Spanish by Choice/Novelas Cortas 01/Print version

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Novelas Cortas: La Buenaventura, pt. 1

Introduction

Chapter 1 of the short story “La Buenaventura,” which appears in the book “Novelas Cortas” by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón with notes by W.F. Giese. LibriVox recording read by Karen Savage.

Text

I

No sé qué día de Agosto del año 1816 llegó a las puertas de la Capitanía general[1-1] de Granada[1-2] cierto haraposo y grotesco gitano, de sesenta años de edad, de oficio esquilador y de apellido o sobrenombre Heredia, caballero en flaquísimo y destartalado burro mohino, cuyos arneses se reducían a una soga atada al pescuezo; y, echado que hubo[1-3] pie a tierra, dijo con la mayor frescura «que quería ver al Capitán general

Excuso añadir que semejante pretensión excitó sucesivamente la resistencia del centinela, las risas de los ordenanzas y las dudas y vacilaciones de los edecanes[1-4] antes de(1) llegar a conocimiento del Excelentísimo Sr. D.[1-5] Eugenio Portocarrero, conde del Montijo, a la sazón Capitán general del antiguo reino de Granada.... Pero como aquel prócer era hombre de muy buen humor y tenía muchas noticias de Heredia, célebre por sus chistes, por sus cambalaches y por su amor a lo ajeno(2)..., con permiso del engañado dueño, dió orden de que dejasen pasar al gitano.

Penetró éste en el despacho de Su Excelencia, dando dos pasos adelante y uno atrás, que era como andaba en las circunstancias graves, y poniéndose de rodillas(3) exclamó:

—¡Viva María Santísima y viva su merced, que es el amo de toitico[1-6] el mundo!

—Levántate; déjate de zalamerías, y dime qué se te ofrece(4)...—respondió el Conde con aparente sequedad.

Heredia se puso(5) también serio, y dijo con mucho desparpajo:

—Pues, señor, vengo a que[2-1] se me den los mil reales.

—¿Qué mil reales?

—Los ofrecidos hace(6) días, en un bando, al que(7) presente las señas de Parrón.

—Pues ¡qué! ¿tú lo conocías?

—No, señor.

—Entonces....

—Pero ya lo conozco.

—¡Cómo!

—Es muy sencillo. Lo he buscado; lo he visto; traigo las señas, y pido mi ganancia.

—¿Estás seguro de que lo has visto?—exclamó el Capitán general con un interés que se sobrepuso a sus dudas.

El gitano se echó(8) a reír, y respondió:

—¡Es claro! Su merced dirá: este gitano es como todos, y quiere engañarme.—¡No me perdone Dios si miento!—Ayer ví a Parrón.

—Pero ¿sabes tú la importancia de lo que dices? ¿Sabes que hace tres años que se(9) persigue[2-2] a ese monstruo, a ese bandido sanguinario, que nadie conoce ni ha podido nunca ver? ¿Sabes que todos los días roba, en distintos puntos de estas sierras, a(10) algunos pasajeros; y después los asesina, pues dice que los muertos no hablan, y que ése es el único medio de que nunca dé con(11) él la Justicia? ¿Sabes, en fin, que ver a Parrón es encontrarse con la muerte?

El gitano se volvió a(12) reír,[2-3] y dijo:

—Y ¿no sabe su merced que lo que no puede hacer un gitano no hay quien lo haga[2-4] sobre la tierra? ¿Conoce nadie[2-5] cuándo es verdad nuestra risa o nuestro llanto? ¿Tiene su merced noticia de alguna zorra que sepa tantas picardías como nosotros?—Repito, mi General, que, no sólo he visto a Parrón, sino que he hablado con él.

—¿Dónde?

—En el camino de Tózar.

—Dame pruebas de ello.

—Escuche su merced. Ayer mañana hizo ocho(13) días que caímos mi borrico y yo en poder de unos ladrones. Me maniataron muy bien, y me llevaron por unos barrancos endemoniados hasta dar con una plazoleta donde acampaban los bandidos. Una cruel sospecha me tenía desazonado.—«¿Será(15) esta gente de(14) Parrón? (me decía a cada instante.) ¡Entonces no hay remedio, me matan[3-1]!..., pues ese maldito se ha empeñado en que ningunos ojos que vean su fisonomía vuelvan a ver cosa ninguna.»

