30 March 2009
As I wrote in my last post, most of the stories seem to have the same elements repeated over and over. The patriot here is an old monk. The land isn't so much inhospitable, though it does play a role. And there's the encounter with the royalists, who have taken over the town where the monk resides. The monk decides that he can't abide the royalists, and so when the Spanish forces ride off to ambush a force of montoneros, the monk rings the church bell so as to warn the gauchos. The royalists ride back and grab the monk, beating him severely. However, his action leads to the royalists' defeat, and he manages to escape as they retreat.
Embedded in the story is the monk's own background, as a gaucho who decided to become a man of the cloth, although he maintains a certain uncouth individualism. Again there is the patriotism which leaves me a little flat, though I thought this story at least grounds it in an interesting character.