El Alacrán de Fray Gómez. Part Two.
One morning Fray Gómez was in his cell in deep meditation, when the door was knocked lightly and discretely, and a voice with plaintive ring said:
-Deo gratias… Praised by the Lord!
-Forever and ever, amen. Come in, brother –replied Fray Gómez.
And an individual somewhat scruffy accessed the humble cell, vera efigie of the man who has been struck by poverty, but whose face let itself be guessed to contain the proverbial honesty of the old Castilian.
The furniture in the cell was comprised of four leather couches, a muddy table, and a platform without a mattress, sheets or coating, and with a rock as headstand or pillow.
-Take a seat, brother, and tell me frankly why you’ve come – said Fray Gómez
-The case is, father, that I am a man of good, a perfect gentleman…
-It is known and I wish you persevered, that way you’ll deserve peace of mind in this earthly life, and in the next one everlasting serenity.
-My profession is that of a pedlar, I live overwhelmed by family and my commerce does not spread from lack of resources, not because of laziness or shortage of industry in me.
-I’m glad, my brother, that to whoever works honestly, to him God will join.
- But the fact is, father, that until now God is deaf to my deeds, and delays his aid.
- Do not panic, brother, do not panic.
- The issue is that whenever I approach a door with a demand for five hundred coins, every single one has received me with a lock and latch. And it is because of this issue that I came here, and to your fatherhood I ask and implore to borrow that specific amount for six months, surely it is not because of me that people say:
In the world there are pious
of certain saints;
their gratitude lasts
as long as the miracle;
that an assistance
always gives life to the unknown
- How could you have imagined, son, that in this precarious cell you’d find such amount?
- The thing is, father, I wouldn’t be able to respond to that question; but I have faith that you won’t let me leave without consolation.
Faith will save you, brother. Wait for a moment.
And by looking about the white naked walls of the cell, he saw a scorpion walking tranquilly over the windowsill. Fray Gómez tore a page off an old book, advanced to the window, gently grabbed the insect, wrapped it in the piece of paper, and turning toward the old Castilian he said:
-Take this, good man, and pawn this jewel; don’t forget, to return it within six months.
The hawker melted in phrases of gratefulness, he bid fray Gómez goodbye and with more haste than a gazelle went directly to a pawnshop.
The jewel was splendid, a true gem of a Moorish queen, to say the least. It was a pendant that resembled a scorpion. Its body was formed by a magnificent emerald chained over gold, its head was thick with two ruby eyes.
The usurer, who was very knowledgeable, looked at the jewel and coveted it, offering the needy man two thousand coins in advance; but our Spaniard proposed to not accept any loan other than the five hundred coins for six months, and with a Judaic interest, it is understood. The documents (or such papers) were extended and signed, the usurer contemplating the hope of its owner coming back for more money, with which the surcharges of interest would make him the sole proprietor of such valued gem for its intrinsic and artistic merit.
With this small capital the Spaniard’s commerce was so successful, that at the end of the six month term could unpawn the pendant, and, wrapped in the same paper in which he received it, he returned it to fray Gómez.
He took the scorpion, put it over the window sill, gave it a blessing and said:
God’s little critter, follow your path.
And the scorpion started walking freely through the cell’s walls.
And old lady, gaunt,
Here the parable is done.