Spanish Stories of the Late Nineteenth Century: A Dual-Language Book

Overview


These eleven tales are by four outstanding nineteenth-century authors whose work brought new life to Spanish literature. Published between 1870 and 1900, they include "El Hechicero" (The Sorcerer), by Juan Valera, a highly polished allegorical retelling of an Andalusian legend. Pedro Antonio de Alarcón’s tale of bandits, "La buenaventura," appears with his "La Comendadora," inspired by an incident in a Granada convent. Three tales by Leopoldo Alas ("Clarín")--"Adios, Cordera," "Cambio de luz," and ...
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Spanish Stories of the Late Nineteenth Century: A Dual-Language Book

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Overview


These eleven tales are by four outstanding nineteenth-century authors whose work brought new life to Spanish literature. Published between 1870 and 1900, they include "El Hechicero" (The Sorcerer), by Juan Valera, a highly polished allegorical retelling of an Andalusian legend. Pedro Antonio de Alarcón’s tale of bandits, "La buenaventura," appears with his "La Comendadora," inspired by an incident in a Granada convent. Three tales by Leopoldo Alas ("Clarín")--"Adios, Cordera," "Cambio de luz," and "Benedictino"--exemplify the author's remarkably protean style. Emilia Pardo Bazán's stories ("Afra," "La Santa de Karnar," "La cana," "Dios castiga," and "La Mayorazga de Bouzas") take place in her native Galicia. All exhibit the violence that fascinated Pardo Bazán, along with the independent, courageous female characters who populate her work.
This dual-language edition features an informative introduction and ample footnotes, making it not only a pleasure to read but also a valuable learning and teaching aid for students and teachers of Spanish literature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486445052
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 1/12/2006
  • Language: Spanish
  • Series: Dover Dual Language Spanish Series
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,303,984
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Spanish Stories of the Late Nineteenth Century Cuentos españoles de fines del siglo XIX

A Dual-Language Book


By STANLEY APPELBAUM

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-12068-3



CHAPTER 1

JUAN VALERA

El Hechicero


El castillo estaba en la cumbre del cerro; y, aunque en lo exterior parecía semiarruinado, se decía que en lo interior tenía aún muy elegante y cómoda vivienda, si bien poco espaciosa.

Nadie se atrevía a vivir allí, sin duda por el terror que causaba lo que del castillo se refería.

Hacía siglos que había vivido en él un tirano cruel, el poderoso Hechicero. Con sus malas artes había logrado prolongar su vida mucho más allá del término que suele conceder la naturaleza a los seres humanos.

Se aseguraba algo más singular todavía. Se aseguraba que el Hechicero no había muerto, sino que sólo había cambiado la condición de su vida, de paladina y clara que era antes, en tenebrosa, oculta y apenas o rara vez perceptible. Pero, ¡ay de quien acertaba a verle vagando por la selva, o repentinamente descubría su rostro, iluminado por un rayo de luna, o, sin verle, oía su canto allá a lo lejos, en el silencio de la noche! A quien tal cosa ocurría, ora se le desconcertaba el juicio, ora solían sobrevenirle otras mil trágicas desventuras. Así es que, en veinte o treinta leguas a la redonda, era frase hecha el afirmar que había visto y oído al Hechicero todo el que andaba melancólico y desmedrado, toda muchacha ojerosa, distraída y triste, todo el que moría temprano y todo el que se daba o buscaba la muerte.

Con tan perversa fama, que persistía y se dilataba, en época en que eran los hombres más crédulos que hoy, nadie osaba habitar en el castillo. En torno de él reinaban soledad y desierto.

A su espalda estaba la serranía, con hondos valles, retorcidas cañadas y angostos desfiladeros, y con varios altos montes, cubiertos de densa arboleda, delante de los cuales el cerro del castillo parecía estar como en avanzada.

Por ningún lado, en un radio de dos leguas, se descubría habitación humana, exceptuando una modesta alquería, en el término casi del pinar, dando vista a la fachada principal del castillo, al pie del mismo cerro.

Era dueño de la alquería, y habitaba en ella desde hacía doce años, un matrimonio, en buena edad aún, procedente de la más cercana aldea.

