Years later, as he was gunned down at the firing
squad by his grandson's grandson, Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia
Quatro, Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia would remember that rainy
afternoon in June when he went into the bedroom to meet his
firstborn. Even though the child had only a small pig's tail
between his legs and looked nothing at all like a Buendia, he
did not have to think twice about naming him.
'We'll call him Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia,' he said. Santa
Fernando The Extremely Beautiful, the extremely beautiful woman
he had married the year before, wasn't so keen.
'How do we know he'll become a colonel?' she asked.
'Of course he'll become a colonel. All Buendias become colonels.'
'What about calling him Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, then?'
'But if we call him Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia people'll
get him confused with my uncle. Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia.'
'Of course,' replied Santa Fernanda. 'But if we call him Colonel
Jose Arcadia Buendia people will confuse him with you. Not to
mention your grandfather, Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia, not
to mention his seven sons by the prostitute with the smoky thighs,
Pilara Arcadia Buendia, all called Jose Aureliano Buendia, and
five of them colonels. And what about your crazy half-brother
General Jose Arcadio Buendia?'
'Sure,' said Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia. 'But if we call him
Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, he'll be confused not only with
my uncle, Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, but my half-brother,
Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, not to mention his half-brother,
Jose Aureliano Buendia Segundo.'
'And his father, General Jose Aureliano Buendia.'
'We could call him Chris,' suggested Santa Fernanda, suddenly.
'Chris!' expostulated the Colonel. 'What kind of a name is that?'
'I suppose we'll have to shoot him then,' said Santa Fernando
the Extremely Beautiful.
'Yes. Though even if I shoot him through the heart he probably
won't die. One night he'll reappear, hunched in the drizzle,
riding a silver mare made of ice, and talking in confused murmurs
about his great-great-great grandfather Colonel Jose Arcadio
Aureliano Buendia, who founded this ridiculous dynasty in the
'It's worth a try,' said Santa Fernando the Extremely Beautiful.
'OK then.' Jose Arcadio Buendia took out his small silver gun
and, without ceremony, shot his firstborn through the heart.
With a troubled cough, the child expired. Colonel Jose Arcadio
Buendia shrugged and sighed.
'It had to be. Any more Aureliano Buendias and I'm liable to
'You are crazy,' Santa Fernanda the Extremely Beautiful reminded
'So I am!' Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia pinched himself and
gave Santa Fernanda a wild leer. 'For a moment there I forgot.'
He turned, and walked into the smelting shop to make some more
silver fish and talk to the ghost of Colonel Xelquiades Jose
Aureliano Arcadio Buendia, who had never died.