I do not know if this is a story that looks like a story or a story that looks like history; What I can say is that deep down there is a truth, a very sad truth, which perhaps I will be one of the last to take advantage of, given my conditions of imagination.
Another, with this idea, might have made a tome of tearful philosophy; I have written this legend that, to those who see nothing in its depth, at least it will entertain them a while.
He was noble, he had been born amidst the roar of arms, and the uncanny clamor of a war horn would not have made him lift his head for a moment or take his eyes from a point on the dark parchment in which he read the last song of a troubadour.
Those who wanted to find him were not to look for him in the wide courtyard of his castle, where the mountaineers tame the colts, the pages taught the hawks to fly, and the soldiers entertained themselves on Sabbath days by sharpening the iron of their spear against a stone.
“Where is Manrique, where is your master?” Her mother would sometimes ask.
“We do not know,” replied his servants, “that he may be in the cloister of the monastery of La Peña, sitting on the edge of a tomb, listening to see if any words of the conversation of the dead are surprised; Or on the bridge, watching the waves of the river run behind each other below their bows; Or huddled in the bankruptcy of a rock and entertained in counting the stars of the sky, to follow a cloud with the sight or to contemplate the ferocious fires that cross like exhalations on the beam of the lagoons. Everywhere you are you will be less where everyone is.
ct, Manrique loved solitude, and he loved her in such a way that he sometimes wished he had no shadow, because his shadow did not follow him everywhere.
He loved loneliness, because in his womb, giving free rein to the imagination, he forged a fantastic world, inhabited by strange creations, daughters of his deliriums and his dreams of poet, so much, that never had satisfied him the ways in which he could enclose his Thoughts, and had never locked them in writing them.
He believed that among the red embers of the home dwelled spirits of fire of a thousand colors, which ran like gold insects along the burning logs, or danced in a luminous round of sparks at the peak of the flames, and spent the hours Dead sitting on a stool next to the tall Gothic fireplace, motionless and staring into the fire.
He believed that mysterious women, fairies, sylphs, or undines lived in the depths of the river, among the mosses of the fountain and the vapors of the lake, who exhaled moans and sighs, or sang and laughed in the monotonous rumor Of the water, rumor that he heard in silence trying to translate it.
In the clouds, in the air, in the depths of the forests, in the cracks of rocks, he imagined sensing forms or hearing mysterious sounds, forms of supernatural beings, unintelligible words he could not understand.
To love! He was born to dream of love, not to feel it. He loved all the women for a moment: this one because she was blonde, the one because her lips were red, the other because she stiffened when she walked like a reed.
Sometimes his delirium would come to the point of staying a whole night staring at the moon, floating in the sky among a silver steamer, or the stars that trembled in the distance like the shifting of precious stones. In those long nights of poetic insomnia, he exclaimed: “If it is true, as the prior of the Peña told me, it is possible that those points of light are worlds; If it is true that in that balloon of mother-of-pearl that people roll on the clouds, what beautiful women will be the women of those luminous regions, and I will not be able to see them, and I will not be able to love them! How will your love be?
Manrique was not crazy enough to be followed by the boys, but enough to talk and gesticulate alone, which is where it starts.
On the Duero, which licked past the wormy, dark stones of the walls of Soria, there is a bridge leading from the city to the old Templar convent, whose possessions extended along the opposite bank of the river.
At the time referred to, the Knights of the Order had already abandoned their historic fortresses; But the remnants of the broad towers of its walls still stood, still visible, as they are seen in part today, covered with ivy and white bells, the massive arches of the cloister, the protruding galleries of their courtyards, In which the wind sighed with a groan, shaking the tall grasses.
In the orchards and gardens, whose paths had not trodden for many years the plants of the religious, the vegetation, abandoned to itself, unfolded all its galas, without fear that the hand of the man mutilated, believing to beautify it. Climbing plants climbed up the old trunks of trees; The shadowy streets of poplars, whose tops were touched and confused with each other, had been covered with lawns; Wild thistles and nettles sprang up in the middle of the sanded roads, and in two pieces of factory, near to collapse, the jaramago, floating in the wind like the plume of a summit, and the white and blue bells, swinging like a swing On their long and flexible stems, proclaimed the victory of destruction and ruin.
It was night; A warm summer night, full of perfumes and gentle rumors, and with a serene white moon, in the middle of a blue sky, bright and transparent.
Manrique, caught in his imagination of a vertigo of poetry, after crossing the bridge, from where he gazed for a moment at the black silhouette of the city, which stood out against the background of some whitish and light clouds rolled in the horizon, Deserted ruins of the Templars.
It was midnight to its fullest. The moon, which had slowly climbed back, was already at the top of the sky, as it entered a dark alley that led from the ruined cloister on the bank of the Duero, Manrique exhaled a small, muffled cry, a strange mixture of surprise , Of fear and of joy.
