Manfred Kyber - Jeremiah with the Spherical Head

Jeremiah with the Spherical Head was a seal. He was a a peaceable creature. Inwardly, he was as he was externally, round, spherical and without edges. Thus was Jeremiah with the Spherical Head.

He lived far out in the ocean and the ocean's waves beared him like in a cradle. He knew that the ocean could be very wild and he knew that it could be very calm. He knew that the ocean was very big and that he was very small. That's why Jeremiah with the Spherical Head was quiet and humble.

For lunch, he ate fish. But this did not exhaust his interests.

Jeremiah with the Spherical Head also had higher interests. When the bells were ringing at the coast of Tierra del Fuego, he raised his head from the water, opened up his ears fully and listened raptly. Then tears came from his eyes, indeed tears.

Actually it should be great to live completely at the coast of Tierra del Fuego, Jeremiah with the Spherical Head thought, then I'll hear the bells quite near me and don't need to open up my ears so wide. It's so easy something gets inside. With the ears, one has to be very careful.

Jeremiah with the Spherical Head closed the ears carefully, brushed his mustache with the flipper and swam to the coast of Tierra del Fuego.

The sunset lied down on the ocean. It became cool in the waves. This did not bother Jeremiah with the Spherical Head. He had a flab layer. His wardrobe was equipped this way. It was seaworthy in every regard.

At the shore, Jeremiah with the Spherical Head made a massive leap and darted himself up. Then he slipped on and looked around with eyes wide open like someone who is looking for an appartment and is wondering what he will find.

What Jeremiah with the Spherical Head did find was strange.

On the shore there were flocks of penguins. They waved with the wings that looked like cassocks on white shirts.

These are funny birds, Jeremiah with the Spherical Head thought, such birds I've never seen. They are also so many and they all speak at the same time. It's so noisy. I believe it's not my cup of tea.

The strange birds chattered and bowed constantly. It looked very comical.

They appear to be polite people, Jeremiah with the Spherical Head thought and slipped closer.

A bird waddled towards him. It was big and thick, a conical figure.

No doubt, you want to have a look at our eggs?, it asked obligingly. We lay very many eggs. Many tourists from the ocean come to visit them. It's a sight worth seeing. But you may not examine them closer. We do not permit that.

No, Jeremiah with the Spherical Head said meekly, actually I didn't want to see the eggs you lay. I wanted to hear the bells of Tierra del Fuego ringing. The bells do ring up here every evening? Or am I mistaken?

The thick bird piquedly shrugged its atrophied wings.

Of course the bells ring, it said angrily, but the main thing really is the eggs we lay!

Jeremiah with the Spherical Head did not understand immediately. He was a bit sluggish.

Then the bells of Tierra del Fuego rang and Jeremiah with the Spherical Head was delighted.

At the same moment the strange birds attacked each other. They no longer bowed. They furiously waved with the cassocks, squawked terribly and quarreled over the eggs. One could no longer hear the deep ocean breaking against the shore, and the bells of Tierra del Fuego were smothered in the yells.

Full of fright, Jeremiah with the Spherical Head closed his ears and jumped back into the deep ocean with one leap.

Quite disturbed, he paddled with the flippers and swam far, far away from the coast.

On a small island, he rested.

The strange birds' yelling over the eggs they had laid did not come through to here. But through the clear, clean air, the wind carried the bells' sounds from Tierra del Fuego over the deep ocean.

This made Jeremiah with the Spherical Head thankful and happy and he stayed on his lonely island forever.

Every evening he heard the bells ring.

Then Jeremiah with the Spherical Head was moved and cried.

The tears dropped into the ocean.

 

From: Das Manfred Kyber Buch, Rowohlt, December 1985
Translation: Ulrich Messerle, March 2015
Published on: manfred-kyber.textstrom.de/en

Text Version: 2015-03-08 (a)