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The Call of Cthulhu By H. P. Lovecraft, II Part 1 The Tale Of Inspector Legrasse

II Part 1 The Tale Of Inspector Legrasse

The older matters which had made the sculptor's dream and bas–relief so significant to my uncle formed the subject of the second half of his long manuscript. Once before, it appears, Professor Angell had seen the hellish outlines of the nameless monstrosity, puzzled over the unknown hieroglyphics, and heard the ominous syllables which can be rendered only as "Cthulhu"; and all this in so stirring and horrible a connection that it is small wonder he pursued young Wilcox with queries and demands for data.

This earlier experience had come in 1908, seventeen years before, when the American Archaeological Society held its annual meeting in St. Louis. Professor Angell, as befitted one of his authority and attainments, had had a prominent part in all the deliberations; and was one of the first to be approached by the several outsiders who took advantage of the convocation to offer questions for correct answering and problems for expert solution.

The chief of these outsiders, and in a short time the focus of interest for the entire meeting, was a commonplace–looking middle–aged man who had traveled all the way from New Orleans for certain special information unobtainable from any local source. His name was John Raymond Legrasse, and he was by profession an Inspector of Police. With him he bore the subject of his visit, a grotesque, repulsive, and apparently very ancient stone statuette whose origin he was at a loss to determine. It must not be fancied that Inspector Legrasse had the least interest in archaeology. On the contrary, his wish for enlightenment was prompted by purely professional considerations. The statuette, idol, fetish, or whatever it was, had been captured some months before in the wooded swamps south of New Orleans during a raid on a supposed voodoo meeting; and so singular and hideous were the rites connected with it, that the police could not but realize that they had stumbled on a dark cult totally unknown to them, and infinitely more diabolic than even the blackest of the African voodoo circles. Of its origin, apart from the erratic and unbelievable tales extorted from the captured members, absolutely nothing was to be discovered; hence the anxiety of the police for any antiquarian lore which might help them to place the frightful symbol, and through it track down the cult to its fountain–head.

Inspector Legrasse was scarcely prepared for the sensation which his offering created. One sight of the thing had been enough to throw the assembled men of science into a state of tense excitement, and they lost no time in crowding around him to gaze at the diminutive figure whose utter strangeness and air of genuinely abysmal antiquity hinted so potently at unopened and archaic vistas. No recognized school of sculpture had animated this terrible object, yet centuries and even thousands of years seemed recorded in its dim and greenish surface of unplaceable stone.

The figure, which was finally passed slowly from man to man for close and careful study, was between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus–like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery–looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the center, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled–up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way clown toward the bottom of the pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. The aspect of the whole was abnormally life–like, and the more subtly fearful because its source was so totally unknown. Its vast, awesome, and incalculable age was unmistakable; yet not one link did it show with any known type of art belonging to civilization's youth—or indeed to any other time. Totally separate and apart, its very material was a mystery; for the soapy, greenish–black stone with its golden or iridescent flecks and striations resembled nothing familiar to geology or mineralogy. The characters along the base were equally baffling; and no member present, despite a representation of half the world's expert learning in this field, could form the least notion of even their remotest linguistic kinship. They, like the subject and material, belonged to something horribly remote and distinct from mankind as we know it. Something frightfully suggestive of old and unhallowed cycles of life in which our world and our conceptions have no part.

And yet, as the members severally shook their heads and confessed defeat at the Inspector's problem, there was one man in that gathering who suspected a touch of bizarre familiarity in the monstrous shape and writing, and who presently told with some diffidence of the odd trifle he knew. This person was the late William Channing Webb, Professor of Anthropology in Princeton University, and an explorer of no slight note. Professor Webb had been engaged, forty–eight years before, in a tour of Greenland and Iceland in search of some Runic inscriptions which he failed to unearth; and whilst high up on the West Greenland coast had encountered a singular tribe or cult of degenerate Esquimaux whose religion, a curious form of devil–worship, chilled him with its deliberate bloodthirstiness and repulsiveness. It was a faith of which other Esquimaux knew little, and which they mentioned only with shudders, saying that it had come down from horribly ancient aeons before ever the world was made. Besides nameless rites and human sacrifices there were certain queer hereditary rituals addressed to a supreme elder devil or tornasuk; and of this Professor Webb had taken a careful phonetic copy from an aged angekok or wizard–priest, expressing the sounds in Roman letters as best he knew how. But just now of prime significance was the fetish which this cult had cherished, and around which they danced when the aurora leaped high over the ice cliffs. It was, the professor stated, a very crude bas–relief of stone, comprising a hideous picture and some cryptic writing. And so far as he could tell, it was a rough parallel in all essential features of the bestial thing now lying before the meeting.

