When we where enjoying ourselves eating the apples, we heard a loud noise, like thunder.
And we all shouted out: It seems to be thundering.
That must have been an unusual sounding thunder. And it surely frightened the girls; people fear a storm, especially when it surprises them in an open field in the stillness of nature. The girls were in the middle of that stillness, outside the village although very near to it. They looked up to search for the place where the thunder had come. But neither close by, nor far away toward the heights of Peña Sagra,(16) which so often showed its face surrounded by dark clouds, nor in the neighboring hills of Poniente where the thunderstorms gathered, could they find the least disturbance. What a strange thunder! What was going on?
In the Still of the Evening (Ad auram post meridiem)
Oh, what a shame.
Now that we have picked the apples, which didn’t belong to us, the devil will be pleased, and the poor Guardian Angel will be unhappy.
Then we began to gather stones and threw them with all our strength to the left side, where the devil is said to be.(18)
The recounting, in childlike simplicity, is noteworthy. The girls react strongly against the spirit of evil that had succeeded momentarily in seducing them. Opposing it, they place themselves resolutely on the side of the good angels whom they thought were watching on their right, leading them to God.
When we got tired of throwing stones, and were more satisfied with ourselves (the relief of conscience that follows a reaction against the devil), we began to play marbles with little stones on the ground.
Suddenly a very beautiful figure appeared to me, shining brilliantly, without hurting my eyes.
16. An imposing mountain range that closes off the Garabandal horizon toward the South. On the other side of the Peña Sagra mountains extended the varied landscape of Liébana, at the extreme southwest of the Provinces of Palencia, León, and Asturias. One of the attractions of the region of Liébana is the skyline formed by the imposing mountain tops of the Picos de Europa on their western face. But the real treasure of the region is the very ancient monastery of San Toribio, now restored and run by the Franciscans. Here is kept the largest remaining single fragment of the True Cross, that is, of the wood of the Cross of Our Lord. It can easily be understood why in the nearby land of Garabandal the Virgin came to remind men, Think of the Passion of Jesus.
17. Conchita notes the time in her diary.
18. A belief that I myself have observed in many villages in Spain where it is thought that the Guardian Angel stands on the right while the tempter or devil approaches from the left.