The One Who Went to Learn to Lie

Note: This poem was originally written in Zapoteco.

There was someone in the old days, they say, who wanted to learn to lie. That's what he told his father, who answered, "I will send you to the professor of liars in our village, and we shall see if you can learn."

And when he got to the maestro's place, he said to him, "We will see if you have the vocation. We will begin immediately. Do you see the ants fighting over there on the hill?"

"No," said the apprentice. "I cannot see them because I have very bad vision; but I hear the noise they make when they collide."

"How do you expect me to show you? Look at whom you're fooling. The only thing you wanted was to come and fool me."

Originally published in Guié Si Diidxazá: La Flor de la Palabra, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, 1991.