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Archive for December, 2016

Here is a story for the dying year. Season’s best wishes and happy reading, benny

 

The Beggar Woman of Locarno

Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811)

 

At the foot of the Alps, near Locarno in Upper Italy, stood once a castle, the property of a marquis; of this castle, as one goes southward from the St. Gotthard, one sees now only the ashes and ruins. In one of its high and spacious rooms there once lay, on a bundle of straw which had been thrown down for her, an old, sick woman, who had come begging to the door, and had been taken in and given shelter out of pity by the mistress of the castle.

The Marquis, returning from the hunt, happened to enter this room, where he usually kept his guns, while the old woman lay there, and angrily ordered her to come out of the corner where the bundle of straw had been placed and to get behind the stove. In rising the old woman slipped on the polished floor and injured her spine severely; so much did she hurt herself that only with unspeakable agony could she manage to cross the room, as she was ordered, to sink moaning behind the stove and there to die.

Some years later the Marquis, owing to war and bad harvests, having lost most of his fortune, decided to sell his estates. One day a nobleman from Florence arrived at the castle which, on account of its beautiful situation, he wished to buy. The Marquis, who was very anxious to bring the business to a successful conclusion, gave instructions to his wife to prepare for their guest the above-mentioned room, which was now very beautifully furnished.

But imagine their horror when, in the middle of the night, the nobleman, pale and distracted, entered their room, solemnly assuring them that his room was haunted by something which was not visible, but which sounded as if somebody lying on straw in one corner of the room got up and slowly and feebly but with distinct steps crossed the room to lie down moaning and groaning behind the stove.

The Marquis, horrified, he did not himself know why, laughed with forced merriment at the nobleman and said he would get up at once and keep him company for the rest of the night in the haunted room. But the nobleman begged to be allowed to spend the rest of the night in another room, and when the morning came he ordered his horses to be brought round, bade farewell, and departed.

This incident, which created a great sensation, unhappily for the Marquis frightened away several would-be buyers; and when amongst his own servants strangely and mysteriously the rumor arose that queer things happened in the room at midnight, he determined to make a definite stand in the matter and to investigate it himself the same night.

For that reason he had his bed moved into the room at twilight, and watched there without sleeping until midnight. To his horror, as the clock began to strike midnight, he became aware of the mysterious noise; it sounded as though somebody rose from straw which rustled beneath him, crossed the room, and sank down sighing and groaning behind the stove. The next morning when he came downstairs his wife inquired what he had discovered; he looked round with nervous and troubled glances, and after fastening the door assured her that the rumor was true. The Marquise was more terrified than ever in her life, and begged him, before the rumor grew, to make a cold-blooded trial in her company.

Accompanied by a loyal servant, they spent the following night in the room and heard the same ghostly noises; and only the pressing need to get rid of the castle at any cost enabled the Marquise in the presence of the servant to smother the terror which she felt, and to put the noise down to some ordinary and casual event which it would be easy to discover.

On the evening of the third day, as both of them, with beating hearts, went up the stairs to the guestroom, anxious to get at the cause of the disturbance, they found that the watch-dog, who happened to have been let off his chain, was standing at the door of the room; so that, without giving a definite reason, both perhaps unconsciously wishing to have another living thing in the room besides themselves, they took him into the room with them. About eleven o’clock the two of them, two candles on the table, the Marquise fully dressed, the Marquis with dagger and pistol which he had taken from the cupboard beside him, sat down one on each bed; and while they entertained one another as well as they could by talking, the dog lay down, his head on his paws, in the middle of the room and slept.

As the clock began to strike midnight the horrible sound began; somebody whom human eyes could not see raised himself on crutches in the corner of the room; the straw could be heard rustling beneath him; and at the first step the dog woke, pricked up his ears, rose from the ground growling and barking, and, just as though somebody were making straight for him, moved backwards towards the stove. At the sight the Marquise, her hair rising, rushed from the room, and while the Marquis, who had snatched up his dagger, called ‘Who is there?’ and received no answer, she, like a mad woman, had ordered the coach to be got out, determined to drive away to the town immediately. But before she had packed a few things together and got them out of the door she noticed that all round her the castle was in flames.

