“Papa, the palms of my hands itch,” comments the boy. The father grabs the boy’s small, soft hand and scratches his palm.
“This means you will soon acquire a great wealth,” says the father, his mouth widening to a smile big enough to reveal a row of imperfect teeth.
“Papa, my ears feel hot and they look red,” whines the boy.
The father grabs the boy’s face by the chin with his thumb and pointer finger, turns his son’s face to the left and then to the right, inspecting the little ears.
“This means that someone somewhere is speaking about you,” says the father, his thick and bristly eyebrows arched up on his forehead.
“Papa, at night I can sometimes hear my name being called by people out in the woods,” whispers the boy. At this the father freezes and looks at boy. “This means that the duendes want to take you and eat you.”
“But why, Papa?”
The father takes the boy by the hand, up the rickety stairs to his room and tucks him into bed. He locks the window and blows out the only flickering candle in the room.
“Because of my love for you, sleep tight, sweet son,” he says and kisses his forehead.
In the morning, when the father goes to wake his son for breakfast and he finds a small wooden doll carved in the likeness of his son. The duendes have taken him. Papa goes to the old wooden shed and finds a thick manila rope. The rope feels itchy around his neck as he steps off the stool to be reunited with his son.
artwork courtesy: http://www.caroleanzolletti.com/2010.05.01_arch.html