Doroteo: The Boy Who Was Pancho Villa


Young Doroteo Arango's life in Mexico isn't easy. His gentle mother, Senora Arambula, tries her hardest to provide for Doroteo and his many siblings. His father, however, is a mean and nasty character. For years,
the family suffers poverty and abuse at the hands of the patron at the Rancho del Rio Grande. In addition, the rule of President Diaz causes the poor villagers to fear for their lives as Diaz's soldiers steal their food, rape their young women, and take political ...
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Young Doroteo Arango's life in Mexico isn't easy. His gentle mother, Senora Arambula, tries her hardest to provide for Doroteo and his many siblings. His father, however, is a mean and nasty character. For years,
the family suffers poverty and abuse at the hands of the patron at the Rancho del Rio Grande. In addition, the rule of President Diaz causes the poor villagers to fear for their lives as Diaz's soldiers steal their food, rape their young women, and take political prisoners. The brave Doroteo sees the injustice in his life and vows one day to seek justice. That day comes sooner than Doroteo expects when he kills the man who rapes his sister. Now seventeen years old,
he runs away and hides in a mountain cave. To escape death by the soldiers who find him, Doroteo claims he is Pancho
Villa, a name used by his grandfather years ago. So begins the story of Pancho Villa and his band of rebels who ride into the bloodiest era of Mexican history. A work of historical fiction, Doroteo narrates the story of the little boy who would grow up to become a bandit without fear, the
Robin Hood of Mexico.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450220286
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 4/26/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Gower Jackson was educated in
Texas and Wisconsin schools in music and art. Her travels in Europe, Central America, and Mexico provided material for painting and writing.
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Read an Excerpt



iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Laura Gower Jackson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4502-2025-5

Chapter One

Life on Rancho del Rio Grande

The air in the train was hot and sultry. Villa shifted in his seat between the bulging burlap bags, annoyed at the grinding and screeching of the wheels, as the baggage-car careened around another curve on the side of the mountain. The musty, permeating smells of the cargo, combined with the sweat of the unwashed bodies of his companions, added to his discomfort. He wanted to sleep but found himself thinking about the rigors and disappointments of his childhood. Memory of the injustices he suffered at the hands of the Patron, who had made slaves of his family, kept him awake and fed his anger. When this day is over there will be no doubt in the minds of the Government Jackals who they are dealing with. They will have to watch their backs to see if I am behind them. But I won't be there. I will be in front of them, waiting. Sweating, but pleased by his thoughts, he touched the knife that lay concealed in his coat. After today, si, after today! He stretched out his legs and spat into the sawdust on the floor. The man lying nearest to him snored, so Villa pushed his foot into the man's backside. The man rolled over and quit snoring. Memories of his childhood came flooding back. He grinned at the thought of how frightened he was of the bull on that day so long ago. How old was I? Only eight years old? Was I ever that young?

Doroteo clawed at the crumbling stones of the ancient wall, and dug his dusty brown toe into a hole, struggling to lift himself out of the path of the raging young bull. Terror choked the air from his lungs. He wasn't sure if the pounding in his ears was the rapid beating of his heart or the clattering hooves of the bull. His curly black hair was matted with sweat, and his nostrils flared as he gasped for breath.

Other frightened children ran among scattering, squawking chickens. A ragged young girl, running in wild-eyed desperation along the ditch by the road, tripped and fell headlong into the tall weeds.

"Carmella, look out!

She was saved from attack as the shout from Doroteo caught the big animal's attention. The angry bull stopped, snorted, and in his turning, kicked up dust filled with chicken droppings. Blazing eyes fell on Doroteo, and he dashed across the now almost empty road and lunged toward the struggling boy.

Doroteo imagined the bull's broken horn scraping his back and the unbroken one spilling his entrails. As his toe found its mark, he flung himself across the rough top stones of the wall, scraping a few inches of skin from his stomach as he fell to safety.

The enraged bull thundered into the wall, cracking the stones that had saved the boy from a gory death. Stunned by the impact, the big animal was temporarily cooled down. While two pursuing vaqueros captured him, Doroteo, gasping and quaking, watched anxiously through a hole in the wall. Assured of his safety, he could think only of running home as fast as his feet would move.

