(Short Stories for Students)

Azucena, whose name translated into English would be ‘‘Lily,’’ is a girl who has been buried up to her neck in a mudslide. The rest of her village has been destroyed, and she says that the bodies of her dead brothers and sisters are holding her legs. As the story opens, the girl has just been found, and a rescue effort is underway. She has also been discovered by the national news media, and soon a crowd of television reporters comes to interview her on camera. While her story is broadcast around the world, she quietly talks with Rolf Carlé, the first reporter on the scene, about her life. Although she is thirteen years old, she has never traveled outside her small Latin American village, and she has never known love. She does not understand that she is being featured on international television, nor does she understand why the president of the Republic himself comes to call her ‘‘an example to the nation.’’ After three days and nights trapped in the cold mud, she dies, and sinks away beneath the surface of the clay.

Rolf Carlé
Rolf Carlé is a middle-aged television reporter, the first reporter to reach Azucena’s side. He has gone to her to cover the dramatic story of her rescue, but, for the first time in his career, he is unable to maintain his professional objectivity. He joins and then leads the attempts to rescue the girl; he stays beside her for three days and nights to keep her calm. As the...

(The entire section is 580 words.)