Canilla: Jesus! Jesus!... Wait!
Jesus: Whatís the matter, Canilla?
Canilla: Teach me the three fingersí trick.
Jesus: Again? I already taught you that yesterday.
Canilla: But I forgot.
Jesus: Iím gonna do it tomorrow.
Canilla: No, I want it now.
Jesus: Okay, watch it closely so you will learn... You hide
your thumb this way... Then twist your little finger this way and...
Canilla: I know it! I know it already... Look... Am I doing it
Jesus: Better than I do. Now, go and teach it to Nino, who still
hasnít learned to do itÖ.
Canilla: Yes, Iíll show this to Nino.
Jesus: And then in the afternoon you go to Peterís house with
him. I wanna know if youíre learning how to write the alphabet in the
Canilla: Goodbye, Jesus!
Jesus: Goodbye, Canilla!
I think the children of Capernaum became Jesusí friends in such a short
time. They always followed him so he would teach them a trick or tell
a story. The boys were running to and from the street the whole day.
The rabbi met them only once a week to teach them how to read, while
they did nothing but play and do mischief the rest of the day. The same
thing happened in Peterís house.
Mingo: Youíre a pig, pig, a filthy pig!
Their four sons were moving about from morning till night and not a
day or night passed without someone crying, laughing or picking a fight
with one of the brothers. Rufina spent the day running from the kitchen
to the garden and back, also picking a fight with them. Old grandma
Rufa had her own chores to attend to. When Peter returned from his fishing,
he was always in for a surprise....
Peter: Whatís it this time, woman? How did the children behave
Rufina: Like rogues, as always. Little Simon wounded Mingo on
the head with a piece of iron metal....
Pedro: He has a cut on his head?... And what did you do?
Rufina: And what could I do? I washed his head with water from
the lake and put a patch on it... Oh Peter, Iím afraid these boys will
kill each other...
Peter: No, but theyíre gonna kill us first. Oh dammit! What
little brats. Sito! Sito! Come over here!
Rufina: Donít hurt them, Peter. He already received a good strappiní
from his graníma... Leave him alone...
Peter: They gotta learn their lesson, Rufina. We have to correct
them while we can...
Rufina: But theyíre still kids. It doesnít really matter yet...
Peter: Sito, I told you to come over here!
Rufina: Listen, instead of beating him, why donít you just pick
his lice. Mamma was too busy to do it. Iím sure his head is full of
One day, like any other day, the three daughters of my brother James
went to play with Peter and Rufinaís sons. When the seven children got
together, the garden of old Jonasí house looked like the Sea of Galilee
on a stormy day...
Simon: Now, I laugh and everybody cries! Ha, Ho, Ha, ha..!
Girl: Now, do it the other way around! I cry and you all laugh!
Girl: Iím bored. Letís play something else, Sito!
Mingo: Letís play soldiers!
Girl: What about us?
Simon: Mila and you will be the lions... Come on! Letís go look
for some swords!
Girl: What about me: what am I gonna be?
Simon: Youíre gonna be another lion!..The swords! Where are
After a while, at mid-afternoon, Jesus arrived in Peterís house...
Jesus: Howís everything, Rufina?
Rufina: Iím here, Jesus, in front of the stove, as always...
Jesus: Hmmm...! The soup smells good...!
Rufina: You can stay for dinner if you want... Dinneríll soon
be ready. Everything gets delayed because of these boys. Right now,
Reuben is suffering from diarrhea, and he takes most of my time. Look...
Jesus: Maybe heís got worms...
Rufina: Of course, what else could it be... Itís either the worms
or some other sickness. This never ends...! Well, Jesus, are you gonna
stay for dinner?
Jesus: No Rufina, thanks. I came to look for some poles I asked
Peter to keep for me here. I need them in my work. Would you know where
he put them?
Rufina: Oh Jesus, with so many things in my head, I donít remember
where they are now, but I saw them yesterday... Why donít you ask Peter?
Peter: Oh yes, your poles... They were just here in this corner!...
Where are they now?
Jesus: I wanted to do the repair that I promised our neighbor
on the other side... while itís still early...
Peter: Yes, of course! But where the hell are they now? Rufina!
Rufina: Donít you ask me, Peter, I dunno...!
Nina: Ay, ay, ay!....
Little Simon: I killed you, I killed you!
Uncle Peter, look at Sito! Uncle Peter!
these children!... Little Simon!
look, sheís bleeding...
Rufina! Run!... Little Simon, come here quick!... Here are your poles,
Jesus! They are all broken! Okay, who gave you permission to play with
Little Simon: They were our swords, Papa!...
huh?... And what were these swords for?
