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Six Dollars for a Human Life

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The locality being romantic, it is quite regular that there should be connected with it an interesting story which seems to bear on its face the evidences of truth. It seems there used to live a fisherman and his wife hard by the sloping banks that surround the Enchanted Lake. One day, so the story goes, the fisherman's spouse had reason to suspect the fidelity of her husband, and aflame with pious rage, she concocted a scheme to rid herself of her worser half. Calling upon two rival fishermen whose hut was not far distant, she promised them the large amount of twelve dollars if they would put her husband out of the way. This being a pot of money to them, they agreed to her proposition, and during one of the next excursions out to the distant fish-weirs in the parent lake below, contrived to tip him overboard and hold him under. Coming back in the afternoon, they went to the hut of the freshly made widow and demanded the twelve dollars.

"I can give you but six," said she, "for I'm hard up."

"But you promised us twelve if we would do the business," said they.

"But I tell you I can give you but six," responded the widow. "Take that or nothing."

Angry of having been thus deceived, the two murderers excitedly paddled over to the neighboring village of Los Baños, went to the cuartel, presided over by a Spanish official, and addressed him with these words;

"A lady over there by the Enchanted Lake promised us twelve dollars if we would kill her husband. We have done the job and asked her for our money, but she will only give us six. We want you to arrest her."

The official, thinking the whole thing a joke, laughingly said he would attend to the matter. The two simple-minded criminals went off, apparently satisfied and disappeared.

Later, our friend the official thought there might be some truth behind the apparent absurdity of the yarn, and on investigation found that a murder had actually been committed. But someone more credulous than the Spaniard gave a friendly warning to the committers of the deed, and they were not brought to justice until some months afterward. Such is the comparative esteem in which the natives holds human life and Mexican dollars.

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