Fear was not new to him. It had begun when the soldiers of President Diaz came to the village. There was much fear, and much hunger, and many things an eight-year-old boy could not understand. He was aware that the villagers would stop speaking when the children or the soldiers came near. It was not the nature of his people to speak softly. It was not like them to abandon the fiestas that had once been such joyous and boisterous occasions. Doroteo could remember the throbbing music of the Mariachi Bands in the town square. He could remember the tantalizing aroma of the cabrito roasting on the flames. Once there had been dancing and happy sounds of laughter, but now there was only the tattoo rhythm of horses' hooves as the soldiers of President Diaz passed through the village, watched by the distrustful eyes of the people.

"I hate that old Diaz," muttered Doroteo. There was a scowl on his young face as he hobbled down the long, rock-strewn road, dense with the foliage of tropical trees. A sturdy boy, and not as tall as most boys his age, his broad shoulders gave him a slight simian gait as he hurried along the road. The hot dust of the June day rose up in small puffs behind his bare heels.

In climbing the wall, he had ripped the corner of a toenail from his big toe. It was caked with blood and gray with dust, but he would not cry. Crying was for babies. He had been afraid, but hadn't he saved Carmella by shouting to her as he climbed over the wall? Still feeling like a hero, he wanted to find Mamacita and brag to her. Papa would get angry at him, but Mama would pat his head and give him a dulce as a reward. He loved the sweet Mexican candy sold by the street vendors. The padre had warned them at mass about the sin of pride, but didn't he have good reason to brag? Anyway, the padre would not know about it.

Protective of the scratches on his stomach, he climbed over the wall that surrounded a field near the Rancho del Rio Grande, where his family had lived since before he was born. He saw his mother, Mecaela Arambula, called by her mother's name as was the custom. She was wearing a collarless, embroidered blouse and a full black skirt that hung down to her bare heels. A mixture of Mexican and Indian blood, she had a spirited giant dwelling inside her petite frame. Shiny black hair hung down her back in heavy braids, woven in with a strip of brightly colored cloth.

Her belly was big with her unborn child and rubbed against the large wooden tub as she washed her family's clothing. As she worked, Doroteo's smallest brother, Hipolito, straddled her hip and tugged on an exposed, milk-filled breast.

After spreading the clean, time-worn clothes on a bramble bush, she sat on a stool for a few moments of rest. Watching her and seeing her fatigue, Doroteo decided he would not frighten her with the story of the bull. She'd hear it soon enough from Carmella's mama.

Senora Arambula was only thirty-four years old, but she was no longer pretty to anyone but her children. Hard work and babies born too closely together had taken their toll of her beauty. The loving hands that caressed her children were now rough and calloused. The almond shaped eyes that flashed so merrily in her youth now looked about sadly, as if seeking the joy that had slid down the incline of her years.

Her children loved her for her kindness and tenderness toward them. Doroteo knew that he and his brothers and sisters were loved, and they, in turn, were devoted to each other. Her kindness, and their shared poverty, created a bond between him and his brothers and sisters that would last their entire lifetime.

Hiding his injury, Doroteo entered the two-room casita with his mother and small brother. The other three children, Antonio, Marianita, and Martina, were gathered around a bare wooden table, waiting for their evening supper of frijoles and corn tortillas. Senora Arambula served the scanty meal to her lively brood.

"Sit by me, Marianita!" Martina, delicate and beautiful even at the tender age of three, pulled at her older sister's hand. Seated on the long wooden benches, they watched as Mama bowed her head to thank God for their food, and to ask His blessings on all of them. Senora Arambula looked lovingly at her children. All five were beautiful to her, with their dark eyes and shiny black hair. The dust from the dirt floor of the kitchen made her cough.

Doroteo noticed that she ate very little as she shoved her food across the table for the children to divide. He remembered that the big loom, which had once belonged to his old grandmother, had disappeared from the shed out back. He had loved to watch his mother weave colorful threads into the beautiful rebozos, or shawls, that she sold at the village market. It made him swell with pride to hear the ladies ask for his mother's fine work. But now there was no loom and no thread. 'Nita told him that the market owner had bought the loom. Their mother once traded eggs for thread, but now most of the chickens had been either eaten or stolen.

