Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
Translated by Juan LePuen
Original title: “Um Incêndio”
English translation copyright Juan LePuen and Fario
Published at Smashwords by Fario
I got this leg wound there.
Camões, The Lusiad, canto V.
I didn’t invent the story I’m going to tell, and my friend Abel didn’t invent it, either. He heard it with a wealth of detail, and one day, in conversation, he gave me a brief version of events that has stayed in my memory—I’m going to tell it exactly as I heard it. You won’t find in it the pithiness, the very passion that this Abel puts into everything he says, whether it’s an idea of his or, as in this case, it’s someone else’s story. Patience; no matter how much you lose with respect to the form, you will lose nothing of the content. The reason is that I haven’t forgotten what it matters to know, say, and have printed.