Rafael del Campo | A purely Cordoban hunting book that will go down in history

Rafael del Campo | A purely Cordoban hunting book that will go down in history
Rafael del Campo | A purely Cordoban hunting book that will go down in history

Last Sunday, June 23, at Intercaza, a book was presented that I believe will go down in the history of Córdoba. It is titled “Sixty years in the mountains, with the satchel, the rifle and the molli.” The book is the result of the efforts of Emilio del Campo Molina (as good and passionate a doctor as he is a brilliant hunter) and collects 74 stories of Cordoba hunters united by their love for the countryside and by a close friendship between them.

The purely Cordoban literature of recent years, that is, that written contemporaneously in Córdoba and by Cordobans, offers abundant references, images, environments and hunting contexts.

In poetry, references are rather evocative and tangential, but also very significant. In the work of the poet Mario López (one of the leading figures of the praised Cántico group) country and venatory environments constantly appear and the author even dedicates some poems specifically to this subject: such as those titled “The Hunter of the Dawn” and “Hunting”. ” , among others.

But, naturally, it is in the narrative where the hunting material takes on greater substance and development. And we have brilliant examples among our Cordoba countrymen:

Juan Luis González Ripoll in “Narrations of big game hunting in Cazorla” compacts a series of stories from the countryside and its characters, hunting events and mountain curiosities, which give hunting an authentic and pure meaning. All of this told with a magical style, with a simplicity and beauty that is difficult to achieve.

Delving into that apparently simple style, that integral artist who is Mariano Aguayo (to whom, on the other hand, we owe the work that illustrates the cover of the book) has created a very extensive hunting narrative that goes from the story (“Hunting Stories”) to the memoirs (” Desde mi testero ” or ” Montear en Córdoba “) passing through the essay (” El gran Libro de la rehala “) until culminating in endearing novels of a quality that is difficult to achieve: ” The Potritos “, ” The Autumn of the “javelins” or “36 poachers”

Also very appreciable is the contribution of the excellent and remembered jurist Carlos Valverde Castilla with his “Diary of a Safari in South Africa”, a work that borders on journalistic chronicle and story, which skillfully maintains the tension and has an impact, among other reasons, due to the agility of the narration and the precision of the language.

The magistrate Francisco de Paula Sánchez Zamorano also touches on the rural and hunting theme in his extensive literary work (who contributes a very deep narration to the book) and who articulates one of his most memorable novels, “The Twilight of Virbio”, around a hunter character.

«Sixty years in the mountains, with the satchel, the rifle and the molli» (due, as I said at the beginning, to the determination, drive and enthusiasm of Emilio del Campo) is added to the previous bibliography. But with a very defined personality that distinguishes him from all of them because this book is not, in any way, just another book.

On the one hand, because all the profits obtained are donated to the Córdoba NGO “Pollos y Corazones” which, from a militant Christianity, is doing commendable work for the benefit of the most disadvantaged.

On the other hand, because there is no book in the Cordoba bibliography, nor in the Spanish one, nor, therefore, in the universal one, that compiles so many and such varied stories, the work, moreover, of a group of countrymen (55 authors, nothing more and nothing less) whose relationship has grown fueled by a common passion: the exercise of hunting understood as respect for nature and the game hunted and enjoyed in the open field, in the intoxicating shelter of authentic friendship.

The reader will be able to enjoy the stories of very veteran hunters (some in their nineties) who share their experiences with the casual and subtly ironic style of someone who has returned from everything. But also the story of young people who are still “cutting their teeth” into hunting and in whose lyrics one can guess the vehemence of youth and the enthusiasm (and uncertainty) of those who still have a long way to go. And yet, the reader will recognize that, despite the age differences of the authors, the stories reflect similar characteristics, common points, and that typically Cordoba way of experiencing hunting. And, at the end of the day, the young and the old are separated by age, true, but they are united by something much more important, essential: the love of the countryside, of nature, of hunting, of the people of our towns and our mountains…and the cult of friendship. And these coincidences, so profound, so moving, can be seen in all the stories and give the book unity and coherence.

What is striking in all the stories is the agility of the narration, the expressiveness of the terms, the very fine humor, the precision of the language… Also the tension of the stories, which captivate from the first moment, whether we are facing nocturnal expectations, or in a hunt, stalking…or practicing any other hunting art. Of special importance are the stories of small game hunting, a modality with which almost all of us have begun our exploits and which has consolidated our hobby. In the book there are several masterful stories that allude to partridge hunting, bird hunting, thrushes… And to the dogs, those endearing, noble and hard-working collaborators, who always have a main place in our memories.

The authors, it is evident, have lived intensely what they narrate and that authenticity transcends the text and ties itself to the reader’s heart and moves him.

I maintain with full conviction that the importance of this book will grow with the passage of time and that no wise man of the future will be able to fully know our Córdoba society and our rural idiosyncrasy without having read (even studied) it conscientiously.

And not only because of the quality of the stories and the originality of the texts but, very especially, because they are a testimony of how those of us who truly know it first-hand and, therefore, understand it as a culture appreciate hunting. , as a way of harmonizing the relationship of man with nature, of man with animals, of the urbanite with the rural world.

In this world that is agitated in a frenetic manner and that oscillates between absurdity and nonsense, the book is the calm vindication of a slow way of living, attached to the land, to what is natural, to what is authentic… a way of living that Today they try to eradicate those who, perhaps because of our passivity, perhaps because of our indifference or our complexes, have established themselves as shady dictators disguised as progressive environmentalists.

I recommend that you buy and read this book, but not only for the noble purpose of its collection. Also because I want you, as you read it, to enjoy hunting events, anecdotes, curiosities, and be infected by the friendship, the humanity that exudes its pages…

I would like, however, that the thing would not remain a mere literary enjoyment… And that, therefore, as we delve into this very original work, we are aware of the debt we owe to the ancestors to whom we owe this blessed hobby and of the obligation we have to preserve it for those who will succeed us in the course of life. And so we prepare to fight for hunting, for the defense of our culture and for conscious respect for nature. Without fear, without complexes and until the end. Yes, until the end, without fear of anything or anyone, and whatever the cost.

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