Smiling River - Carmen García Suárez

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RIVER<br />

<strong>Carmen</strong> <strong>García</strong> <strong>Suárez</strong><br />

Bilingual<br />


Welcome to the wonderful world of<br />

illustrated stories!<br />

Apuleyo Ediciones wishes all children<br />

a happy reading that inspires their lives and<br />

fills their dreams with values.<br />

Let’s get started!

—Oh…! How will Grandpa feel today!? —the kid suddenly<br />

blurted out.<br />

—What do you mean, honey? —his mum asked, surprised by<br />

the remark.<br />

—Well, because… with so much rain (fffu), he’ll be soaked,<br />

the poor... —clarified the tiny voice of little Martin, blowing<br />

his fringe aside, looking up at the storm clouds, which—up<br />

there—were bursting.<br />


Yes, he was told that his grandfather had gone to heaven.<br />

Martin could not understand how he had been able to fly so<br />

high when it was hard for him just to climb a couple of steps.<br />

Would he have gone up by plane? Grandpa had never liked<br />

those ‘steel birds’, as he called them when he said that they<br />

spoiled the silence and scared normal birds.<br />


Since he left, Martin kept searching for him many times, in<br />

every cloud; once he even thought he had seen him in a very<br />

wavy one that resembled his white beard. Martin also paid<br />

attention to the trees, for all day flying had to be very tiring<br />

for him and, besides, some clouds did not seem solid enough as<br />

to sit down on them.<br />


He could not find him resting anywhere —he had heard the<br />

grown-ups say that he just ‘rested in peace’ but no, he was not on<br />

the birch trees or among the beeches, not even on the sun lounger.<br />

Such a mystery! That story did not fit in. They said he was happy<br />

wherever his current house was but, after that, tears would fall<br />

down from Mum’s eyes. Why, if she was so sure that Grandda was<br />

fine? Could it be out of happiness? Sometimes, adults weep for joy<br />

but, anyway, everything seemed so weird...<br />

Why didn’t he visit them anymore or didn’t they go to see him<br />

either, as before… that? ‘That’s life’, they said once and again. What<br />

is it like? Martin could not understand anything at all and felt like<br />

crying his eyes out.<br />


He would wait until Saturday. Then, Auntie Clare would arrive.<br />

She was very, very clever. She knew about everything. She would<br />

give an answer to all his doubts.<br />

…<br />

There were 2 days left, since after Thursday, Friday comes and<br />

Mum said Aunt Clarita would arrive on Saturday because flights<br />

from Madrid had been cancelled and it wos not possible for her to<br />

attend the burial (burial...) but they would meet at the weekend.<br />

Would Grandpa’s flying have anything to do with flight<br />

cancellation? Would it be done to avoid crashing into him?<br />

Besides, another question to ask Auntie was how it could be<br />

possible that he had been buried and after that, he would be<br />

able to be flying around.<br />


Maybe they had not put enough soil on top of him... He knew<br />

Grandpa liked that stuff about soil because they used to go together<br />

to the orchard and he sowed lettuce and potatoes, also corn. And<br />

they digged. But… what was the point in planting the grandfather?<br />

Would lentils come out? Courgettes? So strange everything...<br />


One summer they buried a treasure together. Could it be that<br />

Grandpa was just looking for that treasure before going out to fly?<br />

Because, of course, he would need it in his new cloud house. It might<br />

make sense but anyway he would make sure by asking Auntie Clare,<br />

who was really the wisest person on the map and even in the globe<br />

of the living room, which was the entire world ball indeed.<br />

He was sent to bed early but fell asleep late. Mum had very red<br />

eyes. She gave him the sweetest kisses in the whole universe and such<br />

an enormous hug that almost knocked him down.<br />

Dad was picking up several Granpa’s boxes and kept some pics of<br />

him.<br />

Well, that’s what they said: that the boy in the photos was Grandpa<br />

when he was a child. He did not look like himself at all. Those were<br />

old pictures, with no colour in them.<br />


Martin asked Daddy whether life before was in black and white.<br />

He answered it was just like that: when Grandpa was a small<br />

boy, everything was in black and white, even the telly! In winter,<br />

it snowed and in the village they took coal out of the mine. They<br />

didn’t have any smartphones or the Internet. They played with<br />

sticks and stones. What a boring world they had! Although he had<br />

to admit that sticks and stones are cool, Martin was happy not to<br />

have been there then because with no iPad or consoles he didn’t<br />

know what he could have done. ‘Without a console or iPad, Dad<br />

could only get mad’, said Daddy. But in that time they did not even<br />

exist! (the same as Grandfather now?)<br />


At last —exhausted— he fell asleep thinking about all this. He was<br />

a little bit afraid. OK, he was absolutely terrified. He had to burst<br />