The money from the loom would go to the Medicine Woman in the village, unless his papa found out about it. To Papa, it was an extravagance to have help with the birth of a baby. He would take the money from Mamacita and go to the cantina, to gamble and to visit the pretty young women.

Doroteo's resentment gnawed at his stomach as he remembered that his papa had not been to the casita since Mamacita's belly was big again. Many times he and his friends had seen his papa slip away from the hacienda and climb the adobe stairway into the rooms above the cantina.

All of the children of the streets knew that in those dingy rooms there were senoritas in lacy dresses, standing in the dim lamplight. It was no mystery to them what their fathers did in those upstairs rooms. They were not shocked by the custom of the men to have a mujer across town from their families, but his papa was very cruel, and he knew that his mama would be afraid to protest her husband's absence from home.

After the meager meal was eaten, he and Antonio ran out to find their friends and to play until dark. Doroteo looked for his friend, Jorge. Jorge was running toward him, pursued by a boy much larger who was rapidly gaining on him. The boy, Juan, grabbed Jorge and pulled him to the ground. Shouting obscenities, he straddled Jorge and lifted his fist to hit the helpless boy. Doroteo grabbed him by the arm, pulling him off of Jorge. It was Juan's turn to fall to the ground, as Doroteo began hitting him. "You leave my friend alone, you rat!" He beat Juan in the face until blood ran from his nose.

"Doro! Don't hit him anymore, he didn't hurt me!" The faint- hearted Jorge pulled at Doroteo, begging him to stop. "You'll kill him, and then we'll all be in trouble! Hurry, Doro! Someone is coming!"

Doroteo kicked Juan in the side and walked away with Jorge. "Why didn't you let me finish him, he's a bully and needs to learn a lesson!" But one thing he did not want was to be caught fighting. Grabbing Jorge's hand, he ran toward the lane.

Daring to leave the hacienda without permission, the two boys made their way into the village. Jorge ran to try to keep up with his protector. Somewhat smaller than Doro, he had a nervous habit of pushing his straight hair back from his eyes. In the village, the two boys made their way to the cantina and hid behind the stairs. They could hear the two-part rhythm of the Mexican guitars blended with shrieking, staccato laughter. The low, mumbling conversation from above surrounded them.

"Come on, let's slip up the stairs and look in the windows!" Doroteo dared his friend.

"No, you go first, Doro, it's your papa up there!"

Still feeling brave because of his escape from the bull, Doroteo took the dare, and slipped from behind the stairs. He felt fingernails dig into his shoulder. Startled, he looked up into two big black eyes, dripping with lashes. Her pretty, dimpled face was surrounded by a heavy mass of black curls. She wore a blue lacy dress, and her perfume was overpowering. Mamacita always smelled clean when she hugged him, but never like flowers. This was a new experience for Doroteo.

"I've saved you from a beating, you little imp!" Her voice poured like honey into his ears.

Jorge, his best but not most courageous friend, had disappeared, leaving him to face the woman alone. As he pulled away from her grasp, he saw his father at the top of the stairs, staring down at him. All of his bravery fled at the sight of the twisted anger in his father's face.

Doroteo made a quick dash for home. "I wish the bull had killed me! Then they would all go to mass and cry for me." He hoped, in vain, that his father wouldn't be angry enough to follow him home.

Still dressed, he crawled into his hammock in the corner of the kitchen. The house was quiet, so he decided to sleep in order to postpone any punishment until morning.

Sometime later, the angry voice of his father awakened Doroteo. He could hear his mother as she tried to soothe his father's harsh, threatening words. Eyes round with fear, he stared into the dark, expecting to be dragged from his bed. Shaking, as he slipped from the hammock and out of the door, he decided it would be better to run away from the casita than to stay around and let his father beat him.

Once away from the danger of his father, he ran toward the rocky hills that surrounded the ranch. Slithering banana trees along the road cast long ghostly shadows as the moon flickered through their leaves. He ran at first from fear and then for the joy of running and of freedom. The night air was split by the howling and yipping of coyotes. They were making their nightly circle, searching for a meal of rabbits and field rats.

