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Text Stream • Selected Animal Stories and Fairy Tales by Manfred Kyber

Manfred Kyber

Introduction

Manfred Kyber was born on March 1st, 1880 in Riga, Latvia and died on March 10th, 1933 in Löwen­stein, Germany.  He was an author who wrote animal stories and fairy tales that are both extra­ordinarily simple and profound at the same time.  The essence of his animal stories can be regarded as a result of the fact that he was a great animal lover, but they also convey thoughts of a deeper nature.

Because the copyright has expired in the year of 2003 (70 years after the author's death), I made some of his stories freely available and I also trans­lated them into English. Note: I am not a native English speaker and I am aware of my translations' limitations. Nevertheless, these stories clearly qualify to be available in other languages  sh; that's my intention.

It is no easy reading: the stories can be touching as well as disturbing. The original German appears old-fashioned at first and discloses itself to the reader only with time. I tried to preserve the language in the translation as far as possible.

Preface

The preface of the book "Das Manfred Kyber Buch" puts it all in a nutshell:

Animals have their comic and their tragedy like us.  They are full of similarity and mutual relation­ship.  The humans mostly believe that there is an abyss between them and the animals. It is only a step in the wheel of life.  For all of us are children of one whole.  To recognize nature, one has to under­stand its creatures.  To under­stand a creature, one has to see the brother in it.


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Table of Contents

Animal Stories

Title Book
Pgs.
Description
The C. o. E. 3 The Congress of Earthworms (C.o.E.) meets a caterpillar that is about to pupate. The Earthworms are very sympathetic they but do not realize it is not a disease…
The Great Moment 1 A short story of a little bird in a cage that dreams of flying free.  One day, the great moment arrives…
The Hazel Dormouse Wedding 2 A hazel dormouse couple celebrates their wedding and hugs on a branch. As the groom falls into a pit from which he cannot crawl out, his bride resolves to do a radical step…
Silent Pleas 2 A story about a young wether who is taken from the flock by a strange man who does not look like a shepherd…
The Pilgrim with the Dragging Hind Leg 2 A short story of a little beetle that is ill and is on a pilgrimage.  He meets a bumble-bee who is a proficient house­wife, but she does not seem to under­stand what his pilgrimage is about…
Jeremiah with the Spherical Head 2 The seal Jeremiah with the Spherical Head lives in the ocean off the coast of Tierra del Fuego. He loves when the bells of Tierra del Fuego ring, so he decides to live at the coast to hear the bells better. But what he experiences at the coast is quite different than expected…
Little Mandrake 18 On a rainy February day, a little boy is born and the doctors do not think that his chance of survival is good.  He seems disabled, like a mandrake that has been pulled out from the earth — a child mandrake. Little Mandrake is called a stupid boy by the educated people (or by those who only think they are).  But Little Mandrake has many questions and sees and hears things that the educated people do not perceive at all…
Friendship 3 A story of a basket-maker and his dog who live on the shore of the Lake Zug in Switzer­land.  The basket-maker continues to weave strange old patterns, like those who were un­earthed by archaeologists from sites where in ancient times, houses were built on stilts.  The archaeologists seem to know a lot, but the basket-maker as well as his dog do know more…
Little Karl Octopus 6 In the Medi­terranean, the inhabi­tants are quite different, as is their conver­sation.  The characters range from naïve to educated, but in the end, the seemingly naïve one really reaches her goal…
The Promised Land 38 A monk had not been able to find his god in his monastery cell.  So he leaves his monastery to look for him in the soli­tude of a wild forest…

Fairy Tales

Title Book
Pgs.
Description
The Day's Work before Sunrise 3 In the smithy, pieces of scrap metal (swords and slaugther knives among other things) are waiting to be forged into a new form. They tell each other what they have experienced during their lives. They are old and yearn for a new form but they don't know what that form will be. Then the smith comes…
The Death and the Little Girl 5 A little girl is rather strange, it is avoided by other children and prefers to be alone with its thoughts on the village cemetery. One day, a figure with a black robe appears to the little girl. But the girl really isn't afraid…
Porcelain 6 Several porcelain objects stand in a glass closet, among other things a coffee set and porcelain figures. The whole day, they are silent and motionless but when the last lights go out and the moon shines into the room, they awaken to life…
The King Travelling Enter­tainer 32 In India, a son is born to a poor couple of the lowest caste.  His mother believes he is a king's son, although her husband laughs about it.  Soon after that, the plague arrives in the village and the parents flee, but the plague catches up with them…
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Source

Das Manfred Kyber Buch, Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, Reinbek 1985 (or earlier), Hardcover, 408 pages, ISBN-10: 3-498-03420-0.
Translation into English by U. Messerle