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LA TIENDA DE LOS
FANTASMAS

THE SHOP OF
GHOSTS

Casi todo lo mejor y ms valioso


del universo puede comprarse
por
medio
penique.
Exceptuando, por supuesto, el
sol, la luna, las estrellas, la tierra,
la gente, las tormentas y otras
baratijas. Las tienes gratis.
Adems, dejo de lado otra cosa,
que no puedo mencionar en este
peridico, cuyo precio ms bajo
es la mitad de medio penique.
Este principio general resultar
enseguida evidente. En la calle
detrs de m, puedes montar en
un tranva elctrico por medio
penique. Subirte a un tranva
elctrico es como subirte a un
castillo volador en un cuento de
hadas. Puedes hacerte con un
buen puado de chucheras de
colores por la mitad de un
penique. Tambin tienes la
oportunidad de leer este articulo
por medio penique, junto con,
por supuesto, otras cosas menos
importantes.
Pero si quiere descubrir la
enorme cantidad de cosas
asombrosas
que
puedes
conseguir por medio penique,
haz lo que yo hice anoche.
Estamp la nariz contra el
escaparate de una de las tiendas
ms pequeas y peor iluminadas
de uno de los callejones ms

Nearly all the best and most


precious things in the universe
you can get for a halfpenny. I
make an exception, of course, of
the sun, the moon, the earth,
people, stars, thunderstorms,
and such trifles. You can get
them for nothing. Also I make an
exception of another thing, which
I am not allowed to mention in
this paper, and of which the
lowest price is a penny
halfpenny. But the general
principle will be at once
apparent. In the street behind
me, for instance, you can now
get a ride on an electric tram for
a halfpenny. To be on an electric
tram is to be on a flying castle in
a fairy tale. You can get quite a
large number of brightly coloured
sweets for a halfpenny. Also you
can get the chance of reading
this article for a halfpenny; along,
of course, with other and
irrelevant matter.
But if you want to see what a
vast and bewildering array of
valuable things you can get at a
halfpenny each you should do as
I was doing last night. I was
gluing my nose against the glass
of a very small and dimly lit toy
shop in one of the greyest and
leanest of the streets of

estrechos y oscuros del barrio de


Battersea. Pero por oscuro que
fuese ese rectngulo de luz,
resplandeca con todos los
colores que Dios cre, utilizando
la expresin que una vez
escuche a un nio. Los juguetes
de los pobres son todos como
los nios que los compran.
Sucios pero todos alegres. Por
mi parte, prefiero la alegra a la
limpieza. La primera es del alma
y la segunda del cuerpo. Les
ruego que me disculpen, es que
soy demcrata. S que estoy
trasnochado en el mundo actual.
Mientras miraba aquel palacio de
maravillas
liliputienses,
los
pequeos autobuses verdes, los
pequeos elefantes azules, los
muequitos
negros
y
las
pequeas arcas de Noe rojas,
deb caer en una especie de
trance antinatural. El escaparate
iluminado se transform en el
brillante escenario en que uno
contempla una comedia muy
entretenida. Me olvide de las
casas grises y de la gente triste
a mis espaldas como uno se
olvida del pblico y las galeras
oscuras en el teatro. Me pareca
que los objetos detrs del cristal
eran pequeos no por su
tamao, sino a causa de la
distancia. El autobs verde era
realmente un autobs verde. Un
autobs verde del barrio de
Bayswater,
que
estuviese
recorriendo un enorme desierto,
al hacer su ruta diaria hasta
Bayswater. El elefante ya no era
azul por la pintura sino por la

Battersea. But dim as was that


square of light, it was filled (as a
child once said to me) with all the
colours God ever made. Those
toys of the poor were like the
children who buy them; they
were all dirty; but they were all
bright. For my part, I think
brightness more important than
cleanliness; since the first is of
the soul, and the second of the
body. You must excuse me; I am
a democrat; I know I am out of
fashion in the modern world.
As I looked at that palace of
pigmy wonders, at small green
omnibuses,
at
small
blue
elephants, at small black dolls,
and small red Noah's arks, I must
have fallen into some sort of
unnatural trance. That lit shopwindow became like the brilliantly
lit stage when one is watching
some highly coloured comedy. I
forgot the grey houses and the
grimy people behind me as one
forgets the dark galleries and the
dim crowds at a theatre. It
seemed as if the little objects
behind the glass were small, not
because they were toys, but
because they were objects far
away. The green omnibus was
really a green omnibus, a green
Bayswater omnibus, passing
across some huge desert on its
ordinary way to Bayswater. The
blue elephant was no longer blue
with paint; he was blue with
distance. The black doll was
really a negro relieved against

distancia. El muequito era


realmente un hombre de raza
negra recortndose contra el
brillante follaje tropical de la
tierra en que cada planta tiene
un color ardiente y solo el ser
humano es oscuro. El arca de
Noe roja era en verdad la
enorme nave de la salvacin del
mundo, flotando en un mar
acrecentado por la lluvia, en el
rojo primer amanecer de la
esperanza.
Creo que todos tenemos estos
extraordinarios
instantes
de
abstraccin,
estos
brillantes
momentos con la mente en
blanco.
En
momentos
semejantes, podemos mirar a la
cara a nuestro mejor amigo y ver
gafas y bigotes imaginarios. Por
lo general estn marcados por lo
lento que se desarrollan y lo
abrupto de su fin. El regreso a la
actividad mental normal es a
menudo tan repentino como
tropezarse con alguien. A
menudo,
uno
termina
chocndose de verdad contra
alguien, al menos en mi caso.
Pero de todos modos, el
despertar es claro y, por lo
general, completo. Pues bien, en
esta ocasin, aunque una ola de
cordura me arrastro a la
conciencia de que en realidad
solamente estaba mirando una
humilde y diminuta juguetera, de
alguna extraa manera la
curacin
no
pareca
ser
definitiva. Algo que no poda
controlar segua dicindome que
me haba adentrado en una

passionate tropic foliage in the


land where every weed is flaming
and only man is black. The red
Noah's ark was really the
enormous
ship
of
earthly
salvation riding on the rainswollen sea, red in the first
morning of hope.

Every one, I suppose, knows


such
stunning
instants
of
abstraction, such brilliant blanks
in the mind. In such moments
one can see the face of one's
own best friend as an unmeaning
pattern
of
spectacles
or
moustaches. They are commonly
marked by the two signs of the
slowness of their growth and the
suddenness of their termination.
The return to real thinking is
often as abrupt as bumping into
a man. Very often indeed (in my
case) it is bumping into a man.
But in any case the awakening is
always emphatic and, generally
speaking, it is always complete.
Now, in this case, I did come
back with a shock of sanity to the
consciousness that I was, after
all, only staring into a dingy little
toy-shop; but in some strange
way the mental cure did not
seem to be final. There was still
in my mind an unmanageable
something that told me that I had
strayed
into
some
odd
atmosphere, or that I had already
done some odd thing. I felt as if I

atmsfera extraa, o que haba


hecho algo raro. Me senta como
si hubiese obrado un milagro o
cometido un pecado. Era como
si de alguna forma hubiese
atravesado una frontera del
alma.

had worked a miracle or


committed a sin. It was as if I had
at any rate, stepped across some
border in the soul.

Para librarme de esta sensacin


onrica tan peligrosa, entr en la
tienda e intent comprar algunos
soldaditos
de
madera.
El
dependiente era muy anciano y
estaba muy deteriorado. Con
medio rostro y toda la cabeza
cubiertos de despeinado cabello
cano.
Un
cabello
tan
increblemente
blanco
que
pareca artificial. Y aunque
pareca senil y enfermo no se
reflejaba sufrimiento en sus ojos.
Era como si, poco a poco, se
estuviese quedando dormido en
una decadencia amable. Me dio
los soldaditos de madera pero,
cuando coloqu el dinero sobre
el mostrador, aparent no verlo
en
un
primer
momento.
Parpade dbilmente mirndolo
y lo apart dbilmente.
-No, no dijo confuso Nunca lo
he hecho as. Nunca. Aqu
somos muy anticuados.
-No aceptar dinero me parece
algo a la ms rabiosa ltima
moda ms que anticuado.

To shake off this dangerous and


dreamy sense I went into the
shop and tried to buy wooden
soldiers. The man in the shop
was very old and broken, with
confused white hair covering his
head and half his face, hair so
startlingly white that it looked
almost artificial. Yet though he
was senile and even sick, there
was nothing of suffering in his
eyes; he looked rather as if he
were gradually falling asleep in a
not unkindly decay. He gave me
the wooden soldiers, but when I
put down the money he did not at
first seem to see it; then he
blinked at it feebly, and then he
pushed it feebly away.

-Nunca lo he hecho as
contest el anciano sonndose
los mocos Siempre he dado

"No, no," he said vaguely. "I


never have. I never have. We are
rather old-fashioned here."
"Not taking money," I replied,
"seems to me more like an
uncommonly new fashion than
an old one."
"I never have," said the old man,
blinking and blowing his nose;
"I've always given presents. I'm

regalos y soy demasiado viejo


para cambiar.
-Por el amor de Dios! dije Qu
quiere
decir?
Est
hablando como si fuese Pap
Nel.
-Soy
Pap
Neldijo
disculpndose y volvi a sonarse
los mocos.
En el exterior, las farolas no
podan estar encendidas. En
cualquier caso, era imposible ver
nada ms all del escaparate
iluminado. No se escuchaban
pasos ni voces por la calle.
Pareca
que
me
hubiese
internado en un nuevo mundo en
el que el sol no brillaba. Pero
algo haba soltado las amarras
del sentido comn y no poda
sorprenderme ms que de una
manera somnolienta.
-Pareces enfermo, Pap Nel
Algo me impuls a decir eso.
-Estoy agonizando.
Guard silencio y fue l quien
habl de nuevo.
-Todos los nuevos se han
marchado. No lo entiendo. Se
meten conmigo por razones tan
raras e incoherentes. Los
cientficos,
todos
los
innovadores. Dicen que les doy a
la gente supersticiones y les
vuelvo demasiado ilusos, que les
doy carnes horneadas y les hago
demasiado materialistas. Dicen
que mis partes celestiales son
demasiado celestiales, que mis
partes mundanas son demasiado
mundanas. No s lo que quieren,
de eso si que estoy seguro.

too old to stop."


"Good heavens!" I said. "What
can you mean? Why, you might
be Father Christmas."
"I am Father Christmas," he said
apologetically, and blew his nose
again.
The lamps could not have been
lighted yet in the street outside.
At any rate, I could see nothing
against the darkness but the
shining shop-window. There were
no sounds of steps or voices in
the street; I might have strayed
into some new and sunless
world. But something had cut the
chords of common sense, and I
could not feel even surprise
except sleepily.
Something made me say, "You
look ill, Father Christmas."
"I am dying," he said.
I did not speak, and it was he
who spoke again.
"All the new people have left my
shop. I cannot understand it.
They seem to object to me on
such curious and inconsistent
sort of grounds, these scientific
men, and these innovators. They
say
that
I
give
people
superstitions and make them too
visionary; they say I give people
sausages and make them too
coarse. They say my heavenly
parts are too heavenly; they say
my earthly parts are too earthly; I
dont know what they want, I'm
sure. How can heavenly things

Cmo puede algo celestial


serlo demasiado? Cmo puede
algo mundano ser demasiado
mundano? Cmo se puede ser
demasiado bueno o demasiado
alegre? No lo entiendo. Pero hay
algo que entiendo demasiado
bien: esta gente moderna est
viva y yo muerto.
-T sabrs si ests muerto
repliqu pero a lo que ellos
hacen no lo llamo vivir.
Un silencio cay entre nosotros
que, de alguna manera, esper
ver roto. No haba durado unos
segundos, cuando, en medio de
la total tranquilidad, escuch
unos pasos que, cada vez ms
rpidos, se acercaban por la
calle. Al instante, una figura se
lanz al interior de la tienda y
quedo enmarcada en el umbral.
Vesta una chistera blanca,
echada hacia atrs como con
prisa, anticuados pantalones
negros
ceidos,
anticuados
chaleco y chaqueta de colores
brillantes y un fantstico abrigo
viejo. Tena los ojos, abiertos y
brillantes, de un actor de
carcter, una cara plida y
nerviosa y la barba muy
recortada. Abarc al anciano y
su tienda en una mirada que fue
de verdad como una explosin y
lanz la exclamacin de un
hombre
por
completo
estupefacto.
-Buen Dios! No puedes ser t!
grit Vine a preguntar dnde
estaba tu tumba.

be too heavenly, or earthly things


too earthly? How can one be too
good, or too jolly? I don't
understand. But I understand
one thing well enough. These
modern people are living and I
am dead."
"You may be dead," I replied.
"You ought to know. But as for
what they are doing, do not call it
living."
A silence fell suddenly between
us which I somehow expected to
be unbroken. But it had not fallen
for more than a few seconds
when, in the utter stillness, I
distinctly heard a very rapid step
coming nearer and nearer along
the street. The next moment a
figure flung itself into the shop
and stood framed in the doorway.
He wore a large white hat tilted
back as if in impatience; he had
tight
black
old-fashioned
pantaloons,
a
gaudy
oldfashioned stock and waistcoat,
and an old fantastic coat. He had
large, wide-open, luminous eyes
like those of an arresting actor;
he had a pale, nervous face, and
a fringe of beard. He took in the
shop and the old man in a look
that seemed literally a flash and
uttered the exclamation of a man
utterly staggered.
"Good lord!" he cried out; "it can't
be you! It isn't you! I came to ask
where your grave was."

-An no he fallecido, Sr. Dickens


contest el anciano con su
dbil sonrisa Pero me estoy
muriendo

aadi
como
tranquilizndole
-Pero a paseo con todo si no
agonizaba en mis tiempos dijo
el
Sr.
Charles
Dickens
alegremente Y no pareces ni
un da ms viejo.
-Llev as mucho tiempo Dijo
Pap Nel.
El Sr. Charles Dickens le dio la
espalda y sac la cabeza por la
puerta,
metindola
en
la
oscuridad.
-Dick bram a todo pulmn
sigue vivo.
Otra
sombra
oscureci
el
umbral,
entr un caballero
mucho mayor y ms fuerte que
llevaba puesta una enorme
peluca empolvada. Abanicaba su
sofocado rostro con un sombrero
militar correspondiente a la
moda de la poca de la reina
Ana. Andaba erguido como un
soldado y en su cara haba una
expresin arrogante que era
repentinamente desmentida por
sus ojos. Humildes como los de
un perro. Su espada hacia
mucho ruido, como si la tienda
fuese demasiado pequea para
ella.
- En verdad dijo Sir Richard
Steele Es cuestin harto
prodigiosa, pues este hombre se
acercaba a su ltimo aliento
cuando escrib sobre Sir Roger
de Coverley y su da de navidad.

