Story-Teller: Josefa Granados Gálvez 

Story-Writer: Carlos Domínguez Alganza 

Organization: UGR and Didark

Title of the story: The Story of the Hares

Level: Intermediate

Language: English

Abstract: This is the story of my grandmother’s family, who lived during the Spanish postwar period, in a small village in Málaga. Adventures, customs, sayings and proverbs of that time appear in this story, using my great-grandfather as the main thread.  

Key-Word: Craftsman, Nickname, Poetry, Father, Hares

The Story of the Hares

I lived in Passage of the Hares in Villanueva de Algaidas, a village in the province of Málaga. My grandmother’s name was Ana Llamas Caballero, my mother’s name was Anita Gálvez Llamas and my father’s name was Antonio Granados García. I remember my childhood with my cousin, who was a little older than me. Together we would go to take care of an elderly lady, who was known in the village by the nickname „La Garría”. In the villages it is common for everyone to be known by a nickname. „La Garría” lived alone, without family, in a small house. She sold candies, licorice, caramels, peanuts, etcetera, which she carried in a wicker basket, which was hooked to her arm and she would walk around and sell to the neighbors. 


My family had the nickname „Los Liebres” (The Hares) and we were very well regarded in town. “La Garría” loved it when my cousin and I went to take care of her because she knew that we were from a good family that she could trust. In return, she would always give us some of the candy or licorice she sold to thank us for our cooperation. We would help her prepare the food, light the stove with charcoal, peel the potatoes and other chores in the kitchen. We would also help her make the bed and clean the house. She was an endearing person and I have very fond memories of her and my cousin. She always treated us very well and I value everything I learned from her.


She and my grandmother were close childhood friends. My grandmother would tell me many stories about the family and especially about the origin of our nickname and when my father was a boy like me. She knew very well why we were called „The Hares”. Basically, it was because of my grandfather. When my grandfather didn’t have work as a shoemaker, he would go hunting hares and rabbits in the countryside, and would sell them to the rich gentry of the village for their children to eat. From then on, my grandfather was known as Francisco, the hare hunter.


My grandmother also told me stories about my father in his childhood. Sometimes, men came to town selling toys and puppets. They made a lot of noise with drums and flutes to let people know they had arrived. Usually, people – when they heard so much noise – would come out of the house to find out what was going on. My father was so amazed by the toys and puppets these merchants displayed that he always wanted to buy one. However, these toys were very expensive, they cost one real and we had no money for such things.

My father was a very creative and observant child. My grandfather was a renowned shoemaker in the village, he made boots for the day laborers in the fields. My father went to my grandfather’s workshop to use all the typical tools to repair shoes, such as awls, spike hammers, clippers, scissors, pliers and hole punchers to punch the leather. Thus, my father was able to make a replica of the puppets he had seen in the village. He did it very skillfully and so well that even the shopkeepers themselves were amazed and admired my father’s skill.


As an adult, my father became a portrait photographer and took pictures at home of the young girls from the neighboring farmhouses. Mothers would bring their daughters who were elegantly dressed  and had very strange hairstyles. They would say to my father: „Antonio, please take a nice picture of my daughter, so she can send it to her boyfriend, who is in the army”. And my father, who was very funny, would reply: „What God hasn’t done, I can’t do”. Sometimes my father didn’t have any film to take pictures.  Instead of letting them leave without taking a picture, he would take the picture without any film, and receive three pesetas that day so he could eat. After two or three days had passed, my father would tell them that their daughter’s picture had not turned out as expected, so they had to repeat the photo.  


My father took great care of his work. He would take the photo, put it in a frame and make a drawing, a heart, a flower, a rose, before it would be sent to the groom. He would also paint the lips of the young girls in the photo to make them prettier than they were. The mothers of the girls were so surprised and grateful when they saw the beautiful photo that sometimes they would give him another three pesetas for his dedication.


Around Carnival, he composed songs and tangos, as my father was very talented in several disciplines. But because we were in a dictatorship, it was forbidden to teach all the songs he composed. One day, encouraged by my mother and grandmother, my father composed a fabulous poem for me to recite in a school contest. The Blue Division was coming from Málaga to the schools and would be giving away t-shirts and skirts to those who would recite poetry.

My father wrote the following poem for me:


Don’t tell me

that the stork’s chirping is not good for sleeping,

when the little stork sings up in the bell tower

don’t tell me

that its song is not from heaven.


My grandmother loved the songs my father made her so much that she sang them very often. Hearing them, I was able to learn them by heart. Several lyrics of my father’s songs were so engraved in my memory that I have not forgotten them and will never forget them in my life because, although I am 86 years old, here is an unforgettable memory that I keep of my father:


If from remote ages the dead would rise,

they would return to their graves

and all would die at the sight of so much invention.

Neither Murillo nor Velázquez have been able to imitate

the girls of this town

because they are the corals of the sea.

We are leaving, beautiful roses

with the most pleasant illusion,

always carrying

your portrait engraved in our hearts.


My father was a complete artist in many facets. Sometimes he was commissioned to do artisan woodwork and other times he would offer to do creative work. Specifically, my father’s cousin had a movie theater where the entrance cost was two pesetas. I remember I loved watching movies there.  One day my father had the idea of painting an arch at the entrance of the cinema with two angels, one on each side, and he named it the New Cinema. The result was so striking and elegant that my father’s cousin let us see the movies there for free, since we had no money. I remember that there were black-and-white movies of Tarzan, the King of the Jungle, funny movies and other love movies with very handsome actors. I was very surprised watching those movies.


My father was also very fond of music, he loved to play and sing. He had a very good sense of rhythm and could play the accordion and harmonica. The accordion is a very difficult instrument to play, you must have very good coordination of both hands independently, and work the movement of the bellows to supply the air to the instrument. It requires great skill. Along with another uncle, who played the organ, my father would join and sing Christmas carols for Christmas Day and Christmas Eve in church.

I loved listening to the carols and then humming them as I played. I remember them singing: 


Me, poor little gypsy I won’t tell the little child about good fortune, that is impossible.

I will ask him to forgive how much I sinned,

and give me some of the eternal passion.

Let’s go to Bethlehem, let’s go,

let’s go, children, to Bethlehem, and see this child,

that has just been born […].


This carol was very long and had several verses. I remember them all very well.

In addition to all the virtues of my father, he also made toys for us. I played with other children in the street with a diabolo, skipping rope and playing hopscotch. I also remember some iron hoops that they made us and we would run around the town, spinning the hoop. I had a lot of fun, but we also were hungry. Some days we had no money to eat. Then we would pick prickly pears in a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor had pigs, and sometimes he would feed them chickpeas and acorns. When the neighbor was inside his house, we would go into the yard and take the chickpeas or acorns from the pigs, so we could eat them later, roasted or stewed.


My father died when I was five-and-a-half years old, leaving me with my mother and grandmother. My mother told me to sing and not to cry, to wrap my troubles in dreams, without ever forgetting them.


Project 2020-2-RO01-KA205-080819 STORYLINE

Funded by the Romanian National Agency of the Erasmus+ Programme

Start date: 01-11-2020

End date: 31-10-2022

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