Location: Tordesillas, Spain, 1494
Context: Two delegations, one Portuguese and the other Spanish, are discussing a future treaty which will divide the planet among the two powers. The Portuguese want to preserve their trade routes from the coast of Africa to Asia, and the Spanish want to protect their newly discovered lands in America. The final outcome of this Treaty would be the drawing of an imaginary line from pole to pole, crossing the equator at 370 leagues from the Green Cape archipelago. This would allow the Portuguese to colonize Brazil.
Procedure: Deliver the document provided in the pocket of your clothes to the chief of the Spanish delegation, Enrique Enríquez de Quiñones. The document warns him to concede nothing to the Portuguese beyond 100 leagues from the Green Cape islands.
Desired outcome: The dividing line keeps the Portuguese away from South America. The whole of the American continent will be for Spain to explore because the Hispanic Union will need the crucial population and natural resources that Brazil can provide in the future. The number of Hispanics will also increase greatly.
Just after pushing the tablet, I saw myself in a dark place, wearing what seemed to be a religious habit. The smell was unmistakable, and a little mooing around me confirmed what I had speculated: I was in a stable. I went out to a narrow cobbled street. The air was fresh, and the very first rays of light were announcing the morning. At this moment, the unexpected sound of a voice startled me, “Buon dia, pater, benedicte mei,” and I crossed myself very clumsily with my right hand. “Ore pro nobis pater,” said another voice. “Pax vobiscum… whatever,” I mumbled. My knowledge of Latin has always been very poor.
I walked into the still dark main square trying to find the Royal Palace. The place where, according to the application in the tablet, I should find the person I must give the letter to. Needless to say, public illumination in the fifteenth century was very inefficient, if not nonexistent.
In spite of that, I saw a huge stone building with the Catholic king’s coat of arms in the facade. I knocked at the door. A very unfriendly individual with a massive wart on his equally large nose asked me what I wanted and, without giving me the chance to reply, said: “We have already given donations to the church, and we don’t buy anything…” – “I know, son, that’s not the purpose of my visit. I wish to meet with Don Enrique” – “Don Enrique is very busy today and cannot receive any visits.” He slammed the heavy door.
That’s how an apparently easy task may get unexpectedly complicated. I walked slowly around the building not really knowing what to do. Climbing the walls was not an option since I wasn’t a youngster anymore. “Hey Restituto! Look up here, mate!” Hearing my name in the fifteenth century was surprising. The metallic tone of the voice calling me was scary, but the sight of a crow alighting on the railing of a balcony in a neighboring building excited me.
Yes, in El Hierro we teach ravens to repeat a few words, usually swear words, but we do not maintain normal rational conversations with them as a common practice. “Are you from El Hierro..?” I initiated the conversation stupidly, without thinking much… “Stop the chit-chat. Don Enrique is in his room right now, I can see him from here!” – “Then give this to him, I cannot enter the palace!” I said while stretching out my right arm, holding a paper roll. Quick, like lightening, the crow flew down, grabbed the roll with his beak. I saw him enter the palace through a window. I could only pray for Don Enrique to believe what he would see on the crow-delivered document.
Anything could happen since people are very superstitious at this time. It wouldn’t be too difficult to attribute to the devil the delivery of a document by a black bird who told him, “Read this letter your excellency Don Enrique!” But then I smiled at the expression I imagined on Don Enrique’s face when he opened the paper roll to see a map of the modern-day Americas, the Atlantic Ocean and Africa at a time when only a few islands had been discovered in the Caribbean. Reading the short but emphatic warning beneath it: “By the will of God, Don Enrique, do not allow the Portuguese to achieve anything or make any advances beyond the line of 100 leagues from Green Cape!! Your queen and generations of Spaniards to come will thank you if you do so!!”
I pressed Mission Completed on the tablet, even though I didn’t know if I had been successful or not.
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: To be announced – (hopefully) Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: Seville, Spain – Nasrid’s art pattern carving – Krikkiat (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed