The Times are Changing

Last week, I translated a short story that was in Spanish for fun, as in for no reason what so ever. Here I am, posting that translation for "fun", also as in "for no reason what so ever".

When Brother Bartholomew* Arrazola felt lost, he accepted that there was no one that could save him. The powerful forest of Guatemala had captured him, implacably and definitively. Before his topographical ignorance, he felt tranquility to wait for death. He wanted to die there, without any hope, isolated, with the firm thought of the distant Spain, particularly of he convent of Los Abrojos, where Charles the Fifth consented once to lower his eminence to confess zealously of the religiousness of his redemptive labors.

He awoke to see an overwhelming group of indigenous people with impassive faces that were preparing to sacrifice him before an altar, an altar that Bartholomew thought resembled a bed that one rested in, in the end, with one's fears, his destiny, all the same.

Three years passed in which he gained a mediocre command of the native languages. He intended this. He said some works that were comprehended.

Then, an idea blossomed in his mind, that had dignity for his talent, his universal culture, and his known love for Aristotle. He remembered that on this day, he waited for a total eclipse of the sun. He arranged, in the deepest recesses, to take advantage of this knowledge to win over his oppressors and save his life.

"Yes, kill me," he said, "when the sun obscures your height."

The natives looked fixedly, and a surprised Bartholomew was in their eyes. He saw that they produced a small counsel and secretly waited, not without a certain scorn.

Two hours after the heart of Brother Bartholomew Arrazola was gushing blood vehemently onto the sacrifice stone (brilliant below the opaque light of an eclipsed sun), during which, a native recited, without an inflection in his voice, without hurry, one by one, the infinite dates that had solar and lunar eclipses, that the astronomers in the Mayan community predicted and recorded in their manuscripts without the valuable help of Aristotle.

*Bartolome (with an accent on the "e" in the original)


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Maira Gall