La leyenda del Muerto que cumplió su palabra

The story is told that there once lived in Guanajuato an exemplary nurse, who everyone remembers for her admirable work and who was known as “Doña Romanita”.

In the early hours of one cold and rainy night, a calloused hand knocked on the door of Romanita’s house. After several knocks (what with the lateness of the hour, it was a struggle to get our nurse out of bed to answer), Romanita finally opened the door and there stood a miner in obvious distress who, without offering any payment, begged her to come to his house to help his beloved wife have her baby.

Romanita was devoted to her vocation and so she went to the miner’s house and set about delivering the child. Finally after several hours’ work, with a smile she presented the miner with his newborn son.

-Señorita, you’ve made me the happiest miner in Guanajuato. How much do I owe you? He asked her with a worried expression.

-Fifty pesos, not counting a few things I brought along, she replied.

-I feel very bad about this, Señorita but I barely have enough for food for the week. If you’ll let me, I promise, I promise that, come what may, I’ll pay you in a few days more.

The nurse left the happy miner’s house and, over the following days gave the matter no further thought as she went about her business as usual. Until one morning, news came that there had been a cave-in at the mine and the miner had been killed. Romanita, with barely a thought for the debt he owed her, offered up a prayer for the repose of his eternal soul and gave the money up for lost.

Then, as one chilly night, heavy wind and rain were lashing the city of Guanajuato, Romanita heard a knock at the door. She tried to close her eyes and go back to sleep, but the knocking went on, louder and more determined. So, she gave in and went to see who it was. Imagine her shock when she opened the door on the gaunt, pallid face of the miner, standing there with his arm out and holding in his hand a small bag containing the 50 pesos he owed. The miner had returned to keep his promise.