de-en  Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - Die Verwandlung (1915) I
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - The Metamorphosis (1915).

I. One morning, when Gregor Samsa awoke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. He lay on his hard armour-like back and, if he raised his head a little, saw his domed, brown belly, divided by arch-shaped stiffeners, on top of which the blanket could barely maintain itself and was ready to slide down entirely. His many legs, miserably thin compared to the rest of his girth, flickered helplessly before his eyes.

"What's happened to me?" he thought. It was no dream. His room, a real human room, just too small, lay quietly between the four familiar walls. Above the table, on which was spread collection of textile samples - Samsa was a traveling salesman - hung the picture he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and put in a nice, gilded frame. It portrayed a lady with a fur hat and fur boa, seated upright and raising a heavy fur muff towards the viewer into which her whole forearm had disappeared. ...

Gregor's gaze then turned to the window, and the gloomy weather - one could hear raindrops hitting the window sill - made him feel quite sad. "How would it be if I went back to sleep and forget all the foolishness," he thought, but that was completely impracticable, for he was used to sleeping on the right side but could not get himself into that position in his present condition. ... With whatever strength he threw himself on his right side, he kept rocking backwards in the supine position. He tried about a hundred times, closed his eyes to avoid seeing the floundering legs, and did not let go until he started to feel a light, dull ache in his side he never felt before.

"Oh God", he thought, "what an exhausting profession I have chosen! Day in, day out travelling. The stresses of business on the road are much worse than in the actual home office; additionally, this plague of travel is inflicted on me, concerns about the train connections, irregular and bad food, human interactions that are temporary and constantly changing, never lasting, never becoming warm. The devil take it all! "He felt a slight itch on the top of his stomach; on his back he moved slowly closer to the bedpost so as to better lift his head; he discovered the itchy area which was covered with little white spots but had no idea what they might be; he wanted to touch the spot with a leg, but withdrew it immediately, for at the touch a wave of cold surrounded him.

He slipped back to his former position. "This getting up early", he thought, "makes you imbecile. A man must have his sleep. Other travelling salesmen live like harem women. For example, when I return to the inn during the morning to transcribe the received orders, these gentlemen are just sitting down for breakfast. I should try that with my boss; I would be fired immediately. Who knows, by the way, if that would not be very good for me. If I didn't exercise constraint because of my parents, I'd have quit a long time ago, I'd have confronted my boss and would have given him a real piece of my mind. He would have had fallen right off his high desk! It is also a peculiar way of sitting up there at the desk and talking down to the subordinate, who, furthermore, has to approach very closely because the boss is hard of hearing. Well, I haven't given up hope entirely; once I have the money together to pay off my parents' debt to him - it may take another five to six years - I will definitely do it. Then I'll make the big break. For the time being, though, I have to get up because my train leaves at five." And he looked over at the alarm clock ticking on the chest of drawers. "Heavenly Father!", he thought. It was half past six o'clock and the hands moved calmly forward, it was even past six-thirty, it was already approaching three-quarters. Shouldn't the alarm clock have rung? You could see from the bed that it was properly set at four o'clock; it must have certainly rung as well. Yes, but was it possible to quietly sleep through this furniture-rattling ringing? Well, he had not slept quietly, but probably all the more deeply. What should he do now? The next train went at seven o'clock; to catch up with it, he would have to hurry like mad, and the collection was not packed yet, and he himself did not feel very fresh and mobile at all. And even if he caught up with the train, his boss's anger would be unavoidable, for the office servant would have been waiting for the five-o'clock train and would have long ago reported his absence. It was a creature of the boss without backbone and mind. What, if he would call in sick? That would be extremely embarrassing and suspicious, because Gregor had not even been ill once during his five years of service. Certainly the boss would come with the physician of the health insurance company; he would reproach his parents because of their lazy son and cut off all objections with reference to the doctor of the insurance company, for whom there are only very healthy, but work-shy people. And by the way, would he have been completely wrong in this case? In fact, apart from a drowsiness that was really superfluous after a long sleep, Gregor felt very well and even felt very hungry.

Considering all this in a great hurry, without being able to decide to leave the bed - the alarm just sounded a quarter to seven - there was a gentle knock on the door at the head of his bed. "Gregor," it called - it was the mother - "it's a quarter to seven. Didn't you want to go away?" The gentle voice! Gregor was startled as he heard his answering voice which was unmistakably his earlier one, but, seeming to come from below, was mixed with an irrepressible, painful squeaking, which literally allowed the words their full clarity only in the first moment, then distorted their resonance so completely, that one did not know whether one had heard properly. Gregor had wanted to answer at length and explain everything, but, in these circumstances, limited himself to say: "Yes, yes thank you Mother, I am just getting up." Because of the wooden door, the change in Gregor's voice probably couldn't be noticed outside, as the mother calmed down with this explanation and shuffled away. But through this little conversation the other members of the family had become aware that Gregor was unexpectedly still at home, and soon his father came knocking at one of the side doors, faintly, but with his fist. "Gregor, Gregor," he shouted, "what is it?" And after a little while he admonished again with a deeper voice: "Gregor! Gregor!" At the other side door, however, the sister quietly complained: "Gregor? Aren't you well? Do you need anything?" Gregor answered to both sides: "I'm just ready", and attempted by the most careful pronunciation and by inserting long breaks between the single words to remove any irregularity from his voice. The father also returned to his breakfast, but the sister whispered: "Gregor, open the door, I implore you."However, Gregor had no intention of opening it, applauding the precaution he had adopted from travelling, to lock all doors during the night even at home.

At first he wanted to get up quietly and undisturbed, dress himself and above all have breakfast, and then think about the things to come, because, as he had well noticed, in bed his deliberations were not going to bring about a sensible solution. He often remembered having felt some slight pain in bed, perhaps because of lying awkwardly, that turned out to be pure imagination after he got out of bed, and he wondered how his present imaginings would gradually resolve themselves. He didn't have the slightest doubt that the change of voice was nothing but the precursor to a serious cold, an occupational disease of the traveling salesman.

Dropping the blanket was very easy; he just had to inflate himself a little and it fell off by itself. But still it became difficult, especially because he was so extraordinarily wide. He would have needed arms and hands to sit up; but instead he only had those many little legs, which were constantly moving all over the place and which, moreover, he could not control. If he wanted to bend one of them, then it was the first one that stretched itself out; and when he finally succeeded in doing what he wanted with this leg, all the others, as if they were set free, were now working in the highest, painful commotion. "Don't stay in bed unnecessarily," Gregor told himself.

At first he wanted to get out of bed with the lower part of his body, but this lower part, which, by the way, he had not seen yet, and which he could not really imagine, turned out to be too difficult to move; it went so slowly; and when, at last, almost thoughtlessly, he pushed forward with all the strength he had, he had chosen the wrong direction, struck the lower bedpost violently, and the burning pain he felt taught him that at the moment the lower part of his body was now perhaps the most sensitive.

So he tried first to get his upper body out of bed and turned his head cautiously to the edge of the bed. This came off easily, and despite its width and heaviness, the body mass slowly followed the turn of the head. But when he finally held his head outside the bed in the open air, he was afraid to move forward in this way, because if he finally let himself fall like that, a miracle had to happen if the head wasn't to be hurt. And right now he could not lose consciousness at any price; he preferred to stay in bed.

But when he had exerted himself as much to get back to where he had been before, he lay there sighing, and again saw his legs fighting even harder with each other, and found it impossible to bring peace and order to this caprice, he told himself again that he could not possibly stay in bed and that the most sensible thing would be to sacrifice everything, if there was even the slightest hope of getting out of bed by doing so. At the same time, however, he did not forget to remind himself that quiet and calmest consideration was much better than desperate decisions. At times like this he turned his eyes as sharply as possible to the window, but unfortunately, the sight of the morning mist, which even covered the other side of the narrow street, did not bring much confidence and cheerfulness. "Seven o'clock, already," he said to himself as the alarm rang again, "seven o'clock, and still such a mist." And for a while he lay quietly with feeble breath, as though perhaps he expected the utter silence to bring back the real and natural situation.

Then he said to himself: Before the clock strikes a quarter past seven, I must have left the bed completely. Besides, by then someone from the shop will come asking for me because the store opens before seven o'clock". And now he set about swinging the whole length of his body completely and evenly out of the bed. If he dropped out of bed in this way, his head, which he wanted to lift sharply while falling, probably remained unharmed. The back seemed to be hard; nothing would happen to it during the fall on the carpet. He was most worried about the loud noise that it should cause, and which would probably, if not fright, cause alarm behind all the doors. But he had to risk it.

When Gregor was sticking halfway out of bed - the new method was more of a game than an effort, he just had to rock jerkily - he thought how easy it would be if someone came to help him. Two strong people - he thought of his father and the maid - would have been more than enough; they would just have to push their arms under his arched back, peel him out of bed, bend down with the load, and then just be careful as he swung over onto the floor, where the legs would hopefully know what to do. Well, apart from the fact that the doors were locked, should he really call for help? In spite of all the hardship he couldn't hold back a smile with this thought.

