This is a summary of the short story you can read it or read the whole short story: "The Aleph" is a short story, which superficially is about the relationship of the narrator, Borges, to the cousin of a woman Borges once loved. The woman, Beatriz Viterbo, dies in 1929, but Borges continues to visit her home every April 30th, which is the anniversary of her birthday. Still living at Beatriz' home are her father and her cousin, Carlos Argentino Daneri. Borges eventually forms an uneasy friendship with Carlos, who introduces Borges to a magical sphere, which Daneri names an Aleph. The story opens with an epigraph consisting of two quotes: one from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, and the other from a work titled, Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbs. The first quote, "O, God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of infinite space," is very clearly a reference to an Aleph, which Carlos discovers at stair nineteen in his basement. An Aleph is "one of the points in space that contain [sic] all other points." The second quote also refers to the Aleph using the reference of time. Hobbs says in Leviathan that "eternity is the Standing still of the Present Time." The Aleph, then, contains in the exact moment when viewing it, all that happens in the past, present, and future. On the morning of Beatriz Viterbo's death, Borges laments that a new advertisement has arrived on the billboard near his home. Borges decides to continue his devotion to Beatriz posthumously, and with this decision believes it his duty to stop by her house and visit with her father and cousin. The visit also gives Borges an opportunity to examine the many pictures of Beatriz displayed throughout the parlor. Over the years, Borges contrives to stay longer and longer during his visits with Beatriz' kin on anniversary of Beatriz' birthday, sharing the evening meal with them and gradually gaining the confidence of Beatriz' cousin, Carlos. Borges describes Beatriz and then moves on to describe Carlos. Carlos seems to be a collection of contradictions, but it is obvious Borges thinks disparagingly of Carlos. Borges must suffer through many one-way dialogues with Carlos, with Carlos doing most of the speaking. Carlos is self-important, believing his ideas are novel and learned. Borges facetiously suggests that Carlos write down the ideas. Carlos responds that he has done so in a collection Carlos calls "Prologue-Canto." Borges requests that Carlos read from this collection. Carlos complies by reading a stanza from a poem entitled, "The Earth." Carlos continues to read numerous more verses, stopping after each verse to point out how brilliant the work is. Borges compares the tediousness of Carlos' poetry to the fifteen thousand line work about England by Michael Drayton, believing that Carlos' writing is even more tiresome than that of Drayton. Carlos is determined to versify a description of the entire planet. Borges points out that Carlos has a good start with much of Queensland and several other places already described in verse. Carlos believes that Borges admires his verse and reads a sample from his Australia poetry. Carlos then gives a line-by-line analysis of the verse, pointing out how dazzling in thought and depth the poetry is. Carlos invites Borges to join him in a newly-opened cafy for lunch. Borges accepts the invitation with reluctance, and his fears are well founded in that Carlos reads several pages of revised verses that Borges had heard two weeks earlier. Borges thinks to himself that, in addition to the insipidness of the earlier verse, Carlos has revised the lines ostentatiously, i.e., instead of a simple word such as blue, Carlos substitutes words such as "cerulean." Carlos asks Borges to use his influence to persuade a well-known and respected writer, Alvaro Melibn Lafinur, to write the forward to his work of poetry when it is ready for publication. Borges agrees to the request. Borges, however, decides not to talk to Lafinur. For the next few weeks, Borges is hesitant to answer his telephone, afraid that it will be Carlos asking if Borges has talked to Lafinur. Carlos seems to have forgotten their conversation at the cafy; however, several weeks later, Carlos calls to complain that the owners of the building where Carlos lives are going to demolish the building in order to erect a new business establishment. Carlos rails on and on about the sentimental feelings he has for the home in which he was born and raised, but then, he subtly interjects the real reason why he is so upset about moving: He has discovered an Aleph in the basement. The Aleph is the source of inspiration for his epic poem. Carlos tells Borges that he discovered