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46 - Fantastic Latin America

The Argentine Leopoldo Lugones tells us the story of a traveler that meets an old Englishman who has been living in isolation for years. As both men get acquainted and discover a common interest, the Englishman reveals the reason for his apparent distrust: that his shadow has become a frightening, independent entity.

In the comments, we explore what out-of-body-experiences are, and talk about Lugones’s life, and conclude with a poem.

This episode was produced with the support of PRX and the Google Podcast Creator Program.


"I bought the ape at auction from a circus that had gone bankrupt. The first time it occurred to me to try the experiment […] was an afternoon when I happened to read, somewhere or other, that the natives of Java ascribe the absence of articulate speech among the apes to deliberate abstention, not to incapacity. 'They keep silent,' the article started, 'so as not to be set to work.

"This idea, which at first struck me as superficial, in the end engaged my mind until it evolved into this anthropological theory; apes were men who for one reason or another had stopped speaking, with the result that the vocal organs and the centers of the brain that control speech had atrophied; the connection between the two was weakened nearly to the breaking point; the language of the species was arrested at the stage of the inarticulate cry; and the primitive human being sank to the animal level."

Source: The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories. Edited by Roberto González Echavarría. Oxford University Press. 1997.



Hello! Dear listeners of Tres Cuentos, the bilingual podcast dedicated to the literary, historical, and traditional narratives of Latin America. I am Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, and today we welcome the Argentine Leopoldo Lugones.

The first extract is the opening of Lugones's most famous short story "Yzur," translated by Gregory Woodruff in the book The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories and edited by Roberto González Echavarría.


Here comes another confession that reveals my poor ability to retain people's names. I read the story "Yzur" two years ago when I was ready to launch the first season on Latino Authors. The story left an impression on me that I could not shake off, but I conveniently forgot the author's name. Yet, for months I kept wondering whether I should have included the story in the season.

All this to say that, when I was researching the stories for the current season, I came across “Yzur" again and wondered if I should include it. Instead, I chose another story. But it was only when I was writing this introduction that I realized that Leopoldo Lugones, today's author, was also the author of "Yzur."

Despite my concerns, I recommend reading Yzur because it is the most anthologized of Lugones's stories, and it describes and criticizes the frivolous thirst of those who still test on animals. However, do not fret; today's cuento has none of that.

On other news, I want to invite you to join me on October 31, at 2 p.m. Eastern US Time; I will be telling a story on Debut, a program run by Kevin Cordi. I will leave the link in the transcripts.

Today's story "An inexplicable phenomenon" can be found in the book in Spanish Las Fuerzas Extrañas, Strange Forces by Leopoldo Lugones, published in 1906, and is presented in the voice of my friend Don Hymel.

A traveler meets an old Englishman who has been living in isolation for years. As both men get acquainted and discover a common interest, the Englishman reveals the reason for his apparent distrust: that his shadow has become a frightening, independent entity.

An Inexplicable Phenomenon

By Leopoldo Lugones

Translated by Carolina Quiroga and Don Hymel

Read by Don Hymel

There have been eleven years since the following happened. I was traveling through the agricultural region shared by the provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe. I had been provided with the appropriate recommendations to help me avoid staying at the horrible inns available in the new colonies.

My stomach, defeated by the insipid fennel salad and unavoidable nuts dessert, demanded real food. My last pilgrimage seemed to be undergoing the worst auspices. No one knew of a shelter in town where I could stay. However, when the circumstances were more pressing, the town's judge -- who seemed to like me -- came to my aid.

"I know a widower, an English gentleman that lives alone," he told me. "He owns a house, the best in the colony, and several lands of no small value. I provided the gentleman some services that could only be executed under my current position, so that should give you some goodwill with him, and serve as my recommendation. If it is effective, it will provide you with excellent accommodations; however, although the English gentleman has very fine qualities, he is very reserved and can be moody when the moon changes. No one has been able to see his house beyond the bedroom where he receives his very few guests. All this means that you are going in a non-advantageous condition, but that is all I can do for you. Success is not guaranteed. All in all, if you want a letter of recommendation ...."

