Chapter 56: - Page 5 of 7

Rumors and Beliefs

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

There he is, sir, said the servant, as she stopped and pointed with her finger.

The committee paused at a respectful distance and allowed the old man to go forward alone.

A human body hanging from the branch of a santol tree swung about gently in the breeze.  The old man stared at it for a time and saw that the legs and arms were stiff, the clothing soiled, and the head doubled over.

We mustn’t touch him until some officer of the law arrives, he said aloud.  He’s already stiff, he’s been dead for some time.

The women gradually moved closer.

He’s the fellow who lived in that little house there. He came here two weeks ago.  Look at the scar on his face.

Ave Maria! exclaimed some of the women.

Shall we pray for his soul? asked a young woman, after she had finished staring and examining the body.

Fool, heretic! scolded Sister Puté.  Don’t you know what Padre Damaso said? It’s tempting God to pray for one of the damned.  Whoever commits suicide is irrevocably damned and therefore he isn’t buried in holy ground.

Then she added, I knew that this man was coming to a bad end; I never could find out how he lived.

I saw him twice talking with the senior sacristan, observed a young woman.

It wouldn’t be to confess himself or to order a mass!

Other neighbors came up until a large group surrounded the corpse, which was still swinging about.  After half an hour, an alguazil and the directorcillo arrived with two cuadrilleros, who took the body down and placed it on a stretcher.

People are getting in a hurry to die, remarked the directorcillo with a smile, as he took a pen from behind his ear.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagbuntót ng masamá