Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Krabat by Otfried Preußler is a version of the old Krabat legend. Krabat is a young beggar who is taken on as an apprentice by the miller of Schwarzkollm. He soon discovers that the miller practices dark magic and teaches it to his journeymen as well. Of course there's a price to be paid for that: once a year one of the journeymen dies, a part of the pact the miller has with the devil. Krabat starts to think about how he can escape from the mill.

The book has the strong, clear language of a fairy tale, fitting for a re-telling of such an old story. It's easy to lose yourself in this book, with its slow rhythm and vivid characters. The miller is a very eerie character, especially since many things are only hinted at when it comes to him and his secrets.

Another thing I like about Krabat are the descriptions of the everyday life at the mill, a life that has been lost for a long time. You can just imagine yourself stepping into the mill...although you may not want to, considering the consequences.

Preußler himself wrote Krabat as a tale about power and its temptations and it can certainly be read that way. But it works just as well as a story about good and evil (there's very little grey in this story) or as a modern version of a simple folktale. Although I always wonder, is there such a thing as a simple folktale? I don't think so.

Krabat is my 48th book for the Library Challenge

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