Thursday, September 20, 2018


Isabelo Francisco Guevara had a farm up in Ukkudu. In one field he grew suni (taro) and in another he grew kamute (sweet potato).

December, January and February were not good months for his kamute. He noticed how damaged they were, so that he could expect no harvest of sweet potato that year.

Not far from his farm was that of another man, José Iriarte, better known as "Boyok." Boyok raised pigs and Guevara went to court, claiming that Boyok's pigs ran loose and damaged the kamute. Pigs are known for sticking their snouts into field plants and digging up what they think they can eat.

Here's an imaginary court session, based on the court records :

Guevara : Your honor, Boyok's pigs are responsible for these damages to my crops.

Boyok : Your honor, that is impossible because my pigs are always either tied or kept in a pen.

Guevara : Your honor, I ask that you suspend this hearing until we can gather witnesses. Some are sick and the others live far away from the city in their ranches, so we need some time to call them.

Judge : This hearing is in recess until witnesses can be gathered.

Some days later, the court was reconvened and Guevara presented three witnesses, who all testified that they saw Boyok's pigs digging in Guevara's kamute field.

Boyok presented one witness, named Joaquín Cruz.

Cruz : Your honor, one night I was passing through Guevara's fields and saw benådo (deer) digging up the ground in Guevara's kamute field. There are many benådo in the wild and they come out at night.

Guevara : Your honor, I question the impartiality of this witness, as he is related to the accused.

Judge : This hearing is suspended until Joaquín Cruz Pérez and Ramón Borja de León Guerrero, Jueces de Sementeras (Agricultural Field Inspectors) can inspect Guevara's field and give us a report.

Some days later, the two inspectors make their report.

Judge : Let the record show that the field inspectors state that they inspected Guevara's field and have determined that there are signs of both deer and pig disturbance there. They also inspected Boyok's farm and found nine swine. Two were tied and the other seven were inside a pen. The inspectors also state that it is impossible to determine the value of loss in Guevara's field.

The judge made a decision.

Boyok's pigs were responsible for the damage and determined a fine that Boyok had to pay Guevara, to be substituted with other forms of payment in case Boyok did not have the cash.

I suppose the testimony of three witnesses who claimed to see Boyok's pigs in the kamute field swayed the judge.

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