La campaña / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Campaign

     I was invited to the exequies of a hunting dog. The nomadic family broke out in agonized laments and described themselves as threatened by penury after the death of that provident server. The women imposed on the men the mission of putting together a brigade and going out in demand of the accused wolves.

     We went into the campaign at the break of the next day. We lacked gunpowder and carried measured canes. The sun appeared very quickly over the ground of snow and turned it into a glassy surface. The snow was thin and the horses would break through it easily to devour the hidden grass. Hunger was devastating the country.

     We ran into the squadron of wild beasts when we rounded the curve of a steep mountain. Some of our riders were dangerously bitten in the tough fight and said they had been infected with rabies. Eight or ten wolves were knocked down and with their spines broken. I was satisfied by capturing a baby cub with red hair.

     We returned to the village after attaining victory and proceeded to curing the wounded by means of cautery. All of them showed signs of melancholia, which is the beginning of the crisis of rabies.

     The women didn’t expect to save the infected ones any other way than by sacrificing my captive as a symbol of their faith, maintained for innumerable generations, since the days of Attila. They adored a sword nailed into the ground, image of strength. They discreetly envied my fortune and once again demonstrated toward me the uncertainty of their dealings. They were capable of advising my loss in the case of ending up better off in a second excursion.

     The wounded recuperated thanks to the sacrifice of my baby cub. They grew content when they saw the signs of my sadness and they let me see the necessity and opportunity to continue my journey. They had pretended, according to my conjecture, to have the symptoms of rabies.

     I abandoned the company of those disloyal hunters and I stepped out with my horse into the uniform country, with the help of a compass.

     A woman wounded me with a stone when I was separating my horse from looking at itself in the mirror of a puddle.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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