The Good Earth

La novela de Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth, fue publicada en 1931 y le valió a la autora el premio Pulitzer en 1932.

It was Wang Lung´s Marriage day. At first, opening his eyes in the blackness of the curtains about his bed, he could not think why the dawn seemed different from any other. The house was still except for the faint, gasping cough of his old father, whose room was opposite to his own across the middle room. Every morning the old man's cough was the first sound to be heard. Wang Lung usually lay listening to it, and moved only when he heard it approaching nearer and when he heard the door of his father's room squeak upon its wooden hinges.
But this morning he did not wait. He sprang up and pushed aside the curtains of his bed. It was a dark, reddish dawn, and through a small square hole of a window, where the ragged paper trembled, a glimpse of bronze sky gleamed. He went to the hole and tore the paper away.
'It is spring and I do not need this,' he muttered.
He was ashamed to say aloud that he wished the house to look neat on this day. The hole was barely large enough to admit his hand, and he thrust it out to feel of the air. A small soft wind blew gently from the east, a wind mild and murmurous and full of rain. It was a good omen. The fields needed rain for fruition. There would be no rain this day, but within a few days, if this wind continued, there would be water. It was good. Yesterday he had said to his father that if this brazen, glittering sunshine continued, the wheat could not fill in the ear. Now it was as if Heaven had chosen this day to wish him well. Earth would bear fruit.

He hurried out into the middle room, drawing on his blue outer trousers as he went, and knotting about the fullness at his waist his band of blue cotton cloth. He left his upper body bare until he had heated water to bathe himself. He went into the shed which was the kitchen, leaning against the house, and out of its dusk an ox twisted its head from behind the corner next the door and lowed at him deeply. The kitchen was made of earthen bricks: the house was, great squares of earth dug from their own fields, and thatched with straw from their own wheat. Out of their own earth had his grandfather in his youth fashioned also the oven, baked and black with many years of meal-preparing. On top of this earthen structure stood a deep, round, iron cauldron.
the good earth
The Good Earth,
first edition
This cauldron he filled partly full of water, dipping it with a half-gourd from an earthen jar that stood neat, but he dipped cautiously, for water was precious. Then, after a hesitation, he suddenly lifted the jar and emptied all the water into the cauldron. This day he would bathe his whole body. Not since he was a child upon his mother's knee had any one looked upon his body. To-day one would, and he would have it clean.
He went around the oven to the rear and selecting a handful of the dry grass and stalks standing in the corner of the kitchen, he arranged it delicately in the mouth of the oven, making the most of every leaf. Then from an old flint and iron he caught a flame and thrust it into the straw and there was a blaze.
This was the last morning he would have to light the fire. He had lit it every morning since his mother died six years before. He had lit the fire, boiled water, and poured the water into a bowl and taken it into the room where his father sat upon his bed, coughing and searching for his shoes upon the floor. Every morning for these six years the old man had waited for his son to bring in hot water to ease him of his morning coughing. Now father and son could rest. There was a woman coming to the house. Never again would Wang Lung have to rise summer and winter at dawn to light the fire. He could lie in his bed and wait, and he also would have a bowl of water brought to him, and if the earth were fruitful there would be tea-leaves in the water. Once in some years it was so.  And if the woman tired there would be her children to light the fire, the many children she would bear to I Wang Lung. Wang Lung stopped, struck by the thought of children running in and out of their three rooms. Three rooms had always seemed much to them, a house half-empty since his mother died. They were always having to resist relatives who were more crowded — his uncle, with his endless issue of children, luring.
'Now, how can two lone men need so much room? Cannot father and son sleep together? The warmth of the young one's body will comfort the old one's cough.'
But the father always replied, 'I am saving my bed for my grandson. He will warm my bones in my age.'… (Excerpts from The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, in easier English)

Vocabulario
Flint: quarzo muy duro, que chispea cuando se lo golpea con el acero.
El libro
The Good Earth fue un best seller en EEUU, en 1931 y 1932, e influyó, en 1938, para que Pearl S. Buck ganara el Nobel de Literatura. Es el primer libro en una trilogía que incluye Sons (1932) y A House Divided (1935)
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