At the bottom of the dark mall he had seen a white thing flutter, which floated for a moment and disappeared into the darkness. The edge of a woman’s dress, of a woman who had crossed the path and hid among the foliage, just as the mad dreamer of chimeras or impossible entered the gardens.
“An unknown woman! … On this site! … At this hour! That’s the woman I’m looking for, “exclaimed Manrique; And launched into his follow-up, fast as a bolt.
He came to the point where he had seen the mysterious woman lost in the thick of the branches. Had disappeared. Where? Far away, far away, he thought he could see through the crushed trunks of trees like a clarity or a white form that moved.
It is she, she, who carries wings on her feet and flees like a shadow! He said, and rushed forward in search of her, parting with her hands the ivy nets that stretched like a tapestry on some other poplars. He came breaking through the undergrowth and the parasitic plants to a kind of landing that illuminated the light of the sky … Nobody! “Ah, here, here he exclaimed then.” I hear his footsteps on the dry leaves, and the creak of his suit that drags on the ground and brushes in the bushes; -and he ran and ran like crazy from here to there, and he did not see her. “But their footsteps are still sounding,” he murmured again, “I think he has spoken; No doubt, he has spoken … The wind that sighs among the branches; The leaves, which seem to pray in a low voice, have prevented me from hearing what he has said; But there is no doubt, he goes there, he has spoken … he has spoken … In what language? I do not know, but it’s a foreign language … And he ran again in his follow-up, sometimes believing to see her, others thinking to hear her; Already noticing that the branches, among which had disappeared, moved; Already imagining distinguishing
In the sand the footprint of his own feet; Then, firmly persuaded that a special perfume that sucked at intervals was a scent belonging to that woman who mocked him, pleased to flee through those intricate weeds. Useless eagerness
He wandered back and forth for a few hours, already standing to listen, already slipping with the greatest precautions on the grass, already in a frantic and desperate race.
Advancing, advancing among the immense gardens that embroidered the margin of the river, finally arrived at the foot of the rocks on which the hermitage of San Saturio rises. “Perhaps from this height I will be able to orient myself to follow my researches through this confused labyrinth,” he exclaimed climbing from rock to rock with the aid of his dagger.
He reached the top, from which the city is discovered in the distance and a large part of the Duero that squirms at his feet, dragging a dark and impetuous current among the corners margins that imprison him.
Manrique, once on the top of the rocks, looked around; But when he laid it down and fixed it at one point, he could not contain a blasphemy.
The light of the moon shimmered in the wake that left behind a boat that was heading to every oar on the opposite shore.
In that boat she had thought to distinguish a slender white form, a woman no doubt, the woman she had seen in the Templars, the woman of her dreams, the realization of her wildest hopes. He took off his hat with the agility of a deer, tossed the cap on the ground, the long, round pen of which he could impregnate him to run, and undressing from the wide velvet capotillo, he set off as an exhalation toward the bridge.
He planned to cross it and reach the city before the boat touched the other shore. Madness! When Manrique arrived panting and covered with sweat at the entrance, and those who had crossed the Duero by the part of San Saturio, they entered Soria by one of the gates of the wall, that at that time reached until the margin of the river, in whose Waters were depicted on their brown battlements.
Although his hope of reaching those who had entered through the wicket of San Saturio had vanished, it was not for this that our hero lost that of knowing the house which could house them in the city. He fixed in his mind this idea, he entered the population, and going towards the neighborhood of San Juan, began to wander through its streets to the ventura.
The streets of Soria were then, and still are, narrow, dark and tortuous. A deep silence reigned in them, silence that only interrupted, now the distant bark of a dog; Now the noise of a door closing, now the neighing of a steed that piafando sounded the chain that held the manger in the underground stables.
Manrique, with his ear attentive to these rumors of the night, which at times seemed to him the footsteps of a person who had already folded the last corner of a desert alley, others, confused voices of people talking behind their backs and each I expected to see him at his side, he walked a few hours, running at random from one place to another.
At last he paused at the foot of a stone house, dark and ancient, and when he stopped, his eyes shone with an indescribable expression of joy. In one of the lofty windows of what we might call a palace, there was a ray of soft, soft light that, passing through a few rose-colored silk hangings, reflected on the blackish and grating wall of the house of in front.
-No doubt; Here lives my stranger, “murmured the young man in a low voice, without taking his eyes from the Gothic window,” live here. She entered by the wicket of San Saturio … by the wicket of San Saturio you come to this neighborhood … in this neighborhood there is a house, where after midnight there are still people on watch … Still? Who but she, who returns from her nocturnal excursions, can be at this hour? … There is no more; this is your house.
In this firm persuasion, and stirring in his head the most crazy and fantastic imaginations, waited the dawn in front of the Gothic window, of which all night did not lack the light nor he separated the view a moment.
When the day came, the massive arched doors that led into the house, and on whose key the blazons of its owner were carved, turned heavily on the hinges, with a prolonged and sharp chirping. A squire reappeared on the lintel with a bunch of keys in his hand, rubbing his eyes and teaching yawning a box of teeth capable of envying a crocodile.
