The Devil's hand. A legend from Toledo

The Devil’s hand. A legend from Toledo

We begin to narrate an old Toledan legend, little known to date, published in “The Tagus” in various episodes since September 21, 1867. We will respect the format and publish every few days, like the original edition. Follow us!

I. The Mysterious House

I. At the end of the 17th century, the attention of the peaceful inhabitants of the ancient city of Toledo was greatly aroused by a house located a short distance from the church known as La Magdalena.

According to the account of the old women, who rarely make mistakes, the doors of that building had been closed for more than seven years.

But what mainly frightened the spirits, was the terrible noise that, similar to the one that could produce a hundred thick chains dragged at a time by the ground, let be heard a few moments to the touch of souls and then from the twelve of the night until the light of the new day; infernal noise that distracted of the dream to more than four honest menestrales, who full of fear assured of all truth being that diabolical mansion the place where they had their meetings or covenants the witches of the imperial city and its region.

And as months and years went by, the doors did not open and the noise did not cease, the murmurings took shape, and terror took hold day by day with greater absolute dominion of souls.

II. It would be the evening of a cold December night of the year of grace of 1694, when two men mysteriously appeared in front of the door of the house object of so many comments.

The tall, thin, airy one of the continent, seemed like a lot of people in spite of his miserable pilgrim’s costume.
The other bass, chubby, wrapped in a wide and long cape, appeared to be by his grotesque gestures bred.

– Finally, my Mr. D. Garcia, you force me to tread again the thresholds of your house.

– Thank God, my dear Ruy Perez, that I am returning to her,” answered the pilgrim, opening the door with a thick key.

Lord and servant came in, the one with arrogance, the one with visible signs of fear, and the door closed again.

– But… What’s this? -exclaimed D. Garcia, stopping in front of a large courtyard illuminated by the dim light of some stars. -Didn’t I leave the care of this building to you in my absence?
– That’s right, my dear sir.

– And yet, I see the courtyard so covered with grass that it looks like a meadow. How long has it been since you’ve been here?

– Six years.

– Six years! Seven years ago I was absent in bad time from these places.

– Well you have said that in bad time, because since you left toledo I have not enjoyed time to rest.

– Who has disturbed the tranquility of your soul?

– Witches.

– Are you still concerned about the existence of such entities?

– Since you doubt everything, you do not believe in the spells of the evil spirits; more to faith, to faith, that if it is true or false, I can say it or our poor King Charles II.

– Shut up, asshole; don’t talk about things you don’t understand.

– Public good is the situation of our sovereign.

– Have you been to court?

– Little fond of travel, I have not gone past the door of Bisagra.

– Well, if you haven’t been to Madrid, don’t talk about what the simple spells have been called around here, and there the most knowledgeable know by the name of courtesan intrigues.

– And the truth is that it is better not to speak, because to be quiet call Sancho; and, as the other said, to respect the king is law and then speaking of such a high person one can go with his bones to one of the dungeons of the Holy Office, and the Inquisition is respectable… To the Inquisition chitón…

– Put an end to your sayings, and tell me soon the most curious events for me occurred in my long absence.

– First you must offer to defend me from evil spirits if necessary.

D. Garcia smiled.

– Having made such a warning,” continued Ruy Pérez, “it seems to me, sir, that it would be better for us to move to the rooms upstairs, because the cold that is felt here in the courtyard is insufferable. Thus you will refer, satisfied your curiosity, the history of your adventures.

– We were worried about the same thought; but how are we going to go up without light?

– I had already prepared myself for the case,” replied Ruy, opening himself and showing his master a deaf flashlight, until then hidden under the embozo of the cape.
– I see with pleasure that you keep your usual good habits.

– Precaution is a virtue; man prevented is worth…

– Worth it or not, do me the favor of forgetting tonight how many sayings your memory has treasured, and guide me as soon as possible to the weapons room of my late father. I am given to Barabbas himself.

Santiguóse Ruy two or three times without understanding the meaning of the words of his lord, bowed his head, raised his arm to better illuminate the light of the lantern and walking through the high jaramagos, said:

– I’m at your service.

III. So, they both slid through the courtyard; they climbed the steps of a magnificent marble staircase; they crossed a narrow and tortuous corridor and, after crossing two spacious rooms unfurnished and covered with dust, they entered the weapons room, by extreme spacious and richly adorned with trophies of all times and places.

The spiders had woven fabrics in the corners of the room and dust had, as in the other rooms, covered the floor and furniture that decorated it.

– I would bet two against one – said Ruy, placing the lantern on one of the arms of an old walnut armchair – that in all Spain there is another room equal to that of the virtuoso and brave D. Félix de Suárez.

– Brave and virtuous! -I have been brave, but virtuous… Oh! I am given to the same Barabbas.
– Helmets, coseletes, manoplas, – continued Ruy Pérez, looking at each of the objects he named, -everything is here; rodelas, lances, swords, daggers…

– One needed me tonight.