El marido había pasado años peregrinando, comerciando o militando, según se aseguraba, allá en las Indias. Lo cierto es que había vuelto con algunos bienes de fortuna.

Muy por cima del prestigio que suele dar la riqueza (y como riqueza eran considerados su desahogo y holgura en el humilde lugar donde había nacido), resplandecían varias buenas prendas en este hombre, a quien, por suponer que había estado en las Indias, llamaban el Indiano. Tenía muy arrogante figura, era joven aún, fuerte y diestro en todos los ejercicios corporales, y parecía valiente y discreto.

Casi todas las mozas solteras del lugar le desearon para marido. Así es que él pudo elegir, y eligió a la que pasaba y era sin duda más linda, tomándola por mujer, con no pequeña envidia y hasta con acerbo dolor de algunos otros pretendientes.

El Indiano, no bien se casó, se fue a vivir con su mujer a la alquería que poco antes de casarse había comprado.

Allí poseía, criaba o se procuraba con leve fatiga cuanto hay que apetecer para campesino regalo y sano deleite. Un claro arroyo, cuyas aguas, más frescas y abundantes en verano por la derretida nieve, en varias acequias se repartían, regaba la huerta, donde se daban flores y hortaliza. En la ladera, almendros, cerezos y otros árboles frutales. Y en las orillas del arroyo y de las acequias, mastranzos, violetas y mil hierbas olorosas. Había colmenas, donde las industriosas abejas fabricaban cera y miel perfumada por el romero y el tomillo que en los circundantes cerros nacían. El corral, lejos de la casa, estaba lleno de gallinas y de pavos; en el tinado se guarecían tres lucias vacas que daban muy sabrosa leche; en la caballeriza, dos hermosos caballos, y en apartada pocilga, una pequeña piara de cerdos, que ya se cebaban con habas, ya con las ricas bellotas de un encinar contiguo. Había, además, algunas hazas sembradas de trigo, garbanzos y judías, y por último, allá en la hondonada un frondoso sotillo, poblado de álamos negros y de mimbreras hacia cuyo centro iba precipitándose el arroyo y formando, ya espumantes cascadas, ya serenos remansos.

Como el Indiano era excelente cazador, liebres, perdices, patos silvestres y hasta reses mayores no faltaban en su mesa.

Así vivían, como he dicho, hacía más de doce años, marido y mujer, en santa paz y bienandanza, alegrándoles aquella soledad una preciosa y única hija que habían tenido y que rayaba en los once años.

No consta de las historias que hemos consultado, cuál fuese el nombre de esta niña; pero a fin de facilitar nuestra narración, la llamaremos Silveria.

Bien puede asegurarse, sin exageración alguna, que Silveria era una joya; un primor de muchacha. Se había criado al aire libre, pero ni los ardores del sol ni las otras inclemencias del cielo habían podido ofender nunca la delicadeza de su lozana y aún infantil hermosura. Como por encanto, se mantenía limpia y espléndida la sonrosada blancura de su tez. Sus ojos eran azules como el cielo, y sus cabellos dorados como las espigas en agosto.

Acaso, cuando éramos niños, nos consintieron y mimaron mucho nuestros padres. De todos modos, ¿quién no ha conocido niños consentidos y mimados? Y, sin embargo, a nadie le será fácil concebir y encarecer lo bastante el consentimiento y el mimo de que Silveria era objeto. La madre, por dulce apatía y debilidad de carácter, la dejaba hacer cuanto se le antojaba; y el padre, que era imperioso, como idolatraba a su hija y se enorgullecía de que se le pareciese en lo resuelta y determinada, y en la valerosa decisión con que ella procuraba siempre lograr su gusto y cumplir su real voluntad, lejos de refrenarla, solía, sin premeditar y reflexionar, darle alas y aliento para todo. Así es que, cuando el padre se iba, y se iba a menudo, ya de caza, ya a otras excursiones, se diría que por estilo tácito transmitía a la chica todo su imperio. Parecía, pues, Silveria, una pequeña reina absoluta, era tan generoso y noble el temple natural de su ánimo, que ni su absolutismo menoscababa el cariño y el respeto que a su madre tenía, ni la amplia libertad de que gozaba le valía nunca para propósito que no fuese bueno.

