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Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part I, Enters Old Shatterhand

Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part I, Enters Old Shatterhand

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Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part I, Enters Old Shatterhand

306 Seiten
8 Stunden
11. Okt. 2014


Charlie, a young German immigrant arrives to the United States in the 1860s, and takes up a position as a private tutor in St Louis. However, driven by his thirst for adventure, he joins a team that is surveying the land for a new railway line. The line would lead through the land of the Apache, the Comanche and the Kiowa. His thirst for adventu

11. Okt. 2014

Über den Autor

Karl May (1842-1912) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, der vor allem durch seine Abenteuerromane bekannt wurde. Er begeistert bis heute Groß und Klein.

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Winnetou, the Chief of the Apache, Part I, Enters Old Shatterhand - 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 Spotted Bull - Mandan by Edward S. Curtis, Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division, Edward S. Curtis Collection LC-USZ62-83602

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 is 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


I do not want to detail why I left Saxony in 18--, and went to America to make my fortune in the New World. The poverty in my homeland was the main reason, but I do not want to deny that my desire for adventures also played a role. I was not twenty years old yet when, with big hopes, but with empty pockets, I arrived to New York. From there, driven by my desire for the Wild West, I went to the bank of the Mississippi, to St Louis. I found a job there as a private tutor with a kind family of German descent.

The family was frequently visited by a Mr Henry. I learnt that this rosy-cheeked, grey-haired man was a celebrity of the town, and he was also a philanthropist. He was a gun designer, who loved his work, and introduced a number of innovations to rifles. The rifles that he produced fetched a triple price. People thought, in spite of his philanthropy, that he was eccentric, because his manners were abrupt and rough even to his customers. Only later I learnt of his deep sadness that probably caused this behaviour: many years earlier his wife and his only son had been killed in a raid on his farm in his absence. Mr Henry’s gloomy, introverted manners started then. Then he had moved to the town, and had returned to his original profession. He developed gun-making into a real art.

I, however, was lucky with him. For some reason he liked me from the first moment. He immediately invited me to visit his workshop. Of course, I accepted.

‘When will you come?’ he asked.

‘Maybe tomorrow evening.’

‘I will expect you.’

However, I visited him only three days later.

Instead of greeting me, he started with, ‘Where were you yesterday, young man?’

‘I was busy.’

‘And the day before yesterday?’

‘I didn’t have time.’

‘You didn’t have time! But you promised that you would visit me.’

‘I didn’t think it was so important.’

‘Of course it’s important! And it’s important for you, and not for me, young man!’


‘You’ll see. For the time being let’s talk a bit.’

It was a third degree interrogation. He wanted to know what I had studied, what career I had wanted to pursue before leaving my homeland for America. I answered his questions openly. I told him that I had wanted to become a teacher, but I had to leave school to earn money, and I had tried every honest way to do so. I also told him that my favourite hobby was sport, and added that I was good in all branches of it.

‘Have you mastered guns too?’

‘I think quite well.’

‘Quite well? Only a greenhorn can be so self-confident! You flicked through some books, and you think you have the knowledge. You swam about a bit, you wrestled, and maybe even boxed, and you think of yourself as a great sportsman. But the school of life is much more difficult than your previous education. In the forests, and on the prairies you have to know other things too. Sport isn’t a game there. Wrestling isn’t for a medal in the West, for example, but for life or death.’

As if he felt that he said too much, he suddenly became quiet. He took out a cigar, and lit it. He was silent for at least ten minutes. I did not want to disturb his train of thoughts, so I also remained quiet. Finally he stood up, went to his workbench, and picked up a gun barrel. He kept the barrel towards the light, looked into it, and examined it carefully. Then he turned to me.

‘So you said that you know a lot about guns. Fine. Then take that gun from the wall! Yes, from that hook. Show me how you would aim it. It’s a bit heavy, it’s a bear slayer, but it’s the best.’