Little Simon: So that we could kill the lions. She was the lion.
poles are not yours, damn! They belong to Jesus and he needs them for
his work... Alright, pull down your pants, quick! You too, Mingo, show
me your buttocks!
beat him, Peter. Heís too small...
heís too small to be beaten, but look at the mischief heís doing...
Rufina, take the girls to their house... Now, to hell with these boys!
Here, take this... so you will learn to respect whatís not yours, dammit!!
disobedient!... you wretch!...
seed! You good for nothing...!
Peter, for Godís sake, I can replace those poles...
shut up too, Jesus! These boys gotta learn their lesson!
oh, oh... ohhh...!
you two will stay here kneeling on these stones until I tell you. Do
you hear?... Do you hear me well?
Little Simon: Papa, weíre sorry... Iím scared... Itís dark here...
Please forgive us...
youíre scared, huh? Well, youíre gonna stay here till I tell you. And
you better be ready, because the moment you move, the
witch will come and take you with her long fork to the bottom of the
scare them, Peter...! How dare you, Peter!
Little Simon and Mingo were left in the yard, with a punishment of kneeling
on stones. Peter went inside the house... Jesus was beside Rufina by
Peter: Pff!... Iím sorry, Jesus. Your work was ruined. Iíll
get other poles for you...
Jesus: Donít worry, Peter. Iím sorry for the children. You have
beaten them very hard. And theyíre still... kids.
Peter: Theyíre kids, alright, but look at the mischief they
do. No Jesus, donít defend them.
Jesus: Forgive them, man... They didnít know it was wrong...
Peter: Right, but they did it, and thatís it.
Rufina: Yes, Peter. Listen to Jesus, and let the children in.
Theyíll catch cold outside. Come on, forgive them. Tell them that the
soup is ready...
Jesus: Come on, Peter... soften up... Donít be too hard with
Simon: And then,
Papa... Mila said ďgrrĒ, and Mingo took her by the tail and...
Jesus: See, Peter? Theyíve forgotten their punishment... Children
forget... and forgive so easily. Thatís the good thing about them.
In my country, children hardly mattered, and thatís the truth. They
were taught the basic things, they received a good beating and we grown-ups
never conversed with them nor asked their opinion. They mattered only
because when they grew up, they could work. But not with Jesus. He could
see something great in children.
Every time Jesus went to Peterís house he loved to chat with the children.
He would sit by the yard under the lemon tree and soon Peterís boys
and their neighbors, as well as Jamesí daughters, would come running
to him. Jesus gladly obliged them with his stories. That day, Jesus
was teaching them some tongue twisters....
I donít know how Jesus managed to attract the children to himself. I
think he acted a bit like them and played with those brats like he was
one of them... That day, when Peter and Andrew came home from fishing,
they looked through the window and saw the children swarming like bees
as they flocked around Jesus....
Rufina: I wonder why Jesus doesnít get married and have his own
children. He surely knows how to pamper them. Look how fascinated they
are with him, what with the stories he tells them each day...!
Peter: Well, they better get back their senses right now. We
gotta discuss something in Zebedeeís house right now and Jesus has to
come with us. Hey, kids.... beat it..! Everyone... and donít bother
us! Out... out... out of here!
Jesus: But the children are behaving well here. Let them stay
Simon: Papa, Papa!
I just learned a new tongue-twister today!... That night...
Jesus: Oh Peter, you just donít know...
Peter: Oh hell, youíre even more patient than Job with these
Jesus: The truth is, Iím very fond of children, Peter...
Peter: Of course, because theyíre not your children. If you
had your own to support today and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,
then it would be different.
Jesus: Peter, Peter...
Peter: Yes, I know, theyíre still hiding under the skirts of
their mother and...
Jesus: ...And thatís the best thing about them. Theyíre kids
and theyíre not greater than what they really are. And unlike us grown-ups,
theyíre happy being such. We think weíre important, we become serious,
we crack our heads solving the most difficult problems in the world...
while this kid, well, look at him: he sleeps, for all he cares about
Rufina: Heís tired, Jesus... He fell asleep sucking milk...
Jesus: See how good he looks with his mother, Peter... He fears
nothing in his motherís arms, even on your lap... Sometimes I think
that the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven oughta be small too, so small
that only the children could go through it.
Yes, thatís it... While we adults have to bend our heads, leaving
behind our pride, grudges, fears, everything... Yes, we have to make
ourselves small, like Mingo... or Little Simon... or Mila... so we can
get through that door.
Before he went to sleep, Jesus caressed Mingo, held him in his arms
for a while and kissed him. Oblivious of everything, Mingo slept soundly
on his motherís lap.