Otakar Batlicka left Europe when he was only 14 for South America. He suffered a lot from the workers at cattle farm – Loover estancia. Especially slim Pintor hated him. Once he nearly drowned because of him in dung water. In the forest there grew an enormous tree with a bee’s nest. The man had a great desire to eat honey, but they did not want to cut the tree down. So they set it on fire, and you gringo look after it. More than feeding the flames for 3 days and 3 nights Otakar was taking care to make sure that the 60 metres giant did not fall on his head. And there was a lot of honey, but Pintor announced, that he let the tree fall down in the wrong direction and the farm workers did not even let him to taste it.
The leader was not very happy with Otakar and gave him a last chance! He was to tame a mule, something none of the other hunters managed to do. It was a hard work. As soon as Otakar turned the lasso, Maria – the mule- got mad. As soon as the lasso went past her head, she’s gone crazy. She started to stand on her hind legs, was kicking and jumping with all four into the air. She was trying to catch Otakar with her teeth and beat him with her hooves. If it were possible to tame Maria some of the men would have done it before. It will be best if I pack my few things and will disappear without anybody spotting me, Otakar thought. Goodness, mustangs are more dangerous than mules, and despite that cowboys manage to tame them. How do they do it? First they put on a halter! A soft stick of the enclosure will serve as a pulley, the lasso will be put on it; with all its strength Otakar is pulling a loop. The mule guffaws and is rising – till finally he is falling into the sand.
On the second day Otakar managed more under the halter. He carried the mule for a short walk. As much as she can, the beast is turning to Otakar with its bottom and is kicking. She is throwing out. There is blood pouring out of the front of Maria. The number of bloody injuries on Otakar’s body is also increasing.
The leader reminds Otakar on the third day that he is to present Maria tonight and if she is not tame he would be fired.. Pintor is not leaving today for harvest with the other men. He got some job in the court. Naturally, he stood himself in a way so he could see well.
Otakar is managing to stroke Maria’s back with his hand on its back. She did not bite him. She did not throw him out. Yesterday, someone advised him that before saddling it is important to blind the mule. A scarf over the eyes should be sufficient. Otakar is getting onto Maria’s back. She is turning around. The mule is running madly, is bending its head and neck, is stopping and Otakar is flying out of a saddle. Otakar can feel the pain in his neck and the taste of blood in his mouth. He is catching breath. The mane of the running animal is flying in the air, its tail is raised. Otakar is throwing the lasso. From the height of the enclosure he is jumping into the saddle. Maria is running fast! Hey! Who is going to give up earlier? Who is going to lose the battle? Good! Are you jumping? Serve yourself. For a long time both are running up and down to sides and on hard logs.
The leader is coming back and asks how is Maria. Pintor is pushing the logs to one side and walks to Maria. He pulls himself on her back and without the saddle he is elegantly riding round the enclosure.
The leader things it was Pintor who tamed the animal and that was why he wanted to stay in the courtyard today. But Pintor admits it was not him, it was the work of Gringo.
The leader could not believe it because none of them hunters managed to do it! So from today no muchachito, no gringo but a man.
This is what men say about Otakar who considered him to be an enemy. Encouraged by the hunters he was doing a ride on Maria around the coral. He knows now why the men did not behave to him friendly before. Now he proved to them and to himself, what he could do. He was 16 year old, but he set of on his own into the world. And the leader, Pintor and all Loover’s hunters had to deal with him like an adult.