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Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book
Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book
Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book
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Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



About this ebook

Designed for the lover of fine literature as well as the intermediate language student, this dual-language book contains 13 great, representative Spanish short stories. Chronologically arranged to illustrate the development of the story form in Spanish, the stories are presented both in Spanish and English, enabling students to learn a language while simultaneously studying literary classics. 
Edited by former Queens College professor Angel Flores, the volume includes brilliant works not available in any other edition published in the U.S. First-rate stories range from the medieval tales of Don Juan Manuel and the classics of Cervantes, Alarcon and Miguel de Unamuno to the highly acclaimed contemporary works of Jorge Luis Borges, Camilo Jose Cela, and Juan Goytisolo. Also included are satirical views of Spanish life by Leopolda Alas (Clarin) and Emilia Pardo Bazan, charming sketches by Ricardo Palma, and the socially and politically inspired writings of Benito Lynch and Horacia Quiroga. 
With this book, language students will be able to follow Spanish classics in the original while having immediate access to a complete, faithful English translation on the facing page. The dual format saves hours in word-hunting and note-taking, allowing more time for intensified study of the language, building vocabulary and practicing conversation. The present volume also contains an informative essay on Spanish literature, a biographical-critical introduction to each story, notes on obscure references and idioms and a Spanish-to-English vocabulary.
Students of language and comparative literature will find the dual-language format convenient and helpful and the stories deeply satisfying; readers interested in Spanish literature will want to add this important and stimulating collection to their personal libraries. 

Release dateApr 27, 2012
Spanish Stories: A Dual-Language Book

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Rating: 3.2 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I bought this dual-language book of Spanish Short Stories to brush up on my Spanish--and perhaps learn a little bit about Spanish literature. On one page is the original Spanish, and facing it the English translation. There are 13 tales, ranging from a contemporary of Chaucer (Don Juan Manuel) to still living writers at the time of the 1960 publication: Borges, Cela, Goytisolo. My least favorite stories were two of the earliest ones by Don Juan Manual and Cervantes of Don Quixote fame--both were way too misogynist for me to find amusing, even if reflecting their times. Manual's story may have been the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew according to the Foreword and featured a woman terrified into obedience. Cervantes happy ending featured a woman marrying her rapist to recoup her honor. The anonymous story bookended by each "Lazarillo de Tormes" I did find amusing--even it's humor was dark indeed; it was among the most memorable of the tales. Parma is from Peru; Unamuno is from Uruguay and Lynch and Borges from Argentinia--the rest are Spaniards. There is only one woman author, Pardo Bazan, who the editor names along with Alarcon and Clarion (both also represented) as one of the "great trinity" of 19th century Spanish writers. For me her story, "The Revolver" was easily the standout in the anthology, as chilling as anything by Poe and with a twist worthy of de Maupassant. If I seek out more by any of the authors in the collection, Bazan would be at the top of my list. I was also charmed by stories by Alarcon ("The Stub-Book), Palma ("The Scorpion of Fray Gomez") and Lynch ("The Sorrel Colt"). The rest of the stories I didn't find all that remarkable--and I can't blame the translation having the Spanish right before me. I do love the concept of these dual language books, and the Forward, Introductions to the stories and the Notes gave all the context I could have asked for.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Spanish Stories / Cuentos Espanoles is a reprint of a collection of Spanish Language stories from 1960 obviously intended for use in a classroom. It starts with El Conde Lucanor, Lazarillo and then Cervantes and then passes through Unamuno and Borges etc. 1 woman included though, which is unusual for similar collections from this time period. Her name was Emilia Pardo Bazon and she was the child prodigy of a nobleman. Her story, "The Revolver' would in modern times be the tale of an abusive husband. The theme was handled in a delicate and complex way, reminiscent of gothic horror. Reading this collection makes me realize why Feminist Criticism came to be. Most of the stories seem to be talking among themselves about marriage and the proper roles for men and women. The one by Unamuno is quite twisted indeed. As for the translation and notes, very helpful and easy to access. On the whole, this was an interesting collection and an enjoyable way to continue to develop Spanish language fluency.

Book preview

Spanish Stories - Dover Publications




Edited by

Angel Flores

Stories in the Original Spanish

with New English Translations



Copyright © 1960 by Bantam Books, Inc.

Copyright © 1987 by Dover Publications, Inc.

