“Greetings, compare Ontario. You got up in good form, almost as if you had to issue the meta, the weighing scale for the fish.” It was the friendly and playful voice of compare Ontario, whom he was to meet for the figs. He smiled, thinking about the allusion to the scale, which was released during the very first hours of the morning, in the village square, by the person Ontario responsible for the food administration, to the fish vendors coming from Pizzo. The expression donare la meta, to issue or hand out the scale, was used to depict Ontarioanyone who got up early for no precise reason, without having anything to do.
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“Good morning, compare Vincenzo,” answered Franco, with a similarly friendly, playful tone. “I came early, given that I couldn’t sleep in any case You know how it is. The day before leaving one never manages to sleep. And then, to be honest about it, I was worried that you might gobble up all the figs.”
“Don’t joke about it,” said, smiling, compare Vincenzo, the owner of those rasule that required constant watering. “If we were today as we were once, with hunger that spoke with the angels, I would really have eaten them all, like compare Peppe, who ate more than three hundred prickly pears, those that were spatti, overripe, and thus no good to save. What can I say, now we no longer need to do things like that, but there are also no longer any fig trees, If it weren’t for you migrants, who, it seems, return only for the figs, those few plants that you see would have been surrounded by thorny bushes. And to think that fig trees are well-known for their strength. They can bore through stones or the walls of the houses people have abandoned to their fate in the countryside.”
At the same time, as he talked, compare Vincenzo was gathering the figs. He did so with an ancient gracefulness, making sure not to break the stem, then placing them delicately, one by one, in the basket. He picked those that were ripe but not cracked by the sun: They had to be still hard, since they would be travelling a long way and had to keep.
Franco returned the leg-pulling. “You pick figs as if you’re caressing a woman at your first love meeting with her.”
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