I accepted and immediately set off on my journey, arriving hours later at the destination point.

Nothing was attractive about the place. The station had a red tile roof and a crispy charcoal platform. The traffic light was on the right, and the well on the left. On the double track across from where I stood, half a dozen empty wagons awaited the harvest. Beyond this was the shed, burdened by bags of wheat. Down the slope was la pampa, the flatlands, with its yellowish color like a handkerchief of herbs. There were unfinished houses scattered in the distance, each with its own unthreshed grain on the side. On the horizon, the smoke of the train in motion, and a silence of peaceful enormity seemed to harmonize with the rural color of the landscape.

The view was vulgarly symmetrical like all recent constructions. Some settlers came to the estafeta in search of letters. I asked one about the house I was looking for, and immediately was given directions. The man spoke with a tone of respect of my host the widower.

The English gentleman didn't live far from the station, about ten blocks further, to the west, at the end of a dusty road that given the afternoon colorations looked like a field of lilacs.

I recognized the house by its parapet and its cornice. It stood with an air of exotic gallantry that made surrounding dwellings look drab. It had a formal front garden, and a courtyard surrounded by a wall. Beyond lay peach trees surrounded by another wall. The setting was neat and fresh, but the dwelling seemed to be uninhabited. Despite its industrious chalet features, there in the deserted countryside, the little house conveyed a sad sweetness, like a new tomb on the site of an old cemetery.

When I arrived at the gate, I noticed that there were autumn roses in the garden. Their perfume softened the barren setting, calming the harsh noises of nearby threshing machines. Companioning the well-kept plants grass grew freely. A shovel covered in rust lay against the wall, its entirety bundled by a vine.

I entered the gate, passed into the garden, and, not without some apprehension, knocked on the inside door. There was no response. Minutes passed. The wind began to whistle through a crack in the wall, accentuating the loneliness. After calling for a second time, I heard faint footsteps and, soon after, the door opened with the sound of ancient, parched wood. The homeowner appeared and greeted me.

I submitted my letter. As he read it, I took a good look at him. He was bald. His face was shaved in a clergyman's style. He had generous lips and an austere nose. The imperious disdain of his chin reminded me of a medieval mystic. His facial protrusions were contrasted by an expression of calm confidence. My first thought was that this man could have been a bold military officer or a passionate missionary. I would have liked to look at his hands to complete my observation, but I could not see his hands. I handed him the letter. After reading it, he invited me to come in. From that moment until lunchtime, he occupied himself by arranging my stay at his home. When we sat at the table for our repast, I began to notice something strange.

As we ate, I noticed that despite his perfect courtesy, it became apparent that something was worrying my interlocutor. His gaze periodically was directed towards an empty portion of the room. Each time this happened, his visage looked anguished. But since that part of the room lay in shadow, my furtive glances could not discern any visible cause. After a while, I assumed that this might have been just a habitual distraction.

Despite this, our conversation was quite lively. It centered on the cholera that was raging through nearby villages. My guest was a homeopath, and he did not hide his satisfaction at having found in me one of the guild. In this regard, a phrase he spoke made me want to clarify the subject. The matter of reducing doses had just suggested an argument that I was quick to make.

"The quantity of a substance does not influence Rutter's pendulum," I said, making my point. "A homeopathic globule oscillates equally on a dose of five hundred or a thousand times greater of the same substance." I noticed I had interested my host with my observation. He was now looking at me.

"However," he replied, "Reichenbach has refuted that. I suppose you have read the works of Baron Karl von Reichenbach (Germany 1788-1869)."

"I read it, yes; I have listened to his criticisms, I have rehearsed, and my apparatus, confirming Rutter, has shown me that the error came from the German chemist, not from the English man. The cause of such an error is very simple. So simple that I am surprised that the Baron Karl von Reichenbach, the illustrious discoverer of the hydrocarbon compounds of paraffin wax (1830) and creosote (1832) did not find it."