All rights reserved.

This Dover edition, first published in 1987, is an unabridged, slightly corrected republication of the twenty-first printing (1981) of the text originally published by Bantam Books, Inc., in 1960 under the title Spanish Stories/Cuentos Españoles: A Bantam Dual-Language Book. The Publisher’s Note is new, replacing the one in the original edition although adapted from it.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Spanish stories = Cuentos españoles.

(A Dual-language book)

1. Short stories, Spanish—Translations into English. 2. Short stories, English—Translations from Spanish. I. Flores, Angel, 1900–. II. Title. III. Title: Cuentos españoles. IV. Series.


ISBN-13: 978-0-486-25399-2

ISBN-10: 0-486-25399-6

Manufactured in the United States by Courier Corporation




My former pupil, the gifted linguist and translator William M. Davis, has helped me untiringly, providing new translations of Lazarillo de Tormes, Conde Lucanor and La fuerza de la sangre, checking the notes and vocabulary, and advising on many and sundry problems.

Kate Flores helped with the bio-critical sketches, applying to them her genius for conciseness and precision.

Anthony Bonner and Donald Reis have also given kind and expert assistance.

I am grateful to María de Unamuno for permission to include the Spanish text of her father’s El Marqués de Lumbría, and to Albert Boni, who with characteristic generosity permitted me to reprint my English translation of it, originally published in Miguel de Unamuno’s Three Exemplary Novels and a Prologue, © 1930 by A. & C. Boni.

Jorge Luis Borges, Camilo José Cela, Juan Goytisolo and Guillermo de Torre were most friendly and cooperative.


Choosing the Spanish short stories included in this book was a challenge not only because of the great range and variety of fine works in this genre, but also because of pedagogical considerations. Decisions were based on the length, level of difficulty and familiarity. Whenever possible, pieces were chosen which have not been constantly anthologized although they represent the author well and possess the power, beauty and artistic merit of the more well-known ones. Such selections offer an opportunity to explore fresh territory for aesthetic enjoyment. The volume includes the first American translations of the Borges, Cela and Goytisolo stories.

Dual-language books such as this one eliminate the tedious task of flipping back and forth from the text to the vocabulary at the back, as is the case with more traditional readers. This allows the user both to absorb more vocabulary with greater understanding because he sees the words in context, and to recognize at a glance the syntactical and structural differences between the two languages. The notes cover special idioms and other difficulties, as well as background material.

Although this book is perfectly adapted to self-study purposes (and is ideal for comparative literature students and those unable to pursue Spanish seriously but desirous of reading masterworks in the original), a few classroom aids are also included: a vocabulary of words probably not familiar to first-year Spanish students, and a questionnaire on the stories to help stimulate thought and to guide both teacher and student into interesting discussion.




De lo que aconteció a un mancebo que se casó con una mujer muy fuerte y muy brava

About What Happened to a Young Man Who Married a Very Wild, Unruly Wife


Lazarillo de Tormes, Capítulos I y III

Lazarillo de Tormes, Chapters I and III


La fuerza de la sangre

The Power of the Blood


El libro talonario

The Stub-Book


El alacrán de Fray Gómez

The Scorpion of Fray Gómez


El revólver

The Revolver


El sustituto

The Substitute


El Marqués de Lumbría

The Marquis of Lumbría


El techo

The Roof


El potrillo roano

The Sorrel Colt


La forma de la espada

The Shape of the Sword


Sansón García, fotógrafo ambulante

Samson García, Traveling Photographer


La guardia

The Guard





IN THIS small book are reflected a few crucial stages in the development of Spanish style and particularly of short story writing. No European country produced prose fiction in the vernacular as early as Spain. This may be attributed principally to the impact of the Arabs, who occupied the country from the early eighth century to the late fifteenth, and whose immense treasury of tales (The Arabian Nights, etc.) and love for storytelling were imparted to their conquered people. Or then again it may have been because the other European countries preferred their narratives in verse, relegating the use of prose largely to historical and theological writing.