into tears before; lots and lots of tears flowed down his cheeks and it<br />

did not take long for Mum and Dad to be by his side. They told him<br />

he should calm down and sleep because it was already very late. He<br />

asked if Grandpa would be sleeping as well.<br />

—Yes, Grandpa sleeps —whispered Mum (so as not to wake him<br />

up? ) How could Mum know? Had she heard him snoring? (he had<br />

heard nothing at all and when Grandpa snored…) So if she knew so<br />

much, why didn’t she tell him at once? Thank goodness there was<br />

only one day left for smart Auntie to get there.<br />

The next morning, the sun was drying the meadows when Martin<br />

thought that his grandfather would be sweltering in the heat.<br />

Definitely, living on the sky could not be very comfortable.<br />


He looked up at the sky once more. Not a cloud. Well, just 2 small<br />

ones. Not a trace of Granddaddy either. Where could he be? Martin<br />

hoped he wouldn’t fall down from such height, without a cloud to<br />

hold on to, with the fear Grandpa had of falls... Martin went out<br />

to look in the garden, just in case he could have landed among the<br />

bushes and may need some band-aids or something but Mum went<br />

to fetch him, so the search was interrupted.<br />

The day went by without any major findings. Some calls saying ‘I<br />

feel so sorry for your loss’, ‘he passed away peacefully’, ‘what a nice<br />

person he was’, but no further advance in the discovery of what the<br />

meaning of all that was. What did they really feel? Heat, like sure<br />

Grandfather, in the sky, so close to the sun? He would be melting like<br />

an ice cream!<br />


Feeling like crying one more time… Why did everyone suddenly<br />

agree on saying what a wonderful person Grandpa was? Before that,<br />

all of them complained and said he was such a ‘grumpy grampy’! To<br />

be honest, with Martin he was always very good. They used to look<br />

at the stars together. Perhaps Grandad had gone up to the Great<br />

Bear, that one he said that was so bright. No, no… Its ray spikes<br />

would have stuck into his trousers and torn them off. It nearly made<br />

him laugh to imagine this but the truth was that he felt deeply sad.<br />


The night wrapped him up, like Mum did, in his blanket. He slept<br />

surrounded by lots of question marks, confusing thoughts and also<br />

rather discouraged. Granpa was not seen in the darkness of the<br />

night, nor did he turn up at home.<br />


The day came. The noise of the shutters being raised in his bedroom<br />

by Auntie woke him up. She had just arrived! Yippee! She gave him<br />

lots of kisses and also a ‘special’ bag that he should keep carefully.<br />

His aunt was truly wise. She could even speak Spanish and lived<br />

in Madrid. He would wait for the right moment to drop all the<br />

questions. She seemed to want to talk to him too.<br />

After lunch, she reminded him to take the special little bag and<br />

both of them went out for a walk in the forest. Martin did not waste<br />

a second and threw out all the questions, which rushed without any<br />

commas, pushing each other swiftly:<br />


Auntie, where is Grandpa? why doesn’t he come back? is it true<br />

that he has got a house in the sky now? is it a flying house or how<br />

can it be floating? what happens when it rains? and when it is<br />

very hot? was Grandfather really planted as if he were a tree? will<br />

potatoes come out? courgettes? is it true that he unburied himself<br />

and flew away? can Grandpa sit down on a star? and fall from the<br />

sky? what language is spoken up there? (Poor Grandpa if they speak<br />

Spanish...) why Grand…?<br />

—Martin, that’s a lot of questions—smart Auntie interrupted,<br />

bending over to be as tall as he was. She pulled his bangs back and<br />

looked into his eyes. She went on. —However, the answer is just one:<br />

Grandad died.<br />

Tight hug.<br />

Silence. Dead calm.<br />


Clare has just said it clearly, clearly. Crystal clear.<br />

On the way, there was only the sound of rustling leaves under their<br />

feet. Of course, Martin felt the urge to cry again because that stuff<br />

about being dead sounded awful but Auntie appeared calm. So it<br />

couldn’t be so bad.<br />

A bird chirped so loudly that seemed ready to take part in the<br />

conversation and brought them back to the dialogue.<br />

—That’s the bad thing about having grandparents, Martin: they<br />

end up dying.<br />

She continued:<br />

—We are not immortal. We would get exhausted of living that<br />

much, if we were. Just imagine, Martin, when you get tired of playing<br />

some game, that you had to go on and on endlessly. This game we<br />

are playing—life— is over one day and it is better this way. Not to<br />

get bored.<br />


— I can’t hug him now… Is he really buried?<br />

—Martin, no. Now he is not what he used to be before, as you are<br />

not a baby any longer. Currently, you are a boy and, in some years,<br />

you will look like Daddy and much later, like Grandpa. NOW you can<br />

(and must!) hug Mum and Dad and me. We are all the time evolving<br />

