Torga’s miniatures, published as Tales from the Mountain in 1941 and New Tales from the Mountain in 1944, rarely stretch to more than a couple of pages and yet contain a plenitude of wisdom. Collectively, they form a richly textured mosaic of rural life. Taken singly, each is its own uniquely perfect narrative. In ‘Sesame’, a young boy, his imagination fired by the tales he hears read aloud by the village storyteller, attempts to unearth the gold he believes to be buried under Gallows Mountain. What follows is a meditation on fiction and the imagination. Wonder is swiftly followed by disenchantment and yet, in the tale’s final lines, awe and mystery return in the most mundane and beautiful of ways.
First published in Contos da Montanha, 1941. Translation in Tales & More Tales from the Mountain by Miguel Torga, Carcanet, 1996