This data, received with suspense and astonishment by the assembled members, proved doubly exciting to Inspector Legrasse; and he began at once to ply his informant with questions. Having noted and copied an oral ritual among the swamp cult–worshipers his men had arrested, he besought the professor to remember as best he might the syllables taken down amongst the diabolist Esquimaux. There then followed an exhaustive comparison of details, and a moment of really awed silence when both detective and scientist agreed on the virtual identity of the phrase common to two hellish rituals so many worlds of distance apart. What, in substance, both the Esquimaux wizards and the Louisiana swamp–priests had chanted to their kindred idols was something very like this: the word–divisions being guessed at from traditional breaks in the phrase as chanted aloud:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

Legrasse had one point in advance of Professor Webb, for several among his mongrel prisoners had repeated to him what older celebrants had told them the words meant. This text, as given, ran something like this:

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

And now, in response to a general and urgent demand, Inspector Legrasse related as fully as possible his experience with the swamp worshipers; telling a story to which I could see my uncle attached profound significance. It savored of the wildest dreams of myth–maker and theosophist, and disclosed an astonishing degree of cosmic imagination among such half–castes and pariahs as might be least expected to possess it.

On November 1st, 1907, there had come to the New Orleans police a frantic summons from the swamp and lagoon country to the south. The squatters there, mostly primitive but good–natured descendants of Lafitte's men, were in the grip of stark terror from an unknown thing which had stolen upon them in the night. It was voodoo, apparently, but voodoo of a more terrible sort than they had ever known; and some of their women and children had disappeared since the malevolent tom–tom had begun its incessant beating far within the black haunted woods where no dweller ventured. There were insane shouts and harrowing screams, soul–chilling chants and dancing devil–flames; and, the frightened messenger added, the people could stand it no more.

So a body of twenty police, filling two carriages and an automobile, had set out in the late afternoon with the shivering squatter as a guide. At the end of the passable road they alighted, and for miles splashed on in silence through the terrible cypress woods where day never came. Ugly roots and malignant hanging nooses of Spanish moss beset them, and now and then a pile of dank stones or fragment of a rotting wall intensified by its hint of morbid habitation a depression which every malformed tree and every fungous islet combined to create. At length the squatter settlement, a miserable huddle of huts, hove in sight; and hysterical dwellers ran out to cluster around the group of bobbing lanterns. The muffled beat of tom–toms was now faintly audible far, far ahead; and a curdling shriek came at infrequent intervals when the wind shifted. A reddish glare, too, seemed to filter through pale undergrowth beyond the endless avenues of forest night. Reluctant even to be left alone again, each one of the cowed squatters refused point–blank to advance another inch toward the scene of unholy worship, so Inspector Legrasse and his nineteen colleagues plunged on unguided into black arcades of horror that none of them had ever trod before.

The region now entered by the police was one of traditionally evil repute, substantially unknown and untraversed by white men. There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwelt a huge, formless white polypous thing with luminous eyes; and squatters whispered that bat–winged devils flew up out of caverns in inner earth to worship it at midnight. They said it had been there before d'Iberville, before La Salle, before the Indians, and before even the wholesome beasts and birds of the woods. It was nightmare itself, and to see it was to die. But it made men dream, and so they knew enough to keep away. The present voodoo orgy was, indeed, on the merest fringe of this abhorred area, but that location was bad enough; hence perhaps the very place of the worship had terrified the squatters more than the shocking sounds and incidents.

Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises heard by Legrasse's men as they ploughed on through the black morass toward the red glare and muffled tom–toms. There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other. Animal fury and orgiastic license here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking ecstasies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of hell. Now and then the less organized ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well–drilled chorus of hoarse voices would rise in sing–song chant that hideous phrase or ritual:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

Then the men, having reached a spot where the trees were thinner, came suddenly in sight of the spectacle itself. Four of them reeled, one fainted, and two were shaken into a frantic cry which the mad cacophony of the orgy fortunately deadened. Legrasse dashed swamp water on the face of the fainting man, and all stood trembling and nearly hypnotized with horror.


