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The Confession


    The Confession

The idea of staying indoors copying other people’s ideas just didn’t
go over with me. What I liked to do was wander around. Just go around looking for ideas.
Pulling them from the stones that I stubbed my toe on, from the water I drank, from the
girls that I saw.
From the Colonel and from everyone. The idea only had to appear in front of me, and there
was the story, already composed.
By Cristovam Buarque

"Só escrevi o que vi e vivi."
Astor

Eu vou contar porque o senhor insiste e eu o conheço e sei um homem de
bem. Mas o que eu gosto mesmo é de inventar. Criar estória sem dono. Que saia daqui. Que
venha de dentro, saindo do nada. Do nada, não! Sempre tem um estourinho que sai de algum
lugar. Mas depois, o que chega aqui fora é criado no juízo da gente. É dessas que eu
sempre gostei. Desde menino. Sentado na calçada de D. Inocência. Ou na venda de seu
Romão. Já morreu o velho Romão! Ou na Pedra do Riacho Grande. Ali era o meu ninho.
Olhando agora, depois de tudo passado, é daquele ninho que eu tenho saudade. Não é dele
mesmo porque ainda está ali; no mesmo lugar, depois daquela volta ali na estrada, vê?,
do lado do rio, que também não mudou de lugar; seca, enche e volta a secar, mas sempre
no mesmo lugar; diferente da gente: é só secar e secar e nunca no mesmo lugar. Não é
dele não e é dele sim. Dele diferente como era então.

Tinha dia que eu chegava madrugando, ouvindo o acordar dos matos na
ribanceira. Parecia que o mundo estava ainda se espreguiçando devagarinho, debaixo do
cobertor azul e branco. Ali eu ficava calado, matutando alguma estória que tinha ouvido
na véspera. Parecia que meu juízo dormia ainda com o mundo. De repente acordava tudo
saindo do juízo para fora, no mundo, com um sorriso se abrindo aos pouquinhos.

Eu já sabia que tinha outra estória para contar. Matutava mais um pouco
e estava a estória pronta, esperando ouvintes. E já ia para outra e outra e outra mais.

De noite, depois da janta, o povo começava a chegar. Parecia que nem
queriam nada. Iam ficando ali, pela porta, de fora, com o chapéu na mão, perguntando
para dentro. "Seu Joca, será que Astrogildo taí?" Eles já sabiam que eu
estava. Aí, pai saía. Eu ficava de dentro, mas com os ouvidos lá fora. E me derretia
ouvindo de lá o que eles diziam: "Seu Joca, Astrogildo é um contador dos
bons." "Estou para ver outro contar igual." "Nem o velho, o finado
Antunes, era tão bom." Eu só ouvindo. "E será que ele vem contar estória
hoje?" Aí eu mandava dizer que estava cansado. Ou ia eu mesmo. Meio besta, dizendo
que não. "Eu não sei nada de estória." "Seu Joca, se seu filho fosse
letrado estava fazendo livro para o povo ler." "Hoje tá até fraco."
"Vamos falar de outra coisa." Dizia com medo. Medo que falassem de outra coisa.
Medo de que soubesse que meu coração tinha mais vontade de contar que os deles tinham de
ouvir. E desembuchava. Desembuchava uma detrás da outra. Diziam que eram estórias boas.
Tem umas que todo mundo ainda conta. O senhor não ouviu a estória da "Moça
Serpente", a do "Cangaceiro Apaixonado pela Pedra do Riacho", a do
"Capataz Zumbi", a do "Engenho na Lua"? Pois daqui saíram.

Mas tinha dia que era difícil. O mundo acordava de manhãzinha com meu
juízo ainda dormindo. La fora tudo mexendo, e aqui dentro tudo parado. Era um desespero.
E a hora passando e o povo perto de chegar. Teve um dia que vinha Seu Doutor Juiz ouvir se
as estórias eram boas como se dizia. E estória não vinha. Nem as velhas eu conseguia
mudar. Aí contava como as velhas eram e todo mundo dizia "essa já ouvi", e
até gostavam e pediam outra vez. Mas eu aqui dentro sabia que eu não gostava. Estória
repetida por falta de nova é como chegar na Quarta vivendo ainda na Terça. É Segunda
sem Domingo. É Páscoa antes da Festa. Num pode. Num pode. Num pode não. Eu jogava pedra
no rio. Deitava, a boca para cima olhando para o céu e vendo tudo de dentro. O senhor já
viu a complicação do mundo? E por que a gente num manda na cabeça da gente mesmo? O meu
juízo dormindo e o mundo lá fora acordado e o sol andando em cima como se rindo
estivesse de mim, e a noite chegando e os chapéus do povo na mão, na porta de pai, o
juiz e tudo, e eu calado. Calado sem vislumbrar a verdade do mundo, porque a verdade para
mim não é a que acontece de todo, mas a que eu arranco aos pouquinhos da verdade que
não é verdade porque é aparência. Aparência somente, até que a gente descobre como
ela é, dá volta, e no avesso descobre onde ela se esconde disfarçada. E mostra ela para
o povo, e vê os olhos do povo brilhar olhando os da gente espantados, contentes, com medo
desesperado.

