In the wild passes of these mountains the sight of walled towns and villages, built like eagles' nests among the cliffs and surrounded by Moorish battlements, or of ruined watch-towers perched on lofty peaks, carries the mind back to the chivalric days of Christian and Moslem warfare, and to the romantic struggle for the conquest of Granada.
Sometimes the road winds along dizzy precipices, without parapet to guard the traveler from the gulfs below, and then will plunge down steep dark and dangerous declivities. Sometimes it straggles through rugged barrancos or ravines, worn by winter torrents, the obscure path of the contrabandista, while ever and anon the ominous cross, the monument of robbery and murder, erected on a mound of stones at some lonely part of the road, admonishes the traveler that he is among the haunts of banditti, perhaps at that very moment under the eye of some lurking bandolero.”
From Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving, 1832, "The Journey"
‘Those were the last people who were shot in the village.’
‘What happened to the others?’ Robert Jordan asked. ‘Were there no other fascists in the village?’
‘Qué va, were there no other fascists? There were more than twenty. But none was shot.’
‘What was done?’
‘Pablo had them beaten to death with flails and thrown from the top of the cliff into the river.’
‘I will tell you. It is not so simple. And in my life never do I wish to see such a scene as the flailing to death in the plaza on the top of the cliff above the river.’”
From For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, 1940, Chapter 10
For centuries the mountain shepherds had gathered, ten or twenty of them at a time, to shear together, and there was, as Andrew pointed out, a certain bonhomie to the occasion, with plenty of wine and a goat or lamb killed to finish the day. But there were also grease boils and huge blisters and swollen wrists and aching backs and the flies, dust and dung. The shepherds hated it and, from what Domingo had to say, couldn't do away with their social tradition fast enough.”
From Driving over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart, 2000, "Counting Sheep"
‘I speak of love, the great mystery and principle of life, the intoxicating revel of youth, the sober delight of age. Look forth, my prince, and behold how at this blest season all nature is full of love. The most insignificant bird sings to its paramour; the very beetle woos its lady-beetle in the dust, and yon butterflies which you see fluttering high above the tower and toying in the air are happy in each other's loves.’”
‘I begin to understand,’ said the prince, sighing, ‘such a tumult I have more than once experienced without knowing the cause—and where should I seek for an object, such as you describe, in this dismal solitude?’
From Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving, 1832, "Legend of Prince Ahmed Al Kamel"