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Aceite de perro [Cuento.

Texto completo.] Ambrose Bierce Me llamo Boffer


Bings.
Nac de padres honestos en uno de los ms
humildes caminos de la vida: mi padre era
fabricante de aceite de perro y m madre posea un
pequeo estudio, a la sombra de la iglesia del
pueblo, donde se ocupaba de los no deseados.
En la infancia me inculcaron hbitos industriosos;
no solamente ayudaba a mi padre a procurar
perros para sus cubas, sino que con frecuencia era
empleado por mi madre para eliminar los restos de
su trabajo en el estudio.
Para cumplir este deber necesitaba a veces toda mi
natural inteligencia, porque todos los agentes de
ley de los alrededores se oponan al negocio de mi
madre.
No eran elegidos con el mandato de oposicin, ni
el asunto haba sido debatido nunca polticamente:
simplemente era as.
La ocupacin de mi padre -hacer aceite de perroera naturalmente menos impopular, aunque los
dueos de perros desaparecidos lo miraban a veces
con sospechas que se reflejaban, hasta cierto punto,
en m.
Mi padre tena, como socios silenciosos, a dos de
los mdicos del pueblo, que rara vez escriban una
receta sin agregar lo que les gustaba designar Lata
de leo.
Es realmente la medicina ms valiosa que se
conoce; pero la mayora de las personas es reacia a
realizar sacrificios personales para los que sufren, y
era evidente que muchos de los perros ms gordos
del pueblo tenan prohibido jugar conmigo, hecho

Oil of Dog [Short Story.


Full text.] Ambrose Bierce My name is Boffer
Bings.
I was born of honest parents in one of the humbler
walks of life, my father being a manufacturer of
dog-oil and my mother having a small studio in
the shadow of the village church, where she
disposed of unwelcome babes.
In my boyhood I was trained to habits of industry;
I not only assisted my father in procuring dogs for
his vats, but was frequently employed by my
mother to carry away the debris of her work in the
studio.
In performance of this duty I sometimes had need
of all my natural intelligence for all the law officers
of the vicinity were opposed to my mother's
business.
They were not elected on an opposition ticket, and
the matter had never been made a political issue; it
just happened so.
My father's business of making dog-oil was,
naturally, less unpopular, though the owners of
missing dogs sometimes regarded him with
suspicion, which was reflected, to some extent,
upon me.
My father had, as silent partners, all the physicians
of the town, who seldom wrote a prescription
which did not contain what they were pleased to
designate as Ol. can.
But most persons are unwilling to make personal
sacrifices for the afflicted, and it was evident that
many of the fattest dogs in town had been
forbidden to play with mea fact which pained
my young sensibilities, and at one time came near

que afligi mi joven sensibilidad y en una ocasin


estuvo a punto de hacer de m un pirata.

driving me to become a pirate.

A veces, al evocar aquellos das, no puedo sino


lamentar que, al conducir indirectamente a mis
queridos padres a su muerte, fui el autor de
desgracias que afectaron profundamente mi
futuro.

Looking back upon those days, I cannot but regret,


at times, that by indirectly bringing my beloved
parents to their death I was the author of
misfortunes profoundly affecting my future.

Una noche, al pasar por la fbrica de aceite de mi


padre con el cuerpo de un nio rumbo al estudio
de mi madre, vi a un polica que pareca vigilar
atentamente mis movimientos.

One evening while passing my father's oil factory


with the body of a foundling from my mother's
studio I saw a constable who seemed to be closely
watching my movements.

Joven como era, yo haba aprendido que los actos


de un polica, cualquiera sea su carcter aparente,
son provocados por los motivos ms reprensibles,
y lo elud metindome en la aceitera por una
puerta lateral casualmente entreabierta.

Young as I was, I had learned that a constable's


acts, of whatever apparent character, are prompted
by the most reprehensible motives, and I avoided
him by dodging into the oilery by a side door
which happened to stand ajar.

