29 March 2009
A royalist force guards a mountain pass during some harsh winter weather. A rider comes up, but there is something sort of suspicious about him. A tell-tale sign allows the guards to realize that the rider is a woman whose lover has been fighting for independence and who has been carrying messages across the lines. That's roughly the whole story, and I'm starting to think many of the stories can be broken down into a few elements. The patriot and their motivation for fighting the Spanish. The inhospitable terrain. The encounter with the Spanish.
It's not a formula per se, and I think Lugones does more within those bounds than he did, say, with Strange Forces. Lugones, of course, was principally a poet, and I can't help but see some connection to Borges here. Borges was also first a poet, and most (if not all) of his stories can be thought of as pretty simple, but manage to achieve a certain abstract transcendence with very few elements. Lugones doesn't really come close to Borges in that respect, but there's a certain power to his repeated use of the same themes.