Dom Casmurro Chapter 17


‘He woundeth and His hands make whole.’ Later, when I learned that Achilles’ spear also cured a wound he inflicted I was seized by the whim to write a dissertation on the subject. I got hold of old books, dead books, books dead and buried, opened them and compared them, seeking out the text and the meaning in order to discover the common origin of the pagan oracle and the biblical message. I even had recourse to the maggots in the books to ask what there was in the texts they had eaten.

‘My dear senhor,’ replied a long, fat maggot, ‘we know absolutely nothing about the texts we eat. We do not choose what we eat, neither do we like or detest what we eat. We just eat.’

I could get nothing more from him. And all the others, as if by mutual consent, repeated the same story. Perhaps this discreet silence concerning the eaten texts was just another way of devouring again what had already been eaten.