“However,” the Officer said, interrupting himself, “I’m chattering, and his apparatus stands here in front of us. As you see, it consists of three parts. With the passage of time certain popular names have been developed for each of these parts. The one underneath is called the Bed, the upper one is called the Inscriber, and here in the middle, this moving part is called the Harrow.” “The Harrow?” the Traveller asked. He had not been listening with full attention.
“In the Penal Colony,” Franz Kafka.
“Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.”
“You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.
–Franz Kafka’s “A Little Fable”
Bachelor’s Ill Luck
It seems so dreadful to stay a bachelor, to become an old man struggling to keep one’s dignity while begging for an invitation whenever one wants to spend an evening in company, to lie ill gazing for weeks into an empty room from the corner where one’s bed is, always having to say good night at the front door, never to run up a stairway beside one’s wife, to have only side doors in one’s room leading into other people’s living rooms, having to carry one’s supper home in one’s hand, having to admire other people’s children and not even being allowed to go on saying: ‘I have none myself,’ modeling oneself in appearance and behavior on one or two bachelors remembered from one’s youth.
That’s how it will be, except that in reality, both today and later, one will stand there with a palpable body and a real head, a real forehead, that is, for smiting on with one’s hand.
“Bachelor’s Ill Luck” by Franz Kafka.