segunda-feira, 31 de agosto de 2009

Little Ida’s Flowers by Hans Christian Andersen

Little Ida’s Flowers

by Hans Christian Andersen


BY poor flowers are quite dead,” said little Ida, “they were so pretty yesterday evening, and now all the leaves are hanging down quite withered. What do they do that for,” she asked, of the student who sat on the sofa; she liked him very much, he could tell the most amusing stories, and cut out the prettiest pictures; hearts, and ladies dancing, castles with doors that opened, as well as flowers; he was a delightful student. “Why do the flowers look so faded to-day?” she asked again, and pointed to her nosegay, which was quite withered. “Don’t you know what is the matter with them?” said the student. “The flowers were at a ball last night, and therefore, it is no wonder they hang their heads.” “But flowers cannot dance?” cried little Ida. “Yes indeed, they can,” replied the student. “When it grows dark, and everybody is asleep, they jump about quite merrily. They have a ball almost every night.” “Can children go to these balls?” “Yes,” said the student, “little daisies and lilies of the valley.” “Where do the beautiful flowers dance?” asked little Ida. “Have you not often seen the large castle outside the gates of the town, where the king lives in summer, and where the beautiful garden is full of flowers? And have you not fed the swans with bread when they swam towards you? Well, the flowers have capital balls there, believe me.” “I was in the garden out there yesterday with my mother,” said Ida, “but all the leaves were off the trees, and there was not a single flower left. Where are they? I used to see so many in the summer.” “They are in the castle,” replied the student. “You must know that as soon as the king and all the court are gone into the town, the flowers run out of the garden into the castle, and you should see how merry they are. The two most beautiful roses seat themselves on the throne, and are called the king and queen, then all the red cockscombs range themselves on each side, and bow, these are the lords-in-waiting. After that the pretty flowers come in, and there is a grand ball. The blue violets represent little naval cadets, and dance with hyacinths and crocuses which they call young ladies. The tulips and tiger-lilies are the old ladies who sit and watch the dancing, so that everything may be conducted with order and propriety.” “But,” said little Ida, “is there no one there to hurt the flowers for dancing in the king’s castle?” “No one knows anything about it,” said the student. “The old steward of the castle, who has to watch there at night, sometimes comes in; but he carries a great bunch of keys, and as soon as the flowers hear the keys rattle, they run and hide themselves behind the long curtains, and stand quite still, just peeping their heads out. Then the old steward says, ‘I smell flowers here,’ but he cannot see them.” “Oh how capital,” said little Ida, clapping her hands. “Should I be able to see these flowers?” “Yes,” said the student, “mind you think of it the next time you go out, no doubt you will see them, if you peep through the window. I did so to-day, and I saw a long yellow lily lying stretched out on the sofa. She was a court lady.” “Can the flowers from the Botanical Gardens go to these balls?” asked Ida. “It is such a distance!” “Oh yes,” said the student “whenever they like, for they can fly. Have you not seen those beautiful red, white. and yellow butterflies, that look like flowers? They were flowers once. They have flown off their stalks into the air, and flap their leaves as if they were little wings to make them fly. Then, if they behave well, they obtain permission to fly about during the day, instead of being obliged to sit still on their stems at home, and so in time their leaves become real wings. It may be, however, that the flowers in the Botanical Gardens have never been to the king’s palace, and, therefore, they know nothing of the merry doings at night, which take place there. I will tell you what to do, and the botanical professor, who lives close by here, will be so surprised. You know him very well, do you not? Well, next time you go into his garden, you must tell one of the flowers that there is going to be a grand ball at the castle, then that flower will tell all the others, and they will fly away to the castle as soon as possible. And when the professor walks into his garden, there will not be a single flower left. How he will wonder what has become of them!” “But how can one flower tell another? Flowers cannot speak?” “No, certainly not,” replied the student; “but they can make signs. Have you not often seen that when the wind blows they nod at one another, and rustle all their green leaves?” “Can the professor understand the signs?” asked Ida. “Yes, to be sure he can. He went one morning into his garden, and saw a stinging nettle making signs with its leaves to a beautiful red carnation. It was saying, ‘You are so pretty, I like you very much.’ But the professor did not approve of such nonsense, so he clapped his hands on the nettle to stop it. Then the leaves, which are its fingers, stung him so sharply that he has never ventured to touch a nettle since.” “Oh how funny!” said Ida, and she laughed. “How can anyone put such notions into a child’s head?” said a tiresome lawyer, who had come to pay a visit, and sat on the sofa. He did not like the student, and would grumble when he saw him cutting out droll or amusing pictures. Sometimes it would be a man hanging on a gibbet and holding a heart in his hand as if he had been stealing hearts. Sometimes it was an old witch riding through the air on a broom and carrying her husband on her nose. But the lawyer did not like such jokes, and he would say as he had just said, “How can anyone put such nonsense into a child’s head! what absurd fancies there are!” But to little Ida, all these stories which the student told her about the flowers, seemed very droll, and she thought over them a great deal. The flowers did hang their heads, because they had been dancing all night, and were very tired, and most likely they were ill. Then she took them into the room where a number of toys lay on a pretty little table, and the whole of the table drawer besides was full of beautiful things. Her doll Sophy lay in the doll’s bed asleep, and little Ida said to her, “You must really get up Sophy, and be content to lie in the drawer to-night; the poor flowers are ill, and they must lie in your bed, then perhaps they will get well again.” So she took the doll out, who looked quite cross, and said not a single word, for she was angry at being turned out of her bed. Ida placed the flowers in the doll’s bed, and drew the quilt over them. Then she told them to lie quite still and be good, while she made some tea for them, so that they might be quite well and able to get up the next morning. And she drew the curtains close round the little bed, so that the sun might not shine in their eyes. During the whole evening she could not help thinking of what the student had told her. And before she went to bed herself, she was obliged to peep behind the curtains into the garden where all her mother’s beautiful flowers grew, hyacinths and tulips, and many others. Then she whispered to them quite softly, “I know you are going to a ball to-night.” But the flowers appeared as if they did not understand, and not a leaf moved; still Ida felt quite sure she knew all about it. She lay awake a long time after she was in bed, thinking how pretty it must be to see all the beautiful flowers dancing in the king’s garden. “I wonder if my flowers have really been there,” she said to herself, and then she fell asleep. In the night she awoke; she had been dreaming of the flowers and of the student, as well as of the tiresome lawyer who found fault with him. It was quite still in Ida’s bedroom; the night-lamp burnt on the table, and her father and mother were asleep. “I wonder if my flowers are still lying in Sophy’s bed,” she thought to herself; “how much I should like to know.” She raised herself a little, and glanced at the door of the room where all her flowers and playthings lay; it was partly open, and as she listened, it seemed as if some one in the room was playing the piano, but softly and more prettily than she had ever before heard it. “Now all the flowers are certainly dancing in there,” she thought, “oh how much I should like to see them,” but she did not dare move for fear of disturbing her father and mother. “If they would only come in here,” she thought; but they did not come, and the music continued to play so beautifully, and was so pretty, that she could resist no longer. She crept out of her little bed, went softly to the door and looked into the room. Oh what a splendid sight there was to be sure! There was no night-lamp burning, but the room appeared quite light, for the moon shone through the window upon the floor, and made it almost like day. All the hyacinths and tulips stood in two long rows down the room, not a single flower remained in the window, and the flower-pots were all empty. The flowers were dancing gracefully on the floor, making turns and holding each other by their long green leaves as they swung round. At the piano sat a large yellow lily which little Ida was sure she had seen in the summer, for she remembered the student saying she was very much like Miss Lina, one of Ida’s friends. They all laughed at him then, but now it seemed to little Ida as if the tall, yellow flower was really like the young lady. She had just the same manners while playing, bending her long yellow face from side to side, and nodding in time to the beautiful music. Then she saw a large purple crocus jump into the middle of the table where the playthings stood, go up to the doll’s bedstead and draw back the curtains; there lay the sick flowers, but they got up directly, and nodded to the others as a sign that they wished to dance with them. The old rough doll, with the broken mouth, stood up and bowed to the pretty flowers. They did not look ill at all now, but jumped about and were very merry, yet none of them noticed little Ida. Presently it seemed as if something fell from the table. Ida looked that way, and saw a slight carnival rod jumping down among the flowers as if it belonged to them; it was, however, very smooth and neat, and a little wax doll with a broad brimmed hat on her head, like the one worn by the lawyer, sat upon it. The carnival rod hopped about among the flowers on its three red stilted feet, and stamped quite loud when it danced the Mazurka; the flowers could not perform this dance, they were too light to stamp in that manner. All at once the wax doll which rode on the carnival rod seemed to grow larger and taller, and it turned round and said to the paper flowers, “How can you put such things in a child’s head? they are all foolish fancies;” and then the doll was exactly like the lawyer with the broad brimmed hat, and looked as yellow and as cross as he did; but the paper dolls struck him on his thin legs, and he shrunk up again and became quite a little wax doll. This was very amusing, and Ida could not help laughing. The carnival rod went on dancing, and the lawyer was obliged to dance also. It was no use, he might make himself great and tall, or remain a little wax doll with a large black hat; still he must dance. Then at last the other flowers interceded for him, especially those who had lain in the doll’s bed, and the carnival rod gave up his dancing. At the same moment a loud knocking was heard in the drawer, where Ida’s doll Sophy lay with many other toys. Then the rough doll ran to the end of the table, laid himself flat down upon it, and began to pull the drawer out a little way. Then Sophy raised himself, and looked round quite astonished, “There must be a ball here to-night,” said Sophy. “Why did not somebody tell me?” “Will you dance with me?” said the rough doll. “You are the right sort to dance with, certainly,” said she, turning her back upon him. Then she seated herself on the edge of the drawer, and thought that perhaps one of the flowers would ask her to dance; but none of them came. Then she coughed, “Hem, hem, a-hem;” but for all that not one came. The shabby doll now danced quite alone, and not very badly, after all. As none of the flowers seemed to notice Sophy, she let herself down from the drawer to the floor, so as to make a very great noise. All the flowers came round her directly, and asked if she had hurt herself, especially those who had lain in her bed. But she was not hurt at all, and Ida’s flowers thanked her for the use of the nice bed, and were very kind to her. They led her into the middle of the room, where the moon shone, and danced with her, while all the other flowers formed a circle round them. Then Sophy was very happy, and said they might keep her bed; she did not mind lying in the drawer at all. But the flowers thanked her very much, and said,— “We cannot live long. To-morrow morning we shall be quite dead; and you must tell little Ida to bury us in the garden, near to the grave of the canary; then, in the summer we shall wake up and be more beautiful than ever.” “No, you must not die,” said Sophy, as she kissed the flowers. Then the door of the room opened, and a number of beautiful flowers danced in. Ida could not imagine where they could come from, unless they were the flowers from the king’s garden. First came two lovely roses, with little golden crowns on their heads; these were the king and queen. Beautiful stocks and carnations followed, bowing to every one present. They had also music with them. Large poppies and peonies had pea-shells for instruments, and blew into them till they were quite red in the face. The bunches of blue hyacinths and the little white snowdrops jingled their bell-like flowers, as if they were real bells. Then came many more flowers: blue violets, purple heart’s-ease, daisies, and lilies of the valley, and they all danced together, and kissed each other. It was very beautiful to behold. At last the flowers wished each other good-night. Then little Ida crept back into her bed again, and dreamt of all she had seen. When she arose the next morning, she went quickly to the little table, to see if the flowers were still there. She drew aside the curtains of the little bed. There they all lay, but quite faded; much more so than the day before. Sophy was lying in the drawer where Ida had placed her; but she looked very sleepy. “Do you remember what the flowers told you to say to me?” said little Ida. But Sophy looked quite stupid, and said not a single word. “You are not kind at all,” said Ida; “and yet they all danced with you.” Then she took a little paper box, on which were painted beautiful birds, and laid the dead flowers in it. “This shall be your pretty coffin,” she said; “and by and by, when my cousins come to visit me, they shall help me to bury you out in the garden; so that next summer you may grow up again more beautiful than ever.” Her cousins were two good-tempered boys, whose names were James and Adolphus. Their father had given them each a bow and arrow, and they had brought them to show Ida. She told them about the poor flowers which were dead; and as soon as they obtained permission, they went with her to bury them. The two boys walked first, with their crossbows on their shoulders, and little Ida followed, carrying the pretty box containing the dead flowers. They dug a little grave in the garden. Ida kissed her flowers and then laid them, with the box, in the earth. James and Adolphus then fired their crossbows over the grave, as they had neither guns nor cannons.