At this point, my host smiled: clear proof that we understood each other. He asked, "Did you use Rutter's primitive pendulum, or the one perfected by Dr. Leger?"

"The second," I replied.

"It is the better of the two," he said. "And according to your research what would be the cause of Reichenbach's mistake? "

"This:" I replied. The people who operated it influenced the apparatus and, in turn, influenced the amount of the body studied. For example," I continued, "if the oscillation caused by a scruple or twenty grains of magnesia, let's say reached an amplitude of four lines, the current ideas about the relationship between cause and effect would demand that the oscillation increase in proportion to the quantity: that is ten grams. The Baron's apprentices were individuals not usually versed in scientific speculation. Those who practice such experiments know how powerfully the ideas held to be true can influence such people, especially when they seem to be logical. So here is the cause of the error. The pendulum does not obey quantity, but rather the nature of the body studied. However, when the people operating the apparatus believe that quantity influences, the effect increases. For every belief is a volition. A pendulum operated by an individual that does not know the variations in quantity, confirms Rutter. Then, there is no more hallucination... "

"Oh, we already have a hallucination here," said my interlocutor with manifest displeasure.

"I am not one of those who explains everything by calling it a hallucination, and confuses fact with subjectivity," I replied. "For me, a hallucination is a force, rather than a state of mind, and as so, is explained by a good portion of phenomena. I think it's the just doctrine."

"Unfortunately, he sighed, "that it is false. Look, I met the Scottish medium Daniel Dunglas Home, in London back in 1872. I then followed with keen interest William Crookes studies on mediums, under a radically materialistic criterion. But after the phenomena of '74, the evidence convinced me. A hallucination is not enough to explain everything. Believe me, apparitions are autonomous... "

"Allow me a little digression," I interrupted, finding in those memories an opportunity to check my deductions about my host's character. "I want to ask you a question, which certainly does not require an answer if it is indiscreet. Have you been in military service?"

"For a short time," he replied. "I was a second lieutenant in the Indian Army."

I replied, "By the way, India must have been a field of curious studies for you."

"No," he replied. "The war closed the road to Tibet where I would have wanted to go. I went to Cawnpore, nothing more. For health reasons, later I returned to England, from England I went to Chile in 1879, and finally I came to this country in 1888."

"Did you become ill in India?"

"Yes," replied the former soldier sadly, an again stared briefly at the corner of the room.

"Was it Cholera?" I insisted. He rested his head in his left hand, and looked over me, vaguely. His thumb began to move between the thin hairs on the back of his neck. I understood that he was going to share a secret of which those gestures were prologues, and I waited. Outside a cricket squeaked in the dark.

"It was even worse," my guest began. "It was the mystery. Soon it will be forty years, and no one has known until now. Why say it? They wouldn't have understood it, believing me crazy at least. I'm not a sad man, I'm desperate. My wife passed away eight years ago, ignoring the evil that devoured me, and fortunately we have not had children. I find in you, for the first time, a man capable of understanding me."

I bowed gratefully.

"Science is so beautiful, the free science, where there is no chapel, no academy! he continued – And yet, you are still on the threshold. Reichenbach's odic fluids, or the so called- universal life force, are nothing more than the prologue. The case that you are about to know, will reveal how far things can go. "

My host was moved. He mixed English phrases into his somewhat grammatical Spanish. His curt speech had acquired an imperious tendency, a rhythmic fullness strange in that foreign accent.

"In February 1858," he continued, "it was when I lost all my joy. You may have heard of the yoghis, the singular beggars whose lives are shared between espionage and necromancy. Travelers have popularized their exploits, which would be useless to repeat. But do you know what the basis of their powers consists of? "

I responded, "I think that in the faculty of self-inducing somnambulism, in this way becoming numb, and seers ...."

"Exactly," he interrupted, "Well, I saw the yoghis work in conditions that made any deceit impossible. I went so far as to photograph the scenes, and the plaque reproduced everything, just as I had seen it. A hallucination was thus impossible because chemical ingredients are not hallucinated... So, I wanted to develop identical powers. I have always been bold, but back then I was unaware of the consequences. So, I got down to work. "

"By what method? I asked.