In any event, fourteenth-century Spain already had a Conde Lucanor which, though envisioned as a handbook of practical ethics, was in essence an anthology of short stories. The apologues, fables, historical anecdotes, tales and myths in Conde Lucanor provided the cases, illustrations or, as the author preferred to call them, examples, full of human interest, from which he abstracted his moral instruction. In short, Don Juan Manuel from his palace was doing what the priests were doing from the pulpit: putting across their message by dramatizing man’s existence. Don Juan Manuel invented little, perhaps, but he did transmit the cultural heritage of Moors and Christians as well as much of the anonymous world of folklore. One of these folkloric gems is the story about the taming of the shrew, here included, which Shakespeare was to rediscover years later, though not perhaps directly from Conde Lucanor.

The preoccupation with daily struggles, with moral values and behavior, seems to be a constant in Spanish writing. The Spaniards are forever anxious to learn more and more about the trials and tribulations of the man of flesh and blood, el hombre de carne y hueso, to use Unamuno’s favorite expression. The picaresque novel, from its inception with Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)—and here are included the two finest chapters of the four or five which constitute this brief masterpiece—was focused upon the individual’s journey through life. The anonymous author of Lazarillo was especially concerned with the hard knocks a man had to endure during his apprenticeship in order to face the cold, cruel and grim social reality which seemed so intent on preventing his survival. In those picaresque novels the villain was social reality, perverting the hero, lowering his status, crushing him under foot. That is why Lazarillo seems to be an anti-hero: he is no model for the reader, no great exemplar of Christian virtues—yet the author gives enough of Lazarillo’s background, of his mentors and masters, to make it clear that the little sinner from Tormes was not entirely to blame.

Another great exponent of examples was Cervantes. One of his most revealing works was his Exemplary Novels, from which The Power of the Blood, included here, is taken. In this story the evil-doings of the villain become virtuous actions as he evolves, through the power of the blood, into a hero. In Cervantes’ hands Spanish style has changed from the rudimentary plainness and naïveté of Don Juan Manuel and the piquant journalism of the anonymous author of Lazarillo to a complex afflatus, full of baroque resonances and circumlocutions.

The baroque outlasted the Golden Age, entering the eighteenth century via the very ripe Calderón and the mellowed Gracián. The late eighteenth century, however, saw a reaction to this Counter-Reformation prose, a reaction partly due to the strong influence of the French neoclassicists and, later, of the Encyclopedists. As was to be expected, the eighteenth century cultivated primarily the essay, its signal contributions being in the field of historical research and the humanities.

As a result of Romanticism and later of Realism, the nineteenth century witnessed a re-awakening of interest in storytelling. Readability was also stressed, since now there existed an extremely large and constantly expanding group of newspaper readers who wanted to be amused. The cultivators of the short story who appeared then were numerous and became consummate masters of the craft. It is true that some of the most gifted Romantics preferred to tell their stories in verse (Espronceda, Duque de Rivas), but the majority of them finally turned to prose, a tendency which became overwhelming as soon as the first glimmers of Realism were seen. During this transition the folkloric accent, reeking with local color (costumbrismo) and rancid traditionalism, became the order of the day. Alarcón was perhaps the most talented among them, and to this day The Three-Cornered Hat has remained as a landmark of this trend. The charming The Stub-Book, included here, contains similar quaintness, humor and earthiness.

With Clarín and the Countess Pardo Bazán picturesque sweetness gives way to bitter exposé and satire of the meretricious aspects of Spanish life. Both writers were attacked as atheistic and pornographic. Clarín’s great novel, La Regenta, shook the whole of Spain with indignation, and Pardo Bazán’s early interest in Naturalism and the Russian novel—she wrote perceptively on both subjects—caused her to be called lecherous and profane. The Substitute, included here, shows Clarín deflating the hypocrisy and patrioteerism of his time with his bitter humor, while The Revolver reveals Pardo Bazán’s psychological penetration. Through her contact with other literatures Pardo Bazán expanded her horizons and, more than any other Spanish writer, enriched the field of the short story. Her subject matter is complex, combining tragedy with comedy, and encompassing an extremely broad range of human situations. One can readily see that in these nineteenth-century writers, in Alarcón as well as Clarín and Pardo Bazán, the dialogues sound natural and convincing, and description and narration are couched in a direct, precise language.

