Wyatt Underwood's


Reality and Fantasy

painting by Gilvan Samico

A long time ago and very far from here, a boy who was just learning language was wrapped in the soft consonants and lilting vowels of Brasilian Portuguese. People all around him almost sang when they spoke, except for his parents who spoke English with its harder and more frequent consonants and more difficult structures. Naturally he swam into the language that flowed around him, and just as naturally he climbed the rocks that pleased his parents. Grownups praised him for speaking both languages, but - secretly - he spoke one and turned it into the other when he needed.

Maybe his mother knew that. She read to him (in English, of course) whenever she could while running a house, managing moves, and caring for children that kept showing up. She knew about teaching, so she started with books that had lots of pictures. She moved on to books that had more and more words with the pictures, and eventually to many, many words and few pictures. Pretty soon he could tell her the words, and then he could tell himself the words even when she wasn't there. Ah! Stories brought magic!

And so did the world outside where Portuguese flowed. Now and again, real vaqueiros (cowboys) rode into town, usually on sexta-feira or sábado (Friday or Saturday). Sometimes they galloped right to the edge of town before slowing their cavalos (horses) to walk into town and disappear. Occasionally the waterman would put the boy up on his donkey and let him ride while the águador worked his way through the neighborhood. The boy pretended he was a vaqueiro - he even wore the leather hat with its front brim sewn to the crown - until he could barely see the wall around his parents' house. Then he had to run lickety-split back to where the books waited. Who knew whether fairies or trolls might kidnap him if he didn't run fast as he could?

No matter how old that little boy became, he would always keep that world. The backyard just might have had its own gnome, and the boy might've grown up to ride with vaqueiros. Even when he helped fly robots around the Moon, onto Mars, and past Jupiter and Saturn, he held onto that other magical world. He called that world Brasil. He might have called it coracão (heart).

He does appreciate the ability to make this "room" available on a homestead, and hopes you have enjoyed what you found in it.

Find out more, if you wish, about the Brasil of my fantasies.