Bibliographic data

Rotermund, Wilhelm: Dr. Wilh. Rotermunds Lesebuch für Schule und Haus. W. Rotermunds Buchhandlung, 1914, 120–121.

"In the Colony"

[p. 120]


136. In the Colony.

Not even a century has passed since a handful of German settlers arrived in what was then a virtually unknown land. Thousands of their countrymen have since followed, armed with axe and hatchet and with the steadfast will to become masters over the rich, unruly nature and to found a new homeland.

Now the river no longer runs through the jungle, overflowing its low banks and feeding the swamps and marsh. Its bed has been dug deeper and laid straight, and either side is flanked with long stretches of wide, green areas; friendly houses are reflected in its flood; horses and cows quench their thirst at its banks; row boats and sailing ships glide back and forth along its waves; giant rafts carry precious loads of lumber to the port; and even the whistle of a river steamboat resonates far over the people’s settlements, which have been wrested from the wilderness of the forest.

Here, where apes still bellowed and snakes curled up in the impermeable brush before the age of man, the sun now shines for the first time in centuries upon the virgin ground; the fruits of the culture grow: corn and aipim, a rice and barley, coffee and sugar cane; German children, towheaded and blue-eyed, flourish here like flowers in the field; and people leave for work and return home when, as in the old fatherland, the ‘prayer bell’ rings out from the church across the vast valley.

Even the side valleys are open for miles; there, too, on both sides of the abundant tributaries and streams springing from the darkness of the jungle, one settlement follows the next, most separated from each other with lemon or pineapple hedges, or with cactus or brier; every few hundred steps a small, red-roofed house near the main road; everywhere blond-haired children playing with special fondness on the banks of the little brooks and rivulets, which skip down in great numbers from the hills, still forested on top but built up on the slopes, and spray their silver clear waters from stone to stone, waltzing from granite block to granite block like rollicking children.

[p. 121]

A fairy-tale enchantment wafts through the deep silence at the edge of the woods. The Sabía, the nightingale of Brazil, sings his melancholy song; blue butterflies fly dizzy over the water; twinkling hummingbirds whirr from one bloom of bromeliads and orchids to the next, up above on the branches of the trees; golden lizards rustle across the bare stones along the stream; tapirs stretch their plump feet into the light water; tigercats flit timidly from tree to tree; moneys sway merrily in the branches and bright colourful birds in the lianas.

The air is wonderfully pure and clear, and when the sun tries to heat it into a glow, the forest, whose tangle of foliage seldom lets a ray of sunlight through, provides a sweet cool.

Therese Stutzer.

[a] Translator’s note: Cassava, a South American crop.


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