Seeing Manrique and jumping to the door, everything was the work of an instant.
“Who lives in this house?” What’s her name? Where it is? What has come to Soria? Do you have a husband? Answer, respond, animal. This was the salutation that, shaking his arm violently, addressed the poor squire, who, after looking at a good time with frightened and stupid eyes, answered in a voice broken in surprise,
“In this house live the very honored Mr. Alonso de Valdecuellos, the elder montero of our lord the king, who wounded in the war against the Moors, is in this city recovering from his fatigues.
“But what about your daughter?” Interrupted the impatient young man, “and his daughter, or her sister; Or his wife, or whatever?
“He has no woman with him.”
“He has none! … Who sleeps there in this room, where I have seen a light burn all night?
-There? My lord D. Alonso sleeps there, who, being ill, keeps his lamp lit until dawn.
A bolt of lightning falling suddenly to his feet would not have caused him more astonishment than the one that these words caused him.
“I must find her, I must find her; And if I find it, I am almost certain that I shall know it … In what? … That is what I can not say … but I must know it. The echo of his footsteps or a single word of his that he hears again, one end of his suit, one end that he sees again, will suffice me to obtain it. Night and day I am watching floating in front of my eyes those folds of a diaphanous white cloth; Night and day I am ringing here inside the head, the creak of his suit, the confused rumor of his unintelligible words … What did he say? … what did he say? Oh, if I could know what he said, perhaps … but still unknowingly I will find it … I will find it; My heart gives it to me, and my heart never deceives me.
It is true that I have passed through all the streets of Soria in vain; That I have passed nights and nights to the serene, made corner post; That I have spent more than twenty doubles in gold in making friends of masters and squires; That I have given holy water in St. Nicholas to an old woman, with such an art in her cloak of anascote, that I appeared to be a deity; And as I left the Collegiate on a night of matinees, I followed the archdeacon’s litter as a fool, thinking that the end of his holapandas was that of my stranger’s suit; but no
It matters … I will find it, and the glory of possessing it will surely exceed the work of seeking it.
What will their eyes be like? … They must be blue, blue, and wet like the night sky; I like the eyes of that color so much; Are so expressive, so melancholy, so … Yes … there is no doubt; Blues must be, blues are, surely; And his black hair, very black and long to float … I think I saw them float that night, along with his suit, and they were black … I do not deceive myself, no; Were black.
And how good they feel blue eyes, very torn and sleepy, and loose hair, floating and dark, to a tall woman … because … she is tall, tall and slender as those angels on the front of our basilicas , Whose oval faces wrap in a mysterious twilight the shadows of their granite canopies! His voice! … his voice I heard … his voice is as soft as the sound of the wind in the leaves of the poplars, and his pacing and majestic as the cadences of a music.
And that woman, who is beautiful as the most beautiful of my adolescent dreams, who thinks as I think, who likes as I like, who hates what I hate, who is a human spirit of my spirit, which is the complement of My being, should not you be moved to find me? Will not you love me as I will love her, as I love her already, with all the strength of my life, with all the faculties of my soul?
Come on, let’s go to the place where I saw her the first and only time I’ve seen him … Who knows if, as capricious as I, friend of solitude and mystery, like all reamy souls, is happy to wander through Ruins, in the silence of the night?
Two months had elapsed since the squire of D. Alonso de Valdecuellos disillusioned the illusion Manrique; Two months during which every hour had formed a castle in the air, that reality faded with a breath; Two months, during which he had searched in vain for this unknown woman, whose absurd love was growing in his soul, thanks to his even more absurd imaginations, when after venturing into these ideas the bridge that leads to the Templars, the lover Young man was lost among the intricate paths of his gardens.
The night was serene and beautiful, the moon shone in all its fullness in the highest of the sky, and the wind sighed with a sweet noise among the leaves of the trees.
Manrique reached the cloister, looked around his room and looked through the massive columns of his arches … It was deserted.
He left him and made his way to the dark lane leading to the Duero, and he had not yet penetrated it, when a shout of joy escaped from his lips.
He had seen a moment float and disappear the end of the white suit, the white suit of the woman of his dreams, the woman he already loved like a madman.
He runs, he searches for him, he arrives at the place where he has seen her disappear; But when he stops he stops, he fixes his scared eyes on the ground, he remains motionless for a while; A slight nervous tremor shakes its limbs, a trembling that grows, that grows and offers the symptoms of a true convulsion, and at last burst out a laugh, a loud, shrill, horrible laugh.
The white thing, light, floating, had returned to shine before his eyes, but had shone at his feet for a moment, no more than an instant.
It was a ray of moon, a ray of moon that penetrated at intervals through the green vault of the trees when the wind moved its branches.
Some years had passed. Manrique, sitting on a seat next to the high Gothic chimney of his castle, almost motionless and with a vague and inq