Gabriel García Márquez


Johnny Welch


The puppet

(short stories)





If for a moment God would forget that I am a rag doll

and give me a scrap of life,

possibly I would not say everything that I think,

but I would definitely think everything that I say.


I would value things not for how much they are worth but rather for what they mean.

I would sleep little, dream more. I know that for each minute that we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.



I would walk when the others loiter;  I would awaken when the others sleep.

I would listen when the others speak, and how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream.


If God would bestow on me a scrap of life,

I would dress simply,

I would throw myself flat under the sun,

exposing not only my body but also my soul.



My God, if I had a heart,

I would write my hatred on ice and wait for the sun to come out.


With a dream of Van Gogh

I would paint on the stars a poem by Benedetti,

and a song by Serrat would be my serenade to the moon.


With my tears I would water the roses,

to feel the pain of their thorns and the incarnated kiss of their petal.



My God, if I only had a scrap of life…

I wouldn’t let a single day go by without saying to people I love, that I love them.

I would convince each woman or man that they are my favourites and I would live in love with love.


I would prove to the men how mistaken they are in thinking that they no longer fall in love when they grow old

not knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.


To a child I would give wings, but I would let him learn how to fly by himself.

To the old I would teach that death comes not with old age but with forgetting.




I have learned so much from you men….

I have learned that everybody wants to live at the top of the mountain

without realizing that true happiness lies in the way we climb the slope.



I have learned that when a newborn first squeezes his father’s finger in his tiny fist,

he has caught him forever.




I have learned that a man only has the right to look down on another man

when it is to help him to stand up.


I have learned so many things from you,

but in the end most of it will be no use

because when they put me inside that suitcase,

unfortunately I will be dying.



Johnny Welch (No Gabriel García Márquez) The puppet

(translated by Matthew Taylor and Rosa Arelis Taylor)




The story of this story



During the summer of 1999 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature and author of such classics as One Hundred Years of Solitude, was treated for lymphatic cancer. In the wake of that, there were persistent rumors about his failing health.

On May 29, 2000 these rumors appeared to be confirmed when a poem that was signed with his name appeared in the Peruvian daily La Republica. The poem was titled “La Marioneta” or “The Puppet,” and it was reportedly a farewell poem that Gabriel García Márquez had written and sent out to his closest friends on account of his worsening condition.

Many who read it were deeply moved by what they took to be the dying author’s final message. For instance, one friend of  Gabriel García Márquez, the Indian filmmaker Mrinal Sen, told the Hindustan Times that upon reading the poem he was flooded with memories from his 20 years of acquaintance with the author.

However, it soon became clear that  Gabriel García Márquez‘s condition had not worsened recently, and he had not written the poem credited to him.

The poem turned out to be the work of an obscure Mexican ventriloquist named Johnny Welch. Welch had written the poem for his puppet sidekick “Mofles” but somehow his name had been replaced by the name of the Nobel Prize winning author  (from:




Gabriel García Márquez
All the poems






Gabriel García Márquez





Sharing culture!

You may also like...