the castle (capital letters)

Un altro esercizio del corso.
Bellissimo, questo. Farlo è stato molto bello.
Tradurre un episodio raccontato da qualcuno in una storiellina di finzione che si immagina accaduta a qualcuno che non si ha affatto in simpatia; tutt’altro.

There was a castle, up there.
Something built in the 11th century, they say.
Very noble, definitely.
It was The Castle, sorry. Capital letters.
And how could she think to be linked to something less than dramatically aristocratic?

There were so many people all around, everyday.
«Ma che bella bambina», would their voices say. Or maybe: «What a nice nice girl». Or even: «Elle est si belle».
She was sitting on a small wooden chair, just beside The Castle. «You know», she would tell anybody, «this is my family castle. We have been living there for centuries».

But people were not able to understand her words.
They were foreign tourists.
Backpacks, sandwiches, sunglasses and everything.
Lovers kissing one another, pictures taken, children crying, «why must I enter that ruin, ma? I don’t want to go there».

She sat there, then. Brushing with an extenuated gesture her long blonde hair that hid her face.
Was it – all that shining blondness, I mean – noble enough?
Of course it was.

Her body was – and still is, I must say – skinny. And she kept saying: «I am sooo elegant and slender, daddy, don’t you think?».
She had enormous and bulging eyes. And she kept saying: «My eyes are as wide as a mountain lake».
She had huge hands. And she kept looking at them saying: «My hands are sooo powerful».

She had been studying foreign languages for a long time, but having no need to earn her living – a baroness is not supposed to be a worker, unless her hypothetical job is a very fashionable and light one, of course – she liked to be considered as a professional reader: «I think I’ve chosen to commit my whole life to literature and languages», she says to me, «because we all in my family are globetrotters and very well-educated, you know? I have friends from all over the world. And I can’t forget those dull individuals coming to see me at The Castle when I was a child».

«To see you?», I ask.
«Yes, of course», she replies. «I was The Princess of The Castle. Everyone knew me».

She opens a box slowly.
She rummages into it, then shows me newspapers’ articles, and pages torn from books, and photographs.
«You see? That little princess was me!», she says.

I am overwhelmed by all this.
The nurse come in all of a sudden and whispers to her: «Carmencita, come on. You’d better have your nappies changed».
She grasps the wheels of her chair, then says: «I must go with my maidservant, now. Take care».

I look at her becoming smaller and smaller along the aisle.
Then I can’t see anything else.

The tears, they were.