Joaquín Callabed, president of the Spanish Club of Social Paediatrics and elected academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), has donated to the Library of the Academy the book “Viaje a Ceilán y Maldivas” (Trip to Ceylon and Maldives) (Laertes), a particular guide of these archipelagos that goes far beyond the tourist description to delve into the mystique of its inhabitants lived in the first person.
“According to old traditions, the Earthly Paradise was in Ceylon. This myth is the guiding thread in a travel narrative in which the author, without abandoning his affection for old Europe, moves away from the coldness of rationalism and the dense climate of the great city and, beyond the succession of images and vicissitudes, between impressive life forms, variegated populations, rites, jungles and ruins, narrates the search for a reunion with a way of feeling and perceiving closer to the meaning of the wonder of the origins”, is explained in the introduction of the work.
Callabed begins his trip, to a certain extent initiatory, with the memory of the one that the Chinese monk Fa-Hian starred in the 4th century of our era to Ceylon, later going on to recall those of Suleiman of Basra, Benjamin of Tudela, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta or François de Pirard right there and to the archipelago of the Maldives. Men of different centuries, cultures and religions fascinated by the fables and prodigies of these new worlds that also appeared to the author as early as the 20th century.
“The fables have dissipated, but the mystical prodigies haven’t lost that magnetism that makes Westerners turn their gaze towards the East when, at times, they feel confused longings to go back to lost origins”, the author concludes.