Monday, December 8, 2008

Something Very Terrible Will Happen to This Town.

I received this story by e-mail, and decided to translate it and share it with you.

In times of uncertainty like this one, where economical crisis is hitting all companies, sometimes fear takes us over and we create our own doom.

Speculation is a dangerous demon, that makes all come to a vicious circle: companies started selling their shares and assets looking for money foreseeing they won't be able to pay their debts, then people noticed and they started taking out their money from them, making company's value to go down and them needing to sell more and so on until bankruptcy.

Let it no happen to ourselves.

Hope this story gives you an idea about how ridiculous is human nature sometimes, and makes you reflect:

Are we the people causing something terrible to happen to this town?

Imagine yourself a very small town where there's an old lady who has two siblings: one boy, 17, and a daughter, 14. She's serving them breakfast and has a worried expression on her face. Her sons ask her what's wrong and she answers:

- I don't know, but I have woke up with the feeling that something very terrible will happen to this town.

They laugh at their mother. They say those are old people feelings, it happens. The son goes to play to the billiards, and at the moment he's about to strike a simple cannon, the other player says to him:

- I bet you a dollar that you won't do it.

Everyone laughs, he laughs, he shoots and misses, pays his dollar due and everyone asks him what happened, if it was a simple shot. He replies:

- It's true, but I'm concerned about something my mother told me this morning, about something terrible happening to this town.

All laugh at him, and the dollar winner goes back home, where he's with his mother or a granddaughter or anything, any sibling. Happy about his dollar he says:

- I won this dollar to Dámaso on the simplest way because he's such a fool.

- And why is him such a fool?

- Well, because he couldn't strike a very simple cannon, worried about the idea that her mother woke up with a feeling that something terrible will happen to this town.

Then his mother tells him:

- Don't make fun out of old people feelings because sometimes they come true.

She listens to him and then goes to buy food. She says to the shopkeeper:

- I want a pound of food - and at the moment she's being served, she adds-: No, better them be two, because they're saying something terrible will happen to this town and it's best to be prepared.

The grocer dispatches her food and when another lady comes to buy a pound of food he tells her:

- Take two, because people is coming here saying something very terrible will happen, and they're preparing and buying things.

Then the old lady replies:

- I have several sons, look, better give me four pounds.

She takes the four pounds, and to make the long story short, I'll say that the grocer in half an hour runs out of food, go gets more from the warehouse, he sells all of it and the rumor spreads. The moment comes when everyone in the town is waiting for something to happen. All activities are stopped and suddenly, at two o'clock, weather's hot as usual. Someone says:

- Have you noticed how hot it is?

- But this town has always been hot!

(So hot that it's a town where musicians had their instruments mended with tar, and always played under a shade beacause if they played under the sun, their instruments will tear down in pieces.)

- However -someone says-, it's never been that hot at this time.

- But it's at two o'clock is when it's hotter.

- Yes, but not so hot as now.

To the desert town, to the desert town square, suddenly a little bird comes down and rumor spreads:

- There's a bird in the town square.

And everyone comes, frightened, to look at the little bird.

- But people, there have always been little birds who come down here.

- Yes, but never at this time.

It comes to a moment of such tension for the town residents, that everyone is desperate for leaving and are not brave enough to do it.

- I am a real man. -someone yells- I'm leaving.

He takes his goods, his children, his animals, place them on a cart and passes through the central street, where all the poor town is looking at him, until the time they all say:

- If he dares, then we are leaving too.

And they literally start to desert the town. They take their goods, animals, everything.

And one of the last to abandon the town says:

- Let no disgrace come to what is left from our house -and then he burns it and others start to burn their houses too.

They run away in tremendous and true panic, like in a war exodus, and in the middle of everyone is the woman who had the premonition crying out:

- I said something very terrible will happen, and they told me I was crazy.

by Gabriel García Márquez - told on a writer's congress.
Translation and adaptation by Juan Manuel Trejo Sánchez


  1. Hey que onda soy el carnal de White de Monclova,saludos,ya no tienes las camisas de Google

    Pasate por mi blog

  2. thank you for the translation :) I love Marquez