Without answering me, he continued: "The results were surprising. In a short time, I was able to self-induce somnambulism. After two years I was able to do a conscious astral journey. But those practices had brought me to the height of restlessness. I felt frighteningly helpless, and yet sure that there was an adverse element mixed into my life like a poison. At the same time, curiosity devoured me. I was on the slope and couldn't stop anymore. By maintaining a continuous tension of will, I managed to keep up appearances before the world. But, little by little, the power awakened in me became more rebellious... A prolonged distraction caused a split. I felt as if my personality stood outside of me. My body seemed like a reflection of a person that was not me. As these impressions grew more intense, I resolved one night to confront my double and to see what was coming out of me -- what was still myself, during an ecstatic dream."

"And where you able to? " I asked

"It was an afternoon, approaching nighttime," he began. "The detachment occurred with its usual ease. When I regained consciousness, before me, in a corner of the room, I saw what appeared to be a monkey – a frightening monkey, a horrible animal that stared at me. Since that evening, he follows me everywhere. I see him constantly. I am his prey. Wherever he goes, I go with him. He's always there. He looks at me constantly, but he never approaches, he never moves, I never move! A sincere affliction has overwhelmed me. "

"Calm down." I said, trying to appear confident. "Reintegration is not impossible."

"Oh, but it is! " He replied bitterly. "This happened such a long time that I have lost the concept of unity. I remember that two and two are four, but I don't believe in it anymore. The simplest arithmetic problem is meaningless to me, for I lack the conviction of quantity. And I still suffer from illogical situations. When I place my left hand with my right for example, it feels as if it belongs to a person other than me. Sometimes I see things double because each eye behaves independently from the other... "

It was obvious to me that he was suffering from an unusual form of madness and his narration was not providing more information. I chose to bring this track to an end and move on to other topics.

"But anyway ... about that monkey…?"

He thwarted my attempt by continuing. "It's black like my own shadow, and melancholic. I know this description is accurate, because I'm seeing it RIGHT NOW! His height is medium his face is shaped like all monkey faces! But I feel, nonetheless, that it looks like me. I am speaking with complete control of my faculties when I tell you that the animal looks like me!"

He appeared serene and sincere, yet the idea that he had an ape-like face caused such a violent contrast with his human facial angle, his well-formed skull and his straight nose belied his speech. The absurdity of the hallucination had completely overtaken him.

He noted my hesitance and stood, struck a dramatic pose, and replied: "I'm going to walk around this room for you to see. I beg you, look at my shadow."

He picked up the lamp, slid the table to one end of the dining room, and began to walk. Then, the biggest of surprises overwhelmed me. That man's shadow did not move! It stood still in the corner. Everything above his waist reflected on the wall, while the lower part was projected on the light wood floor. This reflection appeared like a membrane, elongating and decreasing according to the greater or lesser proximity of its owner. I could not notice any displacement under the light's effect had there been had he actually moved.

Alarmed, I was afraid I'd become a victim of his madness. I decided to calm us both by seeing if my appearance would change in the manner of my host. "I'd like to attempt a shall experiment. " He agreed. I then asked if I could reproduce his silhouette on the wall by passing a pencil over the shadow's profile.

He granted his permission. I fixed a paper to the wall with four crumbs of moist bread until I got the most perfect adhesion possible. Then I adjusted it so that the face's shadow remained in the very center of the sheet. I wanted to prove the origin of the shadow by comparing how identical the face and its shadow were. Naturally, he felt that the experiment would prove that his observation was correct.

I would be lying if I said that my fingers did not tremble a little while holding the pencil on the wall. I affirm with complete certainty that neither my pulse nor breath wavered while tracing the profile. I made the line with a blue Hardtmuth pencil without raising my hand. I did not remove the sheet until I was convinced by scrupulous observation, that my stroke matched perfectly the shadow's profile, and this with that of the face of the man who, heretofore, I believed to be hallucinated.