Assim pois, seu doutor, era eu, desde moço, contador de estória,
respeitado no Sertão. Como começou, não me pergunte. Só sei que começou. Diz minha
tia Maria que eu nunca deixei de ser o que sempre fui: um mentiroso. Desde antes de ser,
quando cinco vezes disse que ia nascer e desesperava todo mundo para depois do aperreio
danando não chegar. Até que um dia, quando já ninguém acreditava e a parteira já nem
veio, eu nasci só. Eu nasci só, e chorando tanto que pensavam que eu estava com
espinhela caída e depois já era com o diabo no corpo e nem nada era, só que eu já
queria que me ouvissem de todos os lados do mundo todo. E num é mesmo que eu gostava de
mentir? Porque vou mentir agora! Eu gostava. Mas também não gostava não. É, seu
doutor, é que a verdade é um quadrado de muitos lados. Tem a que vai lá fora e a gente
pode pegar mas não pode mudar, e a que vai aqui dentro que a gente não pode pegar mas
pode mudar. Eu num mentia não. Eu só fazia mudar. E o povo gostava. E eu gostava. E eu
gostava que o povo gostasse.

No começo era estória pequena, de coisa corriqueira. De não conhecer o
de fora, eu não mudava quase o de dentro. Depois foi melhorando. Aprimorando no tempo.
Contando devagarinho. Acrescentando viradas nas coisas. Mentindo dentro da mentira. E o
povo gostava ainda mais. Um dia eu parei na metade e disse que no outro dia voltava. No
começo ninguém queria ir embora deixando o donzelo da estória perdido no mato sozinho.
Mas eu fiz de rogado e disse que só no outro dia. Nesse outro todo mundo veio. E eu já
estava com o donzelo livre, quando todo mundo ainda estava com ele preso; perdido no mato.
Aí eu me senti dono do mundo e mostrei o caminho da vida e salvei o donzelo e todo mundo
ficou contente. Outra vez, por 10 dias, eu acho, estive esticando a estória, mudando
aqui, botando uns homens ali, aparecendo uma irmã boa por lá. Agora eu sei que o nome
disso é novela de rádio. Naquele tempo não tinha nome, não. Mas eu sabia que era bom
porque todo mundo gostava.

Foi já por esta época que o padre Ambrósio começou a me ensinar a ler.
Eu me lembro da briga. Eu não queria. Isso de ficar dentro duma casa copiando as idéias
dos outros não se ajustava com meu juízo. O que eu gostava era de vaguear. Ir por ir
buscando idéias. Arrancando das pedras que me davam topada, da água que eu bebia, das
meninas que eu via. Do Coronel e do mundo todo. Só aparecer na minha frente, e pronto:
estava feita a estória.

