The Disk

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"The Disk"
Author Jorge Luis Borges
Original title "El Disco"
Country Argentina
Language Spanish
Genre(s) Fantasy, short story
Published in The Book of Sand
Media type Print
Publication date 1975
Published in English 1977

The Disk is a 1975 short story written by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. It appears in the collection The Book of Sand.


The story deals with a woodcutter who lives in the midst of a deep wood in old England and who has never seen the sea.

He tells the reader that at one time a man, who asks lodging from him appears at his door. The woodcutter notes that the man was elderly, as he referred to England as "Saxony", which, at the time, was a sign of age. The day after the man wishes to leave, but before he does, he says that he is a King and is descended from Odin. He tells the woodcutter that he is exiled, but that he shall always be a king, because he holds the Disk of Odin, the sole thing in the world that has but one side. He opens his hand and "shows" the disk-the woodcutter sees only an empty palm, but thereafter touches it, feeling a chill in the fingers and seeing a flash. He makes a false claim that he has a full chest of gold and wants to trade it for the disk, because he knows the man will decline. And the man does, to which the woodcutter replies that the man may go. When he turns around, the woodcutter kills the man with an axe.

He then drags the body and throws it into the river. He then comes back and searches for the disk, which he never finds.

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