The children of the days (spanish to english translation exercise)

libro_hijosdelosdiasI’ve renewed my commitment to flex my Spanish language muscle more this year. One exercise is to translate short essays from Eduardo Galeano’s book ‘The children of the days’. Here is 1 January.

The next essay that caught my eye was 3 January ‘Walking Memory’ about an ancient library – of sorts, and how we carry with us and repeat memories/events.

Here’s the translation.

3 January / Walking Memory

On the third day of 47 BC, antiguity’s most famous library went up in flames.


The … forces invaded … and thousand and thousands of … went up in flames.

The Roman forces invaded Egypt, and while Julius Cesar battled with Cleopatra’s brother, a fire devoured the better part of the thousands and thousands of papyrus rolls in the Alexandra Library.

Look around you. The past hasn't really gone anywhere.

Look around you. The past hasn’t really gone anywhere.

A couple of thousand years later the US military invaded Iraq. And while George W Bush crusaded against the enemy he had created, the better part of thousands and thousands of books in the Baghdad Library also went up in flames.

In all of humanity’s history there has only been one war- and fire-proof refuge for books. The walking library was the idea of the Grand Vizier of Persia, Abdul Kassem Ismael at the end of the 10th century.


A visionary and tireless traveller, this man took his library with him. 400 camels carried 117,000 books in a caravan two kilometers long. The camels were also a cataloging system. Each camel carried the titles beginning with one of the 32 letters of the Persian alaphabet.

original text


Want to know more?


Short introduction in English here

One thought on “walking memory

  1. Pingback: insecure world | act, believe, change

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