Juan Bobo and the Robbers

Juan Bobo and the Robbers

31 March 2016,   By ,   0 Comments

A tale from Puerto Rico

Once upon a time many years ago, there was a boy who was so lazy that he seemed stupid. Although he really tried to behave himself, he did nothing but say and do silly things. That is why the whole world, except his intelligent and hard-working mother, called him Juan Bobo.

“Go to the market in town and sell a fat chicken. With the money you receive, buy a bag of rice,” Juan Bobo’s mom instructed him. “Be courteous and obedient with every person you encounter.”

“Si, mama,” replied Juan Bobo.

Saying this, Juan took the chicken and happily left to go to the market. Soon he encountered a lot of people. Half of them came in a carriage and the other half were riding horses. They had come from a wedding. Walking along the road were the groom, the bride, the family members, and the friends who were riding horses.

“Have my deepest condolences,” said Juan.

On one occasion he had been with his mother at a funeral and because she had greeted the family in that manner, Juan thought that you had to give this greeting any time you saw a procession of people. Naturally the newlyweds, as well as the friends, became very angry.

“Next time when you encounter a group of people you have to greet them waving your hat saying, “Viva, viva!”” said the angry husband.

“Thank you very much. That’s what I will do,” said Juan.

So the boy kept on walking, and soon he encountered a butcher and his three sons. They had come back from the market, bringing some pigs that they had bought. Remembering the words that the groom had told him, Juan greeted them with a hearty ““Viva, viva!” as he waved his hat in the air.

The pigs were frightened by the hat waving and by the yelling, causing them to run in all directions towards the fields.

“You stupid boy!” exclaimed the butcher. “Next time you see something similar, it is better to say, “I hope God gives you two for each one.””

“Thank you very much, that’s what I will do.”

Near the market Juan saw a farmer who was burning a pile of weeds that he had taken out of his field. Remembering what the butcher had told him, Juan greeted him saying, “I hope God gives you two for each one.”

“What is it son? You shouldn’t say that,” said the farmer.

“What should I say, señor?”

“Next time, you see something like this, it is best that you help instead of saying silly things.”

“Thank you very much, that’s what I will do.”

He kept on walking, thinking that he was born to make mistakes. Soon he saw two big and strong men who were fighting in the middle of the road. He remembered what the farmer had advised him. And he ran at them yelling, “Wait señores, let me help you.”

When they saw the boy, the men stopped fighting and started to laugh.

“You shouldn’t say that,” said one of the men.

“So what should I say?”

“You should say, please don’t fight, señores,” replied the man.

“Thank you very much, that’s what I will do.”

Saying this, Juan continued on his way. When he got to the market, he sold the chicken and bought the bag of rice, following the instructions his mother had given him. Then he walked happily around the market. He observed potters making and decorating beautiful pitchers, big and small. In awe, he watched the glass blowers, and he was sad that he didn’t have the money to buy a flower vase for his mother. Finally, Juan left the market. He headed home.

But soon he felt tired, and climbed into a big a tree to take a siesta. He settled into a big branch and soon fell asleep. While he was sleeping, the sky turned dark and a storm came in. It started drizzling. The sound of the rain and a murmur of voices woke him up. He saw two thieves were taking refuge below the tree, but they couldn’t see him.

One of the thieves deposited a big pile a gold coins on the ground.

“Here we will be safe from the rain,” said the other thief. “Nobody will see us while we count the money we stole.”

“Don’t be stupid, Paco!” replied the first thief. “We shouldn’t count the money until tonight.”

“Bah!” said Paco as he hit the other thief with his fist.

“Please don’t fight, señores,” said Juan Bobo.

As he spoke, the sack of rice broke.

“Help! Help! It is hailing,” yelled Paco. “The God of the storm has discovered us. Run! Run!”

And the two  bandits ran away hurriedly, abandoning the treasure. Juan climbed down from the tree and quickly picked up the bounty which he put in his sarape. Then whistling a happy song he ran towards home.

“Here I am, mama, and I bring you a present. Look at all these gold coins I have under my sarape.”

“Ay, my dear Juanito, we are rich!” said his mom. “But explain to me what happened.”

“There is nothing to explain, mama, it is easy to get rich if a person is courteous and obedient with everybody.”


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