El real de los cartagineses / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Camp of the Carthaginians

     The enemies were attacking us in a cowardly manner, from their mountains and cliffs. The crags of that place simulated monoliths and columns, and at the very least they equaled a man’s height.

     The surgeons, imperturbable when facing the lament of the wounded, were working day and night extracting the most insidious arrows, equipped with lateral nails in the shape of fish-hooks.

     One of those men descended, in the secret of the night, to the pavilion of our chieftain and killed him without provoking suspicion or alarm. We were admiring such a prolonged sleep.

     We captured the invader as he was escaping to his satisfaction, leaving the line of our camp far behind. He resisted, without exhaling a single complaint, the most painstaking tortures. He wasn’t perturbed when the torturer, an assistant to the surgeons, amputated his hands and soldered his arteries applying an incandescent iron.

     The leaders of the army gathered in a venerable senate to choose the new chieftain. One of them was opting for the appointment of a carefree and clever chief, capable of remedying the difficulties of the soldier. He saw in youth the guarantee of victory and he made an effort until I was named as the favorite.

     I was the youngest of the captains.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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