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Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part V, Winnetou

Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part V, Winnetou

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Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part V, Winnetou

175 Seiten
3 Stunden
11. Okt. 2014


Old Shatterhand is back to the Wild West, and wants to see the Teton Mountains. However, he cannot reach his destination because his train journey from Omaha is interrupted by an incident. With Fred, the private detective, and Winnetou, the chief of the Apache, he attempts to save a railway station from an impending attack of the Oglala. After m

11. Okt. 2014

Über den Autor

Karl May (1842-1912) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, der insbesondere durch seine Abenteuerromane bekannt wurde, die in der ganzen Welt spielen. Er begeistert bis heute Groß und Klein.

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Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part V, Winnetou - Karl May

CTPDC Publishing Limited

CTPDC Publishing Limited, 28 Ashfield Road, Liverpool, L17 0BZ, United Kingdom

Translation and editorial material copyright M. A. Thomas 2014

Cover illustration: Ready for the Charge - Absaroke by Edward S. Curtis, Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division, Edward S. Curtis Collection LC-LC-USZ62-106271

All rights reserved.


Karl May was born in 1842, and over 35 years he wrote a huge number of adventure stories. His popularity has been unbroken in many countries around the world, especially among the youth, in spite of his misfortune that Hitler named him as his favourite writer.

He wrote his books in the style of village story tellers. A focus is on the adventures, and nothing restricts the flight of fantasy. There is no fully developed story line in May’s Western books: it is the series of escapades that give the impression of fullness. The characters in his books do not change as the plot develops, and there is very little analysis of the psychology of his heroes. Yet, in spite of these literary shortcomings, the popularity of his books has not suffered.

This enduring popularity, apart from the dare-devil adventures, could partly be explained by the basic moral foundation. In the world of May’s books the good and the evil struggle with each other, and the good always wins even if the positive heroes sometimes have to pay a heavy price for their victory. This moral stance and the adventure are united in the heroes. The positive heroes are men who have no shortcomings. They are not only just and honest people, who are ready to act for justice, but also strong and clever men, who can shoot and ride as nobody else. The evil are represented by villains who are overpowered by their own wickedness, and defeated by the heroes at the end.

The aim of this English translation was to retain these characteristics, while modernising the style, and editing parts that were erroneous or could evoke unpleasant associations. Therefore, this English translation is an unabridged, but edited version of the Winnetou Trilogy.

As to the style the editing involved some minor structural changes. May often used extremely long dialogues to carry the story forward. Without changing the content, these were made more concise, or were replaced by summarising paragraphs. Interjections (e.g. said, asked, etc.) were also introduced where they were appropriate. In some cases descriptive paragraphs were transformed into dialogues.

Geographic errors, such as names of rivers, mountains, settlements, and forts were corrected, and these names now follow the current conventions.

Tribal names (sometimes names of various bands) were also corrected and transliterated to the currently accepted forms (for example Oglala instead of Ogalalla). In Part III, one of the villains is described as the Athabaskan chief. Athabaskan is a language family (the Apache language is a Southern Athabaskan language). I replaced this with Arapaho, because of the area where the events take place, and also because the Arapaho tribe formed an alliance with the Comanche in the South, thus would have been enemies of Winnetou.

The word Manitou was avoided. It is an Algonkian name for a transcendent being, thus the Apache chief would not have used it. Instead of confusing the reader by using different names, the expression of Great Spirit was preferred. Similarly, the word wigwam was replaced. Some of the tribes mentioned by May built wigwam-like huts, but they did not call these wigwams.

Unfortunately, most of the ethnographic errors could not be removed. The reader will not have a true picture of the life of the Native Americans’ from May books.

The social order of the Native Americans were very different, and much more varied. Here I list only the most important ones. Most tribes did not have a supreme chief (May assumes that both the Apache and the Comanche had such an office). War chiefs (peace chiefs are never mentioned in Winnetou) were elected, and the office was not inherited by the son. Many tribes followed a matrilineal system, that is, the children from a relationship belonged to the mother’s clan. Therefore, the father and the son belonged to two different social groups.