Already he was so far along that he could barely keep his balance when he was swaying, and very soon he had to make a final decision, for in five minutes it was quarter past seven, – when the doorbell rang. "That's someone from business," he said to himself almost freezing, while his little legs danced all the more quicker. A moment everything kept quiet. "They don't open," Gregor said to himself, caught in some absurd hope. But then as always the maid went with firm steps to the door and opened. Gregor only had to hear the visitor's first word of greeting and already knew who he was - the procurator himself. Why was Gregor the only one condemned to serve in a company where even the smallest omission raised the greatest suspicion? Should all the employees be rascals, was there no true devoted man among them, who would get crazy by scruples as not having used the early hours for business, and even not could manage to get out of bed? Wouldn't it really be enough to let an apprentice make enquiries - if these enquiries were necessary at all - did it have to be the procurator himself, and was it necessary to show to the whole innocent family that the investigation of this suspicious affair could only be entrusted to the brains of the procurator? And, more as a result of the excitement into which Gregor was thrown by these considerations, than by a real decision, he swung himself out of bed with all his might. There was a loud blow, but there was no real noise. The fall was somewhat cushioned by the carpet, his back was also more elastic than Gregor had thought, therefore, the dull sound that occurred was not so noticeable. ... But he had not held his head carefully enough and struck it; he turned it and rubbed it against the carpet with anger and pain.

"Something in there has fallen down," said the procurator in the next room on the left. Gregor tried to imagine whether something similar could also happen to the procurator as it had to him today; one actually had to admit that possibility But as if to answer this question crudely, the procurator took a few deliberate steps in the next room and let his patent leather boots creak. ... From the next room on the right, Gregor's sister whispered to inform him: "Gregor, the procurator is here." "I know," Gregor said to himself, but so loudly that his sister could have heard, he did not dare to raise his voice. ...

"Gregor," the father said now from the next room on the left, "the gentleman procurator has come and inquires why you did not leave with the early train. We don't know what to say to him. By the way, he also wants to talk to you personally. So please open the door. He will be kind enough, to forgive the disorder in your room." Then the procurator called: "Good morning, Mr. Samsa." "He's not well," said his mother to the procurator, while his father spoke at the door. "He's not well, believe me, sir. How else would Gregor miss a train! The boy's got nothing on his mind but business. I am almost annoyed that he never goes out in the evening; now he was in town for eight days, but he was home every evening. There he sits at our table and quietly reads the newspaper or studies timetables. It's a distraction for him to be occupied in fretwork. For example, over the course of two or three evenings, he carved a small frame; you'll be amazed at how pretty it is; it's hanging in the room; you'll see it right away as soon as Gregor opens the door. By the way, I am happy that you are here, Mr. Procurator; we alone would not have gotten Gregor to open the door; he is so persistent, and he is certainly not well although he denied it this morning." "I'll be right there," Gregor said slowly and deliberately and did not move in order not to lose a word of the conversation. "Otherwise, ma'am, I can't explain it either," said the procurator, "I hope it's nothing serious. On the other hand, although I must say that we businessmen - as one desires, unfortunately or fortunately - very often simply have to overcome a slight discomfort for business reasons." "So can the gentleman procurator come in right away to see you?" asked his impatient father, knocking on the door again. "No," said Gregor. In the next room on the left an embarrassing silence arose, in the next room on the right his sister began to sob.

Why didn't his sister go to the others? She must have just gotten out of bed and hadn't even started getting dressed yet. And why was she even crying? ... Because he did not get up and did not let the procurator in, because he was in danger of losing his post and because then the boss would pursue his parents with the old demands again? These were probably unnecessary worries for now. Gregor was still here and didn't think in the slightest of leaving his family. At the moment, he was lying there on the carpet, and anyone who had known his condition wouldn't have seriously demanded him to let the procurator in. But because of this slight rudeness, for which he would easily find a suitable excuse later, Gregor could not very well be immediately dismissed. And to Gregor it seemed that it would be much more sensible to leave him alone now than to disturb him with crying and persuasion. But it was alone the uncertainty that pressured the others and excused their behavior.

