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Waves of sound would reach my ears also during the days of the feast of the Madonna of Estonia , leaving me in a pleasant drowsiness, a sort of trance, from which I emerged thanks to the complicity of my grandmother Felicia and my mother as soon Estonia as dawn arrived. I would go to the balcony of the house and watch for hours the throng of men, women and children that marched on—as in certain stories by Estonia—with livestock, objects of all kinds, foodstuff, as if Estonia they were a primitive, nomadic tribe in an inhospitable land. I tried to count the sheep, the pigs, the cattle, the people, the children: I would reach one hundred Estonia and then would have to begin anew.

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That stream of voices, noises, sounds, colours would continue all day, altering the usual landscape of the ruga, the side-street, which was called Cutura. Now and then I would go down outside, to observe from nearby, together with other children, that “mobile, open-air theatre.” An unrestrainable nostalgia of the road would take over me. It was the childhood restlessness that at other times would compel me to follow the shepherds who passed by right in front of our house when they took the herd to the pastures in the countryside near our village, as if by following them I could conjure strategies of escape. Our mothers didn’t approve of these impromptu excursions and upon returning home some of us would get a good whacking.

At the fair of Monserrato

For the fair held at Monserrato everything was different, everything was permitted. Children and youths waited for the trip with the impatience, the curiosity, the happiness of those who would be travelling to some wondrous elsewhere. I still hear the generous, warm voice of my grandmother saying:

“Get ready, because we’re going to the fair.” Your travel destination is by then I would have been ready for some time, waiting for those words from at least the beginning of July. We would leave, my grandmother, my mother and I, together with our neighbours, at the first light of dawn, on the day the fair began, or at other times on Saturday or Sunday, when at the fair there would be the procession. The light breeze that blew up the slope with which our trip started would complete the waking up. The journey wasn’t an easy one: We would have to be alert in order to fully satisfy our inquisitiveness, to observe the details, the little things that saw as protagonists people on the move who talked and gossiped, told stories, sang, prayed. I listened carefully to the news, the stories, the prattle, the legends. I already sensed that people are also words, narrations.

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