The Hero part 3

“The place belongs to me,” he said simply, and offered his shoulder to support the statue. He set his teeth in fierce determination to sup-press the infernal pain.

“What are you going to do?” asked Mattao.

“Whatever be the will of St. Gonselvo,” he answered, and started on the procession together with the rest.

The crowd was stupefied.

During the procession his bleeding wound was gradually becoming black. Now and then someone would ask:

“Well, Umma, how do you feel?”

Ummalido did not answer, but marched in step with the music. He walked with heavy head under the broad canopy floating in the wind. The crowd was constantly growing in volume.

At the corner of a certain street Ummalido suddenly sank to the ground. The statue tipped slightly. Dismayed for a moment, the crowd slowed up. Soon, however, the procession was resumed. The place of Ummalido was taken by Mattia Scarfarola. Two relatives lifted t

The Hero part 2

The people crowded from every side to see the procession. The windows clattered with every gust of wind. The interior of the temple was drowned in clouds of incense, and sounds of musical instruments rose intermittently to a clear pitch and disappeared into the mysterious distance. The eight men, now lost in the general scuffle, and dazed with a sort of religious fervor, stretched their arms, ready to start.
“One! . . . Two! . . . Three! . . .” cried Mattao.

With a concentrated effort they all tried to lift the statue from the altar. But the weight was too great, and the statue bent over a little to the left. The men had scarcely time to gain a firm hold on the pedestal. They leaned forward to retain their balance, but the less dextrous, among them Biagio di Clisci and Giovanni Curo, let the statue slip from their hands. It fell with all its weight to one side. Ummalido uttered a piercing cry.

“Look out! Look out!” shouted the people on every side whe

The Hero part 1

Gabriele D’annunzio (1863-1938)

D’annunzio was born at Pescara in the Abruzzi in 1863. His first literary work was a volume of verses, published when he was only sixteen. His first novel appeared in 1889, and he afterwards became famous also as a poet and dramatist. His short stories, of which he wrote a number, are memorable pictures of the half-savage peasant- folk in the mountains of his native district. He excelled in the description of vivid landscapes, and in the delineation of elemental types on the one hand, and of decadent overcivilized moderns on the other.

The present version is translated by Louis Lozowick. It appeared originally in the Pagan magazine, and is here reprinted by permission of the editor.

The Hero

The big banners of St. Gonselvo, brought upon the square, floated heavily in the wind. Men of herculean stature, with faces flushed and necks strained, carried them gingerly.

After the victory over the peop