The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen

The Princess and the Pea

by Hans Christian Andersen


ONCE upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted.

There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be.

So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.

One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it. It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But, good gracious! what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look.

The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess. “Well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.

On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept. “Oh, very badly!” said she. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night.

Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!” Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds. Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.

So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.

There, that is a true story.

Little Claus and Big Claus by Hans Christian Andersen

Little Claus and Big Claus

by Hans Christian Andersen


IN a village there once lived two men who had the same name. They were both called Claus. One of them had four horses, but the other had only one; so to distinguish them, people called the owner of the four horses, “Great Claus,” and he who had only one, “Little Claus.” Now we shall hear what happened to them, for this is a true story. Through the whole week, Little Claus was obliged to plough for Great Claus, and lend him his one horse; and once a week, on a Sunday, Great Claus lent him all his four horses. Then how Little Claus would smack his whip over all five horses, they were as good as his own on that one day. The sun shone brightly, and the church bells were ringing merrily as the people passed by, dressed in their best clothes, with their prayer-books under their arms. They were going to hear the clergyman preach. They looked at Little Claus ploughing with his five horses, and he was so proud that he smacked his whip, and said, “Gee-up, my five horses.” “You must not say that,” said Big Claus; “for only one of them belongs to you.” But Little Claus soon forgot what he ought to say, and when any one passed he would call out, “Gee-up, my five horses!” “Now I must beg you not to say that again,” said Big Claus; “for if you do, I shall hit your horse on the head, so that he will drop dead on the spot, and there will be an end of him.” “I promise you I will not say it any more,” said the other; but as soon as people came by, nodding to him, and wishing him “Good day,” he became so pleased, and thought how grand it looked to have five horses ploughing in his field, that he cried out again, “Gee-up, all my horses!” “I’ll gee-up your horses for you,” said Big Claus; and seizing a hammer, he struck the one horse of Little Claus on the head, and he fell dead instantly. “Oh, now I have no horse at all,” said Little Claus, weeping. But after a while he took off the dead horse’s skin, and hung the hide to dry in the wind. Then he put the dry skin into a bag, and, placing it over his shoulder, went out into the next town to sell the horse’s skin. He had a very long way to go, and had to pass through a dark, gloomy forest. Presently a storm arose, and he lost his way, and before he discovered the right path, evening came on, and it was still a long way to the town, and too far to return home before night. Near the road stood a large farmhouse. The shutters outside the windows were closed, but lights shone through the crevices at the top. “I might get permission to stay here for the night,” thought Little Claus; so he went up to the door and knocked. The farmer’s wife opened the door; but when she heard what he wanted, she told him to go away, as her husband would not allow her to admit strangers. “Then I shall be obliged to lie out here,” said Little Claus to himself, as the farmer’s wife shut the door in his face. Near to the farmhouse stood a large haystack, and between it and the house was a small shed, with a thatched roof. “I can lie up there,” said Little Claus, as he saw the roof; “it will make a famous bed, but I hope the stork will not fly down and bite my legs;” for on it stood a living stork, whose nest was in the roof. So Little Claus climbed to the roof of the shed, and while he turned himself to get comfortable, he discovered that the wooden shutters, which were closed, did not reach to the tops of the windows of the farmhouse, so that he could see into a room, in which a large table was laid out with wine, roast meat, and a splendid fish. The farmer’s wife and the sexton were sitting at the table together; and she filled his glass, and helped him plenteously to fish, which appeared to be his favorite dish. “If I could only get some, too,” thought Little Claus; and then, as he stretched his neck towards the window he spied a large, beautiful pie,—indeed they had a glorious feast before them. At this moment he heard some one riding down the road, towards the farmhouse. It was the farmer returning home. He was a good man, but still he had a very strange prejudice,—he could not bear the sight of a sexton. If one appeared before him, he would put himself in a terrible rage. In consequence of this dislike, the sexton had gone to visit the farmer’s wife during her husband’s absence from home, and the good woman had placed before him the best she had in the house to eat. When she heard the farmer coming she was frightened, and begged the sexton to hide himself in a large empty chest that stood in the room. He did so, for he knew her husband could not endure the sight of a sexton. The woman then quickly put away the wine, and hid all the rest of the nice things in the oven; for if her husband had seen them he would have asked what they were brought out for. “Oh, dear,” sighed Little Claus from the top of the shed, as he saw all the good things disappear. “Is any one up there?” asked the farmer, looking up and discovering Little Claus. “Why are you lying up there? Come down, and come into the house with me.” So Little Claus came down and told the farmer how he had lost his way and begged for a night’s lodging. “All right,” said the farmer; “but we must have something to eat first.” The woman received them both very kindly, laid the cloth on a large table, and placed before them a dish of porridge. The farmer was very hungry, and ate his porridge with a good appetite, but Little Claus could not help thinking of the nice roast meat, fish and pies, which he knew were in the oven. Under the table, at his feet, lay the sack containing the horse’s skin, which he intended to sell at the next town. Now Little Claus did not relish the porridge at all, so he trod with his foot on the sack under the table, and the dry skin squeaked quite loud. “Hush!” said Little Claus to his sack, at the same time treading upon it again, till it squeaked louder than before. “Hallo! what have you got in your sack!” asked the farmer. “Oh, it is a conjuror,” said Little Claus; “and he says we need not eat porridge, for he has conjured the oven full of roast meat, fish, and pie.” “Wonderful!” cried the farmer, starting up and opening the oven door; and there lay all the nice things hidden by the farmer’s wife, but which he supposed had been conjured there by the wizard under the table. The woman dared not say anything; so she placed the things before them, and they both ate of the fish, the meat, and the pastry. Then Little Claus trod again upon his sack, and it squeaked as before. “What does he say now?” asked the farmer. “He says,” replied Little Claus, “that there are three bottles of wine for us, standing in the corner, by the oven.” So the woman was obliged to bring out the wine also, which she had hidden, and the farmer drank it till he became quite merry. He would have liked such a conjuror as Little Claus carried in his sack. “Could he conjure up the evil one?” asked the farmer. “I should like to see him now, while I am so merry.” “Oh, yes!” replied Little Claus, “my conjuror can do anything I ask him,—can you not?” he asked, treading at the same time on the sack till it squeaked. “Do you hear? he answers ’Yes,’ but he fears that we shall not like to look at him.” “Oh, I am not afraid. What will he be like?” “Well, he is very much like a sexton.” “Ha!” said the farmer, “then he must be ugly. Do you know I cannot endure the sight of a sexton. However, that doesn’t matter, I shall know who it is; so I shall not mind. Now then, I have got up my courage, but don’t let him come too near me.” “Stop, I must ask the conjuror,” said Little Claus; so he trod on the bag, and stooped his ear down to listen. “What does he say?” “He says that you must go and open that large chest which stands in the corner, and you will see the evil one crouching down inside; but you must hold the lid firmly, that he may not slip out.” “Will you come and help me hold it?” said the farmer, going towards the chest in which his wife had hidden the sexton, who now lay inside, very much frightened. The farmer opened the lid a very little way, and peeped in. “Oh,” cried he, springing backwards, “I saw him, and he is exactly like our sexton. How dreadful it is!” So after that he was obliged to drink again, and they sat and drank till far into the night. “You must sell your conjuror to me,” said the farmer; “ask as much as you like, I will pay it; indeed I would give you directly a whole bushel of gold.” “No, indeed, I cannot,” said Little Claus; “only think how much profit I could make out of this conjuror.” “But I should like to have him,” said the fanner, still continuing his entreaties. “Well,” said Little Claus at length, “you have been so good as to give me a night’s lodging, I will not refuse you; you shall have the conjuror for a bushel of money, but I will have quite full measure.” “So you shall,” said the farmer; “but you must take away the chest as well. I would not have it in the house another hour; there is no knowing if he may not be still there.” So Little Claus gave the farmer the sack containing the dried horse’s skin, and received in exchange a bushel of money—full measure. The farmer also gave him a wheelbarrow on which to carry away the chest and the gold. “Farewell,” said Little Claus, as he went off with his money and the great chest, in which the sexton lay still concealed. On one side of the forest was a broad, deep river, the water flowed so rapidly that very few were able to swim against the stream. A new bridge had lately been built across it, and in the middle of this bridge Little Claus stopped, and said, loud enough to be heard by the sexton, “Now what shall I do with this stupid chest; it is as heavy as if it were full of stones: I shall be tired if I roll it any farther, so I may as well throw it in the river; if it swims after me to my house, well and good, and if not, it will not much matter.” So he seized the chest in his hand and lifted it up a little, as if he were going to throw it into the water. “No, leave it alone,” cried the sexton from within the chest; “let me out first.” “Oh,” exclaimed Little Claus, pretending to be frightened, “he is in there still, is he? I must throw him into the river, that he may be drowned.” “Oh, no; oh, no,” cried the sexton; “I will give you a whole bushel full of money if you will let me go.” “Why, that is another matter,” said Little Claus, opening the chest. The sexton crept out, pushed the empty chest into the water, and went to his house, then he measured out a whole bushel full of gold for Little Claus, who had already received one from the farmer, so that now he had a barrow full. “I have been well paid for my horse,” said he to himself when he reached home, entered his own room, and emptied all his money into a heap on the floor. “How vexed Great Claus will be when he finds out how rich I have become all through my