turned to page 119, which looked like this:
WARNING TO THE READER:
THIS PAGE DESCRIBES A RARE MAGICAL OAK THAT SHOULD ONLY BE CONSIDERED IN CONSULTATION WITH A BOTANICAL GENIUS AND AN EXTREMELY SKILLED GEOMETRA WITH A CERTIFICATION IN THE INTEGRATION OF MAGICAL FLORA INTO TOWERS OVER 20 METERS TALL
The very rare Reba Oak tree reportedly grows naturally in only one location on Earth, in the moist cloud layer on the island of Madeira, clinging to the steep mountainside along a hidden, tiny and almost impossible to reach ancient levada known locally as Tanner’s Levada.
This levada is only referenced once, on page 3029 of the mammoth and comprehensive Guide to Obscure Levadas that was published by
Henry, Count of Portugal, in the year 1119. The only known copy of this tome resides in
the Castle of Sintra outside Lisbon,
and can only be viewed with Portuguese royal approval, which is only granted to one person each year, and the tome may only be viewed for one hour either on the sixth of January or the tenth of April.
The Reba Oak reportedly can cause magical events, illusions or hallucinations to occur.
For example, the Guide to Obscure Levadas recounts that the celebrated early English explorer David Evanston encountered a Reba Oak while on a mountain hike on Madeira in the year 802,
and he was immediately convinced that he had entered a huge jungle full of monkeys
and at least one gorilla,
and also a treehouse.
On the other hand, Evanston’s companion on the hike, Sir Dennis O’Casey,
swore that he had entered a fantastic botanical garden with hundreds of tiny colorful butterflies humming hiking songs similar to those from the Abetone region of Tuscany,
and he also said that there were endless trays of delicious oysters and Prosecco!
Double R Guinigi was delighted to read this, since two of his closest friends were
the celebrated botanical genius Dr. Gianni Nespolo,
and the preeminent geometra Tomaso Tricoci, who together had masterminded the fabulous Orto Botanico di Lucca which had just opened three years before,
and which was universally acclaimed to be the finest orto botanico in Tuscany behind only the ancient orto botanico at the University of Pisa, which was a national treasure of course.
Double R Guinigi closed the book and strode happily into the sunroom of his Palazzo, where his beautiful wife Gigi Guinigi was reading to their little son Paolo from
a fanciful little picture book called The Friendly Pirates of Portofino.
Gigi Guinigi looked at her handsome husband as he walked into the sunroom and he said “Come on Gigi, let’s get lunch with my dear friend Nespolo, if he’s not puttering around in his orto today!”
Gigi said “Great!” and turned Paolo over to the Guinigi’s delightful governess Signora Masi. “Please try to get Paolo to eat some of his radicchio, Signora, if possible!” And both women laughed since they knew that that was an impossibility,
even with the promise of a chocolate-and-lemon gelato.
Stepping into the entry courtyard of the Guinigi’s fabulous palazzo, it was a beautiful day outside, and Double R asked “How about a little walk over to Nespolo’s office, Gigi, would that appeal to you?”
“Yes, that would be delightful!” she replied.
Dr. Gianni Nespolo’s office was on the ground floor of a gorgeous building facing Piazza San Michele.
Entering just as the Noon church bell rang, Double R saw his dear friend and called out:
“No more work for you Gianni, we’re taking you to lunch at Da Leo’s!”
Gianni looked up from his desk, saw Double R and the beautiful Gigi Guinigi, and happily stood up. “Nothing could be more delightful than lunch with you two! To what do I owe this pleasant surprise?”
Double R looked at him straight in the eyes and said with an excited tone of voice “Reba Oaks!”