I took the gun from the hook, pressed it to my shoulder, and aimed with it.

‘Uh!’ exclaimed Mr Henry ‘You picked it up as if it was a walking stick. It’s not visible on you how muscular you are. So have you mastered weightlifting too?’

As a reply I grabbed him by his belt, and lifted him above my head with one hand.

‘Damn it!’ he shouted, and kicked about. ‘Put me down, right now.’

I put him on his feet, and apologised for the dumb joke.

‘No problem,’ he said. ‘I can see that you are stronger than my Bill used to be.’

‘Who is your Bill?’

‘He used to be my son, and died like others. He was very promising, but he was killed while I was away. He was your age, your countenance, and carriage remind me to him.’

Deep sorrow ran through his face, and he changed the subject of our conversation.

‘Let’s talk about the gun. I would like to see how good your aiming is. I have a fenced plot not to too far from here. I use it as a shooting range to test my new guns. I’ll be there tomorrow. Do you want to join me?’

‘With pleasure, Mr Henry. At what time?’

‘You start your class at 8 am, don’t you? Then come to me for 6 am.’

‘I will be here.’

Mr Henry put the barrel aside, and from a cupboard he took out a many-plane iron piece. He started to file it. He was so deeply involved in his work that he forgot that I was still there. Occasionally he carefully examined the piece. He looked at it almost with love. It seemed that this piece of iron meant a lot to him.

‘Is it a gun component, Mr Henry?’ I asked curiously.

‘I hope it will be,’ he answered, and looked at me as if he only now recognised that I was still there.

I noticed that a hole had been drilled in every plane of this iron piece.

‘I have had many types of rifles in my hand,’ I said, ‘but I’ve never seen such a component in my life. What type of gun is it for?’

‘There’s no such a gun yet,’ he replied, ‘but there will be!’

‘Your invention?’


‘Then I sincerely apologise for my curiosity. I know that such things are secret.’

He looked into each of the holes, and finally attached the iron piece to the barrel that he had in his hand earlier. He appeared to be contented as he looked at it.

‘Yes, a secret,’ he said, ‘but I tell you about it. Even if you are a greenhorn, I can also see that you can keep your mouth shut. I’m designing a completely new breech-loading gun from which twenty-five bullets can be shot.’

‘There’s no such a cartridge that can hold twenty-five bullets,’ I remarked doubtfully.

‘This iron piece will hold the bullets, and it will feed the gun. There are twenty-five holes on it for as many bullets. The structure is not yet ready. I’ve been working on it for years, but now I’m close to the solution.’

‘And also close to a bad conscience!’

He looked at me with an astonishment for a while, and then asked, ‘A bad conscience? Why?’

‘Do you think that a murderer has a bad conscience?’

‘Come on, what do you mean that I’m a murderer?’

‘Not just yet.’

‘Will I become a murderer?’

‘Yes, because aiding the murderer is almost as bad as the murder itself.’

‘Damn! But I’m not an accomplice in a murder!’

‘Not just one, but of a mass murder.’

‘I don’t understand you!’

‘If you make a rifle that can shoot twenty-five times without reloading, and give it to any rascal, who then rides out to the prairies, the forests, and the mountains, there will be gruesome murders, I’m telling you. The poor Indians will be shot as coyotes, and in a few years’ time there will be no more of them. Do you want to have this on your conscience?’

He stared at me, but he did not answer.

‘And,’ I continued, ‘if anyone can get such a dangerous gun for their money, you will sell thousands quickly, and the mustangs, the bison, and all the game will be extinct, and there will be nothing for the redskins to live on. The blood of humans and animals will flow in streams.’

‘Did you really come over the Ocean only recently, and you have never been in the Wild West?’

‘Yes, this is the truth.’

‘So, you are a greenhorn, yet you talk like the ancestor of all Indians who have lived here for thousands of years. Young man! Your words warm my heart indeed. Yet, even if everything happened as you described, it would not apply for me because I’m a lonely man, and I don’t want to build a gun factory with a hundred workers.’

