The Legend of Agustin Lorenzo
A story for the Day of the Dead....truth or fiction? You decide!
Edie J. Adler
It was at the end of the 19th Century when the small town of Buenavista, Guerrero was just getting started. It was rumored that in the neighboring town of Los Amates, a greedy man had once made a pact with the devil.
Published on LatinoLA: November 1, 2009
According to the town's elders, about a hundred years ago a local "bandolero" had made a deal with Satan himself: he wanted to be undefeatable and be able to rob all the business men going through the land without ever being discovered, let alone captured or killed. In exchange for this immunity, the ruthless tug, a man by the name of Agustin Lorenzo, would give his soul to the devil.
And so it was that Agustin Lorenzo spent the rest of his life terrorizing all those unfortunate enough to go through the land between Los Amates, Buenavista and Iguala. People said that he would take the unsuspecting men hostage, lead them to his hide out cave, get their money and merchandise and ask them if they wanted to leave or stay there to keep watch. The foolish men would inevitably say they would stay to keep watch, thinking that as soon as Agustin Lorenzo left, they could leave with not only their belongings, but all the other stolen treasures as well. As soon as they announced their decision, Agustin Lorenzo would put a bullet in the back of their heads, dump their bodies at the entrance of the cave, and cynically say to them: "Keep watching!"
No one knows what exactly happened to Agustin Lorenzo. Some people say he was killed by one of his intended victims; others claimed the devil himself came calling to collect on his debt; the fact was that sometime during the late 1800's, Agustin Lorenzo had disappeared, his stolen treasures never to be found.
But the story did not end there. It was rumored that Agustin Lorenzo spent his nights regretting his evil ways and looking for a way to make amends. The only way to do that would be to give his treasure away so that his greedy ways could be ended once and for all. He would more than likely have to pay his debt to the devil, but at least he would not have to roam the lonely mountains and deserted roads looking for more desperate souls to keep guarding his treasures.
Delfino and Augusto Delgado were brothers who made a living working the fields of Buenavista. They had heard the stories about Agustin Lorenzo, and as most people, they thought they were just a legend, stories made up to entertain or even scare young children.
They had heard Agustin Lorenzo was still looking for someone who could take and enjoy his treasures. Delfino and Augusto were tired of working day in and day out, never really being able to get ahead.
So one night they decided to test out the legend. On a cold, crispy, early November night, the brothers made up their minds – they would go to the creek and call for Agustin Lorenzo.
It was the first night of "Dia de los muertos" (Day of the dead) – the procession from the church to the cemetery had just started; Delfino and Augusto saddled their donkey and started on their way through the treacherous, dusty road toward the creek.
About an hour later they came upon a narrow crossing. The donkey refused to go any further. On one side of the road they faced the creek; on the other, a deep, dark precipice; everyone knew that those who fell in, were never to be found again.
Gathering all of their courage, Delfino and Augusto began calling for Agustin Lorenzo. Their calls were faint. One would think that the brothers really did not want their calls to be answered.
Only a couple of minutes had passed when the brothers decided Agustin Lorenzo was just a legend and therefore they should leave at once.
But just as they were turning around, the sound of thunder broke the still silence of the night. The brothers could not believe their eyes: a faint ray of light reflecting from the moon illuminated the silhouette of horseman dressed in black and riding an enormous steed with hoofs of fire and fiery red eyes. In many ways the horse was more frightening than the rider.
"What is it that you want?" – asked the man, his voice echoing throughout the still night.
"We want your treasures…" – one of the brothers managed to reply.
"Are you ready to pay the price?" – asked the dark rider, as his horse powerfully scratched the earth beneath him, letting out sparks, smoke coming out of his nostrils.
Before the brothers could answer the donkey took off like a bat out of hell. It ran and ran like there was no tomorrow until it came back to town and into his familiar barn.
Delfino and Augusto never told anyone what really happened that night by the creek. The only thing everyone knew was that their donkey died the morning after.
Soon after, the brothers opened up the biggest general store Los Amates had ever seen. Where they got the money, nobody knew.
Edie J. Adler:
Edie J. Adler is a writer, voice over artist, and public speaker. Her new book, "My Yidishe Grandma" is coming out before the end of the year.
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