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He did learn much about mining , and he moved to southern Chile , Lota, to work the coal mines. Baldomero Lillo grew up in these mining communities and worked the mines himself. Lillo was able to observe similar conditions in the Chilean mines and set out to improve the conditions of the workers by dramatizing their plight. Lillo wrote many short stories collected in two major books, Sub Sole and Sub Terra which sparked the interest of social activists who were appalled by the conditions in the mines.
The story that follows is typical of his efforts. His mother, who has lost her husband and two other sons in similar accidents, cannot emotionally deal with his death and dies in a suicidal jump into the mine, personified as a monster who consumes humans.
The body was lifted by the shoulders and feet and was laboriously placed in the waiting stretcher. But pressed up against the barrier she could only move her arms as an inarticulate soundless cry burst from her throat. Then her muscles relaxed, her arms fell to her side and she stood motionless as if hit by a lightning bolt. The group parted and many faces turned toward the woman who, with her head on her chest, deep in an absolute trance, seemed absorbed in contemplating the abyss open at her feet.
No one ever understood how she managed to jump over the barrier or the retaining cables. But many saw her for an instant as her bare legs dangled over empty space and she disappeared, without a sound, into the abyss. A few seconds later, a low and distant sound, almost imperceptible, erupted from the hungry mouth of the pit along with a few puffs of thin vapor: it was the breath of the monster gorged with blood in the depths of his lair.
CONTROL de LECTURA Subterra-subsole de Baldomero Lillo
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Baldomero Lillo (1867-1923)