With the icy ground penetrating the inadequate layer of canvas wrapped around his knees, Captain Joaquín de Toledo y Parra cried out to the miraculous blood dribbling down the white embankment a mere fifty yards before him.
“Mother of God, take me away! Forgive my trespasses!” The words struggled to form across his fat tongue and chapped lips.
To Joaquín, all was clear: The red flow was a sign from the Madonna and its portents were most certain. God forgive him, he hoped that he would not see the sunset before being called into the presence of his Heavenly Father. He reached across himself with a shaking arm and made the sign of the cross upon his chest, knocking bits of crusted ice from his beard.
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