More from Fraser's book, this time the story of Silvestre Alarcon, 46 (This would be around 1970, when Fraser conducted his interviews in the village of Tajos, which he had first visited in 1957.)
I had a woman on a farm in the sierra who gave me all the food I needed. Against her will I left her and went picking esparto in Casares. When I got there there was no work. Three days I went without eating anything except a piece of bread I found in a pig's trough. Thin and humble as a lamb I went back to the woman.
She knew what had happened but I said to myself, 'Men have got to be men; the last thing a man can do is to tell a woman his troubles.' So when she asked me how I'd got on I said: 'All right.'
She said: 'So much pride still when all you've known is hunger. You who had to hide your shame and ask the mayor and the Guardia Civil of Casares to get you a ride on a lorry so as to come back here ...'
I looked at her, 'I'm a man and we come first in everything in life, that's why God made man before woman, Goodbye!'
I didn't want a woman with land; she had to marry one of her own class.
I married the poorest woman in the village, the very poorest, and I fell in love with her because she was poor and understood me who was in the same state as she. I won her from the arms of another.
'Look, girl,' I said, 'I've got nothing but these,' and I showed her my arms. 'But as long as God preserves them I'll see to it you don't go short of anything.'
She had a novia, a fish-vendor, who treated her badly. After I'd taken up with her he wanted her back. 'In the month I've been with her,' I said to him, 'I've put down more roots than you in two years; yours seem to have grown on the top of a rock. Let her decide, and if she decides for you I'll be your best man.' But she didn't; and that's how I came to marry her.
But I'll never tell her I love her, much as I do. She'll die wondering. Women want men to be rich, powerful, strong and then turn them into little dogs. When they've done that they don't love them. As soon as you give a woman what she asks for you're finished. I don't know how it is in other countries, but that's how it is here.