I am the Crippled Demon, Hell’s fleas, the inventor of puppets

A half-translation of a list of minor torments by Luis Vélez de Guevara for a day on which the Christian Devil triumphed.

Curiously Caribbean Lame Devils are neither lame nor do they resemble the description below.

Curiously Caribbean Lame Devils are neither lame nor do they resemble the description below. Image: Diplan1.

Luis Vélez de Guevara, El diablo cojuelo (1641), having suffered a liberal we-change:

“Are you Barabbas, Belial, Ashtaroth?” said the student at last.
“Those are rather busier demons,” the voice replied. “I’m a more trivial kind of demon, although I do meddle in everything: I am Hell’s fleas, gossip, entanglement, usury, mohatra;1 I brought to the world the sarabande, the deligo,3 the chaconne, the bullicuzcuz,4 the capon’s tickle,5 the guiriguirigay,2 the zambapalo,6 the mariona, the avilipinti, the chicken, the carretería, the brother Bartolo, the carcañal, the guineo, the gilded lily;7 I invented cacophony,8 jácaras, papalatas, comos, mortecinas, puppets, acrobats, mountebanks, sleight-hands in natty doublets9 and, finally, my name is the Crippled Demon.
“If you’d just said that,” said the student, “we might have spared ourselves the rest.”10

It’s raining.

Anecnotes   [ + ]

1. A sophism used by creative souls to circumvent the taboo on usury. Notes and Queries in 1859:

The exact nature of the contrat mohatra may be thus explained. The Duque de Blasas sends for Señor Ysaaco, and requests an immediate loan of 1000 crowns, for which he will be happy to pay 2000 a year after.
“That cannot be,” exclaims Ysaaco; “for, should the Holy Office once smell out such a transaction, I might be summoned away some night to answer as a suspected heretic. Therefore all the Saints forbid it!”
“Nevertheless,” says the Duke, “I must have the money.”
“Very good,” answers the cunning Ysaaco. “Then let us see whether we cannot make it a matter of business, and settle the affair that way. I have at home a lot of stoco [rubbish]. Buy it of me.”
“I don’t see how that settles the affair any way,” says the Duke.
“Nothing more simple,” replies Ysaaco. “Your Excellency purchases the goods on credit, for 2000 crowns, giving your bond to pay me a twelve-month hence. I buy them back now, on the spot, for 1000 crowns cash. – All in the regular way of trade.”
The Duke executes the bond; Señor Ysaaco disburses the 1000 crowns; and the contrat mohatra is completed.

2. Another dance, whose nature remains obscure to Cotarelo in his Colección de entremeses.
3. Some kind of dance, perhaps distantly related to the Latin for choose/select/bind – kinky? Francisco López de Úbeda, La pícara Justina (1605): “puse en razón mis castañuelas y en el aire repiqué mis castañetas de repica punto, a lo deligo, y di dos vueltas a buen son.”
4. American dance referred to, or perhaps invented by, Quevedo in El entremetido y la Dueña y el Soplón:

Zarabullí,
Ay, bullí, bullí, de zambullí,
bullí, cuz, cuz,
de la Vera-Cruz,
yo me bullo y me meneo,
me bailo, me zangoteo,
me refocilo y recreo
por medio maravedí.
Zarabullí.

5. The capona is another obscure dance from enrogued Andalusians, perhaps parodying the chaconne (chacona/capona). My imagination tells me that it simulated a capon’s inability to satisfy desire, although the Quevedo verse in the link suggests that hairless eunuchs were top scorers:

Muy lampiña la Capona
y con ademanes brujos,
por Córdoba y por el Potro
viene calzada de triunfos.

I am aware of the Ottoman and possibly Islamic tradition of bollocked bodyguards, so please show some good taste today.

6. Cotarelo dunno, I dunno.
7. Sticking me neck out here. Colorín colorado is now something Latinos sometimes say to finish a children’s story, but apparently used to refer jokingly to something overly painted – perhaps like a coloured colorín, goldfinch. Colorina, f. of goldfinch, is, like mariquita, ladybird, a pejorative term for gays, and homophobic jokes are common in this repertoire.
8. I think that’s the Covarrubias’ drift, but a less sweet-sounding word is required.
9. Sounds about right.
10. Source:

-¿Eres Barrabás, Belial, Astarot? -finalmente le dijo el estudiante.
-Ésos son demonios de mayores ocupaciones -le respondió la voz-: demonio más por menudo soy, aunque me meto en todo; yo soy las pulgas del infierno, la chisme, el enredo, la usura, la mohatra; yo truje al mundo la zarabanda, el déligo, la chacona, el bullicuzcuz, las cosquillas de la capona, el guiriguirigay, el zambapalo, la mariona, el avilipinti, el pollo, la carretería, el hermano Bartolo, el carcañal, el guineo, el colorín colorado; yo inventé las pandorgas, las jácaras, las papalatas, los comos, las mortecinas, los títeres, los volatines, los saltambancos, los maesecorales y, al fin, yo me llamo el Diablo Cojuelo.
-Con decir eso -dijo el estudiante- hubiéramos ahorrado lo demás;

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