II Part 1 The Tale Of Inspector Legrasse II Partie 1 L'histoire de l'inspecteur Legrasse

The older matters which had made the sculptor's dream and bas–relief so significant to my uncle formed the subject of the second half of his long manuscript. Los asuntos más antiguos que habían hecho que el sueño y el bajorrelieve del escultor fueran tan significativos para mi tío formaron el tema de la segunda mitad de su largo manuscrito. Once before, it appears, Professor Angell had seen the hellish outlines of the nameless monstrosity, puzzled over the unknown hieroglyphics, and heard the ominous syllables which can be rendered only as "Cthulhu"; and all this in so stirring and horrible a connection that it is small wonder he pursued young Wilcox with queries and demands for data. Parece que una vez antes, el profesor Angell había visto los contornos infernales de la monstruosidad sin nombre, desconcertado por los jeroglíficos desconocidos y escuchado las sílabas ominosas que solo pueden traducirse como "Cthulhu"; y todo esto en una conexión tan conmovedora y horrible que no es de extrañar que persiguiera al joven Wilcox con preguntas y demandas de datos.

This earlier experience had come in 1908, seventeen years before, when the American Archaeological Society held its annual meeting in St. Louis. Professor Angell, as befitted one of his authority and attainments, had had a prominent part in all the deliberations; and was one of the first to be approached by the several outsiders who took advantage of the convocation to offer questions for correct answering and problems for expert solution. El profesor Angell, como corresponde a su autoridad y logros, había tenido un papel destacado en todas las deliberaciones; y fue uno de los primeros en ser abordado por varios forasteros que aprovecharon la convocatoria para ofrecer preguntas para su correcta respuesta y problemas para solución experta.

The chief of these outsiders, and in a short time the focus of interest for the entire meeting, was a commonplace–looking middle–aged man who had traveled all the way from New Orleans for certain special information unobtainable from any local source. El jefe de estos forasteros, y en poco tiempo el foco de interés de toda la reunión, era un hombre de mediana edad de aspecto común que había viajado desde Nueva Orleans en busca de cierta información especial que no se podía obtener de ninguna fuente local. His name was John Raymond Legrasse, and he was by profession an Inspector of Police. With him he bore the subject of his visit, a grotesque, repulsive, and apparently very ancient stone statuette whose origin he was at a loss to determine. It must not be fancied that Inspector Legrasse had the least interest in archaeology. No debe imaginarse que el inspector Legrasse tuviera el menor interés por la arqueología. On the contrary, his wish for enlightenment was prompted by purely professional considerations. The statuette, idol, fetish, or whatever it was, had been captured some months before in the wooded swamps south of New Orleans during a raid on a supposed voodoo meeting; and so singular and hideous were the rites connected with it, that the police could not but realize that they had stumbled on a dark cult totally unknown to them, and infinitely more diabolic than even the blackest of the African voodoo circles. La estatuilla, ídolo, fetiche o lo que fuera, había sido capturada unos meses antes en los pantanos boscosos al sur de Nueva Orleans durante un allanamiento a una supuesta reunión vudú; y tan singulares y espantosos eran los ritos relacionados con él, que la policía no pudo sino darse cuenta de que se habían topado con un oscuro culto totalmente desconocido para ellos, e infinitamente más diabólico que incluso el más negro de los círculos vudú africanos. Of its origin, apart from the erratic and unbelievable tales extorted from the captured members, absolutely nothing was to be discovered; hence the anxiety of the police for any antiquarian lore which might help them to place the frightful symbol, and through it track down the cult to its fountain–head. De su origen, aparte de los relatos erráticos e increíbles extorsionados de los miembros capturados, no se pudo descubrir absolutamente nada; de ahí la ansiedad de la policía por cualquier conocimiento antiguo que pudiera ayudarlos a ubicar el temible símbolo y, a través de él, rastrear el culto hasta su origen.

