The Loan of the Deceased

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Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788499531151

SKU: 9788499531144 Category: Tags: ,

The Loan of the Deceased (El préstamo de la difunta) is a collection of stories by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. One of them has this title and is set in the Andes, the rest recreates scenes in different parts of the world: France, during the First World War, Mexico, the United States or Spain. Here appear characters of the most diverse origins, war fighters, passengers on a train on the way to Italy or a writer who sells his pen to the highest bidder:

“I fought with the pen, following the orders of my boss. In Mexico this work is easier than elsewhere. One has the precious argument of “American intervention”. The journalist who defends the government can describe the men of the opposition as “bad patriots, who with their insurrections provoke anarchy and make inevitable an invasion of the Americans for the restoration of order.” And in turn, opposition writers, in attacking the government, claim that it commits such atrocities, that, “in the end, the United States will have to intervene to overthrow its tyranny.” Without the specter of U.S. intervention, who could write in Mexico?”

When the neighbors of the small valley nestled between two foothills of the Andes learned that Rosalindo Ovejero planned to go down to the city of Salta to attend the procession of the famous Christ called “the Lord of the Miracle”, there were many who sought him out to make pious orders.
Years before, when business was going well and trade between Salta, the nitrate of Chile and southern Bolivia was active, there were always rich muleteers who, out of patriotic enthusiasm, paid for the trip to all their neighbors, descending en masse from the steep valley to intervene in this religious festival. They were not alone. The squadron of men and women on horseback escorted a brilliantly harnessed mule carrying on its backs an urn with the image of the Child Jesus, patron saint of the village.
Leaving for a few days the hermitage that served as a temple, he was among the images that preceded the Lord of the Miracle, striving the organizers of the expedition to win by its rich ornaments to the patrons of other towns.
The one-way trip to the city only took two days. The devotees of the valley longed to arrive as soon as possible to make their little Jesus triumph. Instead, the return journey lasted up to three weeks, as the devoted expeditionaries, proud of their success, stopped at all the villages along the way.
They organized dances during the hours of great heat, which sometimes lasted until midnight, consuming large quantities of mate and all kinds of alcoholic mixtures. Those who possessed the gift of poetic improvisation sang, with guitar accompaniment, décimas, endechas and tristes, while their comrades danced the Chilean zamacueca, the triunfo, the refalosa, the mediacaña and the cat, with interspersed relationships.
Sometimes this journey, in which the breaks were longer than the marches, was disturbed by some fight that made the blood flow; but no one was scandalized, because it is not plausible that people who go with weapons and have made trips through the Andes can live in common for several weeks, dancing and drinking with women, without the knives coming out of their sheaths alone.
Now there were no more gainful muleteers who devoted a few dozen ounces of gold to the journey of the Child Jesus and his devotees. The richest had left the village; only poor muleteers remained, of those who accept a trip to El Paposo in Chile or to Tarija in Bolivia for what the merchants of Salta want to give them.

Fragment of the work

Reference edition: Valencia, Editorial Prometeo, 1921.

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