The children of the hacienda and the nearby village of Rio Grande were not allowed to play in these hills because of the nearness of the prison. Doroteo, driven by fear, pushed farther and farther into the cactus-covered slopes. He came to a secluded, mesquite-covered knoll that overlooked an open field. In the peaceful moonlight drowsiness overcame him. Being careful of the scratches on his stomach, he settled in for the night, feeling safe from his father's pursuit.

In the early morning light of the sun, the grinding of rusty wagon wheels on the hard earth below the hill awakened him. "Get out!" The harsh words were shouted. Doroteo crawled to the edge of the trees to see who had spoken. Two surly-faced soldiers were unloading three well-dressed men from a rickety wagon. The horses, that were used to pull the wagon, rattled the trappings of their harnesses and snorted with impatience, stomping the dirt under their hooves.

Alarmed at the sound of the gruff voices, Doroteo lay hidden in the shade of the mesquite trees. "Our orders are to let you escape. If you run fast to the river, you can get away!"

The frightened boy watched from the shadows as the men turned to flee. But the bristly-faced guard spoke again. "Just a moment, my friends! We will make it fair for you. I will strike this match, and if you are out of sight when the match goes out, you are free!" A match flared in the soldier's hand, as again the anxious men turned to run. Doroteo watched in horror and disbelief as the guard blew out the match.

The first bullets hit the ground, lifting yellow puffs of dirt. Another burst of shots sucked into the bodies of the betrayed prisoners. They fell forward; shot through; life running down their backs in red streams.

Shaking from fear, Doroteo buried his face in his arms. His stomach heaved at the ugliness of the blood, and the brutal trickery. He watched as the guards climbed into the dilapidated wagon and drove away. One laughed and spat onto the ground.

His teeth chattering with fright at the grisly scene, Doroteo looked about to see if it would be safe to leave the hill. As he arose, he saw one of the men move his arm. Now angry, and forgetful of his own safety, he hurried down the slope to where the men lay.

"Are you all right?" Doroteo whispered, trying to keep his eyes off the bodies of the other two men.

The injured man was young and a bushy black moustache covered his upper lip. Breathing heavily, he said, "Help me up, please. I believe my father and my brother are dead. I have a bullet wound in my side. I'm bleeding!"

"Why did they shoot you?"

"My father was an enemy of Diaz. We were put into prison yesterday. This morning they pretended to move us to another prison." The young man gasped with pain. "Please help me. I can't talk any more."

"If we follow this road, we will come to the river. I'll get water for you and then we will go to the hacienda. It isn't far from here." Terrified, Doroteo helped the young man to his feet and offered his shoulder for support. Blood seeped down the wounded man's trousers leg as they slipped and staggered on the uneven slope to the river. The man crawled to the waters' edge.

Rustling leaves attracted their attention. Then came the crisp chatter of the rattlesnake's first warning. The young man whispered, "Be still!" He flung a stick a short distance away to distract the snake. As the big viper struck at the whirling stick, he pounded it fiercely with a rock. Spent from his efforts and from the loss of blood, he lay panting on the bank of the river.

Doroteo tore off his own shirt and soaked it in the water, pushing it firmly into the wounded man's side. "We must hurry! Lean on my shoulder."

The remainder of the journey was broken at intervals by the young man who had to stop and rest. The hot, windless morning made their progress even slower. Doroteo strained every nerve to remain on his feet as he stumbled under the weight of the injured man. His own trousers were soaked with the man's blood. Overtaxed from fear and exhaustion, he fainted and fell to the ground as he saw his father, Agustin Arango, coming toward them.


Excerpted from DOROTEO by LAURA GOWER JACKSON Copyright © 2010 by Laura Gower Jackson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Chapter I Life on Rancho del Rio Grande....................1
Chapter II Francisco....................21
Chapter III Fall Agricultural Fiesta....................26
Chapter IV A Friend....................38
Chapter V Birthday Adventure....................44
Chapter VI A Tough Spirit....................52
Chapter VII Farewell To Rancho del Rio Grande....................57
Chapter VIII Life On Gogojito....................68
Chapter IX Trip to Durango....................74
Chapter X Corrida de Toros....................89
Chapter XI The Cattle Drive and the Comanches....................102
Chapter XII Return to Hacienda Gogojito....................108
Chapter XIII Marianita....................113
Chapter XIV Viva Villa!....................121
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