Lo que sigue no voy a traducirlo: sería una ofensa al profundo, elevado y extendido conocimiento del inglés que todos los españoles tenemos hoy en día.


Se trata del @ que dirigí en su día al Sr. Brunvand, quiero recordar que a la sazón profesor en la Universidad de Utah, y divertido autor.


Fue tan perspicaz que me entendió, y tan amable que me contestó con otro @ en el que me relataba nuevas leyendas urbanas procedentes de Italia en confirmación de que las leyendas urbanas son patrimonio de la humanidad.


En realidad las dos sabrosas leyendas urbanas que relato no son tales: son la relación de sendos hechos reales de que fui protagonista y testigo, respectivamente. Son lo que siempre hemos llamado anécdotas.


No se el por qué del apéndice “urbanas” con que los sajones adoban al término “leyenda” que ya de por sí encierra todo lo necesario para indicar la inverosimilitud del relato. Tal vez sea porque con procedencia urbana o rural, seguramente es en la ciudad donde se reelaboran. Freud fue un analista de excepción del chiste, que en definitiva es un primo hermano de la leyenda urbana.


Tan sólo una apostilla a propósito de mi acompañante en la primera anécdota. Ya debería haberme mosqueado cuando al comenzar el viaje me aseguró, como de pasada, que no entendía de coches. Lo único que sé, me dijo, es que en el maletero llevo una cadena para que si pasa algo me puedan remolcar … Pero como uno era joven, confiado y encaraba con optimismo su primer viaje a Italia, pues no había de qué preocuparse.

Madrid, 29-9-03


Subject: Comments to your book Too good to be true

First of all I would like to say that I have read your two enjoyable books Too good to be true (Volumes I and II, in Spanish, by Alba Editorial).

I reckon that much of the material you deal with in your books has its origin in the correspondence you held with your readers. That´s why I dare to address to you with the aim of offering a couple of personnel though peculiar experiences.

Along your books I came across legends dealing with car drivers, blind people, hitch-hikers, travellers, etc, but I never found a combination of all of them in a single story.

I am also aware that any insane guy will say he is not, and that all legend conveyors maintain those are true. I also realize that these arguments are the best to declare against them.

Nevertheless I can assure you that what follow are not legends, neither stories: they are pure history.

All started at Easter 1955. We had decided to organize in april a journey to Italy to celebrate the end of our course in engineering. Although our School was in Madrid, we were due to sttart the trip in Barcelona since the students were scattered all over Spain.

In my case I travelled to Madrid from my home town, in order to hitch-hike Madrid / Barcelona.

Early in the morning I left for Eisenhower circus to be sure that I could obviate the automovilists addressing to Madrid airport. And I put my thumb up with destination to Barcelona.

Several hours went by unsuccessfully. Suddenly, a dark blue, bright new Opel Kapitan stoped. The driver leaned and, with a piece of mime, invited me to seat with him. I felt very happy and so made him to know.

My new friend drove evenly along a sunny morning till we arrived to Zaragoza. There we stoped for lunch, each one of us by our own. After lunch we met again to continue our trip to Barcelona.

The conversation was fluid and friendly; everything seemed to go all right and the Opel swallowed kilometer after kilometer till the moment in which, well after the city of Lérida we faced an incipient dusk in coincidence with the peasants that came home from their field work. Almost sudenly the road side became full of people just striding or riding on bicicles, horses, dunkeys and so on.

It was then when my driver friend gave a twist to the conversation to offer me this proposal: “Since it is geting darker and darker, you should watch the right hand side of the road. I shall take care of the center. You know, I am blind in my right eye ...

You can imagine that I only came at rest when I arrived safe in Barcelona.

Here it is another history associated with your topic “Kneel!” (page 248 in Book II). The amazing thing is that it didn´t take place neither in English nor in Spanish, but in French!

During the sumer 1961 we made a trip by car from Madrid to Sweden. The party was integrated by my sister in law, my wife and myself, and my brother in law with his wife.

While visiting Bordeaux cathedral, my wife disappired. After the search, we came to see her trying to seat down on the top of a kneeling bench close to a confessional.

We all new that she is very proud of the french education she received in a french school in Madrid, and the fact that she is a bit hard of hearing. But we were ignorant of her rush for confesion.

The explanation came later: when she approached the priest asking for confession, he told her: “A genoux!” (Kneel!). But she anderstood “Asseyez vous!” (Seat down!).

Inmediatly she realized that the lower part of the kneeling bench was too low to seat down on. The raised shelf was too high and unconfortable, but nevertheless she was triyng to do her best when we saw her in the amusing attitude shown to our astonished eyes.

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