Monday, January 29, 2018

Belgium story in English language

Floepje and the water

In the middle of a large forest lives a weird little animal. Its name is Floepje. It swims like a fish and flies like a bird. Floepje can run as well, but not fast. He lives in a beautiful pond with clear water. One day, Floepje wants to go on an adventure. Floepje takes his backpack, puts food in it and leaves. His friend, Sloompje the snail, goes along with him.

After walking for a very long time they are both tired. They are very hungry. They eat the food from the backpack en rest in the grass. “I can’t go further, I’m too tired”, Sloompje says, “go on without me”. “I also can’t walk any further”, Floepje says, “but I can fly. What should I do with my backpack? It’s too heavy to carry on my back when I fly”. “I’ll take care of your backpack until you come back”, Sloompje says. “Good”, Floepje smiles, “I’ll find something to eat along the way”.

He flutters his wings and flies high in the sky. Floepje flies very far beyond the forest. Suddenly, he sees houses from people. A whole village. Across the village is a small river. “Yippee”, Floepje shouts, “I’ll take a cool splash in the water, that’s nice”. He dives into the water.

He swims and swims and likes it a lot. Suddenly, a fish passes by. “Good day, mister fish, how are you?” Floepje asks. “Bad”, the fish says, “I’m ill. The water is not healthy here, it’s filthy”.
“Oh no”, Floepje shouts, “I like it here!” and he swims along cheerfully.

All of the sudden, he has a headache, and a stomach ache, and his eyes itch. Everything hurts and he almost can’t move anymore. He swims up to the surface to get some air. He holds on to the grass that grows by the side of the river. “Help, I’m so ill, I’m dying”, Floepje cries.
Luckily, Bert and Lien pass by. After school they are always walking home by the water. “Look”, Bert calls out, “I see a little animal. I’ll go grab it.”

“Careful”, Lien says. “Here, tie my jumping rope around your tummy, so you won’t fall into the water.” Bert ties the end of the rope around his tummy and Lien ties the other end to a tree. Bert carefully approaches the riverside.
He fishes Floepje out of the water with his cap. “Hurray, he’s saved”, Bert cheers. “Thank you”, Floepje says, “but I’m so ill of the filthy water. Who can cure me?”

“Come on”, Lien says, “let’s go to my father. He works at the Flemish environmental community. They try to clean the filthy water. He’ll help us.”
The children run to Lien’s father with Floepje. Her dad fetches a bowl with clean water and a few water plants. Lien puts Floepje in the bowl. “You rest now”, she says and gives Floepje a kiss.

The next day, Floepje is feeling a lot better. “Hurray, our little friend is cured”, the children shout.
“But daddy, how is the water in the river so filthy”, they ask. “The people make the water filthy”, he responds. “When we clean our floors, do dishes or go to the toilet, we pollute the water. That filthy water runs through the pipelines under the ground to the river. That’s what makes the river so grubby.”
“Also, the dung from the cows and the pigs gets in the water sometimes. People build factories where they make anything: plastic, paint, iron, electricity, … Filthy water and poison from those factories also end up in the river through the pipelines.”
“Even the factories that make candy and toys?” Bert asks. “Yes, sometimes”, Lien’s dad answers.

“Do the people try to make the rivers clean again?” Floepje asks. “Sure”, Lien’s father says, “but that’s no so easily done. They build large round tanks where all the filthy water fits in. In those tanks the water is cleaned. They put new pipelines into the ground. This way, the filthy water from the kitchen and the toilet goes into the tanks instead of to the river.”
“We should use less tap water. And we should definitely not throw oil, paint or poison in the water. That belongs in the recycling centre. The factories should also clean their water as much as possible before it streams into the river. The farmers should use less manure on their acres. If everyone tries hard, we will succeed!”

“We will also try hard and not throw rubbish in the river”, Lien en Bert say.
“That’s good”, Floepje smiles, “then I won’t be ill again when I swim in the water. And neither will my friends the fishes.”

Floepje likes spending time with Lien and Bert. But most of all, he wants to go home. To his pond in the forest, to Sloompje, who is still taking care of his backpack and starts to worry about Floepje.

Floepjes says goodbye to Lien and Bert. “Will you come back later?” the children ask him. “Yes, of course”, Floepje says, “we will always remain good friends and I’ll visit every year. Bye!”   

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