Inspector Legrasse was scarcely prepared for the sensation which his offering created. One sight of the thing had been enough to throw the assembled men of science into a state of tense excitement, and they lost no time in crowding around him to gaze at the diminutive figure whose utter strangeness and air of genuinely abysmal antiquity hinted so potently at unopened and archaic vistas. Una sola vista de la cosa había sido suficiente para lanzar a los hombres de ciencia reunidos en un estado de tensa excitación, y no perdieron tiempo en amontonarse alrededor de él para contemplar la diminuta figura cuya absoluta extrañeza y aire de genuinamente abismal antigüedad insinuaba tan poderosamente a vistas cerradas y arcaicas. No recognized school of sculpture had animated this terrible object, yet centuries and even thousands of years seemed recorded in its dim and greenish surface of unplaceable stone. Ninguna escuela reconocida de escultura había animado este terrible objeto, y sin embargo siglos e incluso miles de años parecían grabados en su tenue y verdosa superficie de piedra inubicable.

The figure, which was finally passed slowly from man to man for close and careful study, was between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus–like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery–looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. Representaba un monstruo de contorno vagamente antropoide, pero con una cabeza de pulpo cuya cara era una masa de tentáculos, un cuerpo escamoso de aspecto gomoso, garras prodigiosas en las patas traseras y delanteras, y alas largas y estrechas detrás. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the center, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled–up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way clown toward the bottom of the pedestal. Las puntas de las alas tocaban el borde trasero del bloque, el asiento ocupaba el centro, mientras que las largas garras curvas de las patas traseras dobladas y agazapadas se aferraban al borde delantero y se extendían un cuarto del camino hacia la parte inferior del bloque. el pedestal The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. La cabeza del cefalópodo estaba inclinada hacia delante, de modo que los extremos de los sensores faciales rozaban el dorso de las enormes patas delanteras que sujetaban las elevadas rodillas del agazapado. The aspect of the whole was abnormally life–like, and the more subtly fearful because its source was so totally unknown. El aspecto del todo era anormalmente parecido a la vida, y más sutilmente aterrador porque su fuente era totalmente desconocida. Its vast, awesome, and incalculable age was unmistakable; yet not one link did it show with any known type of art belonging to civilization's youth—or indeed to any other time. Su edad vasta, asombrosa e incalculable era inconfundible; sin embargo, no mostró ningún vínculo con ningún tipo conocido de arte perteneciente a la juventud de la civilización, o de hecho a cualquier otro tiempo. Totally separate and apart, its very material was a mystery; for the soapy, greenish–black stone with its golden or iridescent flecks and striations resembled nothing familiar to geology or mineralogy. Totalmente separados y separados, su mismo material era un misterio; porque la piedra jabonosa, de color negro verdoso, con sus motas y estrías doradas o iridiscentes no se parecía a nada familiar para la geología o la mineralogía. 完全分离和分离,它的材料本身就是一个谜。因为这块肥皂般的绿黑色石头带有金色或彩虹色的斑点和条纹,这与地质学或矿物学所熟悉的东西完全不同。 The characters along the base were equally baffling; and no member present, despite a representation of half the world's expert learning in this field, could form the least notion of even their remotest linguistic kinship. Los caracteres a lo largo de la base eran igualmente desconcertantes; y ningún miembro presente, a pesar de una representación de la mitad de los expertos del mundo en este campo, podría formarse la menor noción de su más remoto parentesco lingüístico. 基地上的人物同样莫名其妙。尽管代表了该领域世界上一半的专家学习,但在场的任何成员都无法形成哪怕是最遥远的语言血缘关系的最少概念。 They, like the subject and material, belonged to something horribly remote and distinct from mankind as we know it. Something frightfully suggestive of old and unhallowed cycles of life in which our world and our conceptions have no part. Algo espantosamente sugestivo de viejos y profanos ciclos de vida en los que nuestro mundo y nuestras concepciones no tienen parte. 某种可怕的暗示,暗示着我们的世界和我们的观念与旧的和不神圣的生命周期无关。

