First Spanish Reader



28.  Letter to GOD by Gregorio López y Fuentes


Lencho’s hut stood on a hill. From up there could be seen the river and, next to the back yard, the field of corn already ripe and the beans in flower. Everything promised a bumper crop. But rain was necessary for this, a great deal of rain, or, at least a heavy shower.  From early morning Lencho scanned the sky toward the northeast. “Now it will surely rain!” His wife, who was preparing the meal, agreed: “It will rain, if God wishes.” Lencho’s bigger children were weeding the cultivated fields while the smaller ones played by the house. The “old lady” called them: “Come to eat, right away!” During the meal big rain drops began to fall. Huge black clouds were moving toward the northeast. The air was increasingly cool and redolent, and Lencho watched the fields with pleasure. But, suddenly, a strong wind blew and it began to hail. “Now it’s surely getting ugly!” Lencho exclaimed. And it did get ugly: for an hour the hail fell upon the house, upon the corn , upon the beans, upon the entire valley. The field was white, as if covered with salt. The trees, without a single leaf. The beans, without flower. Lencho’s anguish kept increasing and when the storm subsided he said to his children in a sad voice: “This was worse than the locust; the hail has left nothing behind. We’ll have neither corn nor beans this year.” The night was sad: a night of very sad complaints. “All our work lost!” “No one will be able to help us now!” “This year we’ll go hungry!” The inhabitants of the valley kept only one hope in their heart: God’s help. “Although the harm is very great, no one will starve to death: God will help us.”  “God is kind; no one will die of hunger.” Lencho was thinking of the future. Although he was a rough man, who worked like a beast of burden, he knew how to write. And so he decided to write a letter and take it to the post office himself. It was nothing less than a letter to God: “God, if you do not help me, I and all my family will go hungry this year. I need one hundred pesos for sowing once more and for keeping alive while waiting for the harvest, because the hail . . .” He wrote "TO GOD” on the envelope. He put the letter in the envelope . He went to town, to the post office , bought a stamp and put it on the letter and dropped it in the mail box. An employee picked it up later on, opened it and read it, and, laughing, showed it to the postmaster . The fat and kindhearted postmaster also laughed upon reading it, but very soon he became serious and exclaimed: “Faith! How pure a faith! This man truly and really believes, and that is why he writes to God.” And so as not to disillusion so pure a man, the postmaster decided to answer the letter. But first he collected some money: he gave part of his salary and asked for cents and pesos from his employees and friends. It was impossible to collect the one hundred pesos requested by Lencho. The postmaster sent to him only slightly more than half. He put the bills in an envelope addressed to Lencho and with them a letter which consisted of one word : GOD. A week later Lencho entered the post office and asked whether there was any letter for him. Yes, there was, but Lencho did not show the least surprise. Neither was he surprised upon seeing the bills, for he had faith in God and expected them. But upon counting the money he became angry. Immediately he approached the postoffice window, asked for paper and ink, and went to a table to write: “God, from the money which I asked you only sixty pesos reached my hands. Send to me the remainder, because I need it badly, but do not send it by mail because all the post office clerks are crooks. Yours,