Tales of Alfonso Hernández Catá

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Illustrated paperback ISBN: 9788498166453
Hardcover ISBN: 9788411265324
Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788499534305

After the publication of the Tales of Alfonso Hernández Catá in several books he was considered in life one of the best Cuban writers of all time.
Editor of the Diario de la Marina, one of the most influential newspapers in the country, and with a diplomatic career from a very young age, his work has the cosmopolitan breath of the enlightened traveler and, in turn, the penetrating gaze of those who perceive and narrate with depth the most dissimilar situations.
The following selection of stories by Alfonso Hernández Catá includes biblical stories, stories set in Madrid, trips to Paris or episodes of the Cuban War for independence. Its protagonists are characters of different races, sexes and social groups portrayed with intensity, full of conflicts and aspirations.

Summary of the work

  • The truth of the Iscariot case
  • The fable of Pelayo González
  • Love Tale
  • The cat
  • The witness
  • The culprit
  • The biscuit
  • Arnao’s son
  • Confession
  • Ninety days
  • The eyes
  • Apologist of Mary González
  • Cayetano the informal
  • The promissory note
  • For him
  • Quinine
  • House of novel
  • The One Who Came to Save Me
  • The Chinese
  • Count on the Styx
  • Ghosts
  • The paperweight
  • Hamlet’s grandson
  • The Labyrinth
  • The skin
  • The dead

The truth of the Iscariot case

His shadow, curving in the uneven terrain, stretched behind him, and in the soporific stillness of the afternoon only the vaguely wayward murmurs of the city were heard, and the calliginous gusts that after shaking the orchards and the gallant sycamore trees erect on the banks of the Kidron, came to shake the gray overflow of his beard and to disturb his meditations. Those warm gusts full of aromas reminded him of the powerful breaths of Martha and Mary of Magdal.
He had left Jerusalem after the midday snack through Ephraim’s gate, anxious to expand in solitude the turbulence of his ideas. And he marched with slow steps, his head lowered, which only from time to time raised to look at his right hand at the mass of Mount Olivet and the green expanse of the valley, where, on the undulating rest, the anemones and lilies opened like a flowering of purities.
His thought, skipping the nearby events, went until the blessed hour when the light entering his spirit, before all darkness, had made him abandon the family gift in his village of Karioth, to follow the sublime master. He walked, he walked, forgetting with his meditations the fatigues of his body. And his thoughts were a blessing to the eyes of his matter who had seen the wonders of healed lepers and dead raised with lives from their graves, and it was an epinicio for the eyes of his soul, which they had managed to know in the sickly Nazarene, of labyrinthine talk and of strange character that went from the maximum meekness to the angry violence, to the son of Him who created everything in Heaven and everything from there rules Him. He walked, he walked, and when his bare feet sank into the little abras of the road, the tunic, shuddering, accused his virile musculature, and in the bag the centuries sang Argentina, oblations made to the divine company by the charitable women.
At last he sat down to rest, and while he looked away from him, towards the door of the Flocks, a Pharisee who threw with his deep pebbles to an eagle while it described rapid imperfect spirals around the corpse of a vermin, an old man, whose arrival he did not notice, sat on a nearby rock and greeted him with the word Peace.
“Be peace with you, brother.
And they talked. The old man spoke to the apostle, with a sure voice impregnated with wisdom, of all the sciences, of all the arts, of all the philosophies, affirming that he knew other languages that he, only knowing Aramaic, did not suspect existed. And while from the unknown lips flowed the talk, the divine treasurer wondered if it would not be the conversion of that man of majestic figure and deep talent like the Tiberias and mighty like the Hinnon, the best treasure he could offer to the master.
“You’re a scribe?…’t you?” Then you would lead astray—like the flock that, ignoring the voices of the shepherd who shows it the right path with his spear, rushes into the ravines—the lights given to you by the Father of whom he is my teacher, following the idolatrous falsehoods of the Nicolaists, the Gnostics or the Simoniacs.
The old man was shaking his head negatively. And the saint did not see in his eyes a sulphurous luster, nor in his forehead, under the long Nazarene hair, the insinuation of two protuberances, nor did he see in the earth that trampled his feet the bifurrow marks of goat hooves.
“My religion is not known to you. Do you think the world is between your village and the Dead Sea and between Mount Bad Counsel and the Sea of Marmara? The world is immense and there are many men and many gods in it.
“There is no God but one: Galileo is his son and you must believe in him. He has ordered the waters, multiplied food and brought to life already putrid bodies.
“Your God is one of weakness. If he is strong and all-powerful, why did he not annihilate the scribes and Sadducees who mocked him when he told them in the temple portico that he was the son of God? Why doesn’t he convert the Jews who call him an impostor and refuse to recognize him as the Messiah?
Because our religion does not love rigor, but fraternity. But hearing him, many have seen the light and kissed his feet and called him by name: Son of the true God.
“It has only converted the weak and women. And he, who reveres his Father, has forced other sons to abandon brothers and mourners to follow him. Being able to make the world perfect, it has made the animals to live have to devour each other. He loves flattery and allows himself to anoint his feet with perfumes, allowing John and James to murmur about you, because you proposed the sale of that sandalwood to distribute the product to the needy… In your pilgrimage you have done nothing divine. These miracles are natural, and the day will come when they will be comprehensible to all men. Those converted by your preaching are poor in spirit, and for every man whom you have torn from Tyre and Sidon and Samaria, the cult of their homes has been forgotten by many women for whom the divinity of your master is only in the curly beard, in the eloquence of his phrases, in the ample imperative gestures and in the fire of his eyes that speaks of other concupiscent fires.
“Heresy, heresy!

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