One of my favourite things – A miniature Gaul village

Unlike his siblings, LA, aged 6, had no interest in reading or books whatsoever. This was a matter of great concern to his parents, as the rest of the family spent much of their time reading, and we believed this to be a critical life skill, both for work and during leisure time.

Bedtime stories were a regular thing (and had been all his life) and at school his teacher also tried to entice him to read using every encouragement possible. But all to no avail. The problem was that young LA excelled at phonetic writing and spelling, and this, he believed, was perfectly adequate – why would one need to bother wasting time learning a whole new set of reading/writing skills? It was a difficult argument to counter, and we just had to hope that one day a book would capture his imagination and start him discovering the power of the written word.

During this period, I was able to occasionally venture into large bookshops in our local capital city. It was on one of these trips that I ‘rediscovered’ a series of childhood favourite books. Our local library had had a very limited children’s section, but one thing they did have was Asterix comic books and I loved them – I found the witty use of words and ideas very creative and entertaining.

The Gaul village where Asterix and Obelix live

The Gaul village where Asterix and Obelix live (From ‘Asterix and the magic carpet’ by Albert Underzo (1987) page 5).

I could not resist buying the book I had found – thinking that I could relive some of the childhood pleasure I had enjoyed many years before.

But little did I realise the impact that this purchase was to have on my smallest family member. Not only did he enjoy the humour and the clever use of words and ideas, but he went back again and again to re-read it. Realising that I had struck gold :-) I then looked in every bookshop for every book I could find in the series! And he loved them all. 15 years later, we still have all those dog eared Asterix books and I am still reading and enjoying them!

But that is not really what this post is about.

Even at this very young age, LA was a very creative person and decided to build a Gaul Village, like those he saw in the Asterix books. Using a cereal box, twigs from the garden, small stones, some glue and some sand, he set to work. He made the most beautiful model village and I have treasured and kept it ever since.

This is what it looks like.

Gaul village built by LA (aged 6)

Gaul village built by LA

For those of you who are Asterix fans, you will recall features of a traditional Gaul village. All the buildings are surrounded by a high fence made of sharpened logs lashed together with twine (Gaul, it must be remembered was in conflict with the Romans at this time in history). Depending on the size of the village, there is usually a single gate which is guarded against invaders.

Village gate

Village gate

The houses and buildings have roofs constructed from round timber poles and are all linked with neatly marked laneways.

And there is no mistaking the hut up on the tree stump (where the acoustics are just so much better according to Cacofonix the Bard!)

Each of these aspects has been loyally reproduced in the model. Asterix‘s house can be seen in the village photo in the foreground – just near the gate. Below, the lashed fence provides a secure site for other houses in the village.

Village houses

Village houses protected by the secure fence

There are two main characters in each Asterix story – there is Asterix the mighty warrior, and his superstrong friend Obelix, who likes to carry about a big stone (a menhir) for fun. Other characters living in the village include Chief Vitalstatistix, the village druid Getafix, and Obelix‘s little dog Dogmatix.

Obelix has a quarry where he gets his menhirs, and below you can see Obelix‘s quarry. It is complete with menhir shaped stones (and a sign for the uninitiated!)

Obelix's quarry

Obelix’s quarry

Those tiny fingers had trouble with constructing a hut on Cacofonix‘s tree house platform and the whole assembly still refuses to stand straight! In the photo of the whole village, this troublesome tree house can be seen on the top right.

As a final touch, the model has 3 pebbles glued under the base – three small feet ensuring that it remains stable when placed on a flat surface.

According to Wikipedia, 325 million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide and the books have been translated into over 100 languages from the original French. But I am willing to bet that I am the only mother in the world who has such a beautiful model made of this village by such a talented young Asterix fan! Definitely one of my favourite things!

This article was inspired by the Daily Post WordPress Challenge: A few of my favourite things.

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About Madoqua

I have been to lots of places, seen lots of things and had some great experiences. This blog has writings about these adventures; a place to share the many photos I have collected and to describe the lovely things I have seen. In recent years, I have discovered the delights of biking and have cycled in lots of places. You can read about these adventures on my other blog "Cycling through the middle ages".
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87 Responses to One of my favourite things – A miniature Gaul village

  1. adinparadise says:

    How lovely that your young son went to all this effort to recreate the village he saw in the books he loved so well. I’m not surprised that you’ve treasured it for all these years. :)

  2. fgassette says:

    A very inspiring story. LA must be proud of his accomplishments. Thanks for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  3. If you had shown me that model first, I would immediately have shouted: Asterix! It’s very well made. Amazing how children will find that one special thing to inspire them. What is LA doing now? Is he in a creative field?

