A Stormy Night

Reina de Los Angeles is a Spanish village in southern California.

In the village there is a military presidio with Spanish soldiers and their horses. There is also a Spanish church called a mission. The Spanish friars live here. All around the village there are big homes with patios.

Tonight there is a terrible storm and it is raining. Inside the village tavern there are soldiers and other men. They are eating and drinking. Sergeant Pedro Gonzales is at the tavern. He is a big, strong man.

«What a horrible night! It always rains in February. Where is Zorro on this stormy night?» asks one soldier.

«Zorro! Don’t say that name! He is a bandit and a criminal,» says Sergeant Gonzales.

«He is the terror of southern California,» says another soldier.

«People say that he takes from the rich and gives to the poor. He is a friend of the natives and the friars. He punishes dishonest people,» says an old man.

«Ha! Zorro is a big mystery. Who is he? Where is he from? He wears a black mask and no one can see his face. He travels on the El Camino Real on his fast horse. He is very good with his sword,» says the Sergeant.

«Yes, and he leaves his mark — the Z — everywhere,» says the old man.

«No one can stop him. The Governor of California offers a big reward for the capture of Zorro,» says one soldier.

At that moment a man enters the tavern. He is young and handsome. He has black hair and dark eyes. He has fine clothes.

«Don Diego Vega, my friend!» says Sergeant Gonzales. «Your clothes are wet. Why are you out on this rainy night?»

Don Diego smiles and says, «I am going home, but I am cold and wet. I want something to drink.»

«Come and stand near the fire,» says the Sergeant. «Here is a glass of wine.»

«Thank you, my friend,» says Don Diego.

«We are talking about Zorro. Everyone is scared of him, but I am not! I am ready to fight Zorro and win! I am a champion with the sword. What do you think, Don Diego?» asks the Sergeant. «Everyone talks about this mysterious man with a mask. Many people say good things about him,» says Don Diego.

«I want to fight him and capture him! I want the big reward,» says Sergeant Gonzales.

«No, no! Don’t talk about fighting. I hate fighting and I hate violence. I think Zorro is sincere. He punishes only bad people. He protects the poor, the natives and the friars. Let Zorro do his work,» says Don Diego.

«You are a kind man. You like music and poetry. You don’t understand, my friend. You are rich and noble,» says the Sergeant.

Don Diego smiles and says, «It’s 6 p.m. I must return to my hacienda. Good night everyone.» He opens the tavern door and goes out into the rain.


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