The Travellers’ Winter Tale

The few remaining old folk in Grado del Pico say that in the past the winters used to be harder and longer, and much crueler.  They sometimes speak in a complaining tone, reminiscing on those winters of long ago, wistful when they recall the tumbling snow flakes falling incessantly, day after day.  During those winter days, the entire village would be confined to sitting around their open log fires, unable to get out and tend their sheep, cattle and horses.

But, that was not the case in the neighbouring village of Cantalojas where the snow did not fall so constantly and so persistently as in Grado.  One cold winter morning forty years ago, two men left their homes to go on an important errand to Grado.  Not possessing any means of transport, they walked the twelve kilometers along the winding paths that led there.  As the morning drew on, the first snow flakes began to fall.  At first they were light and fluffy, and gentle to the touch but gradually they turned to fierce flakes stabbing the two men, blinding them and covering them from head to toe.  Courageously, they ploughed on up the steep mountain pass that separates the two villages as the snow got deeper and deeper.

Eventually, they arrived to Grado to find that it was like a ghost village with the streets shrouded in white and empty of people.

Nevertheless, they went about their business and just before nightfall decided to make the ardous journey back home against the advice of the villagers.  The kind people of Grado said goodbye to them providing them with bocadillos of chorizo and of course aguardiente to keep the cold out, and bravely the two travellers set off in relatively high spirits.

As night fell, so did the temperaturas, and the way back was even more fatiguing due to the depth of the snow.  Upon reaching the top of the mountain pass, the two travellers felt weary and cold.  They decided to regain their strength and satisfy their hunger with the provisions the villagers had given them, and drink the strong alcohol to keep the cold out.

Our two travellers sat down, and as the story goes, never got up again.  They were found in the same position the very next day when a search party was sent out for them.  It seems there was a vague trace of a smile of resignation on their snow covered faces, and the villagers had the consolation that they had died on full stomaches and with the comfort of the aguardiente.