one horse; but I shall not tell him exactly how it all happened.” Then he sent a boy to Great Claus to borrow a bushel measure. “What can he want it for?” thought Great Claus; so he smeared the bottom of the measure with tar, that some of whatever was put into it might stick there and remain. And so it happened; for when the measure returned, three new silver florins were sticking to it. “What does this mean?” said Great Claus; so he ran off directly to Little Claus, and asked, “Where did you get so much money?” “Oh, for my horse’s skin, I sold it yesterday.” “It was certainly well paid for then,” said Great Claus; and he ran home to his house, seized a hatchet, and knocked all his four horses on the head, flayed off their skins, and took them to the town to sell. “Skins, skins, who’ll buy skins?” he cried, as he went through the streets. All the shoemakers and tanners came running, and asked how much he wanted for them. “A bushel of money, for each,” replied Great Claus. “Are you mad?” they all cried; “do you think we have money to spend by the bushel?” “Skins, skins,” he cried again, “who’ll buy skins?” but to all who inquired the price, his answer was, “a bushel of money.” “He is making fools of us,” said they all; then the shoemakers took their straps, and the tanners their leather aprons, and began to beat Great Claus. “Skins, skins!” they cried, mocking him; “yes, we’ll mark your skin for you, till it is black and blue.” “Out of the town with him,” said they. And Great Claus was obliged to run as fast as he could, he had never before been so thoroughly beaten. “Ah,” said he, as he came to his house; “Little Claus shall pay me for this; I will beat him to death.” Meanwhile the old grandmother of Little Claus died. She had been cross, unkind, and really spiteful to him; but he was very sorry, and took the dead woman and laid her in his warm bed to see if he could bring her to life again. There he determined that she should lie the whole night, while he seated himself in a chair in a corner of the room as he had often done before. During the night, as he sat there, the door opened, and in came Great Claus with a hatchet. He knew well where Little Claus’s bed stood; so he went right up to it, and struck the old grandmother on the head. thinking it must be Little Claus. “There,” cried he, “now you cannot make a fool of me again;” and then he went home. “That is a very wicked man,” thought Little Claus; “he meant to kill me. It is a good thing for my old grandmother that she was already dead, or he would have taken her life.” Then he dressed his old grandmother in her best clothes, borrowed a horse of his neighbor, and harnessed it to a cart. Then he placed the old woman on the back seat, so that she might not fall out as he drove, and rode away through the wood. By sunrise they reached a large inn, where Little Claus stopped and went to get something to eat. The landlord was a rich man, and a good man too; but as passionate as if he had been made of pepper and snuff. “Good morning,” said he to Little Claus; “you are come betimes to-day.” “Yes,” said Little Claus; “I am going to the town with my old grandmother; she is sitting at the back of the wagon, but I cannot bring her into the room. Will you take her a glass of mead? but you must speak very loud, for she cannot hear well.” “Yes, certainly I will,” replied the landlord; and, pouring out a glass of mead, he carried it out to the dead grandmother, who sat upright in the cart. “Here is a glass of mead from your grandson,” said the landlord. The dead woman did not answer a word, but sat quite still. “Do you not hear?” cried the landlord as loud as he could; “here is a glass of mead from your grandson.” Again and again he bawled it out, but as she did not stir he flew into a passion, and threw the glass of mead in her face; it struck her on the nose, and she fell backwards out of the cart, for she was only seated there, not tied in. “Hallo!” cried Little Claus, rushing out of the door, and seizing hold of the landlord by the throat; “you have killed my grandmother; see, here is a great hole in her forehead.” “Oh, how unfortunate,” said the landlord, wringing his hands. “This all comes of my fiery temper. Dear Little Claus, I will give you a bushel of money; I will bury your grandmother as if she were my own; only keep silent, or else they will cut off my head, and that would be disagreeable.” So it happened that Little Claus received another bushel of money, and the landlord buried his old grandmother as if she had been his own. When Little Claus reached home again, he immediately sent a boy to Great Claus, requesting him to lend him a bushel measure. “How is this?” thought Great Claus; “did I not kill him? I must go and see for myself.” So he went to Little Claus, and took the bushel measure with him. “How did you get all this money?” asked Great Claus, staring with wide open eyes at his neighbor’s treasures. “You killed my grandmother instead of me,” said Little Claus; “so I have sold her for a bushel of money.” “That is a good price at all events,” said Great Claus. So he went home, took a hatchet, and killed his old grandmother with one blow. Then he placed her on a cart, and drove into the town to the apothecary, and asked him if he would buy a dead body. “Whose is it, and where did you get it?” asked the apothecary. “It is my grandmother,” he replied; “I killed her with a blow, that I might get a bushel of money for her.” “Heaven preserve us!” cried the apothecary, “you are out of your mind. Don’t say such things, or you will lose your head.” And then he talked to him seriously about the wicked deed he had done, and told him that such a wicked man would surely be punished. Great Claus got so frightened that he rushed out of the surgery, jumped into the cart, whipped up his horses, and drove home quickly. The apothecary and all the people thought him mad, and let him drive where he liked. “You shall pay for this,” said Great Claus, as soon as he got into the highroad, “that you shall, Little Claus.” So as soon as he reached home he took the largest sack he could find and went over to Little Claus. “You have played me another trick,” said he. “First, I killed all my horses, and then my old grandmother, and it is all your fault; but you shall not make a fool of me any more.” So he laid hold of Little Claus round the body, and pushed him into the sack, which he took on his shoulders, saying, “Now I’m going to drown you in the river. He had a long way to go before he reached the river, and Little Claus was not a very light weight to carry. The road led by the church, and as they passed he could hear the organ playing and the people singing beautifully. Great Claus put down the sack close to the church-door, and thought he might as well go in and hear a psalm before he went any farther. Little Claus could not possibly get out of the sack, and all the people were in church; so in he went. “Oh dear, oh dear,” sighed Little Claus in the sack, as he turned and twisted about; but he found he could not loosen the string with which it was tied. Presently an old cattle driver, with snowy hair, passed by, carrying a large staff in his hand, with which he drove a large herd of cows and oxen before him. They stumbled against the sack in which lay Little Claus, and turned it over. “Oh dear,” sighed Little Claus, “I am very young, yet I am soon going to heaven.” “And I, poor fellow,” said the drover, “I who am so old already, cannot get there.” “Open the sack,” cried Little Claus; “creep into it instead of me, and you will soon be there.” “With all my heart,” replied the drover, opening the sack, from which sprung Little Claus as quickly as possible. “Will you take care of my cattle?” said the old man, as he crept into the bag. “Yes,” said Little Claus, and he tied up the sack, and then walked off with all the cows and oxen. When Great Claus came out of church, he took up the sack, and placed it on his shoulders. It appeared to have become lighter, for the old drover was not half so heavy as Little Claus. “How light he seems now,” said he. “Ah, it is because I have been to a church.” So he walked on to the river, which was deep and broad, and threw the sack containing the old drover into the water, believing it to be Little Claus. “There you may lie!” he exclaimed; “you will play me no more tricks now.” Then he turned to go home, but when he came to a place where two roads crossed, there was Little Claus driving the cattle. “How is this?” said Great Claus. “Did I not drown you just now?” “Yes,” said Little Claus; “you threw me into the river about half an hour ago.” “But wherever did you get all these fine beasts?” asked Great Claus. “These beasts are sea-cattle,” replied Little Claus. “I’ll tell you the whole story, and thank you for drowning me; I am above you now, I am really very rich. I was frightened, to be sure, while I lay tied up in the sack, and the wind whistled in my ears when you threw me into the river from the bridge, and I sank to the bottom immediately; but I did not hurt myself, for I fell upon beautifully soft grass which grows down there; and in a moment, the sack opened, and the sweetest little maiden came towards me. She had snow-white robes, and a wreath of green leaves on her wet hair. She took me by the hand, and said, ’So you are come, Little Claus, and here are some cattle for you to begin with. About a mile farther on the road, there is another herd for you.’ Then I saw that the river formed a great highway for the people who live in the sea. They were walking and driving here and there from the sea to the land at the, spot where the river terminates. The bed of the river was covered with the loveliest flowers and sweet fresh grass. The fish swam past me as rapidly as the birds do here in the air. How handsome all the people were, and what fine cattle were grazing on the hills and in the valleys!” “But why did you come up again,” said Great Claus, “if it was all so beautiful down there? I should not have done so?” “Well,” said Little Claus, “it was good policy on my part; you heard me say just now that I was told by the sea-maiden to go a mile farther on the road, and I should find a whole herd of cattle. By the road she meant the river, for she could not travel any other way; but I knew the winding of the river, and how it bends, sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left, and it seemed a long way, so I chose a shorter one; and, by coming up to the land, and then driving across the fields back again to the river, I shall save half a mile, and get all my cattle more quickly.” “What a lucky fellow you are!” exclaimed Great Claus. “Do you think I should get any sea-cattle if I went down to the bottom of the river?” “Yes, I think so,” said Little Claus; “but I cannot carry you there in a sack, you are too heavy. However if you will go there first, and then creep into a sack, I will throw you in with the greatest pleasure.” “Thank you,” said Great Claus; “but remember, if I do not get any sea-cattle down there I shall come up again and give you a good thrashing.” “No, now, don’t be too fierce about it!” said Little Claus, as they walked on towards the river. When they approached it, the cattle, who were very thirsty, saw the stream, and ran down to drink. “See what a hurry they are in,” said Little Claus, “they are longing to get down again,” “Come, help me, make haste,” said Great Claus; “or you’ll get beaten.” So he crept into a large sack, which had been lying across the back of one of the oxen. “Put in a stone,” said Great Claus, “or I may not sink.” “Oh, there’s not much fear of that,” he replied; still he put a large stone into the bag, and then tied it tightly, and gave it a push. “Plump!” In went Great Claus, and immediately sank to the bottom of the river. “I’m afraid he will not find any cattle,” said Little Claus, and then he drove his own beasts homewards.

