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and I both were members of very old and important Italian families. We
used to play together when we were children.
Fortunato was bigger, richer and more handsome than I was. And he enjoyed
making me look like a fool. He hurt my feelings a thousand times during
the years of my childhood. I never showed my
anger, however. So, he
thought we were good friends. But I promised myself that one day I would
punish Fortunato for his insults to me.
Many years passed. Fortunato married a rich and beautiful woman who gave
him sons. Deep in my heart I hated him, but I never said or did anything
that showed him how I really felt. When I smiled at him, he thought it was
because we were friends.
He did not know it was the thought of his death that made me smile.
Everyone in our town respected Fortunato. Some men were afraid of him
because he was so rich and powerful. He had a
weak spot, however. He
thought he was an excellent judge of wine. I also was an expert on wine. I
spent a lot of money buying rare and costly wines. I stored the wines in
the dark rooms under my family's palace.
Our palace was one of the oldest buildings in the town. The Montresor
family had lived in it for hundreds of years. We had buried our dead in
the rooms under the palace. These tombs were quiet, dark places that no
one but myself ever visited.
Late one evening during carnival season, I happened to meet Fortunato on
the street. He was going home alone from a party. Fortunato was beautiful
in his silk suit made of many colors: yellow, green, purple and red. On
his head he wore an orange cap, covered with little silver
bells. I could
see he had been drinking too much wine. He threw his arms around me. He
said he was glad to see me.
I said I was glad to see him, too because I had a little problem.
"What is it?" he asked, putting his large hand on my shoulder.
"My dear Fortunato," I said, "I'm afraid I have been very stupid. The man
who sells me wine said he had a rare barrel of Amontillado wine. I
believed him and I bought it from him. But now, I am not so sure that the
wine is really Amontillado."
"What!" he said, "A cask of Amontillado at this time of year. An
"Yes, I was very stupid. I paid the wine man the full price he wanted
without asking you to taste the wine first. But I couldn't find you and I
was afraid he would sell the cask of Amontillado to someone else. So I
"A cask of Amontillado!" Fortunato repeated. "Where is it?"
I pretended I didn't hear his question. Instead I told him I was going to
visit our friend Lucresi. "He will be able to tell me if the wine is
really Amontillado," I said.
Fortunato laughed in my face. "Lucresi cannot tell Amontillado from
I smiled to myself and said "But some people say that he is as good a
judge of wine as you are."
Fortunato grabbed my arm. "Take me to it," he said. "I'll taste the
Amontillado for you."
"But my friend," I protested, "it is late. The wine is in my wine cellar,
underneath the palace. Those rooms are very
damp and cold and the walls
drip with water."
"I don't care," he said. "I am the only person who can tell you if your
wine man has cheated you. Lucresi cannot!"
Fortunato turned, and still holding me by the arm, pulled me down the
street to my home. The building was empty. My servants were enjoying
carnival. I knew they would be gone all night.
I took two large candles, lit them and gave one to Fortunato. I started
down the dark, twisting stairway with Fortunato close behind me. At the
bottom of the stairs, the damp air wrapped itself around our bodies.
"Where are we?" Fortunato asked. "I thought you said the cask of
Amontillado was in your wine cellar."
"It is," I said. "The wine cellar is just beyond these tombs where the
dead of my family are kept. Surely, you are not afraid of walking through
He turned and looked into my eyes. "Tombs?" he said. He began to cough.
The silver bells on his cap
"My poor friend," I said, "how long have you had that cough?"
"It's nothing," he said, but he couldn't stop coughing.
"Come," I said firmly, "we will go back upstairs. Your health is
important.You are rich, respected, admired, and loved. You have a wife and
children. Many people would miss you if you died. We will go back before
you get seriously ill. I can go to Lucresi for help with the wine."
"No!" he cried. "This cough is nothing. It will not kill me. I won't die
from a cough."
"That is true," I said, "but you must be careful." He took my arm and we
began to walk through the cold, dark rooms. We went deeper and deeper into
Finally, we arrived in a small room. Bones were pushed high against one
wall. A doorway in another wall opened to an even smaller room, about one
meter wide and two meters high. Its walls were solid rock.
