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from the October 2005 issue


Note: This piece was originally written in Purépecha.

There once was a man who was very poor, but also indolent. He tried hard to survive, by cutting firewood in the countryside and by selling it, in order to resolve his family's economic problems. At least, that was what he said. But the truth was that, although he did go to the country every day, he returned to his house empty-handed.

One day, he went to the hills as always, and when he arrived at his usual spot, he saw a deer. He remained still, thinking, "If I kill this deer, I will have money to buy a chicken. The chicken will lay eggs every day and then I can buy a pig. The pig will have many little pigs and when they are grown, I will sell them. Then I will have a lot of money. Soon, I will be able to buy a young sheep who will multiply quickly; then in a short time, I can buy an automobile and some cows that I have longed for. I will own many other things and I won't be poor anymore."

"If I can manage to buy cows," he went on thinking, "they will have many young calves that will grow up to become bulls, and then I will choose the biggest and best looking of them to form a yoke of oxen; then I can work the land.... No, no, no, I will not work, because I will be rich, better that I send the workers to do the work. I will be an important gentleman who only supervises his peons so that he doesn't get his shoes dirty. I will shout to them from a distance, 'Hurry up, lazy ones!'"

Because he shouted these words with such determination, the deer jumped up and went running back up the hill, leaving the man alone with his illusions.

Originally published in Relatos Purépechas, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Dirección General de Culturas Populares, Coleccion Lenguas de México No. l2. México l995. pp.27-29.

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