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History

This strong wind reminds me of day many years ago-grandfather began by saying-when it was so cold that the canal in front of the house was all frozen. The blacksmith, Mr. Bèpi, had a shop that opened into the street flanking the canal.

He used to work at the back of his shop near the forge, hammering against his anvil, surrounded by a sparkling cloud that smelled like Hell and scared us, but it emanated warmth!...

We entered only very slowly and approached the forge, convinced that he hadn't seen us.

- "What are you doing here, you bad boys?" - he thundered.
- "It's cold, Mr. Bèpi!" - I said.
- "Bèpi, let us stay a little while near the warmth in your shop!" - added Gigi.
- "We could help you . . ." - concluded Alvise.
- "Help me, help me . . . well, begin by closing the main door that opens into the street. It's letting in a draft and cooling down my iron!".

We could only see the blacksmith's eyes and the sparks when he struck the iron against the anvil. We saw it bend and flatten out and then give birth to curls and flowers that grew out of shapeless bars of metal.

I never left that shop: I became Mr. Bèpi's shop boy and a blacksmith myself, although no little boys ever came into my smithy to get warm; and i only had girls, who never gave so much as a thought to taking up metalworking.

So your mother made a beautiful little house out of it...