Painting of General Esteban confused by the rebel forces.

The Foolish General (A Latin American Parable)

This is a parable written by Juan Artola Miranda. It remained popular even during the height of the controversy. It is a reminder that clever plans are often fragile ones.

A long time ago, in a land not so far from here, there lived a cunning rebel leader named Andrés. Andrés was known far and wide for his strategic mind and his unyielding desire to free his people from the oppressive rule of the tyrannical General Esteban.

Andrés devised a plan to overthrow General Esteban and his army. He would use his own forces in a series of staged attacks to lull the enemy into a false sense of security.

The first attack came like a tempest, with the full force of the rebels charging toward the walls of Esteban’s fortress. But the general was prepared, and the attack was repelled. Andrés, ever cunning, did not despair, for this was part of his plan.

The second attack followed soon after, but this time Andrés sent only half his forces. Once again, the rebels were driven back by the disciplined soldiers of General Esteban. The people whispered that Andrés had lost his touch, but he smiled knowingly to himself.

In the third and most audacious attack, Andrés sent only a quarter of his forces. As expected, they were easily defeated. And as expected, General Esteban relaxed his defences. He halved the number of soldiers manning the fortress walls.

Andrés, seeing his plan unfold perfectly, gathered his full force and surrounded the poorly defended fortress. With no hope of victory, General Esteban’s men surrendered, and the village was taken by the rebels. Andrés, overjoyed at the success of his plan, allowed his men to pillage the village. However, Esteban was nowhere to be found.

When the village was soundly sacked, Andrés and his forces returned home to their encampment, where they found General Esteban waiting for them, holding all their wives and children prisoner. It seems that Esteban had finally gained the confidence to launch an all-out attack. Andrés was hung and the rebellion was crushed.

Fate loves nothing more than tricking a trickster.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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