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My cousin Doris was a beautiful baby and she had the sweetest smile a child could have. In our village, there were superstitions about giving the evil eye to babies such as Doris.
Doris would not quit crying and she cried as though she were in great pain. Her mother and my aunt decided that perhaps she had been given the evil eye. I was summoned to go ask a suspicious neighbor if she was indeed feeling any kind of pain such as a headache or stomach pain. This would be a sure sign that she had given Doris the evil eye. They told me to go and be as polite as possible and not to make it obvious that we suspected her.
Everyone believed that the evil eye could be given to someone. We all knew the cure, too. I watched my aunt pass an unbroken egg over my little cousin’s face. Then she broke the egg and taking some of it, she made a cross on the baby’s forehead. After that she said several prayers and swept my cousin from head to foot. Then she took another egg, broke it, put it in a saucer, and left it under the bed. By the time I returned from asking if the neighbor was sick we would know if Doris had the evil eye or not.
I made my way to the neighbor’s house only to find out that she was not feeling well. I proceeded to ask her,
” Como esta usted?”
She was annoyed to have a dirty snot nosed child knock on her door because she was so sick.
“No me sento bien,” she said. I don’t feel good.
“Que queres,” she asked me. What do you want?
“¿Que si usted esta mala?” I want to know if you are sick? That was exactly what I was told not to ask. I was supposed to observe her and not let on that I was some sort of spy.
The neighbor was about to throw me out of her house when I snapped to ask another form of question. I had in my pocket a tiny little knife that I had taken from my brothers, who used the knife to play a game called La Navajita. Because they didn’t let me play I had taken it from them when they left it in the pile of sand used for the game.
“Yo ando bendiendo esta navja para mercar huevos porque my primita esta mala y yo neceito dinero.” I said. “I am selling this knife to buy eggs because my cousin is sick.” I felt so proud because I had remembered not to let on that without a doubt she was guilty of giving the evil eye.
She told me she did not have any money. I asked do you have two eggs?
She asked me to wait where I stood and she came back with two brown eggs. She told me to run along and to tell Mother hello. Rather ill at ease she told me that the eggs had polvito-powder- in them. She had a way of laughing when she talked as though she wanted to make you aware of her powers.
On the way home, I began to think about the two eggs she had given me and the polvito she’d said she put in them. Was this lady a witch? What should I do with the eggs? I stopped at the arroyo and began to study the eggs. I could not waste too much time because they were expecting me back home with the news. The eggs had black specks on them and I was not getting a good feeling from them. What am I supposed to do next? Couldn’t I just leave the eggs in the arroyo, so the sun can dry them up or maybe the dogs would eat them? Yeah, that was exactly what I was going to do.
I found a small hole in the arroyo and bent down to put the eggs in the hole. As I put them down, the sand just gobbled them up. I couldn’t see them. It was as if quicksand had taken them. I took a rock and placed it in the hole as well but the rock was not consumed. This scared me even more. I hurried home out of breath to tell my aunts that, yes they were right, the neighbor was sick and she had tried her powers on me too by giving me eggs with powder in them. I prayed that my primita, my little cousin, would still be alive.
I walked in the door and my aunt told me that I had been gone too long and if they ever wanted somebody to go get death they would ask me to go because I always took my time doing things.
When I reported what I had witnessed they already knew. My aunt took the egg out from under the bed. She said that she could tell my primita had been suffering from the evil eye because an eye had formed in the egg. Doris was well by now and she smiled as if to tell us all thank you.
I didn’t dare tell them about the two eggs. But I still wonder why the sand swallowed them.