Cerr en seguida y qued a solas con mi muerto.

I locked it at once and was alone with my dead.

Mi padre ya se haba retirado.

My father had retired for the night.

La nica luz del lugar vena de la hornalla, que


arda con un rojo rico y profundo bajo uno de los
calderos, arrojando rubicundos reflejos sobre las
paredes.

The only light in the place came from the furnace,


which glowed a deep, rich crimson under one of
the vats, casting ruddy reflections on the walls.

Dentro del caldero el aceite giraba todava en


indolente ebullicin y empujaba ocasionalmente a
la superficie un trozo de perro.

Within the cauldron the oil still rolled in indolent


ebullition, occasionally pushing to the surface a
piece of dog.

Me sent a esperar que el polica se fuera, el cuerpo Seating myself to wait for the constable to go away,
desnudo del nio en mis rodillas, y le acarici
I held the naked body of the foundling in my lap
tiernamente el pelo corto y sedoso.
and tenderly stroked its short, silken hair.
Ah, qu guapo era!

Ah, how beautiful it was!

Ya a esa temprana edad me gustaban


apasionadamente los nios, y mientras miraba al
querubn, casi deseaba en mi corazn que la
pequea herida roja de su pecho -la obra de mi
querida madre- no hubiese sido mortal.

Even at that early age I was passionately fond of


children, and as I looked upon this cherub I could
almost find it in my heart to wish that the small,
red wound upon its breastthe work of my dear
motherhad not been mortal.

Era mi costumbre arrojar los nios al ro que la


naturaleza haba provisto sabiamente para ese fin,
pero esa noche no me atrev a salir de la aceitera
por temor al agente.

It had been my custom to throw the babes into the


river which nature had thoughtfully provided for
the purpose, but that night I did not dare to leave
the oilery for fear of the constable.

"Despus de todo", me dije, "no puede importar


mucho que lo ponga en el caldero.

"After all," I said to myself, "it cannot greatly


matter if I put it into this cauldron.

Mi padre nunca distinguira sus huesos de los de


un cachorro, y las pocas muertes que pudiera
causar el reemplazo de la incomparable Lata de
leo por otra especie de aceite no tendrn mayor
incidencia en una poblacin que crece tan
rpidamente".

My father will never know the bones from those of


a puppy, and the few deaths which may result
from administering another kind of oil for the
incomparable ol. can. are not important in a
population which increases so rapidly."

En resumen, di el primer paso en el crimen y atraje


sobre m indecibles penurias arrojando el nio al
caldero.

In short, I took the first step in crime and brought


myself untold sorrow by casting the babe into the
cauldron.

Al da siguiente, un poco para mi sorpresa, mi


padre, frotndose las manos con satisfaccin, nos
inform a m y a mi madre que haba obtenido un
aceite de una calidad nunca vista por los mdicos a
quienes haba llevado muestras.

The next day, somewhat to my surprise, my father,


rubbing his hands with satisfaction, informed me
and my mother that he had obtained the finest
quality of oil that was ever seen; that the
physicians to whom he had shown samples had so
pronounced it.

Agreg que no tena conocimiento de cmo se


haba logrado ese resultado: los perros haban sido
tratados en forma absolutamente usual, y eran de
razas ordinarias.

He added that he had no knowledge as to how the


result was obtained; the dogs had been treated in
all respects as usual, and were of an ordinary
breed.

Consider mi obligacin explicarlo, y lo hice,


aunque mi lengua se habra paralizado si hubiera
previsto las consecuencias.

I deemed it my duty to explainwhich I did,


though palsied would have been my tongue if I
could have foreseen the consequences.

Lamentando su antigua ignorancia sobre las


ventaja de una fusin de sus industrias, mis padres
tomaron de inmediato medidas para reparar el
error.
Mi madre traslad su estudio a un ala del edificio
de la fbrica y cesaron mis deberes en relacin con
sus negocios: ya no me necesitaban para eliminar
los cuerpos de los pequeos superfluos, ni haba
por qu conducir perros a su destino: mi padre los
desech por completo, aunque conservaron un
lugar destacado en el nombre del aceite.

