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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Olive Day

Mario and Isabella went with their mama to town for the annual Olive Festival. Each year hundreds of olive farmers came to town to sell their olives. They held contests for the villagers, including one where people compete to see how many olives they can eat. They even had a King and Queen Olive, where the most beautiful people in the town were elected to reign for a year. Booths selling sweet pastries and cakes lined the street. No cars were allowed in town that day, so children could run freely.

Mama led the children through the streets. “Mama, can Mario and I go and find our friends?”

“Sure, go ahead, but come back right here to this spot at noon,” Mama said.

Mario and Isabella nodded and ran off. They passed by a huge vat, filled to the top with olives and water. The green fruits bobbed up and down. “Look, Isabella. There must be a million olives in there.”

She grabbed onto the side of the vat and pulled herself up to look over. “These must be for the olive eating contest.” She stuck her hand in the water. “Should I take an olive for us?”

Mario looked around. Nobody was watching. “Yes, I'd love one.”

Isballa grabbed two olives and then they ran off. “Maybe we should enter the olive eating contest, Mario. What do you think?”

“I could never eat that many, but I would enjoy watching it. Should we go and see what is entering the contest?” Mario wiped his mouth.

“Okay.” Isabella ran down the street, with Mario right behind her.

They stopped at a large table. Nine men and one woman sat in chairs with bowls of olives in front of them.

“This is it, Mario. I don't think the woman will win. Look how big some of the men are. There's Lorenzo and Vincenzo too. They can eat a hundred olives with no problem,” Isabella said.

The contest began. It only took a few moments for them to finish off the first bowl. Mario and Isabella watched as a man put another bowl down in front of each of them. This went on for ten minutes. One of the men couldn't eat any more. He fell out of the chair and had to be helped away. One by one the men quit. It got down to only two people left, Vincenzo and Carlotta.

“I hope Carlotta wins,” Isabella said.

“I hope Vincenzo wins,” Mario said.

Ten bowls of olives later, Vincenzo raised his hand. “I've had enough. I can't eat any more.”

Carlotta won the olive eating contest. Isabella clapped her hands and jumped up and down. “Hoorah. Carlotta won!”

“That's a stupid contest anyway,” Mario said. “Let's go and see who will be crowned King and Queen Olive.”

They ran down the street, stopping to buy a pastry before going to the pageant.

'There are the contestants,” Isabella said. “They are beautiful women and handsome men.”

“I know which ones will win,” Mario boasted.

“Oh? How do you know? You picked the wrong person to win the olive eating contest,” Isabella snipped.

“I say it will be Maria and Nicolo,” Mario said.

They watched the contestants parading around, their dark olive skin radiated in the sunlight. “Maria does have pretty hair,” Isabella said. “She might win. You may be right on this one, but never Nicolo. He's not even handsome.”

They were ready to announce the winners. Mario and Isabella held hands. “Our new Olive King for this coming year is Nicolo.”

Mario stuck his tongue out at his sister. “I told you so.”

“Our new Olive Queen for this year is Maria.”

“I knew it. I was right, Isabella. You were wrong,” Mario ran about jumping in the air and laughing.

“I was right on the olive eating contest, so we were both right. Let's go and find Mama. I'm hungry and thirsty too.” Isabella ran off.

“There you are. You've missed all the fun,” Mama said.

“No, we didn't, Mama. We had lots of fun,” Isabella said.

“Did you find your friends?” Mama straightened Mario's hat.

“We forgot about our friends,” Isabella giggled.

Mama took them for lunch. They ate pasta and hot bread and salad. After lunch they drank a tall glass of lemonade and then they went home.

“I'll always remember this day, Mama. It was fun,” Mario said.

“Yes, it was,” Isabella said and they headed down the path.

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