Welcome to the first in a fortnightly, worldwide, literature love-in. Basically, what’s happening here is staff members of The Reader Organisation will be taking turns to release their creative juices and unveil some things which YOU a lover of reading may not have known about literature in other countries this can be ANY country in the world and can be about anything literary. Imagine the possibilities: famous stories, famous writers, libraries in the country, the government’s approach to reading, mythology. Anything…
Well, now I have your attention, so let us start with our first country or as they say in Brazil: numero um.
I’m going to try to do this without explaining Spanish colonialism in Southern America. So let’s see how that works out. Brazil is the 6th largest country in the world with a population of over 192 million people; it’s the largest country in South America and the fifth largest country in the world! It’s even got nice weather.
The culture of Brazil and its people is very mixed – a bit like our own. It involves mainly Portuguese, African and Native Indian ideas and customs mixed into the melting pot of European and Western values. Which I think makes it a beautiful country…
On to the main event: in Brazil there is a mythological creature called Saci who is widely regarded as the most popular figure in Brazilian folklore – folklore being something I have always been interested in, probably because they were the first stories told around the campfire to keep the children from being naughty and well let’s be honest they were quite imaginative and entertaining. Saci is a little prankster with dark skin, a magical red hat, holes in his palms and the smoker of a pipe – I forgot to mention he only has one leg and at one time was on the receiving end of most of the blame for the country’s small problems e.g. ‘who threw that egg?’ ‘Saci’ ‘who soured the milk?’ ‘Saci’ ‘who smashed the pottery?’ ‘Saci.’ This little prankster was probably like a mini god-send for all mischievous Brazilian children – and adults.
Still want to know more about him? How’s about this:
He can make himself invisible, transform into a bird called a Matitaperê, he will lose his powers if he runs across a stream and if you leave him some tobacco he will be appeased for a while (sounds like some people I know).
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
Same place, two weeks time, to hear all about the Czech Republic.