My guest followed the experiment with great interest. As I approached the table, I saw his hands tremble with restrained emotion. My heart was pounding, as if fearing the outcome. "Don't look," I said.

He replied "I will look" he answered me with an imperious accent. I held the paper before the light.

We both went pale. For there, before our eyes, was a pencil-rendered drawing of a depressed forehead, a flat nose, and a beastly muzzle. It was the accursed monkey!

And for the record, I don't know how to draw.

-The end


Very well, let's return to the land where our shadow follows us around as it should be, instead of creepy on us from a distance.

It took me about two months to translate this story, and I ended up learning a lot about 19th century science. I took several notes in hopes that I could use them in my commentary. One of those notes was about a personal out-of- body experience – not the same as the one the English man in our story experienced but similar in some respects. OBE (out-of-body experiences) are more common than you might think and occur not only in sleep but also during meditation. I dare say that many mystics had OBEs.

The first OBE that I experienced happened when I was about 12. I was taking a nap and saw myself lying down, I even heard and saw my mom coming into my room – and all the while realizing that I was asleep. At the time, I had no idea what was happening, so I was very frightened and kept trying to wake up, but I couldn't. It was only until I began breathing slowly and deeply that I could calm down and wake up.

The second that I remembered happened about five years ago. My husband and I had laid down to take an afternoon nap. I usually have a hard time trying to nap; I wonder why. Well, after a while, I heard my husband snoring, and I thought I should just get up and read since I was "clearly" awake. But when I tried to get up, I couldn't. Then I saw myself floating above me. It felt freeing, and part of me wanted to go around and explore and just leave my body there on the bed. Yet my fear kicked in again, and I panicked, thinking that if I wandered, I would not be able to come back to my body. So, it took me a while to calm down and escape my astral journey.

For those interested in OBE, or wondering if it has happened to you, I will quote a paragraph from the website written by John Cline, PhD, "Can We Travel Out of Our Bodies When We Sleep?"

The first couple of paragraphs are dedicated to some OBE's experiences that happened to Cline's patients. He says, "The core feature of an OBE is that of having one's center of awareness appearing to be located outside of the physical body (Cardena &Alvarado, 2014). There are feelings of floating, viewing the body from a distance, and traveling to sometimes distant locations. Other kinds of experiences also occur during OBEs, including feeling energy, seeing a bright light, and feeling a connection to the physical body.

He continues, "OBEs can occur in a number of different situations, including near-death experiences … and during stressful situations such as being tortured, undergoing surgery, or being in a natural disaster. OBEs can also occur during altered states of consciousness such as extreme relaxation, hypnosis, meditation, as a part of the alien abduction phenomenon, and during migraine headaches and epileptic seizures."

Well, if any of you dear listeners have experienced an OBE, now you know that you were not crazy; it just happens. A good question to ask is can our awareness or soul detach from our body as it happened in the story "An Inexplicable Phenomenon" where it cannot be reunited with ourselves?

From what I read, all psychologists or psychiatrists who do hypnosis therapy debunk the idea that you can become two separate entities if you allow your soul or awareness to expand. To me, writers have played with the idea because anything that is still a mystery is fun to speculate about.


In the case of today's cuento, the reason for Leopoldo Lugones to explore an OBE is simple; he was part of the modernism current.

In the article "Apocalyptic Vision and Modernism's Dismantling of Scientific Discourse: Lugones's 'Yzur'," Howard M. Fraser tells us that "Recent studies on Modernism have emphasized the movement's sense of catastrophism, its anticipation of apocalypse on the eve of the twentieth century."

Remember, now and then, humans fall for the old warning of the "end of times." Especially, at the turn of the century, during natural disasters, around political rivalries, and when a war is knocking in our footsteps, people get very edgy, and worry will happen next.

Fraser continues by saying, "This attitude of trepidation and horror of the future is strongly reflected in Modernism's attitude towards science. The Modernism movement extolled pseudo-scientific doctrines associated with alchemy and spiritualism while attacking experimental science as a Faustian bartering in death."