May described the Mescalero Apache as a quasi-pueblo Indian tribe (leaders living in the pueblo, and the rest of the tribe in a tent village, which is a projection of European feudal social structures onto the Native American tribes). In reality the culture of the Apache was similar to the Plains Indians’ mode of life.

No peoples buried the man with his horse as May described in Part I, and suggested in Part V. In reality, the animal was skinned, and the bones put in the skin, and buried with the person. This was corrected by making the scenes more concise.

The religions of the Native Americans were more varied than it appears in the book. May, essentially, projected a version of Christianity onto the Native Americans. This could not be fully removed, but wherever it was possible, it was toned down. The passages in which May described his own religious moral were removed, because these seem to be forced upon the heroes (Winnetou’s quasi-conversion to Christianity in Part V in particular) and also because most of them are bound to the perceptions of the 19th century. They actually weaken the story.

The editing of sensitive issues, words and passages that could be perceived as insulting to nations or races, involved different tasks.

In May’s books many, if not all, important heroes are German, and Karl May often, quite clumsily, wrote about German superiority. This had to be addressed. These parts were either removed or toned down without removing the nationality of the heroes.

Prejudicial or racist comments by May were deleted. The comical role of Bob, the black servant in Part IV was eliminated. However, it was impossible to completely achieve this aim about certain Native American tribes. In May’s stories the Apache are the noble people, and any tribe hostile to them are mean, cruel, etc. Various Sioux tribes (especially the Oglala), the Comanche, and to some degree the Kiowa are described in a particularly bad light. It was possible to tone down these comments somewhat, but they could not be fully removed without breaking the story.

Finally, the spelling of Indian names was changed to approximate the English pronunciation. Hawkins’s name was changed. May spelt it as Hawkens, which could have caused confusion for an English speaking audience. For the same reason the spelling of Old Shatterhand’s first name, Charley, was changed to Charlie, and one of the minor character’s name from Hoblyn to Hoblin.

I believe that with these changes the core of May’s world, the action, the adventure, the dreaming of heroic deeds, and the struggle for a kind of justice have become more emphasised, and more accessible for the reader.

M. A. Thomas


The most beautiful and most interesting part of the American West is the huge area from the source of the Yellowstone River and Snake River all the way to Green River. It comprises of the whole of Wyoming and some parts of Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. It is between the 40th lateral to the 45th. Grim and pleasant landscapes alternate here with natural wonders. The United States created the Yellowstone National Park with other national parks here. Such mountains rise here like the triple Teton Mountain and the mountain ranges that create the valley of Wind River.

I returned to Europe, and I thought I would stay there. Once I had to travel to Hamburg, and I accidentally met an old acquaintance whom I had met in the Wild West. We had hunted together in the swamps of the Mississippi. Later he became a very rich businessman, and settled in Saint Louis. He came over to Europe for a few weeks, and he was ready to return to America. He asked me if I wanted to accompany him. For this pleasure he was ready to pay my fare.

I felt the call of the prairies. I telegrammed for my guns and other equipment, and five days later we were sailing to America.

We spent a few weeks in the forests of the lower Missouri. Then he had to return to Saint Louis, while I travelled on the Missouri to Omaha. I wanted to take the Pacific Railway train to travel to the West, exactly to the area of the Yellowstone Park. My only problem was that I did not have a horse, however, I was convinced that I would find one once I needed it.

The Pacific Railways had not yet been finished. Along the railway lines one could often see workers as they were repairing the bridges and viaducts, or making more permanent constructions in the place of the provisional ones. Wherever the railway passed new settlements mushroomed. These settlements were mainly camps for the workers. Most of them had some fortification against the attacks of the Indians, who considered the construction of the railways an infringement of their rights.

