ches of wood cut out hard as metal in the streaming noon light. Tinkle of a donkey-bell below me, then at the turn of a path the donkey's hindquarters, mauve-grey, neatly clipped in a pattern of diamonds and lozenges, and a tail meditatively swishing as he picked his way among the stones, the head as yet hidden by the osier baskets of the pack. At the next turn I skipped ahead of the donkey and walked with the arriero
, a dark boy in tight blue pants and short grey tunic cut to the waist, who had the strong cheek-bones, hawk nose and slender hips of an Arab, who spoke an aspirated Andalusian that sounded like Arabic.
We greeted each other cordially as travellers do in mountainous places where the paths are narrow. We talked about the weather and the wind and the sugar mills at Motril and women and travel and the vintage, struggling all the while like drowning men to understand each other's lingo. When it came out that I was an American and had been in the war, he became suddenly interested; of