"I'm not dead yet, Mr. Dickens,"


said the old gentleman, with a
feeble smile; "but I'm dying," he
hastened to add reassuringly.
"But, dash it all, you were dying
in my time," said Mr. Charles
Dickens with animation; "and you
don't look a day older."
"I've felt like this for a long time,"
said Father Christmas.
Mr. Dickens turned his back and
put his head out of the door into
the darkness.
"Dick," he roared at the top of his
voice; "he's still alive."
Another shadow darkened the
doorway, and a much larger and
more full-blooded gentleman in
an enormous periwig came in,
fanning his flushed face with a
military hat of the cut of Queen
Anne. He carried his head well
back like a soldier, and his hot
face had even a look of
arrogance, which was suddenly
contradicted by his eyes, which
were literally as humble as a
dog's. His sword made a great
clatter, as if the shop were too
small for it.
"Indeed," said Sir Richard Steele,
"'tis a most prodigious matter, for
the man was dying when I wrote
about Sir Roger de Coverley and
his Christmas Day."

Mis sentidos se embotaban y el


cuarto se oscureca. Pareca
repleto de recin llegados.
-Se ha dado siempre por
entendido dijo un hombre
gordo que ladeaba la cabeza en
un gesto obstinado y humorstico
( Me parece que era Ben
Johnson)- Se ha dando siempre
por entendido, cnsul Jacobo,
bajo nuestro rey Jaime o bajo su
difunta Majestad la reina, que
costumbres
tan
buenas
y
saludables decaan. Y que era
previsible su desaparicin. Este
anciano canoso no esta ahora
menos robusto que cuando yo le
eche el ojo.
Y creo que tambin escuch a
un hombre vestido con malla
verde, como Robin Hood, decir
en una mezcla de ingls y
francs normando Pero s lo vi
agonizante.
- Llevo as mucho tiempo Dijo
Pap Nel otra vez a su dbil
manera.
El Sr. Charles Dickens de
repente se le acerc y se inclin
delante de l.
-Desde cuando? pregunt Desde qu naciste?
-S- contest el anciano y se dej
caer en su silla temblando
Siempre he agonizado.
El Sr.Charles Dickens se quit el
sombrero
haciendo
una
reverencia como la hara un
hombre que llamase a la multitud
a amotinarse.
-Ahora lo entiendo grit
Nunca morirs.

My senses were growing dimmer


and the room darker. It seemed
to be filled with newcomers.
"It hath ever been understood,"
said a burly man, who carried his
head humorously and obstinately
a little on one side (I think he was
Ben Jonson) "It hath ever been
understood, consule Jacobo,
under our King James and her
late Majesty, that such good and
hearty customs were fallen sick,
and like to pass from the world.
This grey beard most surely was
no lustier when I knew him than
now."
And I also thought I heard a
green-clad man, like Robin
Hood, say in some mixed
Norman French, "But I saw the
man dying."
"I have felt like this a long time,"
said Father Christmas, in his
feeble way again.
Mr. Charles Dickens suddenly
leant across to him.
"Since when?" he asked. "Since
you were born?"
"Yes," said the old man, and
sank shaking into a chair. "I have
been always dying."
Mr. Dickens took off his hat with
a flourish like a man calling a
mob to rise.
"I understand it now," he cried,
"you will never die."

HISTORIA DE UNA HORA


THE STORY OF AN HOUR
Sabiendo que la seora Mallard padeca del corazn, se tomaron muchas
precauciones antes de darle la noticia de la muerte de su marido.
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was
taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
Fue su hermana Josephine quien se lo dijo, con frases entrecortadas e
insinuaciones veladas que lo revelaban y ocultaban a medias. El amigo de su
marido, Richards, estaba tambin all, cerca de ella. Fue l quien se encontraba
en la oficina del peridico cuando recibieron la noticia del accidente
ferroviario y el nombre de Brently Mallard encabezaba la lista de muertos.
Tan slo se haba tomado el tiempo necesario para asegurarse, mediante un
segundo telegrama, de que era verdad, y se haba precipitado a impedir que
cualquier otro amigo, menos prudente y considerado, diera la triste noticia.
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that
revealed in half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near
her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the
railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard's name leading the list of
"killed." He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second
telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in
bearing the sad message.
Ella no escuch la historia como otras muchas mujeres la han escuchado, con
paralizante incapacidad de aceptar su significado. Inmediatamente se ech a
llorar con repentino y violento abandono, en brazos de su hermana. Cuando la
tormenta de dolor amain, se retir a su habitacin, sola. No quiso que nadie
la siguiera.
She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a
paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden,
wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. When the storm of grief had spent
itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.
Frente a la ventana abierta haba un amplio y confortable silln. Agobiada por
el desfallecimiento fsico que rondaba su cuerpo y pareca alcanzar su espritu,
se hundi en l.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this
she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and
seemed to reach into her soul.
En la plaza frente a su casa, poda ver las copas de los rboles temblando por
la reciente llegada de la primavera. En el aire se perciba el delicioso aliento
de la lluvia. Abajo, en la calle, un buhonero gritaba sus quincallas. Le llegaban
dbilmente las notas de una cancin que alguien cantaba a lo lejos, e
innumerables gorriones gorjeaban en los aleros.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were
all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air.
In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song
which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were
twittering in the eaves.
Retazos de cielo azul asomaban por entre las nubes, que frente a su ventana,
en el poniente, se reunan y apilaban unas sobre otras.
There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that
had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
Se sent con la cabeza hacia atrs, apoyada en el cojn de la silla, casi inmvil,
excepto cuando un sollozo le suba a la garganta y la sacuda, como el nio
que ha llorado al irse a dormir y contina sollozando en sus sueos.
She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite
motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a
child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.
Era joven, de rostro hermoso y tranquilo, y sus facciones revelaban contencin
y cierto carcter. Pero sus ojos tenan ahora la expresin opaca, la vista
clavada en la lejana, en uno de aquellos retazos de cielo azul. La mirada no
indicaba reflexin, sino ms bien ensimismamiento.
She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and
even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze
was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a
glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.
Senta que algo llegaba a ella y lo esperaba con temor. De qu se trataba? No
lo saba, era demasiado sutil y esquivo para nombrarlo. Pero lo senta surgir
furtivamente del cielo y alcanzarla a travs de los sonidos, los aromas y el
color que impregnaban el aire.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What
was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it,
creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents,
the color that filled the air.
Su pecho suba y bajaba agitadamente. Empezaba a reconocer aquello que se
aproximaba para poseerla, y luchaba con voluntad para rechazarlo, tan
dbilmente como si lo hiciera con sus blancas y estilizadas manos. Cuando se
abandon, sus labios entreabiertos susurraron una palabrita. La murmur una
y otra vez: Libre, libre, libre!. La mirada vaca y la expresin de terror que
la haba precedido desaparecieron de sus ojos, que permanecan agudos y
brillantes. El pulso le lata rpido y el fluir de la sangre templaba y relajaba
cada centmetro de su cuerpo.
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize
this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it
back with her will--as powerless as her two white slender hands would have
been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly
parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: "free, free, free!" The
vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes.
They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood
warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
No se detuvo a pensar si aquella invasin de alegra era monstruosa o no. Una
percepcin clara y exaltada le permita descartar la posibilidad como algo
trivial. Saba que llorara de nuevo al ver las manos cariosas y frgiles
cruzadas en la postura de la muerte; que el rostro que siempre la haba mirado
con amor estara inmvil, gris y muerto. Pero ms all de aquel momento
amargo, vio una larga procesin de aos por llegar que seran slo suyos. Y
extendi sus brazos abiertos dndoles la bienvenida.
She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A
clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.
She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands
folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed
and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession
of years to come that owuld belong to her absolutely. And she opened and
spread her arms out to them in welcome.
No habra nadie para quien vivir durante los aos venideros; ella tendra las
riendas de su propia vida. Ninguna voluntad poderosa doblegara la suya con
esa ciega insistencia con que los hombres y mujeres creen tener derecho a
imponer su ntima voluntad a un semejante. Que la intencin fuera amable o

cruel, no haca que el acto pareciera menos delictivo en aquel breve momento
de iluminacin en que ella lo consideraba.
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live
for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind
persistence with which men and women believe they ahve a right to impose a
private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made
the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of
illumination.
Y a pesar de esto, ella le haba amado, a veces; otras no. Pero qu importaba!.
Qu podra el amor, ese misterio sin resolver, significar frente a esta energa
que repentinamente reconoca como el impulso ms poderoso de su ser!
And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter!
What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession
of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of
her being!
"Libre, libre en cuerpo y alma!" continu susurrando.
"Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.
Josephine, arrodillada frente a la puerta cerrada, con los labios pegados a la
cerradura le imploraba que la dejara pasar. Louise, abre la puerta, te lo ruego,
brela, te vas a poner enferma. Qu ests haciendo, Louise? Por lo que ms
quieras, abre la puerta.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold,
imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door--you
will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open
the door."
Vete. No voy a ponerme enferma. No; estaba embebida en el mismsimo
elixir de la vida que entraba por la ventana abierta.
"Go away. I am not making myself ill". No; she was drinking in a very elixir
of life through that open window.
Su imaginacin corra desaforada por aquellos das desplegados ante ella: das
de primavera, das de verano y toda clase de das, que seran slo suyos.
Musit una rpida oracin para que la vida fuese larga. Y pensar que tan slo
ayer senta escalofros ante la idea de que la vida pudiera durar demasiado!

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and
summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a
quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought
with a shudder that life might be long.
Por fin se levant y ante la insistencia de su hermana, abri la puerta. Tena los
ojos con brillo febril y se conduca inconscientemente como una diosa de la
Victoria. Agarr a su hermana por la cintura y juntas descendieron las
escaleras. Richards, erguido, las esperaba al final.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There
was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a
goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister's waist, and together they descended
the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.
Alguien intentaba abrir la puerta con una llave. Fue Brently Mallard quien
entr, un poco sucio del viaje, llevando con aplomo su maletn y el paraguas.
Haba estado lejos del lugar del accidente y ni siquiera saba que haba habido
uno. Permaneci de pie, sorprendido por el penetrante grito de Josephine y el
rpido movimiento de Richards para que su esposa no lo viera.
Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard
who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and
umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even
know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at
Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.
Cuando los mdicos llegaron dijeron que ella haba muerto del corazn -de la
alegra que mata.
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that
kills.

EL ARTE DE LEER Y EL
ARTE DE HACER EL
AMOR

THE ART OF READING


AND THE ART OF LOVE
MAKING

No se ran. El arte de leer es como el


arte de hacer el amor.
Ambas artes son estados de
integracin,
de
unidad,
de
interaccin, de comunicacin con
otro ser, es decir, stos se
encuentran en comunin. Cuando

Do not laugh. The art of reading is


like the art of love making.
Both arts are states of integration, of
unity,
of
interaction,
of
communication with another being,
that is, these beings are in
communion. When we read we are in

leemos estamos en comunin con


los personajes, cuando hacemos el
amor lo estamos con quin amamos.
Podemos definir que todo proceso
tiene
etapas
de
preparacin,
desarrollo, y resultado o final, y es
aqu donde deseo detenerme en este
anlisis y comparacin de estas
artes.

communion with the characters.


When we make love, we are in
communion with the one we love.
We can say that all processes have
preparation,
development
and
outcome or final stages, and here is
where I want to delve in to this
analysis and comparison of these
arts.

- La preparacin:
Todos entendemos y sabemos que
para hacer el amor con arte es
deseable un preludio que se inicia
con la mirada, la voz, los gestos de
atraccin e insinuacin. Esto puede
comenzar tan temprano como la
eleccin de la vestimenta, para una
cena previa a la luz de las velas,
acompaada de msica romntica y
un buen vino para beberlo con
moderacin. Lo que realmente hace
esta pareja es ahuyentar los
problemas de la realidad, los ajetreos
cotidianos y aislarse del mundo, para
dedicarse en cuerpo y alma el uno al
otro.
S, para leer con arte tambin
necesitamos un prembulo que se
inicia buscando un lugar cmodo,
iluminado, silencioso, apartndose
de los ruidos, interrupciones y
concentrarse para hacer caso omiso
de lo que nos rodea. Para
introducirse en el mundo que nos
presenta
el
libro,
debemos
abandonar la realidad en que
vivimos. Una buena prctica es leer
o releer el ttulo del libro. Si se inicia
su lectura, pensar y meditar en lo
que nos evoca el ttulo, nos ayudar
a entrar en ese mundo nuevo; si

- Preparation:
We all understand and know that, to
make love with art, it is best to have
a prelude that starts with the look, the
voice, the attraction and insinuating
gestures. This may start as early as
when we choose our clothes for a
prior
dinner
with
candlelight,
accompanied by romantic music and
a good wine to be consumed in
moderation. What this couple is
actually doing is keeping away the
problems of reality, the everyday
bustle, and isolating themselves from
the world, to dedicate themselves to
each other in body and soul.
Yes, to read with art we also need a
preamble that starts by finding a
comfortable, illuminated, quiet place,
away from noise and interruptions,
where we can focus and disregard
what surrounds us. To enter the
world the book offers us, we must
abandon the reality we live in. A good
exercise is reading and re-reading
the title of the book. If we start
reading, thinking and meditating on
what the title evokes it will help us to
enter that new world; if we are going
to continue reading at another time or
day, remembering the events and

vamos a continuar la lectura iniciada


a otra hora u otro da, rememorar los
acontecimientos y visualizar los
personajes y el lugar de la accin
nos har llegar rpidamente al inicio
de leer con arte, estaremos como
quien dice el uno para el otro en
cuerpo y alma con el libro. Y por
qu no acariciarlo y percibir su olor?
Me he sorprendido hacindolo!
Dijimos anteriormente que luego de
la preparacin, entramos en el
desarrollo del proceso.

visualizing the characters, and the


place of the action will help us to
quickly reach the point of reading
with art, we will be, as they say,
giving our body and soul to the book.
And why not caress and smell it? I
have caught myself doing it!

