Dom Casmurro

by Machado de Assis

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XVII - The Worms

"It hurts and heals!" When, later on, I learned that Achilles' spear had also healed a wound he had done, I had the pleasure or the pleasure of writing a dissertation for this purpose. I got to pick up old books, dead books, buried books, in April, to compare them, silencing the text and meaning, to find the common origin of pagan oracle and Israeli thought. I picked up the worms from the books, so that they would tell me what was in the texts gnawed by them.

"My lord," answered a long fat worm, "we know absolutely nothing of the texts we gnaw, nor choose what we gnaw, neither love nor hate what we gnaw; we gnaw.

I did not start anything else. The others all, as if they had passed word, repelled the same song. Perhaps this discreet silence over the roasted texts was still a way of gnawing the roast.


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