The Stories of Don Pablo
Copyright © 2009
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means; electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, other than for “fair use”, without the written consent of the author.
Chapter 1: Don Pablo
Chapter 2: The Standing Serpent
Chapter 3: The Coyotes of the Full Moon
For our group of practical and applied spiritual ecology Don Uriel, to have met Don Pablo was certainly a lucky discovery. A tough man, tanned by the sun and with a wisdom that only the years will provide, he enjoyed sharing his valuable life experiences in the form of interesting stories that we all enjoyed immensely.
We lived in the mountains that surround Lake Chapala to the north, and Don Pablo worked as a gardener and security guard of a neighbor’s house and was born in a small town located nearby the town of Mezcala de la Asunción, but had been a resident of many years in the town of Chapala. He was an authentic elder that was surely in contact with the guardians of tradition of the region and which amazed us and entertained us with his interesting talk and storytelling.
A strong man in spite of having at least seventy years of age, he moved in and out of town in a feisty donkey that never stopped giving him headaches and throwing him down his saddle from time to time. He always traveled escorted by two brave and very well trained dogs.
It was a nice spectacle to see him arrive to our neighborhood mounted straight in his young donkey with a bearing and a dignity that only those that have advanced well enough in the spiritual path have. With an enormous spirit of service, a constant joy and an easy smile that is always characteristic of beings with a high spirituality.
Don Pablo always helped us spontaneously in whatever chores it could. Sometimes he would help us to work in our garden or he would look after hour house when we went on a trip or he would take the small Ignacio to the mountains to gather wild sweet potatoes. Paloma and I developed with him and with his wife; a sincere friendship and he honored us inviting us to his house more than once where I had the opportunity to offer some homeopathic care to his wife. We always corresponded to his generosity helping his family economy with some amounts of money that he always struggled to accept at the beginning.
The Standing Serpent
As it always happens, the interesting histories that Don Pablo told us were little by little settling in our hearts, discovering inside their deep meanings and practical lessons. Of the many stories he told us, I remember at least two: the one of the serpent and the one of the coyotes. In one occasion, he told us: – I remember when I was a tender young lad. I was tired all the time, because at those times, I worked with the farmers in the fields and since in my youth I was a stray bullet, you can imagine that my fatigue was double. – He laughed. – Once, at the end of my workday, I returned alone walking through a narrow trail that led me from the sowing fields to the rocky road that went down the hills to the town.
Then, I began to listen to a quite well known and feared noise on those places, especially in times of droughts; they sounded like bells, and I could hear them behind and to the left of where I walked. I did not want to turn around for nothing in this world and hurried my pace to move away of what I think was a rattlesnake – A rattlesnake Don Pablo?
- I asked
-Yes, a rattlesnake – he clarified – and from these it is necessary to be away at all times – he affirmed –
- And then, you left it behind? – I asked intrigued –
- That is what I thought – he laughed – but to this type of rattlesnakes you don’t leave them behind just by rushing your pace. When I thought that I had outpaced it through my walking, I could see it with the tip of the eye and like a spark to my left again. Then, I turned around and saw it standing over its tail, the damned animal and with its big mouth opened and ready to send a ferocious bite towards me –
- And what did you do then Don Pablo? – I asked with great interest –
- Well, what anyone in my huaraches would had done – he laughed willingly – I ran like a soul that the devil is catching from behind, and with all my strength to brush the rattlesnake off me.
This, in order to save me from a good bite, because if it takes a hold of me in that old trail that almost nobody used, they would find me until the following day perfectly rigid and cold. These animals bite you and it is the end of it, forget it, there is nothing else to do. The funny thing is that in spite of running with all my soul, I kept listening to the damned and horrifying jingling at my left-hand side and when turning in a corner, I thought I saw something that frightened me to no end. I could not believe my own eyes –
- Well, what did you saw Don Pablo? – Paloma took part with great curiosity
- I saw the damn rattlesnake almost reaching me. Twisting very hard and still standing on its tail decided to bite me at any cost with the mouth wide open – he laughed –
At that same moment, I began to think that I was going to lose this battle because I was getting tired of running and the jingling got me all astonished, when at the distance I saw my salvation and with everything I had of guts left I went there running as hard as I could –
- Towards where Don Pablo? –
- Towards a stonewall of a common land that was about fifty meters of where I was running into and that thanks to Diosito it seemed to be a very tall challenge for the rattlesnake to pass through.
- But Don Pablo how did you managed? – I asked – because by the time you climb up the stonewall, the animal bites you – I affirmed convinced-
- Of course, but I wasn’t going to climb it! – Don Pablo answered –
When I arrived at the stonewall and with the force of my running, I just dived forward the best I could and over the wall in order to pass it through. I already knew that if I crashed with it frontally, I would not need the help of the rattlesnake to finish me - he laughed -.
Thanks to God and the fear that gave wings to my huaraches, I could barely pass through above the wall, although I scratched badly enough my stomach with razor-sharp stones and in the fall I didn’t do well either, but here I am, alive and fishtailing – he ended up laughing in a good mood.
Don Pablo as a good farmer seemed to know with good anticipation and accuracy the course of the weather in the region and I remember in one occasion on a rainy day when we just arrived from our university work in Guadalajara we went to briefly said hello to him in the garden of our neighbor. I mentioned that we had been having already several days of continuous rain due to the presence of a hurricane nearby Jalisco state. Don Pablo said as if nothing that we should not worry because a “little summer” of about three or four days was going to arrive shortly to warm us up a little, and to our surprise, this event happened two days later with mathematical precision.
The Coyotes of the Full Moon
During that chat and without any previous warning, as he always did, Don Pablo began to tell us the story of another of his interesting experiences.