In their struggle against a formidable, untameable nature and against despotic rulers, Latin American writers of the nineteenth century utilized prose fiction as a weapon. Their stories and novels mirrored the varied natural and ecological patterns of a vast continent. But of course the purpose was not to write picturesque books, like W. H. Hudson’s Green Mansions; nor was it a matter of describing the pampas as something uniquely American and then selling these descriptions as color postcards for literary tourists. The Latin Americans found nature inextricably bound up with human problems. Description of the pampas led to the description of its inhabitants, the gauchos, and of course to the way the white men from the cities were exterminating them; accounts of the Andes inevitably brought out the problem of the exploited Indians; stories of the selva introduced the problem of the workers in the rubber plantations. There was, of course, the brilliant if anachronistic exception of Ricardo Palma, who was primarily interested in droll stories dressed in Anatole France-sauce. The Scorpion, reprinted here, is representative of his charming sketches. But writers like Benito Lynch and Horacio Quiroga were inspired by the burning social and political issues of the day. Quiroga’s The Roof and Lynch’s Sorrel Colt stress the psychological rather than the sociological, but they nonetheless give a fair idea of the new South American style and analytical method as well as the characteristic pathos and humor.

As one moves closer to our own day—after Freud, after Kafka, after Existentialism—matters of form and content become much more complicated. If Miguel de Unamuno is easy to grasp, with his rugged and often abrupt style, so personal, and so passionately obsessed with his existential problems, it is not so easy to describe a Cela or a Goytisolo, or still worse, a Borges. Only one thing they have in common: they all write excellently well. But their styles are as different from one another as their sources of inspiration and their subject matter. Cela leans towards the picaresque: it is significant that one of his early works was a continuation to Lazarillo de Tormes. He loves those queer individualists who roam over the face of the Peninsula, knocking themselves around from pillar to post, full of malice and verve in the midst of a catastrophic social reality. From Goytisolo, a veritable shipwreck from the Spanish disaster, emanates less jocularity—in fact the humor has grown stale, acrid. He is an angry young man, echoing the sound of breaking in his hard, primitive language reminiscent of the early Hemingway. Borges, like Cela, has written about the smart alecks or compadritos of the slums, but he envelops the tragic implications in almost frothy levity and a highly stylized language (I am thinking of the masterpiece Hombre de la esquina rosada). But there is another Borges, inventive and fanciful, who deals with the uncanny. In such stories as The Shape of the Sword he spins a suspenseful detective yarn; in other stories, he goes further into a more recondite zone, reminiscent of Kafka (whom, it must not be forgotten, he translated into Spanish and to whom he owes, to some extent, the symbolic climate of his tales as well as some of his stylistic peculiarities).

Thus, projected in these pages, in miniature, are the mutations of the Spanish short story, from its birth, in Don Juan Manuel’s medieval world, to its most brilliant cultivators in the mid-twentieth century: Jorge Luis Borges in Buenos Aires, Camilo José Cela and Juan Goytisolo in Spain.


Spanish Stories

Don Juan Manuel


THE INFANTE Don Juan Manuel was a nephew of King Alfonso the Wise. This haughty aristocrat, courtier and warrior, who amassed the most considerable fortune of his day, was at the same time an extremely erudite man, an antiquarian with an encyclopedic mind, as interested in how to carve a roast, falconry, the spinning of yarns or the technique of verse as he was in war and political intrigue. Writing on history or the exercise of knighthood or the culinary arts, he would digress eloquently on theology, astronomy and the natural sciences. More individualistic than any of his medieval contemporaries, he affixed his signature to everything he wrote and deposited his manuscripts in safety vaults.

His greatest achievement, El Conde Lucanor, reveals his broad knowledge of the folklore of his native country and of other nations as well, and acquaintance with an astonishing number of Oriental, Greek, Latin and Christian books. El Conde Lucanor was conceived as a moral treatise, a kind of practical guide on how to win friends and influence people. The author appears as the earliest mouthpiece of a rather vulgar brand of pragmatism verging on out-and-out opportunism. But the appeal of El Conde Lucanor lies not on the ethical but on the fictional plane. When Count Lucanor, the main character, seeks advice from his private secretary, Petronio, the latter expresses his opinion in the form of anecdotes, adventures or tales which illustrate his point. These stories, some of the author’s own vintage but more often adaptations or borrowings from folklore, from Pliny’s Natural History, Aesop’s Fables, the Panchatantra, The Arabian Nights, The Gospel according to St. Luke, etc., constitute a veritable anthology of world literature, which became a source book for later writers including among others Cervantes, Calderón, La Fontaine, Hans Christian Andersen. El Conde Lucanor may be considered the earliest European work of fiction written in the vernacular, and its author Spain’s first short story writer, and of course one of the founders of Spanish prose.


por Don Juan Manuel

HACE MUCHOS años vivía en una aldea un moro¹ quien tenía un hijo único. Este mancebo era tan bueno como su padre, pero ambos eran muy pobres. En aquella misma aldea vivía otro moro, también muy bueno, pero además rico; y era padre de una hija que era todo lo contrario del mancebo ya mencionado. Mientras que el joven era fino, de muy buenas maneras, ella era grosera y tenía mal genio. ¡Nadie quería casarse con aquel diablo!

