Hot Grapes

It was a hot summer day, around lunch time, when the adults sleep after lunch to recover from the tasks in the morning. The youngsters escape to the sun and shadows of the trees in the backyard and they plot and they plan and they enjoy the light and the heat and the joy of life. The children are not tired, they only want to play.

The cousins from the city came today to spend the day with the three families that live on the farm. Every family has two more children, so the gang today is of nine, because of the three cousins from the city. And when the cousins visit the children of the farm do not sleep. They play.

The houses of the farm are made different there. Mud, straw and wood are the materials, but the cousins from the city love them because they are cosy and friendly, unlike their own houses that are on Main Road, and they can’t go anywhere without supervision.

Mum told the children not to make noises if they did not want to sleep, and to keep themselves under the shadows of the trees. This they did for some minutes, but they got bored and began to extend the area of their expeditions, outside the shadows of the trees surrounding the houses and beyond, towards the fences of the neighbours. There was a path parallel to the fences that lead them to the houses of the grandparents that live at the back of the property. They were not thinking of visiting, they were thinking of finding a hole in the fence, because on the other side there were sweet, red grapes unsupervised at this time of the day.

They risked themselves and crossed over and began to chain cut grapes and pass them to the others that were waiting on the other side of the fence. It was fun. It was hot. The grapes were perfect and they couldn’t stop thinking that they wanted to try them. Their expedition was not observed by anybody and they retreated to the shadows of the trees near the houses. They ate the hot grapes, they were delicious, sweet and perfect.

“Hi children”, said one of the mums, “it is time to have some afternoon tea. We have some cake and milkshakes for you. Please come in to the kitchen!” They went but three of the nine were feeling sick, two of the smallest were vomiting and the rest did not want to eat cake or drink milkshake.

Mums are mums, but they were children before, so they discovered what had happened during “la siesta” and took their children to the neighbour’s house to apologise for the theft. The neighbour, who was an old generous lady, said that the indigestion that they were suffering was enough punishment and she even gave them lots of grapes to savour when they were better and when the grapes were not hot. “Do not eat grapes when they are heated by the midday sun, they make your stomach sick”, she told them.

And they knew.



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