Prayer to San Ysidro

Submitted by ub on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 16:10

When I was a little boy, growing up in Habana, we used to say "San Ysidro el Labrador... Quita el agua, y pon el sol". It means - San Ysidro, take away the water and bring in the sun.

Many years ago in Spain, there once lived a man named Ysidro. He was a good man, being both devout and hard working he was going to become a saint. Although Ysidro's last name is lost in the dust of centuries, it is known that he was a faithful and trusted laborer for a rich farmer named Don Juan. But as sometimes happens among people, a spirit of envy and resentment toward Ysidro arose among the other workers on the farm. At first Don Juan paid no attention to this but as the gossip continued and other workers reported that Ysidro really didn't work nearly as hard or faithfully as some people believed Don Juan decided to see for himself.

As the story goes, one morning as dew gathered on the grass and before the sunrise from behind the foothills of the Sierra Guadarrama Don Juan walked toward a field, which Ysidro had been told to plow. After pushing through a willow thicket that flanked a beautiful mountain stream, he came suddenly to the field and there before him was Ysidro but instead of plowing the earth as he had been told to do he was kneeling, his head bowed and hands clasped. His PatrĂ³n (Boss) was about to tell him angrily that he should be working and not loafing while the field went unplowed. But the scolding was never delivered for suddenly a most awesome and beautiful sight drew the attention of Don Juan. For there behind the kneeling figure of Ysidro who remained lost in a devotional dream, there gliding slowly across the field was a yolk of milk-white oxen. Holding the plow which the oxen were pulling was a winged angel wearing a golden surcoat.

And so Ysidro's name has come down through the years ever since the 12th century when he lived. Throughout the Spanish speaking countries he is known as San Ysidro, El Labrador, the patron saint of farmers and ranchers and workers everywhere. He brings the sunlight and makes the rain go away.