And yet, as the members severally shook their heads and confessed defeat at the Inspector's problem, there was one man in that gathering who suspected a touch of bizarre familiarity in the monstrous shape and writing, and who presently told with some diffidence of the odd trifle he knew. Y, sin embargo, mientras los miembros negaban con la cabeza por separado y confesaban su derrota ante el problema del Inspector, había un hombre en la reunión que sospechaba un toque de extraña familiaridad en la forma y la escritura monstruosas, y al poco tiempo habló con cierta timidez de la extraña bagatela. él sabía. This person was the late William Channing Webb, Professor of Anthropology in Princeton University, and an explorer of no slight note. Esta persona era el difunto William Channing Webb, profesor de antropología en la Universidad de Princeton y un explorador de no poca importancia. Professor Webb had been engaged, forty–eight years before, in a tour of Greenland and Iceland in search of some Runic inscriptions which he failed to unearth; and whilst high up on the West Greenland coast had encountered a singular tribe or cult of degenerate Esquimaux whose religion, a curious form of devil–worship, chilled him with its deliberate bloodthirstiness and repulsiveness. El profesor Webb había estado comprometido, cuarenta y ocho años antes, en una gira por Groenlandia e Islandia en busca de algunas inscripciones rúnicas que no logró desenterrar; y mientras en lo alto de la costa occidental de Groenlandia se había encontrado con una singular tribu o culto de esquimales degenerados cuya religión, una curiosa forma de adoración al diablo, lo helaba con su deliberada sed de sangre y repulsión. 四十八年前,韦伯教授曾参与格陵兰岛和冰岛之旅,寻找一些他未能发掘的符文铭文。虽然在格陵兰岛西部海岸的高处遇到了一个奇异的部落或堕落的 Esquimaux 教派,他们的宗教是一种奇怪的恶魔崇拜形式,其刻意的嗜血和令人厌恶使他感到寒冷。 It was a faith of which other Esquimaux knew little, and which they mentioned only with shudders, saying that it had come down from horribly ancient aeons before ever the world was made. Era una fe de la que otros esquimales sabían poco, y que mencionaron sólo con escalofríos, diciendo que venía de eones horriblemente antiguos antes de que se hiciera el mundo. Besides nameless rites and human sacrifices there were certain queer hereditary rituals addressed to a supreme elder devil or tornasuk; and of this Professor Webb had taken a careful phonetic copy from an aged angekok or wizard–priest, expressing the sounds in Roman letters as best he knew how. Además de los ritos sin nombre y los sacrificios humanos, había ciertos rituales hereditarios extraños dirigidos a un demonio mayor supremo o tornasuk; y de esto el profesor Webb había tomado una cuidadosa copia fonética de un anciano angekok o mago-sacerdote, expresando los sonidos en letras romanas lo mejor que sabía. But just now of prime significance was the fetish which this cult had cherished, and around which they danced when the aurora leaped high over the ice cliffs. Pero en ese momento lo más importante era el fetiche que este culto había acariciado, y alrededor del cual bailaban cuando la aurora saltaba por encima de los acantilados de hielo. 但刚才最重要的是这个邪教所珍视的神物,当极光高高跃过冰崖时,他们围绕着它跳舞。 It was, the professor stated, a very crude bas–relief of stone, comprising a hideous picture and some cryptic writing. Era, dijo el profesor, un bajorrelieve de piedra muy tosco, que comprendía una imagen horrible y una escritura críptica. And so far as he could tell, it was a rough parallel in all essential features of the bestial thing now lying before the meeting. Y por lo que él podía ver, era un paralelo aproximado en todas las características esenciales de la cosa bestial que ahora yacía ante la reunión.

This data, received with suspense and astonishment by the assembled members, proved doubly exciting to Inspector Legrasse; and he began at once to ply his informant with questions. Estos datos, recibidos con suspenso y asombro por los miembros reunidos, resultaron doblemente emocionantes para el inspector Legrasse; y comenzó de inmediato a acosar a su informador con preguntas. Having noted and copied an oral ritual among the swamp cult–worshipers his men had arrested, he besought the professor to remember as best he might the syllables taken down amongst the diabolist Esquimaux. Habiendo anotado y copiado un ritual oral entre los adoradores del culto del pantano que sus hombres habían arrestado, le rogó al profesor que recordara lo mejor que pudiera las sílabas anotadas entre los diabolistas esquimales. There then followed an exhaustive comparison of details, and a moment of really awed silence when both detective and scientist agreed on the virtual identity of the phrase common to two hellish rituals so many worlds of distance apart. Luego siguió una comparación exhaustiva de los detalles, y un momento de silencio realmente asombrado cuando tanto el detective como el científico estuvieron de acuerdo en la identidad virtual de la frase común a dos rituales infernales a tantos mundos de distancia. What, in substance, both the Esquimaux wizards and the Louisiana swamp–priests had chanted to their kindred idols was something very like this: the word–divisions being guessed at from traditional breaks in the phrase as chanted aloud: Lo que, en esencia, tanto los magos esquimales como los sacerdotes del pantano de Luisiana habían cantado a sus ídolos afines era algo muy parecido a esto: las divisiones de palabras se adivinaban a partir de las pausas tradicionales en la frase cantada en voz alta:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn." "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn".

