Chapter 50: - Page 3 of 7

Elias’s Story

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

She had lost her name, being known only as the convict, the prostitute, the scourged.
 He was known as the son of his mother only, because the gentleness of
his disposition led every one to believe that he was not the son of the
incendiary and because any doubt as to the morality of the Indians can
be held reasonable. 

At last, one day the notorious Balat fell into the clutches of the authorities, who exacted of him a strict accounting for his crimes, and of his mother for having done nothing to rear him properly.  One morning the younger brother went to look for his mother, who had gone into the woods to gather mushrooms and had not returned.  He found her stretched out on the ground under a cotton-tree beside the highway, her face turned toward the sky, her eyes fixed and staring, her clenched hands buried in the blood-stained earth.  Some impulse moved him to look up in the direction toward which the eyes of the dead woman were staring, and he saw hanging from a branch a basket and in the basket the gory head of his brother!

My God! ejaculated Ibarra.

That might have been the exclamation of my father, continued Elias coldly.  The body of the brigand had been cut up and the trunk buried, but his limbs were distributed and hung up in different towns.  If ever you go from Kalamba to Santo Tomas you will still see a withered lomboy-tree where one of my uncle’s legs hung rotting—nature has blasted the tree so that it no longer grows or bears fruit.  The same was done with the other limbs, but the head, as the best part of the person and the portion most easily recognizable, was hung up in front of his mother’s hut!

Ibarra bowed his head.

The boy fled like one accursed, Elias went on.  He fled from town to town by mountain and valley.  When he thought that he had reached a place where he was not known, he hired himself out as a laborer in the house of a rich man in the province of Tayabas.  His activity and the gentleness of his character gained him the good-will of all who did not know his past, and by his thrift and economy he succeeded in accumulating a little capital.  He was still young, he thought his sorrows buried in the past, and he dreamed of a happy future.  His pleasant appearance, his youth, and his somewhat unfortunate condition won him the love of a young woman of the town, but he dared not ask for her hand from fear that his past might become known.  But love is stronger than anything else and they wandered from the straight path, so, to save the woman’s honor, he risked everything by asking for her in marriage.  The records were sought and his whole past became known. 

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