Until that day they had never given a name to the eccentricities of their youngest daughter, nor had it ever crossed their minds to ascribe them to satanic influence. Clara’s strangeness was simply an attribute of their youngest daughter, like Luis’s limp or Rosa’s beauty. The child’s mental powers bothered no one and produced no great disorder; they almost always surfaced in matters of minor importance and within the strict confines of their home. It was true there had been times, just as they were about to sit down to dinner and everyone was in the large dining room, seating according to dignity and position, when the saltcellar would suddenly begin to shake and move among the plates and goblets without any visible source of energy or sign of illusionist’s trick. Nívea would pull Clara’s braids and that would be enough to wake her daughter from her mad distraction and return the saltcellar to immobility… They had also grown accustomed to the youngest daughter’s prophecies. She would announce earthquakes in advance, which was quite useful in the country of catastrophes, for it gave them a chance to lock up the good dishes and place their slippers within reach in case they had to run out in the middle of the night.