Sunday, January 24, 2010

Translation: La Casa De Lencho

La casa de Lencho, escritó por Gregorio López y Fuentes de Veracruz
(Lencho's House, written by Gregorio López y Fuentes from Veracruz)
Lencho's House
The house... alone in the valley... was at the top of a small hill. From here one could see the river, and, next to the farmland, the cornfield, ripe with the bean flowers that always promise a good harvest.
The land lacked only rain, or at least one heavy downpour. In the morning, Lencho… who knew the farmland very well… did nothing other than examine the northeast sky.
“Here comes the rain, old one!”
And his old wife, who was preparing the food, responded:
"God willing."
The older boys worked in the farmland, while the little ones played near the house, until the mother called out:
"Come eat..."

The Storm
While they were eating, the drops of rain began to fall, just like Lencho had predicted. In the northeast they could see the clouds the size of mountains roll in. The air was fresh and sweet.
The man left to excused himself to search for something in the farmland simply for the pleasurable sensation of the rain against his body, and exclaimed:
"These are not drops of water which fall from the sky; they are fresh coins; the bigger drops are ten-pieces and the smaller ones are worth five..."
And he watched with satisfaction as the ripe cornfield with its bean-flowers became covered with the transparent curtain of rain. But then, suddenly, a strong wind began to blow and hail began to fall with the rain. These really did seem like pieces of silver! The younger boys, caught in the rain, ran to grab the frozen pearls.
"This is terrible," exclaimed the man, mortified. "I hope it will all pass soon..."
But it did not pass. In an hour, the hail fell onto the house, the vegetable garden, the woodland, the cornfields, and the entire valley. The farmland was white, as if covered with salt. Leafless trees. The cornfields, destroyed. The bean stalks, without a single flower. Lencho, with a soul full of misery. After the storm, standing in the middle of the field, Lencho said to his sons:
"A cloud of locusts would have done worse... The hail did nothing: we will not have beans or corn this year..."
That night was one of lamentations.
"Everything we worked for, gone!"
"And nobody can help us!"
"We will go hungry this year..."
But in the hearts of the inhabitants of this miserable house survived a single hope: the faith in God's help.
"Do not worry yourself so, even if the damage is vast. Remember that nobody dies of hunger!"
"That's what the say: nobody dies of hunger..."

Lencho's Idea
And, during the night, Lencho thought of his only hope: help from God, whose eyes, without explanation, saw everything, even that which we keep in the background of our consciousness.
Lencho was an uneducated man, and he worked with animal persistence in the fields, but for all his crudeness he knew how to write. The next Sunday, with the first light of the day, having strengthened his faith in Him who protects us all, he began to write a letter which he would later carry to the village to put into the mail.
It was nothing less than a letter to God.
"God," Lencho wrote, "if you do not help me, my whole family will go hungry this year. I need one hundred pesos to plant another harvest and to live while we are waiting for it, because the hail..."
He finished, wrote: To God on the envelope, put the letter inside, and, still preoccupied with his letter, set off for the village. In the mail office, he put a stamp on the letter and dropped it into the mailbox.

The Mail
A worker, who was a mailman and also helped in the mail office, was laughing as he showed a letter adressed to God to his chief. Never in his job as a mailman had he encountered this adress. The office chief... fat and kind... also started to laugh, but very soon he grew serious and, drumming the edge of the envelope absentmindedly against the table, he commented:
"What faith! If only i had the faith of that man who wrote the letter! To believe as he believes! To hope with the same confidence as with which he can hope! To try and talk to God!"
And, so as to not disillusion such a wealth of faith, found only in a letter that could not be returned, the office chief devised a plan: to answer the letter. But, as he opened it, he realized he would need more than good will to answer it, more than ink and paper. But he followed through with determination: he asked for money from his employer, who gave him a part of his salary early, and then a few friends helped him in his "act of charity".
It was impossible to collect all one hundred pesos for Lencho, and the chief could only collect for the farmer a little bit more than half of what he asked for. He put the money into an envelope adressed to Lencho, an envelope that had only one word as a signature: GOD.

Lencho's Reaction
The following Sunday, Lencho arrived to ask, much earlier than usual, whether there was a letter for him. The same mailman handed him the envelope, while the chief, wild with the joy of a man who has done a good deed, watched from a the door near his office.
Lencho showed no surprise at seeing the money... so great was his certainty... but he got angry upon counting the money. God could not have been mistaken, not deny Lencho what the farmer had asked!
Immediately, Lencho approached the window to ask for paper and ink. He sat at a table and began to write, wrinkling his forehead at the effort that expressing his thoughts gave him. When he finished, he asked for a stamp, which he moistened with his tongue and affixed with the blow of a closed fist.
As soon as the letter fell into the mailbox, the office chief ran to open it. It read:
"God. From the money which you sent, I only recieved sixty pesos. Send me the rest; I need it very much; but do not send it to me by mail: those who work here are thieves. -Lencho."

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