Bewailing their previous ignorance of the


advantages of combining their industries, my
parents at once took measures to repair the error.

My mother removed her studio to a wing of the


factory building and my duties in connection with
the business ceased; I was no longer required to
dispose of the bodies of the small superfluous, and
there was no need of alluring dogs to their doom,
for my father discarded them altogether, though
they still had an honorable place in the name of the
oil.
Tan bruscamente impulsado al ocio, se podra
So suddenly thrown into idleness, I might
haber esperado naturalmente que me volviera
naturally have been expected to become vicious
ocioso y disoluto, pero no fue as.
and dissolute, but I did not.
La sagrada influencia de mi querida madre
The holy influence of my dear mother was ever
siempre me protegi de las tentaciones que
about me to protect me from the temptations
acechan a la juventud, y mi padre era dicono de la which beset youth, and my father was a deacon in
iglesia.
a church.
Ay, que personas tan estimables llegaran por mi
Alas, that through my fault these estimable
culpa a tan desgraciado fin!
persons should have come to so bad an end!
Al encontrar un doble provecho para su negocio,
Finding a double profit in her business, my mother
mi madre se dedic a l con renovada asiduidad.
now devoted herself to it with a new assiduity.
No se limit a suprimir a pedido nios
She removed not only superfluous and unwelcome
inoportunos: sala a las calles y a los caminos a
babes to order, but went out into the highways and
recoger nios ms crecidos y hasta aquellos
byways, gathering in children of a larger growth,
adultos que poda atraer a la aceitera.
and even such adults as she could entice to the
oilery.
Mi padre, enamorado tambin de la calidad
My father, too, enamored of the superior quality of
superior del producto, llenaba sus cubas con celo y oil produced, purveyed for his vats with diligence
diligencia.
and zeal.
En pocas palabras, la conversin de sus vecinos en
aceite de perro lleg a convertirse en la nica
pasin de sus vidas.

Una ambicin absorbente y arrolladora se apoder


de sus almas y reemplaz en parte la esperanza en
el Cielo que tambin los inspiraba.

The conversion of their neighbors into dog-oil


became, in short, the one passion of their livesan
absorbing and overwhelming greed took
possession of their souls and served them in place
of a hope in Heavenby which, also, they were
inspired.
Tan emprendedores eran ahora, que se realiz una So enterprising had they now become that a public
asamblea pblica en la que se aprobaron
meeting was held and resolutions passed severely
resoluciones que los censuraban severamente.
censuring them.
Su presidente manifest que todo nuevo ataque
It was intimated by the chairman that any further
contra la poblacin sera enfrentado con espritu
raids upon the population would be met in a spirit
hostil.
of hostility.
Mis pobres padres salieron de la reunin
My poor parents left the meeting broken-hearted,
desanimados, con el corazn destrozado y creo que desperate and, I believe, not altogether sane.
no del todo cuerdos.
De cualquier manera, consider prudente no ir con Anyhow, I deemed it prudent not to enter the
ellos a la aceitera esa noche y me fui a dormir al
oilery with them that night, but slept outside in a
establo.
stable.
A eso de la medianoche, algn impulso misterioso At about midnight some mysterious impulse
me hizo levantar y atisbar por una ventana de la
caused me to rise and peer through a window into
habitacin del horno, donde saba que mi padre
the furnace-room, where I knew my father now
pasaba la noche.
slept.
El fuego arda tan vivamente como si se esperara
The fires were burning as brightly as if the
una abundante cosecha para maana.
following day's harvest had been expected to be
abundant.
Uno de los enormes calderos burbujeaba
One of the large cauldrons was slowly "walloping"
lentamente, con un misterioso aire contenido,
with a mysterious appearance of self-restraint, as if
como tomndose su tiempo para dejar suelta toda
it bided its time to put forth its full energy.
su energa.
Mi padre no estaba acostado: se haba levantado en My father was not in bed; he had risen in his night
ropas de dormir y estaba haciendo un nudo en una clothes and was preparing a noose in a strong cord.
fuerte soga.
Por las miradas que echaba a la puerta del
From the looks which he cast at the door of my
dormitorio de mi madre, deduje con sobrado
mother's bedroom I knew too well the purpose that

acierto sus propsitos.

he had in mind.

