By Kay Long
As Zorro turned Tornado back onto the path back
to the secret cave, he took a deep breath and spoke to the mighty black
stallion, “That was too close for comfort, my friend. We better
head home while we can.”
As if he understood his master, the horse
snorted as he came upon the secret trail back to the cave.
The black clothed masked man had just released a
prisoner that had been unjustly jailed. An angry ranchero had ordered
Sergeant Garcia, the acting Commandante of the cuartel, to put the man
in prison for breaking into his hacienda the night before. The
stranger, who had never been in Los Angeles before, lost his horse a few
days previously and was trying to get somebody to help him at the
rancho. The owner had arrived home late at night from a poker’s
game at the tavern and thought he saw the stranger trying to get into
Zorro as Don Diego de la Vega talked with the
stranger after the big and kind heart Sergeant Garcia reluctantly put
him in his jail. Diego knew that this Don Miguel de la Macho, an
old family friend of his father, hated all strangers that came to his
rancho and may have mistaken the stranger’s action for robbery at his
home, especially at night.
Don Miguel was once a fine gentleman, who came
to California in his younger years from Spain. And he had brought
a large rancho along side the De la Vega’s rancho and worked and
managed it for many years. He and Don Alejandro became good
friends as they both kept breeding their cattle together.. Don
Miguel left the rancho in the hand of his caporal and Alejandro as he
went back to Spain to get the senorita that has been promised to him for
marriage. He had been gone for almost a year when he returned. And
he returned alone.
Don Miguel came back from Spain a broken man.
Even Alejandro was shocked to see his young friend old looking and his
personality changed. At first, the young man wouldn’t even talk
with his friend, Alejandro, but finally broke down and told him about
the trip. As the broken caballero spoke of the trip over by the
ocean, Alejandro began to feel the same pain in his own heart.
Not knowing, Don Miguel arrived just in time for
the funeral of his beloved, who had died a few days earlier. The
young woman was killed after the horse she was riding, slipped and fell
on her. After the funeral, Don Miguel went berserk and tried to
drown his pain with drink. But his family kept their eyes on him
and tried to make him stay in Spain.
He refused and returned to California, to the
rancho that he had hoped for himself and his own family. Even then
he tried to destroy his hacienda by setting it on fire, but Alejandro,
on his way to see him, saw the smoke and stopped the fire before it got
out of hand.
With the help of his old friend, Don Miguel
finally decided to keep the rancho going and lived his life the best way
he could. But in time, as he got older, Miguel became a bitter and
quiet man and always alone. Outside his servants at his home and
his only friend, Alejandro, he rarely associated himself with other
people. Even Diego always felt sorry for his father’s old
friend, even though Miguel hardly spoke to the young lad.
As the young don grew up, he saw his father
often reasoning with his friend, especially if the confused don had been
drinking. Finally Diego asked his father why Don Miguel like that,
so bitter and so alone. Carefully and wisely, Alejandro told the
old story about his friend’s unhappiness. Seeing the reason
behind it all, his son asked him about the loss of his mother and why
he, himself, had not turned bitter like Miguel.
He looked at the oil painting of his beloved
wife, holding their only child, smiled at the lad and said to Diego,
“Because I had you, my son, to remind me of your mother’s love.”
Since then, the tall and lanky lad tried his
best to include the old man into his life. As his father had done
before him, Diego had to go to Spain to finish his education.
Before he went, he asked his father about Spain, her people and
cultures. Hoping, it wouldn’t pain the old and bitter don, he
also asked Miguel, and surprisingly, his father’s friend told many
stories about the times he spent in Spain. Alejandro was pleased
that Diego took the time to spend with Don Miguel before his son left.
It seemed for a while that his friend was coming out of his dark and
When Diego left to finish his education, Don
Miguel missed the young lad more than he realized. Alejandro was
about to write to Diego, asking him to write to Miguel when the don came
riding, with a big smile, telling him told that Diego had written to
him. But it was not enough, because slowly but surely, Alejandro
saw his friend going back to his depression.
When Diego was called home by his father because
of the evil Capitan Monastrio, Don Miguel had withdrawn more to himself.
He no longer associated with anyone, even Don Alejandro. Diego
went and see his old friend when he got home, but even he was turned
After the arrest of Capitan Monastrio, Diego
spend time and tried to reasoning with Don Miguel. Especially at
Christmas time, but the older don didn’t want anything to do with the
holiday’s season. For it was too painful for the old man,
remembering the times with his beautiful love, Maria, and how she loved
the Christmas season and spend the time with the children at the church.