- El desarrollo:
inicia en el arte de amar,con caricias
que son sentimientos transmitidos a
travs de nuestros sentidos: el tacto,
el olfato, el gusto, la vista, el odo. S,
aspirar el perfume del ser amado y
demostrar que se disfruta es una
caricia; un beso tambin lo es; se
acaricia con la vista y con un suspiro,
en fin, todo este juego amoroso para
demostrar el sentimiento del amor.
Disfrutamos de este dar y recibir
amor, en esta etapa. Quizs, este
galanteo
amoroso
sea
ms
placentero que el final.
Ustedes se preguntarn: Cul es la
analoga con el Arte de leer? Bueno,
durante la lectura con arte del
cuento, novela, o poema, tambin
utilizamos nuestros cinco sentidos
para imaginarnos lo que nos
transmite el narrador, y en sus
palabras, frases, versos, prrafos y
captulos, nos entrega amor como
alimento de nuestro espritu. Los
lectores le retribuimos leyendo la
obra.

- The development:
The art of love starts with caresses
that are feelings transmitted through
our senses: touch, smell, taste, sight,
hearing. Yes, smelling the perfume of
the loved one and showing that we
enjoy it is a caress; so is a kiss.
Anyway, this whole loving game is
started with sight and with a whisper
caress to express the feeling of love.
At this stage, we enjoy giving and
receiving love. Perhaps, this loving
courtship is more pleasant than the
end.

We said above that after the


preparation, we go into the process
of development.

You might wonder: what is the


analogy to the art of reading? Well,
during the reading of the tale, novel
or poem with art, we also use our five
senses to imagine what the narrator
transmits to us with his words,
phrases, verses, paragraphs and
chapters. They give us love as food
to our spirit. Readers pay them back
by reading their work.

- El resultado
En ambos artes se refieren al disfrute
que culmina el proceso. Tanto el arte
de amar como el de leer, tienen un
final, luego de pasar por un clmax
de goce o disfrute. Podramos decir
que se produce la entrega total del
sentimiento de amor. En ambos,
despus del clmax y final, se
experimenta tambin una etapa de
vuelta a la realidad, que en el caso
del arte de amar se hace con
preocupacin por el otro y en el del
arte de leer se considera y medita lo
que nos comunic el autor. Ahora he
tomado conciencia por qu a mi
primer libro de cuentos lo titul:
Orgasmo de colores, cuentos
inolvidables
Descargar audiolibro archivo
mp3 ] 2:56

En el paraso terrenal, en el da
luminoso en que las flores fueron
creadas, y antes de que Eva fuese
tentada por la serpiente, el maligno
espritu se acerc a la ms linda
rosa nueva en el momento en que
ella tenda, a la caricia del celeste
sol, la roja virginidad de sus labios.
-Eres bella.
-Lo soy -dijo la rosa.
-Bella y feliz prosigui el diablo-.
Tienes el color, la gracia y el
aroma. Pero
-Pero?...

- The result:
Both arts refer to the enjoyment that
ends the process. Both the art of love
and the art of reading have an end,
after reaching a climax of enjoyment
or pleasure. We could say that what
happens is the total surrender to the
feeling of love. In both cases, after
the climax and the end, we also go
through a stage of returning to reality,
which in the case of the art of love it
manifests itself through care for the
other and, in the art of reading,
through
a
consideration
and
meditation of what the author
communicated to us. Now I am
aware as to why I titled my first book
of short stories: Orgasm of Colors,
Unforgettable Stories

(Haga clic en la
palabra deseada
en Ingls para
saber su
significado y
pronunciacin)

On Paradise, on the clear day when


flowers were created, and before
Eve was tempted by the serpent,
the evil spirit approached the most
beautiful of all the roses on the
moment she was spreading the red
virginity of her petals to the warm
rays of the sun in the sky.
- You are beautiful.
- I know I am.
- Beautiful and happy. You have
colour, gracefulness, perfume; but...
- But?...

-No eres til. No miras esos altos


rboles llenos de bellotas? sos, a
ms de ser frondosos, dan alimento
a muchedumbres de seres animados
que se detienen bajo sus ramas.
Rosa, ser bella es poco
La rosa entonces tentada como
despus lo sera la mujer- dese la
utilidad, de tal modo que hubo
palidez en su prpura.
Pas el buen Dios despus del alba
siguiente.
-Padre dijo aquella princesa floral,
temblando en su perfumada
belleza-, queris hacerme til?
-Sea, hija ma contest el Seor,
sonriendo.
Y entonces vio el mundo la primera
col.

[ Download mp3 ]

LOS RATONES Y EL GATO

- You are not useful. Don't you see


those trees full of acorns? They,
besides giving shade, give also
food to many living beings that rest
below their branches. Rose, to be
beautiful is not enough...
The rose then - tempted as the
woman would later be tempted wished to become useful, and her
glamour paled.
The next day God came her way.
- Father - said the flower princess,
trembling in her perfumed beauty will you make me useful?
- Be it so, my daughter - said the
Lord and smiled.
And then the world saw the first
cabbage.

[ Download mp3 ]

THE MICE AND THE


CAT

Una gran familia de ratones viva en una There lived several families of mice in a
gran mansin. La vida fue siempre buena big mansion. Life was good for them as
con ellos ya que siempre haba comida en there was always an abundance of
abundancia, sobre todo en la cocina.
food, especially in the kitchen.
Pero un da, el dueo de la casa trajo un But one day, the master of the mansion
gato. Desde entonces la vida de los brought home a cat. Since then, life
ratones fue miserable.
became miserable for the mice.
El gato merodeaba da y noche. Los Day or night, the cat would prowl the
ratones no osaban salir de sus mansion. The mice dared not come out
madrigueras porque el gato estaba of their dens because the cat was
siempre al acecho.
always lurking around.
Con el paso de los das los ratones As the days passed, the mice became
estaban ms y ms dbiles porque no se weaker and weaker because they could
aventuraban a salir de sus madrigueras not venture out of their dens to find
para buscar comida.
food.
Finalmente, un viejo ratn dijo: No Finally, an old mouse said, "We cannot
podemos continuar as o moriremos de go on like this, or we will all die of
hambre y de sed muy pronto. Tenemos hunger and thirst very soon. We have

que encontrar un modo de ocuparnos del to find a way to deal with the cat."
gato.
Efectivamente, tenemos que idear un "Indeed, we have to come up with a
plan dijo otro ratn. Reunmonos todos plan," agreed another mouse. "Lets get
los ratones esta noche y veamos si all the mice together tonight and see if
podemos pensar en algo.
we can think of something."
Enseguida anocheci. Todos los ratones Soon, it was nightfall. All the mice had
se
haban
juntado
en
el
lugar gathered at their usual meeting place in
acostumbrado de reunin en la casa.
the mansion.
El ratn ms anciano se aclar la voz y The eldest mouse cleared his throat
dijo: Estoy seguro de que ninguno de and said, "Im sure all of us have not
nosotros ha sido feliz ltimamente debido been very happy of late because of our
a nuestro comn enemigo, el gato.
common enemy, the cat."
Todos los ratones asintieron con la All the mice nodded their heads and
cabeza.
muttered their agreement.
El anciano ratn continu: Tenemos que The eldest mouse continued, "We must
actuar juntos y pensar en un plan para therefore act together now and come
deshacernos del gato sino un da vamos a up with a plan to deal with the cat. Or
acabar siendo su comida
we will all end up as the cats meal one
day"
Unos de los ratones sugiri matar al gato y One of the mice suggested killing the
a todos los dems le pareci una buena cat, and every mouse agreed it was a
idea.
good idea.
De modo que los ratones empezaron a So, the mice began discussing various
idear la mejor manera para matar al gato. plans about how to kill the cat. But as
Pero tan pronto como uno propona un soon as someone proposed a new
plan los dems lo rechazaban porque era plan, others would reject it as
inviable.
unworkable.
Por fin, un joven ratn dijo: Es posible Finally, a young mouse said, "We may
que no podamos matar al gato pero quizs not be able to kill the cat, but perhaps
podamos pensar en algo para saber su we can think of a way to know its
paradero. De esa forma, cuando sepamos whereabouts. That way, if we know it is
que viene tendremos tiempo para salir coming, we will have time to run"
corriendo
Los otros ratones aplaudieron la The other mice cheered at the
propuesta.
suggestion.
El joven ratn continu: Tengo un plan. The young mouse continued, "I have a
Es realmente simple. Todo lo que tenemos plan. Its very simple, really. All we need
que hacer es colgar un cascabel alrededor to do is to hang a bell around the cats
del cuello del gato. Por donde vaya neck. Wherever it goes, the bell will
sonar.
ring.
Si el cascabel es grande podremos incluso If the bell is really big, we can even

escuchar cuando el gato est viniendo hear when the cat is coming before it is
antes de que est demasiado cerca.
even close!"
Todos los ratones saltaron de alborozo y All the mice jumped and clapped at the
aplaudieron la idea.
idea.
De repente, un ratn sabio dijo: Esa es Suddenly, a wise old mouse said, "That
una idea brillante. Ahora.. Quin pondr el is a very brilliant idea. Now, who will
cascabel al gato?
hang the bell around the cats neck?"
Moraleja: Una cosa es decir lo que Moral: It is one thing to say that
debera hacerse y otra bien diferente something should be done, but quite
hacerlo.
another to do it.
[ Download mp3 ]
[ Download mp3 ]

EL LOBO Y EL
CABRITILLO

THE WOLF AND THE


LITTLE GOAT

Era temprano en la maana y el It was early morning and time for the
momento en el que las cabras iban a goats to graze. Little Goat and his
pastar. El cabritillo y su mam mother were following the flock to the
seguan al rebao hacia el campo field when they bypassed a stream.
donde circunvalaban un arroyo.
Uno de los perros que guardaba el One of the dogs which was guarding
rebao dijo :El que est sediento the flock said, "Anyone who is thirsty
puede parar para beber. Yo me may stop for a drink. I will stand guard
quedar a su lado y vigilar.
over you."
El cabritillo estaba sediento, de modo Little Goat was thirsty, so he crossed
que se dirig al arroyo. Justo en el over to the stream. Just as he was
momento en que estaba a punto de about to drink from the stream, Little
beber del arroyo el cabritillo vi su Goat saw his own reflection in the
propio reflejo en el agua. All, justo en water. There, right on his head, were
su cabeza, haban crecido dos two newly grown horns! Little Goat
cuernos. El cabritillo estaba tan was so excited that he jumped up and
contento que salt y grit: Tengo cried, "Ive got horns! Ive got horns!"
cuernos! Tengo cuernos!.
Rpidamente corri hacia su madre y He quickly ran over to his mother and
le mostr sus cuernos.
showed her his newly grown horns.
Eso es estupendo cario dijo la "Thats great, dear," said his mother.
madre, pero tus cuernos son an "But your horns are still tiny. So, dont
muy pequeos, de modo que no te wander away from the dogs or the
alejes de los perros o el lobo te wolf will catch you".
atrapar.
Pero el cabritillo no escuchara: No But Little Goat wouldnt listen. "Im not

voy a temer al lobo nunca ms!. scared of the wolf anymore! Ive got
Tengo cuernos! Luchar con l si se horns! I will fight him if he comes
acerca!.
close!"
Enseguida empez a anocher y los Soon, it was late afternoon and the
perros estaban llevando el rebao de dogs were ushering the flock back
vuelta a casa.
home.
Como de costumbre, la mam del As usual, Little Goats mother called
cabritillo llam a su hijo: Ven con out to her son, "Come to mommy,
mam cario, es hora de volver a dear! Its time to go home!"
casa.
Pero esta vez el cabritillo no But this time, Little Goat would not
escuchara:
listen:
Tengo cuernos pens Ahora soy "Ive got horns!" Little Goat thought to
una cabra grande y no le tengo miedo himself. "Im a big goat now and Im
al lobo. Comer un poco ms de not scared of the wolf. I will eat some
hierba y crecer todava ms.
more grass and then I will grow
bigger!"
As, el cabritillo sigui mordisqueando So, Little Goat kept nibbling on the
la hierba mientras que el rebao grass while the flock started their
comenzaba su regreso a casa.
journey home.
De repente, una gran sombra cay Suddenly, a big shadow loomed over
sobre el cabritillo. Cuando levant la Little Goat. When he looked up, Little
mirada el cabritillo estaba muy Goat was very frightened. It was a
asustado. Era un lobo enorme!
very big wolf!
El cabritillo corri despavorido por el Little Goat ran wildly about the field,
campo llamando a su madre. Pero screaming for his mother. But all the
tanto las cabras como los perros se goats had gone home, and so had the
haban ido ya a casa.
dogs.
El lobo se puso delante del cabritillo y The wolf sprang before Little Goat and
dijo: Hola amiguito! Pareces tan grinned. "Hello, little fellow. You look
irresistible!
so irresistible!"
El cabritillo saba que no poda correr Little
Goat
knew
he
could
ms deprisa que el lobo. As dijo: Por not outrun the wolf, so he said,
favor seor Lobo. S que usted va a "Please, Mr Wolf. I know you are
comerme pero podra concederme going to eat me. But could you please
un deseo por favor?
grant me a wish?"
Un deseo? sonri el lobo. Qu "A wish?" smiled the wolf. "What wish,
deseo encanto?.
my little sweetie?"
Me gustara escuchar alguna msica "I would love to hear some beautiful

maravillosa antes de morir, de modo music before I die, so could you


que podra cantar una cancin para please sing me a song?"
m por favor?.
El lobo pens por un momento y dijo: The wolf thought for a while and said,
Una cancin antes del festn? Me "A song before a feast? I love that!"
encanta eso!
As, el lobo comenz a cantar. Pero So, the wolf began piping away. But
poco repar en que el rebao y los little did he realise that the flock and
perros no haban ido lejos.
the dogs had not gone far.
Pronto, dos de los perros del rebao Soon, two of the dogs among the flock
escucharon el canto del lobo. had heard the wolfs piping. They
Reconocieron que era una cancin recognised that it was a song a wolf
que el lobo cantaba antes de un sang before a feast. Immediately, the
festn. Inmediatamente, los dos perros two dogs rushed back to the field.
corrieron de vuelta al campo.
Cuando el lobo vi que venan los When the wolf saw the dogs coming,
perros, huy tan rpido como pudo* he ran away as fast as he could. "Why
Por qu no me habr yo callado y didnt I just shut up and eat that goat?"
comido el cabritillo? se maldeca el the wolf cursed himself.
lobo as mismo.
*Falta en la grabacin sonora
Moraleja: No dejes que nada te Moral: Do not let anything turn you
desve de tu propsito.
from your purpose.
EL ASTRNOMO THE ASTRONOMER Un astrnomo sola salir por las
noches para observar las estrellas. An Astronomer used to go out at night to
observe the stars. Una noche, mientras paseaba por los suburbios con toda su
atencin puesta en el cielo, cay accidentalmente en un pozo profundo. One
evening, as he wandered through the suburbs with his whole attention fixed on
the sky, he fell accidentally into a deep well. Mientras lloraba y se lamentaba por
sus heridas y magulladuras, y daba gritos pidiendo ayuda, un vecino corri hacia
el pozo, y comprendiendo lo que haba sucedido dijo : Escuche atentamente
viejo amigo, tanto esfuerzo en ver lo que hay en el cielo...para no ver lo que hay
en la tierra?
While he lamented and bewailed his sores and bruises, and cried
loudly for help, a neighbor ran to the well, and learning what had
happened said: "Hark ye, old fellow, why, in striving to pry into what is
in heaven, do you not manage to see what is on earth?"

