the chidren of the days (translation exercise)


Continuing my commitment to flex my Spanish language muscle more this year, here’s my third translation — walk on water. These are sort essays from Eduardo Galeano’s book ‘The children of the days’. Here is 1 January and Walking Memory here.

and today’s essay

21 January

They walked on water

In 1779 the English explorer James Cook observed a very rare spectacle on the island of Hawaii.

an activity as dangerous as it was unexplainable

an activity as dangerous as unfathomable

The activity was as dangerous as it was unfathomable: in Kealakekua Bay the native people enjoyed standing on the waves and letting themselves be carried by the tide.

Might Cook have been the first spectator to see what we know call ‘surfing’?


water is sacred

Maybe it was something more than this. Maybe there was something more to this ritual of riding the waves? When all is said and done those primitive people believed that water, the mother of all life, was scared, but they didn’t kneel or bow before its divinity. They walked on water, in communion with its energy.

Three weeks later Cook was knifed to death by these water walkers. And so the generous navegator, who had given Australia to the British crown, ended his life desiring to give away Hawaii too.


the original in spanish

from the book 'los hijos de los dias' by Eduardo Galeano

from the book ‘los hijos de los dias’ by Eduardo Galeano

Want to know more?


Short introduction in English here

One thought on “walk on water

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

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