It was then that he realized that he had fallen in love with her, her
beautiful spirit and laughter. Miguel and Maria had known each
other for a long time and she was in love with him for some time before
he realized that she was the one for him. He had asked her father
for her hand in marriage at Christmas time before he sailed for
California to buy a rancho and build the hacienda. Then they were
to be married on his return.
Diego had always loved the jolly seasons and
often participate in the Christmas fiesta himself. After he
returned home from Spain, he kept up the tradition that he had learned
there. Even though the culture was the same, he made sure that the
children understood the true meaning of Christmas. And for several
years now, it was Zorro who brought the gifts to the parents who could
not afford to buy them. It was the few times that he didn’t have
to fight or run from the lancers as long as Sergeant Garcia knew what he
was up to. The kind and big Sergeant had delivered a few gifts of
his own as Father Christmas, but the Capitan Monastrio had made him
stop. Afterward, since Zorro seemed to afford it, the sergeant let
the outlaw do his good deed for the children at Christmas Eve.
But Don Miguel hated the Christmas season and
refused to be any part of it. He would stay at his house while the
fiesta was going on. Even Alejandro and Diego tried to get him to
come over their house, but he turned them down every time. Even
the few servants that worked for him had offered to stay with him just
to keep him company, but he insisted that they go on home.
As the years went by, Don Miguel became
unbearable to be around, especially since the partner of his business
died. Miguel had a small, but a thriving business, which brought
him more wealth than he could use. Don Alejandro would not go with
him on this business because it didn’t feel right with him. Don
Masco was a friend to both Don Miguel and Alejandro for very many years.
But he didn’t do the business the correct way and that bothered
Alejandro, but to Miguel who didn’t care one way or other, it just was
something for him to do.
The shipping business thrived, but as soon as
Don Masco died, Miguel kept it going and kept all the profits to
himself. Soon everyone didn’t want anything to do with the
business, because it was costing the peons and even the dons more than
it usually did. But Don Miguel didn’t care.
Soon the Christmas season came upon the pueblo
once again and the De La Vegas and Bernardo and their servants were
getting ready for it. Padre Felipe and the church’s children
were once again decorating the pueblo with ribbons, holly and pine tree
branches. The people were soon singing the Christmas hymns and
Sergeant Garcia with his beautiful voice, was the one that they admired
the most. Especially in the church, the padre noticed the moods as
he gave thanks for the season. But the moods had not
affected the old Don Miguel. He went about his way as usual, and
didn’t care about anything or anyone, including his old friend.
Diego knew that his father was hurt by the
actions of Don Miguel. But he gave up, trying to talk to the old
man and told his father that there wasn’t anything that anyone, even
Zorro, could do anything about it. He even told his faithful
servant and friend, Bernardo, that he was just aggravated about the
whole thing with Don Miguel. Bernard never saw his master so
disappointed as both of them tried to think of some answers to this
Before the people knew it, it was Christmas Eve
and most of them were getting to go to the church and celebrate the
birth of the Christ child. Pedro, Don Miguel’s head servant, was
trying to get everything done so he can go home and be with his family
for Christmas. He had been the only one who had managed to
stay with his master so long. He felt sorry for the old man, but
he knew that there was nothing he could do to make things better for
Don Miguel has just come home when Pedro
finished his last chore for the day. The servant came and helped
his master out of his coat. Quietly, the old man acknowledged the
Indian and went to sit down in the sala. Then Pedro went to
the kitchen and came back with a tray of a teapot and a cup.
Silently he poured the tea and put the cup on a small table next to the
chair Don Miguel sat. The old man looked up and asked “Don’t
you have to go, Pedro?
“Si, Patron, I will be leaving soon to spend
Christmas Eve with my family. I was going to ask you if I could
have Christmas day off to spend with them. And I assure you,
Senor, that I will be back first thing the day after.”
Don Miguel listened to his request and started
to object, but he didn’t and just nodded at his servant. The
younger man bowed and quietly left the hacienda and walked up the road
where he saw three of his children coming to meet him. Two boys
and one girl were up the hill, when he saw one of his sons fell to the
ground. The little boy, Timmo, his youngest, was trying to keep up
with the others, but one of his legs was hurt long ago. The doctor
had said that there was hope for the little one, but it was in Monterey
and the young family didn’t have the means to do so. In the
meantime, Pedro was trying to find some extra work from the other
ranchos, but he didn’t have the time for it.