Moraleja: Est bien mirar y conocer a nuestro alrededor, pero antes hay que
saber donde se est parado

Moral: Its ok to look and know all what is around but first of all we
have to know were we are stopped
Double-click any English
word!

[ Download Spanish
Audiobook mp3 ] 26:17

(Haga clic en la palabra deseada en Ingls para


saber su significado y pronunciacin)

UN SEOR MUY
VIEJO CON UNAS
ALAS ENORMES

A VERY OLD MAN


WITH
ENORMOUS
WINGS

Al tercer da de lluvia haban


matado
tantos
cangrejos
dentro de la casa, que Pelayo
tuvo que atravesar su patio
anegado para tirarlos al mar,
pues el nio recin nacido
haba pasado la noche con
calenturas y se pensaba que
era causa de la pestilencia. El
mundo estaba triste desde el
martes. El cielo y el mar eran
una misma cosa de ceniza, y
las arenas de la playa, que en
marzo fulguraban como polvo
de
lumbre,
se
haban
convertido en un caldo de
lodo y mariscos podridos. La
luz era tan mansa al
medioda, que cuando Pelayo
regresaba a la casa despus
de haber tirado los cangrejos,
le cost trabajo ver qu era lo
que se mova y se quejaba en
el fondo del patio. Tuvo que
acercarse
mucho
para

On the third day of rain they


had killed so many crabs
inside the house that Pelayo
had to cross his drenched
courtyard and throw them into
the sea, because the newborn
child had a temperature all
night and they thought it was
due to the stench. The world
had been sad since Tuesday.
Sea and sky were a single
ash-gray thing and the sands
of the beach, which on March
nights
glimmered
like
powdered light, had become a
stew of mud and rotten
shellfish. The light was so
weak at noon that when
Pelayo was coming back to
the house after throwing away
the crabs, it was hard for him
to see what it was that was
moving and groaning in the
rear of the courtyard. He had
to go very close to see that it

descubrir que era un hombre


viejo, que estaba tumbado
boca abajo en el lodazal, y a
pesar
de
sus
grandes
esfuerzos
no
poda
levantarse, porque se lo
impedan sus enormes alas.
Asustado
por
aquella
pesadilla, Pelayo corri en
busca de Elisenda, su mujer,
que
estaba
ponindole
compresas al nio enfermo, y
la llev hasta el fondo del
patio. Ambos observaron el
cuerpo cado con un callado
estupor. Estaba vestido como
un trapero. Le quedaban
apenas
unas
hilachas
descoloridas en el crneo
pelado y muy pocos dientes
en la boca, y su lastimosa
condicin
de
bisabuelo
ensopado
lo
haba
desprovisto
de
toda
grandeza. Sus alas de
gallinazo grande, sucias y
medio desplumadas, estaban
encalladas para siempre en el
lodazal. Tanto lo observaron,
y con tanta atencin, que
Pelayo
y
Elisenda
se
sobrepusieron muy pronto del
asombro y acabaron por
encontrarlo familiar. Entonces
se atrevieron a hablarle, y l
les contest en un dialecto
incomprensible pero con una
buena voz de navegante. Fue
as como pasaron por alto el
inconveniente de las alas, y
concluyeron con muy buen
juicio que era un nufrago
solitario de alguna nave

was an old man, a very old


man, lying face down in the
mud, who, in spite of his
tremendous efforts, couldn't
get up, impeded by his
enormous wings.
Frightened by that nightmare,
Pelayo ran to get Elisenda,
his wife, who was putting
compresses on the sick child,
and he took her to the rear of
the courtyard. They both
looked at the fallen body with
a mute stupor. He was
dressed like a rag picker.
There were only a few faded
hairs left on his bald skull and
very few teeth in his mouth,
and his pitiful condition of a
drenched
great-grandfather
took away and sense of
grandeur he might have had.
His huge buzzard wings, dirty
and half plucked were forever
entangled in the mud. They
looked at him so long and so
closely that Pelayo and
Elisenda very soon overcame
their surprise and in the end
found him familiar. Then they
dared speak to him, and he
answered
in
an
incomprehensible dialect with
a strong sailor's voice. That
was how they skipped over
the inconvenience of the
wings and quite intelligently
concluded that he was a
lonely castaway from some
foreign ship wrecked by the
storm. And yet, they called in
a neighbor woman who knew

extranjera abatida por el


temporal.
Sin
embargo,
llamaron para que lo viera a
una vecina que saba todas
las cosas de la vida y la
muerte, y a ella le bast con
una mirada para sacarlos del
error.
Es un ngel les dijo.
Seguro que vena por el nio,
pero el pobre est tan viejo
que lo ha tumbado la lluvia.
Al da siguiente todo el
mundo saba que en casa de
Pelayo tenan cautivo un
ngel de carne y hueso.
Contra el criterio de la vecina
sabia, para quien los ngeles
de estos tiempos eran
sobrevivientes fugitivos de
una conspiracin celestial, no
haban tenido corazn para
matarlo a palos. Pelayo
estuvo vigilndolo toda la
tarde
desde la cocina,
armado con un garrote de
alguacil, y antes de acostarse
lo sac a rastras del lodazal y
lo encerr con las gallinas en
el gallinero alumbrado. A
media noche, cuando termin
la lluvia, Pelayo y Elisenda
seguan matando cangrejos.
Poco
despus
el
nio
despert sin fiebre y con
deseos de comer. Entonces
se sintieron magnnimos y
decidieron poner al ngel en
una balsa con agua dulce y
provisiones para tres das, y
abandonarlo a su suerte en
altamar. Pero cuando salieron

everything about life and


death to see him, and all she
needed was one look to show
them their mistake.

"He's an angel," she told


them. "He must have been
coming for the child, but the
poor fellow is so old that the
rain knocked him down."
On
the
following
day
everyone knew that a fleshand-blood angel was held
captive in Pelayo's house.
Against the judgment of the
wise neighbor woman, for
whom angels in those times
were the fugitive survivors of
a spiritual conspiracy, they did
not have the heart to club him
to death. Pelayo watched
over him all afternoon from
the kitchen, armed with his
bailiff's club, and before going
to bed he dragged him out of
the mud and locked him up
with the hens in the wire
chicken coop. In the middle of
the night, when the rain
stopped, Pelayo and Elisenda
were still killing crabs. A short
time afterward the child woke
up without a fever and with a
desire to eat. Then they felt
magnanimous and decided to
put the angel on a raft with
fresh water and provisions for
three days and leave him to
his fate on the high seas. But
when they went out into the

al patio con las primeras


luces, encontraron a todo el
vecindario frente al gallinero,
retozando con el ngel sin la
menor devocin y echndole
cosas de comer por los
huecos de las alambradas,
como si no fuera una criatura
sobrenatural sino un animal
de circo.
El padre Gonzaga lleg antes
de las siete alarmado por la
desproporcin de la noticia. A
esa hora ya haban acudido
curiosos menos frvolos que
los del amanecer, y haban
hecho
toda
clase
de
conjeturas sobre el porvenir
del cautivo. Los ms simples
pensaban
que
sera
nombrado alcalde del mundo.
Otros, de espritu ms
spero, suponan que sera
ascendido a general de cinco
estrellas para que ganara
todas las guerras. Algunos
visionarios esperaban que
fuera
conservado
como
semental para implantar en la
tierra una estirpe de hombres
alados y sabios que se
hicieran cargo del Universo.
Pero el padre Gonzaga, antes
de ser cura, haba sido
leador macizo. Asomado a
las alambradas repas un
instante su catecismo, y
todava pidi que le abrieran
la puerta para examinar de
cerca de aquel varn de
lstima que ms pareca una
enorme
gallina
decrpita
entre las gallinas absortas.

courtyard with the first light of


dawn, they found the whole
neighborhood in front of the
chicken coop having fun with
the
angel,
without
the
slightest reverence, tossing
him things to eat through the
openings in the wire as if
weren't
a
supernatural
creature but a circus animal.
Father
Gonzaga
arrived
before seven o'clock, alarmed
at the strange news. By that
time onlookers less frivolous
than those at dawn had
already arrived and they were
making
all
kinds
of
conjectures concerning the
captive's future. The simplest
among them thought that he
should be named mayor of
the world. Others of sterner
mind felt that he should be
promoted to the rank of fivestar general in order to win all
wars. Some visionaries hoped
that he could be put to stud in
order to implant the earth a
race of winged wise men who
could take charge of the
universe.
But
Father
Gonzaga, before becoming a
priest, had been a robust
woodcutter. Standing by the
wire,
he
reviewed
his
catechism in an instant and
asked them to open the door
so that he could take a close
look at that pitiful man who
looked more like a huge
decrepit hen among the
fascinated chickens. He was
lying in the corner drying his

Estaba echado en un rincn,


secndose al sol las alas
extendidas,
entre
las
cscaras de fruta y las sobras
de desayunos que le haban
tirado los madrugadores.
Ajeno a las impertinencias del
mundo, apenas si levant sus
ojos de anticuario y murmur
algo en su dialecto cuando el
padre Gonzaga entr en el
gallinero y le dio los buenos
das en latn. El prroco tuvo
la primera sospecha de
impostura al comprobar que
no entenda la lengua de Dios
ni saba saludar a sus
ministros. Luego observ que
visto de cerca resultaba
demasiado humano: tena un
insoportable
olor
de
intemperie, el revs de las
alas sembrado de algas
parasitarias y las plumas
mayores maltratadas por
vientos terrestres, y nada de
su
naturaleza
miserable
estaba de acuerdo con la
egregia dignidad de los
ngeles. Entonces abandon
el gallinero, y con un breve
sermn previno a los curiosos
contra los riesgos de la
ingenuidad. Les record que
el demonio tena la mala
costumbre de recurrir a
artificios de carnaval para
confundir a los incautos.
Argument que si las alas no
eran el elemento esencial
para
determinar
las
diferencias entre un gaviln y
un aeroplano, mucho menos

open wings in the sunlight


among the fruit peels and
breakfast leftovers that the
early risers had thrown him.
Alien to the impertinences of
the world, he only lifted his
antiquarian
eyes
and
murmured something in his
dialect when Father Gonzaga
went into the chicken coop
and said good morning to him
in Latin. The parish priest had
his first suspicion of an
imposter when he saw that he
did not understand the
language of God or know how
to greet His ministers. Then
he noticed that seen close up
he was much too human: he
had an unbearable smell of
the outdoors, the back side of
his wings was strewn with
parasites and his main
feathers had been mistreated
by terrestrial winds, and
nothing about him measured
up to the proud dignity of
angels. The he came out of
the chicken coop and in a
brief sermon warned the
curious against the risks of
being
ingenuous.
He
reminded them that the devil
had the bad habit of making
use of carnival tricks in order
to confuse the unwary. He
argued that if wings were not
the essential element in
determining
the
different
between a hawk and an
airplane, they were even less
so in the recognition of
angels.
Nevertheless,
he

podan serlo para reconocer a


los ngeles. Sin embargo,
prometi escribir una carta a
su obispo, para que ste
escribiera otra al Sumo
Pontfice, de modo que el
veredicto final viniera de los
tribunales ms altos.
Su
prudencia
cay
en
corazones
estriles.
La
noticia del ngel cautivo se
divulg con tanta rapidez, que
al cabo de pocas horas haba
en el patio un alboroto de
mercado, y tuvieron que llevar
la tropa con bayonetas para
espantar el tumulto que ya
estaba a punto de tumbar la
casa.
Elisenda,
con
el
espinazo torcido de tanto
barrer basura de feria, tuvo
entonces la buena idea de
tapiar el patio y cobrar cinco
centavos por la entrada para
ver al ngel.
Vinieron curiosos hasta de la
Martinica. Vino una feria
ambulante con un acrbata
volador, que pas zumbando
varias veces por encima de la
muchedumbre, pero nadie le
hizo caso porque sus alas no
eran de ngel sino de
murcilago sideral. Vinieron
en busca de salud los
enfermos ms desdichados
del Caribe: una pobre mujer
que desde nia estaba
contando los latidos de su
corazn
y
ya
no
le
alcanzaban los nmeros, un
jamaicano que no poda
dormir porque lo atormentaba