Legrasse had one point in advance of Professor Webb, for several among his mongrel prisoners had repeated to him what older celebrants had told them the words meant. Legrasse tenía un punto de ventaja sobre el profesor Webb, ya que varios de sus prisioneros mestizos le habían repetido lo que los celebrantes mayores les habían dicho que significaban las palabras. This text, as given, ran something like this: Este texto, tal como se da, decía algo así:

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." "En su casa en R'lyeh, el muerto Cthulhu espera soñando".

And now, in response to a general and urgent demand, Inspector Legrasse related as fully as possible his experience with the swamp worshipers; telling a story to which I could see my uncle attached profound significance. Y ahora, en respuesta a una demanda general y urgente, el inspector Legrasse relató lo más ampliamente posible su experiencia con los adoradores del pantano; contando una historia a la que pude ver que mi tío atribuía un profundo significado. It savored of the wildest dreams of myth–maker and theosophist, and disclosed an astonishing degree of cosmic imagination among such half–castes and pariahs as might be least expected to possess it. Tenía el sabor de los sueños más salvajes de creadores de mitos y teósofos, y revelaba un grado asombroso de imaginación cósmica entre los mestizos y parias que menos se esperaba que la poseyeran.

On November 1st, 1907, there had come to the New Orleans police a frantic summons from the swamp and lagoon country to the south. El 1 de noviembre de 1907, había llegado a la policía de Nueva Orleans una citación frenética desde el país de los pantanos y las lagunas del sur. The squatters there, mostly primitive but good–natured descendants of Lafitte's men, were in the grip of stark terror from an unknown thing which had stolen upon them in the night. Los ocupantes ilegales allí, en su mayoría descendientes primitivos pero afables de los hombres de Lafitte, estaban aterrorizados por algo desconocido que los había acechado durante la noche. 那里的寮屋,大多是拉菲特手下的原始但心地善良的后裔,被一种未知的东西在夜间偷走他们的恐怖所牢牢抓住。 It was voodoo, apparently, but voodoo of a more terrible sort than they had ever known; and some of their women and children had disappeared since the malevolent tom–tom had begun its incessant beating far within the black haunted woods where no dweller ventured. There were insane shouts and harrowing screams, soul–chilling chants and dancing devil–flames; and, the frightened messenger added, the people could stand it no more. Hubo gritos locos y gritos desgarradores, cánticos escalofriantes y llamas diabólicas danzantes; y, añadió el asustado mensajero, la gente no pudo soportarlo más.

So a body of twenty police, filling two carriages and an automobile, had set out in the late afternoon with the shivering squatter as a guide. Así que un cuerpo de veinte policías, en dos carruajes y un automóvil, había partido a última hora de la tarde con el tembloroso ocupante ilegal como guía. At the end of the passable road they alighted, and for miles splashed on in silence through the terrible cypress woods where day never came. Se apearon al final del camino transitable, y durante millas chapotearon en silencio a través de los terribles bosques de cipreses donde nunca llegaba el día. Ugly roots and malignant hanging nooses of Spanish moss beset them, and now and then a pile of dank stones or fragment of a rotting wall intensified by its hint of morbid habitation a depression which every malformed tree and every fungous islet combined to create. 丑陋的树根和西班牙苔藓的恶性悬索缠绕着他们,不时有一堆潮湿的石头或腐烂的墙壁碎片因其病态居住的暗示而加剧了每棵畸形树和每一个真菌小岛共同造成的洼地。 At length the squatter settlement, a miserable huddle of huts, hove in sight; and hysterical dwellers ran out to cluster around the group of bobbing lanterns. Por fin apareció a la vista el asentamiento de ocupantes ilegales, un miserable grupo de chozas; y los habitantes histéricos corrieron a apiñarse alrededor del grupo de faroles oscilantes. The muffled beat of tom–toms was now faintly audible far, far ahead; and a curdling shriek came at infrequent intervals when the wind shifted. El golpe sordo de tom-toms ahora era débilmente audible muy, muy adelante; y un grito espeluznante llegaba a intervalos infrecuentes cuando cambiaba el viento. A reddish glare, too, seemed to filter through pale undergrowth beyond the endless avenues of forest night. Un resplandor rojizo también parecía filtrarse a través de la pálida maleza más allá de las interminables avenidas de la noche del bosque. Reluctant even to be left alone again, each one of the cowed squatters refused point–blank to advance another inch toward the scene of unholy worship, so Inspector Legrasse and his nineteen colleagues plunged on unguided into black arcades of horror that none of them had ever trod before. 每个被吓坏的寮屋居民都不愿意再独自一人,他们都拒绝直截了当地向邪恶崇拜的场景再前进一英寸,因此勒格拉斯探长和他的 19 名同事在没有人引导的情况下陷入了他们都没有经历过的黑色恐怖拱廊踩过。