Pedro ran to his crippled son and pickd him up
with the help of his other two. He smiled at his children
and told them to come along. He put Timmo on his shoulder and
walked toward his home.
Pedro’s wife, Tami, saw her family coming down
the road and smiled. She had hoped that Don Miguel would agree to
let her husband be home for Christmas. Pedro didn’t spend enough
time with his family, but she knew that it couldn’t be helped.
She hurried to get supper ready so they were going to the mission
Later, Diego decided to go by Don Miguel and
tried to convince the old friend to come and eat Christmas dinner with
him and his father. But as soon as the door was opened, he knew
that it was hopeless task. Before him at the door, Don Miguel,
drinking again. The younger don took his old friend back inside in
the sala and tried to talk to him. But he wouldn’t listen and
went to sleep in his chair. Feeling pity, Diego left.
As the evening became night, Don Miguel woke
with a start, realized it was dark in his home. Tired, he lighted
a small candle and started to his bedroom. Suddenly he heard a
strange sound, a rattle of chains. Bewildered, he looked around
the hacienda and found nothing amiss. So again, he started toward
his bedroom and again, the sound came. A little scared, he
continued walking to his room and there on his door, he thought he saw
the head of his business partner. He rubbed his eyes and the
horrific vision was gone.
Shaking his head, he laughed and thought his
mind was getting to him. He went inside and locked his door.
Suddenly, feeling very tired, he got ready for bed. As he got into
the bed, the weird sounds returned and this time, they wouldn’t stop.
Terrified, he then saw what seemed to be the ghost of Don Masco with the
chains around his neck and body.
Don Masco’s ghost was horrific to look at.
The clothes were all torn, a bandage around the head, no shoes, and all
sizes of chains were hanging on the body. As the being came
closer, Don Miguel became so terrified that he could not even scream.
“Don Miguel,” said the raspy voice of the
ghost, “I came to you so that you can save yourself from this hell
that I had found myself in. Please listen to me, mi amigo, you
must change your ways.” Then the ghost disappeared and with it, all
the strange sounds.
Don Miguel rubbed his eyes and thought he must
have fell asleep for a few moment, dreaming the ghost. Carefully,
he looked around in his room, yawned and then lay down and went to
A short time later, the old don awoke and
thought he heard another sound, a friendly laughter in the form of a
voice of an old friend. He sat up and saw in a dreamy state,
the younger Don Alejandro de la Vega. Alejandro was talking to
another man, and surely, it was the young Don Miguel. The old man
realized that he was dreaming about the past and he saw himself as a
Those were the good times, he thought. And
he heard that the two young men were talking about the young wife and
the newborn son of de la Vega. The young Dona Isabelle, holding
her first born, Diego, smiled at the two caballeros. She asked Don
Miguel when he was bringing his bride back from Spain. Then as
quickly as she said those words, the old don found himself in Spain, at
a funeral. “Oh, NOOOoooooo!” he screamed in his mind.
His betrothed’s funeral!
He screamed again, and this time, hearing his
voice, he awoke from the nightmare. Breathing hard, Don Miguel
looked around and found himself back in his bedroom. Claiming
down, he thought it was strange and so real because it has been years
since he had the dream.
He got up shaken and went to the kitchen.
He wished that at least one of his servants was there, but he allowed
all of them to go on home for Christmas. He heated some
water and made himself a cup of tea and took it back to the bedroom.
After sipping on the tea, he climbed back into
his bed. Still feeling the effect of the alcohol, he went to
sleep soon. Suddenly, the figures of Diego and his deaf and mute
servant, Bernardo, appeared before him. Both were smiling at him
and Diego said, “Don Miguel, come, we have something to show you.”
And suddenly they were at the Tavern, listening
to what everybody was saying. And the conversations were about
him, Don Miguel. Some of the dons and the vaqueros were angry with
him. Then he tried to interfere, but Don Diego stopped him and
said, “They won’t be able to hear or see you, because we are spirits
in your dreams. Just listen.”
As Don Miguel listened to the talking of the
men, he looked up at the young Diego, once the lad who took the time to
listen to many of his stories, the very same person who wrote to him
from Spain. And the same man who never gave up on him when the
young don came back from the mother country. And like his
father, Don Alejandro, Diego always made the time to check on him.
But the arguing intensified and Don Miguel began to really listen.
