Monday, December 04, 2006

the beautiful hat or the ugly hat

There is a certain pâté de fois gras to the following somewhat ambiguous tale. In the original language, for example, it is often deliciously unclear who (or what) the subject of a given sentence is, to the point where the king might reasonably be confused (by the reader?) for his hat. These subtleties fall through the cracks, alas! in the descent to English, the hoodlum progeny of ancient Germanic ancestors. There is a certain Bratwurst, if it were, as it were, were it not, notwithstanding; the inescapable, though unintentional new emphases are nonetheless engaging. At least, in the brainmatting of this wistful nannyhammer. If nothing else, possibly a rejoinder to render unto Caesar and in the very least, humbly, a German koan. For your perusal. Ever humbly yours, Der Wiederschlaussen.


the beautiful hat or the ugly hat

by Friedrich Achleitner (translated by David Stiller)


1
the king is at the narrow door of his darkened house. he takes the yellow key out of the aristocratic pouch. that is the one. and that is an aristocratic pouch. he has the yellow key in hand. he will put the yellow key in the imprecise keyhole. he puts the yellow key in the imprecise keyhole. now the yellow key is in the imprecise keyhole. and soon the king will give the narrow door a push. soon the narrow door will be open. now he gives the narrow door a push. now it is open. now the king can peacefully put the yellow key back into the aristocratic pouch. the king puts the yellow key peacefully back into the aristocratic pouch. the king put the yellow key peacefully back into the aristocratic pouch. now the king steps into his darkened house. he stepped into his darkened house and the narrow door is once again locked.

2
soon the king will enter a cold room. the cold room has a narrow door. that is the cold room. the king entered the cold room. he steps to the excellent table. he will lay his beautiful hat on the excellent table. is his hat now on the excellent table. where is the queen. she is in another room. who is that. yes, that is the queen. her name is ann. this cold room has two narrow doors. that is one of the narrow doors of the cold room. that is the other narrow door of the cold room. and that is an important window of the cold room. and that is another important window. one window is open. the other is more important. the queen is not in the cold room.

3
the king came into the cold room. the king put his beautiful hat on the excellent table. people say this hat is ugly. an ugly hat. the ugly hat is unworthy of a king. o, this ugly hat of the king. the king went through this narrow door. he left the cold room. the queen comes into the cold room. she will see the ugly hat. she will go to the excellent table. she goes to the excellent table. she sees the ugly hat. what is that. the king’s ugly hat. when did she see it. she saw it while standing at the excellent table. she will take the ugly hat from the excellent table. she takes the ugly hat from the excellent table. she has the ugly hat in hand. she leaves the cold room. with the ugly hat, she left the cold room. she had the king’s ugly hat in hand.

4
those are green hooks. an ugly hat is on a green hook. it is the queen’s ugly hat. she puts the king’s ugly hat on another green hook. now the king’s ugly hat is also on a green hook. the king comes again into the cold room. he goes again to the excellent table. his ugly hat is no longer on the excellent table. he says. where is my beautiful hat. i put it on the excellent table. i put it right there. where is my beautiful hat. i do not have it. it is not here. where is it. queen, where is my beautiful hat. the queen will come into the cold room. she comes.

5
she says. here i am. the king says. where is my beautiful hat. she says. it was on the excellent table. i put it on the green hook in the other room. i put it right there. it is there. it is on the green hook. the king says. i will go into the other room. i will take my beautiful hat. he takes his ugly hat. did he take his ugly hat. he took it. he has it in hand. he left the cold room. as he saw the ugly hat, he took it from the green hook. he came again into the cold room. he had the ugly hat in hand. he gives the ugly hat to the queen.

6
he says. queen. he says. what is in my beautiful hat. the queen will take the ugly hat in hand. what is she taking out of the ugly hat. what does she have in her hand. money. she has money in her hand. it was in the ugly hat. which was on the excellent table. what did she see. she saw the ugly hat. but she did not see the money. she took the ugly hat. she put it on the green hook in the other room. the king then went into the other room and took his ugly hat from the green hook. who took it. the king took it. does the queen see the money now. yes, now she sees it. she says. king. how did this money come to be in the ugly hat.

7
i was walking on the street. the wind came and took my beautiful hat off my head. i went after that beautiful hat. as i took it in hand, i saw the money. the money was under that beautiful hat. as the wind came, it took my beautiful hat off my head. then it came down again. and the money was there. the beautiful hat was on the money. the money was under the beautiful hat.

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