Towards the beginning of this story, some military refugees find their way to Borgesí camp. While they are exhausted and wounded almost to the point of death, they still manage to convey the story of a secret river whose water offers immortality. Intrigued, Borges takes a few loyal soldiers and some mercenaries on a search for the river. After weeks of fruitless searching, Borgesí troops plan mutiny, but he escapes, and continues his search alone. Before succumbing to death himself, Borges discovers a secret entrance in a mountain. The path inside leads into a giant labyrinth: rooms of seven doors each, with six of them leading backwards, and only one leading deeper into the maze. After a countless number of rooms, Borges finally finds his way out of the maze into an even more perplexing kingdom of mystery. He is convinced that this is the kingdom constructed by the immortals, although it is abandoned now. Borges therefore moves on to search for the immortals, and their secrets. Eventually he comes across a tribe of primitive men, who are incapable of language, speech, or hardly even movement. One night, it pours, and the rain stimulates the tribesmen to move out of their normal positions. At this point, Borges decides to try to make contact with one of them, and to teach him a couple basic words. After weeks of trial, however, the man whom Borges names Argos, after the dog of Ulysses, makes no progress. Finally, without any warning, Argos reveals that he can in fact speak. He professes to be the author of the Odyssey, Homer. Borges quickly comes to realize that Homer (Argos) and his fellow tribesmen, and even Borges himself, are the immortals. At this point, Borges ponders the many implications of being truly immortal, including the reality that an immortal will do everything eventually, and that time no longer has any relevance. After time, Borges and Argos part, and the former devotes his life to searching for the river that removes immortality. Eventually, he succeeds, and he dies a satisfying death.
Other Stories With Theme of Infinite Interpretation
Averroes' Search (Summary)
The Garden of Forking Paths (Summary)
The God's Script (Summary)
The Library Of Babel (Full Text)
The Library Of Babel (Summary)
The Theologians (Summary)
Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Summary)
Other Stories With Theme of Undefined Reality
The Circular Ruins (Full Text)
The Circular Ruins (Summary)
The Library of Babel (Full Text)
The Library of Babel (Summary)
The Lottery of Babylon (Summary)
The Secret Miracle (Summary)
Theme of the Traitor and the Hero (Summary)
The Waiting (Summary)
Criticism With Reference to this Story
Jonathan Meades The Quest for Borges
Luis Harss and Barbara Dohmann.
Jorge Luis Borges, or the Consolation by Philosophy
Michael Wood Borgesís Surprise!
Carter Wheelock Borgesí New Prose