THE TINDER-BOX by Hans Christian Andersen


by Hans Christian Andersen


SOLDIER came marching along the high road: “Left, right—left, right.” He had his knapsack on his back, and a sword at his side; he had been to the wars, and was now returning home. As he walked on, he met a very frightful-looking old witch in the road.

Her under-lip hung quite down on her breast, and she stopped and said, “Good evening, soldier; you have a very fine sword, and a large knapsack, and you are a real soldier; so you shall have as much money as ever you like.” “Thank you, old witch,” said the soldier. “Do you see that large tree,” said the witch, pointing to a tree which stood beside them. “Well, it is quite hollow inside, and you must climb to the top, when you will see a hole, through which you can let yourself down into the tree to a great depth. I will tie a rope round your body, so that I can pull you up again when you call out to me.” “But what am I to do, down there in the tree?” asked the soldier. “Get money,” she replied; “for you must know that when you reach the ground under the tree, you will find yourself in a large hall, lighted up by three hundred lamps; you will then see three doors, which can be easily opened, for the keys are in all the locks.

On entering the first of the chambers, to which these doors lead, you will see a large chest, standing in the middle of the floor, and upon it a dog seated, with a pair of eyes as large as teacups. But you need not be at all afraid of him; I will give you my blue checked apron, which you must spread upon the floor, and then boldly seize hold of the dog, and place him upon it. You can then open the chest, and take from it as many pence as you please, they are only copper pence; but if you would rather have silver money, you must go into the second chamber.

Here you will find another dog, with eyes as big as mill-wheels; but do not let that trouble you. Place him upon my apron, and then take what money you please. If, however, you like gold best, enter the third chamber, where there is another chest full of it.

The dog who sits on this chest is very dreadful; his eyes are as big as a tower, but do not mind him. If he also is placed upon my apron, he cannot hurt you, and you may take from the chest what gold you will.” “This is not a bad story,” said the soldier; “but what am I to give you, you old witch? for, of course, you do not mean to tell me all this for nothing.” “No,” said the witch; “but I do not ask for a single penny.

Only promise to bring me an old tinder-box, which my grandmother left behind the last time she went down there.” “Very well; I promise. Now tie the rope round my body.” “Here it is,” replied the witch; “and here is my blue checked apron.” As soon as the rope was tied, the soldier climbed up the tree, and let himself down through the hollow to the ground beneath; and here he found, as the witch had told him, a large hall, in which many hundred lamps were all burning.

Then he opened the first door. “Ah!” there sat the dog, with the eyes as large as teacups, staring at him. “You’re a pretty fellow,” said the soldier, seizing him, and placing him on the witch’s apron, while he filled his pockets from the chest with as many pieces as they would hold.

Then he closed the lid, seated the dog upon it again, and walked into another chamber, And, sure enough, there sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels. “You had better not look at me in that way,” said the soldier; “you will make your eyes water;” and then he seated him also upon the apron, and opened the chest. But when he saw what a quantity of silver money it contained, he very quickly threw away all the coppers he had taken, and filled his pockets and his knapsack with nothing but silver.

Then he went into the third room, and there the dog was really hideous; his eyes were, truly, as big as towers, and they turned round and round in his head like wheels. “Good morning,” said the soldier, touching his cap, for he had never seen such a dog in his life. But after looking at him more closely, he thought he had been civil enough, so he placed him on the floor, and opened the chest. Good gracious, what a quantity of gold there was! enough to buy all the sugar-sticks of the sweet-stuff women; all the tin soldiers, whips, and rocking-horses in the world, or even the whole town itself There was, indeed, an immense quantity.

