The Stranger by Ambrose Bierce

The Stranger by Ambrose Bierce

It was a dark cold night and the main characters were sitting around a fire in Arizona. Only snakes and birds were found in this dry and deserted rolling hills. No other people were visible, and the darkness outside the camp looked like a black wall. But all of a sudden a stranger appear near the fire. He calmly walked over and sat next to the others. The travellers raised their weapons, but the stranger was not afraid at all. He said that people had come to this desert before to explore it. He named the names of those four people who were able to pass this desert without a map. This man looked a little crazy. Perhaps he was lost, he had traveled for a long time alone and was happy to talk to other people. Or everything was not so simple.

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The Stranger by Ambrose Bierce

It was night and we were sitting around a camp fire in the Arizona desert. In this dry, empty land of rocks and high hills, we had seen only snakes and birds. We had seen no other people. Beyond the light of our fire, the darkness was like a black wall.

Suddenly, a stranger walked into our camp and sat down. “You’re not the first men to explore this desert,” he said. We were astonished. Several men in our group put their hands on their guns. But the stranger took no notice of this. He went on speaking and we listened.

The Stranger by Ambrose Bierce

“Four men came here thirty years ago,” the stranger said. “Their names were Ramon Gallegos, William Shaw, George Kent and Berry Davis. They came from the town of Tucson. They were going to California. Ramon Gallegos, William Shaw, George Kent and Berry Davis were traveling west. They were crossing the desert without a guide.”

The stranger repeated the four names. His voice was soft and he spoke slowly. Later, we asked each other these questions. Where had this man come from? Was he alone? Where was his own camp? Why was he in the middle of this desert? We guessed that the stranger was a lonely traveler who wanted the company of other men. A man can go crazy if he is alone in this empty place.

The stranger was on the other side of our camp fire. I could not see his face clearly because my hat was pulled down over my forehead. I lifted the brim a little. What did the stranger look like? Well, there was nothing unusual about the man. He looked like any of our own men. We were all wearing broad hats and he was wearing one too. We looked and listened as he told his story. Later, we remembered his words, but not his face.

“This place was different thirty years ago, the stranger said “Only Apache Indians and a few soldiers lived here. Many men have disappeared in this desert. The Apaches killed some of them. Others died of thirst because they could not find any water. The Apaches killed strangers slowly, and in a terrible way. We did not want to meet them.”

The stranger was silent for a few seconds, then he went on with his story.

“The four of us-Ramon Gallegos, William Shaw, George animals. We were able to shoot several of the animals, so at last we had some food. We ate and slept, and soon we felt stronger. But a few days later, the Apaches found us….

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