“The Chicken Coop” is a story taken from Mexican Village written by Josephina Niggli. She was born in Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 1910 and died in 1983. In the small town of Hidalgo, Andres Trevino and Nena Santos were talking about their wedding. Trevino wished to buy a goat for ten pesos, but Santos wanted a pair of zapatos (shoes). She wanted to wear them at their ceremony. She said, “No shoes to wear at my wedding, no wedding!” Trevino was confused and didn’t know what to do about this situation, so he went to the church. There were four men playing dominos. These men were Don Rosalio, Don Nacho the Mayor, Father Zacaya, and the doctor of the town. Trevino asked the men what to do. He wanted to buy the goat, but Nena wanted a pair of shoes. Trevino only had the money to buy one or the other. Father Zacaya asked Trevino “Which is more important, Santos or the goat?” Trevino answered that he wanted to marry her, but there was a very good opportunity to buy the goat. The Doctor told Trevino that one day he tried to vaccinate Santos. She broke three needles, and her mother had to tie her to a chair. If Santos said that if there were no shoes, there wouldn’t be a wedding, she meant it. Don Rosalio argued that if Trevino wanted to marry Santos, just do it, he could buy a goat another time. Pablo the herder suggested that if Trevino wanted to buy the shoes, he is really buying the goat because the shoes were made of goat skin. The problem was that Abel went to Torreon and he will be gone for one month. Trevino said, “If Abel is gone, where can I buy the shoes?” The men sent Father Zacaya to Monterrey to buy the shoes.
Tia Magdalena was very happy when she saw her nephew Alejandro. He brought a present for her from Paris. It was a green satin dress. She tried on the dress, but she put it on backward and fell on the floor. The Doctor came to her house and brought a goat, which was a wedding present for Trevino. He asked Tia Magdalena to put the goat on the patio. Suddenly, the goat escaped, and it chewed the dress. Tia Magdalena said, “In this house, No more goats!” It was the first time that she had a beautiful dress. Days later, in time for the wedding, Tia Magdalena had a new dress. It was a bright red satin dress.
When Father Zacaya came to the house with a pair of white shoes, Trevino noticed that the shoes were too small for Santos to wear. Father Zacaya just followed orders from Trevino to buy the smallest pair of shoes he could find because Trevino wanted to save money. At this moment, the four men didn’t have any advice for Trevino about this situation. Santos said that she couldn’t wear the shoes because the shoes were too small. Trevino said “You said you wanted to wear a pair of shoes, but you never mentioned wearing them on the feet.”
The wedding was in November. Don Nacho opened the ceremony, and Don Alonso’s orchestra played “Good-bye Forever” and many Mexican waltzes. Don Rosalio, Don Nacho, and the Doctor signed the book of the groom’s witnesses. Dona Fela, Dona Mariliria, and Dona Juanita Perez signed the book of the bride’s witnesses; the wedding lasted until five in the morning.
I think it was a very difficult decision to make when Trevino had to buy the goat or the pair of shoes, especially when he didn’t have enough money to buy both.
This was “The Chicken Coop” a story taken from Mexican Village.