No había en la alquería más servidumbre que la anciana nodriza de la señora, cocinera y ama de llaves a la vez; su hija ya más que grande, la cual, aunque muy simple, trabajaba mucho y lavaba y planchaba bien; y el viejo marido de la nodriza, que hacía de gañán, porquerizo y vaquero.

Silveria, como se había criado en aquel rústico apartamiento, sin hablar apenas sino con su gente y con sus padres, era dechado singular de candorosa inocencia. Se había formado de la naturaleza muy alegre y poético concepto, y en vez de recelar o desconfiar de algo, a todo se atrevía y de nada desconfiaba. Cuanto era natural imaginaba ella que existía para su regalo y que se deshacía para obsequiarla. ¿Cómo, pues, había de ser lo sobrenatural menos complaciente y benigno? Por eso, sin darse exacta cuenta de tal discurso, y más bien por instinto, Silveria no se asustaba ni de la oscuridad nocturna, ni de los vagos y misteriosos ruidos que forman el agua al correr y el viento al agitar el follaje. El mismo Hechicero, de quien había oído referir mil horrores, en lugar de causarle pavor, le infundía deseo de encontrarse con él y de conocerle y tratarle. A ella se le figuraba que era calumniado y que no podía ser perverso como decían.

JUAN VALERA

The Sorcerer


The castle stood on the summit of the hill; and though it seemed halfruined on the outside, the living quarters inside were said to be very elegant and comfortable still, if not very roomy.

No one dared to live there, no doubt because of the terror caused by what was reported about the castle.

Centuries earlier a cruel tyrant had lived in it, the mighty Sorcerer. With his wicked arts he had succeeded in prolonging his life far beyond the term which nature usually grants to human beings.

Something more singular yet was asserted. It was asserted that the Sorcerer hadn't died, but had merely altered the character of his life from its former transparency and clarity into one that was shadowy, hidden, and scarcely or rarely perceptible. But woe to the person who managed to see him roaming through the woods or who suddenly discovered his face, lit by a moonbeam, or who, without seeing him, heard his singing in the distance, in the silence of the night! Some of those who had that experience lost their wits, others were subject to a thousand other tragic misfortunes. And so, for twenty or thirty leagues around, it was a pat phrase that every man who went about melancholy and in a decline, every distracted, sad girl with dark rings around her eyes, everyone who died prematurely, and everyone who killed himself or sought death, had seen or heard the Sorcerer.

With such an evil reputation, which persisted and spread, in that age when men were more credulous than today, no one dared to dwell in the castle. Round about it solitude and wilderness reigned.

Behind it rose the mountain range, with deep valleys, twisting gorges, and narrow defiles, and with several high peaks covered with dense woodland, in front of which the castle hill seemed to form an advance outpost.


Within a radius of two leagues, no human dwelling was to be seen on any side, except for a humble farmstead, almost at the edge of the pinewood, opposite the main facade of the castle, at the foot of the same hill.

Owners of the farmstead, and inhabiting it for twelve years now, were a man and wife, still in the prime of life, who had come from the nearest village.

The husband had spent years wandering, in trade or in the army, as people asserted, far off in the New World. What was definite is that he had returned with a moderate fortune.

Far beyond the prestige that wealth is accustomed to bestow (and, in the humble place where he was born, his relative comfort and affluence were regarded as wealth) were the many good qualities manifested by this man, who, because it was assumed he had been in the New World, was called the West Indian. He cut a very dashing figure, he was still young, strong and skillful in every physical exercise, and he seemed to be brave and wise.

Nearly all the unmarried village girls wanted him for a husband. And so, he was able to take his pick, and he chose the one who was reputed to be, and no doubt was, the prettiest, taking her as his wife, to the no small envy, and even bitter pain, of some other suitors.

As soon as the West Indian married, he went to live with his wife in the farmstead he had purchased shortly before his wedding.

