Chivalry part 4

At three o’clock he passed through Atenas and at six in the morning he and his companion arrived at the gates of San Mateo. But now the horses could endure no more. It was part of the fugitive’s plan to pass the day hidden in a friendly and secure house on the plains#of Surubres, although now this was not possible, on account of the fatigue of the horses and the danger of the young conspirator’s being recognized in passing through the village, in spite of the fact that he was wearing the costume of a countryman. It was necessary then to decide on something.

“Don Salvador,” said the guide, “three hundred yards from here there lives an acquaintance of mine, who is a man you can trust. If you like we can dismount here, so that we shan’t have to pass through San Mateo in the daytime.”

“Very well, let us go there.”

Corpulent countryman

The two men spurred their horses and a few minutes afterwards arrived at a house situated a

Chivalry part 3

Salvador Moreno was a high-strung, refined man to whom the brutality of force was repugnant. At the same time his indomitable and lofty spirit could not bend itself to the political despotism which is killing us like a shameful chronic sore. In the conspiracy he had seen the shaking off of the heavy yoke, the dignity of his country avenged, and the triumph of liberty. To gain all that, the sacrifice of his life had not seemed too much. Now his sorrow was very great, his patriotic illusions had disappeared like the visions of a beautiful dream when one awakens, and his heart was throbbing with wrath against those who through their cowardice had caused the daring attempt to fail. With keen regret he thought of his comrades uselessly sacrificed, of the agony of a brave young fellow whom he had carried out of the Cuartel in his arms, mortally wounded.

Clear and exact the events of the combat went marching through his mind, some of which were atrocious, worthy of savages, othe

Chivalry part 2

The present version, translated by Gray Casement, from the volume, Costa Rican Tales, copyright, 1905, by Burrows Co., Cleveland, is here reprinted by permission of the translator.

Chivalry

One night in the month of July, four horsemen, well mounted, emerged from an hacienda in Uruca and rode hurriedly along the highway to the joining of the road to San Antonio de Beldn, where they stopped.

“Here we must separate,” said one of them. “May you have good luck, Ramon,” he added, searching in the darkness for his friend’s hand.

“Adios, Salvador, adios,” replied the one spoken to, in a voice trembling with emotion. The two men, without letting go of each other’s hands, drew together until their stirrups touched, and embraced warmly.

“Adios, adios”—“Good luck.”

After a last embrace, long and affectionate, both started off in different directions, each escorted by one of the two horsemen who had just wit

Chivalry part 1

South America

Introduction

From the very earliest years following the conquest of Spanish America in the Sixteenth Century there have been Spanish- American writers, and though some of the most famous of them, like Alarcon and Garcilaso de la Vega, belong rather to Spanish literature proper, there remains a sufficiently large body of writings to warrant the use of the term Spanish-American literature. Yet before the Nineteenth Century, the situation was not very different from that in North America, where writers produced a body of literature more or less directly related to that of the mother country.

But for the purposes of this collection, the early Colonial period, indeed the entire period up to the beginning of the last century, may be disregarded so far as the short story is concerned. To trace the history of fiction in Spanish America, it would be necessary to treat practically every country from Mexico to Argentina and Chile. All the Spanish

What Vasile Saw part 10

But what was it that the Son of God was bearing on his shoulders— something dark and heavy and enormously large.

His Cross! Christ too was carrying His Cross, why? oh! why..

So lightly did He come over the snow, the Cross seemed no weight for His shoulders, yet Vasile’s shoulders still remembered the weight they had borne.

The luminous Figure did not pause before the young soldier, but Vasile had a fleeting glimpse of the angelic compassion in his eyes. … Slowly the Holy One passed the spot where Vasile knelt, and going straight up to the circle of sleeping soldiers, he stepped amongst them and Vasile saw—saw with his own eyes how the Son of God cast his Cross upon the cinders and how a glorious flame shot up from them, licking the sides of the Cross till the Cross itself was as a great torch of light!

Christ had brought his own Cross, had brought it to make a fire, so that the country’s brave defenders should not die of cold!

What Vasile Saw part 8

Others rose to examine the longed-for wood Vasile had brought and exclamations of all kinds arose.

The prisoners raised their heads and stared with sullen eyes at those who were talking. But Vasile was dumb. Overcome by fatigue, he sank down into the snow.

“A cross!” cried Scurtu. “How dare he bring a cross!”

“But it is wood and we are cold,” hazarded someone.

“That may be as it may be, but we cannot burn a cross!”

“It were sacrilege!”

“God would curse us!”

“And the dead also!”

“Yet we are cold and the dead are dead. …”

“What good to the dead if we freeze?”

“We have our country to defend!”

“There are so many dead without crosses!”

“For shame! Who dares burn a cross!”

Thus did exclamations fly from all tongues at once. Only Vasile and the prisoners were silent. Shame, weariness and a dull feeling of resent-

What Vasile Saw part 7

With a rapid movement Vasile seized the first cross and tried to pull it from the frozen ground. … The cross resisted—resisted like a tree with roots deep down in the ground, resisted like a living creature defending a sacred spot. But Vasile’s blood was up—the resistance he met with awoke the instinct of strife that lies dormant in each man. The stubborn cross became an opponent he had to overcome.

The strangest of struggles then ensued upon that forsaken plain—the wind howling like furies let loose whilst the young man wrestled with the wooden cross! The inert symbol offered a resistance that was ajmost human, and the youth fought desperately as though he had an enemy to throw.

The light of battle still in his eyes, Vasile lay awhile gasping; each time he drew in his breath, it was like a sob he could not hold back. The wind howled around him, whipping up crystals of frozen snow into his face.

But he had won! The cross had been uprooted; h

What Vasile Saw part 6

Vasile crossed himself instinctively, murmuring under his breath a prayer for the dead. He stood gazing in a dazed way at those three melancholy effigies, vaguely wondering the end of whose road they marked. Were they soldiers’ graves? or the graves of women? or perhaps of little children… of little children who had died of hunger and frost? Since the war so many children had died of hunger and frost.

Then with a start Vasile realized that the crosses were made of wood .. .of heavy wood! Had he not been sent out into the night to find wood ?

As one who stares at an unexpectedly discovered treasure upon which he dare not lay hand, Vasile remained standing before the three crosses, fascinated by the wood, yet not daring to touch them and at the same time unwilling to move on.

Sleep so profoundly

A terrible temptation rose within him: why not tear up one of those crosses and carry it off to feed the dying fire he had left! After all the de

What Vasile Saw part 5

“Wood—wood! I was to find wood,” he grumbled. “Where in this damned desert is there any wood I wonder! My God, what a night!

The wind cuts like a whip and the snow it drives into my face pricks like pine-needles,—but where in the devil am I to find wood!”

Vasile stood still slapping his sides with his numbed hands. In his aimless wanderings he had not stuck to the road; he had just blindly tramped into the night. He could not see much, but here and there were darker patches in the snow where its covering was thin; shapeless mounds that might be anything, a heap of stones, a dead horse, a rotting pile of straw—in the uncanny solitude of the night they might also have a more sinister meaning—anything was possible in time of war.

Clear voice took

Vasile shuddered, and again the vision of the peaceful village rose before him: once more he saw the pyramids of orange pumpkins and from behind some hedge a girl’s clear voice took