The Garden of Forking Paths The Garden of Forking Paths Summary An anonymous narrator introduces a document that will, he assures us, shed a little light on why a British offensive against the Germans had to be delayed by thirteen days. The document is a deposition oral testimony given by a witness to be used in a trial given by Dr. Yu Tsun. The first two pages are missing, so its narration begins abruptly. Having learned that his cover as a German spy in London has been blown, Yu Tsun has only minutes to plan his next move.
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See other formats The Garden of Forking Paths To Victoria Ocampo In his A History of the World War page , Captain Liddell Hart reports that a planned offensive by thirteen British divisions, supported by fourteen hundred artillery pieces, against the German line at Serre-Montauban, scheduled for July 24, , had to be postponed until the morning of the 29th. He comments that torrential rain caused this delay - which lacked any special significance.
The following deposition, dictated by, read over, and then signed by Dr. Yu Tsun, former teacher of English at the Tsingtao Hochschule, casts unsuspected light upon this event. The first two pages are missing. Immediately I recollected the voice that had spoken in German. It was that of Captain Richard Madden. His being there meant that Runeberg had been arrested or murdered.
Madden was implacable. Rather, to be more accurate, he was obliged to be implacable. An Irishman in the service of England, a man suspected of equivocal feelings if not of actual treachery, how could he fail to welcome and seize upon this extraordinary piece of luck: the discovery, capture and perhaps the deaths of two agents of Imperial Germany? I went up to my bedroom. Absurd though the gesture was, I closed and locked the door.
I threw myself down on my narrow iron bed, and waited on my back. It seemed incredible that this day, a day without warnings or omens, might be that of my implacable death. In despite of my dead father, in despite of having been a child in one of the symmetrical gardens of Hai Feng, was I to die now? Then I reflected that all things happen, happen to one, precisely now. Century follows century, and things happen only in the present. There are countless men in the air, on land and at sea, and all that really happens happens to me.
A bird streaked across the misty sky and, absently, I turned it into an airplane and then that airplane into many in the skies of France, shattering the artillery park under a rain of bombs. If only my mouth, before it should be silenced by a bullet, could shout this name in such a way that it could be heard in Germany My voice, my human voice, was weak.
How could it reach the ear of the Chief? The ear of that sick and hateful man who knew nothing of Runeberg or of me except that we were in Staffordshire. A man who, sitting in his i arid Berlin office, leafed infinitely through newspapers, looking in vain for news from us.
I said aloud, "I must flee. Something - perhaps merely a desire to prove my total penury to myself - made me empty out my pockets. I found just what I knew I was going to find.
Absurdly I held it and weighed it in my hand, to give myself courage. Vaguely I thought that a pistol shot can be heard for a great distance. In ten minutes I had developed my plan. The telephone directory gave me the name of the one person capable of passing on the information. He lived in a suburb of Fenton, less than half an hour away by train. I am a timorous man. I can say it now, now that I have brought my incredibly risky plan to an end.
It was not easy to bring about, and I know that its execution was terrible. I did not do it for Germany - no! Such a barbarous country is of no importance to me, particularly since it had degraded me by making me become a spy.
Furthermore, I knew an Englishman - a modest man - who, for me, is as great as Goethe. I did not speak with him for more than an hour, but during that time, he was Goethe.
I carried out my plan because I felt the Chief had some fear of those of my race, of those uncountable forebears whose culmination lies in me.
I wished to prove to him that a yellow man could save his armies. Besides, I had to escape the Captain. His hands and voice could, at any moment, knock and beckon at my door. Silently, I dressed, took leave of myself in the mirror, went down the stairs, sneaked a look at the quiet street, and went out. The station was not far from my house, but I thought it more prudent to take a cab.
I told myself that I thus ran less chance of being recognized. The truth is that, in the deserted street, I felt infinitely visible and vulnerable. I recall that I told the driver to stop short of the main entrance. I got out with a painful and deliberate slowness. I was going to the village of Ashgrove, but took a ticket for a station further on. The train would leave in a few minutes, at eight-fifty.
