The Age of Time

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The Age of Time

  1. As soon as the city is erected, the salons are decorated with music-making marble busts
  2. The pretty concubine is undressed and bound to the chair
  3. An eel escapes out of the sofa
  4. The country doctor is still brooding about the brother-in-law’s body covered with ulcers
  5. The rope breaks and the hanged man, disguised as a woman, falls onto the kitchen floor
  6. The two village musicians cover themselves with buckled-on musical instruments (with the help of which they also are able to fly)
  7. The widower fulfills his life’s dream when he slays a lion in the starlit night
  8. Here the people conceive of themselves as emigrants
  9. Whoever wears a red hat band identifies himself as knowing the Bible
  10. On the other hand, if someone wears a black one, this shows that he is dead
  11. Talking leeches are growing in the flower pots
  12. When the tailor goes to bed he feels a naked woman leaving his body
  13. To his horror the village pastor beholds a Moor with a head of stone
  14. In every house one finds a holy strawberry the size of a child and a sooth-saying chicken
  15. The dogs are kept on chains until they are shot to death by their owners
  16. In order to protect themselves from swarms of flies the villagers wear wooden shoes
  17. The Chinese circus people are duty bound to load chunks of rock onto wheelbarrows
  18. Because the seawater has receded, the mayor now does without a diving suit
  19. Between dried-up onion braids the pious angels split peas
  20. The teacher tries to use a beekeeper’s hat and a cane, but he is nevertheless immediately expelled from his dream and back into reality
  21. The tame rat is black
  22. At their weddings the virgins wear headdresses made of cow horn, while the bridegroom attaches a sow’s penis to his trousers
  23. In front of the office of the bank director the butchers take off their boots which were kissed by the housemaids
  24. The fish nailed onto the posts murmur incantations to heaven, making the earth quake
  25. The general observed the man who was wearing a wooden prosthesis instead of a head
  26. In order to express their jubilation the residents strew bouquets of forget-me-nots over the village street
  27. Because the Sunday organist plays in a white veil the sister presses a garland into her hair and disrobes while dancing
  28. The circus director has the bodies of those who were shot bound onto house doors and put on display in front of the tent
  29. If one forgets to forcefeed the turkeys the right number of nuts, then one will see his sister in the morgue
  30. As soon as the painter in the white coat has renewed the gold on the stucco-work the four apprentices may leave the ladder
  31. Under the rainbow an iron structure is growing that, when it wilts, will rise like a dandelion seed and fall with a roar of wasp swarms down over playing children.
  32. The man of a thousand skin-folds that decorate him like plant leaves stretches his hand forth, to everyone’s surprise, and offers a light to the startled resident
  33. Hubris could be read in the eyes of the man with the pith helmet when he opened his suitcase and offered silverware for sale
  34. In the mountainous landscape one encounters no one but a sleeping angel
  35. The traitors are bound onto trees and given over to the termites
  36. After the men wrapped the head with coverings, they drew a picture of the King of Hearts on the kitchen door
  37. The skin of the foreigner is made of spider webs, his face without a mouth
  38. The fleeing hair-man is allowed to hide in the bed of the twin sisters
  39. The rabid armadillos are hunted, their armor burned up
  40. As far as the villagers can see, eggs are floating in the lake
  41. The apostle stands on the bank of the carp pond in the expectation that he will be able to walk over the water
  42. Illuminated by a bolt of lightning the night provides a glimpse of the magic escape artist who is lying in a straitjacket among the swine
  43. On All Souls’ Day the veterans distribute crabs to the children of the fallen soldiers
  44. In order not to insult the dignity of the doves they are plucked before they march into the cook pot
  45. On the flag of the holy procession there is nothing to be seen but an earthworm
  46. The rabbits spring out of the forests and eat the fields bare before the break of dawn
  47. The assistant of the steam-saw owner defends himself from the eagle-sized night moth with the help of a rake
  48. The village’s first sailor is led in a ceremonious procession to the inn where wine is served in bottles
