The Forgotten Stories of Manuel Milho XIV

The dead as cornfield scarecrows, already in flames

Miguel Angel Astúrias

Manuel Milho finds himself in his deathbed and reflects on his life. In a meditative state, experiencing no pain, just the revelations that arrive to his spirit as it leaves the matter:

I didn’t adapt to the large rocks’ weight, its rusticity, its load, its palatable dust. I wanted to have my head high in the clouds and be able to fly. And nobody can fly while carrying such a hard weight. It’s by flying that a man becomes a man. And not carrying pebbles on his back. How to transmute a spirit tied to such a fixed rock. I wished to tell stories. And let dream. Maybe, by coming back to my hometown, maybe, if I get closer to sweet water, in this way I would be able to keep that fire always burning. The fire made of stories, the ones I told Balthazar, José Pequeno, the men in the construction site that were there with me. But many worshiped the Stone. And I didn’t know how to worship a large stone, I was afraid of it, I was afraid of being crushed, grinded, of it realizing I was not there to worship. I was afraid it would destroy my stories. Just imagine, a worshiping it as if it was a God. I worshipped the river, the waters, didn’t know how to worship a mineral, concrete, something built by people. But now you are going to tell me that there are rocks are also in nature, but not this rock I’m telling you about. This was the rock pointing to destruction, to build over things already existing, of books already written, of poems already recited, of life already happened.  I always said stories are told piece by piece, as they should. No one can tell the whole story. The whole story is called life. One must leave a small portion of it every day without finishing them, the imagination requires some space to become, just as dreams need a certain suspension, a certain silence, a certain quiet to be projected while we sleep. One of these days I dreamt a dream, not sure if an awaken one, or during sleep, or half-way, but this whisper was blown:  

 ‘What I bring to you is the gift from the gods, that you should call corn. The one who eats of this will have ears to listen to voice of spirit; you’ll learn to fly in dreams to distant sites and take care of your whole life on Earth.’

 And one day they dared to call me a poet! And a storyteller. After all wasn’t me who told you the stories? Was it the spirit? Th voice of the spirit? I know I told you myself that with death the stories end, but now, almost on the other side of the dimension I come back and say: I was mistaken! By the way, why always the same end given to stories?

— And lastly, what killed Manuel Milho? He died from a tired heart.