Mis escritores favoritos de habla inglesa: R. L. Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

My Favourite English-Speaking Authors

by Ana Brennan (Colaboradora de Aprende Inglés Sila)

Mis escritores favoritos han sido siempre los autores de aquellos clásicos que garantizan al lector satisfacción y asombro. Siempre que algún amigo, aburrido de las publicaciones más nuevas y populares, me pregunta qué recomiendo para leer, mi respuesta es “… Wilde, Poe y Stevenson siempre te van a dejar contento…”

Esta es la primera entrega de una recopilación de cuentos cortos (short stories) escritos por mis autores de habla inglesa favoritos y adaptados en un inglés sencillo.  Al final incluyo un glosario para aprender el vocabulario un poco más complicado.

¡Espero que les guste!

Autor: Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert_Louis_Stevenson_

R. L. Stevenson (1850-1894) fue un autor de origen escocés que pasó muchos años de su vida productiva en las islas de la Polinesia. Estas islas paradisíacas lo ayudaron a soportar su delicada salud y le dieron la inspiración necesaria para escribir grandes fábulas y novelas.

En Samoa, donde falleció a los 44 años de edad de tuberculosis, se lo conocía como “Tusitala” que significa “narrador de cuentos” (storyteller).

La obra más conocida de Stevenson es, sin duda alguna, Treasure Island (pronunciación: TREASURE ISLAND) en español llamado La isla del Tesoro.

Aquí les resumo en un inglés sencillo mi cuento polinésico favorito, que trata el oscuro tema de “venderle el alma al Diablo”

Adaptación de The Bottle Imp El diablo de la botella

In one of his sailing trips Keawe, a poor Hawaiian young man, buys a strange bottle from an old, rich but very sad gentleman who says the bottle gave him a big fortune. He promises that an imp living in the bottle will also give Keawe his every desire.

Of course, there is a catch — “you must sell the bottle for less than you bought it, or else it will simply return to you. The currency used in the transaction must also be in coin (not paper money or bank check).” Then the old man explains that the bottle cannot be thrown or given away, that all of these instructions must be transmitted from each seller to each buyer and, most importantly, that if the owner of the bottle dies without selling it first, that person’s soul will burn for eternity in Hell.

It was believed that the Devil himself had brought the bottle to Earth and first purchased by Prester John for millions; it was owned by Napoleon and Captain James Cook and believed to be the reason for their great successes. By the time of Keawe´s story the price has gone down to fifty dollars.

Keawe buys the bottle and instantly wishes his money to be back, to convince himself he is not a fool. When he puts his hands in his pockets, they are filled with coins! He realizes then that the bottle does indeed have unholy power. He finds he cannot abandon it or sell it for a profit, so he wishes for his heart’s desire: a big, fancy mansion on a beautiful land. When he returns to Hawaii, Keawe’s wish has come true, but at a price: his beloved uncle and cousins have been killed in a boating accident, leaving him all his uncle’s fortune and lands. Keawe is horrified, but uses the money to build his house.

Once his dreamed house is finished, he decides to get rid of the bottle, so after explaining the risks, he sells the bottle to a friend.

Keawe lives a happy life, but there is something missing. Walking along the beach one night, he meets a beautiful woman, Kokua. They soon fall in love and become engaged. However, Keawe’s happiness is darkened very soon when he discovers that he has contracted the then-incurable disease of leprosy. He must give up his house and wife, and live in Kalaupapa—a remote community for lepers in the island of Molokai—unless he can recover the bottle and use it to cure himself.

Keawe then, tries to find his friend who bought the bottle, but his friend has become suddenly very rich and left Hawaii. Keawe follows the path of the bottle through many buyers and eventually finds a Haole of Beritania Street, Honolulu. The man of European ancestry has both good and bad news for Keawe: (a) he owns the bottle and wants to sell it, but (b) he has only paid two cents for it. So, if Keawe buys it, he will not be able to resell it.

Keawe decides to buy the bottle anyway, for the price of one cent, and indeed cures himself. Now, however, he is obviously desperate: how can he possibly enjoy life, knowing he is going to Hell? His wife mistakes his depression for regret at their marriage, and asks for a divorce. Keawe confesses to her his secret.

After several days, his wife suggests they sail, with the bottle, to Tahiti; on that archipelago the colonists of French Polynesia use centimes, a coin worth one-fifth of an American cent. This offers a solution for Keawe!

When they arrive, however, the suspicious natives will not touch the cursed bottle. Kokua determines to make a supreme sacrifice to save her husband from his fate. As, however, she knows he would never sell the bottle to her, Kokua bribes an old sailor to buy the bottle for four centimes, promising that she will secretly buy it back for three. Now Keawe is happy, but she carries the curse.

The following night, Keawe finds his wife crying on the floor with the bottle next to her and discovers what she has done, so he decides to sacrifice himself for her in the same way. He convinces another brutish sailor to buy the bottle for two centimes, promising he will buy it back for one, condemning himself again. Surprisingly, the drunken sailor refuses to get rid of it, he wants to keep it! He is not afraid of the prospect of Hell. «I reckon I’m going anyway,» he says.

Keawe returns to his wife, both of them free from the curse, while the drunken sailor disappears in the red night, singing and dancing his fate.

Glosario

  • Imp:    diablillo
  • Catch:    trampa
  • Purchased:   compró
  • Prester John:   era el nombre de un supuesto gobernante cristiano del Lejano Oriente. Según los relatos medievales, descendía de los tres Reyes Magos, y tanto era un mandatario generoso como un hombre virtuoso, que regía un territorio lleno de riquezas y extraños tesoros.
  • Unholy:    maldito
  • Wishes:    desea
  • Get rid of:   deshacerse de
  • Risks:    riesgos
  • Kokua:    nombre de mujer hawaiiano que significa “ayuda”
  • Leprosy-Lepers:     lepra-leprosos
  • Path:    camino
  • Haole:    nombre usado por los nativos hawaiianos para referirse a los blancos americanos y europeos
  • Worth:    que vale/tiene valor
  • Cursed:    maldecido
  • Bribes:    soborna
  • Refuses:    niega
  • Reckon:     creo, supongo
  • Fate:    destino

Ana es traductora e intérprete de inglés-español y ha sido profesora de inglés durante más de 15 años. De familia anglo-irlandesa pero nacida en Argentina, Ana es completamente bilingüe. Es experta en Estructuras Comparativas, FonéticaWriting Reading. Además trabaja como escritora y actriz de doblaje.

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