El entierro / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Burial

     There was once a keen and conceited young man. He had come from a civil war, exceeding himself in a bloody day’s journey, shedding light upon the martial lineage in the presence of an ambitious caudillo.

     He held in his hands the government of a village.

     He went out one night beyond the village to enjoy a reserved and silent landscape. The moon was peeking over an edge of the sierra.

     The young man distinguished, in the ambiguous hour, the passing of a cortège. A few jokers were leading the way, carrying a bed on their shoulders and announcing the news of a death. They were locals of mischievous lives and alcoholic faces.

     The young man heard his own name upon asking about the deceased. He easily persuaded them to abandon the lugubrious farse and to disperse in demand of their homes.

     They gathered, the next night, for the same diversion within view of the fading moon, and reiterated the warning of the young man’s death. He dispersed them sword in hand, with cuts and insults, and arrested the guiltiest of them.

     A party was given, within a few days, at the home of a rural nobleman.

     The hero was submissively lavishing attention on the beautiful girls and braiding garlands of fleeting flowers for them.

     A massive and disheveled man penetrated the hall and went up to the young man. He came from the wilderness and cliffs and he was venting an indiscreet aggressiveness.

     The unknown man seemed invulnerable to fire arms.

     The struggle was decided with the dagger and concluded, after a few troublesome moments, with the death of both adversaries.

     The locals, of mischievous lives and alcoholic faces, were absolved of their arrest and ordered to take away the young man’s corpse.

     No one was able to identify the importunate one.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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