Inmvil y sin habla por el terror, nada pude hacer


para evitar o advertir.
De pronto se abri la puerta del cuarto de mi
madre, silenciosamente, y los dos, aparentemente
sorprendidos, se enfrentaron.
Tambin ella estaba en ropas de noche, y tena en
la mano derecha la herramienta de su oficio, una
aguja de hoja alargada.
Tampoco ella haba sido capaz de negarse el ltimo
lucro que le permitan la poca amistosa actitud de
los vecinos y mi ausencia.
Por un instante se miraron con furia a los ojos y
luego saltaron juntos con ira indescriptible.

Speechless and motionless with terror, I could do


nothing in prevention or warning.
Suddenly the door of my mother's apartment was
opened, noiselessly, and the two confronted each
other, both apparently surprised.
The lady, also, was in her night clothes, and she
held in her right hand the tool of her trade, a long,
narrow-bladed dagger.
She, too, had been unable to deny herself the last
profit which the unfriendly action of the citizens
and my absence had left her.
For one instant they looked into each other's
blazing eyes and then sprang together with
indescribable fury.
Round and round, the room they struggled, the
man cursing, the woman shrieking, both fighting
like demonsshe to strike him with the dagger, he
to strangle her with his great bare hands.
I know not how long I had the unhappiness to
observe this disagreeable instance of domestic
infelicity, but at last, after a more than usually
vigorous struggle, the combatants suddenly
moved apart.
My father's breast and my mother's weapon
showed evidences of contact.
For another instant they glared at each other in the
most unamiable way; then my poor, wounded
father, feeling the hand of death upon him, leaped
forward, unmindful of resistance, grasped my dear
mother in his arms, dragged her to the side of the
boiling cauldron, collected all his failing energies,
and sprang in with her!

Luchaban alrededor de la habitacin, maldiciendo


el hombre, la mujer chillando, ambos peleando
como demonios, ella para herirlo con la aguja, l
para ahorcarla con sus grandes manos desnudas.
No s cunto tiempo tuve la desgracia de observar
ese desagradable ejemplo de infelicidad domstica,
pero por fin, despus de un forcejeo
particularmente vigoroso, los combatientes se
separaron repentinamente.
El pecho de mi padre y el arma de mi madre
mostraban pruebas de contacto.
Por un momento se contemplaron con hostilidad,
luego, mi pobre padre, malherido, sintiendo la
mano de la muerte, avanz, tom a mi querida
madre en los brazos desdeando su resistencia, la
arrastr junto al caldero hirviente, reuni todas sus
ltimas energas y salt adentro con ella!

En un instante ambos desaparecieron, sumando su


aceite al de la comisin de ciudadanos que haba
trado el da anterior la invitacin para la asamblea
pblica.

In a moment, both had disappeared and were


adding their oil to that of the committee of citizens
who had called the day before with an invitation to
the public meeting.

Convencido de que estos infortunados


acontecimientos me cerraban todas las vas hacia
una carrera honorable en ese pueblo, me traslad a
la famosa ciudad de Otumwee, donde se han
escrito estas memorias, con el corazn lleno de
remordimiento por el acto de insensatez que
provoc un desastre comercial tan terrible.

Convinced that these unhappy events closed to me


every avenue to an honorable career in that town, I
removed to the famous city of Otumwee, where
these memoirs are written with a heart full of
remorse for a heedless act entailing so dismal a
commercial disaster.

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