Episode 15: “THE ENIGMA”

Sunset, the expected time for the duel, is approaching. Tieck is alone in the snowy meadow where the duel must take place. But he doesn’t stop for an instant: he is practicing the hot-water bottle fighting. Then he sees Wieland climbing the meadow.

-Hey, I thought you would not come. The sun is about to set! You do not want to fight a duel in the dark, I imagine. So hurry up and take out your hot-water bottle before the water cools.

-There is no hot-water bottle.


-My wife caught me taking it surreptitiously and kicked up a stink in the street. She wanted to know what I was going to do with the hot-water bottle.  And since I could not tell her, she imagined who knows what. He accused me of pervert and threatened to ask for a divorce.

-The divorce? For a simple hot-water bottle? I hope you never dare to be unfaithful to her!

-I tried to borrow one, but everyone seems to have affection for their hot-water bottle. In addition, in this cold, people need them to heat their beds for the night, and soon the sun will set.

-You are right. It’s going to be mighty cold out here. So, we better get back home.

The two make their way back to Weimar.

-Do you have cold? Take my hot-water bottle. It still retains the heat. Put it under the coat.

Tieck helps Wieland put on the bottle under the coat.

-Well, you’re the only one who has offered to lend me his hot-water bottle. You are a good friend.

-It’s done. Now hold it by crossing your arms so it does not fall off.

-It’s still hot … What a pleasure it is!

-You know? I’ve been thinking in what we were talking about this morning. I mean the disappearance of Lord Byron. What if something wrong had really happened to him?

-It’s what I’m afraid of. 

-But what could have happened to him?

-Has Holderlin told you what happened to him the other night when he returned to Weimar?

-About being kidnapped by the Muses? Poor Holderlin. Because of a sorrowful love, he is a little out of his head. You don’t think the Muses are out there kidnapping poets, right?

-What if they weren’t the Muses?

-What do you mean?

-Haven’t you heard a rumor that’s going around about a mysterious light that wanders through the sky?

-Bah, there’re so many rumors going around …

-What if I told you that I’ve been a direct witness myself. 


-I was crouched in a field with my trousers down to relieve myself when suddenly I saw a small light in the sky. Suddenly, in a blink, the light placed itself just in front of me! It was a huge disk-shaped object.

-A solid object?!

-I’d have sworn it was a manned ship!

-Did you see anyone?

-No, but all the time I was hearing laughter. I think they laughed at me. I thought it was a French war machine, and I called them a few bad names in French. But they kept laughing until I finished what I was doing. Then the fun was over and the flying ship moved away. First slowly, then it made an abrupt turn and took off. And I lost sight of it. I’ll tell you what: if Napoleon has many machines like that, we can consider the war lost.

-I don’t think it was a Napoleonic war machine. Human being can not transition in a jiffy from trying to fly in a pot with wings by turning a handle like Humboldt does, to building ships able to sail the skies at such great speed.

-Do you imply that it’s not of this world?

-I’m almost certain.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

Painting by Caspar David Friedrich

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