The region now entered by the police was one of traditionally evil repute, substantially unknown and untraversed by white men. La región en la que ahora entraba la policía era una de mala reputación tradicionalmente, sustancialmente desconocida y no atravesada por hombres blancos. There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwelt a huge, formless white polypous thing with luminous eyes; and squatters whispered that bat–winged devils flew up out of caverns in inner earth to worship it at midnight. 传说有一个隐秘的湖泊,凡人的视线都无法窥视,里面住着一个巨大的、无形的白色息肉,眼睛发光。寮屋居民窃窃私语说,蝙蝠翅膀的恶魔会在午夜从地球内部的洞穴中飞出来崇拜它。 They said it had been there before d'Iberville, before La Salle, before the Indians, and before even the wholesome beasts and birds of the woods. Decían que había estado allí antes de d'Iberville, antes de La Salle, antes de los indios, y antes incluso de las sanas bestias y pájaros de los bosques. 他们说它在德伊贝维尔之前、在拉萨尔之前、在印第安人之前,甚至在森林里的有益健康的野兽和鸟类之前就已经存在了。 It was nightmare itself, and to see it was to die. But it made men dream, and so they knew enough to keep away. Pero hacía soñar a los hombres, por lo que sabían lo suficiente como para mantenerse alejados. The present voodoo orgy was, indeed, on the merest fringe of this abhorred area, but that location was bad enough; hence perhaps the very place of the worship had terrified the squatters more than the shocking sounds and incidents. 目前的巫毒狂欢确实是在这个令人憎恶的地区的最边缘,但那个地方已经够糟糕了。因此,也许礼拜的地方比令人震惊的声音和事件更能吓坏占屋者。

Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises heard by Legrasse's men as they ploughed on through the black morass toward the red glare and muffled tom–toms. Sólo la poesía o la locura podían hacer justicia a los ruidos que escuchaban los hombres de Legrasse mientras avanzaban a través de la ciénaga negra hacia el resplandor rojo y los tam-tams amortiguados. There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other. Hay cualidades vocales propias de los hombres y cualidades vocales propias de las bestias; y es terrible oír la una cuando la fuente debería dar la otra. Animal fury and orgiastic license here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking ecstasies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of hell. Now and then the less organized ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well–drilled chorus of hoarse voices would rise in sing–song chant that hideous phrase or ritual: De vez en cuando cesaba el aullido menos organizado, y de lo que parecía un coro bien adiestrado de voces roncas se elevaba en un cántico cantarín esa horrible frase o ritual:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

Then the men, having reached a spot where the trees were thinner, came suddenly in sight of the spectacle itself. Four of them reeled, one fainted, and two were shaken into a frantic cry which the mad cacophony of the orgy fortunately deadened. Cuatro de ellos se tambalearon, uno se desmayó y dos fueron sacudidos en un grito frenético que la loca cacofonía de la orgía afortunadamente amortiguó. 其中四人晕倒了,一人昏倒了,两人被震得发狂的叫喊声,幸好狂欢的疯狂喧嚣声平息了。 Legrasse dashed swamp water on the face of the fainting man, and all stood trembling and nearly hypnotized with horror. Legrasse arrojó agua del pantano sobre la cara del hombre desmayado, y todos se quedaron temblando y casi hipnotizados por el horror.