"Mr. Samsa," the procurator now called with raised voice, " what's the matter? You barricade yourself in your room, answer merely with yes and no, you make your parents worry gravely and unnecessarily, and you fail, this is only mentioned in passing, your business duties in a truly unheard of manner. I am speaking here on behalf of your parents and your boss and I earnestly ask you for an immediate, clear explanation. I wonder, I wonder. I thought I knew you as a quiet, reasonable person, and now you suddenly seem to want to start parading with strange whims. The boss suggested a possible explanation for your absence to me this morning - it concerned the debt collection recently entrusted to you; but I really almost gave my word of honor that this explanation could not be true. But now I see here your incomprehensible stubbornness and lose completely and utterly every desire to stand up for you in the least. And your position is by no means the strongest one. I originally intended to tell you all this in private, but since you are making me waste my time here uselessly, I don't know why your parents shouldn't hear it too. Then your recent achievements have been very unsatisfactory; it is not the season for doing extraordinary business, we recognize that; but there is no season, Mr. Samsa, there must be no season at all for avoiding doing business." "But Mr. Procurator," called Gregor, beside himself and forgetting everything else in his excitement, "Yes, I will immediately, instantly open up. A slight uneasiness, a dizzy spell prevented me from getting up. I am still lying in bed now. Now, however, I am quite fresh again. I am just climbing out of bed. ... Only just a moment patience! It still isn't going as well as I thought. ... But I'm already fine. Whatever can befall a human being! Last night I was still completely well, my parents indeed know that, or better, even yesterday evening I had a little premonition. One should have noticed it in me. Why didn't I just notify the office! But you always think that you will survive the illness without staying at home. Mr. Procurator! Spare my parents! There is no reason for all of the accusations you are making to me now; I have not been told a word about it either. You may not have read the last orders I sent. By the way, I am still travelling with the eight o'clock train, the few hours of rest have strengthened me. I'll be in the office myself in a moment, Mr. Procurator, and will you have the goodness to say so and recommend me to the boss!" And while Gregor hastily expelled all of this and hardly knew what he was saying, he had approached the wardrobe easily, probably as a result of the practice he had already gained in bed, and was now trying to get upright against it. He really wanted to open the door, in fact let himself be seen and talk to the procurator; he was eager to know what the others, who were now so demanding of him, would say when they saw him. If they were terrified, then it would no longer be Gregor's responsibility and he could be at peace. But if they accepted everything calmly, then he would have no reason to get upset and, if he hurried, could actually be at the station at eight o'clock. At first he slipped off the smooth box a few times, but at last he gave himself one last swing and stood upright; he did not pay any attention to the pains in his abdomen, no matter how much they were burning. Now he let himself fall against the backrest of a nearby chair and held on to the edges with his little legs. But he had also gained control of himself and kept quiet, because now he could listen to the procurator.

"Did you understand even one word?" the procurator asked his parents. "He wouldn't be making a fool of us?" "For God's sake," cried the mother, "he may be seriously ill, and we are torturing him. Grete! Grete!", she then cried. "Mother?" his sister called from the other side. They communicated across Gregor's room. You'll have to go to the doctor right away. Gregor is ill. Quick, to the doctor. Did you hear how Gregor spoke just now." "That was the voice of an animal," said the procurator, remarkably calm compared to his mother's screams. "Anna! Anna!," his father shouted through the anteroom to the kitchen and clapped his hands, "get a locksmith right away!" And the two girls were already running through the anteroom, their skirts flying - how had his sister dressed so quickly? – and tore the apartment door open. One did not hear the door slam; they had probably left it open, as it often happens in apartments where some terrible misfortune has happened.

However, Gregor had calmed down a lot. So one couldn't understand his words any more, although he thought them to be clear enough, clearer than before, perhaps as a result of the adaptation of the ear. But at least they now believed that something was not right with him and were willing to help him. The confidence and certainty with which the first orders had been made did him good. He felt re-involved in the human circle and was hoping from both - the doctor and the locksmith, without actually distinguishing between them - great and surprising services. In order to get a clear voice for the approaching decisive meetings, he coughed a little, but tried to do so in a very subdued way, since this sound may have already sounded different from a human cough, which he could no longer judge for himself. In the next room it had become very quiet in the meantime. Maybe the parents sat at the table with the procurator and whispered, maybe everyone leaned at the door and listened.

Gregor slowly pushed himself towards the door with the armchair, released it there, threw himself against the door, holding himself upright on it - the balls of his legs had a little sticky stuff - and rested there from the effort for a moment But then he started to turn the key in the lock with his mouth. Unfortunately, it seemed that he had no real teeth, - what should he use to hold the key now? - however, his jaws were very strong; with their help he managed to move the key, ignoring that he was undoubtedly doing himself some damage, because a brown liquid came out of his mouth, flowed over the key, and dripped onto the floor. "Just listen," said the procurator in the adjoined room, "he is turning the key." That was a great encouragement for Gregor; but all of them should have shouted to him, even his father and mother: "Briskly Gregor", they should have called out, "keep at it, stay close to the lock!" And imagining that everyone was following his efforts with great anxiety, he senselessly bit the key with all the strength he could muster. As the key continued to turn, he danced around the lock, keeping upright with just his mouth, and as needed he clung to the key or pushed it down again with the entire weight of his body. The brighter sound of the lock as it finally snapped back really woke Gregor up. Heaving a sigh of relief he said to himself: "So I didn't need the locksmith", and put his head on the handle to open the door completely.

