Platero And I
This is the story of Platero, a small donkey, who lived with his poet master in the village of Moguer in Spain. I cannot tell you all the episodes of the poem for there are so many but Platero runs loose in the meadows and hills, and at other times he climbs the mountains, to help gather sandalwood or yellow lillies. He thirsts for a drink from the cool, blue well but the poet looks only at the sky above, and the lillies he has gathered, whilst poor Platero prays for a drink of water and some rest for his tired feet.
In the evening the Angelus is ringing and pink and white roses blown by the soft wind rest everywhere. It seems that the angels are throwing them from the seven galleries of paradise.
At night time Platero dwelt in a warm stable which had a skylight through which yellow butterflies flew and rainbow ribbons filtered in with many colours. Many things happened in the village and there was much joy for the children as Platero played with them and they covered his head and body with snowy and golden bell flowers.
Platero Is Covered With Flowers
One day the canary flew from his cage - he was an old bird and everyone was afraid that he would die from hunger and cold but in the afternoon he reappeared in his cage, with joy, and Platero danced lifting his little white hooves gaily into the air.
Platero and the young poet were the closest of friends and shared their thoughts and understood each other very well.
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Dressed Up For The Festival
The little daughter of the charcoal seller was a pretty but dirty little girl who sat in the doorway singing a song to her little brother. Platero lulled by her song would fall asleep in the long grass. Also in the village was a little consumptive girl who would sit erect in a forlorn chair in her room as she slid slowly back to heaven.
The poet asks Platero to take her for a ride on his back so that she can breathe the cool March air; her face is taut and white, but her heart is beating with great joy as she rides forward.
Many gypsies come from the outskirts of the village and religious festivals and carnivals often took place to the music of tambourines and the laughter of the lively crowds.
There were many birds in Moguer - swallows, sparrows and parrots and there were dogs and cats too. An old man, Warbon, was the doctor who cared for Platero and sometimes would remove thorns from his feet. Warbon was as large as a watermelon. It was so pleasant to ride through the streets of the village in the summer with the scent of orange blossoms and honeysuckle. At night Platero and the poet would ride silently near the white houses which gleamed in the moonlight under the many stars as the children played silently in the shadows.
Platero the sweet donkey had a friend called Diana, a white dog and the goat with the little bell hanging from her neck was also his friend. On Sunday mornings the church bells would ring and the priest Don Jose would wear his black hat and cloak.
The Bulls Sometimes Do Not Fight
On Sundays in the arenas, there would be bullfights and the ladies would dress up in their laces and mantillas, watching the yellow coach with the matadors in it pass by.
In the big arena was the bull pen and some children would climb up - awaiting the two o'clock matadors who would dress up in their black tights and red capes. Sometimes the bulls and matadors did not wish to fight if the day was too warm.
At grape harvest the grape juice would flow in the streets and women and children filled their jugs as the cellar keepers bottled the wine. The women were kept very busy and sometimes on festival nights there were fireworks and bonfires and Platero would hide amongst the vine stalks. Always, the children would play with him and pull his ears but it was the little sick girl who was his sole delight and when she dies the bells rang out sorrowfully and Platero and the poet wept with a great sadness as her soul rose in her little white dress to heaven. Platero remembered that her white hands had caressed his face many times.
A little shepherd boy standing in the green crystal of the sunset would blow his horn as Platero and the poet passed by to be met by Bianca, one of the village girls who held the dead canary in her hands.
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Bianca Finds The Canary Dead
Granadilla - Spanish Lady
He had been found dead in his cage for he was very old and as she held him in her hands, she told Platero - 'When the moon is full she would bury him under the large rose bush.' He had been found dead in his cage for he was very old. Perhaps his soul will rise from the heart of the white rose thought Bianca.
After the October rains there was much activity in the fishermen's houses - the men were dressed in a nautical way and wore heavy chains and boots. Granadilla wore a frilled skirt of many colours. She was one of the lively Spanish women who talked to the fishermen and helped them with their nets. The great ships of the wine merchants would come to the harbour and the fishermen's haul was of oysters, eels and crabs.
Up on the northern hill was the blue and white Castle set amongst the old walls of Moguer and surrounded by nettles. At supper hour the children of the village would become - sometimes - frightened because Platero would put his big head into their windows and his shadow would seem enormous.
The village children would peel pine kernels and eat them standing in the doorways. On Christmas Day great bonfires were made in the fields and children would dress up as the three kings and give flowers and gifts to their sleeping friends. They would put on old clothes and hats and wear coverlets as capes.
Platero Lies Dead
One day the poet found Platero stretched on his bed of straw. He was very ill and old Warbon had tried to heal him but he had eaten some poisonous roots and his eyes were sorrowful. By morning he was dead - the poet watched him as his soul rose to Paradise, to the pink rose-filled landscapes and the meadows of yellow lilies.
The Poet weeps at the graveside of Platero. 'Sweet Donkey' he is dead, but the Poet imagines him in a meadow of eternal roses up in the heaven of Moguer. Of course the angels looked after him and it is nice to think that perhaps Platero with his soft ears and large beautiful eyes gave rides to the smaller angels who in turn, tickled his ears.