One Hundred Years of Solitude - Chapter 17


   “Poor great-great-grandmother,?Amaranta ?rsula said. “She died of old age.?
   ?rsula was startled.
   “I’m alive!?she said.
   “You can see.?Amaranta ?rsula said, suppressing her laughter, “that she’s not even breathing.?
   “I’m talking!??rsula shouted.
   “She can’t even talk,?Aureliano said. “She died like a little cricket.?
   Then ?rsula gave in to the evidence. “My God,?she exclaimed in a low voice. “So this is what it’s like to be dead.?She started an endless, stumbling, deep prayer that lasted more than two days, and that by Tuesday had degenerated into a hodgepodge of requests to God and bits of practical advice to stop the red ants from bringing the house down, to keep the lamp burning by Remedios?daguerreotype, and never to let any Buendía marry a person of the same blood because their children would be born with the tail of a pig. Aureliano Segundo tried to take advantage of her delirium to get her to ten him where the gold was buried, but his entreaties were useless once more “When the owner appears,??rsula said, “God will illuminate him so that he will find it.?Santa Sofía de la Piedad had the certainty that they would find her dead from one moment to the next, because she noticed during those days a certain confusion in nature: the roses smelled like goosefoot, a pod of chick peas fell down and the beans lay on the ground in a perfect geometrical pattern in the shape of a starfish and one night she saw a row of luminous orange disks pass across the sky.
   They found her dead on the morning of Good Friday. The last time that they had helped her calculate her age, during the time of the banana company, she had estimated it as between one hundred fifteen and one hundred twenty-two. They buried her in a coffin that was not much larger than the basket in which Aureliano had arrived, and very few people were at the funeral, partly because there wet not many left who remembered her, and partly because it was so hot that noon that the birds in their confusion were running into walls like day pigeons and breaking through screens to die in the bedrooms.