Estaba(16) yo haciendo estas reflexiones, cuando se me presentó un hombre vestido de macareno[3-2] con mucho lujo, y dándome un golpecito en el hombro y sonriéndose(17) con suma gracia, me dijo:

—Compadre, ¡yo soy Parrón!

Oír esto y caerme de espaldas,[3-3] todo fué una misma cosa.

El bandido se echó a reír.

Yo me levanté desencajado, me puse de rodillas, y exclamé en todos los tonos de voz que pude inventar:

—¡Bendita sea tu alma, rey de los hombres!... ¿Quién no había de conocerte[3-4] por ese porte de príncipe real que Dios te ha dado? ¡Y que haya madre[3-5] que para tales hijos! ¡Jesús![3-6] ¡Deja que te dé un abrazo, hijo mío!(18) ¡Que en mal hora muera[3-7] si no tenía gana(19) de encontrarte el gitanico para decirte la buenaventura[3-8] y darte un beso en esa mano de emperador!—¡También yo soy de los tuyos!(20) ¿Quieres que te enseñe a cambiar burros muertos por burros vivos?—¿Quieres vender como potros tus caballos viejos? ¿Quieres que le enseñe el francés a una mula?

El Conde del Montijo no pudo contener la risa....—Luego preguntó:

—Y ¿qué respondió Parrón a todo eso? ¿Qué hizo? —Lo mismo que su merced; reírse(21) a todo trapo.[4-1]

—¿Y tú?

—Yo, señorico, me reía también; pero me corrían por las patillas lagrimones como naranjas.

—Continúa.

En seguida(22) me alargó la mano y me dijo:

—Compadre, es V. el único hombre de talento que ha caído en mi poder. Todos los demás(23) tienen la maldita costumbre de procurar entristecerme, de llorar, de quejarse y de hacer otras tonterías que me ponen de mal humor(24). Sólo V. me ha hecho reír: y si no fuera por esas lágrimas....

—Qué, ¡señor, si son[4-2] de alegría!

—Lo creo. ¡Bien sabe el demonio que es la primera vez que me he reído desde hace seis u(25) ocho años!—Verdad es que tampoco he llorado....

—Pero despachemos.—¡Eh, muchachos!

Decir Parrón estas palabras y rodearme una nube de trabucos, todo fué un abrir y cerrar de ojos.(26)

—¡Jesús me ampare!—empecé a gritar.

—¡Deteneos!(27) (exclamó Parrón.) No se trata de(28) eso todavía.—Os llamo para preguntaros qué le habéis tomado a este hombre.[4-3]

—Un burro en pelo.[4-4]

—¿Y dinero?

—Tres duros y siete reales.

—Pues dejadnos solos.

Todos se alejaron.

—Ahora dime la buenaventura—exclamó el ladrón, tendiéndome la(29) mano.[4-5]

Yo se(30) la[4-6] cogí; medité un momento; conocí que estaba en el caso de hablar formalmente, y le dije con todas las veras[4-7] de mi alma:

Parrón, tarde que temprano,[4-8] ya me[4-9] quites la vida, ya me la dejes..., ¡morirás ahorcado! —Eso ya lo sabía yo.... (respondió el bandido con entera tranquilidad.)—Dime cuándo.

Me puse(31) a cavilar.

Este hombre (pensé) me va a(32) perdonar la vida; mañana llego a Granada y doy el cante;[5-1] pasado mañana(33) lo cogen.... Después empezará la sumaria....

—¿Dices que cuándo?[5-2] (le respondí en alta voz.)—Pues ¡mira! va a ser el mes que entra.[5-3]

Parrón se estremeció, y yo también, conociendo que el amor propio de adivino me podía salir por la tapa de los sesos.[5-4]

—Pues mira tú, gitano.... (contestó Parrón muy lentamente.) Vas a quedarte en mi poder....—¡Si en todo el mes que entra no me ahorcan, te ahorco[5-6] yo a ti, tan cierto como ahorcaron a mi padre!—Si muero para esa fecha,[5-7] quedarás libre.

