Here’s the milk, said Pedro, holding the bucket up to give it to his mother.
Put it on the floor, I’ll take care of it, she said and kept on cutting vegetables for the potaje.
He went into the living room to his father. He was sitting reading a book. He was always reading when he wasn’t working. Pedro sat down on the old bench beside him.
The goat is old, he said. We’ll soon need another.
There is no money, hijo. How will we get a new goat with no money?
Pedro said nothing for a while.
New times are coming, Padre. We’ll soon be better off.
A year after news came to the little village. The king had left the country. The second republic had been established. Times really were changing.
One day Pedro went out to the barn, as he used to. There was a full bucket of milk under the goat. It had had milked itself. Yes, all by itself.
Lola! Cariño! Come! Look at this!
Lola came running. Pedro was pointing excitedly at the full bucket on the floor
She had a confused expression on her face.
So you milked the goat… Like you do every day..?
That’s just it! I didn’t milk the goat! It milked itself!
She looked at him for a moment. Then she started laughing.
Hahaha! Milked itself…. Hahaha! ¡Que graciosos eres!
She left, still laughing.
A creature was watching him from a pole in the ceiling. A little man, with pointy ears and a little green hat on his head. Pedro lifted his head. For a moment their eyes met.
The little man seemed to be laughing. He turned into a bird and flew out of a hole in the wall.
Pedro rubbed his eyes. Strange things were happening today, he didn’t know what to believe. He went out through the door.
Down the road people were shouting. He walked down the road to see, faster and faster until he was almost running.
Three bodies had been found in a field, executed in the darkness of the night.
The next day Pedro went out to milk the goat again, but the goat was milked. The bucket was gone.
A bit confused Pedro looked around the barn. No milk anywhere, but the goat was empty. And there couldn’t have been anyone here. Could there?
So someone have been stealing our milk… That’s odd. It had never happened before. He was worried.
Every morning someone was found dead. The rich men from the city had said they would kill everyone who had voted against the old system. Pedro knew he was in danger.
Life went on, though. They never went anywhere in the night time, but he was worried of who had stolen the milk. The revolutionaries would not steal from him, he knew that.
They were occupied taking down the ones in power.
This morning things seemed to be back to normal. He was going down to meet his cousin and some friends to talk about the situation. They couldn’t let people keep disappearing.
He went to milk the goat before he left, and was picking up some utensils when he heard something behind him. He turned around.
He was astonished. He had never really believed in the gnomes, but there it was. The same little creature he’d seen the other day. It was real.
Hey! It said. You want some milk? He kicked the milk bucket over. Pedro looked at the milk on the floor…Third part
What did you do that for?
The little creature glared at him viciously. Then he kicked the goat in the butt.
Hey stop that! What do you think you’re… The little gnome came running towards him. Kicked him in the leg. Why you little… Now he was getting angry.
He tried to kick it, but he missed. He tried again. The little soul less gnome was too fast. It picked up a log from the floor. Hit him in the ass with it. Pedro was really pissed now.
He grabbed a long stick meant to be the handle for a broom.
Now you’ve done it, he said, hitting for the little man. Missing. All the time. The duende, on the other hand got it quite a few punches. After a long fight he was lying on the floor, exhausted.
The little man was sitting on the bench laughing. Pedro was defeated He got up, limped out of the barn.
He walked down towards town. He saw a large group of people further down. They were talking, shouting. People were running up and down the slope.
Pedro walked over, slowly, his whole body was hurting.
There were three bodies on the ground. One of them was his cousin. If it wasn’t for the fight with the little man, Pedro would have been one of them.
He went home. I have to go, he said to his wife when he arrived.
She said nothing, ran to the bedroom and started packing.
The same afternoon they left for the forest.
The war was over. La Republica had lost. Repression had once again taken control of Spain.
Pedro and Lola hid in a cave far into the woods. They had brought Pedro’s hunting rifle, his father’s shotgun, ammunition and some food. Not much more.
Five men came. Two of them had uniforms of the Guardia Civil, the other three seemed to be peasants. They were looking for Pedro and Lola.
They were moving up towards the cave, slowly, from tree to tree, from rock to rock. They seemed to know where they were hiding.
A bird flew down from one of the trees, landed in the bushes and disappeared.
The five men kept moving closer, signalling between themselves with their hands.
One of them started screaming. Aaaaaahh! A snake! A snake bit me!
They stopped for a moment. Silence. Only the bitten man’s moans could be heard.
Another man started screaming. Bitten as well.
It’s crawling with snakes!
Pedro and Lola needed to get out of there fast, they would be back. They got out and ran further into the forest behind the cave. They kept walking up towards the mountains.
Early in the morning Lola woke up to the sound of Pedro’s voice. From the depths of her dreams, reality slowly came back. A horrible reality she didn’t want.
At mid day they heard dogs barking. The men had gone to get reinforcements. They were many more now, looking for them. The dogs were coming closer.
Out of the bushes a rabbit appeared. It ran just in front of the dogs, teasing them. Then it ran off down a dry river lair. The dogs followed.
Pedro and Lola climbed up the hill, hid i the bushes. They could see the dogs far below. They were following a deer now. The rabbit could no longer be seen.
All night they walked. In the early morning a man appeared. He had a gun in his hands. For a moment they all froze. Lola held her hand tight around her weapon.
Bonjour! The man said with a friendly smile. Ca va bien?
A French hunter. They were out of Spain.