Since he had to open the door in this way, it was really already opened rather wide, yet he himself was not yet visible. He first had to slowly turn around one door wing, in fact very carefully, if he didn't want to fall flat on his back before entering the room. He was still occupied with this difficult movement and did not have time to pay attention to other things, when he heard the procurator let out a loud "Oh!" - it sounded like a gust of wind and now he also saw him, standing next to the door, his hand pressed against his open mouth and slowly retreating, as if an invisible, steady continually applied force was driving him away. The mother - she stood here despite the presence of the procurator, with her hair still loose from the night but bristling high - first looked at the father with folded hands, then took two steps towards Gregor and fell down in the midst of her spreading skirts, the face completely undetectable lowered to her chest. The father clenched his fist with a hostile expression, as if he wanted to push Gregor back into his room, then looked around the living room uncertainly, then shaded his eyes with his hands and wept so much so that his mighty chest shook.

Gregor did not step into the room but leaned against the inside of the firmly locked door wing so that only half of his body and above that his head, which was inclined to the side so that he could peer across to the others, could be seen. It had by now become much brighter; clearly, a snippet of the opposite, endless, grayish-black building standing on the other side of the street - it was a hospital - with regular windows perforating through the front; the rain was still falling, but only with large, individually visible drops literally thrown down singly to earth. The breakfast crockery stood on the table overabundantly because for the father breakfast was the most important meal of the day, which he prolonged for hours while reading various newspapers. Just on the opposite wall hung a photograph of Gregor from his military days, which showed him as a lieutenant, how he, his hand on a sword, smiling carelessly, demanded respect for his posture and uniform. The door to the anteroom was open, and one saw, since the apartment door was also open, out onto the vestibule of the apartment and onto the first step of the descending stairs.

"Well," said Gregor, well aware that he was the only one who had kept his composure, "I'll get dressed right away, pack up the collection and depart. Do you want, do you want to let me depart? Well, Mr. Procurator, you see, I'm not stubborn, and I like to work; traveling is difficult, but I could not live without traveling. Where are you going now, Mr Procurator? To the store? Don't you? Will you everything report truthfully? One may be unable to work at the moment, but then it is just the right time to remember the previous achievements and to remember that, once the obstacle has been removed, one will certainly work all the more diligently and collectively later. I am indeed so committed to the boss, you know that very well. On the other hand, I'm concerned about my parents and sister. I'm in a bind, but I'll work my way out again. But don't make it any harder for me than it already is. Keep my party in business! The traveling salesman is not loved, I know. One thinks he earns a fortune and leads a good life. There is no particular reason to think this prejudice through better. But you, Mr. Prokurist, have a better overview of the situation than the other personnel, even, quite confidentially, a better overview than the boss himself, who in his capacity as an entrepreneur allows himself to be easily misled in his judgment to the disadvantage of an employee. You also know very well that the traveling salesman, who is away from the business almost the whole year, can so easily be a victim of gossip, coincidences and baseless complaints, defending against which is to him quite impossible because he learns nothing at all about them most of the time, and only then, when he has finished a trip exhausted, gets the bad news at home and no longer has a gut feeling to see through the aftereffects. Mr. Procurator, don't leave without telling me a word that shows me that, at least to a small extent, you agree with me!" But the procurator had already turned away at Gregor's first words, and only over his shrugging shoulders did he look back at Gregor with raised lips. And while Gregor was speaking, he did not stand still for a moment, but, without letting Gregor out of his sight, withdrew towards the door albeit very gradually, as if there was a secret ban on leaving the room. Soon he was in the anteroom, and after the sudden movement with which he withdrew his foot from the living room for the last time, one could have thought he had just burnt his sole. In the anteroom, however, he stretched his right hand far away from himself towards the stairs as if an almost supernatural redemption was waiting for him there.

