| Chapter XIII -- The Man of the Forest |
The hunter, whose wife is undergoing treatment with the flower of the heart, captures and trains deer snakes to rent to villagers as rodent exterminators in their fields. Like the rest of the villagers, the hunter must periodically provide his labor at low cost to the town elite; for one week's work, he is paid with an old shotgun. He believes this gun will improve his hunting. Out with his dogs, he tracks a deer. A long chase, and the deer is killed but on the master's land. The overseer takes the best parts of the deer, and threatens the hunter should he ever trespass on private land again. Returning home, the hunter and his dogs are attacked by a herd of wild peccaries with fatal consequences. The hunter's father explains the tragedy as a matter of bad luck, determined to get the other, the detestable, version of it out of people's minds. For witchcraft was stirring a new uneasiness in them. Every person who saw the body of the hunter, covered with wounds, maintained that they were not made by peccary tusks at all, but were the marks of the tlahuelili, the devil himself, which the spirit of the nahual now inhabited, and from whom they had all been expecting reprisals.
Chapter XIV -- The River Takes Toll
Thus far, one young man has been crippled; the girl he loves, who loves him, has been married to another who has been killed by a herd of wild peccaries. She is pregnant and heartsick. Her father and the father of the crippled boy are feuding. The boy's father, an excellent swimmer despite his advanced age had been sent by the town president to carry letters to another town. He is ordered to return the same day, despite flooded river fords. A couple watch him cross in one direction successfully on a log 'horse', but on the return trip, the water is even higher, and he is swept to his death.