Isso de b com a não era de meu feitio. E dava trabalho. E
era difícil. Como podia uma bola ser um o? e um palito ser um i? E tudo o
mais? Foi empurrado de pai que me fez continuar indo à escola do padre Ambrósio com D.
Lurdinha. Ela até que era boazinha comigo. O padre, não. Que Deus perdoe que eu num
devia estar dizendo isso, mas o padre só me chamava de mentiroso. Num queria que os
outros meninos me vissem contando estória. A gente tinha que se esconder. Ou subia no pé
de azeitona. Eram os meninos cuspindo caroço e eu cuspindo palavras. No fim eles estavam
com a língua azul e eu com a minha leve. Eu não agüentava. Sabia do castigo que corria,
mas não agüentava. E os meninos gostavam também. Zeca levou um castigo, desses de
grande, carregando água para casa do padre por cem dias, só porque me pediu para repetir
a estória da Donzela Sonhadora. Uma que dizia que o mundo era cor-de-rosa quando todo
mundo via azul e preto, que pensava ser princesa quando era só rendeira, e quando pingava
goteira na casa dizia que era o raio da fada-madrinha. Um dia lhe deram, desculpe a
palavra, merda de vaca e disseram que era chocolate estrangeiro … e ela gostou. E
ninguém até hoje sabe se foi chocolate ou merda o que ela comeu. Nem eu mesmo. Pois Zeca
seguia me pedindo estórias apesar dos castigos. O padre então viu que não tinha jeito e
me chamou no canto junto da batina fedorenta e me disse: "Astrogildo, eu vou lhe
deixar contar estórias. Nossa Senhora me falou ontem e disse que não fazia mal nenhum.
Mas você tem de contar estórias só de Deus, de N. Senhora e da Santíssima Trindade
Abençoada." Estórias todas de salvação e de gente boa que dava esmola para as
igrejas. Isso foi depois que o Senhor Bispo passou por lá. Loguinho depois. Eu até
pensei em fazer assim. Mas como? Não saía nada de nada. Eu dava volta pelo juízo,
procurava explicação, mudava nome dos santos, e nada acontecia. Eu não sei se certo ou
errado estou, mas quem nasceu para contar o contra, nunca vai contar o a favor. Aí, fugi
da igreja, passei a me esconder do padre, tinha medo que ele visse o que estava dentro do
meu juízo. Pai me deixou solto, desde que eu ajudasse na roça. E a vida era só beleza.
Foi um tempão que eu estive assim. Já não ia acordar o mundo no meu ninho do lado do
rio. Mas de manhã, carregando a enxada na mão, eu seguia o sussurro do vento me contando
estória; cortando a terra, eu ouvia os gemidos dela lamentando seu sofrimento; no sol
escaldando, eu sentia o peso dos raios me marcando versos. Aí, eu voltava na tardinha, o
vento já mais calado, a terra saradinha e o sol calminho lá em cima, como se o mundo
todo tivesse me confiado os segredos dele, que eu mudava como queria. Aí, era só tomar o
café com cuscuz e esperar o povo chegar. O padre não vinha e dizia para o povo não vir.
E eles diziam: "Faz mal não, padre Ambrósio. Não é por estória que a gente vai
não. A saber de comadre Alta, que está com um sarampão." Mas eles queriam era
ouvir. Tinha uns que se benziam com cruz e credo e tudo. Mas ficavam aí o tempo todo. E
as estórias foram crescendo tanto, seu doutor, que eu já, não controlava. E dizia o que
queria. E o padre Ambrósio foi sabendo e viu que na pele do lobo eu estava vestindo ele,
e que o povo todo sabia que de lobo só tinha padre e de padre só tinha lobo. O povo
tinha um medo gostoso que eu via nos olhos de todos. E eu, um medinho de satisfação
também, não vou mentir não. Mas se o Sol e a Terra e a seca falavam comigo era porque
Deus não estava contra. E contei a história de que Deus falava com todo mundo. E o padre
se zangou e perguntou no altar supremo no domingo depois, para que era que Deus tinha
feito as escolas de padre, seminários para ensinar como falar com Ele. A briga estava
feita. O povo estava com medo; isso garanto ao senhor. No domingo, o povo não sabia se ia
à missa de manhã; no sábado de noite não sabia se vinha à casa de pai me ouvir. E pai
quis me proibir. E mãe também. Minha madrinha veio de longe e pediu por tudo que não
queria ser madrinha de renegado. Me chamaram de bode e bode eu não era. Me chamaram de
herege e herege eu não era. Eu só queria descarregar o que vinha de dentro, o que me
dizia o mundo, mudando aqui e ali só para dar um gostinho, mas ficando tudo como era de
mesmo, na verdade, pelo avesso das aparências.

Aí veio o avesso do avesso. Veio o Coronel Bernardo que também tinha
ouvido estórias que não gostava. A estória do Cavalo Nobre contra o Cavaleiro Desalmado
e outras mais. O Coronel falou com pai, que disse que eu era homem, que em mim não
mandava mais. O Coronel disse que com homem tratava como homem e mandou dois capangas
darem em mim. Eles deram. Eu apanhei, não nego. Eu chorei depois sozinho, não nego
também. Eu quis morrer numa horinha, não nego. Mas aí foi mais forte do que eu, o meu
juízo doido que eu não controlava, e que me disse mais estórias ainda. Quis calar e a
boca se abria; quis esquecer e a cabeça se iluminava; e da peia que levei, lhe digo com
sinceridade, mil estórias novas eu tirei. Agora eram estórias de ódio mesmo, não era
só o avessinho do mundo não. Era a verdade crua; um avesso arrevesado que eu sentia e
dizia. Eu vi o povo ficar com medo mas não me calei e o medo foi embora e o povo veio sem
medo e as estórias correram. A estória do "Coronel Enforcado", do "Padre
Satanás", era tudo às veras e o povo crescendo e dizendo "pois é",
"pois assim foi", "pois num é mesmo assim?". E durou um tempo. Um
tempo que eu já não sei como nem quanto. Na verdade, eu acho que naquele tempo eu já
não existia. Era alma sonâmbula encarregada de contar estória para o povo ouvir. E
contei muita, eu lhe digo. Muitas mesmo, antes que o mundo se acabasse naquela tarde.