Gregor realized that under no circumstances should he let the procurator go away in this mood if his position in the business were not to be endangered to the utmost. His parents did not understand it all that well; they had formed the conviction in the long years that Gregor was provided for his life in this business, and besides, they were now so busy with the present worries that they had lost all foresight. But Gregor had this foresight. The procurator had to be held back, reassured, convinced and finally won over; the future of Gregor and his family after all depended upon it! If only his sister had been here! She was smart; she had already cried when Gregor was still lying quietly on his back. And certainly the procurator, this ladies' man, would have let himself be guided by her; she would have closed the apartment door and would have talked him out of his fright in the anteroom. But his sister was not even there, Gregor had to act by himself. ... And without thinking that he did not yet know his current abilities to move, without even knowing that his speech had probably not been understood again, he let go the door wing; pushed himself through the opening; wanted to go to the procurator, who already ridiculously held onto the railing of the forecourt with both hands; but, looking for a foothold, he immediately fell with a small cry on the many little legs. As soon as that had happened, he felt a physical sense of well being for the first time this morning; his legs had solid ground underneath them; they obeyed completely as he noticed to his delight; they even strove to carry him away wherever he wanted to go; and he already believed that the improvement to all his suffering was finally imminent. But at the same moment, as he lay there rocking with more restrained movements than before not far from his mother just opposite on the floor, she, who seemed so very self-absorbed, jumped up all at once into the air, arms outstretched, fingers spread wide, and shouted: "Help us, for God's sake help us!" keeping her head bent, as if she wanted to see Gregor better, but pointlessly ran back in contradiction to this; she had forgotten that behind her the covered table was standing; when she had arrived at it hastily in her absentmindedness, she sat down on it and did not seem to notice at all that next to her, the big pot of coffee overturned and poured onto the carpet in full stream.

