Seeing us picking the apples, Jacinta shouted out, Hey, Conchita, you are picking the apples.
Shut up, I told her, The school teacher’s wife will hear you, and will tell my mother.(11)
11. Aniceta González, whom we have already mentioned, was an old-fashioned Christian who brought up her children very strictly. Her first offspring were boys: Serafin, who knew the hard toil of the coal mines at Santa Lucía (León); Aniceto, nicknamed Cetuco, who would die at an early age in 1965; and Miguel. It was natural that Aniceta concentrated her care on the youngest of them all, her only daughter! And that she would try to protect her from harm because of her Christian faith and her obligation as a mother.Then I hid among the potato plants and Mari Cruz started to run through the field.
Loli shouted out, Mari Cruz, stop running. We see you. We will tell this to the owner.
Then Mari Cruz returned and we left our hiding place so that we could all be together.(12)
While we were talking, someone called the little girl who had come with Jacinta and Loli, and she left.
The four of us remained alone; and giving it more thought, the four of us returned to pick the apples . . .
While we were having a good time, we heard the voice of the schoolteacher,(13) who on seeing the branches moving so much, thought it was the sheep, and said to his wife, Concesa, go to the garden. The sheep are wandering near the apple tree.
Hearing this, we burst out laughing.
When we had filled up our pockets, we hurried off to eat the apples more at peace in the street, that is in the calleja.(14)
Those apples in Garabandal certainly could not have been as enticing as the apples in the Garden of Eden. In places as high above sea level as Garabandal, apples in the month of June, even in years of an early spring, could not be anything more than half-ripe fruit, bitter, without juice, hard—suited to cause a toothache. But still they had an incredible power of seduction for the girls of the village who hardly ever saw any fruit other than that which the summers brought to the garden trees. Almost entirely deprived—at least during those years—of imported fruit, they eagerly went after the fruit from the village while it was still green.(15)
12. According to confidential statements Loli made to Father Manuel Antón, the pastor of San Claudio in the city of León, the four girls of our story were not always on the best terms with each other. They had recently quarreled among themselves, as happens frequently with children; and for some time had kept a certain coolness toward each other. They were accustomed to walk in pairs: Loli and Jacinta side by side, and Conchita side by side with Mari Cruz.
I finally had the chance to question Jacinta:
—For the Angel’s first visit, did all four of you girls find yourselves together by chance? Since it is certain that you didn’t get along very well, especially you and Conchita.
—Well, we were like children who quarrel as soon as they get together. We had certainly fought several days before the apparition.
13. Francisco Gómez, who was partially lame.
14. The Calleja is a steep, winding, unpaved trail, which goes from the back of the village to a hill where the Pines are situated.
15. The land containing the garden where the apple tree was growing, at the left of the unpaved Calleja that led to the Pines, was later purchased by the husband of Mrs. García Llorente-Gil Delgado from Seville. The garden was in bad condition. Her husband, believing in Garabandal, in 1968 built a beautiful stone house there that is the largest in the village. From the beginning of construction he took the greatest care to preserve the tree of our story, something which he could only do half-way, since of the two limbs coming from the trunk, one was already dying and withered, which he trimmed to save the other. And so the tree was there, sheltered by the new house, until the winter of 1975, when a strong wind knocked it down. Now there only remains a small dead tree stump which can be seen at the right of the entrance to the house. The García Llorentes told me that the last apple picking in September, 1974 was of magnificent quality, very delicious.