ESPAÑOL

La viejecita

ENGLISH

The aged mother


En una gran ciudad, una pobre anciana estaba, por la noche, sola en su habitación; pensaba en cómo había perdido, primero, a su marido, luego a sus dos hijos y, poco a poco, a todos sus parientes y amigos; aquel mismo día había perdido al último, quedándose sola y abandonada del mundo entero. Tan triste estaba la pobre anciana, sobre todo por la pérdida de sus hijos, que incluso llegó a reprochar a Dios.
Permanecía triste y abatida cuando oyó el tañido de la campana que tocaba a maitines. Sorprendida de haber pasado toda la noche en vela, entregada a sus tristes pensamientos, encendió la luz y se encaminó a la iglesia. Al llegar, el templo estaba completamente iluminado, aunque no por velas y cirios, como de costumbre, sino por un resplandor raro y crepuscular. Estaba también lleno de gente, y todos los sitios aparecían ocupados, y cuando la viejecita quiso ocupar el suyo habitual, resultó que el banco estaba lleno. Y al mirar a aquellas gentes se dio cuenta de que todos eran parientes difuntos, que estaban sentados allí con sus vestidos de otros tiempos y con los rostros lívidos. No hablaban ni cantaban, mas en la iglesia se percibía un extraño zumbido y rumoreo.
Levantóse una tía suya y, acercándosele, le dijo:
- Mira al altar, verás a tus hijos.
La vieja dirigió la mirada al punto indicado y vio a sus hijos: el uno, colgando de una horca; el otro, azotado sobre la rueda -. Y explicó la vieja tía:
- ¿Ves? Ése era el destino que les estaba reservado si hubiesen vivido y Dios no los hubiese llamado a su seno cuando aún eran niños inocentes.
La vieja regresó, temblando, a su casa y, cayendo de rodillas, dio gracias a Nuestro Señor por haber hecho las cosas mejor de lo que ella podía comprender. Y a los tres días murió ella también.
In a large town there was an old woman who sat in the evening alone in her room thinking how she had lost first her husband, then both her children, then one by one all her relations, and at length, that very day, her last friend, and now she was quite alone and desolate. She was very sad at heart, and heaviest of all her losses to her was that of her sons; and in her pain she blamed God for it. She was still sitting lost in thought, when all at once she heard the bells ringing for early prayer. She was surprised that she had thus in her sorrow watched through the whole night, and lighted her lantern and went to church. It was already lighted up when she arrived, but not as it usually was with wax candles, but with a dim light. It was also crowded already with people, and all the seats were filled; and when the old woman got to her usual place it also was not empty, but the whole bench was entirely full. And when she looked at the people, they were none other than her dead relations who were sitting there in their old-fashioned garments, but with pale faces. They neither spoke nor sang; but a soft humming and whispering was heard all over the church. Then an aunt of hers stood up, stepped forward, and said to the poor old woman, "Look there beside the altar, and thou wilt see thy sons." The old woman looked there, and saw her two children, one hanging on the gallows, the other bound to the wheel. Then said the aunt, "Behold, so would it have been with them if they had lived, and if the good God had not taken them to himself when they were innocent children." The old woman went trembling home, and on her knees thanked God for having dealt with her more kindly than she had been able to understand, and on the third day she lay down and died.




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