"Mother, Mother", said Gregor faintly, and looked up to her. For an instant, the procurator was completely absent from his mind; however, he could not resist snapping his jaws in vain several times at the sight of the flowing coffee. His mother cried out again over it, fled from the table and fell into the arms of his father rushing towards her. But Gregor had no time for his parents now; the procurator was on the stairs already; his chin on the landing, he looked back for a last time. Gregor made an attempt to catch up with him as safely as possible; the procurator must have suspected something, for he took a leap over several steps and disappeared; "Ha!" however, he was still screaming, it sounded through the whole stairwell. Unfortunately, this escape of the procurator's now seemed to completely confuse his father, who so far had been relatively calm, because instead of running after the procurator himself, or at least not trying to hinder Gregor in his pursuit, in his right hand he grabbed the procurator's stick that he had left with his hat and overcoat on a chair, took a large newspaper from the table with his left, and stomping his feet, he drove Gregor back to his room by swinging the stick and the newspaper. No requests from Gregor helped, no pleas were even understood, he wanted to turn his head ever so humbly, but his father just stamped his feet harder. Despite the chilly weather, his mother threw open a window over there, and leaning out, she pressed her face in her hands far beyond the window. A strong draft arose between the alley and the staircase, the window curtains flew open, the newspapers rustled on the table, individual pages blew across the floor. The father relentlessly pushed and hissed like a savage. Yet Gregar was not used to walking backwards at all, everthing took him quite a long time. If only Gregor were allowed to turn around, he would have been right in his room, but he feared making his father impatient with the time consuming turn, and at any moment the deadly blow to his back or head from the stick in his father's hand threatened him. Finally, however, Gregor had no other choice because he realized with horror that he did not even understand how to walk in a straight line when going backwards; and thus, among unceasing fearful side glances at his father, he started to quickly turn round as far as possible, but in reality, he could turn around only very slowly. Perhaps his father noticed his good intention, for he did not disturb him in so doing, but even directed his turning movement here and there with the tip of his stick from a distance. If only it hadn't been for the father's unbearable hissing! Gregor lost his head completely about it. He was almost completely turned around when, constantly listening to this hissing sound, he even made a mistake and turned back a bit. But when he was finally happy with his head in front of the door, it turned out that his body was too wide to get through. Of course, in his present condition, it didn't even occur remotely to his father to open the other door wing in order to create a sufficient passage for Gregor. He was fixated on the idea that Gregor had to get into his room as quickly as possible. He would never have allowed the cumbersome preparations that Gregor needed to get up and perhaps get through the door in that way. Rather, as if there were no obstacle and making a lot of noise, he was driving Gregor forwards. Behind Gregor it did not sound like the voice of a single father. It was no fun anymore, and Gregor pushed himself into the doorway, no matter what might happen. One side of his body lifted, he lay crooked in the doorway, one of his flanks was chafed, ugly spots remained on the white door, soon he got stuck and wasn't able to move by himself, his legs on one side hung trembling up in the air, those on the other were painfully pressed to the floor - then his father now gave him a truly redeeming mighty shove from behind, and bleeding profusely, he flew far inside his room. The door was slammed shut with the stick, then it was finally quiet.
unit 1
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - Die Verwandlung (1915).
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 5
»Was ist mit mir geschehen?«, dachte er.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 6
Es war kein Traum.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 14
»Ach Gott«, dachte er, »was für einen anstrengenden Beruf habe ich gewählt!
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 15
Tag aus, Tag ein auf der Reise.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 18
Er glitt wieder in seine frühere Lage zurück.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 19
»Dies frühzeitige Aufstehen«, dachte er, »macht einen ganz blödsinnig.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 20
Der Mensch muß seinen Schlaf haben.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 21
Andere Reisende leben wie Haremsfrauen.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 23
Das sollte ich bei meinem Chef versuchen; ich würde auf der Stelle hinausfliegen.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 24
Wer weiß übrigens, ob das nicht sehr gut für mich wäre.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 26
Vom Pult hätte er fallen müssen!
3 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 29
Dann wird der große Schnitt gemacht.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 31
»Himmlischer Vater!«, dachte er.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 33
Sollte der Wecker nicht geläutet haben?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 34
Man sah vom Bett aus, daß er auf vier Uhr richtig eingestellt war; gewiß hatte er auch geläutet.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 35
Ja, aber war es möglich, dieses möbelerschütternde Läuten ruhig zu verschlafen?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 36
Nun, ruhig hatte er ja nicht geschlafen, aber wahrscheinlich desto fester.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 37
Was aber sollte er jetzt tun?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 40
Es war eine Kreatur des Chefs, ohne Rückgrat und Verstand.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 41
Wie nun, wenn er sich krank meldete?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 44
Und hätte er übrigens in diesem Falle so ganz unrecht?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 47
»Gregor«, rief es - es war die Mutter - , »es ist dreiviertel sieben.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 48
Wolltest du nicht wegfahren?« Die sanfte Stimme!
4 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 53
Gregor!« An der anderen Seitentür aber klagte leise die Schwester: »Gregor?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 54
Ist dir nicht wohl?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 61
Aber weiterhin wurde es schwierig, besonders weil er so ungemein breit war.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 64
»Nur sich nicht im Bett unnütz aufhalten«, sagte sich Gregor.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 69
unit 77
Der Rücken schien hart zu sein; dem würde wohl bei dem Fall auf den Teppich nichts geschehen.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 79
Das mußte aber gewagt werden.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 82
unit 83
Trotz aller Not konnte er bei diesem Gedanken ein Lächeln nicht unterdrücken.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 86
Einen Augenblick blieb alles still.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 87
»Sie öffnen nicht«, sagte sich Gregor, befangen in irgendeiner unsinnigen Hoffnung.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 88
Aber dann ging natürlich wie immer das Dienstmädchen festen Schrittes zur Tür und öffnete.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 94
Es gab einen lauten Schlag, aber ein eigentlicher Krach war es nicht.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 97
»Da drin ist etwas gefallen«, sagte der Prokurist im Nebenzimmer links.
4 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 102
Wir wissen nicht, was wir ihm sagen sollen.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 103
Übrigens will er auch mit dir persönlich sprechen.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 104
Also bitte mach die Tür auf.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 107
Wie würde denn Gregor sonst einen Zug versäumen!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 108
Der Junge hat ja nichts im Kopf als das Geschäft.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 110
Da sitzt er bei uns am Tisch und liest still die Zeitung oder studiert Fahrpläne.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 111
Es ist schon eine Zerstreuung für ihn, wenn er sich mit Laubsägearbeiten beschäftigt.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 116
»Nein«, sagte Gregor.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 118
Warum ging denn die Schwester nicht zu den anderen?
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 119
unit 120
