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Hector Hugh Munro "Saki"

Saki was the pen-name of Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916), a British political journalist who worked in Russia and France. He published hundreds of short stories which show an understanding of children and young people who play cleverly and sometimes maliciously on the feelings of their elders.


For Graham Greene, Munro was the best English humourist of the twentieth century. Munro's mother died when he was born and he was brought up by two old aunts who turned his life into a real misery. Greene states that this unhappy childhood is the key to the cruelty in his short stories.


The Open Window
PAGE 2/3

La Ventana Abierta

'It is quite warm for the time of the year,' said Framton; 'but has that window got anything to do with her tragedy?'

‘Hace bastante calor para esta época del año’, dijo Framton; ‘pero ¿qué relación tiene esa ventana con la tragedia?’.

'Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous part of the marsh. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it.'

‘Por esa ventana, hace exactamente tres años, su marido y sus dos hermanos menores salieron a cazar por el día. Nunca regresaron. Al atravesar el páramo para llegar al terreno donde solían cazar quedaron atrapados en una ciénaga traicionera. Ocurrió durante ese verano terriblemente lluvioso, sabe, y los terrenos que antes eran firmes de pronto cedían sin que hubiera manera de preverlo. Nunca encontraron sus cuerpos. Eso fue lo peor de todo’.

Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became hesitatingly human. 'Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening until it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white raincoat over his arm and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing "Bertie, why do you bound?" as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window...


A esta altura del relato, la voz de la niña perdió ese tono seguro y se volvió vacilantemente humana. ‘Mi pobre tía sigue creyendo que volverán algún día, ellos y el pequeño spaniel que los acompañaba, y que entrarán por la ventana como solían hacerlo. Por tal razón la ventana queda abierta hasta que ya es de noche. Mi pobre y querida tía, cuántas veces me habrá contado cómo salieron, su marido con el impermeable blanco en el brazo, y Ronnie, su hermano menor, cantando como de costumbre “¿Bertie, por qué saltas?”, porque sabía que esa canción la irritaba especial-mente. Sabe usted, a veces, en tardes tranquilas como la de hoy, tengo la espantosa sensación de que todos ellos volverán a entrar por la ventana...

She broke off with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the aunt hurried into the room with many apologies for being late.


La niña se estremeció. Fue un alivio para Framton cuando la tía irrumpió en el cuarto pidiendo mil disculpas por haberlo hecho esperar tanto.

'I hope Vera has been amusing you?' she said.


‘Espero que Vera haya sabido entre-tenerlo’, dijo.

'She has been very interesting,' said Framton.


‘Me ha contado cosas muy interesantes’, respondió Framton.

'I hope you don't mind the open window,' said Mrs Sappleton, 'my husband and brothers will be home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They've been out for snipe in the marshes today, so they'll make a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you men-folk, isn't it?'


‘Espero que no lo moleste la ventana abierta’, dijo la señora Sappleton con animación, ‘mi marido y mis hermanos están cazando y volverán aquí directa-mente, y siempre suelen entrar por la ventana. No quiero pensar en el estado en que dejarán mis pobres alfombras después de haber andado cazando, por la ciénaga. Tan típico de ustedes los hombres ¿no es verdad?’.

She rattled on cheerfully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter. To Framton it was all purely horrible. He made a desperate effort to turn the talk to a less horrible subject; but he was conscious that his hostess was giving him only a small part of her attention, and her eyes were constantly wandering past him to the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly an unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.


Siguió parloteando alegremente acerca de la caza y de que ya no abundan las aves, y acerca de las perspectivas que había de cazar patos en invierno. Para Framton, todo eso resultaba sencilla-mente horrible. Hizo un esfuerzo desesperado pero sólo a medias exitoso de desviar la conversación a un tema menos repulsivo; se daba cuenta que su anfitriona no le otorgaba su entera atención. y su mirada se extraviaba constantemente en dirección a la ventana abierta y al jardín. Era por cierto una infortunada coincidencia venir de visita el día del trágico aniversario.




went off: left away (salieron, partieron)
came back: returned (regresaron)
gave way: collapsed (cedían, se hundían)
went out: left (salieron, partieron)
broke off: trembled with fear or excitement (se estremeció, tembló)
rattled on: went on talking rapidly (continuó parloteando)


warm for the time of year: you would not expect it to be so warm at this time of year (caluroso para esta época del año)
to a day: exactly (exactamente)
moor: wild, uncultivated land (páramo)
treacherous: because the green grass made the surface look firm (traicionera)
hesitatingly human: the girl's voice broke off, as if she were overcome by her human feeling of pity for her aunt (vacilantemente humana)
Bertie, why do you bound?: a popular song of the early twentieth century. Bound means jump, but here there is a play on words, because bounder means a person whose behaviour is unpleasant to other people (Bertie, ¿por qué saltas?)
creepy: a word used by children, meaning frightening (as if something unpleasant were creeping up one's back) (espantoso, terrorífico)
I hope Vera has been amusing you: an example of Saki's irony (Espero que Vera lo haya entretenido)
directly: immediately (de inmediato)
a fine mess: a sarcastic expression for a lot of-dirt (un soberano lío)
duck: hunters speak of ducks collectively in this way (snipe always has the same form in the singular and plural) (la caza de patos)


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