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If Catalina had not lost her temper, she would not have lost the magic castanets. And if she had not lost the magic castanets—well, would her story, perhaps, have been different?

Several days passed before Pilar was able to leave her house and go to Juan's shop—several anxious days. Because that night, her grandfather had grown worse, and she had been obliged to call the doctor.

The doctor had been coming every day since then, and Pilar could not leave her grandfather's side. Neighbors had been kind, helping with food and attentions. Now that her grandfather was better, Pilar realized that she must repay those good neighbors. So this morning, as soon as the burning Spanish sun arose, Pilar arose, too. She prepared her grandfather's breakfast [Pg 72] and made him comfortable in his bed.

Then she drank her thick, sweet chocolate, and off she went to Juan's shop, taking along the old wooden chest. Juan could not help smiling when he saw her enter, weighed down by her huge burden. It looked to Juan as if the big chest should really have been carrying the little girl. Pilar did not smile. She started to open the chest, and Juan started to shake his head. But Pilar caught his arm, and her large, dark eyes pleaded pitifully. The doctor says that Grandfather will not be able to work for a long time.

She pulled out of the chest the Damascene knife from Toledo, the tall comb from Barcelona, the faded fan from Valladolid, the ancient clock from El Escorial, and the saucy bonnet from Segovia. Juan looked at the old wooden clappers. And quite abruptly he turned around to the strong box where he kept his money. He unlocked it and took out some paper bills.

I shall keep the knife and the clock and the fan, the comb, and the bonnet.

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But—" He pushed away her hand which held the castanets. I can sell them to a dancing master who would like to buy them. He is very fond of such antiques. Pilar did not answer right away. The castanets will be the very last to go. And how I hope that I shall never, never have to part with them! The Moors said, "Three times three things a woman must have: white skin, white teeth, and white hands; black eyes, black brows, and black lashes; rosy lips, rosy cheeks, and rosy nails.

Little Pilar had all of these. She was a Spanish beauty. But she was not only beautiful; she was also useful. She could sew and cook and take care of a house. If you had asked Pilar how she had learned to sew and to cook and to take care of a house, she would have shrugged her shoulders and answered, "I did not learn.

Shop with confidence

I just knew. But poor Pilar had not been able to join her dancing companions in the gardens or the squares for many a day now. Her [Pg 79] grandfather's health had not improved very much, and Pilar could seldom leave him. As time went on, Pilar watched the money which Juan had given her gradually disappear, and at last there was no more left. But fortunately there were still souvenirs left in the chest, and these Pilar took to Juan. Four of the remaining souvenirs were old paintings. When Juan saw them, he remarked, "These paintings are of four famous people.

Let me tell you their stories. He was a friar. He was also one of Spain's great poets and a professor at the university. One day as Fray Luis de Leon was teaching his class, he was seized and thrown into prison. This was during the time of the inquisition, when people were arrested for their religious beliefs. Fray Luis remained in prison for many years. When he returned to Salamanca, everybody welcomed him, and all the important townspeople came to the university to hear him make a speech.

But Fray Luis did not make a speech. He faced the schoolroom full of his pupils and others who had come to hear him, and, taking up the daily lesson, he remarked simply, "As we were saying yesterday—" just as if he had never been away! It is a city of domes and spires, of quiet memories of art and culture.

Coordonne Pilar Burguet Wallpaper Collection

Often Teresa would read stories to her brother. These stories were not about fairies, kings, and queens, nor even robbers. They were about saints.

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Little Teresa wished very much to become a saint and to live in heaven. So one day she and her brother set off for the country of the Moors. Their reason for doing this was because they thought that they might be beheaded. But this great pleasure was to be denied them. An uncle found them on the road and brought them home. It is a blessing that he did and that young Teresa was allowed to grow up. For she became a very holy woman, who did much good in the world. The city of Avila seems to breathe the [Pg 82] holiness of St. It is surrounded by a treeless desert and giant rocks.

Its perfect Roman walls clasp it tightly as if to safeguard its mystery and charm.


Do you hear the ding-donging bells of the many churches? They carry one off to dreamland. Do you hear the clink-clinking hoofs of the tiny donkeys? They carry hens and roosters to market in crates upon their backs. Avila is an old-fashioned town. They were watching the horses, mares, and their colts running wild. How free and beautiful they were, with their lovely manes flowing in the breeze!

Young Rodrigo's keen eyes followed each graceful young horse as it passed. But he said nothing. He said nothing until an ugly, shaggy little animal came by. It was this same Babieca, or Booby, who carried Rodrigo de Bivar through his many famous battles. It was Babieca, too, who is supposed to have wept over his master when the great warrior-lord died. For young Rodrigo became Spain's most celebrated hero, the Cid, about whom songs have been sung and tales have been spun.

Many of these are, of course, only romance and legend. But the Cid did indeed live and triumph.

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The man was Christopher Columbus, and the child, Diego, his son. Weary and discouraged, they had arrived at the monastery of La Rabita. For a long time, Christopher Columbus had been trying to interest the Spanish court [Pg 86] in his scheme to sail across the unknown ocean. He thought that by sailing west he would reach Asia. But the King and Queen were busy with their struggles against the Moors, and they would not listen to him.

The kind monks at the monastery of La Rabita sheltered Columbus and his little son. They also gave heed to his eager hopes and plans, and at last Prior Perez of the monastery wrote a letter to Queen Isabella. As we well know, Queen Isabella made it possible for Christopher Columbus to sail across the ocean and discover America. But nobody yet has really discovered Christopher Columbus. Where was he born? Some say in Italy, others, in northern Spain. Perhaps Columbus was a Jew who changed his religion and nationality.