“HOW I FOUD THE SUPERMAN".-
G. K.Chesterton.- Daily News, 1909.
LA INCOMPLETA Y DESASTROSA TRADUCCIÓN ES MÍA (NO SE CULPE A NADIE).- WVM

Readers of Mr. Bernard Shaw and other modern writers may be interested to know that the Superman has been found. I found him; he lives in South Croydon. Mysuccess will be a great blow to Mr. Shaw, who has been following quite a false scent, and is now looking for the creature in Blackpool; and as for Mr. Wells's notion of generating him out of gases in a private laboratory I always thought it doomed to failure. I assure Mr. Wells that the Superman at Croydon was born in the ordinary way, though he himself, of course, is anything but ordinary.

“Cómo encontré al Superhombre”.- G. K.Chesterton.- Daily News, 1909.

Los lectores de Mr. Bernard Shaw y otros modernos escritores pueden estar interesados en saber que el Superhombre ha sido encontrado. Yo lo encontré; vive en South Croydon. Mi éxito será un gran golpe para Mr. Shaw, quien ha estado siguiendo una pista totalmente falsa, y está ahora buscando a la criatura en Blackpool; y en cuanto a la noción de Mr. Wells de crearlo sin gases en un laboratorio privado siempré creí que estaba condenada al fracaso. Le aseguro a Mr. Wells que el Superhombre de Croydon nació de la manera ordinaria, sin embargo de que él, por sí mismo, es algo no ordinario.

Nor are his parents unworthy of the wonderful being whom they have given to the world. The name of Lady Hypatia Smythe-Brown (now Lady Hypatia Hagg) will never be forgotten in the East End, where she did such splendid social work. Her constant cry of "Save the children!" referred to the cruel neglect of children's eyesight involved in allowing them to play with crudely painted toys. She quoted unanswerable statistics to prove that children allowed to look at violet and vermillion often suffered from failing eyesight in their extreme old age; and it was owing to her ceaseless crusade that the pestilence of the Monkey-on-the-Stick was almost swept from Hoxton.

Ni sus padres son dignos del ser maravilloso que han dado al mundo. El nombre de Lady Hypathia Smythe-Brown (ahora Lady Hypathia Hagg) nunca será olvidado en East End, donde ella hizo tan espléndido trabajo social. Su grito constante de “ Salven a los Niños!”

The devoted worker would tramp the streets untiringly, taking away the toys from all the poor children, who were often moved to tears by her kindness. Her good work was interrupted, partly by a new interest in the creed of Zoroaster, and partly by a savage blow from an umbrella. It was inflicted by a dissolute Irish apple-woman, who, on returning from some orgy to her ill-kept apartment, found Lady Hypatia in the bedroom taking down some oleograph, which, to say the least of it, could not really elevate the mind. At this the ignorant and partly intoxicated Celt dealt the social reformer a severe blow, adding to it an absurd accusation of theft. The lady's exquisitely balanced mind received a shock; and it was during a short mental illness that she married Dr. Hagg. Of Dr. Hagg himself I hope there is no need to speak. Anyone even slightly acquainted with those daring experiments in Neo-Individualist Eugenics, which are now the one absorbing interest of the English democracy, must know his name and often commend it to the personal protection of an impersonal power. Early in life he brought to bear that ruthless insight into the history of religions that he gained in boyhood as an electrical engineer. Later he became one of our greatest geologists; and achieved that bold and bright outlook upon the future of Socialism which only geology can give. At first there seems something like a rift, a faint, but perceptible, fissure, between his views and those of his aristocratic wife. For she was in favour (to use her own powerful epigram) of protecting the poor against themselves; while he declared pitilessly, in a new and striking metaphor, that the weakest must go to the wall. Eventually, however, the married pair perceived an essential union in the unmistakably modern character of both their views; and in this enlightening and comprehensive expression their souls found peace.

The result is that this union of the two highest types of our civilisation, the fashionable lady and all but vulgar medical man, has been blessed by the birth of the Superman, that being whom all the labourers in Battersea are so eagerly expecting night and day. I found the house of Dr. and Lady Hypatia Hagg without much difficulty; it is situated in one of the last straggling streets of Croydon, and overlooked by a line of poplars. I reached the door towards the twilight, and it was natural that I should fancifully see something dark and monstrous in the dim bulk of that house which contained the creature who was more marvellous than the children of men. When I entered the house I was received with exquisite courtesy by Lady Hyptia and her husband; but I found much greater difficulty in actually seeing the Superman, who is now about fifteen years old, and is kept by himself in a quiet room. Even my conversation with the father and mother did not quite clear up the character of the mysterious being. Lady Hypatia, who has a pale and poignant face, and is clad in those impalpable and pathetic greys and greens with which she has brightened so many homes in Hoxton, did not appear to talk of her offspring with any of the vulgar vanity of an ordinary human mother. I took a bold step and asked if the Superman was nice looking.

