Excerpt from Baudolino by Umberto Eco, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Baudolino

By Umberto Eco

Baudolino
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2002,
    528 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2003,
    540 pages.

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what are these sodomiten my father asked and I explained theyre kypioni shit he said kypioni are everywhere but when the Gentleman pulled out another five Coins after the two of the night before then he forgot everything and said son go then and maybe this is a piece of luck for you and may be for us too since one way or another these Alamans are always around our partts and this means you can come and see us now and then and I said I swear I will and I was ready to leave but I still felt a lump in my throat because I saw my mother crying like I was going off to die

et so we left and the Gentleman told me to take him to where the Castrum of the imperials was and I said thats easy you just follow the sun that is go where it comes from

and as we were going and could already see the tents a company of horsemen arrived all decked out and when they see us they fall on their knees and lower their pikes and their banners and raise their swords why what can this be I asked myself and they started yelling Chaiser Kaisar here and Keiser there and Sanctissimus Rex and they kissed that gentlemans hand and my jaw almost fell off because my mouth was open so wide like an oven because it was only then I understood the gentleman with the red beard was the emperor Fridericus in flesh and blood and I had been telling him madeup stories all night like he was any old asshole

now he'll have them cut off my head I say to myself but still I cost him VII coins and if hed wanted to cut my head off he would of done it last night gratis et amoredei

et he said dont be afraid of anything its all right Im bearing news of a great Vision little puer tell us all the vision you had in the wood and I drop down like I had the falling sickness and my eyes open wide and theres foam on my mouth and I yell I saw I saw and I tell the whole storey of Saint Baudolino who made the prophecy to me and they all praise Dominnus Domine Deus and say Miraculo miraculo gottstehmirbei

and with them there were also the messengers of Terdona who hadnt yet decided whether to surrender but when they heard me they lay flat on the ground and said if even the saints were against them then they better surrender because it couldnt go on anyway

et then I saw the Derthonesi who were all coming out of the City men women andh children et vetuli too and they were crying while the alamans carried them away like they were beeccie that is berbices and sheep everywhere and the people of Pavia who cheered and entered Turtona like lunnatics with faggots and hammers and clubs and picks because tearing a city down to the ground was enough to make them come

et towards evening I saw on the hill a great smoke and Terdona or Derthona was just about gone and this is how war is as my father Galiaudo says its an ugly animal war is

but better them than us

et in the evening the Emperor comes back all happy to the Tabernacula and gives me a slap on the cheek like my father never did and then he calls a gentleman who turned out to be the good canon Rahewinus and tells him he wants me to learn to write and the abacus and even gramar which then I didnt know what it was but now slowly I learn and my father Galiaudo never immagined such a thing

what a great thing to be a man of learning and who would ever have thought it

gratis agimus domini dominus I mean thanks to the Lord

all the same writing a story makes you sweat even in winter also Im afraid because the lamp has gone out and as the man said my thumb akes

From Baudolino by Umberto Eco; the full text of chapter 1. © 2000 RCS Libri S.p.A. English translation copyright © 2002 by Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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