All this to say that in many ways, Leopoldo Lugones, today's author, was affected by the worries of his era, and the whole meditation thing challenge many of the religion and institutional ideas of the people in those times. Not only because it was a foreign practice but because it meant to clear your mind, and people in the XIX century wanted the opposite, they wanted to think, talk, write, and transform the world into a very busy place. And guess what? They succeeded!


But it is time for news and reminders.

Our first exciting news is that the platform for podcasts and radios in Spanish iVoox mentioned Tres Cuentos as one of the best in the Hispanic speaking world. All I got to say is thank you listener, your reviews, comments, and emails help us grow! And thank you to our collaborators, Don Hymel, Alexa Jeffres and Leo Quiron.

Our second great news is that we are receiving book donations for the activity we will be running in November “La Ancheta Literaria,” the literary basket. The books we have received so far are Cosmos Latinos edited by Andrea Bell and Yolanda Molina Gavilan published by Wesleyan University Press. And the second book is Natural Consequences by writer Elia Barceló, translated by Yolanda Molina Gavilan and Andrea Bell, published by Vanderbilt University Press.

Then, if you want to get your hands on these books, make sure you are subscribed to our mailing list, we will be sending the bases of the contest in our newsletter. Also, for those who are not in the US, we are working on the details for a virtual literary ancheta, that is a digital book basket.

So, go to our website and put your name and email in the subscribing box and join our mailing list.

Finally, as I mentioned in our introduction, I will participate in Debut, a show where three narrators showcase a new story (likely a suspenseful one) and receive coaching from the storyteller Kevin Cordi. To those who would like to come and check us out telling a story and playing with it, I am dropping the link in the transcript so you can sign up and join us on Sunday, October 31, at 2 p.m. Eastern US Time.


Moving on, let's talk about the life of today's author, Leopoldo Lugones. This brief biographical review was written in collaboration with Esther Evelyn Bastidas.

Leopoldo Lugones was born on June 13, 1874, in Córdoba, Argentina. He was the firstborn son of Santiago Lugones and Custodia Argüello, from whom it is said he received rigorous religious training and learned how to read and write.

After Leopoldo's younger brother was born and named after his father, Santiago Martin Lugones, the family decided to move and settle in a small village near the province of Córdoba, Santiago del Estero. There Leopoldo attended the National College of Monserrat, and his passion for journalism and literature began.

In 1896, Leopoldo wrote for the newspapers La Vanguardia and La Tribuna. At the same time, he joined the Socialist group of writers of Córdoba and later founded La Montaña, a socialist revolutionary newspaper. In the same year he moved to Buenos Aires, and married Juana González. A year later their son Leopoldo "Polo" Lugones González was born.

One of Lugones’ great friends was the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, who invited him to contribute to the Argentine newspaper La Nación, in 1926. Later that same year, Lugones was awarded the National Prize for Literature. Leopoldo considered language an essential piece to highlight nationality. He worked for the renewal and enrichment of it in so helping to shape the Argentine identity through a national language.

The books of short stories Las fuerzas extrañas (Strange Forces - 1906) and Cuentos Fatales (Fatal Stories - 1926) placed him as one of the most outstanding exponents of Latin American Fantasy Literature. However, the author had multiple facets that led him to travel the paths of the exact sciences such as mathematics, physics, and biology.

In the political sphere, Leopoldo began thinking and writing as a utopian socialist –the idea where the new men live in egalitarian societies with access to free education–. Later, Lugones switched sides and became a liberal, then a conservative, until finally, the one-time socialist became a fascist.

Lugones admired Mussolini, and in some of his writings, he proclaimed himself against immigrants. Such an announcement did not set well with the Argentine society of the time that was mainly composed by European migrants and their descendants, and he received a brutal backlash.

But his emotional decline began after he participated in a military coup d'état in Argentina in 1930. The revolutionary act brought to power General José Félix Uriburu, who instated a fraudulent democracy, in becoming the first dictator of Argentina.

During this time, Leopoldo's only son "Polo," was a constant headache. When "Polo" was director of the Juvenile Reformatory of Oliveira, he was found guilty of torturing and abusing minors in his care and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Lugones tried to keep his son's story a secret and used his influences and prestige to make it happen.

