Tempo di lettura: 6 minuti

Read and listen to The Hare

La lepre
The hare

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Il sentiero che tagliava il bosco, quasi orizzontalmente, era sconnesso.

Erano anni che nessuno lo curava. Era un bosco privato e il padrone era troppo anziano per occuparsene, ma non abbastanza malandato da girarci, il mattino presto, trovare la capanna di rami secchi che Giacomo e i suoi amici, i ragazzini del villaggio, avevano costruito il giorno prima, e distruggerla. Giosuè, si chiamava il vecchio e odiava i bambini, pur avendo avuto figli e nipoti. Forse odiava tutti.

Giacomo could walk that path and the rest of the wood with his eyes closed; he had grown up there, even if only in the summer, among the pines, firs, larches, brambles, blueberry plants and raspberry bushes of that wood. He knew which stones to trust and avoided those that were unstable or covered with slippery moss.

Getting hurt in the woods was doubly dangerous: hours could go by before someone found him, perhaps with a broken leg, and what's more he knew that, back home, a punishment awaited him ranging from four well-placed slaps on the butt, the least serious, with two straps on the thighs that were remembered for days.


Il bosco era la riserva di caccia di Giacomo: con arco e frecce, rigorosamente auto costruite e altrettanto rigorosamente vietatigli da suo padre, batteva tutti gli anfratti, le radure, tutti i buchi del terreno, cacciando qualsiasi animale. Contrariamente alle più logiche regole della caccia Giacomo si muoveva nel bosco come si muoverebbe un elefante che ha fiutato l’acqua: rami spezzati, da sopravento, fischiettando e persino parlando fra sé a voce alta.

It often happens that a child, when playing alone, invents an adventure companion and talks to him. Exists. In those moments the friend, the Indian, the sheriff, the good bandit or the hunting dog exist.
The animals didn't play. They sensed danger approaching and fled. They knew the forest much better than Giacomo.

Verso sera, quando sua madre lo chiamava urlando il suo nome al cielo, Giacomo nascondeva l’arco e le frecce sotto un cespuglio e correva a casa, con la bisaccia, che nemmeno aveva, ma immaginava di avere, desolatamente vuota. Tutti i giorni d’estate la caccia si riapriva al mattino, verso le dieci, dopo aver fatto colazione, era interrotta da un pranzo frettoloso, riprendeva intorno alle due del pomeriggio e terminava, verso sera, con il suo nome gridato al vento da sua madre.

Every day the animals in the woods mocked Giacomo by not even showing up.
Not that late afternoon. That afternoon was special. Giacomo was returning home slowly, he always came back in the late afternoon, to be within earshot and be able to appear on the lawn, in front of his mother, as soon as possible. It was important to make his parents believe that he didn't stray too far.

He was walking along the usual path, the bumpy one, when, about twenty meters further down, just at the edge of the wood, where a dirt clearing widened next to some barracks, a hare had the audacity to be found in the open. She moved stealthily, in small, short leaps, as if she were looking for something or wanted, by carefully inspecting the ground, to find what she, perhaps, she had lost.

A Giacomo non parve vero. L’emozione lo tradì facendogli scappare un gridolino di soddisfazione e piacere che poteva far fuggire la lepre all’istante e invece… quella si immobilizzò, si accucciò sulle zampe posteriori, pronta a scattare, e restò immobile.

Maybe terrified by the cry, maybe just confused by the echoes produced by the nearby barracks, which didn't make her understand from which direction the cry had come and, therefore, she couldn't choose the direction in which to flee.

Giacomo, with very slow movements, holding his breath, nocked the best arrow, the straightest one, with a well-formed point. He drew his bow fully and aimed. He aimed well, calmly. He aimed just under the hare's shoulder, hoping to hit the heart; he had read somewhere that he had to strike himself in the heart, precisely, without mercy, out of respect, even, for the life he was taking.

L’animale non doveva soffrire. Doveva morire senza accorgersi di morire. Forse aveva imparato queste cose leggendo “Orzowei”, un romanzo per ragazzi e non solo, che gli era stato regalato per il suo compleanno. Sì, Sentiva il saggio Pao accanto a lui che sussurrava: “Mira con calma, calcola il vento, la distanza.

Mira appena più in alto, la freccia, man mano che volerà, perderà forza e tenderà a cadere. Mira con calma”.

The arrow flew swinging through the air, scratching the silence with a barely audible hiss.
Solo una ventina di metri separavano Giacomo dalla lepre, solo un volo di freccia di due o tre secondi, al massimo. Interminabile distanza e tempo che parevano sospesi.

Giacomo wasn't breathing, the hare didn't move, the air seemed dense and the only noise present was that of Giacomo's heart; a crazy drum.

Then that sound. Dry, unique and hard. The sound of error.
The arrow had passed through the fur on the hare's neck and stuck in the ground just behind.

The animal, which had not seen the arrow coming, heard the noise, got frightened, had turned to look at the arrow stuck in the ground and, instinctively, had fled to the opposite side, towards Giacomo, for a while, and then , suddenly changing direction, had disappeared behind the first barrack.

Giacomo was still still, his arm outstretched, oblivious to his breathing. Wise Pao was gone. James was alone, with his defeat and the hare's victory. He had done his best, he knew it, he had aimed well, calmly, but he hadn't hit the hare. If he had only hurt her he would have been serious.

La lepre sarebbe fuggita con la freccia in corpo che, sbatacchiando qua e là, avrebbe lacerato ancor più la ferita. Giacomo non ci aveva mai pensato a questa cosa della freccia che lacera la carne.

Riprese a respirare e a pensare: cosa gli avrebbe detto sua madre se avesse scoperto che aveva ucciso una lepre? E suo padre, poi? Un senso di colpa si faceva strada dentro di lui, ma non era la paura di una punizione esemplare che lo atterriva, non solo.

He felt that the mistake was not in having missed the target, but in wanting not to miss it. She had risked killing an animal for nothing, for fun.

His name filled the air. Her mother called him and Giacomo opened both his hands bringing them behind his back, as if to hide those responsible for her criminal act. The remaining bow and arrows fell to the ground and remained there.

A moment later Giacomo was on the lawn, in front of his mother, the guilty head bowed.
“Come on, go wash your hands, it's ready. Rabbit tonight, with potatoes. You like bunny, don't you?”
Giacomo ate all the potatoes and all the bread he could, he was hungry, as always, but he didn't touch the rabbit.

source www.raccontioltre.it

mamma legge la fiaba
Le favole della buonanotte
The hare
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