I hurried, for the next would not go until half past nine. There was almost no one on the platform. I walked through the carriages. At last the train pulled out. A man I recognized ran furiously, but vainly, the length of the platform. It was Captain Richard Madden. Shattered, trembling, I huddled in the distant corner of the seat, as far as possible from the fearful window.
From utter terror I passed into a state of almost abject happiness. I told myself that the duel had already started and that I had won the first encounter by besting my adversary in his first attack - even if it was only for forty minutes - by an accident of fate. I argued that so small a victory prefigured a total victory. I argued that it was 2 not so trivial, that were it not for the precious accident of the train schedule, I would be in prison or dead.
I argued, with no less sophism, that my timorous happiness was proof that I was man enough to bring this adventure to a successful conclusion. From my weakness I drew strength that never left me. I foresee that man will resign himself each day to new abominations, that soon only soldiers and bandits will be left.
To them I offer this advice: Whosoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past. Thus I proceeded, while with the eyes of a man already dead, I contemplated the fluctuations of the day which would probably be my last, and watched the diffuse coming of night.
The train crept along gently, amid ash trees. It slowed down and stopped, almost in the middle of a field. No one called the name of a station. I got out.
One of them asked me: "Are you going to Dr. At a slight incline, the road ran downhill. It was a plain dirt way, and overhead the branches of trees intermingled, while a round moon hung low in the sky as if to keep me company.
For a moment I thought that Richard Madden might in some way have divined my desperate intent. At once I realized that this would be impossible. The advice about turning always to the left reminded me that such was the common formula for finding the central courtyard of certain labyrinths.
I know something about labyrinths. He was Governor of Yunnan and gave up temporal power to write a novel with more characters than there are in the Hung Lou Meng, and to create a maze in which all men would lose themselves.
He spent thirteen years on these oddly assorted tasks before he was assassinated by a stranger. His novel had no sense to it and nobody ever found his labyrinth. Under the trees of England I meditated on this lost and perhaps mythical labyrinth. I imagined it untouched and perfect on the secret summit of some mountain; I imagined it drowned under rice paddies or beneath the sea; I imagined it infinite, made not only of eight-sided pavilions and of twisting paths but also of rivers, provinces and kingdoms I thought of a maze of mazes, of a sinuous, ever growing maze which would take in both past and future and would somehow involve the stars.
Lost in these imaginary illusions I forgot my destiny - that of the hunted. For an undetermined period of time I felt myself cut off from the world, an abstract spectator. The hazy and murmuring countryside, the moon, the decline of the evening, stirred within me. Going down the gently sloping road I could not feel fatigue. The evening was at once intimate and infinite. A high-pitched and almost syllabic music kept coming and going, moving with the breeze, blurred by the leaves and by distance.
I thought that a man might be an enemy of other men, of the differing moments of other men, but never an enemy of a country: not of fireflies, words, gardens, streams, or the West wind. Meditating thus I arrived at a high, rusty iron gate. Through the railings I could see an avenue bordered with poplar trees and also a kind of summer house or pavilion.
Two things dawned on me at once, the first trivial and the second almost incredible: the music came from the pavilion and that music was Chinese. That was why I had accepted it fully, without paying it any attention.
I do not remember whether there was a bell, a push-button, or whether I attracted attention by clapping my hands. The stuttering sparks of the music kept on. But from the end of the avenue, from the main house, a lantern approached; a lantern which alternately, from moment to moment, was crisscrossed or put out by the trunks of the trees; a paper lantern shaped like a drum and colored like the moon.
[PDF] The Garden of Forking Paths Book by Jorge Luis Borges Free Download (1 page)
Plot summary[ edit ] This article or section contains close paraphrasing of one or more non-free copyrighted sources. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Ideas in this article should be expressed in an original manner. August Learn how and when to remove this template message The story takes the form of a signed statement by a Chinese professor of English named Doctor Yu Tsun who is living in the United Kingdom during World War I. As the story begins, Doctor Tsun has realized that an MI5 agent called Captain Richard Madden is pursuing him, has entered the apartment of his handler Viktor Runeberg, and has either captured or killed him. Doctor Tsun is certain that his own arrest is next.
The Garden of Forking Paths