I bring you here Augusto Monterroso, a Guatemalan writer that was sort of a Central American Aesop, but way more cyinic. He is also credited with writing one of the shortest short stories of all time, “The Dinosaur”: “Upon waking, the dinosaur was still there” I know Hemingway had that creepy six word short story that went: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn“, but whatever.
I took these 3 short stories by Monterroso from the book “The Black Sheep and Other Fables”(translated by Walter Bradbury), and they are just amazing.
Here they go:
THE BLACK SHEEP
In a far-off country many years ago there lived a Black Sheep.
They shot him.
A century later, the repentant flock erected an equestrian statue of him, which looked very good in the park.
From then on, every time Black Sheep appeared they were promptly executed so that future generations of common, ordinary sheep could also indulge in sculpture.
And two of my favorite ones, dealing with the literature world, or I should rather say with the Art world in general.
THE FOX IS WISER
One day when the Fox was bored, and somewhat melancholy and money-less, he decided to become a writer, and applied himself immediately to that end, as he loathed the kinds of people who say I am going to do this or that and then never do it. His first book did very well, a real hit, everyone applauded it, and before long it had been translated (sometimes not very well) into practically every language. The second was even better than the first, and several North American professors counted among the most illustrious of the academic world of those remote times enthusiastically praised it and even wrote books on the books about the Fox’s books. Thenceforth the Fox justifiably deemed himself satisfied, and the years went by and he published nothing more. But the others began to murmur, and kept asking, “What’s wrong with the Fox?”; and when they met him at cocktail parties they would promptly go up to him and tell him he simply had to bring out something. “But I’ve already published two books,” he responded wearily, ‘And very good they were,” they answered, “and that’s exactly why you must do another.” The Fox said nothing, but he thought: ‘Actually what they want me to do is to publish a bad book; but I’m too Foxy: I’m not going to.” And he didn’t.
THE MONKEY CONSIDERS THEMES
On another occasion, when the Monkey was devoting himself to literature, he got to pondering the subject of themes. ‘Why should the theme of the writer who doesn’t write be at once so attractive and so dull? Or for that matter, of the writer who goes through life preparing himself to produce a masterpiece but gradually becomes just a mechanical reader of increasingly weighty books which actually don’t interest him at all; or the trite theme (the most universal of all) of the man who, having perfected a style, finds that he doesn’t have anything to say? Or the one of the individual who the more intelligent he is the less he writes, while around him lesser intelligences whom he knows and tends to scorn, publish works which are hailed by the whole world and are sometimes even good? Or the theme of the individual who one way or another has achieved a reputation for intelligence and who tortures himself thinking that his friends expect him to write something, so he does, with the result that his friends begin to suspect his intelligence, and he sometimes ends up by committing suicide? Or that of the fool who believes himself to be intelligent and writes things so intelligent that the intelligentsia admires them; or that of the one who is neither intelligent nor a fool, nor writes, nor is known to anyone, nor exists—nor anything?