Mark

Twain

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Ein Yankee aus Connecticut an König Artus’ Hof

Übersetzt von Lore Krüger, Lizenz der Aufbau Verlagsgruppe
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012

TITELBLATT

PREFACE

A WORD OF EXPLANATION

THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND

CHAPTER I — CAMELOT

CHAPTER II — KING ARTHUR’S COURT

CHAPTER III — KNIGHTS OF THE TABLE ROUND

CHAPTER IV — SIR DINADAN THE HUMORIST

CHAPTER V — AN INSPIRATION

CHAPTER VI — THE ECLIPSE

CHAPTER VII — MERLIN’S TOWER

CHAPTER VIII — THE BOSS

CHAPTER IX — THE TOURNAMENT

CHAPTER X — BEGINNINGS OF CIVILIZATION

CHAPTER XI — THE YANKEE IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURES

CHAPTER XII — SLOW TORTURE

CHAPTER XIII — FREEMEN

CHAPTER XIV — “DEFEND THEE, LORD”

CHAPTER XV — SANDY’S TALE

CHAPTER XVI — MORGAN LE FAY

CHAPTER XVII — A ROYAL BANQUET

CHAPTER XVIII — IN THE QUEEN’S DUNGEONS

CHAPTER XIX — KNIGHT-ERRANTRY AS A TRADE

CHAPTER XX — THE OGRE’S CASTLE

CHAPTER XXI — THE PILGRIMS

CHAPTER XXII — THE HOLY FOUNTAIN

CHAPTER XXIII — RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN

CHAPTER XXIV — A RIVAL MAGICIAN

CHAPTER XXV — A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION

CHAPTER XXVI — THE FIRST NEWSPAPER

CHAPTER XXVII — THE YANKEE AND THE KING TRAVEL INCOGNITO

CHAPTER XXVIII — DRILLING THE KING

CHAPTER XXIX — THE SMALLPOX HUT

CHAPTER XXX — THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE

CHAPTER XXXI — MARCO

CHAPTER XXXII — DOWLEY’S HUMILIATION

CHAPTER XXXIII — SIXTH CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY

CHAPTER XXXIV — THE YANKEE AND THE KING SOLD AS SLAVES

CHAPTER XXXV — A PITIFUL INCIDENT

CHAPTER XXXVI — AN ENCOUNTER IN THE DARK

CHAPTER XXXVII — AN AWFUL PREDICAMENT

CHAPTER XXXVIII — SIR LAUNCELOT AND KNIGHTS TO THE RESCUE

CHAPTER XXXIX — THE YANKEE’S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS

CHAPTER XL — THREE YEARS LATER

CHAPTER XLI — THE INTERDICT

CHAPTER XLII — WAR!

CHAPTER XLIII — THE BATTLE OF THE SAND BELT

CHAPTER XLIV — A POSTSCRIPT BY CLARENCE

FINAL P.S. BY M.T.

IMPRESSUM

PREFACE

The un­gentle laws and cus­toms touched upon in this tale are his­tor­ic­al,
and the epis­odes which are used to il­lus­trate them are also his­tor­ic­al.
It is not pre­ten­ded that these laws and cus­toms ex­is­ted in Eng­land in the sixth cen­tury;
no, it is only pre­ten­ded that inas­much as they ex­is­ted in the Eng­lish and oth­er civil­iz­a­tions of far later times,
it is safe to con­sider that it is no li­bel upon the sixth cen­tury to sup­pose them to have been in prac­tice in that day also.
One is quite jus­ti­fied in in­fer­ring that whatever one of these laws or cus­toms was lack­ing in that re­mote time,
its place was com­pet­ently filled by a worse one.
The ques­tion as to wheth­er there is such a thing as di­vine right of kings is not settled in this book. It was found too dif­fi­cult.
That the ex­ec­ut­ive head of a na­tion should be a per­son of lofty char­ac­ter and ex­traordin­ary abil­ity, was mani­fest and in­dis­put­able;
that none but the Deity could se­lect that head un­err­ingly, was also mani­fest and in­dis­put­able;
that the Deity ought to make that se­lec­tion, then, was like­wise mani­fest and in­dis­put­able;
con­sequently, that He does make it, as claimed, was an un­avoid­able de­duc­tion.
I mean, un­til the au­thor of this book en­countered the Pom­pa­dour,
and Lady Cas­tle­maine, and some oth­er ex­ec­ut­ive heads of that kind;
these were found so dif­fi­cult to work into the scheme, that it was judged bet­ter to take the oth­er tack in this book
(which must be is­sued this fall), and then go into train­ing and settle the ques­tion in an­oth­er book.
It is, of course, a thing which ought to be settled, and I am not go­ing to have any­thing par­tic­u­lar to do next winter any­way.
MARK TWAIN

