El acontecido / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Afflicted One

     The timorous and mendacious Jew is frightened by the insults of the Ukrainian horseman. He exhausts, in his apology, the resources of an innate diplomacy.

     The Jew contemplates a monument of terror. A man from his nation can be distinguished near the livid horizon, amidst a commotion of furious birds. The torture pole bends with the weight of the corpse.

     The crime of the executed man had been considerable. He intended to defend the honor of his family.

     The Jew refuses to declare himself rich and to confess the hiding place of his fortune. He resigns himself to the whip, to the burning of his straw hut and the dispersion of his children. He turns his memory to the examples of the patience of Israel.

     The horseman ties a strap beneath the beard of the wretch and binds him to his horse’s tail. He captures the most graceful of his daughters and takes off running, conquering precipices and sending an orgiastic song into the air.

     The horse, accustomed to the country, crosses the plain full of grass and flowering rushes frightening the foxes and aquatic birds.

     The horse heads toward a brush fire. A few shadows are agitated amid the distant splendor. The horsemen from the horde entertain themselves by tossing jewels from a palace into the fire and mocking an enervated civilization.

     They stand and lift their stone cups in a sign of delight and congratulation for their comrade. They celebrate the graces of the maiden with shepherding terms, used with calves and fillies.

     They untie the strangled man from the horse’s tail and kick him along far away from the camp, cursing his inveterate avarice. The most violent of them ends up cripple after having wielded a brusque blow.

     According to what they’ve noticed since the beginning of the campaign, the corpse of a Jew blackens the flames and infects the smoke of bonfires.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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