Perverse Consequences

Two nights before the first communion, Father Antonio Isabel closeted himself with him in the sacristy to hear his confession with the help of a dictionary of sins. It was such a long list that the aged priest, used to going to bed at six o’clock, fell asleep in his chair before it was over. The interrogation was a revelation for Jose Arcadio Segundo. It did not surprise him that the priest asked him if he had done bad things with women, and he honestly answered no, but he was upset with the question as to whether he had done them with animals. The first Friday in May he received the communion, tortured by curiosity. Later he asked Petronio, the sickly sexton who lived in the belfry and who, according to what they said, fed himself on bats, about it, and Petronio answered him: “There are some corrupt Christians who do their business with female donkeys.” Jose Arcadio Segundo still showed so much curiosity and asked so many questions that Petronio lost his patience.

“I go Tuesday nights.” he confessed. “If you promise not to tell anyone I’ll take you next Tuesday.” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude)

The purohit who did my upanayana when I was 8 was very wise. He confined himself to forbidding me from throwing stones at dogs.

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