To be continued. First ot two parts.

Excerpted from Cristovam Buarque, Astrícia (Rio de Janeiro:
Civilização Brasileira, 1984). Ó Cristovam Buarque

Cristovam Buarque (cbuarque@brnet.com.br)
is the Brazilian author of fifteen books of essays and fiction. He is a professor at the
University of Brasília, where he was the Rector from 1985 to 1989. From 1995 to 1999 he
was the Governor of the Federal District of Brasília.

The Confession

The idea of staying indoors copying other people’s ideas just didn’t
go over with me. What I liked to do was wander around. Just go around looking for ideas.
Pulling them from the stones that I stubbed my toe on, from the water I drank, from the
girls that I saw.
From the Colonel and from everyone. The idea only had to appear in front of me, and there
was the story, already composed.

Cristovam Buarque

"I only wrote what I saw and lived."
Astor

I’m going to tell the story because you asked, and because I know you, and
because I know you’re a good man. But what I like to do most is invent. Create a story
without an owner. That just comes from inside, comes out of nothing. No, not out of
nothing, no! There’s always a little explosion coming from somewhere. But then, what comes
out is created by your mind. Those are the ones that I’ve always liked. Since I was a kid.
Sitting on the sidewalk out in front of Dona Inocência’s house. Or in Senhor Romão’s
bar. He died; old Romão died!

Or sitting on the Riacho Grande Stone, by the river. That was my nest.
Looking back now, after all that’s happened, it’s that nest that I miss the most. Not that
it’s gone; it’s still there in the same place, past the bend there in the road, see?
Alongside the river. The river’s still in the same place, too, drying up, then filling up,
then drying up again, but always in the same place. Not like us. We’re only drying up and
drying up and never in the same place. I don’t miss Riacho Grande Stone itself, or, yes, I
do. I miss it the way it was then.

There was a time when I arrived right at dawn, hearing the woods wake up
in the ravine. It seemed that the world was still stretching itself under its blue and
white blanket, slowly shaking off its sleepiness. I kept still, thinking over some story
that I had heard the night before. My mind seemed to still be sleeping, along with the
world. Suddenly everything woke up, coming out of my mind into the world, with a smile
that spread little by little.

Now I knew that I had another story to tell. I thought it over a little
more and the story was ready, waiting for listeners. And now there would be another story
and another and yet another.

At night, after dinner, people began to arrive, acting like they didn’t
really want anything. They were standing there, outside the door, with their hats in their
hands, calling inside, "Senhor Joca, could it be that Astrogildo’s there?" They
already knew I was there. Then, Pa went outside. I stayed inside, but I perked up my ears.
And the things they said!
"Senhor Joca, Astrogildo is the best storyteller!"
"I’ve never known anyone who could tell a better story."
"Not even old Antunes was this good!"
I was just listening.
"And might he be telling a story today?"
And I would send word that I was too tired. Or go tell them myself. What a fool I was,
saying no! "I don’t know anything about a story."
"Senhor Joca, if your son knew how to write, he could write us a book to read."
"Today he’s too tired."
"Let’s talk about something else," I said fearfully. Fearful that they would
talk about something else. Fearful they’d find out that, in my heart, I wanted to tell
stories more than they wanted to hear them.
And the stories poured out, one after another. Everyone said that they were good stories.
People are still telling some of them. Have you ever heard of "The Serpent
Girl," of "The Highwayman in Love with Pedra do Riacho," of "Boss
Zumbi," of "The Sugar Plantation on the Moon"? Well, they all came from
here.

