The Ethnographer by Jorge Luis Borges
The case was recounted to me in Texas, but it had happened in another state. It concerns a lone protagonist, although in all the stories, the protagonists arethousands, visible and invisible, alive and dead. He was called, I believe, Fred Murdock. He was tall in the manner of the Americans, not blonde nor brunette, with an ax-like profile and of very fewwords.
There is nothing strange about him, not even that fictitious peculiarity that is so typical in young men. Naturally respectful, he did not distrust that which are written in books nor those whowrite them. He was of the age in which men do not even know who they are and are ready to surrender to that which fate proposes to them: the mysticism of Persia or the unknown origin of theHungarians, the adventures of war or of algebra, Puritanism or orgy. At the university, they advised him to study indigenous languages. There are esoteric rites that pervade in certain tribes of the west; hisprofessor, an elderly gentleman, proposed to him that he should make the tepee his home so he can observe the rites and discover the secret that the shamans reveal to the initiated. On his return, hewould draft a thesis which the institution’s authorities would give to the press. Murdock accepted with alacrity. One of his ancestors had died in the wars of the frontier; that ancient discord thatlives in his veins was now a link to his present. Prior to that, no doubt, were the difficulties that awaited him; he had to achieve it so the red men accept him as one of their own.
He undertook along adventure. More than two years was spent living on the praries, under tents of leather or under the open skies. He would get up before dawn and go to bed at dusk, and soon, he began to dream in alanguage that was not of his forebearers. He accustomed his palate to sharp tastes and covered himself with strange clothes. Forgetting his friends and the city, he began to think in a manner that...
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