A WORD OF EXPLANATION

It was in War­wick Castle that I came across the curi­ous stranger whom I am go­ing to talk about.
He at­trac­ted me by three things: his can­did sim­pli­city, his mar­velous fa­mili­ar­ity with an­cient ar­mor,
and the rest­ful­ness of his com­pany — for he did all the talk­ing.
We fell to­geth­er, as mod­est people will, in the tail of the herd that was be­ing shown through, and he at once began to say things which in­ter­ested me.
As he talked along, softly, pleas­antly, flow­ingly,
he seemed to drift away im­per­cept­ibly out of this world and time, and into some re­mote era and old for­got­ten coun­try;
and so he gradu­ally wove such a spell about me that I seemed
to move among the specters and shad­ows and dust and mold of a gray an­tiquity, hold­ing speech with a rel­ic of it!
Ex­actly as I would speak of my nearest per­son­al friends or en­emies, or my most fa­mil­i­ar neigh­bors,
he spoke of Sir Be­divere, Sir Bors de Ganis, Sir Launcelot of the Lake, Sir Ga­la­had, and all the oth­er great names of the Table Round
— and how old, old, un­speak­ably old and faded and dry and musty and an­cient he came to look as he went on!
Presently he turned to me and said, just as one might speak of the weath­er, or any oth­er com­mon mat­ter —
“You know about trans­mi­gra­tion of souls; do you know about trans­pos­i­tion of epochs — and bod­ies?”
I said I had not heard of it. He was so little in­ter­ested — just as when people speak of the weath­er — that he did not no­tice wheth­er I made him any an­swer or not.
There was half a mo­ment of si­lence, im­me­di­ately in­ter­rup­ted by the dron­ing voice of the salar­ied cicer­one:
“An­cient hauberk, date of the sixth cen­tury, time of King Ar­thur and the Round Table;
said to have be­longed to the knight Sir Sagramor le De­sirous;
ob­serve the round hole through the chain-mail in the left breast;
can’t be ac­coun­ted for; sup­posed to have been done with a bul­let since in­ven­tion of fire­arms
— per­haps ma­li­ciously by Crom­well’s sol­diers.”
My ac­quaint­ance smiled — not a mod­ern smile, but one
that must have gone out of gen­er­al use many, many cen­tur­ies ago — and muttered ap­par­ently to him­self:
“Wit ye well, I saw it done.” Then, after a pause, ad­ded: “I did it my­self.”
By the time I had re­covered from the elec­tric sur­prise of this re­mark, he was gone.
All that even­ing I sat by my fire at the War­wick Arms, steeped in a dream of the olden time,
while the rain beat upon the win­dows, and the wind roared about the eaves and corners.
From time to time I dipped into old Sir Thomas Mal­ory’s en­chant­ing book,
and fed at its rich feast of prodi­gies and ad­ven­tures, breathed in the fra­grance of its ob­sol­ete names, and dreamed again.
Mid­night be­ing come at length, I read an­oth­er tale, for a night­cap — this which here fol­lows, to wit:

HOW SIR LAUNCELOT SLEW TWO GIANTS, AND MADE A CASTLE FREE

Anon with­al came there upon him two great gi­ants, well armed, all save the heads, with two hor­rible clubs in their hands.
Sir Launcelot put his shield afore him, and put the stroke away of the one gi­ant, and with his sword he clave his head asun­der.
When his fel­low saw that, he ran away as he were wood [de­men­ted], for fear of the hor­rible strokes,
and Sir Launcelot after him with all his might, and smote him on the shoulder, and clave him to the middle.
Then Sir Launcelot went into the hall, and there came afore him three score ladies and dam­sels,
and all kneeled unto him, and thanked God and him of their de­liv­er­ance.
For, sir, said they, the most part of us have been here this sev­en year their pris­on­ers,
and we have worked all man­ner of silk works for our meat, and we are all great gentle-wo­men born,
and blessed be the time, knight, that ever thou wert born; for thou hast done the most wor­ship
that ever did knight in the world, that will we bear re­cord, and we all pray you to tell us your name,
that we may tell our friends who de­livered us out of pris­on.
Fair dam­sels, he said, my name is Sir Launcelot du Lake. And so he de­par­ted from them and betaught them unto God.
And then he moun­ted upon his horse, and rode into many strange and wild coun­tries, and through many wa­ters and val­leys, and evil was he lodged.
And at the last by for­tune him happened against a night to come to a fair cour­til­age,
and therein he found an old gentle-wo­man that lodged him with a good-will, and there he had good cheer for him and his horse.
And when time was, his host brought him into a fair gar­ret over the gate to his bed.
There Sir Launcelot un­armed him, and set his har­ness by him, and went to bed, and anon he fell on sleep.
So, soon after there came one on horse­back, and knocked at the gate in great haste.
And when Sir Launcelot heard this he rose up, and looked out at the win­dow, and saw by the moon­light three knights come rid­ing after that one man,
and all three lashed on him at once with swords, and that one knight turned on them knightly again and de­fen­ded him.
Truly, said Sir Launcelot, yon­der one knight shall I help, for it were shame for me to see three knights on one,
and if he be slain I am part­ner of his death.
And there­with he took his har­ness and went out at a win­dow by a sheet down to the four knights,
and then Sir Launcelot said on high, Turn you knights unto me, and leave your fight­ing with that knight.
And then they all three left Sir Kay, and turned unto Sir Launcelot, and there began great battle,
for they alight all three, and strake many strokes at Sir Launcelot, and as­sailed him on every side.
Then Sir Kay dressed him for to have holpen Sir Launcelot.
Nay, sir, said he, I will none of your help, there­fore as ye will have my help let me alone with them.
Sir Kay for the pleas­ure of the knight suffered him for to do his will, and so stood aside.
And then anon with­in six strokes Sir Launcelot had stricken them to the earth.
And then they all three cried, Sir Knight, we yield us unto you as man of might match­less.
As to that, said Sir Launcelot, I will not take your yield­ing unto me,
but so that ye yield you unto Sir Kay the sen­eschal, on that cov­en­ant I will save your lives and else not.
Fair knight, said they, that were we loath to do; for as for Sir Kay we chased him hith­er,
and had over­come him had ye not been; there­fore, to yield us unto him it were no reas­on.
Well, as to that, said Sir Launcelot, ad­vise you well, for ye may choose wheth­er ye will die or live, for an ye be yielden, it shall be unto Sir Kay.
Fair knight, then they said, in sav­ing our lives we will do as thou com­mand­est us.
Then shall ye, said Sir Launcelot, on Whit­sunday next com­ing go unto the court of King Ar­thur,
and there shall ye yield you unto Queen Guenev­er, and put you all three in her grace and mercy, and say that Sir Kay sent you thith­er to be her pris­on­ers.
On the morn Sir Launcelot arose early, and left Sir Kay sleep­ing;
and Sir Launcelot took Sir Kay’s ar­mor and his shield and armed him,
and so he went to the stable and took his horse, and took his leave of his host, and so he de­par­ted.
Then soon after arose Sir Kay and missed Sir Launcelot; and then he es­pied that he had his ar­mor and his horse.
Now by my faith I know well that he will grieve some of the court of King Ar­thur; for on him knights will be bold,
and deem that it is I, and that will be­guile them; and be­cause of his ar­mor and shield I am sure I shall ride in peace.
And then soon after de­par­ted Sir Kay, and thanked his host.
As I laid the book down there was a knock at the door, and my stranger came in. I gave him a pipe and a chair, and made him wel­come.
I also com­for­ted him with a hot Scotch whisky; gave him an­oth­er one; then still an­oth­er — hop­ing al­ways for his story.
After a fourth per­suader, he drif­ted into it him­self, in a quite simple and nat­ur­al way:

