Afro-Cuban Short Stories by Lydia Cabrera (1900-1991)

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In this work the author presents the reader with an annotated English version of forty enchanting and complex short stories by Cuban ethnologist Lydia Cabrera translated by Gutiérrez herself. The author’s translation also offers an array of impeccable and timely cultural, historical, and linguistic annotations that place in the forefront the Afro-Cuban way of life that has existed on the island since the 16th century.


". . . a very impressive addition to the body of Hispanic American literature in translation, as well as an expansion of the readership of Lydia Cabrera's works beyond Hispanic America and the circle of academic specialists on Latin American literature." - Beatriz Varela, Professor Emerita of Spanish, University of New Orleans

“Mariela A. Gutiérrez’s outstanding contribution with this needed publication in English translation is certain to become a seminal reference to Afro-Cuban studies in general and to Lydia Cabrera’s work in particular.” – Luis A. Jiménez, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages, Florida Southern University

“It is evident that Gutiérrez went through a long, careful and extremely difficult selection process involving four major anthologies by the distinguished Cuban author. The result is outstanding. . . . Conclusively, [the translator] is to be applauded for making the Cuban author’s voice and literary creation accessible to a brand new kind of public, since the collection is a very impressive body in the Hispanic American literature in translation, and an expansion of the readership of Lydia Cabrera’s work beyond Hispanic America and the reduced circle of academic specialists on Latin American literature.”- Dr. Mbare Ngom, Ph.D., Professor and Chairperson, Department of World Languages and International Studies, Director, African Studies Program, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Beatriz Varela, Professor Emerita

Author’s Preface


Black Short Stories from Cuba (Cuentos negros de Cuba)
Two Queens
The Hill Named Mambiala
Arere Marekén
The Mire of the Almendares River
Turtle's Horse
The Certificate of Liberty
The Mutes
The Guardian Toad

Why…? (¿Por qué…?)
There Are Men of Many Colours
The Billy Goat Stinks
Obbara Lies But Does Not Lie
Women Pay Tribute to the Dagame Tree
Cotton Blinds the Birds
Kanákaná, the Buzzard, is Sacred, and Iroko, the Ceiba, is Divine
Susudamba Doesn’t Show Herself by Day
The Flat Noses of the Blacks Are Made of Clay

Ayapá: Turtle Tales (Ayapá: cuentos de Jicotea)
Life or Death
Turtle, One Fine Day, Asked the Sun
Jicotea’s Vengeance
Irú Ayé
The Yam Patch Thief
The Branch on the Wall
Jicotea and the Güira Tree No One Planted
In the Enamoured River

Stories for Childish Adults and the Feeble-Minded (Cuentos para adultos niños y retrasados mentales)
And So It Was
The Water Maiden
Going Down the River
A Liberator without a Statue
God Truly Makes Use of the Devil in Order to Punish Arrogance
The Story of a Stray Dog and a Household Cat
A Fatal Love
The Miracle of the Evergreen
They Danced
Ña Tomasa’s Fig Tree
Of Astronomy

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