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I love my Village: The Angel

by Angela Woods

I rather like Angels, especially Parking Angels who always listen to my pleas for a parking space and come up trumps.  I haven’t had much luck with Money Angels though.

Every time I buy a Euro Millions lottery ticket I have a quick word with the Money Angels.   Please, please, please I beg, just a couple or so thousand?   Even a tenner would at least show they were listening!

When I check my lottery ticket at Paco’s shop every Friday he tells me “Nada”, shrugs, and asks if I want another ticket?  I told him once that his machine didn’t like me but he just laughed and said it was the same for everyone.  Does he mean nobody wins using his machine?

Way back in the 14th Century there was an Angel in my village who did listen, and did grant an old woman her request.

It was the time of the Black Death and the village was suffering from bouts of plague along with the rest of Spain and Europe.  As if the Black Death wasn’t bad enough, in 1392 the village was also going through a severe drought and great famine.  The local people didn’t know where to turn for help and were desperate.

Now it came to pass that on the second Monday of January of that year an old grandmother by the name of Liñana was walking to the next village to visit her son.  But being old and weak from little food she did not go far before she needed to rest.

“I am so weary, old and afraid” she cried out. “Will no one help me or my village?”  She laid down her stick and no sooner had she settled her weary bones under a cherry tree than a beautiful Angel appeared to her and said:

“Abuela (grandmother) Liñana listen to me for I bring you good news.  If the villagers  will come to this place and make a solemn supplication to God, the village will be free of the plague and never suffer again from this catastrophe.”

Abuela Liñana, almost overcome with such good tidings, gathered her strength and her skirts around her and  returned to the village with the wonderful news.  But the villagers didn’t believe her.   Some of them even mocked her, and some even dared to suggest that she was hallucinating after eating too many cherries!   Even though it was January and there were no cherries to eat!

Tears welled up in her eyes and her heart was fit to break for she knew the truth of what she said.  In desperation she hurried back to the cherry tree and as luck would have it the Angel appeared before her again.

“Abuela Liñana, hold out your hand, palm up and I will give you the proof that you need to convince the doubters of your village.”

And with a quill dipped in gold the Angel wrote on Abuela Liñana’s palm what it was that the villagers must do to be saved.

This time when Abuela Liñana appeared before the Clergymen, the civic leaders and all the doubting villagers and showed them her hand they believed her, for where would an old grandmother find gold ink they asked?

And a great procession went from the village to the place of the cherry tree and a solemn supplication was made, and the plague and hunger left the village even as they spoke.

Today a little church or Hermitage of “El Ángel” stands on the site and the devotion to El Ángel has continued through the centuries.  The fiesta is celebrated every year on the second Monday of January, when the villagers walk to the Hermitage to present again their solemn supplication and thank the Angel for looking after the village for one more year.

On returning to the village, everyone meets in front of the Town Hall where the people plead with the mayor for the “Toros”, the fiesta of bull running in August. What bull running has to do with fields of plenty and plague free good health I’ve no idea but every year their wish is granted.

Maybe I need to visit the little church and ask the Angel for help with my lottery ticket?

 

I Love My Village is a monthly collumn from Ayora, a village in Valencia, Spain, from the desk of Angela Woods

Jack of a number of trades, but certainly not the electric drill!

I Love My Village, the Angel, Angela Woods, Artist, writer, photographer, mother and survivor

Find more about the valley @ http://www.ayoragreenestates.com 

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