The fortifications were necessary for another enemy that was more dangerous than the Indians, the white rabble. These people, who could not settle in the East, now moved to the West to make a living from their crimes. The common criminal intention brought these people to gangs that were feared even by the most militant Indian tribes. One of their favourite targets were these new settlements and camps. As these bandits knew that they could not expect any mercy if they were caught, they murdered everyone they caught irrespective of age or sex.

I sat down in a coach in Omaha, and I thought I would go to Ogden, where I wanted to look around in the homeland of the Mormons a little bit. It was Sunday afternoon when the train left Omaha. There was nobody in the coach who attracted my attention, but on the following morning, in Fremont, a man boarded who raised my interest. He sat down next to me, thus I could observe him.

He was a short, stout, round man. His clothing was more comical than trustworthy, but I knew that when one makes judgement by appearance, it could be a major error. He wore a sheepskin coat on his shoulder with fur on the outside, but it was bare in places. It became obvious why he had it on his shoulder: he could not button the coat anymore. His trousers, jacket, and shirt were made of leather. From the appearance of the trousers it was clear that the owner used it as wiping cloth and serviette. Below the trousers his naked ankle was visible, while he wore shoes cut from double sole cowhide boots. These shoes were further reinforced by numerous nails. They seemed to be strong enough to trample a crocodile to death. Half of his hat was missing, and it was impossible to say what had been the original colour of his scarf. There was an ancient pistol and a Bowie knife in his belt. Between these, a pipe and an ammunition bag hung, not to mention a mirror and another pouch that contained, as I learnt later, shaving equipment. This latter one appeared to me the most unnecessary thing in the West. His small eyes craftily winked from his round, rosy cheeked, shaven face. He reminded me to my old friend Sam Hawkins in many ways.

‘Good morning, Sir!’ he greeted me, when he sat down.

I returned the greeting, and for a couple of hours we were both silent.

‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ he asked.

‘You have the right,’ I replied, ‘You don’t have to ask permission.’

I also took out my cigar case, and offered him one.

‘Thank you,’ he said, ‘I’ll stick with my pipe.’

His pipe hung from his neck. He filled it, and lit it with a punk.

Our conversation stopped with this, and he paid his attention to the scenery. When we arrived to the next bigger station, North Platte, which was also a junction, my stout fellow passenger went forward to the coach where his horse travelled. He stroked the animal, and made sure that it had everything it needed, and then returned to our coach. The train started to move again.

We reached Cheyenne in the Black Hills, when the conversation restarted.

‘Are you changing here to the Denver train?’ he asked.


‘Then we remain neighbours.’

‘Indeed, one can travel with the Pacific far,’ I remarked.

‘And how far are you travelling, Sir?’ he asked.

‘For the time being to Ogden,’ I answered. ‘I will visit the Mormons around the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City, then I will head to the Wind River Mountains and the Teton!’

‘Huh!’ he exclaimed. ‘Do you have any company to do this with?’

‘No, just alone,’ I replied calmly.

‘Won’t it be a bit too much? Or too hard? The Tetons! Among the Sioux and the grizzlies! What’s your job, if I may ask?’

‘I’m a writer.’

‘Oh! And you want to write a book on the Tetons?’


He laughed.

‘And you perhaps have also read about the Indians and the grizzly in books?’

‘Indeed I have.’

‘And you have your shotgun in that canvass?’ he asked with craftily gleaming eyes.

‘You are right.’

‘Then, my friend, I give you an advice. Return to your home, because although you look like a strong fellow, I doubt that you could shoot even a squirrel let alone a bear! It would be a pity to shorten your life because the books have confused your mind.’

He giggled, and did not suspect that I was just as amused as he was.

‘Have you heard of the famous Westerners,’ he continued, ‘like Winnetou, Old Firehand, Old Shatterhand?’

‘I have,’ I nodded

‘You see, Winnetou, the chief of the Apache, would be able to defend himself against a thousand devils. Old Firehand would be able to shoot every mosquito in a swarm. Old Shatterhand hasn’t missed a shot in his life, and can knock out anyone with a single blow. If any of these three said to me that they were going up to the three Tetons, I would believe them. But you, Mr Writer!’


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