But some days it was hard for me. The world woke up early in the morning
but my mind still sleeping. And time was passing and people were going to arrive. There
was the day that the Judge was coming to see if the stories were as good as he’d heard
they were. And no story came. Not even the old ones that I could change. I’d sometimes
retell the old ones, and everyone would say, "I already heard that one," and
would even like it and ask to hear it again. But here inside I knew that I didn’t like it.
Repeating a story because you can’t think of a new one is like living in Tuesday when it’s
already Wednesday. It’s Monday without Sunday. It’s Easter before Carnival.

I just couldn’t. I threw rocks in the river. Lying face up, looking at the sky and seeing
everything outside and nothing coming from inside. You see how complicated things can get?
How you can’t even tell yourself what to do? My mind sleeping, and the world outside
already awake, and the sun high in the sky as if it were laughing at me, and night coming
and people with their hats in their hands, at Pa’s door, the Judge and everyone, and me
silent. Silent without catching a glimpse of the truth of the world, because, for me, the
truth isn’t what happens all at once, but what I pull out a little at a time from the
truth that isn’t the truth because it’s only appearance. Nothing but appearance, until we
discover what it really is, turn it inside out, and on the back discover where truth’s
hidden and disguised. And show it to people, seeing how their eyes grow brilliant,
frightened, happy, fearful, desperate.

So, Doctor, from the time I was a child, I was a storyteller, respected in the backlands.
How it all began, don’t even ask. All I know is that it did. My Aunt Maria says that I’ve
never stopped being what I always was: a liar. Going back to before I was even born. Five
times I said I was going to be born and then disappointed everyone. One day, when no one
believed it and the midwife didn’t even come, I was born by myself and crying so much that
they thought that I had the evil eye. And then that I was possessed by the devil. It
wasn’t either one; I just wanted everyone to hear me.

And don’t I like to lie? Because I’m going to lie right now! I liked it.
But I also didn’t like it. Doctor, the truth is a square that has many sides. There’s the
outside part that we can see but can’t change and the inside part that we can’t see but
can change. I didn’t lie. No I didn’t. I only made it change. And people liked it. And I
liked it. And I liked it that people liked it.

At first it was small stories about everyday things. Because I didn’t know
what was going on outside. I almost didn’t change what was inside. Later it got better.
Improving with time. Slowly telling stories. Increasing the twists and turns of things.
Lying within lies. And people liked it even more.

One day I stopped in the middle and said that I’d only continue the next
day. At the beginning no one wanted to go home and leave the young hero lost in the woods
by himself. But I let them beg and said I’d continue only the next day. The next day
everyone came. And I already had the young hero free, when everyone still thought he was
imprisoned, lost in the woods. I felt like the king of the world, and I showed the road of
life to the young hero and saved him, and everyone was happy.

Another time, I think for ten days, I stretched out the story, making
changes here, taking men out there, putting a good sister in over there. Now I know that
this is called a radio soap opera. At that time it didn’t have a name, no it didn’t. But I
knew that it was good because everyone liked it.

It was around this time that Father Ambrósio began to teach me to read. I still remember
the fight. I didn’t want to do it. The idea of staying indoors copying other people’s
ideas just didn’t go over with me. What I liked to do was wander around. Just go around
looking for ideas. Pulling them from the stones that I stubbed my toe on, from the water I
drank, from the girls that I saw. From the Colonel and from everyone. The idea only had to
appear in front of me, and there was the story, already composed.

This business of putting a "b" with an "a" wasn’t my
style. And it was so much work. And it was hard. How could a ball be an "o"? And
a stick be an "i"? And all the rest? It was only because Pa pushed me that I
kept going to Dona Lurdinha’s class in Father Ambrósio’s school. She was really very good
to me. Not the priest. May God forgive me for saying this, but all he did was call me a
liar. He didn’t even want the other children to see me telling stories. We had to hide. Or
go up to the foot of the mulberry tree. The other boys were spitting out the seeds and I
was spitting out words. They wound up with blue tongues and I wound up with a lighter one.
I couldn’t stand it. I knew the risk I was running, but I couldn’t stand it. And the other
children liked it, too.

Zeca was punished real bad. He had to carry water to Father’s house for
100 days, only because he asked me to repeat the story of the Dreaming Damsel. The one who
thought the world was all pink when everyone else saw it as black and blue, who thought
she was a princess when she was only a lace-maker, who thought that the rain leaking
through the roof was a beam from her Fairy Godmother’s magic wand. One day they gave her,
excuse my language, cow shit and said that it was imported chocolate… and she liked it.
And even now no one knows if it was chocolate or shit that she ate. Not even me! Well,
Zeca kept following me, asking for stories in spite of the punishment.

