Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Castle

"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.'

'And one needs permission to spend the night here?' asked K., as though he wanted to persuade himself that he hadn't perhaps heard the previous statements in a dream.

'Permission is needed' was the reply, and this turned into crude mockery at K.'s expense when the young man, stretching out his arm, asked the landlord and the guests: 'Or perhaps permission is not needed?'

'Then I must go and get myself permission,' said K., yawning and pushing off the blanket, as though he intended to get up.

'Yes, but from whom?' asked the young man.

'From the Count,' said K., 'there doesn't seem to be any alternative.'

'Get permission from the Count, now, at midnight?' cried the young man, stepping back a pace.

'Is that not possible?' K. asked calmly. 'Then why did you wake me up?'"

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