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The Swordsman of San Juan

The Boundaries of Fantasy

This story takes place at the time when the walls and bastions of Campeche were still under construction; when bravery and skill with the sword were essential qualities, reasons of pride in the spirit of the villagers ...

In the bosom of an affluent family was born a young man who received the name Cosme de Santaclara. Since he was little he was pampered and grew without a brake, accustomed to getting everything he wanted, no matter how small the whim. That's how he earned the nickname "Terrible."

His parents, as was tradition in high society, decided to send him to Spain with the hope that an appropriate education and a change of environment would allow him to mature, to return as a complete man.

Cosme took the boat and arrived, his luggage full of doubloons. He never touched the campus of a school or bothered to read a book, immediately after getting off the ship he dedicated himself to lying, seducing and gaining popularity in different social circles like the one who always paid the bills and made gifts to the girls.

Also, at some point, he decided to steal the sword of one of his acquaintances.

The money was eventually exhausted by so much excess and Cosme departed back to Campeche, with a sword as the sole substitute for an education. Upon arrival, he came out of any problem with his parents talking and lying.

Of course, not managing to resist being the focus of attention, he decided to strut around the city of Campeche again and again, showing his sword and telling stories of his countless duels to anyone who paid attention ...

False duels, because he had never wielded his weapon in combat.

However, his insistence on talking about himself and the lack of options to corroborate his stories earned him the reputation of a dangerous and honorable swordsman. The men were careful and the women fell before him.

It was even said that when a poor person met him with his wife, he showed the greatest possible respect until the young man withdrew; it was better to be careful and live, than to challenge the warrior and perish.

After a time of getting everything he wanted in the city, Cosme decided to explore outside the wall and found a small house, where a beautiful young woman named Irene looked at the horizon sitting on the porch.

Immediately he began to use his silver tongue to try to seduce her.

Already engaged with a worker named Jose, Irene politely sought to stop the advances of Cosme, but he did not accept a negative response and began to besiege her, until José realized and one angry day was for his machete. Irene implored him to be careful, for he had heard the stories of the implacable swordsman, but he was already tired and he faced him.

As expected, the dialogue did not work and Cosme immediately insulted José, who decided to jump on the undesirable arrogant, but he had enough time to react and dodge it. When Jose fell to the ground he felt the cold blade of the sword in his throat, then, a loud slap and heard a challenge: the next day, before dawn, he had to go to the Esplanade of San Juan for a duel.

Jose arrived punctually at the meeting and found an straight Cosme, who boasted telling him how he would go to meet his fiancée as soon as his body fell lifeless.

Santaclara showed his weapon for inspection and, realizing that Jose did not carry a sword, asked how it would be a fair fight. Without adding anything, the farmer took out a club and hit the swordsman, one and another, and another, and again ...

Cosme de Santaclara was immobilized for several months by the beating he received that day, but after a time of recuperation, the spirit allowed him to go out to sunbathe on the porch of his home.

One of those days, when the memory of defeat and humiliation left him with a lost look came a group of men ... all husbands who had endured the infidelity of their women with the "swordsman"; inspired by having discovered the truth thanks to the duel on the Esplanade, they began to take turns weekly to visit the fraud and beat him, until it became tradition.

Finally, Cosme's parents decided to send him back to Spain to save his life and now go to a house of studies, all the time supervised by an Iberian relative who would make sure to keep the talker at the waist.

Cosme was no longer spoken of, but the story of how honor and truth triumphed at the Explana de San Juan has never been forgotten.
 

La Explanada de San Juan

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