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About the first Car in the Uplands 1.4.15

(Adapted from the original text „Vom ehsten Auto im Uplande“ ( About the first Car in the Uplands) see WLK 1969 pges. 79 - 81.)

If still a coach goes through the village today, not only children and old women will watch it, but the men as well. They stand by the roadside and open mouth and nose.(= they are so astonished that they forget to shut them.) 50 or 60 years ago village people took a car that was going through the villages as a sensation because it did not happen too often. And I am going to tell you a little about the first car running in the mountains behind Korbach

Das erste Auto im Upland Das erste Auto im Upland

About the picture above:“The pedestrian:“If I were born again, would like to be a monkey. So I´d be on a tree at once, when a car came!”

Karl Schäfer´s story took place by 1912.

Karl Schäfer´s story originally is told in dialect. Of course the story´s character will not be as authentic as told in dialect, but people who are not familiar with this kind of language need not miss this funny story. Now it has had another metamorphosis: it became translated into English.

Well, “Wealthy Keine“ lived in that beautiful villa. He had come from Westfalia and resided as a pensioner in wonderful Bömighausen which later got the first prize in a beauty competition.

He always had been smart and got a good business feeling. Two horses were in the stable, a white and a black one. One day he told my (Karl Schäfer´s ) father: “Well, Fritz, I´m going to sell my horses and buy a car.” The principle in Arolsen (= town´s name, residence of the principality)was interested in the horses and wanted them for his principality stable.

The auxiliary policeman who had been a member of a dragoon regiment had to present the horses, he rode them and made them jump over a bar in the middle of the village road. The sale was done and Keine bought the car instead of the horses.

This car actually was no everyday car- no, it was a really” high- classed” automobile, and it looked pretty fancy on its high “legs”, and you nearly needed a small bench to get in. It was possible to open its top, and if it rained you could put it together again. And the car had a crank. You had to wind it up to start the engine. No easy job! Sometimes two or even three men had to turn the crank, when the car finally should go! However, when the engine roared the car ran and sometimes no one could hold it. When the proud owner drove through the villages, the hens flashed away from the road and the sparrows flew away from the horse shit. The humans usually stood by the roadside, clapped their hands and shook her heads, as if they could not believe that this “new stuff” would be useful. The children ran behind nearly from one village to the next.

When Keine could drive his car at last- he had already done a trip to Eppe ”into the world” and to the area of Schleidern village – he took his neighbours for a trip to Korbach. Everything went well: the car took the dangerous curve at “Jaustes”, it climbed up through the Ahrenscheidt´s black pines to Rhena. But then, behind “Drosten” the car refused to mention the narrow serpentine and shot directly forward to the dung hole. Keine called out “Brr, brr, Max!” (“Stop, halt, Max!”), but in vain! This horse only stopped on the dung. The people from Rhena helped a lot, drew and pushed, and now the passengers arrived at Korbach without any complication and back again.

Some other time Keine had been in company up there in the Uplands. Late at night they set up again. They talked and talked, how beautiful it had been in Usseln and Willingen, the mountains, the heather and the beer. When they arrived at the thick tree above the village they reduced their speed. But what was this?! In one of the neighbours´ flat the lights were burning, and no one was in the flat, for the neighbor lived alone! “What about this?”Frieder asked. “There are burglars, go ahead, and then we´ll go back and get them!”, Fritz called. Keine put his foot on the accelerator again and stopped at the “Hundemarkt”(=dog market). Then they rushed out of the car and grabbed two thick pieces of wood behind the house, a half fence bar and a dung fork. Close to the fence they tip-toed back to the illuminated house. They listened for a while, crept round the house listened again by the cellar, grabbed the stable door which was closed and peeped round the corner to the window. But there wasn´t any light. Slowly, slowly to the housedoor which was closed, too.“Open it“, Frieder had to whisper two times, and the neighbor opened very cautious. It was dark everywhere and quiet. They lightened the small petrol lamp nearby and explored all the house.This was an awfully strange thing… But they all had seen the light in the house!

The next day Frieder was lightened, too! He had an idea! “No, Frieder, I don´t believe at all that the light came from my shining car lights”, Keine replied, and the others agreed with him. They bet on four “Schoppen” ( = (more or less voluminous) glass of beer ) and herrings and took a test ride. In the evening they went by car to the driveway, turned round and came slowly down again passing the thick tree.Frieder had won. But from now on they would not let someone take the mickey out of themselves when they would come home needing the car lights!

Well, time had come for going to the lowlands, to Wildungen, the great health resort, a place visited by many Russians. Where else could they watch them? This time Keine´s wife, Finchen, was with them. It was her job to blow the gum horn in front of the curves or when a cow – or horse carriage was in the way. Then she took the gum horn and blew “poot- poot – poot”, but when they entered a village she took the silver hornet that usually hung on her neck, and she could blow high and low and she was able to blow “tatoo – tata” in harmony.

Early in the morning- at seven o´clock – they “steamed” away, crossed Korbach and Sachsenhausen. Then they got up to Waldeck Castle. When they had seen the half finished barrage (today Lake Eder) between the mountains they went on, until they arrived at Eder River. There was the place where the motor stopped for the first time. It refused going a second time, and when they arrived at a place, 3 metres in front of the bridge nothing would go on. One after the other winded the crank. Nothing happened. Just to make the situation more difficult or ridiculous at last, a coach with some well- situated people from Wildungen crossed the bridge. The car had to be rolled back, and then the coach could pass. But the coach man stopped and shouted, they might give more oat to the horses. Keine was a man who could take everything except being laughed at. With their legs stomped in the ground and blown-up cheeks they turned the crank once or twice. The motor rattled again and they arrived at Wildungen just in time for lunch. After the meal they looked at the large alley and the park and stood in front of the two famous hotels “Fürstenhof” and “Kaiserhof” where the rich Russian noblemen had rented their large flats. After that they tested the healing water, but they were rather disappointed and decided that some strong liquor tasted better and made one feel in good mood.

They had coffee and cakes, then went back home and took the same route. Everything was all right until they arrived at the same bridge. The motor stumbled and died at least. Turning the crank to start the car again did not work. Frieder said:”I think, this mare is afraid of the thick bridge wall, so let´s get the car off the bridge”. They pushed it aside and went on winding and turning. Nothing! So what to do? It was Frieder´s task to fetch the blacksmith from Affoldern village. He arrived with hammer and clamp. Keine had to show him the motor and then the smith grabbed here and there, knocked there and here, as if he was familiar with motors having a breakdown.

Then he caught hold of the car with one hand and turned the crank with the other one. The motor started at once. Each passenger gave him 1 “Groschen” for his “work”. The smith enjoyed the business, laughed and pointed to his forehead, then to his arm and laughed while swelling his arm muscles: “You got to have it here, but there”- he pointed to his forehead- ,” too”. This must have been the first time that one pointed a”bird”(= to tip  a finger against the own forehead to offend another person) to a driver.

They arrived at the Uplands in a cloud of dust.

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