So the soldier now threw away all the silver money he had taken, and filled his pockets and his knapsack with gold instead; and not only his pockets and his knapsack, but even his cap and boots, so that he could scarcely walk. He was really rich now; so he replaced the dog on the chest, closed the door, and called up through the tree, “Now pull me out, you old witch.” “Have you got the tinder-box?” asked the witch. “No; I declare I quite forgot it.”

So he went back and fetched the tinderbox, and then the witch drew him up out of the tree, and he stood again in the high road, with his pockets, his knapsack, his cap, and his boots full of gold. “What are you going to do with the tinder-box?” asked the soldier. “That is nothing to you,” replied the witch; “you have the money, now give me the tinder-box.” “I tell you what,” said the soldier, “if you don’t tell me what you are going to do with it, I will draw my sword and cut off your head.” “No,” said the witch. The soldier immediately cut off her head, and there she lay on the ground.

Then he tied up all his money in her apron. and slung it on his back like a bundle, put the tinderbox in his pocket, and walked off to the nearest town. It was a very nice town, and he put up at the best inn, and ordered a dinner of all his favorite dishes, for now he was rich and had plenty of money. The servant, who cleaned his boots, thought they certainly were a shabby pair to be worn by such a rich gentleman, for he had not yet bought any new ones.

The next day, however, he procured some good clothes and proper boots, so that our soldier soon became known as a fine gentleman, and the people visited him, and told him all the wonders that were to be seen in the town, and of the king’s beautiful daughter, the princess. “Where can I see her?” asked the soldier. “She is not to be seen at all,” they said; “she lives in a large copper castle, surrounded by walls and towers.

No one but the king himself can pass in or out, for there has been a prophecy that she will marry a common soldier, and the king cannot bear to think of such a marriage.” “I should like very much to see her,” thought the soldier; but he could not obtain permission to do so. However, he passed a very pleasant time; went to the theatre, drove in the king’s garden, and gave a great deal of money to the poor, which was very good of him; he remembered what it had been in olden times to be without a shilling.

Now he was rich, had fine clothes, and many friends, who all declared he was a fine fellow and a real gentleman, and all this gratified him exceedingly. But his money would not last forever; and as he spent and gave away a great deal daily, and received none, he found himself at last with only two shillings left. So he was obliged to leave his elegant rooms, and live in a little garret under the roof, where he had to clean his own boots, and even mend them with a large needle. None of his friends came to see him, there were too many stairs to mount up.

One dark evening, he had not even a penny to buy a candle; then all at once he remembered that there was a piece of candle stuck in the tinder-box, which he had brought from the old tree, into which the witch had helped him. He found the tinder-box, but no sooner had he struck a few sparks from the flint and steel, than the door flew open and the dog with eyes as big as teacups, whom he had seen while down in the tree, stood before him, and said, “What orders, master?” “Hallo,” said the soldier; “well this is a pleasant tinderbox, if it brings me all I wish for.” “Bring me some money,” said he to the dog.

He was gone in a moment, and presently returned, carrying a large bag of coppers in his month. The soldier very soon discovered after this the value of the tinder-box. If he struck the flint once, the dog who sat on the chest of copper money made his appearance; if twice, the dog came from the chest of silver; and if three times, the dog with eyes like towers, who watched over the gold. The soldier had now plenty of money; he returned to his elegant rooms, and reappeared in his fine clothes, so that his friends knew him again directly, and made as much of him as before. After a while he began to think it was very strange that no one could get a look at the princess. “Every one says she is very beautiful,” thought he to himself; “but what is the use of that if she is to be shut up in a copper castle surrounded by so many towers.

Can I by any means get to see her. Stop! where is my tinder-box?” Then he struck a light, and in a moment the dog, with eyes as big as teacups, stood before him. “It is midnight,” said the soldier, “yet I should very much like to see the princess, if only for a moment.” The dog disappeared instantly, and before the soldier could even look round, he returned with the princess. She was lying on the dog’s back asleep, and looked so lovely, that every one who saw her would know she was a real princess. The soldier could not help kissing her, true soldier as he was.

Then the dog ran back with the princess; but in the morning, while at breakfast with the king and queen, she told them what a singular dream she had had during the night, of a dog and a soldier, that she had ridden on the dog’s back, and been kissed by the soldier. “That is a very pretty story, indeed,” said the queen.

So the next night one of the old ladies of the court was set to watch by the princess’s bed, to discover whether it really was a dream, or what else it might be. The soldier longed very much to see the princess once more, so he sent for the dog again in the night to fetch her, and to run with her as fast as ever he could. But the old lady put on water boots, and ran after him as quickly as he did, and found that he carried the princess into a large house.

She thought it would help her to remember the place if she made a large cross on the door with a piece of chalk. Then she went home to bed, and the dog presently returned with the princess. But when he saw that a cross had been made on the door of the house, where the soldier lived, he took another piece of chalk and made crosses on all the doors in the town, so that the lady-in-waiting might not be able to find out the right door.

Early the next morning the king and queen accompanied the lady and all the officers of the household, to see where the princess had been. “Here it is,” said the king, when they came to the first door with a cross on it. “No, my dear husband, it must be that one,” said the queen, pointing to a second door having a cross also. “And here is one, and there is another!” they all exclaimed; for there were crosses on all the doors in every direction.

So they felt it would be useless to search any farther. But the queen was a very clever woman; she could do a great deal more than merely ride in a carriage. She took her large gold scissors, cut a piece of silk into squares, and made a neat little bag. This bag she filled with buckwheat flour, and tied it round the princess’s neck; and then she cut a small hole in the bag, so that the flour might be scattered on the ground as the princess went along.

During the night, the dog came again and carried the princess on his back, and ran with her to the soldier, who loved her very much, and wished that he had been a prince, so that he might have her for a wife. The dog did not observe how the flour ran out of the bag all the way from the castle wall to the soldier’s house, and even up to the window, where he had climbed with the princess. Therefore in the morning the king and queen found out where their daughter had been, and the soldier was taken up and put in prison.

Oh, how dark and disagreeable it was as he sat there, and the people said to him, “Tomorrow you will be hanged.” It was not very pleasant news, and besides, he had left the tinder-box at the inn. In the morning he could see through the iron grating of the little window how the people were hastening out of the town to see him hanged; he heard the drums beating, and saw the soldiers marching.

Every one ran out to look at them. and a shoemaker’s boy, with a leather apron and slippers on, galloped by so fast, that one of his slippers flew off and struck against the wall where the soldier sat looking through the iron grating. “Hallo, you shoemaker’s boy, you need not be in such a hurry,” cried the soldier to him. “There will be nothing to see till I come; but if you will run to the house where I have been living, and bring me my tinder-box, you shall have four shillings, but you must put your best foot foremost.”

The shoemaker’s boy liked the idea of getting the four shillings, so he ran very fast and fetched the tinder-box, and gave it to the soldier. And now we shall see what happened. Outside the town a large gibbet had been erected, round which stood the soldiers and several thousands of people. The king and the queen sat on splendid thrones opposite to the judges and the whole council. The soldier already stood on the ladder; but as they were about to place the rope around his neck, he said that an innocent request was often granted to a poor criminal before he suffered death. He wished very much to smoke a pipe, as it would be the last pipe he should ever smoke in the world.

The king could not refuse this request, so the soldier took his tinder-box, and struck fire, once, twice, thrice,— and there in a moment stood all the dogs;—the one with eyes as big as teacups, the one with eyes as large as mill-wheels, and the third, whose eyes were like towers. “Help me now, that I may not be hanged,” cried the soldier.

And the dogs fell upon the judges and all the councillors; seized one by the legs, and another by the nose, and tossed them many feet high in the air, so that they fell down and were dashed to pieces. “I will not be touched,” said the king. But the largest dog seized him, as well as the queen, and threw them after the others. Then the soldiers and all the people were afraid, and cried, “Good soldier, you shall be our king, and you shall marry the beautiful princess.” So they placed the soldier in the king’s carriage, and the three dogs ran on in front and cried “Hurrah!” and the little boys whistled through their fingers, and the soldiers presented arms.

The princess came out of the copper castle, and became queen, which was very pleasing to her. The wedding festivities lasted a whole week, and the dogs sat at the table, and stared with all their eyes.

mulher, por francisco vaz brasil


francisco vaz brasil

esse teu corpo
que se forma
de parede a parede
em linhas tropicais
curvas e concavidades
em que me perco
em suspiros:
como um rio
marmóreo, límpido,




by Francisco Vaz Brasil

1492: Conquest of Paradise

Centuries before the exploration of space, there was another voyage into the unknown.
Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas and the effect this has on the indigenous people. Big budget account of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas. Released in 1992, for celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery. Shows the disastrous effects the Europeans had on the original inhabitants, and Columbus' struggle to civilize the New World.
Columbus is living with a woman to whom he is not married, and has had two children with her. There is some cleavage in women's costumes. There is one passionate kiss between Columbus and his girlfriend. Native garb, topless women from a distance. We see bare bottoms.
Conquest of Paradise tries to tell too many stories in its more than two-hour running time. The film opens with a scene between Columbus (Gerard Depardieu) and his 9-year-old son (Billy Sullivan), in which he shows the boy that the world is round.
[That is even true of the inevitable scene in which Columbus uses a piece of fruit to illustrate his belief that the world is round. This time it is an orange.]

