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  • Publicado : 13 de febrero de 2012
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The third person narrator begins with a separated eerie description of the town of San Gabriel. The town “emerges from the fog laden with dew,” and the narrator describes a number of elements that serve to obscure it from view: clouds, rising steam and black smoke from the kitchens. The narrator is describing sights and sounds of daybreak in a very peculiar way: “an earth-colored spot shrouds thevillage, which keeps on snoring a little longer, slumbering in the color of daybreak.”

The description then turns to the protagonist of the story, old Esteban, who advances up Jiquilpan road riding on the back of his cow, followed by his milking herd. The toothless man whistles to his cows, and when he hears the San Gabriel bell that rings at daybreak he gets down off the cow, kneels, andmakes the sign of the cross with his arms extended. Esteban then climbs back on the cow, removes his shirt “so the breeze will whip away his fear,” and continues toward San Gabriel.
He counts the cows as they enter the town, and grabs one of them by the ears. He says to her “Now they’re going to take away your baby, you silly one. Carry on if you want to, but it’s the last day you’ll see your calf.”The cow ignores the man and continues on. The narrator then speculates on the uncertain origin of the swallows in San Gabriel that constantly fly back and forth in a zigzag pattern.
Old Esteban explains in first person that he arrived at the corral and that they wouldn’t open up the gate even though he was banging on it with a stone. He thought his boss, Don Justo, was asleep. The cows werewaiting behind him so in order to keep them from following him he crept around the corral and entered it through a low point in the fence. Then he opened the corral from the inside. Just as he was doing this he saw Don Justo come out of the attic carrying his sleeping niece Margarita in his arms. The man crossed the corral without seeing Esteban, “at least that’s what I thought.”
The narrator thendescribes how Esteban then milked the cows, letting them into the corral one by one, and leaving the mother of the calf for last. He speaks to her and tells her that he’ll let her in to see the calf one last time. He tells her that she is about to give birth again and yet she is still worried about the older calf. He says to the calf that he ought to enjoy his mother’s milk while he can because it isactually meant for the unborn calf. Then the narrator says that Esteban kicked the calf when he saw it sucking on its mother’s teats.
The narration then shifts back to Esteban’s first person testimony, as he explains that he would have broken the calf’s nose if Don Justo hadn’t kicked him and started to beat him. He explains that the beating was severe and that he still has a great deal of pain.Esteban then says: “What happened next? I didn’t know. I didn’t work for him any more. Nor anybody else either, because he died that same day.” He tells us that some people came to his house — where he was recovering from the beating under the care of his wife — to tell him that Don Justo was dead. They accused him of killing his boss, but Esteban says he does not remember doing this. He notesthat since he is now in jail, perhaps that means something about his guilt. All he remembers is the moment after he hit the calf when Don Justo came towards him. After that he just recalls waking up and being cared for by his wife. Esteban explains that they have accused him of killing the man with a rock. He says that this information is relatively plausible because if they’d said he used a knifehe would know if was false because he hasn’t carried a knife in years.
The narrative then shifts back to that of the third person narrator. He describes how Justo Brambila left his niece Margarita on her bed in the room beside that of her crippled mother. Dawn is the only time when the mother sleeps, but she wakes up when the sun rises. The mother calls out, asking her daughter where she was...
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