Chapter 34: - Page 4 of 8

The Dinner

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Ya! exclaimed a countrywoman to an old man who was mashing buyo in his kalikut, in spite of the fact that my husband is opposed to it, my Andoy shall be a priest.  It’s true that we’re poor, but we’ll work, and if necessary we’ll beg alms.  There are not lacking those who will give money so that the poor may take holy orders.  Does not Brother Mateo, a man who does not lie, say that Pope Sextus was a herder of carabaos in Batangas? Well then, look at my Andoy, see if he hasn’t already the face of a St. Vincent! The good mother watered at the mouth to see her son take hold of a fork with both hands.

God help us! added the old man, rolling his quid of buyo.  If Andoy gets to be Pope we’ll go to Rome he, he! I can still walk well, and if I die—he, he!

Don’t worry, granddad! Andoy won’t forget that you taught him how to weave baskets.

You’re right, Petra.  I also believe that your son will be great, at least a patriarch.  I have never seen any one who learned the business in a shorter time.  Yes, he’ll remember me when as Pope or bishop he entertains himself in making baskets for his cook.  He’ll then say masses for my soul—he, he! With this hope the good old man again filled his kalikut with buyo.

If God hears my prayers and my hopes are fulfilled, I’ll say to Andoy, ‘Son, take away all our sins and send us to Heaven!’ Then we shan’t need to pray and fast and buy indulgences.  One whose son is a blessed Pope can commit sins!

Send him to my house tomorrow, Petra, cried the old man enthusiastically, and I’ll teach him to weave the nito!

Huh! Get out! What are you dreaming about, grand-dad? Do you still think that the Popes even move their hands? The curate, being nothing more than a curate, only works in the mass—when he turns around! The Archbishop doesn’t even turn around, for he says mass sitting down.  So the Pope—the Pope says it in bed with a fan! What are you thinking about?

Of nothing more, Petra, than that he know how to weave the nito.  It would be well for him to be able to sell hats and cigar-cases so that he wouldn’t have to beg alms, as the curate does here every year in the name of the Pope.  It always fills me with compassion to see a saint poor, so I give all my savings.

Learn this Filipino word:

humanap ng batóng ipinukpók sa ulo