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Main > Spain folktales > Fairy tale "The Church Auctioneer and Clown of Villar"

The Church Auctioneer and Clown of Villar

“Then I heard a most dreadful noise, as if the end of the world had come; but I could still hear the student crying out, ‘Shut your eyes, good friend, or you will be blinded!’

“I have never been so terrified either before or since that day, and I was also in considerable pain, as the stones which I had placed in the pockets of my pants had, with climbing, almost sunk into me.

“After having kept my eyes closed for some time, I ventured on opening them, and then I saw a sight which told me I was a ruined man. My mules were rolling about in the dust, and all my pots and pans were wrecked. The mouse-coloured mule, moreover, seemed to be demented; she rolled and writhed so that it seemed as if she were in awful distress, and there was no doubt but that she had dragged the others down with her.

“Suddenly I heard the voice of the student, and, looking down, I saw that he was seated on a branch just below me. ‘Ah, poor creature,’ said he, ‘how terribly she feels the bereavement! Let us descend,’ continued he, ‘for the danger is now over, and we must, as Christian men, render aid to the poor dumb animals.’ Saying which he slid down the tree, and I after him as well as I could; and as soon as we again got on the road, he bid me try to pacify the mouse-coloured mule, while he would do his utmost to get the leader to get up.

“I saw that all my earthenware was broken, and I gave myself up to grief. ‘Unlucky man that I am!’ I exclaimed. ‘What harm can I have done to have deserved so great a punishment, and what, sir student, did you say to yon mule to make her act so?’

“‘Alas, friend José,’ said he, ‘we of the educated class understand resignation, but to such as you, as well as to the irrational creation, is this virtue denied. You bemoan the loss of your earthenware; and yonder dumb creature, with perhaps a glimmering of humanity about her, but certainly with more reason than you, deplores the loss of a good and beloved parent, who, on his death-bed, implored me to inform his daughter when I should next see her that he had died thinking of her, and that he bequeathed to her all he had to give, namely, the right of pasturage over all the lands in Spain and Portugal, and as much more as she could snatch from her neighbour when in the stable.

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