This had to do with the occasion in which the coyotes of the nearby mountains, which were numerous and could be heard very close to our house howling almost all the nights, gave him a good scare up in the hills.
One day, I was up there in the mountains collecting sweet potatoes and some special plants – he said – when I realized that I have entered into a small valley that I did not knew very well. At that moment, I didn’t worry because previously in some other times, I had spent the night up in the mountain when it got very late. So, I prepared myself in a place away from the wind.
When I had made a bed out of branches and set a good fire, I remembered that it was a Full Moon by those days and then I worried a lot.
- What worried you Don Pablo? – I asked
- The moon of course – he answered –
Because with the moon the coyotes turn into more than coyotes and do not respect anybody, they become very crazy, all of them – he answered between laughter.
- But Don Pablo – Paloma took part – Were you not safe as long as you had your bonfire ignited during the night?
- No señora – he answered –
With the full moon, the fires are good for nothing against those animals. And the worst of it all is that I didn’t took my dogs with me that night or my gun
- He added –I left it in the house of my patrón because I use it to scare any thief who wants to enter the house, and I didn’t think I was going to be so late up in the mountains –
With great curiosity, I asked Don Pablo to continue with his story.
And then, what did you do? – I asked
- The only thing that occurred to me at that time was to go up the hill because going down was no option and it would be even worse. Down there were all the damned animals howling in a pack like crazy.
So, I extinguished my fire the best I could and with much rush I went up the high rocks almost running and as an arrow in a straight line – he laughed.
- But Don Pablo – pointed Paloma – How did you managed to run upwards during the night? She asked intrigued
- With the aid of the moon – he answered – When there is a full moon, if you go upwards, you can see well enough and since you are going up you don’t project any shadow onto yourself as opposed as what happens when you are going down
- He responded in between laughter.
- And did you arrive up to the top of the hill? – I asked-
- Well no – Don Pablo responded – because the condemned animals were already watching me since who knows when and they cut me off before I could take shelter between the high rocks, and I didn’t have any other choice but to turn onto my right hand side but without going down the hill.
I knew they were preparing a trap for me pushing me towards a corner to force me to go down, and if that happened, the pack that was in front of me will grab me from behind or the ones waiting down for me will go against me frontally to bite me at their pleasure –
At those moments, the small Ignacio who had a great affection for Don Pablo made his appearance to offer him a great glass of delicious natural watermelon juice, specialty of Paloma.
Don Pablo accepted gladly the gift, and after thanking Nachito, as he used to call him and to shake his hair in an affectionate gesture, had a great gulp with enjoyment to his drink and continued with his interesting story:
- So I went to the right side of the hill as soon as I could but without running because I already knew that if you run they will go against you without hesitation.
You have to rush your pace as much as you can but without running because that prompt the coyotes to attack you; then I tried to leave the little valley I was in as quickly as I could because it gave me a bad feeling to walk in a total flat area up there for a long time –
While I walked by the mount with hurried steps – continued Don Pablo –
Those fierce damned animals began to surround me walking in circles around me and getting so close sometimes that I could see their white eyes with the reflection of moon and felt very clear their dark intentions – He laughed –
And it is not good to see them head-on because the more you see them, the more you lose yourself. Out of pure luck at the distance to my right and right below of where the full moon was located, I spotted a tall little tree that could be my salvation, but when I was almost arriving there already, the coyotes threw towards my direction a very rare vapor through their howls that confused me a lot.
After a few minutes, I no longer knew where I was walking nor where the tall little tree was located anymore and, thus suddenly I was totally lost –
After finishing with a single gulp the rest of his drink of fresh watermelon water, Don Pablo continued:
- Thanks to our beautiful Virgencita, I remembered I don’t know how about the existence of the moon and turned to see it for a short while.
When I turned my face down again, I saw the little tree again and took off immediately towards it without minding the horrible howling that was going on all around me through those damned animals. Every time they stunned me too much with their uproar I turned around to see my little moon for some instants and thus I could arrive at the little tree before the coyotes closed my access to it –
- And what happened after Don Pablo? – asked the small Ignacio
- Well, I made it. Because I threw in the grass everything I was carrying with me including my bag of sweet potatoes and climbed up to the very top of the tree. Even though many coyotes arrived at the base of the tree to bark at me and to howl and had a feast with my sweet potatoes, they could not harm me. Their own growling and howling helped me instead to stay wide-awake during the night grabbing the trunk of the tree above them because if I fall asleep, I fall to the ground and then I surely had it with the animals –
Don Pablo after breathing deeply as if returning from its vivid experience concluded his story:
- As soon as the Sun raised up, the coyotes disappeared as if by magic because they hide during the day in their dens in the mountain and I could go down of the little tree bruised but happy and in direct course down the mountain to my house.
This time I really saw it close, but I am to blame for being stubborn and a fool. That is what my wife said to me – he added between laughter – because I shouldn’t be walking alone in the mountains at night during a full moon; there are many things around there that we shoudn’t even mention –
When I remembered astonished, the moral and spiritual quality of that guardian who told us stories, and gave us generous his friendship, I had the certainty that the spirit of the Sacred Lake had sent it to us and before such discovery I could not avoid to feel enormously honored and proud by the enormous distinction.
Agustín and Paloma, our tireless promoters of practical and applied spiritual ecology, meet Don Pablo in Chapala lake. Don Pablo is a tough elder and the owner of a high spirituality and an unmatched storyteller of events extracted from his own life experiences that have a great deal of wisdom. He shares with them several stories. Agustin and Paloma retell in this book two of those stories which they have managed to recollect so far in their everyday conscience.