the Aleph when he was a boy when he fell down the cellar stairs. Borges questions Carlos about this Aleph. Carlos replies that it is "where...all the places of the world, seen from every angle, coexist." Carlos insists that the Aleph is irrefutably his and that is why he will win his lawsuit to keep the house. Borges asks how one can see the Aleph when it is pitch black in the cellar. Carlos replies that the Aleph contains all that exists; therefore, it contains light, so one can see inside it. Borges is quite intrigued; although, he believes Carlos is insane. Borges decides to go over to Carlos' home immediately to view the Aleph for himself. Borges is delighted to believe that Carlos is insane. Borges believes this based upon what Carlos has said to him about the Aleph. Borges then thinks about Beatriz and decides that she, too, although beloved by Borges, was a little unstable mentally. Borges had not realized that Beatriz was a little insane up until the moment he believes it about Carlos. Despite his sudden thoughts about Beatriz, when he is shown into the living room of her home, he repeats her name several times as if he was a grieving lover, while looking at a picture of her. When Carlos enters the living room, he offers Borges a drink before they go down to the cellar to view the Aleph. After the drink, the two men descend the cellar steps and Carlos positions Borges in the correct spot to observe the Aleph. Carlos admonishes Borges by telling him that even if Borges does not see the Aleph, it does not invalidate its existence. Carlos instructs Borges as to how to find the Aleph. Carlos adds that once Borges finds the Aleph, Borges will be able to see a multitude of images of Beatriz. Carlos leaves the cellar, closing the trap door after his exit. Borges has a moment of panic when he imagines that in Carlos' madness, Carlos has poisoned him and is going to lock him in the cellar to die. Borges momentarily closes his eyes and when he reopens them, he spies the Aleph. Borges falters at this point in the story in trying to describe his experience in looking inside the Aleph. Borges claims the experience is "ineffable," meaning it cannot be described. Borges writes that he saw everything in the universe, both spatially and temporally, concurrently; whereas, he must describe what he saw consecutively. Borges then itemizes many of the images he saw in the Aleph. One image Borges sees is Beatriz' decayed corpse; another is a letter Beatriz wrote to Carlos. Borges wept in awe and pity at the scenes whirling past his vision. As Borges is weeping, Carlos returns and chides Borges for Borges' initial disbelief. Carlos asks if Borges saw the Aleph. Borges, in an uninterested tone, responds that yes, he saw it. Borges decides that the way to get his revenge on Carlos is to refuse to discuss the Aleph, as though it were unimportant. Borges acts as if he is going along with the idea of the Aleph as a way to placate Carlos. Borges suggests to Carlos that Carlos let them demolish the house and then Carlos find a nice place in the country, which will help calm his nerves. As Borges is walking home, he feels as if he has already seen everything that is happening around him. Borges is fearful that he will never again have a sense of surprise at anything, having experienced it all in the Aleph. However, after a time, Borges finds his memory of the experience with the Aleph becoming vague. Six months later the house is demolished. Carlos publishes the "Argentine pieces," of his poetry and wins second place in the National Prize for Literature. Two other poets win first and third places. Borges does not even place with the work he submits to the contest. Borges writes a facetious congratulatory note to Carlos; whereupon, Carlos responds with an ostentatious defense of his triumph. Borges adds a note at the end of the short story about the Aleph and its nature. Borges explains that aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and that its stems point upward to the heavens and downward to earth, signifying that the earth mirrors the heavens. Borges adds that he believes that the Aleph, which he observes in Carlos' cellar, is a false Aleph. Borges gives his rationale for this belief by listing a number of artifacts, which also have the same properties as the Aleph in the basement. Borges adds that the universe lies in one of the stone columns in the Amr mosque in Cairo. Borges asks himself if he had viewed the universe inside the column in the Amr mosque when he was observing the images in the Aleph in Carlos' basement. He does not remember if he saw the column because his memory of his experience in the basement has faded, just as his memory of Beatriz's face has faded.