"I'm the little animals!": Mestre Pastinha & Pedro Porreta

One more (last one!) story from Mestre Bola Sete’s book, A Capoeira Angola na Bahia. This one tells the story of Mestre Pastinha, who is Mestre Bola Sete’s teacher, and Pedro Celestino dos Santos, a.k.a. Pedro Porreta, one of the most famous valentões in Salvador of the first half of the twentieth century.

Mestre Pastinha came face-to-face with the dangerous capoeirista Pedro Porreta, who was well-known in Bahia for his aggressive manner and for the innumerable troubles he caused, causing him to confront the famous Chief of the Police Squadron, Pedro Azevedo Gordilho, better known as “Pedrito”. From then on, he was continuously persecuted by the squadron, who were never able to catch him.

It all started when Pedro Porreta went to live in a hut close to the Rua das Laranjeiras, where Mestre Pastinha owned a small market stall. There was a misunderstanding between the two, that turned into a violent fight, that after many blows from both sides, ended in a victory for Mestre Pastinha. He considered it his most difficult fight. “A good boy,” Mestre told me when I asked him about the capacity of his adversary in the street fight.

Mestre Pastinha had gone to the fair to buy bananas, leaving his wife in charge of the stall, when Pedro Porreta, who did not know that the stand belonged to Mestre Pastinha, arrived. Upon entering, he asked for a half dozen bananas.

- We don’t have any, my husband went to get some just now at the fair, responded the mestre’s wife.

Pedro Porreta was about to leave when he spied four bananas on top of the counter, and he turned and inquired:

- And those four bananas over there, who do they belong to?

- Those are for the little animals! said the mestre’s wife, pointing to a cage with two birds.

Pedro Porreta stepped forward, grabbed the bananas and left, saying:

- I am the little animals!

Upon returning from the fair, Mestre Pastinha entered the stall and put the basket of bananas on the floor. His wife told him what had happened. When she finished the story, the mestre left immediately to find the stranger. As he walked into the street, he met his friend who had seen everything and revealed the identity and the address of the individual. The mestre thanked him and proceeded to the house of Pedro Porreta, meeting him at the door.

Pedro Porreta did not suspect that Mestre Pastinha was the owner of the stall, and greeted him nicely, “How goes it, mestre? What would you like?” Upon learning that Mestre Pastinha was the owner of the stall and that he had come looking for an explanation as to what had transpired, Pedro Porreta opened the door, let loose a laugh, and pointed at the bananas cooking in a pan. Mestre Pastinha, noting Pedro Porreta’s mocking expression, turned to him and said, “Pedro, I am taking these bananas, if only because you invaded my stall in my absence and made fun of my wife.”

Upon hearing this, Pedro Porreta ran out into the middle of the street and challenged Mestre Pastinha to a fight.

Mestre Pastinha accepted the challenge and the fight went on for a few minutes, as no bystanders had the courage to separate them. The fight only ended with a violent cabeçada by Mestre Pastinha that threw Pedro Porreta far out onto the street. At this moment, a man who lived nearby came up and after asking about the fight, offered to pay the cost of the bananas provided that the two ended the dispute. Mestre Pastinha did not accept the man’s money, telling him, “My friend, I appreciate your kindness, but my argument with Pedro was not over the cost of the four bananas, but the way in which he handled the situation.” Saying this, he retired to his stall. Pedro Porreta moved out of his hut the next day.

Mestre Bola Sete's book has even more stories that regale the reader with the adventures of Mestre Pastinha (in Portuguese). You will really enjoy reading them all, and its a great book to include in your group's archives.

In the future, we'll be posting more about the famous Pedro Porreta.

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