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Arpi, a child story

Many, many years ago, perhaps some three hundred years, Arpi was born in a town very far from here, in Germany. It was very cold and it rained a lot there, and on the day that Arpi and his brothers were born, they must have felt much cold. Arpi’s family was very large, with many brothers that were being born every day, some very tall and fat, others very short and skinny, some singing low and others had voices like a duck’s! Some had a very grave voice, and others sounded like whistles. It took a long time for the family to be complete, but when the day finally came, there they were: Arpi and his 1038 brothers!

As everybody needs to live somewhere, Arpi and his brothers got a nice house and, like a well-organized family, they always walked in rows (with so many brothers, things are better organized when put in rows). The little ones even complained, because in their house the tallest stood in the front and from back there, nobody could see much, but in the end they got used to it and found everything fine, or better, almost everything, but the cold!

On one of those days, when drizzle fell outdoors and the sky was very gray, a rumor started in the Arpi family. It started, of course, in the front rows, with the bigger brothers, but when it got to the back rows, it was a major hit: we are going to move to Portugal; there it is warmer and there’s much sunshine! The bigger ones wanted to know where Portugal was, whether the trip was too long, who would arrange the transportation (for the bigger brothers all this was of great concern), but in the back row all was fun: there’s plenty of sunshine there! As arranged, some time later the Arpi family moved, all of them in well-packed and soft crates (it was toasty in there…) and were carried with great care; to avoid any damage, they even took their house together with them.

In Portugal, little by little, the house was put together, and the brothers went to their proper rows. Again, Arpi and his brothers at the back thought it was a pity they couldn’t be at the front and see what happened, who came in and who left, how the people were, but the bigger brothers told them a few things, saying that the Portuguese looked fine, but spoke in a different language from what they were used to in Germany. The people in the back rows paid much attention to what they heard and, while talking, enjoyed the heat and the sun. The family had much to do, often they had to sing, paying much attention so they’d do everything right. At first, Arpi would be nervous in every presentation, but gradually he got more at ease, because he knew he was good at what he did. After many years in Portugal, one day someone walked by the back of the house and Arpi heard the comment: we need to pack everything for the move to Brazil; I hope they can stand the heat. Arpi, then, was very proud; for the first time, the guys in the back row heard the news first, and soon everybody was talking about it: we’re moving to Brazil; they say it’s warm there, there’s much sun, and everybody there likes music!

Everything, or better, everybody was packed and, as usual, the family took the house together, just to be safe. The trip this time was much longer, and no soft crate could help, everything shook too much, and those more knowledgeable said that the rocking was cause by the sea. Of course, the other half wanted to know what that was, but then the guys changed the subject … It should be the sea, all right, because some members of the family even got sick. After much, much time, rocking and shacking, something changed; they kept traveling but it seemed it was uphill and downhill, and then someone clever said they were on an ox cart.

After a few days, Arpi left his crate and realized that there was much sun and heat there. What a pleasant change! While he waited to go to his row, he looked round. The place where they’d live seemed brand new, a special corner for their house, very high, maybe even from the back rows you could see something down there. I think I’m going to like it here, Arpi thought.

On the opening day, Arpi’s family did well, everyone singing at the right time, and everyone was in tune. This time, not only Arpi but even the bigger brothers confessed that they were nervous with so many people looking from down there. As the days went by, everyone got used to it and when they weren’t working they heard the stories that the bigger brothers in the front rows would tell them. The people were nice, they said, smiled often, and spoke very much like the people in Portugal. Arpi, in his row at the back, would make himself comfortable, would look at the mountains, and would think to himself: I want to be here forever, the mountains are beautiful, and there is much, much SUN!

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Text Josinéia Godinho
Illustrations Cristiano Casimiro dos Santos