"Be careful with the children of Oggún, who are made for war."
Bernardo's story was well known in the town "Tres Cruces", to the point of being the common thread in all the businesses that lived from him, because year after year, thousands of tourists came to learn about the legend of the murderous blacksmith.
Until now, there were as many versions as there were drops of water in the sea, all to enlarge the myth and summon more visitors to get money from.
In those days, Leonardo was barely a journalist apprentice in search of an aiming article that would grant him the only ticket available to enter the ranks of the great "National Newspaper" and consolidate himself in the world of letters.
Difficult task because, like him, ten other applicants were also competing for the same position. With only one week to deliver the work, and completely blocked, he decided to accept the invitation of his friend Gerardo, owner of a tavern in the aforementioned town.
__ “The free drink and safe sex will not lack for you.”__
Resigned to defeat, he let the days go by between drinks and flirtatious foreigners, like the one on that particular night:
__"Whoever brings me the murderous blacksmith's machete comes with me for a whole week... completely free."__ A fan of challenges, he didn't even think twice when that blonde with the French accent launched the challenge. He was not the only one interested, but he knew he was the smartest, while the rest of the herd of suitors went hunting in their modern vehicles, he did it on his friend's horse, since it was known that the museum was on the outskirts from the town, in a property previously considered the most powerful estate in the country, today a ghost place, full of objects that increased the legend, and as part of its attraction was to keep it intact, the road built years later gave Leonardo almost a hour ahead, as long as he followed the traditional path, passable only for horses and carts.
The place was extensive and the house looked like a mansion. Despite the night being well lit, no one was visible in the surroundings.
Driven by the tempting offer and too much alcohol, Leonardo entered the house from a habitaHe went to another in search of the precious trophy until, inside a brightly lit stained glass window, he saw it. It was an ordinary machete, but it meant another week of good life and total alienation because, for him, the dream of being a journalist was already an old story. The only unknown would be how to get it out of there.
__ Why don't you break the glass? __
That voice made him jump with fright, especially when he saw a man dressed in a vest and purple pants, without shoes and with a piece of meat in his hand.
__ Do you want? It's jutía ahumá, the richest thing in the world. __
Leonardo had a lump in his throat, but that guy, old, although athletic, did not stop talking.
__ Break the glass boy, you will not be the first, total, nor is that the blacksmith's machete, nor is the legend true, not a face....__, he kept saying without stopping eating, __… I know the real one, but nobody listens to me. Do you want me to tell you? If you give me a piece of tobacco, I'll tell you the whole story. I feel like smoking...__
Precisely, among Leonardo's new vices was nicotine. Still scared, he handed her a cigar and struck a match. The old man inhaled the smoke with great pleasure.
__ How delicious, it had been so long since I tasted a cigar…__, made a very small pause and continued, __ "The murderous blacksmith", a tremendous name for a quiet man. Everyone here says that Bernardo had the prettiest woman in Tres Cruces, and the boss's son fell in love with her and took her away, so he ordered Bernardo to be killed to make sure he wouldn't come for her, but Bernardo, before he died , he asked Oggún for justice, Oggún gave him his life back and also his machete. Bernardo arrived at the farm and cut off everyone's head, then he took his wife and they never saw him again...__, he inhaled a large puff of smoke again and angrily shouted: __ A lie, it was not like that!... listen to the story that I am going to tell you. __, and began to count:
In the mid-XNUMXth century, Tres Cruces was just a sprawling plantation of caña worked by African slaves, including Bernardo, who was in charge of the farm's blacksmith shop. With a lot of sacrifice he managed to pay for his freedom, but he decided to stay, because the only thing he knew was that.
In one of the batches of slaves, brought to reinforce the harvest, a beautiful young woman arrived, Bernardo fell in love with her. When the love between the two was a reality, the young blacksmith went to talk to his master:
__ This bag of coins is for the freedom of Clarisa. __
Thus, the permit to build a hut near the blacksmith shop was also agreed.
In the quiet of the night, the mayoral and his men broke into the couple, took Bernardo outside while the young heir forced the girl. The woman's screams flooded the blacksmith with energy who, with enormous strength, broke free of his attackers and, using the blacksmith's tools, finished them all off.
__ He cracked the head of one with the hammer, smashed the head of another against the anvil, sliced another from top to bottom with the knife, and the last... poor unfortunate man, drowned him with the Achabba* (chain with 21 pieces ). Only the master's son was missing. __. The old man chewed the tobacco, expelled the smoke, took a bite of the meat and continued the story.
__ The master's son was kicked out before he could stain the girl, seized the machete and cut off his head. at mañaThe next morning the master found her hanging on a stake. No sign of Bernardo and his wife, and although he hired the best ranchers, they never found the murderous blacksmith. Some time later, they say that she was seen with the mambises, and she was a beast carrying the machete, I'm not saying… Oggún's son had to be… __
The sound of the cars momentarily distracted Leonardo's attention, when the group entered and looked again, the old man was gone. While the troop of adventurers figured out how to get the machete, the young man went outside trying to find his ghost historian. The loneliness of the place made him give up, more, a spark had been born again inside, he rode a horse and returned to the town.
There were still a few hours before dawn, enough time to build his article, everything was in his head, just typing and that's it. The day he found it ready for the bus, he said goodbye to his friend and returned to the city. Like the rest of the applicants, he handed in his work and awaited the decision.
When the only participating lady received the congratulations, Leonardo was neither sad nor disappointed, his astonishment came days later with a call from the editorial staff, his article had been liked so much that it would be published, and he, a month on trial, just needed more data collection and some photographs.
Back to Tres Cruces, to the museum farm, taking snapshots of the different valuable objects, mainly the machete. It was still in the window, he smiled thinking if it was the same as that time, or maybe one of the competitors, full of courage, or alcohol, had broken the glass, winning the trip to France.
It was then that he saw it hanging on the wall.
__ It is the only one that remains from the time. __, said a visitor.
It was an old photograph, Leonardo got closer to define each detail, astonishment came immediately, a chill flooded his mind because, among the group of people posing for the photo: blacks and whites, owners and slaves, there was not the slightest doubt
__ Is he...__
And yes, purple vest and pants, barefoot, with a piece of meat in his hand and that unmistakable old look.
He left the museum with many doubts and only one certainty, that of returning to start what would be his first journalistic investigation, not that of the murderous blacksmith, but that of the ghost historian. The goal was drawn and..., where to start...?, perhaps like this:
"Oggún, the warrior who owns iron and metals, comes to tell me..."