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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Das Schloss - Trim Walled Town Heritage Day

I spent some time today in Trim, by the castle, as a day celebrating Trim as a walled town had been organised by Noel French of Meath Heritage Centre.  The Boyne Writers and The Meath Writers' Circle had been invited to read some poetry.  Trim had 5 main gates along the wall; Water Gate, Athboy Gate, Navan Gate, Sheep Gate and Dublin Gate.  The castle was erected by Hugh de Lacy in the 1170's. 

As I am in the frame of mind for german literature I found myself thinking of Das Schloss by Franz Kafka, excerpt below.

"It was late evening when K. arrived. The village lay under deep snow. There was no sign of the Castle hill, fog and darkness surrounded it, not even the faintest gleam of light suggested the large Castle. K. stood a long time on the wooden bridge that leads from the main road to the village, gazing upward into the seeming emptiness.

Then he went looking for a night's lodging; at the inn they were still awake; the landlord had no room available, but, extremely surprised and confused by the latecomer, he was willing to let K. sleep on a straw mattress in the taproom, K. agreed to this. A few peasants were still sitting over beer, but he did not want to talk to anyone, got himself a straw mattress from the attic and lay down by the stove. It was warm, the peasants were quiet, he examined them for a moment with tired eyes, then fell asleep.

Yet before long he was awakened. A young man in city clothes, with an actor's face, narrow eyes, thick eyebrows, stood beside him with the landlord. The peasants, too, were still there, a few had turned their chairs around to see and hear better. The young man apologized very politely for having awakened K., introduced himself as the son of the Castle steward and said: "This village is Castle property, anybody residing or spending the night here is effectively residing or spending the night at the Castle. Nobody may do so without permission from the Count. But you have no such permission or at least you haven't shown it yet."

K., who had half-risen and smoothed his hair, looked at the people from below and said: "What village have I wandered into? So there is a castle here?"

"Why, of course," the young man said slowly, while several peasants here and there shook their heads at K., "the Castle of Count Westwest." "

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