promised to write a letter to


his bishop so that the latter
would write his primate so
that the latter would write to
the Supreme Pontiff in order
to get the final verdict from
the highest courts.
His prudence fell on sterile
hearts. The news of the
captive angel spread with
such rapidity that after a few
hours the courtyard had the
bustle of a marketplace and
they had to call in troops with
fixed bayonets to disperse the
mob that was about to knock
the house down. Elisenda,
her spine all twisted from
sweeping
up
so
much
marketplace trash, then got
the idea of fencing in the yard
and charging five cents
admission to see the angel.
The curious came from far
away. A traveling carnival
arrived with a flying acrobat
who buzzed over the crowd
several times, but no one paid
any attention to him because
his wings were not those of
an angel but, rather, those of
a sidereal bat. The most
unfortunate invalids on earth
came in search of health: a
poor woman who since
childhood has been counting
her heartbeats and had run
out of numbers; a Portuguese
man who couldn't sleep
because the noise of the stars
disturbed him; a sleepwalker

el ruido de las estrellas, un


sonmbulo que se levantaba
de noche a deshacer dormido
las cosas que haba hecho
despierto, y muchos otros de
menor gravedad. En medio
de
aquel
desorden
de
naufragio que haca temblar
la tierra, Pelayo y Elisenda
estaban felices de cansancio,
porque en menos de una
semana atiborraron de plata
los dormitorios, y todava la
fila
de
peregrinos
que
esperaban su turno para
entrar llegaba hasta el otro
lado del horizonte.
El ngel era el nico que no
participaba de su propio
acontecimiento. El tiempo se
le iba buscando acomodo en
su nido prestado, aturdido por
el calor de infierno de las
lmparas de aceite y las velas
de sacrificio que le arrimaban
a las alambradas. Al principio
trataron de que comiera
cristales de alcanfor, que, de
acuerdo con la sabidura de la
vecina sabia, era el alimento
especfico de los ngeles.
Pero l los despreciaba,
como despreci sin probarlos
los almuerzos papales que le
llevaban los penitentes, y
nunca se supo si fue por
ngel o por viejo que termin
comiendo nada ms que
papillas de berenjena. Su
nica
virtud
sobrenatural
pareca ser la paciencia.
Sobre todo en los primeros
tiempos,
cuando
le

who got up at night to undo


the things he had done while
awake; and many others with
less serious ailments. In the
midst of that shipwreck
disorder that made the earth
tremble, Pelayo and Elisenda
were happy with fatigue, for in
less than a week they had
crammed their rooms with
money and the line of pilgrims
waiting their turn to enter still
reached beyond the horizon.

The angel was the only one


who took no part in his own
act. He spent his time trying
to get comfortable in his
borrowed nest, befuddled by
the hellish heat of the oil
lamps
and
sacramental
candles that had been placed
along the wire. At first they
tried to make him eat some
mothballs, which, according to
the wisdom of the wise
neighbor woman, were the
food prescribed for angels.
But he turned them down, just
as he turned down the papal
lunches that the penitents
brought him, and they never
found out whether it was
because he was an angel or
because he was an old man
that in the end ate nothing but
eggplant mush. His only
supernatural virtue seemed to
be patience. Especially during
the first days, when the hens

picoteaban las gallinas en


busca de los parsitos
estelares que proliferaban en
sus alas, y los baldados le
arrancaban
plumas
para
tocarse
con
ellas
sus
defectos, y hasta los ms
piadosos le tiraban piedras
tratando de que se levantara
para verlo de cuerpo entero.
La
nica
vez
que
consiguieron alterarlo fue
cuando le abrasaron el
costado con un hierro de
marcar
novillos,
porque
llevaba tantas horas de estar
inmvil que lo creyeron
muerto.
Despert
sobresaltado, despotricando
en lengua hermtica y con los
ojos en lgrimas, y dio un par
de aletazos que provocaron
un remolino de estircol de
gallinero y polvo lunar, y un
ventarrn de pnico que no
pareca de este mundo.
Aunque muchos creyeron que
su reaccin no haba sido de
rabia sino de dolor, desde
entonces se cuidaron de no
molestarlo, porque la mayora
entendi que su pasividad no
era la de un hroe en uso de
buen retiro sino la de un
cataclismo en reposo.
El padre Gonzaga se enfrent
a
la
frivolidad
de
la
muchedumbre con frmulas
de inspiracin domstica,
mientras le llegaba un juicio
terminante
sobre
la
naturaleza del cautivo. Pero
el correo de Roma haba

pecked at him, searching for


the stellar parasites that
proliferated in his wings, and
the
cripples
pulled
out
feathers
to
touch
their
defective parts with, and even
the most merciful threw
stones at him, trying to get
him to rise so they could see
him standing. The only time
they succeeded in arousing
him was when they burned
his side with an iron for
branding steers, for he had
been motionless for so many
hours that they thought he
was dead. He awoke with a
start, ranting in his hermetic
language and with tears in his
eyes, and he flapped his
wings a couple of times,
which brought on a whirlwind
of chicken dung and lunar
dust and a gale of panic that
did not seem to be of this
world. Although many thought
that his reaction had not been
one of rage but of pain, from
then on they were careful not
to annoy him, because the
majority understood that his
passivity was not that of a
hero taking his ease but that
of a cataclysm in repose.
Father Gonzaga held back
the crowd's frivolity with
formulas
of
maidservant
inspiration while awaiting the
arrival of a final judgment on
the nature of the captive. But
the mail from Rome showed
no sense of urgency. They

perdido la nocin de la
urgencia. El tiempo se les iba
en averiguar si el convicto
tena ombligo, si su dialecto
tena algo que ver con el
arameo, si poda caber
muchas veces en la punta de
un alfiler, o si no sera
simplemente un noruego con
alas. Aquellas cartas de
parsimonia habran ido y
venido hasta el fin de los
siglos, si un acontecimiento
providencial
no
hubiera
puesto
trmino
a
las
tribulaciones del prroco.
Sucedi que por esos das,
entre
muchas
otras
atracciones de las ferias
errantes del Caribe, llevaron
al pueblo el espectculo triste
de la mujer que se haba
convertido en araa por
desobedecer a sus padres.
La entrada para verla no slo
costaba
menos que la
entrada para ver al ngel,
sino que permitan hacerle
toda clase de preguntas
sobre su absurda condicin, y
examinarla al derecho y al
revs, de modo que nadie
pusiera en duda la verdad del
horror. Era una tarntula
espantosa del tamao de un
carnero y con la cabeza de
una doncella triste. Pero lo
ms desgarrador no era su
figura de disparate, sino la
sincera afliccin con que
contaba los pormenores de
su desgracia: siendo casi una
nia se haba escapado de la

spent their time finding out in


the prisoner had a navel, if his
dialect had any connection
with Aramaic, how many
times he could fit on the head
of a pin, or whether he wasn't
just a Norwegian with wings.
Those meager letters might
have come and gone until the
end of time if a providential
event had not put an end to
the priest's tribulations.

It so happened that during


those days, among so many
other carnival attractions,
there arrived in the town the
traveling show of the woman
who had been changed into a
spider for having disobeyed
her parents. The admission to
see her was not only less
than the admission to see the
angel, but people were
permitted to ask her all
manner of questions about
her absurd state and to
examine her up and down so
that no one would ever doubt
the truth of her horror. She
was a frightful tarantula the
size of a ram and with the
head of a sad maiden. What
was
most
heartrending,
however,
was
not
her
outlandish shape but the
sincere affliction with which
she recounted the details of
her misfortune. While still
practically a child she had

casa de sus padres para ir a


un baile, y cuando regresaba
por el bosque despus de
haber bailado toda la noche
sin permiso, un trueno
pavoroso abri el cielo en dos
mitades, y por aquella grieta
sali el relmpago de azufre
que la convirti en araa. Su
nico alimento eran las
bolitas de carne molida que
las almas caritativas quisieran
echarle
en
la
boca.
Semejante
espectculo,
cargado de tanta verdad
humana y de tan temible
escarmiento,
tena
que
derrotar sin proponrselo al
de un ngel despectivo que
apenas si se dignaba mirar a
los mortales. Adems los
escasos milagros que se le
atribuan al ngel revelaban
un cierto desorden mental,
como el del ciego que no
recobr la visin pero le
salieron tres dientes nuevos,
y el del paraltico que no pudo
andar pero estuvo a punto de
ganarse la lotera, y el del
leproso a quien le nacieron
girasoles en las heridas.
Aquellos
milagros
de
consolacin que ms bien
parecan entretenimientos de
burla, haban quebrantado ya
la reputacin del ngel
cuando la mujer convertida en
araa termin de aniquilarla.
Fue as como el padre
Gonzaga se cur para
siempre del insomnio, y el
patio de Pelayo volvi a

sneaked out of her parents'


house to go to a dance, and
while she was coming back
through the woods after
having danced all night
without permission, a fearful
thunderclap rent the sky in
tow and through the crack
came the lightning bolt of
brimstone that changed her
into a spider. Her only
nourishment came from the
meatballs
that
charitable
souls chose to toss into her
mouth. A spectacle like that,
full of so much human truth
and with such a fearful
lesson, was bound to defeat
without even trying that of a
haughty angel who scarcely
deigned to look at mortals.
Besides, the few miracles
attributed to the angel showed
a certain mental disorder, like
the blind man who didn't
recover his sight but grew
three new teeth, or the
paralytic who didn't get to
walk but almost won the
lottery, and the leper whose
sores sprouted sunflowers.
Those consolation miracles,
which were more like mocking
fun, had already ruined the
angel's reputation when the
woman
who
had been
changed into a spider finally
crushed him completely. That
was how Father Gonzaga
was cured forever of his
insomnia
and
Pelayo's
courtyard went back to being
as empty as during the time it

quedar tan solitario como en


los tiempos en que llovi tres
das
y
los
cangrejos
caminaban
por
los
dormitorios.
Los dueos de la casa no
tuvieron nada que lamentar.
Con el dinero recaudado
construyeron una mansin de
dos plantas, con balcones y
jardines, y con sardineles
muy altos para que no se
metieran los cangrejos del
invierno, y con barras de
hierro en las ventanas para
que no se metieran los
ngeles. Pelayo estableci
adems un criadero de
conejos muy cerca del pueblo
y renunci para siempre a su
mal empleo de alguacil, y
Elisenda se compr unas
zapatillas
satinadas
de
tacones altos y muchos
vestidos de seda tornasol, de
los que usaban las seoras
ms codiciadas en los
domingos
de
aquellos
tiempos. El gallinero fue lo
nico
que
no
mereci
atencin. Si alguna vez lo
lavaron
con
creolina
y
quemaron las lgrimas de
mirra en su interior, no fue por
hacerle honor al ngel, sino
por conjurar la pestilencia de
muladar que ya andaba como
un fantasma por todas partes
y estaba volviendo vieja la
casa nueva. Al principio,
cuando el nio aprendi a
caminar, se cuidaron de que
no
estuviera
cerca del

had rained for three days and


crabs walked through the
bedrooms.
The owners of the house had
no reason to lament. With the
money they saved they built a
two-story
mansion
with
balconies and gardens and
high netting so that crabs
wouldn't get in during the
winter, and with iron bars on
the windows so that angels
wouldn't get in. Pelayo also
set up a rabbit warren close to
town and have up his job as a
bailiff for good, and Elisenda
bought some satin pumps
with high heels and many
dresses of iridescent silk, the
kind worn on Sunday by the
most desirable women in
those times. The chicken
coop was the only thing that
didn't receive any attention. If
they washed it down with
creolin and burned tears of
myrrh inside it every so often,
it was not in homage to the
angel but to drive away the
dungheap stench that still
hung everywhere like a ghost
and was turning the new
house into an old one. At first,
when the child learned to
walk, they were careful that
he not get too close to the
chicken coop. But then they
began to lose their fears and
got used to the smell, and
before they child got his
second teeth he'd gone inside

gallinero. Pero luego se


fueron olvidando del temor y
acostumbrndose a la peste,
y antes de que el nio
mudara los dientes se haba
metido a jugar dentro del
gallinero, cuyas alambradas
podridas se caan a pedazos.
El ngel no fue menos
displicente con l que con el
resto de los mortales, pero
soportaba las infamias ms
ingeniosas
con
una
mansedumbre de perro sin
ilusiones. Ambos contrajeron
la varicela al mismo tiempo.
El mdico que atendi al nio
no resisti la tentacin de
auscultar al ngel, y encontr
tantos soplos en el corazn y
tantos ruidos en los riones,
que no le pareci posible que
estuviera vivo. Lo que ms le
asombr, sin embargo, fue la
lgica
de
sus
alas.
Resultaban tan naturales en
aquel
organismo
completamente humano, que
no poda entender por qu no
las tenan tambin los otros
hombres.
Cuando el nio fue a la
escuela, haca mucho tiempo
que el sol y la lluvia haban
desbaratado el gallinero. El
ngel andaba arrastrndose
por ac y por all como un
moribundo sin dueo. Lo
sacaban a escobazos de un
dormitorio y un momento
despus lo encontraban en la
cocina. Pareca estar en
tantos lugares al mismo

the chicken coop to play,


where the wires were falling
apart. The angel was no less
standoffish with him than with
the other mortals, but he
tolerated the most ingenious
infamies with the patience of
a dog who had no illusions.
They both came down with
the chicken pox at the same
time. The doctor who took
care of the child couldn't resist
the temptation to listen to the
angel's heart, and he found so
much whistling in the heart
and so many sounds in his
kidneys that it seemed
impossible for him to be alive.
What surprised him most,
however, was the logic of his
wings. They seemed so
natural on that completely
human organism that he
couldn't understand why other
men didn't have them too.