Some of the men were saying that he was charging too much for all the
goods and that he was cheating on the people.
Then there was one strong voice, calmly speaking
until all was quiet. Don Alejandro slowly got up from his chair
and said. “My people, I realized that Don Miguel has wronged you
all, but he is my old and dear friend. He was hurt so many years
ago when he lost the one lady he loved back in Spain. So please,
please be patience with him.”
One of the dons, Pasco, stood up, walked to Don
Alejandro and put his hand on the older don’s shoulder and said,
“Alejandro, you are a very dear friend to all of us, and we realize
that Don Miguel is very important to you, but all of us have lost loved
ones, including yourself. And your son also had lost his beloved
mother and yet you and Diego kept going and live your life to the
fullest as your beloved Dona Isabelle would have wanted you to do.”
“I realized that Miguel is beyond bitterness
and grief, but I am hoping that one of these days, he would turn from
his way and be the man I came to know and love when we were young.
Please be patient and say a prayer for him. It’s Christmastime
and miracles do happen all the time,” Don Alejandro said.
Don Pasco looked about him and saw the dons
nodded at him. He smiled and nodded back. He squeezed his
arm around the older man and said “You are right, Alejandro.
Perhaps a miracle is what Miguel need.”
“Gracias, mi amigos, muchas gracias!”
Miguel looked up at Diego and saw the young
man’s eyes in tears, but there were also pride in them for his father.
In the old man’s mind, he knew he used the death of the one he loved
for the reason and pity he had bestow upon himself. And for the
first time he felt shame in what he had done all these years.
Diego and Bernardo were quietly watching the drama before them and knew
that it had touched Miguel’s heart. Perhaps it’ll be enough,
but there was one more place that they needed to be.
Before Miguel knew it, the three of them were at
the place of Pedro and his family. The servant was chopping wood
for heat in his hut. His youngest child, the cripple boy, was
watching his father, admiring him. After Pedro finished, he picked
up the wood and with one arm, grabbed his son and went inside the hut.
Then the next moment, the three men were inside,
watching the family gathering around Pedro. His wife, Tami, sat
down on the ground, holding Timmo, and the other children, Dino and Cama,
sat next to her. Then Pedro began to tell the story of the Christ
Child. He knew the story by heart, for he grew up in the mission.
As he tell it, Timmo started coughing so violently that his father
stopped and picked the child up and started rubbing his son’s back.
Pedro and Tami looked at each other, worried.
Miguel turned to ask Diego and immediately knew
what was happening. He didn’t have to ask, the younger don’s
face told it all. The little child was going to die. Miguel
turned from them, and suddenly he was back in his bed.
Shaken, Miguel looked around for Diego or
Bernardo, but they were nowhere to be found. Another dream?
He wasn’t sure. But his heart was hurting as he realized he had
not felt like this in years. Not sure of himself, the don knew
that he was going to have to change, or he would never get another
chance like this again. But he didn’t have any idea how to do
Miguel got up from his bed and made himself
another cup of tea. He decided to sit in his chair and drink it.
Not realizing how tired he was, he started to doze off.
Then Miguel awoke again and saw someone at his
window. It was dark, but he could see the figure quite well.
It was the black clothed, masked avenger, El Zorro. His face was
quite serious. And he smiled and spoke.
“Buenos noches, Don Miguel.”
“Zorro, why have you come here? I
don’t know what is going on, but please go away! I am so tired
because I have been dreaming all night.”
“Then, Don Miguel, you are to have one more.
As Zorro sat on the windowsill, the outlaw began
to speak to him.
“My friend, I didn’t come to hurt you.
I just want to show you something, if you please.”
Feeling as though he had no other choice, Don
Miguel went over to Zorro. Then suddenly, the two men were
outside the church. As the don began to wonder what was
going, the church’s door opened and the few people were coming out of
the mission. Apparently there was a funeral and the priest came
out first, then the few men were carried the coffin out to the cemetery.
And Don Alejandro and his son, Diego were the only ones behind the
Not realizing what was going on, the don turned
to face the outlaw and saw a tear fell down on Zorro’s black mask.
Even the avenger was affected by what they saw. As the don started
to ask, the feminine voices behind him told him the truth. “Poor
Don Miguel. He didn’t know what he had.”
The unspoken question, and it was answered.
Zorro turned to face him, but the old don was heartbroken. But he
knew that it was no one else’s fault but his own. A second
later, they were at the cemetery and the grave was already there.
