Larry Torres at his home in El Salto.

Una mañana, Canutito was busy watching a la Grama Cuca waxeando en suelo just like she did todos los sábados después de un long day. She looked bien cansada with her hair todo abatanão, matted on her head y sus manos todas red by the many times que había escurrido el mop. Even though he could tell de los retratos viejos que en una vez she must have been very pretty, kneeling there on the floor, rubbing wax en el linoleum floor, parecía más como una bruja. En un momento, when she paused to catch her breath, él la miró y le preguntó: "Grama, were there any pretty girls en la escuela when you were young?"

She brushed away un mechón de cabello de la cara and she replied: "Ay, m'hijo, todas las muchachas tienen algo de pretty en la vida. Algunas are pretty on the outside y otras son pretty on the inside."

Canutito sat there pensando en su respuesta. Then after a while he asked her: "Grama, did you ever hear de algunas muchachas who were not really as pretty as they pretended to be?"

"Well, había un cuento about a beautiful girl y todos los muchachos estaban bien in love with her. Ningunas de las otras muchachas could quite measure up to her beauty. Todos los muchachos wanted to kiss her. Pero the rumor en la escuela was going around que todas las noches she would read del Libro Negro and so she could create the illusion que era una stunner and so very few suspected que en verdad era una bruja vieja."

"Grama," Canutito interrupted her, "¿Qué es el Libro Negro?"

"El Libro Negro," Grama Cuca replied, "es un libro that witches use in order to do Black Magic. It is filled with spells y encantos de todas clases. Sometimes le llaman 'el gran grimorio' or the great book of rhyme porque todos los spells hacen rhyme. Sometimes it is called 'la gran clavícula del Rey Solomon' or 'the great key of King Solomon' because it was thought que él era el primero who could summon the demons to do his bidding. A veces the witch would climb en un cajete, and standing there in the tin tub, she would mutter a spell y entonces she was able to fly por el aire at night para hacer su evil work."

"¿Cómo es que someone so beautiful could be tan mala, grama?" Canutito asked her.

"Es porque evil wears muchas máscaras, m'hijo," Grama Cuca replied. "Casi siempre el mal looks bien attractive in order to seduce a otros over to it. In fact, la muchacha hermosa at school could get the boys to kiss her y cada vez que lo hacían, they would start to age and get sick mientras que ella would smile porque she would get más bonita and younger."

"It sounds como si la muchacha bonita was playing with danger. ¿Qué no, grama?" Canutito asked her.

"Las personas que usan witchcraft a veces end up dead muy pronto porque in exchange for their power, tienen que hacer trade their soul en una ceremonia called 'the kiss of shame'," Grama Cuca said. "If you happen to see their reflection en un espejo, you'll be able to see them como de veras son, todas feas. Whenever una de ellas se muere, they are buried con el Libro Negro para poder continuar haciendo sus males desde beyond the grave. No, m'hijo," Grama added, "La brujería carries a heavy price with it and if you don't know lo que estás haciendo, it is best not to go there because you might end up torcido por un espíritu malo."

Canutito didn't say anything pero grama's words made him think twice about the glamour of evil en el Libro Negro.

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