Because it was troubled, the river swelled and its waters were all around the town. This did not allow the citizens to go out to find other areas to sow their seed in. Neither could they find market squares in which to sell their meat and spices. Men were starving to death. They talked about nothing else. But Argayú Solá was always working in his fields, or fixing up his tools; he had not heard a thing.
“What a weird guy,” people used to comment, “strong, tall as a giant. Always alone, always sort of preoccupied, always working…”
One day, Argayú Solá broke with this daily grind. He needed a handle for an axe. He set out for the jungle to cut a decent piece of wood. On the way, he heard folks muttering…
“Nothing can be done.”
“It’s a no-win situation!”
“What’s all this about?” he queried.
“The river. It’s treacherous. Nobody can get over.”
“Lots of us have had a go at it but the undertow sucks us down before we get half way.”
“Hmm.”
Argayú went on his way as if he did not have a care.
He got to the jungle. There he plumped himself down on a log and began to ponder. All of a sudden, filled with a crazy notion, he started to cut down wood. This went on without a break. It was too much timber for the merest handle of an axe! What had possessed him? Engaged in such an endless slog! What was a farmer going to do with so much wood? The heart of the jungle listened to the hammering for three days and nights. It saw the tapestry of the night lit up by his torch. But what dark shape was that, silhouetted in the grass?
Days later, Argayú emerged from the jungle. Without much ado, Argayú trekked to the bank of the still-seething river.
There he launched his boat on the water and clambered aboard.
“Is he crazy or something? What’s that nut doing?”
“Why doesn’t he get back to his half-acre?”
“If full-grown men in all their strength can’t get across, what is Argayú going to do in that contraption?”
Argayú paid scant attention. Relying on his own strength he took up arms against the roiling river.
There he is getting across! Will he make it?…won’t he?…can he?…can’t he?
He made it to the other bank! Everyone in the town gathered at the river. They assumed that he would jump to dry ground on the other side, but he turned around and started to row back across the same river again! The river, still churning, was also amazed at what the countryman was doing. So, back again, rowing all the way…Then over once more, still rowing hard…The river was surprised and started to calm down. After all the rowing, only one or two whirlpools eddied here and there in a last show of petulance. A torrent had been tamed! All was peaceful again. Brave and victorious, Argayú was acclaimed on all sides. Ever since he has been the one responsible for ferrying people in his boat from one side to the other—with his own strong arms. Needless to say, nobody has tried since to do what he did…