    I’ve always been a huge Asterix fan. I don’t know if you ever saw the animated cartoon series? The animation is very simple – not like today’s stuff – but it is very good. And funny! My favourite episode has always been Asterix in Britain.

    • Madoqua says:

      Lisa, it is so beautifully done, and I am delighted that you recognised the little village as being from Asterix.
      LA is still creating amazing things in his leisure time but they are now a lot more technical and complex!

      I have not seen the animated Asterix cartoon series. I knew it existed, but often I find movies made from books don’t do the books justice, so I stayed with the books!

  4. Super cute! Gaul used to be my last name… I miss it.

  5. had never seen one before, pretty cool

  6. Tom says:

    Wow! Amazing model! Thanks for sharing!

  7. jubilare says:

    Absolutely awesome! I loved these books growing up, but indeed I never thought to build the village, and such a beautiful realization of it!

  8. jimceastman says:

    You’re so lucky having son like LA, he must be very talented! :-)

  9. howanxious says:

    I must say, its a beautiful model. :-)
    Beautiful story!

  10. Rae says:

    Beautiful! You just made me a little sad though that I don’t have any pictures of the model villages I made as a kid. I do have a piece of one though – I had made a model covered wagon on a campground and I had sewn half of a little quilt to hang out of the back of the wagon. I don’t have the wagon anymore, but I do have that little piece of quilt.

    • Madoqua says:

      Rae, it is sad that you don’t have any photos of your model villages. I made many things when I was young too, but had no camera (and probably would not have thought to take a photo anyway!), so also do not have any pics.
      But there must be a story about your creations waiting to be written, and if you still have the little quilt, that could feature perhaps?
      Thank you for visiting and commenting on my post.

  11. tifoli says:

    I am a HUGE fan of Asterix ( I always felt so bad for poor Cacofonix, he is so misunderstood). Your son did such a great job!

    • Madoqua says:

      Tifoli, delighted to meet another Asterix enthusiast!
      Love your comments about Cacofonix! The writers and illustrator of these wonderful books must have had such a fabulous sense of humour! All those books, imagine how many millions of giggles and laughs they will have inspired (and continue to inspire). What a wonderful legacy!
      Thanks for commenting and appreciating LA’s efforts!

  12. scrapydo says:

    My son collected Asterix books(or must I say we bought him some) I still have them and brought them over with me to New Zealand. They are again on my book shelf

  13. cartoonmick says:

    I love cartoon drawings like those. Thanks for posting.

  14. mudlips says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I’m so excited to be perusing today’s FP selections and see you here. Well deserved. A lovely and moving post.

  15. Grumpa Joe says:

    What a great mom you are to have saved this masterpiece for all these years. Someday you will have the pleasure of giving it back to LA, that is, if he is ready for it.

    • Madoqua says:

      I am a very lucky Mom(!), I have been given treasures like this by all my children, over the years. I intend to showcase some of these in future blogs. My kids are just awesome!
      Thank you for your lovely comments, I really appreciate them.

  16. amelie88 says:

    Asterix! We were always big Tintin fans in my house but we have a few Asterix somewhere. I grew up reading the French versions (Dad is from France) and I had no idea they changed some of the characters’ names in English! The village chief name in French is Abraracourcix (which is a play on words of something meaning “shortened arms”) and the dog’s name is Idefix (a play on words meaning a “fixed idea”). However I don’t think Asterix was ever that big in the US.

    There have been a few French live action movies–out of the trilogy the Asterix: Mission Cleopatra was the most successful and a huge hit in France. Gerard Depardieu played Obelix and Monica Bellucci played Cleopatra.

    LA’s Gaul village is amazing! Did he make it for school?

    • Madoqua says:

      Amelie, thank you for reading my post and providing all that info on the Asterix series. I am learning French, so I need to get copies of those French versions to read and enjoy!
      I did read Tintin too, and really enjoyed them, but not as much as Asterix!
      LA just loves making things, it was a personal project – just for fun! His siblings are just the same, there was always something amazing being made in our house, and this is still going on. I love it!

  17. SuperDude526 says:

    That Obelix miniature is absolutely fascinating. Beautiful post with cool photos to boot.

  18. LubbyGirl says:

    I have never heard of these books, but I love this story, and that model village your son built: PRICELESS.