Und warum weinte sie denn?
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 122
Das waren doch vorläufig wohl unnötige Sorgen.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 123
Noch war Gregor hier und dachte nicht im geringsten daran, seine Familie zu verlassen.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 127
Aber es war eben die Ungewißheit, welche die anderen bedrängte und ihr Benehmen entschuldigte.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 128
»Herr Samsa«, rief nun der Prokurist mit erhobener Stimme, »was ist denn los?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 131
Ich staune, ich staune.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 135
Und Ihre Stellung ist durchaus nicht die festeste.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 138
Ein leichtes Unwohlsein, ein Schwindelanfall, haben mich verhindert aufzustehen.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 139
Ich liege noch jetzt im Bett.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 140
Jetzt bin ich aber schon wieder ganz frisch.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 141
Eben steige ich aus dem Bett.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 142
Nur einen kleinen Augenblick Geduld!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 143
Es geht noch nicht so gut; wie ich dachte.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 144
Es ist mir aber schon wohl.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 145
Wie das nur einen Menschen so überfallen kann!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 147
Man hätte es mir ansehen müssen.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 148
Warum habe ich es nur im Geschäfte nicht gemeldet!
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 149
Aber man denkt eben immer, daß man die Krankheit ohne Zuhausebleiben überstehen wird.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 150
Herr Prokurist!
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 151
Schonen Sie meine Eltern!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 153
Sie haben vielleicht die letzten Aufträge, die ich geschickt habe, nicht gelesen.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 154
unit 157
Würden sie erschrecken, dann hatte Gregor keine Verantwortung mehr und konnte ruhig sein.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 163
Grete!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 164
Grete!« schrie sie dann.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 165
»Mutter?« rief die Schwester von der anderen Seite.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 166
Sie verständigten sich durch Gregors Zimmer.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 167
»Du mußt augenblicklich zum Arzt.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 168
Gregor ist krank.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 169
Rasch um den Arzt.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 171
»Anna!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 173
- und rissen die Wohnungstüre auf.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 175
Gregor war aber viel ruhiger geworden.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 178
unit 181
Im Nebenzimmer war es inzwischen ganz still geworden.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 184
Dann aber machte er sich daran, mit dem Mund den Schlüssel im Schloß umzudrehen.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 189
Der hellere Klang des endlich zurückschnappenden Schlosses erweckte Gregor förmlich.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 202
Wollt Ihr, wollt Ihr mich wegfahren lassen?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 204
Wohin gehen Sie denn, Herr Prokurist?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 205
Ins Geschäft?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 206
Ja?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 207
Werden Sie alles wahrheitsgetreu berichten?
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 209
Ich bin ja dem Herrn Chef so sehr verpflichtet, das wissen Sie doch recht gut.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 210
Andererseits habe ich die Sorge um meine Eltern und die Schwester.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 211
Ich bin in der Klemme, ich werde mich aber auch wieder herausarbeiten.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 212
Machen Sie es mir aber nicht schwieriger, als es schon ist.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 213
Halten Sie im Geschäft meine Partei!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 214
Man liebt den Reisenden nicht, ich weiß.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 215
Man denkt, er verdient ein Heidengeld und führt dabei ein schönes Leben.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 216
Man hat eben keine besondere Veranlassung, dieses Vorurteil besser zu durchdenken.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 225
Aber Gregor hatte diese Voraussicht.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 227
Wäre doch die Schwester hier gewesen!
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 228
Sie war klug; sie hatte schon geweint, als Gregor noch ruhig auf dem Rücken lag.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 230
Aber die Schwester war eben nicht da, Gregor selbst mußte handeln.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 234
»Mutter, Mutter«, sagte Gregor leise, und sah zu ihr hinauf.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 243
Unerbittlich drängte der Vater und stieß Zischlaute aus, wie ein Wilder.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 244
Nun hatte aber Gregor noch gar keine Übung im Rückwärtsgehen, es ging wirklich sehr langsam.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 248
Wenn nur nicht dieses unerträgliche Zischen des Vaters gewesen wäre!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 249
Gregor verlor darüber ganz den Kopf.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 253
Seine fixe Idee war bloß, daß Gregor so rasch als möglich in sein Zimmer müsse.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
unit 257
Die Tür wurde noch mit dem Stock zugeschlagen, dann war es endlich still.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 3  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 237  7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 81  7 months, 1 week ago
bf2010 • 4788  commented on  unit 220  7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 118  7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 149  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 149  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 239  7 months, 1 week ago
Scharing7 • 1770  commented on  unit 232  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 242  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 247  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 255  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 254  7 months, 1 week ago
markvanroode • 389  commented on  unit 4  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 252  7 months, 1 week ago
DrWho • 8394  commented on  unit 244  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 257  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 212  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 210  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 202  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 186  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 175  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 1  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 157  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 150  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 112  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented  7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 89  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 82  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 134  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 119  7 months, 1 week ago
markvanroode • 389  translated  unit 171  7 months, 1 week ago
markvanroode • 389  translated  unit 163  7 months, 1 week ago
markvanroode • 389  commented on  unit 150  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 78  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 101  7 months, 1 week ago
anitafunny • 6200  commented on  unit 70  7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 55  7 months, 1 week ago
bf2010 • 4788  commented on  unit 17  7 months, 1 week ago
bf2010 • 4788  commented on  unit 10  7 months, 1 week ago
bf2010 • 4788  commented on  unit 25  7 months, 1 week ago
bf2010 • 4788  commented on  unit 26  7 months, 1 week ago
Merlin57 • 3749  commented on  unit 26  7 months, 1 week ago
Scharing7 • 1770  commented on  unit 67  7 months, 1 week ago
Scharing7 • 1770  commented on  unit 51  7 months, 2 weeks ago
Scharing7 • 1770  commented on  unit 46  7 months, 2 weeks ago
markvanroode • 389  commented on  unit 26  7 months, 2 weeks ago
Siri • 1143  commented on  unit 14  7 months, 2 weeks ago