His father describes him as the Mozart of the bullfighting world; he has fought more than 100 battles, slaughtered a farm’s worth of young livestock and last weekend, to rapturous applause, repeatedly stabbed six young bulls with a sword. But 11-year-old toreador Michelito, from Merida in Mexico, faces stiff competition for the title of world’s bloodthirstiest pre-teen.
Take, for example, Arcansas boy Tre Merritt, the six-year-old descendant of Davy Crockett who, out hunting at the age of five, managed to shoot dead a fully grown brown bear.
At half Michelito’s age he makes the 11-year-old prodigy look almost over the hill. On the other hand little Tre doesn’t use a sword or go hunting dressed as a sort of Bollywood Elvis, both of which make killing large animals 100 times harder.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by such brutal behavior; killing ants with a magnifying glass is, after all, considered a normal part of any young boy’s childhood.
Last October, a seven-year-old managed to break into the reptile house of an Australian zoo and proceeded to throw 10 of its inhabitants, including a 1.8m long monitor lizard, to the crocodile. Then, just in case his position on reptiles wasn’t yet absolutely clear, he went on to beat three lizards to death with a stone.
That same month, a zoo in Russia lost a kangaroo and several seagulls when a group of three children aged no older than 12 bludgeoned them all to death. You have to respect the sheer brutal audacity of children who, after fighting a kangaroo, think: “I could run away, but on the other hand, I have always hated seagulls.”
Whatever we think of Michelito and the other tiny terrors, we should at least admire their honesty. The same cannot be said of 12-year-old Jamison Stone, who last year shot to fame after killing a “monster pig” — a 480kg wild boar he claimed was 2.8m long — after a three-hour battle.
His fame swiftly turned to infamy when it was revealed that the much-circulated picture of him standing behind the monster was staged, and that, rather than being a wild boar, it was in fact a very dirty and not especially enormous domestic pig purchased from a farm just four days before.
It’s hard to imagine Michelito stooping to these underhand tactics. He’s brave, talented and one day soon he’ll be able to grow a proper toreador’s moustache.
“I was born a bullfighter,” he insists, “and I will die one.”