May 26, 2009

Kafka anecdote, Kafkaesque almost

It was during this early period in Berlin that Kafka and Dora, on one of their walks in a local park, encountered a small girl who was weeping because she had lost her doll. Kafka, always touched by the sufferings of small children, told her that the doll was not lost. It had gone on a journey during which it had written Kafka a letter. The skeptical child, during a break in her tears, asked for proof, and Kafka promised to return the next day with one of the letters. After taking great care to compose a letter, he returned with it the next day and read it out to the girl. It explained that the doll had grown tired of living in the same family all the time and had wanted a change of scene. Kafka kept up these daily letters for nearly three weeks, each one making clear that the doll had had to get away and preparing the child for the ultimate realization that she would not be back. In the end the doll met a young man and married him. It was typical of Kafka not only to care but to do so with such painstaking attention to detail.

from “Kafka” by Nicholas Murray

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