Free Children's Stories by Leading Authors
Children's Stories Library
The Not So Wise Owl
Amazing Adventures Book
Sponsor Children's Stories
Rodrigo The Portuguese Fisherboy
Reader Star Rating:
This is a story about the life of a boy who lived in Lisbon, Portugal.
He travelled north and visited Fatima on his way to Figueira da Foz, where he found a job on a fishing vessel.
As a young boy in Lisbon, Rodrigo lived with his mother and grandfather, Pedro, who claimed to be a descendent of the great explorer, Pedro Álvares Cabral.
Cabral was the Portuguese fleet commander for the Kingdom of Portugal who sailed to South America and originally claimed Brazil as a colony for Portugal in the year 1500.
Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1815 and adopted the Portuguese language.
Rodrigo was a shy boy with a wistful and reminiscent smile.
He was well-built and loved to eat cod and sardines.
Rodrigo did not always believe the stories Pedro told and often repeated, although he was aware that his grandfather shared the same first name as the famous commander.
He loved his grandfather and they often went fishing together.
When he finished his mandatory schooling, he decided to find a job to help support his family.
Rodrigo began his journey from home on his bicycle and travelled north for 80 miles until he reached Fatima.
It was a gruelling all-day ride due to the increase in elevation from Lisbon at 185 feet up to Fatima at 1162 feet, the difference being 977 feet.
That made the long ride extremely tiring. He had to use all 21 speeds of his bike during the trip.
A bike with 3 front cogs (gears) and 7 rear cogs (gears) is referred to as a 21-gear or 21-speed bike.
When the chain is on the smallest cog at the rear, the bike will be harder to pedal than when the chain is on the biggest cog at the rear.
However, peddling will feel easier when the chain is on the small cog at the front and harder when the chain is on the big cog at the front.
The huge effort he made to reach Fatima was well worth it when he saw the beautiful statue of Mary.
He prayed at the shrine for his trip to Figueira da Foz to be bountiful and he was blessed.
He camped outdoors and luckily the weather remained clear with no rain in sight for the next few days.
The journey to Figueira da Foz was about 50 miles and it took Rodrigo 5 hours of peddling to get there.
He went to the docks and asked several of the fishing vessel captains for a job.
He eventually found a captain who was willing to hire him on a trial basis.
The next morning he boarded the 'Scorpius', an old, powerful fishing vessel, as a deckhand.
He did mostly cleaning, but he was sometimes able to go up on the bridge and observe how the boat was being driven by the officers.
He worked hard, and after a year he had gained enough experience to even pilot the vessel in calm weather and open water.
The captain encouraged him as Rodrigo had now become his best able seaman.
He learned to handle the rope lines, knotting and untying them for dockings and departures.
In just his second year, he had become highly skilled in all the phases of vessel maintenance.
Rodrigo continued to apply himself by learning how the engines work and the navigation of the vessel.
In his third year he advanced, and became the navigator, he was strategically able to locate fish, a skill that all the crew members appreciated.
They would catch their daily quota of sardines and mackerel by mid-afternoon, thereby allowing the crew to come in early and go home to their families.
The captain and the crew all benefitted from Rodrigo's navigation, they had many days of record catches of tuna whenever he was their navigator and fish finder.
The young Portuguese boy had somehow become an admired and adventurous man.
Rodrigo stayed in touch with his family in Lisbon by using the 'WhatsApp' application on his cell phone. He had Wi-Fi provided for him at his leased apartment building complex in Figueira.
A few years later Rodrigo became 'First Mate' and took control of the vessel whenever the Captain was not available. As expected, he always did a remarkable and efficient job.
The captain purchased the vessel from the owner and appointed Rodrigo as captain.
Later, he sold the 'Scorpius' and purchased a newer vessel that came with modern technology like energy-saving features.
It was lighter, faster and was equipped with several electronic devices for detecting fish.
It also had improved safety features needed to be competitive in the modernised fishing industry after Portugal had joined the European Economic Community.
Rodrigo's grandfather passed away at 91 from natural causes and Rodrigo was at his bedside.
Pedro asked Rodrigo to travel to Brazil as his ancient ancestor, Cabral, had done and search for proof that he was related to this famous commander. It was not just a story, Pedro often claimed.
Rodrigo returned to Figueira and thought about what his grandfather had told him before he died.
He returned to work as captain of the new fishing vessel and continued for several years.
However, things were not quite the same as when he had contact with his grandfather.
