Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lazarillo of Tormes: Chapter 5b

The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His For...Image via Wikipedia

When they wouldn't buy his pardons, he'd use some malicious tricks to get them to take them, thus making a nuisance of himself, and annoying people. It would take too long to talk about all the things I saw him do, so I'll just tell about one that was really sly and clever, which will show how good he was at it.

In a place called Sagra, in the province of Toledo, he'd been preaching for two or three days, trying his usual gimmicks with not one single person buying an indulgence; neither I could see that they had any intention of buying any. While he swore up and down he thought about what to do, deciding to assemble the town the next morning so he could try to sell all the pardons.

And that night, after supper, he and the constable began to gamble to see who would pay for the meal. They got to quarreling over the game, and heated words followed. He called the constable a thief, and the constable called him a swindler. At that point my master, the pardoner, picked up a spear that was lying against the door of the room where they were playing. The constable reached for his sword that he kept at his side. Hearing the noise and shouting we all made, guests and neighbors came running and they got in between the two of them to break it up. Mad as they were, both men struggled to get away from the people who were holding them back so that they could kill each other. But since the people were too numerous, as they filled the house, the two men seeing that they couldn’t use their weapons they began to call each other names.  And at one point the constable said my master was as a fake and a swindler and that all the pardons he was selling were counterfeit. 

Finally, the townspeople seeing that they couldn't make them stop, they decided to get the constable out of the inn and take him somewhere else—which made my master even madder. But after the guests and neighbors pleaded with him to calm down and go home to bed, he left—and then so did everyone else.

The next morning my master went to the church and asked them to ring the bell for mass so he could preach and sell the indulgences. The townspeople came, muttering about the pardons, saying that they were forgeries and that the constable himself had let it out while they were quarreling. So, if they hadn't wanted to buy any pardons before, they were dead set against it now.

The pardoner climbed up to the pulpit and began his sermon, trying to whip up the crowd, telling them that they shouldn’t be without the blessings and the forgiveness that would come to them by buying the indulgences.

When he was into the sermon in full swing, the constable came in the church door, and after praying he got up, and with a loud and steady voice he began to speak very solemnly:
“My fellow men: let me say a word; afterward, you can listen to whoever you like. I came here with this scarecrow of a man who’s preaching. But he tricked me: he said that if I helped him in his business, we'd split the profits. Now, seeing how it would hurt my conscience and your pocketbooks, I've repented of what I've done. And I want to tell you openly that the indulgences he's selling are forgeries. Don't believe him and don't buy them. I'm not involved with them any longer —in any way, shape, form, or hue— and from now on I'm giving up my staff, the symbol
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