Yet the drama does not end there. When Leopoldo Lugones fell madly in love with a young girl named Emilia Cadelago; his son "Polo" exposed his father's indiscretion to his mother and threatened to use his influence as a policeman to keep the lovers apart. It is said that some of the most erotic poems written by Lugones were inspired by Emilia Cadelago. This worsened the sense of disappointment that the Argentine author had already been experiencing and on February 18, 1938, Lugones took his own life.

Nowadays, in Argentina, "Writer's Day" is celebrated on Leopoldo Lugones birth.


To conclude today's program, I will read one of Lugones's poems called "Death of the Moon," translated by Janet Brasset. It can be found on the website Poetry Foundation.

Death of the Moon

Hospital white, the night, sterile, antiseptic, lends each passerby a silhouette from Purgatory; In the park the breezes of the sky lend the mist perfume and the cypress winds a ball of fog around its silent spindle, while the loom of the moon weaves its weird warp.

Over the mellow horizon curved like a woman's brow beyond an Argentine sea hovers the moon awash.

Waves have that murky luster of cognac-bottle glass and alone and immense stands the great rock of night.

Rum-fed, sad and distant a voice with prosaic emotion of some man is singing in fear of this extended hour.

Behind the abstract horizon in forlorn farewell the moon begins to die in darkness like a long-haired ape with sudden chill and sullen touch; Orion plays his game-- eternal losing game—before the dying moon, his problematic dominoes dealt patiently by stars.

Illusionless and languishing on your intimate veranda, you give me your answer to my tremulous demands.

And while you do the moon, like a pearl snuffed on your finger, dies with the breeze and dissipates retarded blushes; and the sky like a sinking ship definitively drowns within your eyes.

Source: Poem "Death of the Moon," by Leopoldo Lugones, translated by Janet Brasset. Poetry Foundation. Url:


And that is all for today. In our next episode, the Spanish Paraguayan writer Rafael Barret, tells us the story of a poet who meets lady-Death, and falls in love with her. Until the next cuento or story! Adios, adios.


Tres Cuentos Podcast is produced with support from PRX and the Google Podcasts creator program.

Tres Cuentos is an exercise of creative writing, researching, and retelling.

Special thanks to ….

Remember that you can listen to Tres Cuentos in any podcast app, Google Podcast, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, iVoox, or wherever you find us listed. Also, check our website

Last if you enjoy the podcast, consider subscribing to our newsletter through our website and sharing the episodes with your friends.

The music and sound effects were downloaded from the YouTube audio library and

The list of credits per song can be found in the transcript.

Thanks for listening, adios, adios.


The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories. Edited by Roberto González Echavarría. OxfordUniversity Press. 1997.

Las Fuerzas Extrañas, Leopoldo Lugones. Arnoldo Moen y Hermano, Editores. Florida 323. Buenos Aires. 1906. PDF download – descarga:

Poem "Death of the Moon," by Leopoldo Lugones, translated by Janet Brasset. Poetry Foundation. Url:

Article: "Apocalyptic Vision and Modernism's Dismantling of Scientific Discourse: Lugones's 'Yzur'." Howard M. Fraser. College of William and Mary. Published Hispania. Vol. 79, No. 1 (Mar 1996), pp. 8-19 (12 pages). Published By: American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese

Web: Ministerio de Cultura Argentina. Nombre del artículo: Leopoldo Lugones, una vida de luces y sombras. año: 17 de febrero del 2021. URL:

Web: EcuRed. Nombre del artículo: Leopoldo Lugones. URL:

Web: Nombre del artículo: Leopoldo Lugones. URL:

Web: CVC Rinconete. Nombre del artículo: Precursores de la minificción latinoamericana, Leopoldo Lugones. Por Juan Armando Epple. Año: 16 de nero de 2006 URL:

Web: El Nombre del artículo: 6 de Septiembre de 1930, Crónica de un golpe anunciado. URL:


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