quinta-feira, 4 de abril de 2013
The Road to the Sea by Takashi Ishikawa
So the boy resolved. And, the kind of boy he was, no slings or arrows would stop him once his mind was set. Without a word to father or to mother he set out from home.
Which way to the sea? The boy didn’t know. But any which way if he just kept tramping along in one direction, he was bound to come to the sea sooner or later. This was the wisdom of a boy just turned six.
The boy had never seen any sea except inside his picture-books.
His mind could not hold on to such a watermuch.
Adrift in dreams of sky-sea-blue, the boy trudged purposefully on.
“Hey, boy!” The old man hailed him, “Where you going?”
“The sea,” said the boy, and kept on walking.
“The sea?” The old man opened his toothless mouth and laughed. “That’s a good one!” He grabbed the boy by the arm and pulled him to a stop. “Going to the sea? Okay. You’ll just have to go to heaven first.” He pointed a withered old finger, trembling uncontrollably, at the sky. “The sea is right up there over your head!”
* * *
Pretty soon the boy got to a small hill. Standing on the top of the hill, he looked all around him everywhere, but the presence of the sea was nowhere to be sensed. The boy dropped on his haunches and had something to eat while he watched the gradual shifting of ground-shadows cast by the slow passage of the sun.
The boy straightened his back, set his lips firmly, fastened his eyes on the distant hills, and started walking—
Beyond the mountains were still further mountains. Beyond those mountains stretched a plain. At the far end of the plain, another range of hills confronted him.
His supplies of food and water were getting sadly low.
He did not understand how the sea should be so far away.
The boy kept going. How many times did he sleep on the ground? It didn’t matter. When he was sleeping, when he was walking, he was always seeing his visions of the sea.
The boy’s legs had stopped walking a while back. Now two moons shed their light on a still small figure stretched out on the red-brown desert sand.
The boy was smiling a bit even as his breath stopped. Under the night sky of Mars he lay facing a green star—the sky-floating Earth. The sea was there, but he could never reach it.
Nobody goes back there any more.
In: The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories. New York, 1997, pp. 58-61.