El favor / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Favor

     I went out into the hills, at the dawn hour, with a few outlaw horsemen. We stopped to read the poster in which they were threatened, fixed on a stone roll, insignia of the city government.

     I retained in my power the veil of a Muslim woman. Its owner had dropped it on me in a gesture of goodbye from her balcony, on a serene Tiflis night. Her relatives were flying towards the circle, with their hand on the sword’s hilt and the swift horse. The veil of transparent silk gave off a magic sheen, ornament and prestige of my person.

     The chief of the horsemen wouldn’t lose me from his sight and pointed out the group’s mistrust in a secret language, art of the gambling den and the prison. The penury of the suit was out of place with the nobility of their horses and the luxury of their firearms. They preferred the ancient flint rifle.

     I only accompanied them for a few brief instants. The soldiers and police agents had caught up and surprised them like thieves. The Muslim woman had denounced the squadron’s course and the means of saving myself. The enemies paid heed to the silk veil and diverted from me their shots.

     The obstinate horsemen fought to the death. The sight of jovial morning animated them to defend themselves, to cling to life. The horses, far from the space of their plains, lent a futile assistance. The wounded and the prisoners were thrown head first into the mountain’s precipices.

     They were enraged while calling me a traitor.

El cielo de esmalte (1929)

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

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