[The theory that the world was round was held in intelligent circles long before Columbus was born, and ships capable of sailing across the Atlantic had been available for a long time.]
They are sitting on the shore looking out at a ship sailing west, watching her disappear below the horizon. The seaman and son have an interesting relationship throughout the film and it is through the boy's remembrances that the film gets its historical base. After this scene, the movie is often interrupted by narration in an attempt to move the action along and give some needed information. The narratives also give a sense of veracity which the film desperately needs. Often the action seems unbelievable. For example, at one point during a storm in the islands of the New World, a lightning bolt strikes a cross in the middle of the town built by Columbus' men, setting it on fire.
“Nothing results without human progress”
"Asia can be found to the west," he bellows, "and I will probe it."
The first half of the movie focuses on the vision of Columbus and the primary obstacle between him and a northwest passage to the Orient -- funding, not the ocean. After defending his theory about the shape of the world before the church and the state, he is offered an audience with Queen Isabella (Sigourney Weaver). He sells his idea to the queen, who feels that there is not so much to lose in the gamble of a few ships: "The same cost as two state dinners." We then move on to the sea voyage, with the same hardships one can find in any other "sea voyage" movie. The crew gets angry, they threaten to mutiny, Columbus gives a rousing speech, and they push onward. Columbus' plan is finally accepted by the queen and he sets off for what he thinks will be India. He instead strikes a new world, landing in the Caribbean, calling the island San Salvador, according to the religious penchant of the times.
Columbus began in Spain, crossed the Atlantic, landed at the island that he called San Salvador and opened up a can of worms still squirming 500 years later. The story starts in Spain as well, where Weaver makes a few guest appearances as an inexplicably flirtatious Queen Isabella and Sanchez , as her money manager and advisor, spends a lot of time looking good on a horse. We're all eager to be off by the time we hit the high seas but the voyage and discovery are dispensed with in fairly short order.
What comes next is the colonization of the New World and bewildering internecine battles between the indigenous people and the newcomers, with much switching of sides and bloodshed all around.
The New World scenes, filmed in jungles reminiscent of the islands south of the United States prior to the "conquest," are beautiful to look at but too long. A great deal of time is spent "looking around," as if the audience doesn't know what a jungle looks like.
1492 tries to compress years of historical research into an entertaining film between two and three hours long. There are many interesting and entertaining things to be found in the film, but they are hidden among blank stares from Depardieu, lingering silences, and confusing relationships that are never truly followed through to a conclusion. Perhaps if one or two of the many relationships in the movie became the focus of attention, 1492 wouldn't seem so vast. The entertaining moments were there, but they never seemed to come together. The acting was mild in most cases and the stereotypical nature of the antagonists was disappointing. Weaver did stand out in the scenes she shared with Depardieu, given her power as royalty and the natural power she usually brings to the screen. I found myself wishing for her return as the movie dragged on.

Columbus begins well, but his administration proves a fiasco, both for himself and the native Americans, who are enslaved and forced to work to satisfy the Spanish lust for gold, which, apart from religion, seems to be their only abiding love. Columbus also is a nepotist, setting up his brothers and sons as officials in his government.
Columbus is a failure in the eyes of the Europeans; he found too little gold. He, his brothers, and sons are ousted and replaced in the governorship of the new world. He lives to see the continent named after another, Amerigo Vespucci. But his final vindication is his memory, "I did it, you didn't," he tells to Sanchez. We have to agree. Whatever else he was or was not, Columbus did do it. Through the film we learn Columbus is a dreamer -- a man of ideas, and a man of action -- a doer; a man with two bastard sons and their live-in mother, who Columbus never bothers to marry. Columbus is also a social climber, coveting the title "Don", which indicates entry into the nobility, and hoping to become the hereditary administrator of any territories he may find. The action occurs during time of the Spanish Inquisition, where people with new ideas are being garroted or burned at the stake in the name of God.

Introductory scenes are etchings of natives being massacred. We see a woman and a number of other people tied to stakes where they are strangled and then burned; we hear them choking. The men on the ships are sunburned and their skin is blistered and pealing. 39 Spaniards are shown after they have been beheaded and burned. One native's hand is cut off by De Moxica, (it’s a terrific scene!) because they think he was stealing gold. Men are shown hanging with their extremities cut off. Slow motion fighting complete with lots of blood and guts. After a tropical storm, we see a number of dead bodies, both human and animal.
War and destruction is in man's nature. Columbus says, after his discovery, "there are no crimes there, there will be no need for a judge." He was quickly proven wrong.

After spending way too much time on the ocean with Columbus's three ships (you kind of wish they would sail over the edge of the world), they arrive in the West Indies, only to turn around and sail back. The rest of the film deals with the not particularly comprehensible politics of Columbus's venture, which leads to the violent slaughter of trusting natives by a band of cardboard villains.

When Christopher Columbus set out for the New World, he knew there was danger ahead. and his sailors would suffer until exhaustion Perhaps the most wondrous image in the movie comes during Columbus's first land sighting. At first he sees only mist. Then, as if on cue, the fog curtain parts to reveal a lush landscape of trees and sand. Other scenes: Indian hairstyles ; the atrocities against the natives came about not as a product of evil but through Columbus's ineptitude as a political leader and finds more brutality and treachery than gold.

Some quotes collected from the movie:

Columbus: Paradise and hell both can be earthly.
Sanchez: [Columbus stops Sanchez after he leaves an audience with the Queen. Sanchez looks at him, disgusted] You're a dreamer. Columbus: [shooting a glance out of a window] Tell me, what do you see? Sanchez: [pausing to look] I see rooftops, I see palaces, I see towers, I see spires that reach... to the sky! I see civilization! Columbus: All of them built by people like me. [Sanchez doesn't respond - shocked] Columbus: No matter how long you live, Sanchez, there is something that will never change between us. I did it. You didn't.
Ridley Scott
Writer: Roselyne Bosch
Release Date: 9 October 1992 (USA)
Genre: A mix of
Adventure, Biography, Drama and History
Running Time: 152 Minutes.

1492: Conquest of Paradise Cast and Crew:
Gérard Depardieu (Christopher Columbus), Armand Assante (Sanchez), Sigourney Weaver (Isabella of Spain), Loren Dean (Older Fernando), Michael Wincott (De Moxica), Ángela Molina (Beatrix), Fernando Rey (Friar Marchena), Tchéky Karyo (Pinzon), Kevin Dunn (Captain Mendez), Frank Langella (Luis de Santangel), Mark Margolis (Bobadilla), Kario Salem (Arojaz), Billy L. Sullivan (Fernando (Age 10)), John Heffernan (Brother Buyl), Arnold Vosloo (Guevara), Steven Waddington (Bartolome), Fernando Guillen Cuervo (Giacomo), Bercelio Moya (Utapan), Juan Diego Botto (Diego), Achero Manas (Ship's Boy), Isabel Prinz (Duenna), Fernando Garcia Rimada (King Ferdinand), Angela Rosal (Pinzon's Wife), Jack Taylor (Vicuna), Albert Vidal (Hernando de Talavera) and José Ferrer (Alonso)

