Chapter 52: - Page 2 of 5

The Cards of the Dead and the Shadows

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Is that you?

Is that you?

We must scatter, for they’ve followed me.  Tomorrow you’ll get the arms and tomorrow night is the time.  The cry is, ‘Viva Don Crisostomo!’ Go!

The three shadows disappeared behind the stone walls.  The later arrival hid in the hollow of the gateway and waited silently.  Let’s see who’s following me, he thought.

The second shadow came up very cautiously and paused as if to look about him.  I’m late, he muttered, but perhaps they will return.

A thin fine rain, which threatened to last, began to fall, so it occurred to him to take refuge under the gateway.  Naturally, he ran against the other.

Ah! Who are you? asked the latest arrival in a rough tone.

Who are you? returned the other calmly, after which there followed a moment’s pause as each tried to recognize the other’s voice and to make out his features.

What are you waiting here for? asked he of the rough voice.

For the clock to strike eight so that I can play cards with the dead.  I want to win something tonight, answered the other in a natural tone.  And you, what have you come for?

For—for the same purpose.

Abá! I’m glad of that, I’ll not be alone.  I’ve brought cards.  At the first stroke of the bell I’ll make the lay, at the second I’ll deal.  The cards that move are the cards of the dead and we’ll have to cut for them.  Have you brought cards?

No.

Then how—

It’s simple enough—just as you’re going to deal for them, so I expect them to play for me.

But what if the dead don’t play?

What can we do? Gambling hasn’t yet been made compulsory among the dead.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagharì ang katáhimikan