Un día el mancebo vino a su padre y le dijo que se daba cuenta de lo pobre que eran y como no le agradaría pasarse su vida en tal pobreza, ni tampoco marcharse fuera de su aldea para ganarse la vida, él preferiría casarse con una mujer rica. El padre estuvo de acuerdo. Entonces el mancebo propuso casarse con la hija de mal genio del hombre rico. Cuando su padre oyó esto se asombró mucho y le dijo que no; pues ninguna persona inteligente, por pobre que fuese,² pensaría en tal cosa. ¡Nadie, le dijo, se casará con ella! Pero el mancebo se empeñó tanto que al fin su padre consintió en arreglar la boda.

El padre fué a ver al buen hombre rico y le dijo todo lo que había hablado con su hijo y le rogó que, pues su hijo


by Don Juan Manuel

MANY YEARS ago there lived in a certain village a Moor who had an only son. This young man was as good as his father, but both were very poor. In that same village there lived another Moor, who was also very good, but rich besides; and he was the father of a daughter who was completely unlike that youth. While the young man was courteous, and had the best of manners, she was crude and had a wicked temper. No one wanted to marry that devil!

One day the young man went to his father and told him that he realized how poor they were; and as he did not relish spending his life in such poverty, or leaving his village to earn a living, he would prefer to wed a wealthy woman. The father agreed. Then the young man proposed to marry the rich man’s bad-tempered daughter. When his father heard this, he was much amazed and said no: for no person of intelligence, however poor he might be, would dream of such a thing. No one, he told him, will marry her! But the youth was so insistent that at last his father agreed to arrange the wedding.

The father went to see the good, rich man and told him everything he had spoken of with his son and requested that,

se atrevía a casarse con su hija, permitiese el casamiento. Cuando el hombre rico oyó esto le dijo:

— Por Dios, si hago tal cosa seré amigo falso pues usted tiene un buen hijo y yo no quiero ni su mal ni su muerte. Estoy seguro que si se casa con mi hija o morirá o su vida le será muy penosa. Sin embargo, si su hijo la quiere, se la daré, a él o a quienquiera que me la saque de casa.

Su amigo se lo agradeció mucho y como su hijo quería aquel casamiento, le rogó que lo arreglase.

El casamiento se hizo y llevaron a la novia a casa de su marido. Los moros tienen costumbre de preparar la cena a los novios y ponerles la mesa y dejarlos solos en su casa hasta el día siguiente.

Así lo hicieron, pero los padres y parientes de los novios recelaban que al día siguiente hallarían al novio muerto o muy maltrecho.

Luego que los novios se quedaron solos en casa, se sentaron a la mesa. Antes que ella dijese algo, miró el novio en derredor de la mesa, vió un perro y le dijo enfadado:

— Perro, ¡dános agua para las manos!³

Pero el perro no lo hizo. El mancebo comenzó a enfadarse y le dijo más bravamente que le diese agua para las manos. Pero el perro no se movió. Cuando vió que no lo hacía, se levantó muy sañudo de la mesa, sacó su espada y se dirigió a él. Cuando el perro lo vió venir, comenzó a huir. Saltando ambos por la mesa y por el fuego hasta que el mancebo lo alcanzó y le cortó la cabeza.

Así muy sañudo y todo ensangrentado, se volvió a sentar a la mesa, miró en derredor y vió un gato al que mandó que le diese agua para las manos. Cuando no lo hizo, le dijo:

— ¡Cómo, don falso traidor! ¿no viste lo que hice al perro porque no quiso hacer lo que le mandé yo? Prometo a

as his son had the courage to marry his daughter, the wedding be permitted. When the rich man heard this, he said:

Good Heavens, if I did such a thing I would be a false friend, for you have an excellent son and I do not wish for his injury or death. I am sure that if he marries my daughter he will either die or his life will be very trying. But if your son wants her, I shall give her to him, or to anyone who will get her out of the house for me.