There he possessed, raised, or procured without much trouble, all that one could wish for in the way of rural pleasure and healthy delight. A clear brook, whose waters, colder and more plentiful in summer thanks to the snowmelt, were divided into several irrigation ditches, afforded moisture to the garden, where flowers and vegetables grew. On the hillside, almond, cherry, and other fruit trees. And on the banks of the brook and the ditches, mint, violets, and a thousand fragrant herbs. There were beehives, where the industrious bees produced wax and honey perfumed by the rosemary and thyme that grew on the surrounding hills. The farmyard, at a distance from the house, was full of chickens and turkeys; the cowshed sheltered three glossy-coated cows which gave delicious milk; in the stable two fine horses, and in a separate sty a small herd of pigs, nourished at times with beans, and at others with the abundant acorns of an adjoining grove of holm oaks. In addition there were a few plots of land sown with wheat, chickpeas, and green beans; and, finally, in the hollow yonder, a leafy little grove of black poplar and osier, toward the center of which the brook hastened, forming foaming cascades in some places and quiet pools in others.

Since the West Indian was an excellent hunter, his table never lacked for hares, partridges, wild ducks, and even bigger game.

There husband and wife had been living for more than twelve years, as I've said, in holy peace and prosperity, their solitude cheered by a precious only daughter whom they had had, and who was now close to eleven.

The histories we've consulted don't state this girl's name, but to make our narrative easier, we'll call her Silveria.

It may well be claimed, without any exaggeration, that Silveria was a jewel, a wonderful girl. She had grown up in the open air, but neither the blazing sun nor other inclemencies of weather had ever been able to affect the delicacy of her vigorous and still childish beauty. As if by enchantment, the pink-tinged whiteness of her complexion remained clear and splendid. Her eyes were as blue as the sky, and her hair as golden as ears of wheat in August.

Perhaps we were greatly spoiled and pampered by our parents when we were children. At any rate, who hasn't known some spoiled and pampered children? And yet no one can readily conceive or sufficiently emphasize the extent to which Silveria was spoiled and pampered. Her mother, through a sweet nonchalance and weakness of character, let her do whatever she liked; and since her father, who was bossy by nature, idolized his daughter and was proud of what he regarded as her resolve and determination, and the brave decisiveness with which she always tried to get what she wanted and indulge her own sweet pleasure, far from restraining her, he would usually incite and encourage her in everything without premeditation or reflection. And so, when her father went hunting or on other trips, as he frequently did, you might say that in some unspoken way he transferred all his command to the little girl. Thus Silveria was like a little absolute queen, but the natural condition of her mind was so generous and noble that her absolutism didn't diminish her love and respect for her mother, nor did she ever use the extensive freedom she enjoyed for any purpose other than good.

The only servants in the farmstead were the mistress's old wet nurse, who was both cook and housekeeper; her daughter, already fully grown, who, though very simple, worked hard and was good at washing and ironing; and the nurse's old husband, who acted as farmhand, swineherd, and cowherd.

Since Silveria had been raised in that rustic isolation, speaking with hardly anyone but her servants and her parents, she was an unusual model of frank innocence. She had formed a very cheerful and poetic conception of nature, and instead of fearing or mistrusting anything, she was game for everything and shy of nothing. All that was natural, she imagined, existed for her pleasure and went out of its way to please her. So, how could the supernatural be less obliging and beneficent? Therefore, without reasoning out this train of thought, but rather by instinct, Silveria wasn't frightened by the dark of night, or by the vague, mysterious sounds produced by running water or the wind stirring the leaves. The very Sorcerer, of whom she had heard a thousand horrors reported, instead of instilling fear in her, imbued her with the desire to meet him, get to know him, and keep company with him. She imagined that he had been slandered and couldn't be as evil as people said.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Spanish Stories of the Late Nineteenth Century Cuentos españoles de fines del siglo XIX by STANLEY APPELBAUM. Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Juan Valera
  El Hechicero / The Sorcerer
Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
  La buenaventura / The Gypsy's Prediction
  La Comendadora / The Nun of the Order of Saint James
Emilia Pardo Bazán
  Afra / Afra
  La Mayorazga de Bouzas / The Heiress of Bouzas
  La Santa de Karnar / The Holy Woman of Karnar
  La cana / The Gray Hair
  Dios castiga / God Punishes
Leopoldo Alas ("Clarín")
  ¡Adiós, "Cordera"! / Good-bye, "Lamb"!
  Cambio de luz / Change of Light
  Benedictino / Benedictine
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