  49. The little child in his arms, the baker waits for the delivery of his father’s coffin
  50. As soon as the hunters are absorbed in their card game they no longer pay attention to the deflection of the compass
  51. The Andromeda Nebula spreads itself out like a patch of blood on a linen sheet
  52. When a tornado is raging, the young girls play with the tame vipers
  53. In the summer, on the other hand, the children wear shirts made of cat fur that protect them from ferruginous rain
  54. So that they can move forward better in the snow the hunters strap saddles onto their dogs
  55. During autopsies care is always taken to remove the corpses’ eyelids
  56. The screeching of the birds is a signal for the villagers to trim their toenails
  57. The enamel bowls in the attics are full of spiders
  58. Early in the year glasses of medicinal plants are already put in the windows to ward off epidemics
  59. If the ground splits asunder, then ultramarine dye is harvested from the wings of butterflies
  60. In the course of the wedding the bridegroom is not allowed to hide his penis
  61. With the help of astrology the elder-berry plant blooms; the grasses, on the other hand, turn pale through its influence
  62. After the carpenter’s son has slain his father, he imitates the barking of a fox in order to set his pursuers on the wrong track
  63. Only he who has brushed the hair of his cow long enough will find gold dust in the sieve
  64. The beauty of the leaves drops out of the air of the day
  65. On Easter Sunday the church hymnals are suddenly printed in Chinese characters
  66. The slaughtered dogs are the cakes of the poor
  67. When the apples fall rustling to the earth the old people are shaved with razors
  68. The whispering of the dead is the color of the flowers
  69. In the brickworks the hats of the sow-tailors’ apprentices pile up
  70. But the manufacturers of beer demand as payment mastery over the weather
  71. The captured Russians decorate the altars with the slain pelicans
  72. Every soldier receives an iron magnet that allows him to stop the flow of blood
  73. The drowned man’s wife gives away his possessions so that he will not appear to her again
  74. The yarrow is holy to every acolyte because without its help the mass bell would not chime
  75. The jaybird can disguise its voice so that it is taken for a nut tree
  76. Wherever a toad pops up, he is poisoned to death
  77. The sole saint in the village lives after his death in the pastor’s house where in the morning he sweeps the ashes out of the stove
  78. As soon as the ass has died, invisible creatures start to become visible
  79. The parade of the beekeepers ends in the humming of the wasps
  80. The cobbler owes the invention of the bicycle to St. Elmo’s fire which deformed his pendulum clock
  81. In a drop of wine the wise man sees a coffee maker
  82. Next morning the miller’s arm is covered with brand marks which are interpreted as prophecies
  83. Salt from the deep wells is dung for the wheat fields
  84. The appearance of the soldiers suffices for the villagers to attach the fly paper
  85. The miner’s skeleton will not be discovered until thousands of years later as an impression in stone
  86. The heavy red light descends onto the sweet hills with their vineyards
  87. Every piece of land that belongs to no one is measured by unknown polar explorers
  88. Left behind were an ivory fan, a sewing machine and a zither
  89. The gravedigger is able to open the coffins in which the dragonfly pupa emit electrical charges
  90. If a person shows up who has an extra pair of legs in place of a head, the circus director should be notified
  91. One educates children with the butt of a rifle better than with a pickaxe
  92. The coin was barely on the counter when the image of a magpie flew off and was replaced by a golden pheasant
  93. In April, however, it is forbidden on penalty of death to wear white clothing
  94. It is the right of the first born to refuse to speak
  95. The country doctor guards the quicksilver while he is asleep
  96. The first attorney of the village has a transparent skull and is stabbed to death by the mourning maid
  97. Everyone is secretly happy about the corpse in his basement
  98. The selected trout are laid on a cloth and seasoned with lemon juice before the musician begins to play the scales on their tails
  99. From the bony skulls of the stags the canary spells out the alphabet
  100. The gendarme observes the stranger who is wearing a coat of blue bird feathers

From Landläufiger Tod by Gerhard Roth
© S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 1984
Translation © Pamela Saur