His friend thanked him profusely and as his son was so desirous of the marriage, asked him to arrange it.

The wedding took place, and the bride was brought to her husband’s house. It is a custom among the Moors to prepare a supper for the bride and groom and set the table for them, leaving them alone in their house until the following day.

This is what was done, but the parents and relatives of the bride and groom were very much afraid that the next day they would find the groom either dead or badly injured.

As soon as the bride and groom were alone in their house, they sat down at the table. Before she could say a word, the groom looked about the table, spied his dog and said angrily:

Dog, fetch water for our hands!

But the dog did not do it. The young man began to get irritated and told it more fiercely to fetch water for their hands. But the dog did not move. When he saw the dog was not doing as he said, he rose furiously from the table, drew his sword, and went after it. When the dog saw him coming, it began to run. Both leaped over the table and over the fire until at last the young man caught up with it and cut off its head.

Thus, in a great fury and drenched with blood, he returned to the table, looked about and saw a cat which he ordered to fetch water for their hands. When it did not, he said:

"What, Sir false traitor, didn’t you see what I did to the dog when it refused to do what I told it? I swear to God

Dios que si no haces lo que te mando, te haré lo mismo que al perro.

Pero el gato no lo hizo porque tampoco es su costumbre dar agua para las manos. Cuando no lo hizo, el mancebo se levantó y le tomó por las patas y lo estrelló contra la pared.

Y así, bravo y sañudo, volvió el mancebo a la mesa y miró por todas partes. La mujer que estaba mirando, creyó que estaba loco y no dijo nada.

Cuando hubo mirado por todas partes, vió su caballo,⁴ el único que tenía. Ferozmente le dijo que le diese agua, pero el caballo no lo hizo. Cuando vió que no lo hizo, le dijo:

— ¡Cómo, don caballo! ¿crees que porque tu eres mi único caballo te dejaré tranquilo? Mira, si no haces lo que te mando, juro a Dios que haré a ti lo mismo que a los otros, pues no existe nadie en el mundo que se atreva a desobedecerme.

Pero el caballo no se movió. Cuando el mancebo vió que no le obedecía, fué a él y le cortó la cabeza.

Y cuando la mujer vió que mataba su único caballo y que decía que haría lo mismo a quienquiera que no obedeciese, se dió cuenta que el mancebo no estaba jugando. Tuvo tanto miedo que no sabía si estaba muerta o viva.

Y él, bravo y sañudo y ensangrentado, volvió a la mesa, jurando que si hubiera en la casa mil caballos y hombres y mujeres que no le obedeciesen, los mataría a todos. Luego se sentó y miró por todas partes, teniendo la espada ensangrentada en la mano. Después de mirar a una parte y otra y de no ver a nadie, volvió los ojos a su mujer muy bravamente y le dijo con gran saña, con la espada ensangrentada en alto:

— ¡Levántate y dáme agua para las manos!

La mujer, que creía que él la haría pedazos si no hacía lo que le mandaba, se levantó muy aprisa y le dió agua para las manos.

— ¡Cuánto agradezco a Dios que hayas hecho lo que te

that if you do not do as I order, I will do the same to you as I did to that dog."

But the cat did not do it, because neither is it his custom to fetch water for the hands. When it did not obey him, the young man arose, seized it by the legs, and dashed it against the wall.

And thus, furious and raging, the young man returned to the table and looked about him on all sides. His wife, who had been watching, thought he was crazy, and said nothing.

When he had looked everywhere about him, he spied his horse, the only one he had. Ferociously, he told it to fetch water, but the horse did not do it. When he saw it had not done so, he said:

What, Sir Horse! Do you imagine that because you are my only horse I will leave you alone? Look, if you don’t do what I tell you, I swear to God that I will do the same to you as to the others, for there is no creature on earth who would dare to disobey me.

But the horse did not budge. When the young man saw it was not obeying, he went over to it and cut off its head.

And when his wife saw him kill the only horse he had, and heard him say he would do the same to anyone who would not obey him, she realized he was not joking. She grew so frightened that she did not know whether she was dead or alive.

