Sunday, February 22, 2009

Juan the Drunkard who Visited Heaven

There was once a man named Juan, who was a drunkard. One day when
he was drunker than usual he decided to visit his dead friends in
heaven. He took no baggage except two long bamboo buckets full of tuba,
which he carried one over each shoulder. He walked and walked for at
least a week, until he came to a place where they sold tuba. There he
filled his buckets, promising to pay on his return, and set out again.

After walking a long time he came to a city with a wall around it,
and at the gate sat an old man with a long beard and with keys at his
girdle whom he knew at once as St. Peter. "Good-morning, St. Peter,"
said Juan. "I would like to see some of my friends that I think are
here." "Who are you?" asked St. Peter, getting up angrily. "I am Juan
and I have come a long way to see some of my friends. Won't you let me
look?" "No," said St. Peter, "I won't. You are drunk." "Well, then,
only be so good as to let me take just a little peep." So St. Peter
opened the gate just the least bit, but Juan was not satisfied, so he
said, "Good St. Peter, open the gate just a little wider for me to
see with both eyes." Then he persuaded St. Peter to let him put his
head in, and then by a little firmness he slipped in, still carrying
his buckets of tuba.

St. Peter ordered him to come out, but he started down a street he
saw, or rather a road, for there were no houses there. "Stop!" said
St. Peter, "that road won't take you to your friends. Go the other
way." And Juan did so.

After he had gone on for some time, he found that he was surrounded by
devils who began to torment him, but he defended himself succesfully
against them, and by giving them part of his tuba bribed them to tell
him where to find his friends. To his friends he gave the remainder
of his tuba and then set out to find God himself.

Being ushered into the Divine Presence, he knelt humbly and said,
"Lord, I beg thee to tell me how long I shall live." The Lord looked
at him and said, "I have not sent for you; why are you here?" Juan
bowed more humbly than before, and replied, "O Most High, I have come
to see some of my dead friends, and I would like also to know how
long I shall live on earth." So God told him that he had still a long
earthly life before him and never to come again until he was sent for.

So Juan left the heavenly city and passed back through St. Peter's
gate, and at last, after a weary journey, came to earth again. And
Juan lived a long and happy life and drank more tuba than ever.

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