He decided to do what Pedro had suggested and go to Brazil in search of proof that he was, in fact, related to Pedro Cabral.
He asked his former captain, now the owner of the new vessel, whether he could take his vessel to Brazil, a trip 4600 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean.
The owner and the crew all agreed and they set off from Lisbon in early March 2000, which was 500 years after Cabral's voyage.
Rodrigo had planned the trip to the last detail, so he was well prepared for a two-month voyage in the Atlantic Ocean.
He did not follow Cabral's map, who set out in a southwest direction to avoid the becalmed waters of the Gulf of Guinea for the sails of his fleet of 13 sailing ships.
This course became known as the 'Circle around Brazil.'
Following this route was not necessary for Rodrigo as his vessel was powered with engines; therefore, he took a more direct course to Brazil.
His vessel was equipped with the Automatic Identification System (AIS) so she could be tracked during the voyage to avoid collision with other ships.
AIS devices broadcast the location of a vessel along with other information, including identity, course and speed.
AIS ground stations and satellites picked up this information and used it to follow or track the vessel's movement.
Cabral and his men sighted the hump of Monte Pascoal after 47 days at sea by averaging 8 to 10 knots per hour.
A reconnaissance party went ashore on April 21, 1500, and the main landing was on April 22, claiming the land that he called the 'True Cross for Portugal.'
The natives greeted them with peace offerings of headdresses made from parrot feathers.
Rodrigo duplicated that landing 500 years later on the shores of Rio Buranhem; he and his crew remained there for 10 days.
His crew members refreshed and relaxed in one of the many Salvador resorts.
Rodrigo started to check his ancestry to find out if he was indeed related to the explorer Cabral as his grandfather Pedro had often told him.
He found out that Cabral had a son, Pedro II, who was on the voyage with him.
Pedro II stayed in Brazil when his father went on to India and he later married a native girl.
They had a son, Pedro III, and after several generations, Rodrigo's grandfather was, in fact, a distant relative of Pedro Álvares Cabral.
Rodrigo was thrilled with the results of the ancestry search findings.
Before leaving Salvador for their return to Lisbon, they had purchased huge amounts of coffee, oranges and sugar and loaded it in the vessel.
They returned to Lisbon rather than go on to India as Cabral did in the past, to obtain spices for Portugal.
The crew were greeted at the Lisbon dock by their families from Figueira and Rodrigo's mother was also there to hug him.
She had advised the families of the crew members of the crew's arrival and they had travelled by bus from Figueira to Lisbon.
On their way back home on the bus, they stopped for a while to visit Fatima and there, they prayed for their good fortune of making that long voyage safely.
Rodrigo and his crew took their vessel back to Figueira and sold the goods they brought from Brazil, except for a small amount that they had given to their families.
Rodrigo was very proud to be related to the great Portuguese explorer, Pedro Álvares Cabral, and he continued his life as a Portuguese Fisherman.
If you enjoyed this story, Dennyk has created many more (see further down), to register for more Free Stories please click below or click the Free Story Access button top left on this page.
Click Here to Register for more Free Stories.
If you've already registered please rate this story below from your own point of view. Click one of the radio buttons next to a star below and then enter your registered email address. You can only rate each story once. Story star ratings shown (2 to 5 stars) are the average of all rating scores to date, these may not update immediately subject to browser and local cache settings, in some cases it may take a few hours.
Retiring in 2000, Dennyk rekindled his childhood interest in children's stories first triggered by his father's funny stories, by completing a children's writing course.
Dennyk is married with two children and four grandchildren who live in Europe. His wife runs an animal rescue centre called 'Lillies of the Field', some of the animals feature in his stories.
Dennyk grew up in North Dakota, gaining a BSME from the State University, moving to Ohio in 1955, France in 1964, England in 1978, Canada in 1984 and returning to Ohio in 1990.
Here's a list of just some of Dennyk's stories which are rotated on this page one at a time and available to registered readers. The entire collection is available immediately to those registered for Unlimited Children's Stories (see Free Story Access above).
Black And Blue
Bonbon And Buzzy
Camping Gone Bad Canuck Cowgirl
Catch And Release
Dinky And Chomper
Dreama Talking Cockatoo
Fair And Square
Flowers And Birds
Huey And Yogi
Jake And Lill
Jeremy The Flyer
My Dog Jeremy
Someone Ill Be
The Five Germs
The Lone Ranger
The Majestic 6 Plus 1
The Three Boars
Thanks for your interest and happy reading.