—¡Muchas gracias! (dije yo en mi interior.) ¡Me perdona... después de muerto![5-8]

Y me arrepentí de haber echado tan corto el plazo.[5-9]

Quedamos en lo dicho:(34) fuí conducido a la cueva, donde me encerraron, y Parrón montó en su yegua y tomó el tole[5-10] por aquellos breñales....

—Vamos,[5-11] ya comprendo... (exclamó el Conde del Montijo.) Parrón ha muerto; tú has quedado libre, y por eso sabes sus señas....

—¡Todo lo contrario, mi General! Parrón vive, y aquí entra lo más negro de la presente historia.


Notes

(The first figures refer to the original pages of text, and second figures to the reference figures in text).

1-1: Capitanía general: headquarters of the Captain general, who has supreme military authority in his district.

1-2: Granada: a province (and its principal city), the former bordering on the Mediterranean. It is full of Moorish remains, including the Alhambra.

1-3: echado que hubo: a very common construction = asi que hubo echado.

1-4: edecán: a corruption of the French aide-de-camp.

1-5: Sr. D.: Señor Don.

1-6: toitico = todito, diminutive of todo. This diminutive ending often adds emphasis.

2-1: a que = para que.

2-2: se persigue: they have pursued. The perfect tense value is often represented by the present (and the pluperfect by the imperfect) after después or hace (ago).

2-3: se volvió a reír = volvió a reírse, laughed again. Volver a, followed by an infinitive, is to be rendered as a formula of repetition, as, again, once more, etc.

2-4: no hay quien lo haga: there is no one who can do it.

2-5: conoce nadie: does anybody know? Observe that nadie is not necessarily negative. Cf. use of jamás, etc.

3-1: me matan: a vivid use of the present for the future.

3-2: vestido de macareno: dressed in a loud or striking fashion. The macareno is a native of one of the districts of Seville.

3-3: caerme de espaldas: to fall on my back.

3-4: había de conocer = conocería. Haber de followed by the infinitive denotes (a) obligation: as: ha de ser, it must be; habrá de hacerlo, he will have to do it; (b) futurity (present tense of haber de + infinitive), as: he de hablar, I will speak: (c) conditioned action (imperfect of haber de + infinitive), as: quién había de creer? who would believe?

3-5: que haya madre: and (to think) that there should be a mother!

3-6: Jesús: the Spaniard, the most Catholic of men, is in the habit of interlarding his speech with copious expletives derived from his religion, such as Jesús, Ave María purísima, etc., which may often be rendered by the mildest of English substitutes.

3-7: ¡Que... muera!: may I die! let me die! As the subjunctive used with imperative value, depends on some desiderative verb understood, the que which would follow that verb is usually retained in Spanish (as in French), though not when V. or VV. is used.

3-8: para decirte la buenaventura: to tell your fortune.

4-1: a todo trapo: under full sail (lit. rag), i.e. unrestrainedly.

4-2: si son de alegría: why! they are tears of joy. Si is often used to introduce an emphatic assertion. It may be translated by an expletive or omitted entirely. Cf. p. 45, line 31 and note.

4-3: tomado a este hombre: (a = from). The preposition a is regularly used with the value of the English from, after verbs like steal, deprive, buy, etc.

4-4: burro en pelo: a bare-backed donkey (pelo = hair).

4-5: la mano: observe the usual idiomatic mode of expressing possession of parts of the body, wearing apparel, etc., by the use of the definite article instead of the possessive adjective his, her, etc., the dative pronoun also being often added to indicate the possessor, as: Yo me corté el dedo, I cut my finger.

4-6: se la: for the possessive value of se cf. the preceding note. Observe also the regular use of se instead of le or les when followed by la, le, lo or their plurals.

4-7: con todas las veras: with all the sincerity or earnestness. Cf. de veras, truly.

4-8: tarde que (usually o) temprano: sooner or later.

4-9: ya me... ya me: whether... or. For me cf. note p. 4, 3.

5-1: doy el cante: I denounce him.

5-2: dices que cuándo: do you ask when? Que redundant is required after decir introducing an indirect question. Cf. digo que no, que sí; I say no, yes.

5-3: el mes que entra: next month.

5-4: salir por la tapa de los sesos: cf. levantarse la tapa de los sesos, to blow out one's brains.

