Pastoral by Charles Ferdinand Ramuz

 

My translation of “Pastoral,” a short story by C.F. Ramuz was published in the Winter issue of The Kenyon Review. This is a lovely little story about a young shepherd girl and teenage boy. Ramuz’s particular eye for village life is so clever, so sharp. Here is a short excerpt:

The magpies are carried away like pieces of half-burned paper in a fireplace. They are standing a little below the forest. A pine tree forest. The forest cracks, the forest leans. They watch it tip backward all of a sudden, showing the red of its trunks, and then it leans forward again. It disappears beneath its foliage. The forest is red, the forest is black; it takes turns shifting from red to black. There is an explosion, a crack, and then they stop watching because they’ve thrown their two hands forward against the ground (turning their backs to the forest). The goats stop grazing, astonished at this grass that keeps moving, which seems to escape them like water running up an incline.

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