One Hundred Years of Solitude … Garcia Marquez

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ was born in Aracataca, Colombia in 1928, but he lived most of his life in Mexico and Europe. He attended the University of Bogota and later worked as staff reporter and film critic for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. In addition to ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, he has also written two collections of short fiction, NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL and LEAF STORM.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE

Jort Areadio BoendUi

m. Cnula Iguarln

olonel Aurellano Btiendia-

m. Remcdios Moscote

-Jos6 Areadio

m-Rebeca

Aurcliano Jose

(by Pilar Ternera)

17 Aurelianos

R’emedios the Beauty

Areadio

(by Pilar Ternera)

m. Santa Sofia de la Piedad

Aurellano Segundo

m. Fernanda del Carplo

Amaranta

Jose Areadio Segundo

j_Renata

Remedios (Mane)

Aurellano

(by MauHcioBabfionla)

lose Areadio

-..Amaranta

m. Gasti

ranta Orsula

Gaston

Aurellano

(by Aurellano^

Chapter 2

15

When Ursula discovered his absence she searched for him all through the village. In the remains

of the gypsy camp there was nothing but a garbage pit among the still smoking ashes of the

extinguished campfires. Someone who was there looking for beads among the trash told Ursula that

the night before he had seen her son in the tumult of the caravan pushing the snake-man’s cage on a

cart. “He’s become a gypsy” she shouted to her husband, who had not shown the slightest sign of

alarm over the disappearance.

“I hope it’s true,” Jose Arcadio Buendia said, grinding in his mortar the material that had been

ground a thousand times and reheated and ground again. “That way he’ll learn to be a man.” Ursula

asked where the gypsies had gone. She went along asking and following the road she had been

shown, thinking that she still had time to catch up to them. She kept getting farther away from the

village until she felt so far away that she did not think about returning. Jose Arcadio Buendia did not

discover that his wife was missing until eight o’clock at night, when he left the material warming in a

bed of manure and went to see what was wrong with little Amaranta, who was getting hoarse from

crying. In a few hours he gathered a group of well-equipped men, put Amaranta in the hands of a

woman who offered to nurse her, and was lost on invisible paths in pursuit of Ursula. Aureliano

went with them. Some Indian fishermen, whose language they could not understand, told them with

signs that they had not seen anyone pass. After three days of useless searching they returned to the

village.

For several weeks Jose Arcadio Buendia let himself be overcome by consternation. He took care

of little Amaranta like a mother. He bathed and dressed her, took her to be nursed four times a day,

and even sang to her at night the songs that Ursula never knew how to sing. On a certain occasion

Pilar Ternera volunteered to do the household chores until Ursula came back. Aureliano, whose

mysterious intuition had become sharpened with the misfortune, felt a glow of clairvoyance when he

saw her come in. Then he knew that in some inexplicable way she was to blame for his brother’s

flight and the consequent disappearance of his mother, and he harassed her with a silent and

implacable hostility in such a way that the woman did not return to the house.

Time put things in their place. Jose Arcadio Buendia and his son did not know exactly when they

returned to the laboratory, dusting things, lighting the water pipe, involved once more in the patient

manipulation of the material that had been sleeping for several months in its bed of manure. Even

Amaranta, lying in a wicker basket, observed with curiosity the absorbing work of her father and her

brother in the small room where the air was rarefied by mercury vapors. On a certain occasion,

months after Ursula’s departure, strange things began to happen. An empty flask that had been

forgotten in a cupboard for a long time became so heavy that it could not be moved. A pan of water

on the worktable boiled without any fire under it for a half hour until it completely evaporated. Jose

Arcadio Buendia and his son observed those phenomena with startled excitement, unable to explain

them but interpreting them as predictions of the material. One day Amaranta’s basket began to

move by itself and made a complete turn about the room, to the consternation of Auerliano, who

hurried to stop it. But his father did not get upset. He put the basket in its place and tied it to the leg

of a table, convinced that the long-awaited event was imminent. It was on that occasion that

Auerliano heard him say:

“If you don’t fear God, fear him through the metals.

Suddenly, almost five months after her disappearance, Ursula came back. She arrived exalted,

rejuvenated, with new clothes in a style that was unknown in the village. Jose Arcadio Buendia could

barely stand up under the impact. “That was it!” he shouted. “I knew it was going to happen.” And

he really believed it, for during his prolonged imprisonment as he manipulated the material, he

begged in the depth of his heart that the longed-for miracle should not be the discovery of the

philosopher’s stone, or the freeing of the breath that makes metals live, or the faculty to convert the

hinges and the locks of the house into gold, but what had just happened: Ursula’s return. But she did

not share his excitement. She gave him a conventional kiss, as if she had been away only an hour,

and she told him:

“Look out the door.”

Jose Arcadio Buendia took a long time to get out of his perplexity when he went out into the

street and saw the crowd. They were not gypsies. They were men and women like them, with

straight hair and dark skin, who spoke the same language and complained of the same pains. They

had mules loaded down with things to eat, oxcarts with furniture and domestic utensils, pure and

simple earthly accessories put on sale without any fuss by peddlers of everyday reality. They came

from the other side of the swamp, only two days away, where there were towns that received mail

every month in the year and where they were familiar with the implements of good living. Ursula

had not caught up with the gypsies, but she had found the route that her husband had been unable

to discover in his frustrated search for the great inventions.

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