THE STRANGER’S HISTORY

I am an Amer­ic­an. I was born and reared in Hart­ford, in the State of Con­necti­c­ut — any­way, just over the river, in the coun­try.
So I am a Yan­kee of the Yan­kees — and prac­tic­al; yes, and nearly bar­ren of sen­ti­ment, I sup­pose — or po­etry, in oth­er words.
My fath­er was a black­smith, my uncle was a horse doc­tor, and I was both, along at first.
Then I went over to the great arms fact­ory and learned my real trade; learned all there was to it;
learned to make everything: guns, re­volvers, can­non, boil­ers, en­gines, all sorts of labor-sav­ing ma­chinery.
Why, I could make any­thing a body wanted — any­thing in the world, it didn’t make any dif­fer­ence what;
and if there wasn’t any quick new-fangled way to make a thing, I could in­vent one — and do it as easy as rolling off a log.
I be­came head su­per­in­tend­ent; had a couple of thou­sand men un­der me.
Well, a man like that is a man that is full of fight — that goes without say­ing.
With a couple of thou­sand rough men un­der one, one has plenty of that sort of amuse­ment.
I had, any­way. At last I met my match, and I got my dose.
It was dur­ing a mis­un­der­stand­ing con­duc­ted with crow­bars with a fel­low we used to call Her­cules.
He laid me out with a crush­er along­side the head that made everything crack,
and seemed to spring every joint in my skull and made it over­lap its neigh­bor.
Then the world went out in dark­ness, and I didn’t feel any­thing more, and didn’t know any­thing at all — at least for a while.
When I came to again, I was sit­ting un­der an oak tree, on the grass, with a whole beau­ti­ful and broad coun­try land­scape all to my­self — nearly.
Not en­tirely; for there was a fel­low on a horse, look­ing down at me — a fel­low fresh out of a pic­ture-book.
He was in old-time iron ar­mor from head to heel, with a hel­met on his head the shape of a nail-keg with slits in it;
and he had a shield, and a sword, and a prodi­gious spear;
and his horse had ar­mor on, too, and a steel horn pro­ject­ing from his fore­head,
and gor­geous red and green silk trap­pings that hung down all around him like a bedquilt, nearly to the ground.
“Fair sir, will ye just?” said this fel­low.
“Will I which?”
“Will ye try a pas­sage of arms for land or lady or for —”
“What are you giv­ing me?” I said. “Get along back to your cir­cus, or I’ll re­port you.”
Now what does this man do but fall back a couple of hun­dred yards and then come rush­ing at me as hard as he could tear,
with his nail-keg bent down nearly to his horse’s neck and his long spear poin­ted straight ahead.
I saw he meant busi­ness, so I was up the tree when he ar­rived.
He al­lowed that I was his prop­erty, the cap­tive of his spear.
There was ar­gu­ment on his side — and the bulk of the ad­vant­age — so I judged it best to hu­mor him.
We fixed up an agree­ment whereby I was to go with him and he was not to hurt me.
I came down, and we star­ted away, I walk­ing by the side of his horse.
We marched com­fort­ably along, through glades and over brooks which I could not re­mem­ber to have seen be­fore
— which puzzled me and made me won­der — and yet we did not come to any cir­cus or sign of a cir­cus.
So I gave up the idea of a cir­cus, and con­cluded he was from an asylum.
But we nev­er came to an asylum — so I was up a stump, as you may say. I asked him how far we were from Hart­ford.
He said he had nev­er heard of the place; which I took to be a lie, but al­lowed it to go at that.
At the end of an hour we saw a far-away town sleep­ing in a val­ley by a wind­ing river;
and bey­ond it on a hill, a vast gray fort­ress, with towers and tur­rets, the first I had ever seen out of a pic­ture.
“Bridge­port?” said I, point­ing.
“Cam­elot,” said he.
My stranger had been show­ing signs of sleep­i­ness.
He caught him­self nod­ding, now, and smiled one of those pathet­ic, ob­sol­ete smiles of his, and said:
“I find I can’t go on; but come with me, I’ve got it all writ­ten out, and you can read it if you like.”
In his cham­ber, he said: “First, I kept a journ­al; then by and by, after years, I took the journ­al and turned it into a book. How long ago that was!”
He handed me his manuscript, and poin­ted out the place where I should be­gin:
“Be­gin here — I’ve already told you what goes be­fore.” He was steeped in drowsi­ness by this time.
As I went out at his door I heard him mur­mur sleepily: “Give you good den, fair sir.”
I sat down by my fire and ex­amined my treas­ure. The first part of it — the great bulk of it — was parch­ment, and yel­low with age.
I scanned a leaf par­tic­u­larly and saw that it was a pal­impsest.
Un­der the old dim writ­ing of the Yan­kee his­tor­i­an ap­peared traces of a pen­man­ship
which was older and dim­mer still — Lat­in words and sen­tences: frag­ments from old monk­ish le­gends, evid­ently.
I turned to the place in­dic­ated by my stranger and began to read — as fol­lows:

Mark Twain
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court / Ein Yankee aus Connecticut an König Artus’ Hof
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Lore Krüger

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Die Übersetzung erschien erstmals 1965 als Band 9 der Ausgewählten Werke Mark Twains in zwölf Bänden im Aufbau Verlag Berlin und Weimar.
Übersetzung © Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin 1965, 2008

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