And he, angry, furious, and drenched with blood, returned to the table, swearing that if there were a thousand horses and men and women in the house who would not obey him, he would kill them all. Then he sat himself down and looked everywhere about him, holding the gory sword in his hand. After looking right and left and seeing no living thing, he stared fiercely at his wife, and in a fury, with his gory sword aloft, he said:

Get up and fetch me water for my hands!

His wife, who thought he would cut her to pieces if she failed to obey him, jumped up in a great hurry and gave him water for his hands.

How I thank God you’ve done as you were told, he

mandé—le dijo él—que si no, te habría hecho igual que a los otros!

Después le mandó que le diese de comer y ella lo hizo. Y siempre que decía algo, se lo decía con tal tono, con la espada en alto, que ella creía que le iba a cortar la cabeza.

Así pasó aquella noche: nunca ella habló, y hacía todo lo que él mandaba. Cuando hubieron dormido un rato, él dijo:

— No he podido dormir por culpa de lo de anoche. No dejes que me despierte nadie y prepárame una buena comida.

A la mañana siguiente los padres y parientes llegaron a la puerta y como nadie hablaba creyeron que el novio estaba ya muerto o herido. Al ver a la novia y no al novio lo creyeron aún más.

Cuando la novia los vió a la puerta, llegó muy despacio y con gran miedo comenzó a decirles:

— ¡Locos, traidores! ¿qué hacen aquí? ¿Cómo se atreven a hablar aquí? ¡Cállense, que si no, todos moriremos!

Al oir esto, todos se asombraron y apreciaron mucho al joven que había domado a la mujer brava.

Y desde aquel día su mujer fué muy obediente y vivieron muy felices.

Y a los pocos días el suegro del mancebo quiso hacer lo mismo que había hecho su yerno y mató un gallo de la misma manera, pero su mujer le dijo:

— ¡Ya es demasiado tarde para eso, Don Nadie! No te valdrá de nada⁶ aunque mates cien caballos, pues ya nos conocemos demasiado bien …

Si al comienzo no muestras quien eres

Nunca podrás después, cuando quisieres.

told her, or else I’d have done the same to you as to the others!

Later he ordered her to give him something to eat, and she did so. And whenever he said something, he spoke to her so sharply, with his sword aloft, that she thought he was going to chop off her head.

Thus passed that night: she never speaking and doing everything he told her. When they had slept a while, he said:

I haven’t been able to sleep a wink because of what happened last night. Don’t let anyone wake me and prepare a good meal.

The next morning, when the parents and relatives came to the door and heard no voices, they imagined the groom was now either dead or wounded. Seeing the bride and not the groom, they were convinced of this more than ever.

When the bride saw them at the door, she tiptoed out, and frightened half to death, began saying:

Madmen, traitors, what are you doing here? How do you dare speak here? Hush, for if you don’t, we’ll all be dead!

Hearing this, they were all amazed, and held in high esteem the youth who had tamed his headstrong wife.

And from that day on, his wife was most obedient, and they lived happily ever after.

A few days later, the young man’s father-in-law wished to do as his son-in-law had done, and killed a rooster the same way. But his wife said:

"It’s too late for that now, Sir Nobody! It will do you no good even if you kill a hundred horses, for now we know each other too well …

If at the start you don’t show who you are

When later on you wish to, you’ll never get too far."

Lazarillo de Tormes

(published anonymously in 1554)

IN THE YEAR 1554 three different editions were printed (in Burgos, Alcalá and Antwerp) of a book entitled Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades (Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and His Fortunes and Adversities). Understandably, no author was mentioned. For instead of dealing sweetly with the amorous shepherds and doughty knights then in vogue, the book focused attention on the body politic of Spain. Its main character, the lad Lazarillo, no idealized hero but one of the unkillable children of the very poor, has to use his wits to obtain the coveted slice of bread from his mean, cruel, avaricious and hypocritical elders. Thus the dynamic force of the book is hunger.

The author, influenced no doubt by Erasmus, was more concerned with sociology than with literary art. His book casts a sharp light upon a country on the eve of the great economic crisis which ultimately made the sun set over the Spanish domains. This is, then, a new kind of fictional work: realistic, satirical—a concatenation of adventures illuminating society as much as the peripatetic I telling the story. Since the I is a pícaro, i.e., a rogue, a vagrant,

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