'He creates his own standard, you see,' she replied, with a slight sigh. 'Upon that plane he is more than Apollo. Seen from our lower plane, of course...' And she sighed again.

- El crea su propio estándar -, replicó ella-. Desde ese plano es más hermoso que Apolo. Visto desde nuestro plano, desde luego...

I had a horrible impulse, and said suddenly, 'Has he got any hair?'

Tuve un horrible impulso, y dije de pronto, “¿Le ha salido cabello?”

There was a long and painful silence, and then Dr. Hagg said smoothly, 'Everything upon that plane is different; what he has got is not...well, not, of course, what we call hair...but...'

Hubo un largo y doloroso silencio, y entonces el Dr. Hagg dijo suavemente, “Todo desde ese plano es diferente, lo que le ha salido no es ... bien, no es, desde luego lo que llamaríamos cabello... pero...”

'Don't you think,' said his wife, very softly, 'don't you think that really, for thesake of argument, when talking to the mere public, one might call it hair?'

- ¿No crees -dijo su esposa muy suavemente- no crees que en realidad, para evitar una discusión, cuando hablemos en público, podemos llamarle cabello?

'Perhaps you are right,' said the doctor after a few moments' reflection. 'In connection with hair like that one must speak in parables.'

- Quizá estés en lo cierto -dijo el doctor después de unos momentos de reflexión-. En relación con un cabello como ese debemos hablar en parábolas.

'Well, what on earth is it,' I asked in some irritation, 'if it isn't hair? Is it feathers?'

- Bien, entonces ¿que diabos es -pregunté con alguna irritación- si no es cabello? ¿Son plumas?.

'Not feathers, as we understand feathers,' answered Hagg in an awful voice.

- Plumas no, tal como entendemos a las plumas -respondió Hagg con voz apagada.

I got up in some irritation. 'Can I see him, at any rate?' I asked. 'I am a journalist, and have no earthly motives except curiosity and personal vanity. I should like to say that I had shaken hands with the Superman.'

Llegué a irritarme. “¿Puedo verlo, sólo un rato?”, pregunté. “Soy periodista y no tengo más motivo que la curiosidad y vanidad personal. Me gustaría decir que he estrechado las manos del Superhombre”.

The husband and wife had both got heavily to their feet, and stood embarrassed.

'Well, of course, you know,' said Lady Hypatia, with the really charming smileof the aristocratic hostess. 'You know he can't exactly shake hands...not hands, you know....The structure, of course...'

- Bien, desde luego, usted sabe... -dijo Lady Hypathia, con la sonrisa realmente encantadora de una anfitriona aristocrática-. Sabrá usted que el no puede lo que se dice estrechar las manos ... no son manos, usted sabe... La estructura es muy otra...

I broke out of all social bounds, and rushed at the door of the room which I thought to contain the incredible creature. I burst it open; the room was pitch dark. But from in front of me came a small sad yelp, and from behind me a double shriek.

Rompí todo comportamiento social y me precipité hacia la puerta de la recámara donde pensé que estaba la increíble criatura.

'You have done it, now!' cried Dr. Hagg, burying his bald brow in his hands. 'You have let in a draught on him; and he is dead.'

¡Lo ha hecho usted, ahora!, gritó el doctor Hagg,

As I walked away from Croydon that night I saw men in black carrying out a coffin that was not of any human shape. The wind wailed above me, whirling the poplars, so that they drooped and nodded like the plumes of some cosmic funeral.

Cuando caminé alejándome de Croydon esa noche, vi a unos hombres conducir un féretro que no tenía forma humana. El viento ululaba sobre mí,

'It is, indeed,' said Dr. Hagg, 'the whole universe weeping over the frustrationof its most magnificent birth.' But I thought that there was a hoot of laughter in the high wail of the wind.


Thanks to John Morgan for typing in this story.
Up to G.K.Chesterton's Works on the Web.
Last modified: 3rd July, 1996
Martin Ward, Computer Science Dept.,
University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.