The Children of
La Ribiera

    Like all the writers of my generation, I had been struck by the passage in The Brothers Karamazov where Ivan says, "If the divine will implies the torture of an innocent child by a brute, I'm handing back my ticket." I had lent Karamazov to the chaplain of Glieres, and he had written to me on returning the book, "It's first rate, but it's the eternal problem of evil; and for me evil is not a problem, it's a mystery."

--- Anti-Memoirs
Andre Malraux

DECEMBER 4, 1988
In the misty morning, when we rise, we find five children sitting on the ledge of the nearby fish shed, wide-eyed, watching our rising. I will never know, until I die, what they do to these children, what they say to them, with their incantations, and the magic. Perhaps it is the mountain air of La Ribiera, filled, as Ernest later claims, with sacred and important ions.

Perhaps it is something greater --- perhaps one of the gods himself came down to this tiny lakeside village of Encantada, leaving behind his divine spawn in the loins of wives of drunken fishermen. Have we found, in our magic globe of silver, the enchanted lake of Iona? The place where the children of the gods play and sing their way through their lives, their gentle fawn faces, faces set with the mysterious eyes of the divine, mysterious as the mist which even now wraps the lake, and through which appears, from time to time, a launch, to deliver another boatload of magic children to watch us.

Where they come from, from what Olympian heights, we will never know. Only the godlets, with their dusky skin, their impenetrable eyes, only the incarnations know the answer to that, and they aren't talking.

They watch our rise, accept our offerings of pomegranates and apples and candy. They speak in a musical tongue, and move with a regal languor. Then the bread man arrives in his truck. Perhaps he has a divine mission too: he brings out hot freshly-made anise-seed buns which threaten, in their very lightness, to pull us up into the stratosphere. Our two frumpy gringos --- escaped from last night's nightmare --- make their breakfast beside the lake, smiled upon by the bedimpled children of the enchanted isles, and I know, and I promise you (if I didn't make the whole thing up), by my troth, and Ernest corroborates this, and he doesn't lie, at least, no more than I do: I promise you that some day we will return to Lake Godlet to watch the pearl of the morning emerge from the far embankments, and the dark-eyed children of the cosmos come to join us at our morning ablutions.

--- From The Blob that Ate Oaxaca
Carlos Amantea

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