  19. Tina Liu says:

    Greetings,
    I’ve nominated your wonderful blog for The Super Sweet Blogging Award. Congratulations! For instructions, please visit my blog at http://tinaliu517.wordpress.com/awards/the-super-sweet-blogging-award/.
    -Tina

  20. Congratulations on being FP’ed, and on your talented son! That is a beautiful model!

    I always loved Asterix when I was a kid, and I still do. Apart from Asterix and Obelix, most of the characters’ names are different in Danish but I had no trouble recognizing them all. :)

    • Madoqua says:

      John, thanks so much for visiting and reading my post. I am pretty excited about being Freshly Pressed, it was such a lovely surprise!

      So delighted to meet another Asterix fan, and how lovely to have read them in Danish! They are timeless books, and such fun to read!

      On a recent trip to France I stayed with someone who hunted wild boar (and we were treated to delicious wild boar roast for dinner!). I had no idea that hunting boar in Europe is/was for real, I thought it was part of the Asterix story!

  21. Gen says:

    This post just made me dig up my comics stash for my Asterix ones. Unfortunately, I found out that I only managed to save one Asterix comic book when I moved house. One!
    Anyway, I love the little Gaul village! Your son is so creative.

    • Madoqua says:

      Wow, another Asterix fan! So happy you have one book left and so sad you lost the others! Ah well :-)
      Thank you for your appreciation of the little village, I think it probably means more to folks who know the characters and the setting.

  22. iRuniBreathe says:

    What an amazing village LA re-created. I read Asterix a bit growing up and loved their names and the qualities of the characters. Seeing this village reminds me of reading those books and I think it’s probably time to introduce my own 6 year old to these mighty Gauls.
    Cheers,
    iRuniBreathe

    • Madoqua says:

      Thanks for dropping by to read my post and to leave a comment. I am sure your 6 year old would love to read Asterix! You could also get to enjoy the books again that way :-)

  23. umanbn says:

    It was always between Tintin and Asterix for me but Asterix won every time…..and waht a fantastic model…nice post and blog.. :)

  24. leahJlynn says:

    I’am not familiar with Asterix, But, am very interested. LA village was awesome.

    • Madoqua says:

      As someone who delights in these books, I am sure you would get a lot of enjoyment from them if you were able to get hold of one (then you would probably want to get the rest too!).
      Thank you for your appreciation of LAs efforts!

  25. hemadamani says:

    I’m a huge Asterix fan myself. I have quite a few books of his and I still like to read them again and again. the village made by your son is beautiful and imaginative. thanks for sharing..:)

  26. LA sounds like an exciting personality!

  27. Madoqua says:

    Very talented and creative :-)

  28. valens87 says:

    LA has done a great work!!!
    The Asterix’ collection was and is still my favourite comic! Sometimes, when I cannot sleep, I glance through one of my books, it puts me in a good mood in seconds :)
    Have a great sunday
    xoxo

  29. Barbara Backer-Gray says:

    So cool! I’m a big Asterix and Obelix fan myself. I keep thinking my son would like them, too, but mine are all in Dutch. This reminds me to look for them in English so he can crack up as much as I do.

    • Madoqua says:

      Barbara, Asterix in Dutch! How awesome! Yes, I think it is definitely a good idea to get the English ones as well for your son.
      Apparently the names of the characters vary with the language, so you will be able to enjoy the English versions too!

  30. davewakefield says:

    Brilliant just absolutely brilliant

  31. That model village is seriously cool! I’ve been an Asterix fan since I was a kid – this to the point where, though I don’t speak French much, I was seriously tempted to buy actual French Asterix editions in Paris when I saw them in a bookstore on the Rue de Lafayette.

    Thank you for sharing

    • Madoqua says:

      Matthew, how lovely to meet another Asterix fan. I never thought to look for the books when I was in Paris, but I certainly will do next time! My limited French needs all the help it can get!

  32. nirupamaprv says:

    Awesome. A treasure indeed. Lucky you to have such a gifted child and lucky LA to have such a cherishing Mom. :)

  33. robstroud says:

    Nice work. Did you son become an architect or an urban planner?

  34. Reggie says:

    This is GORGEOUS, Madoqua! What a fabulous model!

    I grew up reading the Asterix comics too – they are soo clever. A number of years ago, I collected the entire set in German, which is my home-language, and we still re-read it at least once a year. I think it would be interesting to compare the English text with the German text – translating the specific jokes must be quite tricky!

    • Madoqua says:

      Reggie, I agree about comparing the different languages! I would like to get some in French to see what the original text/words is like.
      The translators must have been very skilled to keep the entertaining use of words true to the original. The books are certainly very popular in any language!

  35. eof737 says:

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed… :-)

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