Papá's Tale

Papá's Tale

A Story by Brytt

A boy listens to his father tell an old legend about a man's want to prove his love. (Spanglish)


                “Niño,” mi papá asks, “do you know of the story of Dulcarte Ermando?”

                “No, papa,” I tell him.  “What is it? Tell me, por favor.”

                My father, who has worked all day, leans back in his chair, props up his muddy boots, and lights a cigarette.

                “Well, niño, he was a young man like your brother is now.  Except he didn’t have a padre para mi o hermano para ti.  He only had his mother.  His father died before he was even born.

                “But there was a young señorita in town, bonita y morena.  Dulcarte loved her like his own life.  You haven’t known this yet, porque mi… If you know how I love tu madre, you will understand how he felt for the woman.  ¿Sí?”

                I nodded, not daring to tell him about the girl across the street.  I gave her flowers every day in exchange for chocolates and kisses.  He would tell me that I was too young, even though I was sixteen.  But father continued.

                “Miras, she thought that Dulcarte was no intelegente, no guapo.  She ignored him.  But Dulcarte refused to accept it.  He visited her every night to prove himself.  One night, she saw him and said ‘¡Vete! I don’t want to see you!’  But Dulcarte said no and told her, ‘Te amo.  Can’t I prove it?  Is there a way?  ¡Mirame!’  So the girl said, ‘There is no way to love you, Dulcarte, unless you bring me the leaves of the árbol de sol in the forest.’

                “Dulcarte, niño, he was not one to back down from the challenge the señorita presented.  So he left the town the next morning to look for the great Tree of Sun that she had mentioned.

                “No se, niño, where the tree is, or what it is like.  Pero Dulcarte knew that amor would guide him to the great tree, that he would pluck the fiery leaves, and that el corozon would take him home again.  His mother, la santa pobre, was so grieved by his departure, los muertos took her to her heavenly home that very night.”

                Here father paused and took a long drag of his cigarette.  He seemed tired and hurt by something that I did not know.  I hated his stories.  His folktales always had the most predictable endings.  That man would return, no doubt, and the stupid woman that he loved, she wasn’t even worth his time, but she would fall in love with him because of all his devotion to her.

                “Él no regresa,” my father breathed.

                “¿Qué?” I shouted.  “What do you mean, he never came back?”

                “Él no regresa,” he repeated.  “He was forgotten, and became a story that turned into legend, a legend turned into a children’s story that no one remembers.  Yo se.  Yo recordo.  My mother told me, and her father told her, and so on and so on, to the ancestors.  ¿Tu ses por qué, niño?”

                I shook my head.

                “Porqué,” he whispered, “the story began with our great ancestor, Bianca.  She is the woman Dulcarte loved.”

                I nodded, confused.  I felt certain that my father had either seen all this in a dream or he had made it up to scare me.  Perhaps he had even lost his mind.  However it was, I went to my room and cleaned.  Later that night, when my father was sound asleep in his chair, I crept past him to go see mi amor in the night.

© 2011 Brytt

Author's Note

For a contest, but may submit it to another. Also wrote it about three years ago for a Spanish class.

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Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on November 20, 2011
Last Updated on November 28, 2011
Tags: fairy tales, legends, spanglish, love, amor



Britt, IA

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