There was another fresh grave, only smaller one. Immediately,
Miguel knew who it was.
“Timmo, the little one.”
Zorro slowly nodded.
“While I wallowed in my anger and grief, the
poor little one died. And I could have help him.”
“Yes, my friend.” said the masked man.
“Oooh, why didn’t I help him?”
grieved the don.
Suddenly Zorro bowed his head and disappeared
and Miguel was all alone. Standing in the cemetery when it began
to rain, and in his tears, Don Miguel prayed. “O Heavenly
Father, in Thy mercy, if the future is to alter by my actions, let it be
for the best for those you love the most.”
Then all of sudden, he was back in his own bed.
Shaken, he stared for a moment. There on his knees, he silently
said a pray of thanks.
Then Don Miguel ran outside in his robes.
He stopped a rider that was heading toward the pueblo.
“What day is it, Senor?” he asked the
“Why, Senor, it is Christmas Day,” the
stranger said, and then rode off.
“Thank you, God. I haven’t missed
it,” he said gleefully.
He went back into his hacienda and quickly
dressed. Then he saddled his horse and rode to the pueblo.
At once, he saw one of his servants and told him to kill a turkey and
prepare a fiesta at his home. The man was amazed because he has
never seen his master in such a mood, but he went ahead and did what he
has been asked.
Then Don Miguel did what he hadn’t done in a
long time. He went to church, slipped in quietly and went to sit
by Don Alejandro and Diego. Both the La De Vegas were surprise,
but happy to see him.
As Padre Felipe went about the service and told
the Christmas story, Miguel listened as he heard it for the first time
in a long time. And in tears, he gave thanks for the lessons that
he learned the night before.
Then the service ended and quickly Don Miguel
got up and asked the priest if he could speak a few words to the people.
Padre Felipe nodded and the old don turned to the people and slowly
spoke. “My old friends and those who don’t know me, I wish to
apologize for all the wrongs that I have done and for my behavior in all
these years. And I will change, hopefully for the good.”
The people murmured quietly, but Don Miguel
still had more to say. He smiled and said in a happier voice.
“And I wish to invite all of you to celebrate the Christmas fiesta at
Next he saw the acting Commandante, Sergeant
Garcia and his soldiers sitting in the church. And he smiled,
“Even you, Sergeant Garcia and your lancers.”
The people cheered and got up to greet Don
Miguel. After all was said and done, Don Alejandro came and hugged
his old friend. Diego did the same and smiled at the don.
“We will be there, my old friend, but I must ask, what happened that
made you change?’
Don Miguel just smiled and told him. “I
had a dream that made me realized how much I had wasted my life and in
this dream, your father, mother, you, Bernardo and even Zorro was in
Diego just scratched the back of his head and
mischievously smiled at him. “Huh! Zorro? That is
really strange. But I am glad he could help.”
Don Miguel just smiled and turned to Alejandro.
“My old friend, I know I don’t deserve your friendship. But I
am grateful that you stuck with me, even in my hard time.”
The older La De Vega just hugged him once again
and said. “I knew you would change back into the man that I grew
very fond of years ago.”
Just then Don Miguel saw his head servant and
his family in the back of the church. He excused himself and went
to Pedro as he was leaving the mission.
“Pedro, I need and must talk to you, por
The head servant bowed his head and said,
“Feliz Navidad, Patron. What can I do for you?”
Don Miguel looked at Pedro’s family and smiled
at the young mother and her children.
“I wish for you and your family to come to the
fiesta as my guests.”
Pedro was shocked and looked at his wife, Tami,
who calmly smiled and nodded. Pedro turned to his master and
“Good! And also I wish for all of you to
live in my guesthouse. And please, Pedro, allow me help you with
your little son. We will seek and get help for him.”
Pedro was speechless at the request that his
master has asked of him. With tears in his eyes, he nodded to him.
Don Miguel extended his hand and the two men shook on the deal.
Alejandro, Diego and Bernardo quietly witnessed
the miracle of Don Miguel and all three gave thanks in their own way.
Even Zorro had helped, they thought.
Later, at his hacienda, Don Miguel joined all
his friends to celebrate the Christmas and every Christmas season
afterward. He became the good friend of all people and in the
midst of it all, he helped the little boy, Timmo, to walk and live
happily. The child and his siblings considered him a
“Grandfather.” Don Miguel was deeply moved and accepted the
Yes, it was truly a miracle. And for that,
Merry Christmas and God bless us all. uh, Huh