‘But you can make money by taking out a patent for your invention, and sell that.’

‘Until now I have always had what I needed, and I think that I will suffer no hardship even without the patent. But it’s enough of this for the time being. I don’t want to judge a bird’s chirping before it’s fully fledged; before knowing if it can really sing, or it can only whistle.’

I knew very well what he meant. He had grown fond of me, and he was certainly willing to be a fatherly friend to me. We shook hands warmly, and I left.

When I said good-bye to the good gunsmith, I could not have suspected how big a role the heavy bear slayer gun, and also the Henry-rifle, which was born in the front of my eyes, would play in my life.

On the following morning I entered Mr Henry’s workshop punctually. It was 8 am.

‘Good, young man,’ he said. ‘We can go. You’ll carry the bear slayer, and I’ll take a lighter gun.’

In ten minutes we arrived to the plot that Mr Henry had transformed into a little shooting range. Now he loaded both guns. First he shot, then waved to me to take my place on the shooting bench. As I did not know the bear slayer gun, my first shot was not perfect, but already the second one hit the middle of the target. The subsequent bullets flew precisely in the same hole.

Mr Henry’s eyes showed great surprise, but he only said, ‘Good … Surprisingly good, considering that you are a greenhorn.’

He gave me the other gun to try. After the fifth or the sixth hit he said, ‘Very good. Not even a marksman could do better. If you can ride like this, I would say, in a few years’ time you would become a man who can stand up in the Wild West. So, what do you say about riding?’

‘Not a big thing,’ I replied, ‘only getting on the horse is difficult. If I’m on the saddle, the rest is just fun.’

He looked at me searchingly. He could not be sure if I was joking, or I was serious. However, I put on such an innocent face that made his suspicion vanish.

‘You are right,’ he said finally. ‘Getting on the horse takes some effort, while dismounting is easier because the horse also helps.’

‘You mean that it throws the rider off?’ I asked.

‘It can happen even to the best.’

‘Not to me,’ I stated proudly. ‘There’s no such a horse that could throw me off.’

‘Do you want a trial?’ asked Mr Henry.

‘Willingly,’ I replied.

Mr Henry glanced at his watch.

‘There’s enough time,’ he said. ‘We’ll visit Jim Corner the horse trader. He has a pinto that he cannot sell. It’s a bit stubborn, if you understand me.’

‘Let’s go,’ I said.

There was a huge yard behind Corner’s house surrounded by stables. The horse trader must have been Mr Henry’s old acquaintance, because he welcomed us very cordially, and after the mutual greetings he asked how he could help us.

‘This young man says that there is no horse that can throw him off,’ said Mr Henry, ‘and I remembered the pinto that you mentioned to me. What do you say, Mr Corner?’

The horse trader measured me up, and finally he nodded contented. ‘He looks muscular, and his bones look strong,’ he said. ‘If he wants to try my pinto, I don’t object.’

Following his instruction, two stable boys brought the saddled horse from the stable. The animal looked very nervous. Mr Henry suddenly changed his mind, and wanted to dissuade me from the trial. However, I did not share his view, and I had no intention of retreating from the challenge. I only asked for a whip and spurs. I put the spurs on, and jumped on the horse. However, I needed several attempts to sit firmly on the saddle, because the horse did everything to destroy my intentions. When I got on his back, he stretched his four legs, jumped up, and then tried to lean on his side to get rid of me. However, I held him firm by the reins, even though my feet were not yet in the stirrup. When I finally managed that, the horse rose so violently that the two stable boys stepped back with fright. I stayed on the horse. The clever animal rushed to one of the walls, and tried to squash me. My whip explained that it was not a good idea. At that time I was not an experienced rider, so I had to substitute my lacking in skills with the strength of my thighs. Their strong pressure forced the pinto to accept the situation. After a great struggle I won, but when I jumped off the horse my legs were trembling. The surrendered pinto was sweating, and his mouth was foaming.

