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Borrowing books

I am sure we all have been there… you lend a book to someone and you never hear from them again… Well actually from the book…. Sometimes you may not even remember who borrowed the book. This is happening fewer times to me with e-books, but still it is such a common annoying thing that in past time a curse may have been a good deterrent for those borrowers.

A good example is the inscription in the library of the monastery of Sant Pere in Barcelona:

Para aquel que roba, o pide prestado un libro y a su dueño no lo devuelve, que se le mude en sierpe la mano y lo desgarre. Que quede paralizado y condenados todos sus miembros. Que desfallezca de dolor, suplicando a gritos misericordia, y que nada alivie sus sufrimientos hasta que perezca. Que los gusanos de los libros le roan las entrañas como lo hace el remordimiento que nunca cesa. Y que cuando, finalmente, descienda al castigo eterno, que las llamas del infierno lo consuman para siempre. 

As cited by Irene Vallejo in “El Infinito en un Junco”

To him who steals, or borrows a book and does not return it to its owner, let his hand turn into a serpent and tear him apart. May all his members be paralysed and condemned. May he languish in pain, crying out for mercy, and let nothing ease his suffering until he perishes. May the worms of the books gnaw at his entrails as does the remorse that never ceases. And when he finally descends into eternal punishment, may the flames of hell consume him forever.

Translated by me
books on shelves
Photo by Huỳnh Đạt on