“Miniature Man,” by Carrie Brown, is a story about a family in the small village of Monterojo in the Sierras des las Marinas mountains. It is told from the point of view of Dr. Xavia, the village doctor and uncle of Gregorio Aruna, the other central character in the story. The story seems to center mostly around Gregorio; but through Dr. Xavia’s eyes, we get an outsider’s perspective on Gregorio’s actions.
Gregorio has just suffered a debilitating injury that has crippled his hands, and he is unable to continue working on his miniature museum. His parents (especially his mother) want him to stay at home so that they can take care of him, but they are unable to talk with him without conflict. As Dr. Xavia says: “they have never known how to talk to Gregorio. None of us has.” Gregorio has always been a dreamer, and people in his village were mystified when he used the lottery winnings that he won in England to set up a miniature museum in Monterojo. The original reason for his visiting England in the first place was for him to get an education so that he could get a career in business; people thought that he would use his lottery winnings to fund his education.
Gregorio’s punishment for refusing to get an education was to care for his sister’s infant son, Patrick, while she and her husband were visiting her family. Dr. Xavia said that Patrick was always crying or making a fuss about something, and Gregorio was miserable taking care of him. Eventually, though, Gregorio found a way to coexist peacefully with his nephew, which Dr. Xavia discovered one day when he couldn’t find the two anywhere in town. Dr. Xavia eventually made his way up to the ruined castle, where he found “Patrick freed from his carriage and tethered to Gregorio’s ankle by means of a long rope, happily crawling about or playing with the stones or the sand, filthy, of course, but completely occupied… And there was Gregorio, paper on his knee, charcoal in his hand, drawing his baby nephew in various attitudes, drawing the castle, drawing the clouds, drawing the rooftops of the village below… Any fool could have seen that they were working.” To most observers, Gregorio and Patrick would have appeared to be playing, but, to Gregorio, his art is as much a form of labor as Dr. Xavia’s medical practice.