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El retaule del flautista

Jordi Teixidor
The Legend of the Piper
[Fragment final de l’escena X]

Hans: And so it came about that the rats multiplied, and multiplied, and multiplied, until finally the Pimburgers had to abandon their town. But the rats went this them, and plagues started in other towns; so that today there isn’t a single town anywhere in the world that doesn’t have to spend millions and millions of shillings in useless attempts to exterminate the rats.

The lights go up. The Citizens sing.

The Spirit of Public Calamities

When a terrible calamity

Falls upon our town,

A few make a good thing of it,

And the rest pay up and down.

You and I, we ask ourselves

What the solution is,

But all they do is calculate

The money in the biz.

When rats come to a city,

Just as it happened here,

You can’t sleep in your bed at home,

You stay awake for fear.

But a few in the town have the answer:

With money their ancestors gave them,

They cover their goods with poison

And surround them with traps to save them.

The plague decimates the city,

And causes many to die,

Without even packing their cases

They leave their houses and fly.

You and I and our families,

We get infected on sight,

So they sell us some blessed relic

Guaranteed to make it all right.

When hunger and famine threaten,

And your insides groan with pain,

There are some who are not so hungry,

You lose weight and they gain.

My legs get thinner and thinner,

And your teeth fall out two by two,

But the foodsellers’ pockets get bigger

With the prices they charge me and you.

For the lads who shoulder the rifles,

War means they go to their death;

For the fellows who made the rifles,

For them war of life is the breath.

The war’s lasted long enough”,

You and I always say to each other;

But for those who make a profit on it,

It really isn’t so much of a bother.

Frida: Fellow citizens, if we show them holes, they plug them up; if we demand cures, they give us tranquilizers. One way or another, we always get sat on. We’ve got to find more efficient solutions.


Translated by George E. Wellwarth
Jordi Teixidor, The Legend of the Piper. Dins: 3 Catalan Dramatists, Montreal: Engendra Press, 1976, p. 231-232.
Jordi Teixidor. Copyright Colita, Arxiu Familiar
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