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The Tale of Roberto Miranda
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There was once a young man named Roberto Miranda who loved his family’s name so much that he wanted to make it known throughout the world. Since he had no artistic talent, business skill, or athletic prowess, he decided he would discover a new place and he dreamt of seeing “Miranda Mountain” or “River Miranda” or the “Isle of Miranda” on a map and hearing people talk about it as if it had that name from the beginning of time. “I’m going to make you proud to be a Miranda,” he told his wife and children in their little blue house by a ravine in New Hampshire and set out for the rest of the world. Traveling by boat, train, camel, and horseback, Roberto journeyed from continent to continent, from the Andes to Katmandu, from Malaysia to Tasmania from Yosemite to the Yukon seeking the undiscovered terrain that would be grand enough to bear his family’s name and make it famous throughout the world. But no matter how far he traveled, no matter how wild or remote the territory Roberto found that it had already been discovered -- it already had a name. The years went by and Roberto became a middle-aged man but still the unnamed place he sought eluded him. At last Roberto wanted to go home. He made his way by freighter across Hudson Bay in Canada, rode in a box car through Quebec and so came back to New Hampshire, a haggard, worn out man with yellow teeth, a gray beard and glassy, yellowish eyes. The little blue house still stood by the ravine but other people lived there now, two divorced women roommates; they had made many improvements, including a garden, a gazebo and a high fence along the ravine. “Can you tell me what happened to my family? They used to live here,” Roberto croaked when one of the women opened the door a little. The other woman came out and the two of them looked at each other and then at Roberto. “Oh, the Miranda family,” one of them said. “A sad story. The husband disappeared one day, some say with another woman, and eventually his wife went mad and threw herself into Miranda’s Ravine.” “And the children?” Roberto stammered. “What happened to the children?” The other woman told him they had changed their names and moved away. Roberto set out again in search of his children. The months went by and then the years but Roberto never found them. He was sleeping in a box car when the sound of two men talking awoke him. “Just take the road that goes out to Miranda’s Ravine,” one of the men said. “The place where that woman killed herself.” Roberto closed his eyes again, a smile pulling at his lips. And then he died.