written by anónimo
Lazarillo de Tormes was born in the river Tormes, and his father had been accused of a crime and taken away (and died) when Lázaro was eight. His mother then began to see a new black man Zaide with whom she had a baby. The town soon finds out about the affair with Zaide; thus, he is whipped and kicked out. His mother is forced to work at a local inn, and sends her son off to a ciego.
Lázaro becomes the servant of the ciego. The ciego first tells Lázaro to draw close to the ear of a bull to hear the great din inside; the ciego hits him, causing Lázaro gores and pain, and says, “ha de saber más que el Diablo” (281). Lázaro then realizes, “Parecióme que en aquel instante desperate de la simpleza (innocence) en que, como niño, estaba dormido” (281).
The ciego prays for other people for a living and is poor and miserly. Lázaro does what he can to get food; for example, he cuts holes in, then sews back up, the ciego’s sack that has food. Later, Lázaro steals gulps of the ciego’s wine; the ciego hugs the jug. Lázaro the uses a straw to take sips of it; when the ciego gets suspicious, he makes a small hole in the jug to provide a fountain of wine for himself. The ciego feigns to notice it, but the next day slams the jug on his mouth. Lázaro bleeds and misses teeth; the ciego derives a perverted pleasure from it.
From thence forth, they treated each other poorly: the ciego pulled Lázaro’s hair, and Lázaro led the ciego down the worst paths. In another instance, the pair gets grapes. The ciego says that Lázaro takes one, then the ciego takes one, etc. until all are gone. When the ciego takes two, Lázaro quickly devours the rest. The ciego knows he has been tricked; Lázaro, if honest, would have told the ciego that he was taking two.
Later, Lázaro steals wine and sausage from the ciego, but tells him that someone else must have done it. Like a hound, the ciego smells the sausage in Lázaro’s mouth, but just in time, Lázaro throws up on the ciego. He is summarily beaten; the ciego later says, “que si un hombre en el mundo ha de ser bienaventurado (blessed) con vino, serás tú” (293).
In his final trick, Lázaro, leading the way past a puddle, makes the ciego jump with all his might into a pole. Lázaro then escapes.
Lázaro then is paired with a clérigo who amazingly is more miserly than the ciego. The clérigo has a locked chest with food but gives Lázaro very little; meanwhile, the clérigo dines like a king. Lázaro starves so much that he cannot walk; he even prays for the death of others because funerals provide him copious food.
Lázaro, learning from the ciego, though tricks a tinkerer into giving him a key to the chest; he then takes a whole roll of bread for himself. After the clérigo notices, Lázaro makes mice nipping on the guarded bread, tricking the clérigo to give Lázaro the mouse-bitten parts. Such tricking persists until the clérigo boards up the chest; Lázaro then hammers holes in the chest, which look like a mouse’s doing. The clérigo then sets up mouse traps inside the chest; Lázaro eats the cheese and bread. The town concludes it must be a snake; the clérigo becomes paranoid about his disappearing food.
One night, though, the key hiding in Lázaro’s mouth creates a whistle (or to the clérigo, a serpent’s hiss). The clérigo smacks Lázaro, simultaneously injuring him and revealing the secret of the alleged snake. The clérigo then kicks Lázaro out, because he is such a devious miscreant.
Lázaro is picked up by an escudero, a squire. He initially looks like a noble man, but he has no food. On the first day, Lázaro is still so hungry, but the escudero has already eaten. Lázaro, dying of hunger, finds a piece of bread in the house and shares it. Later, Lázaro is shown the escudero’s sword. He is given chores while the escudero walks around like a gentleman, looking for money and food. Lázaro himself begs for bread and tripe; the escudero eats with him. Together, they steal and beg for food to survive.
Unfortunately, all beggars are ordered to leave the city, or face the whip. They stop begging, and go hungry for days. The escudero then finds a real and tells Lázaro to use it; whenhe goes into the street, he sees a dead corpse and is scared it is headed for his house. The escudero then talks about the doffing of the hat, a ridiculous, satirized custom.
When a man and woman come to ask the escudero for the rent, he tells them to come back later. He flees. Lázaro is then taken as a prisoner before the neighbors convince the constable that he is innocent. He is let free.
Lastly, Lázaro works for a alguacil, a constable. He has a royal post and deals wine. He is well fed, living near the alguacil, and lives a good life. He marries a servant of an archbishop, and when rumors fly around about her prior sexual encounters, Lázaro quickly shuts them down. He loves his wife, and he is happy.
-desafío y perseverancia: la tenacidad individual ante los retos de la vida
-el engaño y el desengaño, la honra y la deshonra
-la crítica social y política
-la decadencia del orden establecido y el descontrol
-lecciones de la vida y el repudio del error
-la prosa peninsular desde el Medioevo hasta el siglo XX