When the child began school


it had been some time since
the sun and rain had caused
the collapse of the chicken
coop.
The
angel
went
dragging himself about here
and there like a stray dying
man. They would drive him
out of the bedroom with a
broom and a moment later
find him in the kitchen. He
seemed to be in so many

tiempo, que llegaron a pensar


que se desdoblaba, que se
repeta a s mismo por toda la
casa,
y
la
exasperada
Elisenda gritaba fuera de
quicio que era una desgracia
vivir en aquel infierno lleno de
ngeles. Apenas si poda
comer, sus ojos de anticuario
se le haban vuelto tan turbios
que andaba tropezando con
los horcones, y ya no le
quedaban sino las cnulas
peladas de las ltimas
plumas. Pelayo le ech
encima una manta y le hizo la
caridad de dejarlo dormir en
el cobertizo, y slo entonces
advirtieron que pasaba la
noche
con
calenturas
delirantes en trabalenguas de
noruego viejo. Fue esa una
de las pocas veces en que se
alarmaron, porque pensaban
que se iba a morir, y ni
siquiera la vecina sabia haba
podido decirles qu se haca
con los ngeles muertos.
Sin
embargo,
no
slo
sobrevivi a su peor invierno,
sino que pareci mejor con
los primeros soles. Se qued
inmvil muchos das en el
rincn ms apartado del
patio, donde nadie lo viera, y
a principios de diciembre
empezaron a nacerle en las
alas unas plumas grandes y
duras, plumas de pajarraco
viejo, que ms bien parecan
un nuevo percance de la
decrepitud. Pero l deba

places at the same time that


they grew to think that he'd be
duplicated, that he was
reproducing
himself
all
through the house, and the
exasperated and unhinged
Elisenda shouted that it was
awful living in that hell full of
angels. He could scarcely eat
and his antiquarian eyes had
also become so foggy that he
went about bumping into
posts. All he had left were the
bare cannulae of his last
feathers. Pelayo threw a
blanket
over
him
and
extended him the charity of
letting him sleep in the shed,
and only then did they notice
that he had a temperature at
night, and was delirious with
the tongue twisters of an old
Norwegian. That was one of
the few times they became
alarmed, for they thought he
was going to die and not even
the wise neighbor woman had
been able to tell them what to
do with dead angels.
And yet he not only survived
his worst winter, but seemed
improved with the first sunny
days.
He
remained
motionless for several days in
the farthest corner of the
courtyard, where no one
would see him, and at the
beginning of December some
large, stiff feathers began to
grow on his wings, the
feathers of a scarecrow,
which looked more like
another
misfortune
of

conocer la razn de estos


cambios, porque se cuidaba
muy bien de que nadie los
notara, y de que nadie oyera
las canciones de navegantes
que a veces cantaba bajo las
estrellas.
Una
maana,
Elisenda estaba cortando
rebanadas de cebolla para el
almuerzo, cuando un viento
que pareca de alta mar se
meti en la cocina. Entonces
se asom por la ventana, y
sorprendi al ngel en las
primeras tentativas del vuelo.
Eran tan torpes, que abri
con las uas un surco de
arado en las hortalizas y
estuvo a punto de desbaratar
el cobertizo con aquellos
aletazos
indignos
que
resbalaban en la luz y no
encontraban asidero en el
aire. Pero logr ganar altura.
Elisenda exhal un suspiro de
descanso, por ella y por l,
cuando lo vio pasar por
encima de las ltimas casas,
sustentndose de cualquier
modo con un azaroso aleteo
de
buitre
senil.
Sigui
vindolo hasta cuando acab
de cortar la cebolla, y sigui
vindolo hasta cuando ya no
era posible que lo pudiera ver,
porque entonces ya no era un
estorbo en su vida, sino un
punto imaginario en el
horizonte del mar.

decrepitude. But he must


have known the reason for
those changes, for he was
quite careful that no one
should notice them, that no
one should hear the sea
chanteys that he sometimes
sang under the stars. One
morning Elisenda was cutting
some bunches of onions for
lunch when a wind that
seemed to come from the
high seas blew into the
kitchen. Then she went to the
window and caught the angel
in his first attempts at flight.
They were so clumsy that his
fingernails opened a furrow in
the vegetable patch and he
was on the point of knocking
the shed down with the
ungainly flapping that slipped
on the light and couldn't get a
grip on the air. But he did
manage to gain altitude.
Elisenda let out a sigh of
relief, for herself and for him,
when she watched him pass
over the last houses, holding
himself up in some way with
the risky flapping of a senile
vulture. She kept watching
him even when she was
through cutting the onions
and she kept on watching
until it was no longer possible
for her to see him, because
then he was no longer an
annoyance in her life but an
imaginary dot on the horizon
of the sea.

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[ Descargar audiolibro archivo mp3 ] 35:32
(Haga clic en la palabra deseada en Ingls para saber su significado y
pronunciacin)

EL INVITADO AMBICIOSO
THE AMBITIOUS GUEST

Este suceso se inici al caer la tarde de un da de septiembre. En aquel


momento se hallaba la familia congregada alrededor de la lumbre del hogar,
mantenido con pias secas, maderos robados por las torrenteras de las
montaas y troncos de los rboles tronchados por el viento. Los padres de
aquella familia reflejaban en sus rostros una alegra serena; los nios rean;
la hija mayor, a los diecisiete aos, era una imagen viva de la felicidad, y la
abuela, acomodada en el mejor lugar, y aplicada a su calceta, era, como la
hija mayor, una imagen repetida de la felicidad, slo que en el invierno de la
vida. Todos los all reunidos haban llegado a puerto de reposo en el lugar
ms horrible de Nueva Inglaterra. La familia viva en el Tajo de las Montaas
Blancas, donde el viento soplaba con violencia todos los das del ao y
llevaban en su entraa, en el invierno, un fro de acero que descargaba
despiadado sobre la casa de madera en su paso al valle del Saco. El lugar
donde la familia haba construido su hogar era fro, y, adems de fro,
amenazado por un constante peligro. Por encima de sus cabezas se alzaba,
en efecto, una enorme montaa tan escarpada y agreste, que las piedras se
desprendan con frecuencia, y rodando con estrpito desde lo alto, los
sobresaltaban en la noche. One September night a family had gathered
round their hearth, and piled it high with the driftwood of mountain streams,
the dry cones of the pine, and the splintered ruins of great trees that had
come crashing down the precipice. Up the chimney roared the fire, and
brightened the room with its broad blaze. The faces of the father and mother
had a sober gladness; the children laughed; the eldest daughter was the
image of Happiness at seventeen; and the aged grandmother, who sat
knitting in the warmest place, was the image of Happiness grown old. They
had found the "herb, heart's-ease," in the bleakest spot of all New England.
This family were situated in the Notch of the White Hills, where the wind was
sharp throughout the year, and pitilessly cold in the winter,--giving their
cottage all its fresh inclemency before it descended on the valley of the
Saco. They dwelt in a cold spot and a dangerous one; for a mountain
towered above their heads, so steep, that the stones would often rumble
down its sides and startle them at midnight. La muchacha acababa de decir

algo chistoso, que haba provocado la risa de toda la familia, cuando el viento
que corra a travs del Tajo pareci detenerse ante la casa, sacudiendo la

puerta con un lamento infinito antes de continuar hacia el valle. Aunque nada
extraordinario representaba aquella violencia, la familia se sinti un momento
sobrecogida. Ya volva a resurgir la alegra en sus rostros, cuando pudieron or
que el picaporte de la puerta de entrada era alzado desde afuera, tal vez por
algn transente, cuyos pasos hubieran sido ahogados por el bramido del
viento coincidente con su llegada. The daughter had just uttered some simple
jest that filled them all with mirth, when the wind came through the Notch and
seemed to pause before their cottage--rattling the door, with a sound of
wailing and lamentation, before it passed into the valley. For a moment it
saddened them, though there was nothing unusual in the tones. But the family
were glad again when they perceived that the latch was lifted by some
traveller, whose footsteps had been unheard amid the dreary blast which
heralded his approach, and wailed as he was entering, and went moaning away
from the door. Aunque vivan en aquella soledad, los miembros de la familia
tenan ocasin de relacionarse a diario con el mundo exterior. El romntico
paso del Tajo es una gran arteria a travs de la cual discurre constantemente la
sangre y la vida del comercio interior entre Maine, por un lado, y las
Montaas Verdes y las orillas del San Lorenzo por el otro. La diligencia
pasaba habitualmente por la puerta de la casa, y los caminantes, sin ms
compaa que su bastn, se detenan aqu para cambiar algunas palabras, a fin
de que el sentimiento de la soledad no les acobardase antes de atravesar el
desfiladero o alcanzar la primera casa del valle. Tambin el tratante en camino
hacia el mercado de Portland haca un alto all para pernoctar, y se sentaba al
calor de la lumbre algn rato ms de lo corriente, si era soltero, con la
esperanza de robar un beso a la hija de la casa al partir. La morada de la
familia era, en efecto, una de aquellas posadas primitivas en las que el viajero
pagaba slo por la comida y la cama, recibiendo, a cambio, una acogida
imposible de pagar con todo el oro del mundo. Por eso, cuando se oyeron los
pasos del desconocido entre la puerta de fuera y la de la habitacin, toda la
familia se puso en pie, la abuela, los nios y todos los dems, como si se
dispusieran a dar la bienvenida a alguien de la familia, a cuyo destino se
hallara vinculado el suyo propio. Though they dwelt in such a solitude, these
people held daily converse with the world. The romantic pass of the Notch is a
great artery, through which the life-blood of internal commerce is continually
throbbing between Maine, on one side, and the Green Mountains and the
shores of the St. Lawrence, on the other. The stage-coach always drew up
before the door of the cottage. The wayfarer, with no companion but his staff,
paused here to exchange a word, that the sense of loneliness might not utterly
overcome him ere he could pass through the cleft of the mountain, or reach the
first house in the valley. And here the teamster, on his way to Portland market,

would put up for the night; and, if a bachelor, might sit an hour beyond the
usual bedtime, and steal a kiss from the mountain maid at parting. It was one
of those primitive taverns where the traveller pays only for food and lodging,
but meets with a homely kindness beyond all price. When the footsteps were
heard, therefore, between the outer door and the inner one, the whole family
rose up, grandmother, children and all, as if about to welcome some one who
belonged to them, and whose fate was linked with theirs. La puerta se abri y
dio paso a un hombre joven. Al principio, su rostro se hallaba cubierto por la
expresin de melancola y casi desesperacin del que camina solo y al
oscurecer por un lugar abrupto y siniestro, pero pronto sus rasgos cobraron
brillo y serenidad al comprobar la cordial acogida con que se le reciba. Su
corazn pareca querer saltarle del pecho hacia todos los all reunidos, desde la
anciana que secaba una silla con su delantal, hasta el nio que le tenda los
brazos. Una mirada y una sonrisa colocaron en seguida al desconocido en
trminos de inocente familiaridad con la mayor de las hijas. The door was
opened by a young man. His face at first wore the melancholy expression,
almost despondency, of one who travels a wild and bleak road, at nightfall and
alone, but soon brightened up when he saw the kindly warmth of his
reception. He felt his heart spring forward to meet them all, from the old
woman, who wiped a chair with her apron, to the little child that held out its
arms to him. One glance and smile placed the stranger on a footing of
innocent familiarity with the eldest daughter. -No hay nada mejor que un
fuego as! -exclam-. Sobre todo cuando se forma a su alrededor un crculo
tan amable! Estoy completamente aterido. El Tajo es algo as como un tubo
por el que soplan dos fuelles gigantescos; desde Barlett me viene azotando la
cara un viento huracanado. "Ah, this fire is the right thing!" cried he;
"especially when there is such a pleasant circle round it. I am quite benumbed;
for the Notch is just like the pipe of a great pair of bellows; it has blown a
terrible blast in my face all the way from Bartlett." -Se dirige usted a
Vermont? -pregunt el dueo de la casa, mientras ayudaba al joven a
descargarse del morral que llevaba a las espaldas. "Then you are going
towards Vermont?" said the master of the house, as he helped to take a light
knapsack off the young man's shoulders. -S, voy a Burlington, y an ms all
-replic ste-. Mi intencin hubiese sido haber llegado esta noche a la casa de
Ethan Crawford, pero en una ruta como sta un hombre a pie tarda siempre
ms de lo calculado. Pero mi decisin est ya tomada, porque cuando veo
arder esta lumbre y contemplo los rostros alegres de todos ustedes, me parece
que lo han encendido precisamente para m, y que la familia entera estaba
esperando mi llegada. As, pues, me sentar, si me lo permiten, entre ustedes y
me instalar aqu por esta noche. "Yes; to Burlington, and far enough beyond,"

replied he. "I meant to have been at Ethan Crawford's to-night; but a
pedestrian lingers along such a road as this. It is no matter; for, when I saw
this good fire, and all your cheerful faces, I felt as if you had kindled it on
purpose for me, and were waiting my arrival. So I shall sit down among you,
and make myself at home." El recin llegado acababa de aproximar su silla al
fuego, cuando se oy afuera algo as como un pisar de gigante que se repeta
por la escarpadura de la montaa acercndose con estrpito y pasando a
grandes zancadas al lado de la casa. La familia entera detuvo el aliento
mientras dur el ruido, conociendo como conocan lo que significaba, y el
forastero hizo lo mismo instintivamente. The frank-hearted stranger had just
drawn his chair to the fire when something like a heavy footstep was heard
without, rushing down the steep side of the mountain, as with long and rapid
strides, and taking such a leap in passing the cottage as to strike the opposite
precipice. The family held their breath, because they knew the sound, and
their guest held his by instinct. -La vieja montaa nos ha lanzado una piedra,
para recordarnos que la tenemos aqu, sobre nuestras cabezas -dijo el padre
serenndose en seguida-. Algunas veces mueve la cabeza y nos amenaza con
desplomarse sobre nosotros, pero somos antiguos vecinos y, en el fondo,
mantenemos buenas relaciones. Adems, disponemos de un refugio seguro
aqu, al lado de la casa, para el caso de que decidiera llevar a efecto sus
amenazas. "The old mountain has thrown a stone at us, for fear we should
forget him," said the landlord, recovering himself. "He sometimes nods his
head and threatens to come down; but we are old neighbors, and agree
together pretty well upon the whole. Besides we have a sure place of refuge
hard by if he should be coming in good earnest." Supongamos ahora que el
viajero ha terminado su cena de carne de oso, y que sus maneras francas y
abiertas lo han llevado a un plano de amistad con la familia, de suerte que la
conversacin entre todos se ha hecho tan sincera como si el recin llegado
perteneciera a aquel hogar agreste. El joven a quien el azar haba trado
aquella noche a la casa era de carcter altivo aunque dctil y amable; altanero
y reservado entre los ricos y poderosos, pero siempre dispuesto a bajar su
cabeza en la puerta de una choza y a sentarse al fuego con los desposedos
como un hermano o un hijo. En el hogar del Tajo encontr cordialidad y
sencillez de nimo, la penetrante y aguda inteligencia de Nueva Inglaterra y
una poesa originaria y autntica que los habitantes de la casa haban
aprendido de los picachos y las quebradas y del mismo umbral de su pobre
morada. El forastero haba viajado mucho y siempre solo; su vida entera haba
sido, poda asegurarse, un sendero solitario, pues la altiva reserva de su
naturaleza le haba hecho apartarse siempre de aquellos que, de otra suerte,
hubieran sido sus camaradas. Tambin la familia, tan amable y hospitalaria