Then Father saw that it wasn’t working, and he called me over to talk to
him in the corner next to his stinking cassock.

"Astrogildo," he said to me, "I’m going to let you tell
stories. Our Lady spoke to me yesterday and said that there was no harm in it. But you
have to tell only stories about God, Our Lady, and the Blessed Trinity." Stories
about salvation and good people who gave alms to the churches. That was after the Bishop
had visited there. Right after.

I even thought about doing it. But how could I? Nothing came out. I racked
my brain, looking for an explanation, changing the names of the saints, and nothing
happened. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong but, if you’re born to tell "con"
stories, you’re never going to tell "pro" stories.

So, I fled the Church. I hid from Father; I was afraid that he could see
what was inside my mind. Pa left me alone, because I was helping in the fields. And life
was sheer beauty. It was like that for a long time.

Now I didn’t go to my nest next to the river to wake up the world. But in
the morning, carrying my hoe, I followed the whisper of the wind that was telling me
stories. Cutting into the earth, I heard its sighs lamenting its suffering. In the
scalding sun, I felt the weight of the rays marking the rhythm of verses on me. Then,
returning in the afternoon, with the wind quieter, the earth so valiant, and the sun so
calm above, as if the whole world had confided its secrets to me, so I could change them
as I liked.

Then, it was home to eat couscous, drink coffee, and wait for people to
arrive. Father didn’t come, and he told people to stay away. And they said, "It’s all
right, Father Ambrósio. We don’t go to hear the stories. Only to find out how Comadre
Alta’s doing. She’s down with the measles." But they wanted to hear the stories. Some
of them even blessed themselves and everything in front of Father, vowing they didn’t. But
they stayed the entire time. And the stories were growing so much, Doctor, that now I
couldn’t control them. And I said what I wanted.

And Father Ambrósio found out that I was dressing him in a wolf’s skin in
my stories, and that people knew that he was the wolf and the wolf was him. People had
fear in their eyes. I could see it and it was beautiful. And I, I… for me there was a
feeling of satisfaction. I’m not going to deny it. But if the Sun and the Earth and the
drought spoke to me, it was because God didn’t oppose it. And I told the story of when God
spoke to everyone. And Father was furious. The following Sunday he asked from the pulpit
why it was that God had made Father’s schools and the seminaries that teach how to talk
with Him.

Well, the battle lines were drawn. People were afraid. I’ll vouch for
that. On Sunday people didn’t know if they were going to morning Mass, or not. On Saturday
night they didn’t know whether or not they were coming to Pa’s house to hear me. And Pa
tried to forbid me from telling stories. Ma, too. My godmother even came from far away and
asked me to stop because she didn’t want to be godmother to a renegade. They called me a
son of the devil, and I was no devil’s son. They called me a heretic, and I was no
heretic. All I wanted to do was repeat what the world was saying to me. Changing it here
and there only to make it more tasty, but everything still the same, only seen from the
reverse side of its appearance.

Then came the greatest reversal of all. Came Colonel Bernardo, who had
also heard stories that he didn’t like. The story of the Noble Horse versus the Cruel
Horseman and more. The Colonel spoke with Pa, who told him that I was a man now and that
he didn’t have any control over me. The Colonel said that you treat a man like a man, and
he sent two of his bodyguards to deal with me. Deal with me they did. They beat me up; I
don’t deny it. Later I cried all by myself; I don’t deny that either. I wanted to die; I
don’t deny it.

But there was something stronger than me; I couldn’t control my crazy
mind, and it told me more stories than ever. I tried to shut up but couldn’t keep my mouth
shut. I tried to forget, but my head was clearer than ever. From the fetters I was
wearing, I say this sincerely, I drew one thousand more stories. Now they were hateful
stories. It was the naked truth. I saw that people were afraid, but I didn’t shut up, and
the fear left them, and the stories continued. Stories like "The Hanged
Colonel," and "Father Satan."

It was all true, and the number of people growing and them saying,
"Well, yes," "Yes, that’s how it was," "Well, isn’t it just like
that?" And this went on for some time. For how long and why I don’t know. To tell you
the truth, I don’t think I really existed at that time. I was a sleepwalking soul
entrusted with the task of telling stories for people to hear. And I told a lot of them,
you can believe me. A whole lot, until that afternoon that the world came to an end.

To be continued.

Translated by Linda Jerome (LinJerome@cs.com) from "A Confissão,"
published in Brazil in 1984 by Civilização Brasileira as part of Cristovam Buarque’s
collection of short stories Astrícia.

 

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