ARGENTINA: Promised Land

Platero is small, downy, smooth—so soft to the touch that one would think he were all cotton, that he had no bones. He eats everything I give him. He likes tangerines, muscatel grapes, all amber-colored, and purple figs with their crystal points of honey.

—Platero and I

In La Rioja, a picturesque town of 35,-000 on the Andean slopes of northwestern Argentina, the little donkeys of the community are nicknamed plateritos, because they are just as lovable and usually just as hungry as famed Poet Juan Ramon

Jimenez' fictional pet. The poorer folk use them to haul firewood from the forests or...

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