como era, llevaba en s esa conciencia de unidad entre todos sus miembros y
de separacin del resto del mundo, que convierte el hogar en un recinto
sagrado en el que no tiene cabida ningn extrao. Aquella noche, no obstante,
una simpata proftica llev al joven instruido y de hbitos refinados a
descubrir su corazn a aquellos rudos habitantes de las montaas, y su
franqueza hizo que stos se confiaran a l con la misma espontaneidad. No es
ms fuerte, en efecto, el lazo de un destino comn, que los que crea el mismo
nacimiento? Let us now suppose the stranger to have finished his supper of
bear's meat; and, by his natural felicity of manner, to have placed himself on a
footing of kindness with the whole family, so that they talked as freely
together as if he belonged to their mountain brood. He was of a proud, yet
gentle spirit--haughty and reserved among the rich and great; but ever ready to
stoop his head to the lowly cottage door, and be like a brother or a son at the
poor man's fireside. In the household of the Notch he found warmth and
simplicity of feeling, the pervading intelligence of New England, and a poetry
of native growth, which they had gathered when they little thought of it from
the mountain peaks and chasms, and at the very threshold of their romantic
and dangerous abode. He had travelled far and alone; his whole life, indeed,
had been a solitary path; for, with the lofty caution of his nature, he had kept
himself apart from those who might otherwise have been his companions. The
family, too, though so kind and hospitable, had that consciousness of unity
among themselves, and separation from the world at large, which, in every
domestic circle, should still keep a holy place where no stranger may intrude.
But this evening a prophetic sympathy impelled the refined and educated
youth to pour out his heart before the simple mountaineers, and constrained
them to answer him with the same free confidence. And thus it should have
been. Is not the kindred of a common fate a closer tie than that of birth? El
secreto del carcter del joven era una ambicin altsima y abstracta. Era
posible que hubiera nacido para vivir una vida oscura, pero no para ser
olvidado en la tumba. Su ardiente anhelo se haba transformado en esperanza,
y esta esperanza, largo tiempo mantenida, se haba convertido en la certeza de
que, por insignificante que fuese su vida en el presente, el brillo de la gloria
iluminara su camino para la posteridad, aunque tal vez no mientras l lo
recorriera. Cuando las generaciones venideras dirigiesen la mirada hacia la
oscuridad que era entonces su presente, reconoceran claramente el resplandor
de sus pisadas, y se confesaran que un hombre de altas dotes haba ido de la
cuna a la tumba, sin que nadie hubiera sabido comprenderlo. The secret of the
young man's character was a high and abstracted ambition. He could have
borne to live an undistinguished life, but not to be forgotten in the grave.
Yearning desire had been transformed to hope; and hope, long cherished, had

become like certainty, that, obscurely as he journeyed now, a glory was to


beam on all his pathway,--though not, perhaps, while he was treading it. But
when posterity should gaze back into the gloom of what was now the present,
they would trace the brightness of his footsteps, brightening as meaner glories
faded, and confess that a gifted one had passed from his cradle to his tomb
with none to recognize him. -Y, sin embargo -exclam el forastero, con las
mejillas ardientes y los ojos radiantes de luz-, todava no he realizado nada. Si
maana desapareciera de la tierra, nadie sabra ms de m que ustedes: que un
joven desconocido lleg un da al anochecer, procedente del Valle del Saco,
que les abri el corazn por la noche y que se march al amanecer del da
siguiente por el Tajo, sin que volvieran a verlo. Ni una sola persona les
preguntara quin era este joven ni de dnde vena... Pero no! Yo no puedo
morir hasta que haya cumplido mi destino! Despus, s; despus, puede ya
venir la muerte. Yo mismo me habr edificado mi monumento para la
posteridad! "As yet," cried the stranger--his cheek glowing and his eye
flashing with enthusiasm--"as yet, I have done nothing. Were I to vanish from
the earth to-morrow, none would know so much of me as you: that a nameless
youth came up at nightfall from the valley of the Saco, and opened his heart to
you in the evening, and passed through the Notch by sunrise, and was seen no
more. Not a soul would ask, 'Who was he? Whither did the wanderer go?' But
I cannot die till I have achieved my destiny. Then, let Death come! I shall have
built my monument!" Haba un impulso tal de emocin espontnea bullendo
constante en medio de fantasas abstractas, que la familia lleg a comprender
los sentimientos del joven forastero, aun siendo como eran tan lejanos a los
suyos propios. Dndose rpidamente cuenta de lo ridculo de su actitud, el
joven enrojeci de la vehemencia hacia la que haba sido arrastrado por sus
mismas palabras. There was a continual flow of natural emotion, gushing forth
amid abstracted reverie, which enabled the family to understand this young
man's sentiments, though so foreign from their own. With quick sensibility of
the ludicrous, he blushed at the ardor into which he had been betrayed.
-Ustedes se reirn de m sin duda -dijo, cogiendo la mano de la hija mayor y
rindose l mismo-. Seguramente piensan que mi ambicin es tan absurda
como si subiera al Monte Washington y me dejara convertir all en un trozo de
hielo, slo para que la gente de la comarca pudiera admirarme desde el llano...
Y, sin embargo, doy fe de que querra un noble pedestal para la estatua de un
hombre... "You laugh at me," said he, taking the eldest daughter's hand, and
laughing himself. "You think my ambition as nonsensical as if I were to freeze
myself to death on the top of Mount Washington, only that people might spy at
me from the country round about. And, truly, that would be a noble pedestal
for a man's statue!" -A m me parece -respondi la hija mayor, enrojeciendo-

que es mejor estar sentados aqu al calor de la lumbre, contentos y serenos,


aunque nadie piense en nosotros. It is better to sit here by this fire," answered
the girl, blushing, "and be comfortable and contented, though nobody thinks
about us." -Yo creo, sin embargo -dijo su padre, tras unos momentos de
meditacin-, que hay algo natural en lo que el joven ha dicho: y es posible
que, si mi cerebro hubiera seguido este camino, yo tambin habra pensado lo
mismo. Es raro, hasta qu punto sus palabras han despertado en mi pobre
cabeza cosas que es bien seguro que no han de ocurrir nunca. "I suppose," said
her father, after a fit of musing, "there is something natural in what the young
man says; and if my mind had been turned that way, I might have felt just the
same. It is strange, wife, how his talk has set my head running on things that
are pretty certain never to come to pass." -Cmo sabes t que no han de
suceder? -respondi el ama de la casa-. Puede el hombre saber lo que
har si llega a enviudar? "Perhaps they may," observed the wife. "Is the man

thinking what he will do when he is a widower?" -No, no! -exclam el padre,


rechazando la idea con un tono de cariosa protesta-. Cuando pienso en tu
muerte, Ester, pienso siempre a la vez en la ma. Lo que estaba imaginando era
otra cosa. Pensaba que tenamos una bonita granja en Barlett, en Betlehem, en
Littleton o en cualquier otra ciudad en las vertientes de las Montaas Blancas,
pero no donde stas estuvieran constantemente amenazando derrumbarse
sobre nuestras cabezas. Me hallara en buenas relaciones con mis convecinos,
y sera nombrado juez municipal del lugar y enviado a la Asamblea General
por una o dos legislaturas, pues aqu hay mucho que hacer para un hombre
sencillo y honrado. Y cuando llegara a viejo, y t tambin, podra morir
tranquilo dejndolos a todos llorando en torno a m. Una sencilla lpida de
pizarra me bastara tanto como una de mrmol, sobre la cual se grabara
simplemente mi nombre, mi edad y un versculo de los salmos, y quiz
algunas palabras que dijeran a la gente que haba vivido como un hombre
honrado y haba muerto como un cristiano. "No, no!" cried he, repelling the
idea with reproachful kindness. "When I think of your death, Esther, I think of
mine, too. But I was wishing we had a good farm in Bartlett, or Bethlehem, or
Littleton, or some other township round the White Mountains; but not where
they could tumble on our heads. I should want to stand well with my
neighbors and be called Squire, and sent to General Court for a term or two;
for a plain, honest man may do as much good there as a lawyer. And when I
should be grown quite an old man, and you an old woman, so as not to be long
apart, I might die happy enough in my bed, and leave you all crying around
me. A slate gravestone would suit me as well as a marble one--with just my
name and age, and a verse of a hymn, and something to let people know that I
lived an honest man and died a Christian." -Lo ven ustedes? -dijo el

forastero-. Es consustancial a la naturaleza humana ambicionar un


monumento, ya sea de pizarra, o de mrmol, o un pilar de granito o slo un
recuerdo glorioso en el corazn de las gentes. "There now!" exclaimed the
stranger; "it is our nature to desire a monument, be it slate or marble, or a
pillar of granite, or a glorious memory in the universal heart of man." -Qu
cosas ms especiales nos vienen esta noche a la imaginacin! -dijo la esposa,
con lgrimas en los ojos-. Suele creerse que es seal de que va a ocurrir algo
cuando los hombres empiezan a pensar y a hablar as. Escuchen a los nios!
"We're in a strange way, to-night," said the wife, with tears in her eyes. "They
say it's a sign of something, when folks' minds go a wandering so. Hark to the
children!" Todos los reunidos prestaron, en silencio, atencin. Los nios ms
pequeos se hallaban acostados en otro cuarto, pero la puerta medianera
permaneca entreabierta, de suerte que se les poda or hablar afanosamente
entre s. Tambin ellos parecan afectados por las fantasmagoras que haban
hecho presa en el crculo de personas mayores sentadas al fuego, y disputaban
acaloradamente sobrepujndose los unos a los otros en deseos y ambiciones
infantiles para cuando fueran hombres. Por fin, uno de los pequeos, en lugar
de dirigirse a sus hermanos, llam a su madre. They listened accordingly. The
younger children had been put to bed in another room, but with an open door
between, so that they could be heard talking busily among themselves. One
and all seemed to have caught the infection from the fireside circle, and were
outvying each other in wild wishes, and childish projects of what they would
do when they came to be men and women. At length a little boy, instead of
addressing his brothers and sisters, called out to his mother. -Voy a decirte,
mam -dijo- lo que yo deseo. Quiero que t y pap, y la abuela, y todos
nosotros, sin prescindir del forastero, nos levantemos y nos dirijamos a beber
un trago de agua en el Flume. "I'll tell you what I wish, mother," cried he. "I
want you and father and grandma'm, and all of us, and the stranger too, to start
right away, and go and take a drink out of the basin of the Flume!" Ninguno de
los presentes pudo reprimir una sonrisa al or que el mayor deseo del nio era
abandonar su cama bien caliente y arrancar a los dems del calor del fuego
para visitar el Flume, una torrentera que se precipitaba desde lo alto de la
montaa a las profundidades del Tajo. Apenas haba acabado el nio de
pronunciar sus ltimas palabras, cuando se oy el ruido intermitente de un
carruaje que se acercaba y que, al fin, se detuvo de pronto delante de la puerta
de la casa. En l parecan ir dos o tres hombres, que alegraban el camino con
una cancin cantada a coro, el eco de cuyas notas rebotaba entre las peas,
mientras que los viajeros dudaban de si proseguir su viaje o detenerse en la
casa para pasar la noche. Nobody could help laughing at the child's notion of
leaving a warm bed, and dragging them from a cheerful fire, to visit the basin

of the Flume,--a brook, which tumbles over the precipice, deep within the
Notch. The boy had hardly spoken when a wagon rattled along the road, and
stopped a moment before the door. It appeared to contain two or three men,
who were cheering their hearts with the rough chorus of a song, which
resounded, in broken notes, between the cliffs, while the singers hesitated
whether to continue their journey or put up here for the night. -Padre -dijo la
muchacha-, lo estn llamando por su nombre. "Father," said the girl, "they are
calling you by name." Pero el dueo de la casa no estaba seguro de que
efectivamente lo hubieran llamado, y no quera mostrarse demasiado ansioso
por la ganancia invitando a los viajeros a pernoctar bajo su techo. Por eso, no
se apresur a acudir a la puerta, y, mientras tanto, se oy restallar el ltigo y
los viajeros siguieron camino por el Tajo, siempre cantando y riendo, aunque
su msica y su alegra pareca provenir del corazn de la montaa. But the
good man doubted whether they had really called him, and was unwilling to
show himself too solicitous of gain by inviting people to patronize his house.
He therefore did not hurry to the door; and the lash being soon applied, the
travellers plunged into the Notch, still singing and laughing, though their
music and mirth came back drearily from the heart of the mountain. -Mira,
mira, mam! -insisti el nio que haba hablado antes-; tambin ellos se van
hacia el Flume. "There, mother!" cried the boy, again. "They'd have given us a
ride to the Flume." De nuevo los reunidos rompieron a rer ante la mana del
nio de hacer una excursin en plena noche. De repente, sin embargo una
nube pas sobre el espritu de la hija mayor; durante unos instantes sus ojos se
fijaron persistentemente en el fuego, y respir con tal intensidad que su aliento
se convirti casi en un suspiro. Sobresaltada y con rubor en el rostro, la joven
mir rpidamente en derredor suyo, como si temiera que todos los que all se
hallaban hubieran penetrado con la mirada en el interior de su pecho. El
forastero le pregunt qu era lo que haba estado pensando. Again they
laughed at the child's pertinacious fancy for a night ramble. But it happened
that a light cloud passed over the daughter's spirit; she looked gravely into the
fire, and drew a breath that was almost a sigh. It forced its way, in spite of a
little struggle to repress it. Then starting and blushing, she looked quickly
round the circle, as if they had caught a glimpse into her bosom. The stranger
asked what she had been thinking of. -Nada -respondi-; solamente que
precisamente en estos momentos me he sentido infinitamente sola. "Nothing,"
answered she, with a downcast smile. "Only I felt lonesome just then." -Yo
siempre he tenido un don especial para percibir lo que otras personas llevan en
el corazn -dijo el desconocido, medio en broma y medio en serio-. Quiere
usted que le adivine tambin los secretos del suyo? S perfectamente, sobre
todo, lo que hay que pensar cuando una muchacha tirita, sentada al lado de la

