Juanito continued to stare downward.
Joseph sat down beside him. “My father is dead, Juanito.”
“I am sorry, my friend.”
“But I want to talk about that, Juanito, because you are my friend. For myself I am not sorry, because my father is here.”
The dead are always here, señor. They never go away.”
“No”, Joseph said earnestly. “It is more than that. My father is in that tree. My father is that tree! It is silly, but I want to believe it. Can you talk to me a little Juanito? You were born here. Since I have come, since the first day, I have known that this land is full of ghosts.” No, that isn’t right. Ghosts are weak shadows of reality. What lives there is more real than we are. We are like ghosts of its reality. What is it, Juanito? Has my brain gone weak from being two months alone.”
“The dead, they never go away”, Juanito repeated. Then he looked straight ahead with a light of great tragedy in his eyes. “I lied to you, señor. I am not Castillian. My mother was Indian and she taught me things.”
“What things?”, Joseph demanded.
Father Angelo would not like it. My mother said how the earth is our mother, and how everything that lives has life from the mother and goes back into the mother. When I remember, señor, and when I know I believe these things, because I see them and hear them, then I know I am not Castillian nor caballero. I am Indio.”
“But I am not Indian, Juanito, and now I seem to see it.”
Juanito looked up gratefully and then dropped his eyes, and the men stared at the ground. Joseph wondered why he did not try to escape from the power that was seizing upon him.
After time Joseph raised his eyes to the oak and to the house-frame beside it. “In the it doesn’t matter, he said.
(John Steinbeck, To a God Unknown, London, Gorgi Books, 1969, p. 27-28).