– As good a steel as this one?

And Ruy presented to his master a beautiful dagger, whose blade had tempered the waters of the renamed Tagus.

– Precisely,” replied D. Garcia, greedily grabbing the gun.

– I guess it’s not to kill anyone.

– Such is my state that no one is in this world anymore.

– Are you attempting suicide?

– That’s why I came to this enclosure.

– Sir! Sir! You shall not do so when I am present.

– For your misfortune would you dare me, villain? You would do badly.

– Why?

– Because you’d force me to kill you.

Ruy Perez looked at the atolondrado temploroso mancebo and bowed stunned the eyes without succeeding to give reason of what was happening to him.

IV. – Did you swear – suddenly interrupted that one – to tell me the truth as soon as I asked you?

– Juro.

– Count on dying at my hands first if you cheat on me.

– Question.

– What happened to Doña Luz in my absence?

– He’s married.

D. García palideció.

– And who has dared to lead my former beloved to the altar?

– D. César, Dona Leonor’s brother.

D. Garcia shuddered like a whirlwind.

– And of Doña Leonor what has been done?

– Two years ago she was buried next to your father’s grave in the immediate church of La Magdalena.

– Unhappy!

– You say well; unhappy because she had the madness to love another madman like her. Doña Leonor was a saint, you were a stunned libertine; Doña Leonor loved you, you hated her or at least you deceived her with a false love; and on the other hand Doña Luz who hated you and hates you, you loved her and you still love her, which is the worst, what I see.

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– Doña Luz abhors me! Who informed you of such news?

– Aurora, my wife, former servant of today’s wife of D. César.

– So you’re married too?

– And I’ve become the owner of a grocery store like the one you saw this afternoon.

– How did you compose yourself to progress so much?

– Very simple. You already know that since Don Felix’s death he had been at your service for three years, accompanying you, always faithful servant, to all your courtships. Good-looking, rich and courageous, for you there was no maiden, no married woman, no sure nun; what your love did not achieve, your gold or your sword did; you were, to say it once, D. Juan Tenorio de Toledo.

– Don’t mortify my patience with long reasoning.

– Ruy, I just killed a man, an old friend of my father’s, D. Lope de Toledo, and since justice has put its hands on the business, it is necessary that we flee as soon as possible, because the moments are precious. I would have gladly followed you; but my will and my heart no longer belonged to me; and madly in love with Aurora, I lacked the courage to offer myself to your company. With the money and jewels that you might have had in your hands you fled to court at nightfall the next day, leaving me with a few shields in the care of your house, whose rich furniture (except those in this weapons room, thanks to my friendship with one of the bailiffs) was sold to collect justice.

– And they dared to open that door? -D. Garcia asked, pointing to one situated in one of the angles of the room.

– Not for lack of will, but as you instructed me when you said goodbye to us that no one would dare to Aprila, I opposed it, and my opposition was fortunately valid.

– Go on.

– I will conclude by telling you that three months after your departure I joined Aurora; that four months later I established myself, an effect of the beneficial hand of Doña Luz and my savings, in the Zocodover square behind the counter of a grocery store; and finally, that there I continue to be next to my wife and my six robust little ones, with no other novelty than that my Aurora, following the habit of giving me children per year, is at this time very advanced pregnant.

– You can’t stop having your story thrown.

– I had already announced to you that it was as simple as me.

– You told me that for fear of witches you stopped visiting this building.

– Ah! It’s true; I forgot the best. In the year of your absence, precisely on the night of the anniversary of the death of the virtuoso D. Felix, I came in the company of my friend Dimas.

– Who was that gentleman?

– He was and is the altar boy, sacristan lieutenant of the church of La Magdalena. They call him bad name Lechuza, because he is very ugly, thin, licking, but as licking as good friend; excelenge subject.

– Try not to distract yourself from the matter to not expect me to apply one of my plants to any of your two robust buttocks.

– As I was saying,” continued the chubby and peaceful Ruy impassively, “on the night of the anniversary of the death of our father, may God keep him in his glory! I came with Lechuza to the door of the church; and while he was going to give as usual the touch of souls, I went to this house.

But woe to me! As soon as I entered the courtyard, when I put my foot on the first step of the staircase, I heard the first chime, and with it the frightful noise of more than a hundred chains dragged with infernal noise through the rooms above.

Dead with fear, the lantern fell to the ground; the light was extinguished; with the darkness the infernal noise produced above increased; stumbling and falling, sanctifying myself a million times, I ran to the door; I made with it a very regular wound in the forehead, and spilling blood I returned to my dwelling place, not without swearing to my squeaky rib and to my weeping children not to return in life to put the feet by the thresholds of these enchanted rooms.

If after seven years of absence I present myself today perjuro in the mysterious house, as the neighbors have called it, due to your pleas, to the casual absence of my wife in the shop, to stay in her Iñigo, the eldest of my little ones, and mainly to the confidence that has always inspired me your courage, in no occasion denied.

