Monday, February 16, 2009

Tales by Augusto Monterroso

Practising my Spanish again. Here are my very basic translations of Monterroso:

The Mirror That Could Not Sleep

There was once a hand mirror who felt alone. Nobody saw himself in him, and so he felt really bad, as if he did not exist. The feeling was reasonable but the other mirrors made fun of him. At night, the other mirrors were kept in the same drawer of the dressing table. They slept profoundly, far from the concerns of the neurotic.

The Black Sheep

In a distant country there lived many years ago a black sheep. It was executed by firing squad. A century later, the repentant flock raised an equestrian statue that looked very nice in the park. Just so, ever after, every time black sheep appeared they were rapidly executed, so that the future generations of sheep, common and normal, could also be trained in sculpture.

The Imperfect Paradise

It’s true—the man said mechanically, without quitting the view of the flames that burned in the chimney that night in winter—in Paradise there are friends, music, also books; the only problem with going to Heaven is that there you cannot see the sky.


Augusto Monterroso (1921-2003) was a Guatamalan writer of short stories, who is widely considered a central figure in the Latin American "Boom" generation of writers.


Eshuneutics said...

#3 is poignant.

Jee Leong Koh said...

I like it best too. The flames from the chimney bit.