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THE house the only one in the entire valley – sat
on the crest of a low hill. From this height one
could see the river and the field of ripe corn dotted
with the flowers that always promised a good
harvest. The only thing the earth needed was a
downpour or at least a shower. Throughout the
morning Lencho who knew his fields intimately
had done nothing else but see the sky towards
the north-east.

“Now we’re really going to get some water, woman.
The woman who was preparing supper, replied,
“Yes, God willing”. The older boys were working in
the field, while the smaller ones were playing near
the house until the woman called to them all, “Come
for dinner”. It was during the meal that, just as
Lencho had predicted, big drops of rain began to
fall. In the north east huge mountains of clouds
could be seen approaching. The air was fresh and
sweet. The man went out for no other reason than
to have the pleasure of feeling the rain on his body.
and when he returned he exclaimed, “These aren’t
raindrops falling from the sky, they are new coins.
The big drops are ten cent pieces and the little ones
are fives.”

With a satisfied expression he regarded the field
of ripe com with its flowers, draped in a curtain of
rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow
and along with the rain very large hailstones began
to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins.
The boys, exposing themselves to the rain, ran out
to collect the frozen pearls.

It’s really getting bad now,” exclaimed the man.
“I hope it passes quickly.” It did not pass quickly.
For an hour the hail rained on the house, the
garden, the hillside, the cornfield, on the whole
valley. The field was white, as if covered with salt.

Not a leaf remained on the trees. The corn was
totally destroyed. The flowers were gone from the
plants. Lencho’s soul was filled with sadness. When
the storm had passed, he stood in the middle of the
field and said to his sons, “A plague of locusts would
have left more than this. The hail has left nothing.
This year we will have no corn.”

That night was a sorrowful one.
“All our work, for nothing.”
“There’s no one who can help us.”
“We’ll all go hungry this year.”
Oral Comprehension Check

But in the hearts of all who lived in that solitary
house in the middle of the valley, there was a single
hope: help from God.

“Don’t be so upset, even though this seems like
a total loss. Remember, no one dies of hunger.”

“That’s what they say: no one dies of hunger.”

All through the night, Lencho thought only of
his one hope: the help of God, whose eyes, as he
had been instructed, see everything, even what is
deep in one’s conscience. Lencho was an ox of a
man, working like an animal in the fields, but still
he knew how to write. The following Sunday, at
daybreak, he began to write a letter which he
himself would carry to town and place in the mail.
It was nothing less than a letter to God.

“God,” he wrote, “if you don’t help me, my family
and I will go hungry this year. I need a hundred
pesos in order to sow my field again and to live
until the crop comes, because the hailstorm….”
He wrote To God’ on the envelope, put the letter
inside and, still troubled, went to town. At the post
office, he placed a stamp on the letter and dropped
it into the mailbox.

One of the employees, who was a postman and
also helped at the post office, went to his boss
laughing heartily and showed him the letter to God.
Never in his career as a postman had he known
that address. The postmaster- a fat, amiable fellow
– also broke out laughing, but almost immediately he turned serious and, tapping the letter on his desk, commented, “What faith! I wish I had the faith of the man who wrote this letter. Starting up a correspondence with God!”

So, in order not to shake the writer’s faith in God,
the postmaster came up with an idea: answer the
letter. But when he opened it, it was evident that to
answer it he needed something more than goodwill,
ink and paper. But he stuck to his resolution: he
asked for money from his employees, he himself gave
part of his salary, and several friends of his were
obliged to give something for an act of charity’.

It was impossible for him to gather together the
hundred pesos, so he was able to send the farmer
only a little more than half. He put the money in an
envelope addressed to Lencho and with it a letter
containing only a single word as a signature: God.

The following Sunday Lencho came a bit earlier
than usual to ask if there was a letter for him. It was the postman himself who handed the letter to him while the postmaster, experiencing the contentment of a man who has performed a good deed, looked on from his office.

Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on
seeing the money; such was his confidence – but
he became angry when he counted the money. God
could not have made a mistake, nor could he have
denied Lencho what he had requested.

Immediately, Lencho went up to the window to
ask for paper and ink. On the public writing-table,
he started to write, with much wrinkling of his brow,
caused by the effort he had to make to express his
ideas. When he finished, he went to the window to
buy a stamp which he licked and then affixed to
the envelope with a blow of his fist. The moment
the letter fell into the mailbox the postmaster went
to open it. It said: “God: Of the money that I asked
for, only seventy pesos reached me. Send me the
rest, since I need it very much. But don’t send it to
me through the mail because the post office
employees are a bunch of crooks. Lencho.”

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