Drugs to Do, Cases to Solve By WALTER KIRN

Drugs to Do, Cases to Solve
August 23, 2009

A review of
By Thomas Pynchon
369 pp. The Penguin Press. $27.95

The private eyes of classic American noir dwell in a moral shadow land somewhere between order and anarchy, principle and pragmatism. They’re too unruly to be cops and too decent to be crooks, leaving them no natural allies on either side but attracting enemies from both. Their loneliness resembles that of cowboys, those other mournful individualists who pay for their liberty with obscurity, and it makes them at least as intriguing as their cases, which usually start as tales of greed and lust but tend to evolve into dramas of corruption that implicate lofty, respected institutions and indict society itself.
What allows the detectives to penetrate these schemes is not their intelligence, chiefly, but their autonomy. Private eyes are skeptics and outsiders, their isolation the secret of their vision. Doc Sportello, the mellow gumshoe hero of Thomas Pynchon's “Inherent Vice” — a psychedelic homage to Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler set in the last days of hippie-era Los Angeles, after the Manson murders have spoiled the vibe — lives, like his old-school models, on the margins, unaffiliated and unencumbered. His funky little hometown, Gordita Beach, is perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, its back turned squarely on America, both geographically and culturally. The town is a haven for dropouts, freaks and misfits who don’t so much live outside the law but as though the law had never been invented. For Doc, who stumbled into the detective trade and found that it suited his easygoing lifestyle, his beach bum neighbors are ideal clients, prone to getting into minor jams but disinclined to stir up serious trouble. This keeps Doc’s workload relatively light, freeing him to stay stoned around the clock and live in the now, which isn’t hard for him, because he’s toked away his short-term memory. It’s a wonder he can still function as a person, let alone make a living as a sleuth. He nods off during stakeouts, draws blanks while quizzing witnesses and can’t seem to turn down the volume on the surf music playing incessantly inside his head.
If Doc sounds like a literary joke — the Private Eye with drooping lids who can’t trust the evidence of his own senses — then he must be a joke with a lesson to impart, since Pynchon isn’t the type to make us laugh unless he’s really out to make us think. Even in “V.” and “Gravity’s Rainbow,” the colossal novels of ideas that have inspired a thousand dissertations as unreadable as the books are said to be but actually aren’t, he grounds his intellectualism in humor and livens it up with allusions to pop culture while sacrificing none of its deep rigor. He’s our literature’s best metaphysical comedian. The weighty points his work makes about the universe — that it’s slowly winding down as the Big Bang becomes the Final Sigh — tend to relieve our despair, not deepen it, by letting us in on the cosmos’s greatest gags: for example, that the purpose of the Creation was to make itself perfectly unmanageable and purely unintelligible. No wonder so many of Pynchon’s characters revel in chemical dissipation. Entropy — if you can’t beat it, join it.
That’s Doc’s way, at least, and once the plot gets rolling (spurred by the search for a missing land developer whom his trampy ex-girlfriend has a thing for), the story takes on the shape of his derangement, squirting along from digression to digression and periodically pausing for dope-head gabfests of preposterous intensity on subjects including the ontological subtleties of “The Wizard of Oz” and the potential re-emergence of the sunken continent of Lemuria. Pynchon’s ear for the atonal music of attention deficit disorder is both pitch perfect and extremely patient, as in this riff on the semiotic nuances of StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna: “It’s all supposed to be so innocent, upwardly mobile snob, designer shades, beret, so desperate to show he’s got good taste, except he’s also dyslexic so he gets ‘good taste’ mixed up with ‘taste good,’ but it’s worse than that! Far, far worse! Charlie really has this, like, obsessive death wish! Yes! he, he wants to be caught, processed, put in a can, not just any can, you dig, it has to be StarKist! suicidal brand loyalty.” These manic outbursts aren’t arbitrary, of course, but cluster around the novel’s core concern with the waning of the Summer of Love, when all was balmy and celestial, into the chilly Autumn of Authority, which Pynchon implies has yet to end. Some readers will tire of this high nonsense, however, despite its skillful orchestration and period authenticity. Pothead humor, whatever its guilty pleasures, hasn’t evolved much over the last half century, and what was once its charming wackiness has succumbed to orthodoxy. It still relies on vast epiphanies aroused by fleeting trivialities and suddenly interrupted by junk-food cravings. One minute all the great puzzles have been solved, especially those that never puzzled anyone, and the next moment everyone’s pigging out on carbs and lighting their cigarettes from the wrong end.
Like the stoned symposium on tuna, Doc’s manhunt for the AWOL billionaire eventually spirals off into absurdity, becoming a collage of trippy interludes peopled by all manner of goofs and lowlifes. These scenes only fitfully advance the narrative and sometimes cause us to forget there is one. But that’s as expected, since Pynchon doesn’t write plots; instead, he devises suggestive webs of circumstance whose meanings depend on the angles from which they’re viewed and can seem ominous and banal by turns, like so many situations in life. In Pynchon, the problem of distinguishing between coincidences and conspiracies, between the prosaic and the profound, is one of the defining tasks of consciousness. For some, like Doc, whose cerebral equipment is particularly unreliable, this perennial mental challenge can prove insuperable, but that may be why Pynchon chose him for the job. His confusion is all of ours exaggerated, his paranoia a version of normal pattern­making amped way up by his intake of hallucinogens. That doesn’t mean he’s blind, though, or delusional. Hyper-awareness makes sense at times, especially when, as in 1970 (the year in which the book is set), the times are changing more rapidly than usual and were radically out of joint to start with.
The grand conclusion of Doc’s nonlinear sleuthing, the revelation he stumbles on despite himself, is that he and his freedom-loving kinfolk (the private eye and the hippie, we finally see, are related as outcast seekers of the truth) have been boxed in by the squares, their natural foes, and will henceforth be monitored with their own consent, to assure their own ostensible safety. The oppressors’ specific methods and identities continue to mystify Doc to some degree (they include the Internet, it seems, which appears in the novel in a nascent version, as the plaything of a techno-hobbyist), but he divines their overarching goal: to close the frontiers of consciousness forever by rendering life in the shadows impossible and opening the soul itself to view, or at least criminalizing its excursions into deeply subjective, hidden realms. The age of the private eyes is over, that is, and with it the age of privacy itself. And what’s left? The sleepless, all-seeing, unblinking public eye.

*Walter Kirn, a frequent contributor to the Book Review, is the author of “Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever.”

Another Doorway to the Paranoid Pynchon Dimension by Michiko Kakutani

Thomas Pynchon

Another Doorway to the Paranoid Pynchon Dimension

A review from
By Thomas Pynchon

369 pages. The Penguin Press. $27.95.
August 4, 2009
Books of The Times

Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice” is a big, clunky time machine of a novel that transports us back to the early 1970s, back to a California of surfers and surf bunnies, bikers and biker chicks, hippies, freaks and righteous potheads. It was a time when people lived for Acapulco gold and Panama red and lived on pizza and Hostess Twinkies, a time when girls wore their hair long and their skirts short, guys wore paisley and velour and suede, and people were constantly monitoring their paranoia levels and worrying about narcs and cops and the feds.
Compared with “Gravity’s Rainbow” or “V.” or “Mason & Dixon,” this novel is Pynchon Lite. Those earlier books featured intricate, mazelike narratives and enigmatic confrontations between what he has called “average poor bastards” and emissaries of “an emerging technopolitical order that might or might not know what it was doing.” In contrast, “Inherent Vice” is a simple shaggy-dog detective story that pits likable dopers against the Los Angeles Police Department and its “countersubversive” agents, a novel in which paranoia is less a political or metaphysical state than a byproduct of smoking too much weed.
“Inherent Vice” not only reminds us how rooted Mr. Pynchon’s authorial vision is in the ’60s and ’70s, but it also demystifies his work, underscoring the similarities that his narratives — which mix high and low cultural allusions, silly pranks and gnomic historical references, mischievous puns, surreal dreamlike sequences and a playful sense of the absurd — share with the work of artists like
Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac and even Richard Brautigan.
Like “Vineland,” his other ode to the counterculture era, this novel conjures a California where characters talk in the trippy, spaced-out language of the frequently stoned and lead wacky, slacker-type existences. It’s a California reminiscent of the one
Tom Wolfe depicted in “The Pump House Gang” and “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” a place that stands in sharp contrast to the capitalistic conformity of the “Midol America” that Mr. Pynchon had suggested would arrive in the Reaganite ’80s. The hero of “Inherent Vice” worries that “the Psychedelic Sixties, this little parenthesis of light, might close after all, and all be lost, taken back into darkness,” that “everything in this dream of prerevolution was in fact doomed to end,” with the “faithless, money-driven world” reasserting “its control over all the lives it felt entitled to touch, fondle and molest.”
If “Vineland” read like a user-friendly companion piece to “The Crying of Lot 49,” then “Inherent Vice” reads like a workmanlike improvisation on “Vineland.” Once again the plot is propelled by a search for a missing woman, a former hippie who consorted with an incongruous representative of the capitalistic power grid. And once again there are efforts by the powers-that-be to turn hippies and potheads to the dark side, to turn them into informants through re-education programs or the enticement of money.
In this case the hero is one Doc Sportello, a private eye — that is a gumshoe, or as another character says, a “gumsandal” — who gets a request from his former girlfriend Shasta Fay to look into a plot against her current boyfriend, Mickey Wolfmann, a real estate big shot. Soon Shasta and Mickey have vanished, and Doc finds their disappearance converging with his other cases: a search for an ex-con named Glen Charlock, who was one of Mickey’s bodyguards, and a search for a former rock musician named Coy Harlingen, who supposedly died of a heroin overdose but may still be alive.
On top of dealing with his nemesis, Detective Lt. Bigfoot Bjornsen, Doc must contend with sinister emissaries of a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may be an Indochinese heroin cartel or a shadowy holding company or a syndicate set up by dentists as a tax dodge. He also investigates a hit man “specializing in politicals — black and Chicano activists, antiwar protesters, campus bombers and assorted other pinko” radicals. Mr. Pynchon’s picaresque plots, of course, are Christmas trees on which he can hang all sorts of ornaments, tinsel, garlands and flashing lights, and the plot of “Inherent Vice” is no exception. There are yards and yards of stoned conversations in which people wonder why there is “Chicken of the Sea, but no Tuna of the Farm” and talk about “doorways to other dimensions” or a lost continent called Lemuria, “the Atlantis of the Pacific.”
There are also coy, self-referential allusions to earlier Pynchon novels, like a “catapult mail delivery” system, “courrier par lance-coco,” that recalls the alternative mail system in “The Crying of Lot 49”; and “a cosmic insane Surfaris laugh” that comes screaming “across the sky,” and reminds us of the opening of “Gravity’s Rainbow.”
Doc’s cases lead him to a Las Vegas casino, a rock ’n’ roll band’s Los Angeles digs, a tacky massage parlor, an Asian-theme club in San Pedro, an abandoned utopian village in the desert, a New Age retreat near Ojai and back and forth across the Los Angeles freeways, giving the reader a tour of the city in its post-Manson, paranoiac phase. Mr. Pynchon does a vivid, surprisingly naturalistic job of delineating the city around 1970 — the year the Lakers lost to the Knicks in Game 7 — capturing the laid-back, slightly seedy aura of a metropolis that was still a magnet for drifters, dreamers and dopers, and not yet in thrall to blockbuster movies and multiplexes and Rodeo Drive money.
The characters in this novel, however, are decidedly less three-dimensional. With the exception of Doc, who has a vague, poignant charm, they bear less of a resemblance to the fully human heroes of “Mason & Dixon” than to the flimsy paper dolls who populated much of his earlier fiction: collections of funny Pynchonian names, bizarre tics, weird occupations and weirder sexual predilections. Many seem to exist for no reason other than that Mr. Pynchon dreamed them up and inserted them into the story, to fill up space or to act as vague red herrings in Doc’s quest to find Shasta and ensure her safety.
Though “Inherent Vice” is a much more cohesive performance than the author’s last novel, the bloated and pretentious “Against the Day,” it feels more like a Classic Comics version of a Pynchon novel than like the thing itself. It reduces the byzantine complexities of “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “V.” — and their juxtapositions of nihilism and conspiracymongering, Dionysian chaos and Apollonian reason, anarchic freedom and the machinery of power — to a cartoonish face-off between an amiable pothead, whose “general policy was to try to be groovy about most everything,” and a bent law-enforcement system. Not surprisingly, the reader is encouraged, as one character observes, referring to George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat” comic strip, to “root for Ignatz,” the anarchic, brick-hurling mouse, not Officer Pupp, the emissary of order and law.

