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Just when did Otja decide to become a botanist?

Just when did Otja decide to become a botanist?

As we become a little bigger but are actually still quite small, so begins the time of adventures of the most oddball sort. These often include running and climbing, hiding, peeking, stealing fruit… But there’s no point in telling you all this, is there? You already know! It is during this time — of being a little bigger but actually still quite small — that our interests, character and deepest friendships begin to take form.

When Otja was a little bigger but actually still quite small, his parents and three older sisters lived high up in the mountains. He didn’t have many friends or, to be precise, he didn’t have any friends at all. Not that there was anything wrong with him, oh no. It was just that their house was located in the middle of a vast forest and there was no other house to be found for miles and miles around. Otja’s sisters were old enough to have stopped with their adventures of the most oddball sort; they instead spent their time engaged in long conversations. Otja never took part in these conversations. Even though he was already a little bigger, he was still too small — at least according to his sisters. And so he spent most of his time by himself.

Otja really liked exploring! He ran and he climbed, peeked, hid, stole fruit… but there’s no point in telling you all this — you already know! The forest was his playground and the trees were his friends.

One summer day Otja’s sisters were sitting in the shade along the edge of a forest meadow. They discussed what they wanted to be when they grew up. All of them were already big and not small at all, so it was time for them to go to the big schools and study to become doctors, astronauts, physicists, architects, merchants … there were so many professions and the decision certainly wasn’t an easy one. And while his sisters debated and debated and could not figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, Otja was sitting high up in a tree and observing them.

“AAAA-chooooo!” he sneezed, suddenly, loudly. He just couldn’t hold it anymore!

“Otja!” the three of them screamed. “What are you doing? Hey, have you been there the entire time?”


“And you’ve been eavesdropping?”

Otja shrugged and gave a smile, as only a little brother can —  after he’s been up to no good.

“Oh, Otja,” his sisters laughed. “Well then, tell us, what will you be when you grow up?”

“I’ll be a botanist!” Otja said, without hesitation.

And that was that.