Arriving there, he called to those within, “Honorable people,” and the old man said, “Come in;” but Juan remained without until the third invitation. Passing within, he likewise would not sit down till he had been asked three times.
Seating himself on a bench, he told the old man that he had come to marry his daughter, and the old man told him he might if he could show that he had enough money. As Juan was rich, this did not take long to do, and after a few days Juan and Maria were married, not knowing their relationship. They lived happily together, and a daughter was born to them. This child, like her mother, was very beautiful.
One day, as the little girl was playing by the river, a crab came to the edge of the water and said,—
“Beautiful art thou,
More beautiful than any other,
But thou art the child
Of sister and brother.”
Horrified, the child ran to her mother, and then the parents began to talk over the events of their childhood and found that they were indeed sister and brother.
They went to Maria’s foster father to ask what they must do, and he told them they must live apart; and then they went to the archbishop, who told them that they might live lawfully together, as the sacrament of marriage was above all, but, after much thought, they decided that they must live apart, and Maria went back to her foster father.
Thus by a sinless crime were their lives saddened forever.
The Fifty-one Thieves.
There were once two brothers, Juan and Pedro. Pedro was rich and was the elder, but Juan was very poor and gained his living by cutting wood. Juan became so poor at last that he was forced to ask alms from his brother, or what was only the same thing, a loan. After much pleading, Pedro gave his brother enough rice for a single meal, but repenting of such generosity, went and took it off the fire, as his brother’s wife was cooking it, and carried it home again.
Juan then set out for the woods, thinking he might be able to find a few sticks that he could exchange for something to eat, and went much farther than he was accustomed to go. He came to a road he did not know and followed it for some distance to where it led to a great rocky bluff and there came to an end.
Juan did not know exactly what to think of such an abrupt ending to the roadway, and sat down behind a large rock to meditate. As he sat there a voice within the cliff said, “Open the door,” and a door in the cliff opened itself. A man richly dressed came out, followed by several others, whom he told that they were going to a town at a considerable distance. He then said, “Shut the door,” and the door closed itself again.
Juan was not sure whether any one else was inside, but he was no coward and besides he thought he might as well be murdered as starved to death, so when the robbers had ridden away to a safe distance without seeing him, he went boldly up to the cliff and said, “Open the door.” The door opened as obediently to him as to the robber, and he went in. He found himself inside a great cavern filled with money, jewels, and rich stuffs of every kind.