Thursday, August 4

sete chamas

I was talking to my Bulgarian cleaning lady this morning, before she abandoned us for a whole month to go home to Bulgaria, and I was explaining to her what this Big Blogger thing was all about. Our conversations are all held in Portuguese, so an awful lot of what I say gets lost and an awful lot of what she says gets lost, but we stumble through our two mornings a week and I haven't yet accidentally instructed her to burn the house down (I'm really REALLY bad at telling people what to do in any language).

Anyway, I tried to explain that I had to write a post ("Vot iss a post?") about the number seven ("VY? I'm nott seeink ze point of zizz Big Poster Blogger Seven zink"... okay I'm paraphrasing... well, do YOU understand Portulgarian?) and she got rather irritated that I was trying to tell her about this while she was melting all the elastic in all the household knickers with the iron (I have told her a dozen times not to iron the knickers, because it's mad and she agrees, and says, "Zose bluddy portugese, zey are SO mad and wanna iron everyzink, because zey zink zey knows everyzink and, you knows, zey don't, zey mad and rheally shnobbs" but still she irons the knickers) and as I got the message that she was irritated I started to leave ze room... when she suddenly plonked the iron down on my knickers (on the IRONING board, not ME) grabbed my arm and said "SEFEN!"

"SEFEN!" (take that para break like one of those ad breaks you get on US tv shows, but where we don't put ads in, so it fades out on a minor cliffhanger, only to fade straight back in again on the same cliffhanger, thereby duplicating the cliffhanger... ... ... or is that just me?). "I got a story for yous, iz very old bulgarian story and is very cute... you lizzen."

(I'm going to paraphrase this in straightforward English, portulgarian is too tiring)

"There were once two elephants and they ran away from some gypsies who were taking them to sell to a circus.

"It was winter and the elephants were very cold and hungry and didn't know where they were going to get their next meal... for as you know, elephants need a lot of food every day or they die real quick!

"After three days, they had eaten only snow from the forest floor and were getting very weak.

"They were desperately cold and though they had blankets, they only covered small parts of their backs. They saw a clearing in the forest which was big enough for them both to sit it... don't forget, they are elephants, they are big blokes.... and sat down. They felt that they were going to die there from the cold, so they said their goodbyes to each other and both lay down. As they lay down, the SEVEN (see.. I told you it was about a seven, didn't I, honestly you inglish, so impatient) trees that surrounded the clearing broke at the same time, collapsing and making a hut over their heads. The trees were fruit trees and as they fell, seven different fruits fell down, enough to give them their strength back. And as they broke, the splinters from the trees started a great fire, enough to keep them warm till the morning.

"But the elephants wanted to cook the fruit, so they chucked it all straight on the fire. The fruit put the fire out. The elephants died of the cold.

"They say that the moral of this story is that you must never count on an elephant to make the right decision."

I politely smiled, said thank you and went off to do something else.



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