"Here we are," I said. "I hid the cask of Amontillado in there." I pointed
to the smaller room. Fortunato lifted his candle and stepped into the tiny
room. I immediately followed him. He stood stupidly staring at two
handcuffs chained to a wall of the tiny room. I grabbed his arms and
locked them into the metal handcuffs. It took only a moment. He was too
surprised to fight me.
I stepped outside the small room.
"Where is the Amontillado?" he cried.
"Ah yes," I said, "the cask of Amontillado." I leaned over and began
pushing aside the pile of bones against the wall. Under the bones was a
basket of stone blocks, some cement and a small
shovel. I had hidden the
materials there earlier. I began to fill the doorway of the tiny room with
stones and cement.
By the time I laid the first row of stones Fortunato was no longer drunk.
I heard him moaning inside the tiny room for ten minutes. Then there was a
I finished the second and third rows of stone blocks. As I began the
fourth row, I heard Fortunato begin to shake the chains that held him to
the wall. He was trying to pull them out of the granite wall.
I smiled to myself and stopped working so that I could better enjoy
listening to the noise. After a few minutes, he stopped. I finished the
fifth, the sixth and the seventh rows of stones. The wall I was building
in the doorway was now almost up to my shoulders.
Suddenly, loud screams burst from the
throat of the chained man. For a
moment I worried. What if someone heard him? Then I placed my hand on the
solid rock of the walls and felt safe. I looked into the tiny room, where
he was still screaming. And I began to scream, too. My screams grew louder
than his and he stopped.
It was now almost midnight. I finished the eighth, the ninth and the tenth
rows. All that was left was a stone for the last hole in the wall. I was
about to push it in when I heard a low laugh from behind the stones.
The laugh made the hair on my head stand up. Then Fortunato spoke, in a
sad voice that no longer sounded like him.
He said, "Well, you have played a good joke on me. We will laugh about it
soon over a glass of that Amontillado. But isn't it getting late. My wife
and my friends will be waiting for us. Let us go."
"Yes," I replied, "let us go."
I waited for him to say something else. I heard only my own breathing. "Fortunato!"
I called. No answer. I called again. "Fortunato!" Still no answer.
I hurried to put the last stone into the wall and put the cement around it.
Then I pushed the pile of bones in front of the new wall I had built.
That was fifty years ago. For half a century now, no one has touched those
bones. "May he rest in peace!"
Escucha la pronunciación y lee el texto de nuevo.
·Anger: a strong feeling which makes you want to hurt someone or be
unpleasant because of something unfair or hurtful that has happened ·Weak spot: a weak part in something: - Targeting the opponent's
weak spots is a typical technique in politics.
·Cask: a strong, round, wooden container used for storing liquid ·Tomb: an excavation in which a corpse is buried ·Bell: a hollow metallic device that gives off a reverberating
sound when struck ·Glad: experiencing pleasure, joy, or delight ·Entire: whole or complete, with nothing missing ·Grab:to take hold of something or
someone suddenly and roughly ·Damp: slightly wet, especially in a way that is not pleasant or
comfortable ·Drip: If a liquid drips, it falls in drops, or you make it fall in
drops ·Cheat: to behave in a dishonest way in order to get what you want
·To twist: to turn something, especially repeatedly, or to turn or
wrap one thing around another ·To wrap: to cover someone with material in order to protect them ·To jingle: to make a repeated gentle ringing sound, or to make
things do this ·Cellar: a room under the ground floor of a building, usually used
for storage ·Bone: any of the hard parts inside a human or animal that make up
its frame ·Handcuffs: two metal rings joined by a short chain which lock
around a prisoner's wrists ·Pile: objects positioned one on top of another ·Shovel: a tool consisting of a wide square metal or plastic blade,
usually with slightly raised sides, fixed to a handle, for moving loose
material such as sand, coal or snow ·Moan: to make a long low sound of pain, suffering or another
strong emotion ·Scream: to cry or say something loudly and usually on a high
note, especially because of strong emotions such as fear or excitement or
anger ·Throat: the front of the neck, or the space inside the neck down
which food and air can go
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