Tale of the Brick Maker, of San Jeronimo, Peru [In English and Spanish]

Tale of the Brick Maker,
Of San Jer?nimo, Peru
[A Cup of Sorrow]


In the Andean mountains, within the

Mantaro Valley region of Peru,
Isolated, secluded, tranquil, is the little

village of San Jer?nimo.
Near the village, here lay the fertile valley

with bent-grass, and huge
Mountains stretching northbound,

And heading towards the ocean's coast.

The old man had hands like a farmer's

was raised on labor and ceaseless;
He made bricks from the mountain's clay,

baked them, from nearby firewood, and found
Serenity from the suns rays, as it sank

each night into twilight.

And so Augusto lived, directing his

household somewhat apart from the village,
Not a wealthy man, a brick maker, with

goodly acres of land; he now was a
Man of four and eighty winters, resting.

Happy and healthy was he, an ox of a man

with leathered skin, and dark eyes;
Yet how delicately they shinned.

Thus, at peace with God and man
and himself; the old brick maker.


I sat back in the Plaza de Arms, of Lima, Peru

listened to the tale of this old man,
And his Bride of long ago?a story never before

told?these were days forlorn and desolate
Night after night, when the city was

asleep, he tried to make a living,
But it seemed like the sun was always dark

in those days, with naught in his pockets
But a twig from a branch of a tree.

He hadn't eaten for a few days, so the old

man said?, he was quite young back then;
Wandering the streets, the quiet way,

elastic and descending were his legs,
As if they were broken wings,. No jobs

in the city, now at trails end?
He needed a friend?thus he sat down

on some empty feverish steps, silent.

Moistening his lips, looking up, he saw---

(eyes half dead)
A little girl's face looking down at him.

All was ended now, the hope that
Might had been; now restless; a vanished vision;

an unsatisfying longing.

"Sir, can I help you? Why are you so sad?"

spoke the little ten year old.
A dull deep pain, reached Augusto's lips,

not knowing what to say;
And did it matter anyway, "Eh!" he replied.

She said once more, to the bewildered
Man, "Ssir, why are you so sad?"

Hundreds of feet walked by, where she

stood, he sat, "Miss, I can't pay the rent!"
Embarrassed, deep-voiced, he looked back down.

Within an hour's time, the little girl
Was back, full of life, and with a check?

paying the rent a month in advance?!


But this is not where the story ends my friend,

it was really just the beginning.
As the old man in the park, sat back, we all

Wondered, and asked:
What ever happened to the little girl?

(all several of us now enchanted with his tale);
But he just laughed?. Said I,

"What sir is so funny?"
He replied: "I came back, six years later,

and married her."
And you could see the twinkle in his eyes, for

she had been long dead, and he missed her.
And that was all he said?.

#757 7/10/05

Spanish Version

Translated by: Nancy Penaloza
Edited by: Rosa Penaloza

Un Cuento del Ladrillero

De San Jer?nimo de Tun?n


En las monta?as Andinas, dentro de la regi?n
Del Valle del Mantaro de Per?,
Encerrado, aislado, tranquilo, est? el peque?o
Pueblo de San Jer?nimo.
Cerca al pueblo, aqu? descansa el valle f?rtil
Con franjas verdes, y enormes
Monta?as estir?ndose desplaz?ndose hacia el norte,
y encabezando hacia la costa del oc?ano.

El anciano ten?a manos como el de un agricultor
Fue enaltecido en el trabajo e incesante;
El hizo ladrillos con la arcilla de la monta?a,
Coci?ndolos con le?a en un cercano horno, y encontr?
La serenidad de los rayos del sol, as? como estos se hund?an
Cada noche dentro del crep?sculo.

Y as?, Augusto vivi?, dirigiendo su
Casa algo aparte de su pueblo,
No un hombre rico, un ladrillero, con
Preciosos acres de tierra; ?l era ahora un
Hombre de 84 inviernos, descansando.

Feliz y saludable ?l era, como un buey era el hombre
Con la piel curtida, y ojos oscuros;
Todav?a cu?n delicadamente ellos brillaban.
As?, en paz con Dios y el hombre
Y el mismo; el viejo ladrillero.


Me sent? de nuevo en la plaza de armas, de Lima, Per?
Escuchando el cuento de este viejo hombre,
Y su novia de hace mucho... Una historia nunca antes
Contada? estos fueron d?as desesperados y desolados
Noche tras noche, cuando la ciudad estaba
Dormida, ?l trataba de ganarse la vida,
Pero parec?a como si el sol estuviera siempre oscuro
En aquellos d?as, con cero en sus bolsillos
Pero con una ramita de la rama del ?rbol.

El no hab?a comido durante unos d?as, eso el
anciano dijo..., ?l era bastante joven entonces;
Peregrinando por las calles, de forma tranquila
El?sticas y ca?das eran sus piernas,
Como si fueran alas rotas. Sin trabajo
en la ciudad, ahora en caminos finales?
El necesitaba un amigo?por eso ?l se sent?
sobre algunas gradas febriles, silencio.

Humedeciendo sus labios, mirando arriba, el vio
(ojos medio muertos)
Una carita de ni?a mir?ndolo
Todo hab?a acabado ahora, la esperanza que
podr?a haber sido; ahora inquieta, una visi?n esfumada;
un deseo poco satisfactorio

"?Se?or, puedo ayudarle? ?Por qu? esta usted tan triste?"
dijo la peque?a de 10 a?os de edad.
Un dolor embotado profundo, alcanzo los labios de Augusto,
no sabiendo que decir;
?Y eso importaba de cualquier manera? "Eh" ?l respondi?
Ella dijo una vez mas, para el desconcierto del
Hombre "?Ssse?or porque est? tan triste?"

Cientos de pies andaban por ah?, donde ella
estuvo de pie, ?l sentado dijo, "se?orita, no puedo pagar la renta"
Avergonzado, con voz muy profunda, ?l miro hacia abajo.
Dentro de un tiempo aproximado de una hora, la peque?a ni?a
Estuvo de regreso, llena de vida, y con un cheque...
Pagando la renta un mes adelantado...!


Pero esto no es donde termina la historia mi amigo,
Esto fue realmente justo el comienzo.
Mientras el viejo hombre en el parque, sentado, todos
Maravillados y preguntando:
?Que le hab?a pasado a la peque?a ni?a?
(Todos nosotros ahora encantados con su cuento);
Pero ?l solo sonri?... Dije yo,
"?Qu? es tan gracioso se?or?"
El contest?: "regres?, seis a?os despu?s
y me cas? con ella."
Y tu pod?as ver el centelleo en sus ojos, porque
Ella ya hab?a muerto, y ?l la extra?aba.
Y eso fue todo lo que dijo...

Dennis Siluk, author and poet, web site http://dennissiluk.tripod.com he will be going to Peru for the presentation of his book, "Spell of the Andes," in October; he lives in Peru and Minnesota

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