QUESTIONE D’INTERESSI

Di Renato Fucini

Il cavallo del fattore, passando pochi minuti avanti, aveva lasciato in mezzo alla strada un discreto mucchio di quel che I cavalli sogliono lasciare in mezzo alle strade. Un bianchetto di

passere vi si affollarono sopra, bisbigliandosi e beccandosi fra loro accanite. Intorno intorno erano duelli feroci di scarabei. Due uomini, con un corbello in spalla e una corta pala in mano, arrivando di corsa da direzioni opposte, si incontrarono lì, e lì si fermarono guardandosi in cagnesco.

— Starò a vedere se avrai il coraggio di toccarla! — disse uno dei due uomini, mandando faville dagli occhi.

— Starò a vedere se questo coraggio l’avrai te! — rispose l’altro, scotendo in alto la pala.

— Io l’ho veduta prima!

— Io, prima di te!

— Io, dalla svoltata.

— Io, dall’olmo del ponticino.

— A mezzo!

— No.

— A pari e caffo?

— No, perchè è mia di diritto.

— Ghigna di ladro!

— Muso di porco!

— O toccala, se hai core!

— O pròvati, se hai fegato!

E si puntarono biechi, pronti allo slancio, come bestiacce in amore. Le passere, appollaiate sulle cime dei pioppi dintorno, guardavano aspettando. Gli scarabei, rotolandosi nella polvere, continuavano, zitti zitti, a darsele a morte.

— Insomma, io direi di farla finita!

— Lo direi anch’io.

— Dunque, la raccatto io?

— Se ti ci provi, ti mangio!

— Prepotente!

— Puzzone!

— Vigliacco!

— Pidocchioso!

— Morto di fame!

— Smetti con cotesta pala!

— Butta giù cotesta mano!

— No!

— Sì

— Già

— Ma

— Ppun!..,

E si azzuffarono, e si avvoltolarono in un diluvio di botte così furibonde che, poche ore dopo, il medico ricuciva e incerottava la testa d’uno di quei disgraziati, e i carabinieri portavano in prigione quell’altro, mezzo sciancato e pieno di lividi.

A QUESTION OF INTEREST

By Renato Fucini

The farm bailiff’s horse, having passed just a few minutes before, left in the middle of the road a large mound of what horses usually leave in the middle of the road. A bevy of sparrows quickly landed on it, twittering and pecking at each other furiously. All around it, beetles were fighting it out ferociously. Two men, with a basket over one shoulder and a trowel in hand, arriving from opposite directions, met there, and there they stood glaring at each other.

– Go on, touch it if you dare! – said one of the two men, looking daggers at the other man.

– You touch it if you dare! – answered the other man, swinging his trowel in the air.

– I saw it first!

– I saw it before you!

– I saw it from the bend.

– I saw it from the oak tree near the bridge.

– Let’s split it.

– No.

– Odds and evens?

– No, ‘cause it’s mine by right.

– You sniggering thief!

– Swine face!

– Touch it, if you’ve got the guts!

– You try, if you’ve got the nerve!

And they stared each other down, ready to attack, like beasts in heat. The sparrows, sitting on the surrounding poplars, watched and waited. The beetles, turning over and over in the dust, continued, in silence, battling it out.

– I say, let’s call a truce.

– I say so too.

– So, I can collect it?

– Just try and I’ll bite your head off!

– Bully!

– Stinker!

– Coward!

– Cheapskate!

– Bum!

-Stop waving that trowel.

-Put that hand down!

-No!

-Yes!

– Yeah

– But

– Bum…!

And they pounced, rolling around in such a violent flood of punches that, a few hours later, the doctor was stitching and bandaging one poor devil’s head, and the police were taking the other one, partly mangled and covered in bruises, to gaol.

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Renato Fucini was an Italian poet and writer. Know to write under the pen name Neri Tanfucio, in 1871 he published “Cento sonetti in vernacolo pisano”, in 1877 the reportage on Naples “Napoli a occhio nudo: Lettere ad un amico”, and many books of short stories: “Le veglie di Neri”, “All’aria aperta” (from which the short story was taken) and “Nella campagna toscana”.

Witty and ingenious, he was part of the realist literary movement (verismo).

His work can be found at: http://www.liberliber.it/mediateca/libri/f/fucini/all_aria_aperta/pdf/fucini_all_aria_aperta.pdf

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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