and becoming something different, although our essence will remain.<br />

The same happens to seeds and plants and puppies... They grow up<br />

and change… We turn into something new. Where is that baby you<br />

used to be?<br />

Martin stayed thoughtful, his eyes settled on a nest of newborn<br />

birds.<br />

—Come on, Martin; you can now open the little bag I gave you<br />

before.<br />

—What is it?<br />

34<br />

— You’ll see. It’s the life bag, it contains seeds.<br />

We’ll plant some near the tree where Grandpa<br />

used to take a nap in the afternoons. Do you<br />

remember?<br />

Martin nodded and pointed at the leafy chesnut<br />

tree looking out over the river, while the bag —<br />

hanging from his right arm— was dancing to the rythm<br />

of the forest trills.<br />

—That one!<br />


As they were approaching the river, he went on asking:<br />

—What is Grandpa now?<br />

—Just look around. He might be part of the nature energy. Can’t<br />

you hear those birds, the river…? You know about the water cycles,<br />

how it evaporates and goes up to the sky and then it rains and goes<br />

back down to the river… See that glint of sunshine on the water!<br />

Come on, throw a stone!<br />

Martin liked that idea. He crouched down, picked out a little and<br />

threw a pebble with a lot of that kind of ‘emergy’ he had just been<br />

explained about. He suddenly felt superstrong! He looked at the river<br />

and… did he see him!? He did feel... him… Grandfather! Just beside<br />

the newly inaugurated miniorchard.<br />

—Grampyyy!!! —A shiver ran through his little body.<br />


The water splashed on him; it was cool. Granddad liked swimming,<br />

fishing and playing with him in the river. And taking a nap under<br />

his tree.<br />

— Auntie, can I throw another one?<br />

—Of course you can!<br />

—Might I hurt him if I... hit him? Won’t I give him a bump?<br />

—Martin, you cannot give a bump to energy. It’s an advantage…!—<br />

Auntie smiled. —Come on, play, communicate with him as you<br />

prefer. Cry, pray, if you need to. In your memory he is going to be<br />

alive. He, from the river, from the orchard, from heaven o from<br />

wherever you want, will stay by your side too. We won´t let him<br />

go because he will live with us in our memories. We’ll come back to<br />

look after our special plant and we will see how it grows up and<br />

develops. How it lives.<br />


One small pebble plunged into the river. Gentle ripples arose. One<br />

of them streched to form a semicircle: Grandpa was smiling. Martin<br />

and Auntie saw it clearly from the bank of the river and smiled back.<br />

They returned, happy, from the great adventure in the forest and,<br />

with the reflection of the water in their eyes, they planned to go<br />

back the following day.<br />

They were already walking away when they heard the leap of<br />

a fish behind them. They turned and looked back; a sudden wink<br />

appeared drawn on the surface of the river. Some tree branches<br />

framed a perfect picture of light, water and hope.<br />

—Grandaddy, see you tomorrow!<br />

The voice of the forest answered with an echo:<br />

—See you tomorrow<br />

tomorrow<br />

tomorrow...!<br />


Keep on smiling<br />

and coming back<br />

to your river.<br />

<strong>Smiling</strong> river<br />


©<strong>Carmen</strong> <strong>García</strong> <strong>Suárez</strong> (de la obra)<br />

©Apuleyo Ediciones (de esta edición)<br />

Primera edición en Apuleyo Ediciones: abril del 2023<br />

Diseño de cubierta: Claudia Álvarez Vega<br />

Corrección: Francisco Javier Cintado Fernández<br />

Maquetación: Francisco José Cordero Mora<br />

Ilustraciones: <strong>Carmen</strong> <strong>García</strong> <strong>Suárez</strong><br />

Coordinación editorial: Isidoro Cidre González<br />

info@apuleyoediciones.com<br />

www.apuleyoediciones.com<br />

ISBN: 978-84-19648-23-5<br />

Depósito Legal: H 51-2023<br />

No está permitida la reproducción total o parcial de este libro, ni su tratamiento informático, ni la transmisión de ninguna forma o<br />

por cualquier medio, ya sea electrónico, mecánico, por fotocopia, por registro u otros métodos, sin permiso previo y por escrito de<br />

los titulares del copyright<br />

Hecho e impreso en España–Made and printed in Spain

Can Grandpa sit down on a star?<br />

And fall from the sky?<br />

From a child's perspective, <strong>Smiling</strong> <strong>River</strong> (Río risueño, <strong>Carmen</strong><br />

<strong>García</strong>) provides a cosy, communicative atmosphere to tackle the<br />

unavoidable reality that we all share, death, while it offers itself as a<br />

kind tool for dealing with it in a natural way. A necessary tale, with<br />

drops of tenderness and humour splashing all over its pages.<br />

This lively river is aimed at families, schools —ideal for adults and<br />

children to read together— and, of course, at anyone who feels like<br />

approaching the riverside. Full of details and values, it encourages<br />

observation and respect for nature, taking the reader into an environment<br />

of understanding and hope.<br />

VISIT<br />

OUR<br />




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