Mr Corner ordered the stable boys to cover the horse with three blankets, and walk it slowly until it cools down.

‘I couldn’t have imagined this, young man!’ he turned to me. ‘I was sure that the horse would throw you off in the first minute. You won’t have to pay a cent, of course. Just the opposite, I would like to ask you, if you have time, to come again, and tame this beast. I don’t mind paying ten dollars to you for this. I bought this pinto at a high price, and I can sell him only if it’s a bit tamed.’

Mr Henry recovered from his fright only now, and he joyously shook hands with me.

‘If you knew how happy I am,’ he said. ‘I have to say, you are an accomplished rider. Where did you learn it? Where did you practice it?’

‘It was an accident,’ I answered. ‘I was once given a fiery Hungarian horse. Its homeland was the plains, and it didn’t let anyone on its back. It took me weeks until I tamed him. It was hard, but since then I’m not afraid even of the most stubborn horse. But now I have to hurry, because my class is about to start.’

When we parted, Mr Henry shook hands with me, and asked me if I had a free afternoon.

‘A week today,’ I replied.

‘Then please stay at home if you could, and wait for me,’ said Mr Henry, ‘because I’d like to return your visit.’

When he arrived on the agreed day, I wanted to offer him something to drink, but he did not even want to sit down. ‘I came to take you.’

‘Where to?’ I asked.

‘To some gentlemen who want to meet you.’

I saw that he had a new surprise for me, and I did not resist. After a short walk we stopped in the front of a big house. There was some office on the ground floor. Mr Henry grabbed my arm, and he almost pulled me in. I did not have time to read the gilded letters on the glass door. It had to be some sort of an engineering office.

There were three gentlemen there. Mr Henry introduced me; they offered us seats, and as we sat down, they stared at me curiously. It seemed that Mr Henry had talked about me to these gentlemen.

I looked around. I saw drawing boards, and all kinds of tools. I was curious about what they wanted from me.

The talk started with indifferent things, among them they asked how I liked St Louis.

‘Nice town, but I have to admit, I don’t particularly like town life,’ I replied.

‘I agree with you,’ said one of the three gentlemen, ‘if I was younger I wouldn’t sit around in an office either.’

He was a greyish-haired man and he wore golden-framed glasses. For a few moments he seemed to be lost in his own thoughts. He was drumming on the table with his fingers. Then, without any transition, he asked me, ‘Tell me, do you like maths?’

‘I’ve always liked it, but never had enough time to go deeper into it.’

‘And geometry?’

‘More so,’ I replied, ‘because in one summer vacation I wanted to earn money, and I worked for a land surveying company for two months. I learnt a bit of geodesy.’

The three gentlemen exchanged curious looks with each other. The eldest pushed his glasses higher up on his nose.

‘Geodesy?’ he asked slowly. ‘This is our business too, but from a very practical point of view. When I saw you, I thought you were a very sympathetic young man, but also that you wouldn’t know anything about geodesy. Look at that tool there. Have you seen such a tool?’

‘Of course,’ I replied right away, ‘it’s a theodolite. I have worked with it.’

After this, questions came after questions. It felt like an examination about binoculars, chains, steel ribbons, angle mirrors, trigonometric height measurement, levelling, and everything. The three gentlemen kept on nodding to my responses, and Mr Henry was rubbing his hands.

In the beginning it had amused me, but then I started to get a bit peeved. It seemed to me that Mr Henry had boasted about me to his friends, and he wanted to show off with me.

Thank you, I thought, that was enough to me.

‘I don’t want to hold you up,’ I said aloud, and stood up.

After the friendly good-bye, when we were already on the street, Mr Henry stopped; turned to me; put his hand on my shoulder, and with a beaming face he said ‘That was perfect. I was sure that you wouldn’t let me down, but I didn’t expect such a success.’

‘Success? I’m not

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