sexta-feira, 28 de agosto de 2009

WHY THIS WORLD - A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser

WHY THIS WORLD - A Biography of Clarice Lispector
By Benjamin Moser

Illustrated. 479 pp. Oxford University Press. $29.95

Untamed Creature a book review

August 23, 2009

Clarice Lispector

Here’s a riddle for literary sleuths. Which 20th-century writer was described by the eminent French critic Hélène Cixous as being what Rilke might have been, if he were a “Jewish Brazilian born in the Ukraine”? By the poet Elizabeth Bishop as “better than J. L. Borges”? And by the Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso as one of the chief revelations of his adolescence, along with sex and love and bossa nova? The answer is Clarice Lispector, a Portuguese-language novelist who died in Rio de Janeiro in 1977, and who, despite a cult following of artists and scholars, has yet to gain her rightful place in the literary canon.
Benjamin Moser’s lively, ardent and intellectually rigorous biography promises to redress this wrong.
During her lifetime, Lispector, a catlike blond beauty with movie-star magnetism and an indefinably foreign accent, enjoyed an enormous succès d’estime in Brazil. Her fiction, which combines jewel-like language, deadpan humor, philosophical profundity and an almost psychotically lucid understanding of the human condition, was lauded for having introduced European modernism to a national literature felt to be pretty parochial.
Yet such was the mystery surrounding this reclusive author, Moser writes, that few people knew her true origins.
Moser, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and Harper’s, describes a family story that is harrowing even by the standards of 20th-century European Jewry.
Lispector was born in 1920 in Podolia, the same fertile crescent in present-day Ukraine that produced a number of mystical movements, both Christian and Jewish. Her original first name was not Clarice, but Chaya. Her father, Pinkhas, barred from a career in mathematics by his Jewishness, came from a family of religious scholars; her mother, Mania, from prosperous merchants.
The trauma that scarred Lispector’s life occurred before her birth. During the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, Podolia was beset by a truly genocidal succession of pogroms. In 1918, Lispector’s grandfather was murdered, her family home destroyed, and shortly after, her mother, Mania, already the mother of two small children, was gang-raped by Russian soldiers — an assault that infected the young woman with syphilis. The Lispector family joined the hordes of starving refugees crisscrossing present-day Moldova and Ukraine seeking escape to the New World. Without access to medical treatment, Mania and her husband resorted to folk remedies. Clarice, Mania’s third and last daughter, was conceived in accordance with a folk belief that pregnancy could cure a woman of venereal disease. Clarice’s inability to save her mother’s life was a source of lacerating remorse: “They made me for a specific mission, and I let them down. As if they were counting on me in the trenches of a war and I had deserted.”
Eventually, the family won passage to Maceió, a port town in northeastern Brazil. Chaya, renamed Clarice, was barely a year old when they arrived. Although for the rest of her life fellow Brazilians regarded Lispector as unassimilably alien, she herself was adamant in claiming Brazil as her soul’s true home, the only place on earth where she could breathe free.
For her parents, however, fortunes did not improve. Mania, long mute and paralyzed, died when Clarice was 9; Pinkhas, now Pedro, struggled in vain to make a living as a peddler and died at age 55, leaving his children with the “unbearable” memory of a gifted mathematician and immensely moral man who was at every step thwarted by human evil and indifference.
Yet despite such beginnings, the Lispector daughters managed to forge valiant careers. Clarice’s eldest sister also became a novelist, the middle sister a civil servant. Clarice graduated from law school — a rare accomplishment for her time, not to mention her background — and went to work as a newspaper journalist.
Nineteen forty-three — the year after Stefan Zweig, another Jewish writer who hoped Brazil could offer redemption from Europe’s genocidal impulses, committed suicide in a mountain resort not far from Rio — saw the publication of the 23-year-old Lispector’s first novel. It was called “Near to the Wild Heart,” and it was an overnight sensation. The story is simple — a man torn between a homebody mistress and a wild-animal wife — and chillingly amoral, but Lispector uses it to address with brutal lucidity what will prove the central question of her work: What is the nature of God’s presence in the world?
Moser is persuasive in reading the novel both as an extended riff on Spinoza and as an allegory of Lispector’s own dueling personalities. For, as Moser reveals, if she was a writer almost cabalistically bent on piercing the veil between “word” and “being,” and not much convinced of the validity of such human categories as good and evil, she was also an orphan who longed to be a perfect wife and mother, and who wrote Miss Manners-type columns advising women not to draw attention to themselves with garish clothing or loud laughter.
Lispector soon married a fellow law student who became a diplomat. The untamed creature, whom one poet-friend described as “a she-wolf,” was to spend much of her life serving tea sandwiches at embassy functions in Bern and Chevy Chase.
In a story that seems to symbolize her own perpetual sense of involuntary alienation, Lispector writes of encountering at a bus stop a man with a coati (a kind of raccoon) on a leash. “I imagine: if the man took him to play in the square, at some point the coati would grow uncomfortable: ‘But, good God, why are the dogs looking at me like that?’ I also imagine that, after a perfect day of being a dog, the coati would feel melancholic, looking at the stars: ‘What’s wrong with me, after all? . . . What is this anxiety, as if I only loved something I didn’t know?’ ”
In 1959, a desperately homesick Lispector finally left her husband and Washington and brought her two young sons back to Brazil.
Her last two decades make a sad story: an addiction to sleeping pills, her son’s schizophrenia and the no less painful quandary of a beauty who doesn’t know how to survive the loss of her sexual allure. And although Lispector’s fiction was continually being rediscovered, not least by the ’60s generation of young Brazilians who found in it freedom from political dictatorship, she herself had become a near recluse. The coati, increasingly incapable of playing perfect dog, no longer wanted to live. The conflagration in which Lispector, falling asleep with a cigarette, set fire to her apartment and severely burned much of her body, including her writing hand, seems almost preordained.
Yet even as Lispector’s physical existence became intolerable, her fiction soared. “The Hour of the Star,” her last and perhaps finest novel, published in 1977, is a mystical treatise on the nature of love, the commonplace book of a martyr possessed of an earthy sense of the absurd.
Two months after its publication, on the day before her 57th birthday, Lispector died of ovarian cancer. Her devotees (“claricianos,” Moser tells us they are called) have found many ways to approach this uncompromisingly complex writer. Moser, despite Lispector’s avoidance of overt references to Jewishness, places her firmly in the tradition of Jewish mystics who were driven by historical cataclysm and personal trauma to create their own theology from God’s absence. His energetically researched, finely argued biography will surely win Lispector the English-­language readership she deserves.

* Fernanda Eberstadt’s fifth novel, “Rat,” will be published in the winter of 2010.