"How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife" is a story about an occasion that would be a big day in the life of any family, the day one of the sons of the family brings hope the woman he intends to marry. The story is told in the first person by Leon's younger brother. The opening of the story is just so lovely I feel a need to quote from it a bit to give you a feel for Arquilla's elegant prose
She stepped down from the carretela of Ca Celin with a quick, delicate grace. She was lovely. She was tall. She looked up to my brother with a smile, and her forehead was on a level with his mouth. "You are Baldo," she said and placed her hand lightly on my shoulder. Her nails were long, but they were not painted. She was fragrant like a morning when papayas are in bloom. And a small dimple appeared momently high on her right cheek. "And this is Labang of whom I have heard so much." She held the wrist of one hand with the other and looked at Labang, and Labang never stopped chewing his cud. He swallowed and brought up to his mouth more cud and the sound of his insides was like a drum. I laid a hand on Labang's massive neck and said to her: "You may scratch his forehead now." She hesitated and I saw that her eyes were on the long, curving horns. But she came and touched Labang's forehead with her long fingers, and Labang never stopped chewing his cud except that his big eyes half closed. And by and by she was scratching his forehead very daintily.
How can you not love a sister in law or daughter in law that the famiy water buffalo likes as soon as he meets her. Everybody gets n a cart and Labang takes them for a ride around the small town they live in. It is the first visit of the wife to the town. She is a lady Leon met when he went to Manila to to school. As I read this passage toward the close of the story you can really feel the love and the picture of the community makes me wish I could live there.
I looked back and they were sitting side by...
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