The Marquis, overcome with horror, and tired of life, had taken a candle and set fire to the wooden paneling on all sides. In vain she sent people in to rescue the wretched man; he had already found his end in the most horrible manner possible; and his white bones, gathered together by his people, still lie in that corner of the room from which he once ordered the beggar-woman of Locarno to rise.

Translation by E.K. Bennett

 

 

 

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img_3689For text, please visit my blog: Guide to His Word

watercolor on art paper

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Re.12:1-3 watercolor 24×32 cm 300 gm art paper ‘Fabriano’ 19 Jan.2016

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A schematic representation to denote the end times

The wheel within a wheel in its working indicates a globe.

The earth has to be redeemed first and this shall be known the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ . His kingdom on the earth merging with that of God is signified by the vision. He shall usher the new earth and the heavens. Nations of them which are saved …bring their glory and honor to it (Re.21:24) .nations of the earth are represented  by the living creatures. The Number 4 always denote God’s agency for example as the 4 carpenters in the book of Zachariah(1:21-22).

Jesus Christ is the last Adam and he is indicated by the Man among the four creatures. ‘When he ascended up on high…and gave gifts unto men( Ep.4:8, Ps.68:18). The first Adam by disobedience brought curse and the last Adam brings a remnant of all nations to glory. (for further reading check out Guide to His Word-Ezekiel: Vision by the River Chebar)

benny

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(1883-1924) Czech

writer

Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He trained as a lawyer, and after completing his legal education he was employed with an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis.

In order to understand Kafka I shall do well to include a quote from his diary and an anecdote. The significant diary entry from August 1916: “My penchant for portraying my dreamlike inner life has rendered everything else inconsequential; my life has atrophied terribly, and does not stop atrophying.”

When Kafka was reading aloud the opening pages of The Trial before a group of Prague friends but laughed so much that he had to stop at intervals, while his listeners also laughed “uncontrollably,” despite what his friend Max Brod described as “the terrible gravity of this chapter.”

He complained often of being a martyr to his art, a self -realization that speaks of his sharp intellect but his irony in the face of the tragic fate of his protagonist, to burst out into laughter, sets the relevance of literature in his case as a nervous twitch set off by inanity of his times and his ideals. Literature has thus served her votaries each after its fashion. Everyday life about Kafka was giving way

as the father-figure you revered sliding into senescence and certainties about the hearth sounding false as the unfortunate masses of migrants you see on your screen daily shuffling about in the streets. Europe coming to terms with itself in a post-world war was all too real and as it were hell itself.

‘His conception of himself as tormented artist is allied closely to his view of his predicament as a man struggling to maintain his health and sanity in the face of an unrelentingly inhospitable world. In the annals of lamentation, from Job and Jeremiah to Beckett’s Unnamable, surely no one has devoted himself to the sustained moan with such dedication, energy, and exquisite finesse as the author of the “The Judgment” and the “Letter to His Father,” of the diaries, and of the correspondence with Felice Bauer and his lover Milena Jesenská, as well as his friend Max Brod’.1

Consider the prose fragment “The Great Wall of China.” The piece focuses not on the emperor on whose orders the wall was constructed, but on the construction itself, which was built “not as a single entity but rather in individual sections far apart from one another,” No one apart from those in the top command can say with any certainty how far the construction has progressed; it is not even clear whether the wall will really have all the gaps filled in when the work is done. It is never completed, and remains a fragment made up of fragments.

His journey into the self was a fragment made up of fragments and when a cry breaks out, no one shall know whether out of helplessness or of joy it assails us and prepares for similar surprises to come if the reader only persists enough. That fragmentary aspect, a student in literature in retrospect may accept or be dismissive about, but has despite of Kafka’s irony become a literary term –Kafkesque.

Quote: : “I am made of literature; I am nothing else and cannot be anything else.”

