An Afternoon Miracle (Henry)

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An Afternoon Miracle
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Heart of the West»
Microsummary: A ranger with a secret fear of danger overcomes his cowardice when he saves a woman from a threatening man, and in the process, they both discover their true selves.

In a small town near the United States-Mexico border, four armed rangers were stationed in a hut to keep watch for a notorious Mexican outlaw named Leandro Garcia.

Leandro Garcia — Mexican outlaw; courageous, braggart; antagonist to the ranger.

Garcia had threatened to exact revenge on Bud Dawson, the proprietor of the Top Notch Saloon, after being ejected from the establishment. The rangers were tasked with preventing Garcia from crossing the bridge into the town.

One of the rangers, Broncho Leathers, discussed Bob Buckley's apparent fearlessness in the face of danger while they were waiting in their hut, watching for Garcia.

I've heard of fellows, what was wedded to danger, but if Bob Buckley ain't committed bigamy with trouble, I'm a son of a gun.

One day, shots were fired in the town, prompting Lieutenant Bob Buckley to investigate.

Bob Buckley — ranger; secretly fearful of danger; physically cowardly but morally courageous; melancholy face.

He discovered that Garcia had managed to sneak into the town disguised as a woman and had shot Dawson. Buckley set out to find Garcia, who was believed to be hiding in a nearby Mexican settlement. Despite his reputation for bravery, Buckley was secretly plagued by a crippling fear that he desperately tried to overcome.

Meanwhile, a beautiful and fearless woman named Alvarita, known as the Queen of the Serpent Tribe, was searching for her escaped python, Kuku.

Alvarita — Queen of the Serpent Tribe; bold, impudent, and fearless; long, dusky eyes; dark, coiled hair.

She encountered a dangerous Mexican man who threatened her, but Buckley arrived just in time to save her. The two shared a connection, and Alvarita's presence seemed to help Buckley overcome his fear.

As they walked together, Alvarita was suddenly terrified by a harmless caterpillar, revealing her own vulnerability. This marked the end of her reign as the fearless Queen of the Serpent Tribe, as she and Buckley found solace in each other's company.