The eve of The Three kings! The nights of the Magi! A sacred legend which filled the young hearts with flame of Divine Illusion! The miracle which makes the porches bloom with shoes and fills them with gifts falling from the heavens!
Awake in her bed, the grandma thought of the kids, children of God, who would be sleeping with a smile on their lips, anxiously awaiting the dawn in order to run and see the gifts brought by the Kings. She thought of the men, boys who no longer believed in the Three Kings, but who still kept deep inside of them the memory of the Divine Illusion and felt it come alive again and again throughout their lives. And she thought of the grandchildren…
They were right. The following day they were definitely leaving and she had resigned herself to returning to her old loneliness, for she knew that they could not stay with her forever. The parting had to come. She had learned to put up a brave front. That same night, during dinner time, their departure already scheduled for the next day, she had suggested that they have something memorable to top their stay with her. Then children, going along with the idea, broke their heads trying to think of “something memorable” when Estrella, most mischievous and also most imaginative, made a gesture that she had thought of one and exclaimed:
“I got it, I got it!”
“Something silly,” Juan mocked her…
Estrella stuck out her tongue at him. The envious one! And, of course, she had an idea, a splendid idea…
“Come now, come now girl, what is it?” asked the grandma.
“Well, we, girls, will put our shoes on the window sills… and the boys…”
“Will be the Three kings! Great!” Enrique agreed, “I shall be Melchor.”
“And I, Gaspar…”
“And I, Blatazar…”
And so, at this time, the shoes were on the window sills of the dining room, precisely because the windows of the dining room were the most accessible for the Three Kings…
And the grandma was hatching a mischievous idea in her head, a nice prank. Oh, her youth long gone by! Just thinking of the “idea” made her feel like a girl again, vibrant with youth. Yes, yes, she should do it. Why not? It would be a joke and if by chance it worked, it would be great. Thus, she would have contributed to her grandchildren’s joy. That way the Divine Illusion would be re-born.
She jumped out of bed very quietly. She turned on the light. She searched for something in the boxes. Later, satisfied, she worked on the details of the idea.
The next day, at breakfast, the grandma looked at her grandchildren one by one. And she trembled… trembled!
The boys were very much amazed; the girls, very serious. And amidst the seriousness, the Divine Illusion vibrating with happiness. A Divine Illusion, so clear, so evident that the grandma felt rejuvenated. And it was her doing, the product of her sixty years. Because the night before, the eve of the Three Kings, she had wanted to be one of the Magi and had placed in the shoes… love letters!
Enrique K. Laygo
March 20, 1932
Translated to English by Pilar E. Mariño
Link to Spanish Translation
Link to Spanish Translation