Amália Madeira, The Only Little Girl in Aldeia da Pena

Aldeia da Pena, Portugal Photo Credit: Hank

Aldeia da Pena, Portugal.   Photo Credit: Hank


Molly: (splashing in a spring fed fountain in Aldeia da Pena one of the most remote villages in Portugal. Population: 8) I like it here, mama. I love it.

Me: You do?

Molly: Yah! I do.

Me: Shall we see more?

Molly: Yah, we on adventure.

Me: We are on an adventure.

Molly: Yah, I love adventure. I aventureira (an adventurer)! (taking my hand and walking down the road)

Me and Molly in Aldeia da Pena. Photo Credit: Hank

Me and Molly in Aldeia da Pena. Photo Credit: Hank


Me: You are, indeed. Did you know that only eight people live in this village. Although, I’ve been told more come home for Christmas and summer holidays.

Molly: Yah.

Me: That means today you are the only little girl in this village.

Molly: It me?

Me: Yes, just you.

Molly: Okay.

Me: Once there were many little girls, but now they live closer to school and town.

Molly: No one is home. Não esta em casa (Not at home).

Me: Well, that isn’t true. We met Senior Antonio and his wife; they live here and this is their home. And the family that runs the restaurant, but their daughters are grown, no one as small as you anymore.

Molly: (pointing) What’s that, mommy?

Photo 09-12-2017, 12 47 10

Me: (looking up to see a wooden statue of a little girl placed in the door of an old stone oven) Oh, well hello there.

Molly: (waving at the statue) Hello!

Me: I guess you aren’t the only little girl in this village after all.

Molly: Who’s that?

Me: Well, I don’t know. Do you know who she is?

Molly: Yes, her Amália! (bouncing)

Me: Her name is Amália, just like you?

Molly: Yah! Hello, Amália. (waving)

Me: I am very pleased to meet you Amália… Madeira (wood). My name is Joy and this is my daughter Amália Pereira (pear tree).

Molly: (covering her mouth to giggle when she heard their rhyming names) I Amália. I aventureira (adventurer)! Be my friend? Amália Madeira my friend, mommy?

Me: Oh yes. We shall be friends with Amália Madeira always and forever.

Molly: She come home with us?

Me: No, she lives here. If she came to live with us then Senior Antonio and his wife would be very lonely, I think.

Molly: Yah. She my friend. I love you, Amália Madeira.

Me: Me, too! I love you, Amália Madeira.

Molly: Awwwe, I give her hug?

Me: Blow her kisses and she will catch them.

Molly: (blowing kisses) She catch them, she catch them! I see! You see too, mommy?

Me: I did.

Molly: Amália Madeira my friend. She dances in my heart. I dance, too! (dancing in the rainy streets)

Me: (beaming) What else?

Molly: She little girl here. She the only little girl. Today, I here too! I make Amália Madeira happy. She make me happy. She make me sooooo happy, mommy.

Me: What a wonderful friend.

Molly: She my friend! She wonderful!

Aldeia da Pena is known as the village where “the dead kill the living.” Before the road was built the only way to access the village was by foot and if you wanted to bury your loved ones in consecrated ground you’d have to carry their remains out of the valley.  The journey was difficult and some died on along the way, hence the moniker.