5-6: te ahorco: cf. note me matan, p. 3, 1.

5-7: para esa fecha: by that time (date).

5-8: después de muerto: after (he is) dead.

5-9: de haber echado tan corto el plazo: for having set so near (lit. short) a time.

5-10: tomó el tole: departed hurriedly.

5-11: vamos: (imperative) and vaya (subjunctive) are often used, regardless of their original meaning, as mere interjections. Translate: come now, well, etc. Cf. French allons.


Idiomatic Commentary

1. Lo hizo antes de llegar (cf. 53). — He did it before arriving.

2. Nunca tomó lo ajeno. — He never took what belonged to others.

3. Se puso de rodillas. — He got down on his knees.

4. ¿Qué se le ofrece a V.? — What do you wish?

5. Me pongo triste. — I become sad.

6. Vino hace tres días. — He came three days ago.

Hacía tres días que estaba aquí. — He had been here for three days.

Ocho días hace. — It is a week.

7. Lo ofrezco al que presente las señas (cf. 47). — I offer it to the one who will present the description.

8. Se echó a llorar. — He began to cry.

9. Aquí se habla español. — Spanish is spoken here.

N.B. The reflexive is frequently used as a substitute for the passive.

10. Roba a los pasajeros. — He robs the passengers.

11. Dió con el libro. — He hit upon the book.

12. Vuelvo a hablar. — I speak again.

(Review 6, 11, 8, 3).

13. Hace ocho días. — It is a week.

Hacía quince días. — It was a fortnight.

14. Es de Enrique. — It belongs to Henry.

15. Será de él (cf. note 8, 6). — It must be his. It probably is his.

Lo habrá dicho. Lo diría. — He must have said it.

16. Estaba trabajando. — He was working.

17. Se sonrió. — He smiled.

N.B. The reflexive form is often used in Spanish without reflexive value.

18. Mi hijo está aquí. — My son is here.

¿Estás aquí? ¡hijo mió! — Are you here, my son?

No ví jamás obras suyas. — I never saw any works of his.

No ví jamás sus obras. — I never saw his works.

19. No tengo gana de hacerlo. — I have no desire to do it.

20. Es de los nuestros. — He is one of us.

(Review 6).

21. Se ríe de todo (cf. 17). — He laughs at everything.

22. En seguida se fué. — He went off immediately.

23. Los demás. — The others.

Por lo demás. — As for the rest.

Las demás mujeres. — The rest of the women.

24. Se puso de mal humor (cf. 5). — He became ill-humored.

25. Siete u ocho. — Seven or eight.

Seis o siete. — Six or seven.

26. Lo hizo en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. — He did it in an instant.

27. Amadlo. — Love him.

Amaos (cf. note 30, 5). — Love each other.

28. ¿De qué se trata? — What is the question?

29. Me tendió la mano (cf. note 4,5). — He held out his hand to me.

30. Se lo digo a V. (cf. note 4, 6). — I tell you it.

No pudo dárselo. — He could not give it to him.

(Review 13, 12).

31. Se puso a cavilar. — He began to reflect.

32. Voy a hacerlo. — I am going to do it.

Iba a hablar. — He was going to speak.

33. Pasado mañana vendrá. — He will come day after to-morrow.

34. Quedaremos en lo dicho. — We will abide by what we have said.


 


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5. COMBINING DOCUMENTS

You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice, and that you preserve all their Warranty Disclaimers.

The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled "History" in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections Entitled "Acknowledgements", and any sections Entitled "Dedications". You must delete all sections Entitled "Endorsements".

6. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS

You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.

7. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS

A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.

8. TRANSLATION

Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.

9. TERMINATION

You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, receipt of a copy of some or all of the same material does not give you any rights to use it.

10. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE

The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/.

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of this License can be used, that proxy's public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Document.

11. RELICENSING

"Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site" (or "MMC Site") means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.

"CC-BY-SA" means the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license published by Creative Commons Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation with a principal place of business in San Francisco, California, as well as future copyleft versions of that license published by that same organization.

"Incorporate" means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or in part, as part of another Document.

An MMC is "eligible for relicensing" if it is licensed under this License, and if all works that were first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.

The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

How to use this License for your documents

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the "with...Texts." line with this:

with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with the
Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST.

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.