Appealing to the Masses

What follows is an excerpt from a short story by Hašek, chronicling his campaign to be elected to the Imperial Council of Austria as a candidate of the satirical political party, The Party of Moderate Progress Within the Bounds of the Law:

Hasek
The Czech master himself, as a young man

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Šafler, the Cunning Catholic

As everyone knows, if one gathers up several coins, it adds up to one or even more bills, assuming one makes use of this opportunity for saving. The small, shrewd eyes of old Šafler examined the ballot paper calculatingly. Because he believed in God, he undertook to sell his vote to the Christian Social Party.

“Praise Jesus Christ!” he said, as he entered the polling station of the Christian Socials. “I come on account of the elections.”

Paul Klee- The Lamb
Paul Klee, The Lamb (1920)

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A Legitimate Business

Once upon a time I sat upon a bench in the Charles Square park with the noble Mestek.

Mestek, the proprietor of a flea circus, was in a very despondent mood because he had come to the realization that fleas were no longer suited for the purpose of training. A catastrophe had recently befallen his flea circus. Some drunken fellow, driven by the crazed conviction that the whole thing was a sham, had entered his booth and…

reelle unternehmen
Illustration by Josef Lada

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Christmas Eve at the Orphanage

On Christmas Day, the orphan boy Pazourek found himself locked in a pantry, in which two sacks of flour were stored and—as Pazourek noticed to his delight—numerous sacks of prunes besides.

This discovery ameliorated Pazourek’s desperate situation—so much so that he could nearly have said a prayer of thanksgiving on account of these dried plums, had he not found himself in a circumstance that, instead, inspired blasphemy.

Lada xmas new6
All illustrations by Josef Lada

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