1. Brod, though mistaken in some things—his representation of Kafka as a religious writer, for instance—was ever commonsensical. He largely had the measure of his friend, and even after Kafka had been diagnosed with tuberculosis did not hesitate to write to him with a flat rebuke: “You are happy in your unhappiness.”

(A Different Kafka- John Banville/NYT Oct.23,2013)

 

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EMILIANO ZAPATA (1879- 1919) Mexico

Revolutionary

 Emiliano Zapata was a Mexican revolutionary and advocate of agrarianism who fought in guerrilla actions during the Mexican Revolution. He formed and commanded the Liberation Army of the South, an important revolutionary brigade, and his followers were known as Zapatistas.

When General Victoriano Huerta deposed and assassinated Madero in February 1913, Zapata and his men arrived at the outskirts of Mexico City and rejected Huerta’s offer to unite with him. This prevented Huerta from sending all his troops against the guerrillas of the north, who, under the direction of a moderate politician, Venustiano Carranza, had organized the Constitutionalist Army to defeat the new dictator. Huerta was forced to abandon the country in July 1914.

Zapata knew that Carranza’s Constitutionalists feared him. He attracted some intellectuals from Mexico City, among them Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama, who became his theorist and later established an agrarian party. When Huerta fell, Zapata invited the Constitutionalists to accept his Plan of Ayala and warned them that he would continue fighting independently until the plan was put to practical use.

In October 1914 Carranza called an assembly of all the revolutionary forces. Pancho Villa, who commanded the most important part of the army of the north, refused to attend the meeting because he considered Mexico City as enemy ground. The assembly was moved to Aguascalientes, where both the Villistas and the Zapatistas attended. These two groups constituted a majority, and the convention agreed to appoint General Eulalio Gutiérrez as provisional president. Carranza rejected this decision and marched with his government to Veracruz.

War broke out between the moderates (Carrancistas) and the revolutionaries (Conventionists). On November 24 Zapata ordered his army (now called the Liberation Army of the South and numbering 25,000 men) to occupy Mexico City.

Two weeks later Zapata and Villa met on the outskirts of the capital and then visited the National Palace. The two leaders promised to fight together until they put a civilian president in the palace, and Villa accepted the Plan of Ayala.

Zapata created agrarian commissions to distribute the land. He established a Rural Loan Bank, the country’s first agricultural credit organization; he also tried to reorganize the sugar industry of Morelos into cooperatives. In April 1915 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s personal representative in Mexico met with Zapata; Zapata asked that Wilson receive his delegation, but Wilson had recognized the Carranza government (the convention’s government under Gutiérrez had dispersed).

Meanwhile, the war continued. Zapata occupied the city of Puebla and won various battles, advised by some professional soldiers who had joined his side. In 1917 Carranza’s generals defeated Villa and isolated Zapata. Carranza then called together a constitutional convention but did not invite Zapata; the convention approved and passed a constitution and elected *Carranza as president of the republic.

Soon afterward General Pablo González, who directed the government operations against Zapata, had Colonel Jesús Guajardo pretend to want to join the agrarians and contrive a secret meeting with Zapata at the hacienda of Chinameca in Morelos. There Zapata was ambushed and shot to death by Carrancista soldiers. His body was carried to Cuautla and buried there.

*Venustiano Carranza(1859-1920) whose term as president was due to end in December 1920, he attempted to force the election of his chosen successor, Ignacio Bonillas, despite opposition from his more radical generals. Obregón led an armed rebellion in April 1920, and Carranza fled the capital. When he headed for Veracruz with government records and treasure, his train was attacked. With a few followers, he fled on horseback into the mountains. On the night of May 20/21 he was betrayed and murdered.

(victor alba/brittanica.com)

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Two wily foxes saw a cow munching her way through all the way to Capitol Hill. The foxes were mighty impressed. ‘Get a load of that udder?’ one fox ruddy  as they come,-  a red fox naturally, and he confidentially added, ‘bait and switch bait and switch made it at least three pails full’ The other fox  said,”We will follow her and who knows we shall be there when she drops her udder.” The fox called Rudi said, “I know I am an old hand at picking up the pieces.”

benny

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