lumbre, y se queja de soledad estando presente su madre. He de expresar


todo ello en palabras? "Oh, I have always had a gift of feeling what is in other
people's hearts," said he, half seriously. "Shall I tell the secrets of yours? For I
know what to think when a young girl shivers by a warm hearth, and
complains of lonesomeness at her mother's side. Shall I put these feelings into
words?" -No seran ya sentimientos de una muchacha, si, efectivamente,
pudieran ser expresados en palabras -dijo la ninfa de los montes rindose, pero
apartando los ojos. "They would not be a girl's feelings any longer if they
could be put into words," replied the mountain nymph, laughing, but avoiding
his eye. Todas estas frases haban sido cruzadas en un aparte de los dos
jvenes. Acaso comenzaba a brotar en sus corazones un germen de amor, tan
puro, como ms acorde para florecer en el paraso que en el polvo de este
mundo. Las mujeres, en efecto, amaban la noble dignidad que distingua al
forastero, y el alma arrogante y contemplativa se siente siempre atrada por
una simplicidad de espritu pareja a la suya propia. Mientras ambos hablaban
quedamente, y mientras el desconocido observaba la dulce melancola, las
sombras luminosas y los tmidos anhelos de una naturaleza de mujer, el viento
que soplaba encajonado en el Tajo aumentaba por momentos su tono profundo
y fragoroso. Como deca el imaginativo forastero, pareca una meloda cantada
a coro por los espritus del viento, los cuales, segn el mito de los indios,
habitaban en aquellas montaas, haciendo de sus cimas y de sus precipicios
una regin sagrada. Tambin a lo largo del camino resonaba un lamento
agudo, como si pasara por l un cortejo fnebre. Para espantar la melancola
que se haba apoderado de todos, la familia arroj al fuego un montn de
ramas de pino, hasta que las hojas secas comenzaron a crepitar y pronto
surgieron vivas llamas iluminando de nuevo una escena de paz y de dicha
humilde. La luz extenda su claridad sobre las cabezas de todos los all
reunidos, acaricindolos suavemente. Podan verse los rostros menudos de los
nios husmeando desde el cuarto vecino, y, al lado del hogar, la silueta
enrgica del padre, la fisonoma dulce y fatigada de la madre, el perfil altivo
de los jvenes, y la figura encorvada de la abuela, que segua haciendo calceta
en el lugar ms recogido de toda la habitacin. La anciana levant un
momento los ojos de su labor, y, mientras sus dedos continuaban movindose
sin descanso, comenz a hablar lentamente. All this was said apart. Perhaps a
germ of love was springing in their hearts, so pure that it might blossom in
Paradise, since it could not be matured on earth; for women worship such
gentle dignity as his; and the proud, contemplative, yet kindly soul is oftenest
captivated by simplicity like hers. But while they spoke softly, and he was
watching the happy sadness, the lightsome shadows, the shy yearnings of a
maiden's nature, the wind through the Notch took a deeper and drearier sound.

It seemed, as the fanciful stranger said, like the choral strain of the spirits of
the blast, who in old Indian times had their dwelling among these mountains,
and made their heights and recesses a sacred region. There was a wail along
the road, as if a funeral were passing. To chase away the gloom, the family
threw pine branches on their fire, till the dry leaves crackled and the flame
arose, discovering once again a scene of peace and humble happiness. The
light hovered about them fondly, and caressed them all. There were the little
faces of the children, peeping from their bed apart and here the father's frame
of strength, the mother's subdued and careful mien, the high-browed youth,
the budding girl, and the good old grandam, still knitting in the warmest place.
The aged woman looked up from her task, and, with fingers ever busy, was the
next to speak. -Los viejos tienen sus ideas, de igual manera que tambin los
jvenes tienen las suyas. Han estado trazando deseos y proyectos, y haciendo
correr la fantasa de una cosa a la otra, hasta que han logrado empujar mi
pobre cabeza lanzndola por los mismos derroteros. Qu puede, sin embargo,
desear una vieja, que se halla a escasos pasos de la tumba? No obstante, voy a
decirlo, porque me temo que si no lo hago as la idea me va a perseguir da y
noche sin descanso. "Old folks have their notions," said she, "as well as young
ones. You've been wishing and planning; and letting your heads run on one
thing and another, till you've set my mind a wandering too. Now what should
an old woman wish for, when she can go but a step or two before she comes to
her grave? Children, it will haunt me night and day till I tell you." -S, s,
dnoslo- exclamaron a la vez el marido y la mujer. "What is it, mother?" cried
the husband and wife at once. La anciana adopt un aire de misterio, que hizo
que el crculo de personas se estrechara ms en torno al fuego, y comenz a
hablar, diciendo que, desde haca aos, vena preocupndose por las vestiduras
con las que deseaba ser enterrada: una mortaja muy simple de hilo y una cofia
de muselina. Esta noche, sin embargo, una extraa supersticin la apresaba.
En su juventud haba odo contar que si, al enterrar a una persona, algo de su
atavo quedaba desordenado, aunque fuera una simple arruga en el cuello de la
mortaja o una mala colocacin de la cofia, el cadver se revolva en el atad
bajo tierra tratando de disponer de sus fras manos, para arreglar con ellas lo
que no lo estuviera. La simple suposicin de que pudiera acontecerle algo
semejante a ella, la pona nerviosa. Then the old woman, with an air of
mystery which drew the circle closer round the fire, informed them that she
had provided her graveclothes some years before,--a nice linen shroud, a cap
with a muslin ruff, and everything of a finer sort than she had worn since her
wedding day. But this evening an old superstition had strangely recurred to
her. It used to be said, in her younger days, that if anything were amiss with a
corpse, if only the ruff were not smooth, or the cap did not set right, the corpse

in the coffin and beneath the clods would strive to put up its cold hands and
arrange it. The bare thought made her nervous. -Por Dios, abuela! -exclam
la nieta estremecindose-. No creas esas cosas! "Don't talk so, grandmother!"
said the girl, shuddering. -Pues bien -prosigui la abuela sin hacer caso, y con
gran seriedad, aunque iluminado el rostro por una sonrisa-. Lo que deseo de
ustedes, hijos mos, es que cuando me encuentre en el atad, me coloquen ante
el rostro un espejo. Quin sabe? Quiz me sea posible echar una mirada y ver
si no est desarreglado nada de lo que llevo puesto. "Now,"--continued the old
woman, with singular earnestness, yet smiling strangely at her own folly,--"I
want one of you, my children--when your mother is dressed and in the coffin-I want one of you to hold a looking-glass over my face. Who knows but I may
take a glimpse at myself, and see whether all's right?" -Todos, lo mismo
jvenes que viejos, no acertamos a hablar ms que de tumbas y monumentos
-observ el forastero-. Me gustara saber qu es lo que sienten los marineros
cuando el barco se hunde y todos se hallan en trance de ser sepultados a una
en la inmensa y annima sepultura del mar. "Old and young, we dream of
graves and monuments," murmured the stranger youth. "I wonder how
mariners feel when the ship is sinking, and they, unknown and
undistinguished, are to be buried together in the ocean--that wide and
nameless sepulchre?" La fnebre ocurrencia de la anciana haba impresionado
de tal forma durante unos momentos el cerebro de los all reunidos, que nadie
se haba percatado de que afuera, en las tinieblas de la noche, un ruido
semejante al bramar de cien gigantes haba ido creciendo hasta alcanzar tonos
profundos y terribles. La casa y todo lo que en ella haba se estremeci; los
mismos cimientos de la tierra parecan hallarse sacudidos como si el estruendo
cada vez ms prximo fuera el aviso de las trompetas del juicio final. Jvenes
y viejos cruzaron entre s una mirada instintiva de pavor, y permanecieron
inmviles, lvidos, aterrorizados, sin fuerza para pronunciar una palabra ni
para hacer un movimiento. Despus un solo grito son en todas las gargantas.
For a moment, the old woman's ghastly conception so engrossed the minds of
her hearers that a sound abroad in the night, rising like the roar of a blast, had
grown broad, deep, and terrible, before the fated group were conscious of it.
The house and all within it trembled; the foundations of the earth seemed to be
shaken, as if this awful sound were the peal of the last trump. Young and old
exchanged one wild glance, and remained an instant, pale, affrighted, without
utterance, or power to move. Then the same shriek burst simultaneously from
all their lips. -El alud!, el alud! "The Slide! The Slide!" Las palabras ms
elocuentes pueden sugerir, pero no describir el horror inexpresable de la
catstrofe. Las vctimas se precipitaron fuera de la casa, buscando amparo en
lo que ellas tenan por un lugar seguro, all donde, pensando en aquella

posibilidad, se haba construido un muro de contencin o barrera. Ay! Los


desgraciados haban renunciado a su salvacin al hacerlo as, lanzndose
inconscientemente en el seno del ms fatal de todos los destinos. Toda una
ladera de la montaa se vino abajo en una verdadera catarata de piedras y
ruinas. Y precisamente pocos metros antes de llegar a la casa, aquella
avalancha de muerte y destruccin se abri en dos brazos, dejando en medio,
casi intacta, la casa y arrasando en sus alrededores cuanto se opona a su paso.
Mucho antes de que se hubiera extinguido entre las montaas el estruendo del
alud, haba terminado ya la agona de las vctimas y todas ellas gozaban de la
paz. Sus cuerpos no fueron hallados jams. The simplest words must intimate,
but not portray, the unutterable horror of the catastrophe. The victims rushed
from their cottage, and sought refuge in what they deemed a safer spot--where,
in contemplation of such an emergency, a sort of barrier had been reared. Alas!
they had quitted their security, and fled right into the pathway of destruction.
Down came the whole side of the mountain, in a cataract of ruin. Just before it
reached the house, the stream broke into two branches--shivered not a window
there, but overwhelmed the whole vicinity, blocked up the road, and
annihilated everything in its dreadful course. Long ere the thunder of the great
Slide had ceased to roar among the mountains, the mortal agony had been
endured, and the victims were at peace. Their bodies were never found. Al da
siguiente una tenue columna de humo se elevaba todava de la chimenea de la
casa. Dentro el fuego arda, a medio apagar, en el hogar, y las sillas se
hallaban colocadas a su alrededor, como si los all reunidos hubieran salido un
momento a examinar los destrozos causados por el alud, y fueran a volver de
un momento a otro para dar gracias a Dios por su milagrosa salvacin. La
historia recorri todos los rincones de la comarca, y perdura eternizada en
estas montaas como una leyenda. Tambin los poetas han cantado el triste fin
de la familia del Tajo. The next morning, the light smoke was seen stealing
from the cottage chimney up the mountain side. Within, the fire was yet
smouldering on the hearth, and the chairs in a circle round it, as if the
inhabitants had but gone forth to view the devastation of the Slide, and would
shortly return, to thank Heaven for their miraculous escape. All had left
separate tokens, by which those who had known the family were made to shed
a tear for each. Who has not heard their name? The story has been told far and
wide, and will forever be a legend of these mountains. Poets have sung their
fate. Ciertos detalles parecan delatar que en la noche fatal un forastero haba
sido acogido en la casa y haba resultado vctima de la catstrofe con toda la
familia. Otros negaban, en cambio, que hubiera indicios concluyentes para
llegar a tal afirmacin. Triste fin para aquella juventud exaltada, con sus
sueos de inmortalidad terrena! Su nombre y su persona han quedado

absolutamente desconocidos; su historia, su camino en la vida y sus planes y


proyectos permanecern siempre perdidos en el misterio. Su misma muerte y
su previa existencia son hechos que han quedado igualmente en la duda... De
quin era la agona en ese momento de muerte? There were circumstances
which led some to suppose that a stranger had been received into the cottage
on this awful night, and had shared the catastrophe of all its inmates. Others
denied that there were sufficient grounds for such a conjecture. Woe for the
high-souled youth, with his dream of Earthly Immortality! His name and
person utterly unknown; his history, his way of life, his plans, a mystery never
to be solved, his death and his existence equally a doubt! Whose was the
agony of that death moment?

Platero es pequeo, peludo, suave; tan blando por fuera, que se dira todo de
algodn, que no lleva huesos. Slo los espejos de azabache de sus ojos son
duros cual dos escarabajos de cristal negro. Platero is a small donkey, a soft,
hairy donkey: so soft to the touch that he might be said to be made of cotton,
with no bones. Only the jet mirrors of his eyes are hard like two black crystal
scarabs. Lo dejo suelto, y se va al prado, y acaricia tibiamente con su hocico,
rozndolas apenas, las florecillas rosas, celestes y gualdas... Lo llamo
dulcemente: Platero? y viene a m con un trotecillo alegre que parece que se
re en no s qu cascabeleo ideal... I turn him loose, and he goes to the
meadow, and, with his nose, he gently caresses the little flowers of rose and
blue and gold.... I call him softly, "Platero?" and he comes to me at a gay little
trot that is like laughter of a vague, idyllic, tinkling sound... Come cuanto le
doy. Le gustan las naranjas mandarinas, las uvas moscateles, todas de mbar;
los higos morados, con su cristalina gotita de miel... He eats whatever I give
him. He likes mandarin oranges, amber-hued muscatel grapes, purple figs
tipped with crystalline drops of honey... Es tierno y mimoso igual que un nio,
que una nia...; pero fuerte y seco por dentro como de piedra. Cuando paso
sobre l, los domingos, por las ltimas callejas del pueblo, los hombres del
campo, vestidos de limpio y despaciosos, se quedan mirndolo: He is as
loving and tender as a child, but strong and sturdy as a rock. When on
Sundays I ride him through the lanes in the outskirts of the town, slow-moving
countrymen, dressed in their Sunday clean, watch him a while, speculatively:
Tien asero... "He is like steel," they say. Tiene acero. Acero y plata de
luna, al mismo tiempo. Steel, yes. Steel and moon silver at the same time.

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