Manuela Williams Crosno (1905–97) was an English teacher who spent most of her life as a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Early in her writing career, Crosno won a statewide essay contest with her essay, “Why I Teach School.” Interested in Hispanic-American culture, she set her many short stories, poems, and illustrations in the area surrounding Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Taos. Many of these works were published in two short story collections: The Other Side of Nowhere (1988) and Distant Echoes: Tales from the Land of Enchantment (1991).
Author: Manuela Crosno
This story, first published in 1936 in New Mexico magazine, explores the role that hope and fortune play in a worker’s satisfaction. How does the presence of the mysterious chest affect the lives and attitudes of Juan and Rosa? Why does it do so? What exactly is it that now makes them seem young again, happy in their work and in their lives? To generalize the story: Does one’s satisfaction in work or in life depend upon the promise of rich rewards in the future? Or can a belief that one is already fortunate or blessed enable one to enjoy life now and to find satisfaction in one’s work?