The Student News Site of Teen Scene, Inc

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

A Tale of Two Burros

Photo credit –,
Two burros

The village of Pedregal sits on a cactus covered plain, southwest of the Rio Grande border with Texas. By today’s standards, we would have been considered poor, but we never knew it. We carried our poverty in our wallets, not in our hearts. Our families were our safe harbor and the bonds of the community saw us through the tough times. But our village was rich in ways which most people would never understand. One of those treasures was our Franciscan priest, Padre Juan Flores who taught us about one of life’s most important gifts—love. This lesson began as a tragedy and ended as a triumph.

One day, a large stake-body freight truck, with Municipal Police markings on the sides of its doors arrived with Padre Juan sitting in the open part of the truck’s rear gate. His long legs dangled over the truck’s wooden bed. Sharing the space with Padre Juan were two gray burros and two burlap bags of feed. Padre Juan was tall and athletic, having boxed and played minor league baseball, a talent that almost diverted him from his seminary studies. He was as tranquil as he was big. However, when asked about his odd arrival, he explained he’d adopted the burros, leaving out some critical facts. The full story of what occurred would eventually fix his place in the history of our village.

On the way back from a long bus ride to buy supplies for the church, he placed his purchases beside him and settled in for the trip home. Suddenly, the bus jerked to a stop. In the headlights, the passengers saw a man beating two burros with a cane pole; they’d collapsed trying to pull a wagon overloaded with scrap iron and were bleeding. Padre Juan leapt from the bus and ran directly at the man, snatching the pole away. When the drunkard realized that someone had interrupted his sadistic pleasure, he spun around and saw the silhouette of a man framed between the bus’s headlights. Padre admonished the brute for injuring “God’s creatures.”

“To hell with God’s creatures. I will gut you like a fish!” the man screamed and pulled a stiletto from his back pocket, lunging drunkenly at the figure who dared to challenge him. His forward motion was stopped by a hard-left hook to the jaw followed by a crushing right uppercut, delivered by Padre Juan. The man staggered backward, then fell forward face first.

Witnesses said Padre’s last punch sounded like someone breaking a walnut shell with a hammer. After a brief trial, the man was sentenced to prison and the two burros were adopted by Padre Juan. They became fixtures in the village where they spent the rest of their days happily hauling lighter loads of kindling. When not working, the burros could be found cavorting in the nearby mesquite groves searching for the treats left for them by Padre Juan.

The village children affectionately named the larger of the two, Lightning and the smaller one, Thunder. Lightning was a unanimous choice because this burro was usually the first in line when food was available. But Thunder…let’s just say this name had its origin in the poor creature’s week-long attack of flatulence after it consumed three pounds of Señora Araceli’s morning glory vines.

Every Sunday when the church bell rang, the burros were quick to find a shady spot near the church’s entrance where Padre Juan set out sliced apples. He later explained, “these were not bribes, but an act of compassion… Amen!”



Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
David Hume III
David Hume III, Contributing Writer
David Hume is a contributing writer for Cape Fear Voices

Comments (0)

All Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *