On another occasion, [Lorca] watches one of his friends, the six-year-old son of a goatherd, die a painful death from an undiagnosed ailment:
One day he felt a strange, gnawing pain in his stomach, and was unable to move. His parents attributed it to his having eaten too much green fruit, and left him to his punishment . . . But the pain only worsened . . . An old woman who lived nearby invented a remedy . . . cutting open a live toad and placing it on his stomach, and giving him mule dung cooked up with beetles.
Held down by several men, the screaming child is forced to swallow the revolting mixture. "Opening his mouth, which was full of bloody foam," he gives up the ghost. No consolation is offered to the boy's mother, only sarcasm from the woman who had concocted the medicine: "Such a delicate child! He wasn't fit to belong to a poor family".
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Today's guest blogger is Christopher Maurer, from his introduction to Federico Garcia Lorca: Collected Poems (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York 2002):