– I see with feeling that you are still as scared as in other days. Why won’t the spirits of Luzbel come out now?

– They shall know it, and the devil their brother; but be warned, because…

V. A loud noise, just like a rock that collapsed from the top of a mountain, and a poignant, sharp, penetrating, let us hear at the same time, stopped the word on the lips of Ruy, who full of fear gave himself to run from one side to the other, covered his eyes with his hands.

Mírole D. García and upon seeing him in that way he burst into a derisive laughter.

– Yes, yes,” he exclaimed frightened in a barely perceptible voice, “time is here for giggling… I don’t know how you are… you make fun of everything.

– Shall I not mock?

– To faith, to faith, that I would give what I don’t have by moving now to my store, without being seen or heard from anyone.

– I’m about to break your head.

– You can do as you please; to die at the hands of the devil or yours is preferable to me the second.

– What the hell is that you’re talking about, that only exists in your hot imagination?

– In my imagination? Have you already forgotten the din of a short time ago, similar to the one I heard the night when witches…

– Look at the ground and you will understand the cause of your espando.

– Ah! So everything was caused by a piece of wood falling off the roof?

– Precisely. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

– I’ll be ashamed if you finish convincing me. Tell me, my lord, who has exhaled that pitiful ay, like the sigh of a maiden in love, who has been left at the same time of the noise of the beam as it collapsed?

– Are you dreaming?

– Because I’m wide awake I say so. Haven’t you noticed the penetrating ay of that witch?

– No.

– God of my soul! Was it an illusion of my senses?

– Only you, who are incorrigible, will dare to doubt it.

Do not be afraid; when I am present, no one will come to disturb our rest.

– To see and hear you seems to cheer me up; at your side I consider myself as brave as the Cid.

– So if there was a need you would fight the same devil in person.

– Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Get rid of me, God, don’t even think about it.

– But you even dare to take your flashlight off the armchair, wipe it with the cape to make me feel more comfortable, and listen to the account of the adventure that forced me to leave this house, along with the misadventures of my life in the last seven years.

– if you’re going to tell the truth, I wish I could hear that relationship better than a simple benefit to my Iñigo.

VI. From there to five minutes the wishes of the pilgrim were satisfied.

And rui Pérez crossed his arms, impatient to hear the relationship of the story offered.

II. History of adventures and misadventures

I. D. Garcia started talking like this:

-Only son, orphan of mother since the first moments of my life, I spent my childhood and particularly my youth slave to the whims of my father, apparently a very virtuous man, but a tyrant who, indulging in oppressing me too much, forced me to live no more and no less than if the cold snow of the gray hairs had petrified my brain.

Young man of twenty years, inflamed by the fire of passions, I cursed nor know the hard chains that imprisoned me, until death appeared in my house and, snatching from my despot, granted me the treasure of freedom for me with so many coveted anxieties.

I confess that without knowing why not how much I should I felt the death of the good old man.

Educated without the incomparable affection of a mother, of my virtuous mother Doña Blanca, my character had been forming excessively adust, without my misdirected heart, alien to the pure enjoyment of the soul, knowing any ambition other than that of gold, nor any pleasure other than the brutal pleasure of the senses.

And as that death would make me heir to immense wealth, the door to launch me into the world of debauchery, hence the lack of feeling for the loss of the one who was indebted to existence.

II. No doubt that the future penetrated him more than it seemed at first sight, when from the bed of agony he told me:

– My life ends very soon; that’s why before I die I want to entrust you with a commission.

– Mandad -I replied truly moved.

– I leave you -continued the agonizing- heir of a large fortune; but on condition that a part of it, even the fourth, you dedicate it to the help of the poor, who after death more than in life needs a father like me of the good deeds of their children.

– Have you ever been such a great sinner? Your life was that of a saint.

– Truly I say to you that few men will sustain the earth so criminal and worthy of divine wrath as the one who is speaking to you from the edge, as the one who says, of the sepulcher.

– Scruples of conscience; you were a true model of virtues.

– My life contains a horrible mystery; may God grant that it will never be deciphered for you; though I fear.

– I promise not to disgrace in time or place your surname.

– Tell us, beloved Garcia, that the children inherit with their property the sins of their parents. l Woe to you if you are not virtuous!

– I swear to you seriously, my father.

– If you fulfilled this, heaven would reward you; but if unfortunately your vices reduced you to misery on a sad day, to misery, you have had enough of life, you yearn for death, return to this house where you were born, enter the weapons room of our ancestors, and look for in it a secret door that will lead you to another room, where you will find a remedy for your evils.

From there, in an hour, he would exhale in my arms, and I, flooded with tears, would ask the God of mercies for the rest of his soul.

III. But one month passed, another, and another, and the feeling was given in mine to the extent that, forgotten of all, I launched myself into the life of the most complete libertine:

Young, rich, brave, become a new Tenorio. And with the entusi…