Saturday, January 07, 2017

"the latchet of whose shoes" - Goethe's Episode Facing a Charge of Spying

A Shinkansen-Express Line Station around Tokyo

Goethe's Episode Facing a Charge of Spying

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) traveled to Italy in 1786.

In a boarder town between Italy and Austria, Goethe found an interesting scenery around an old castle.  He started to sketch it.  Local people started to gather around him, since it was very rare for them to see anyone to make a sketch of or paint the castle.      

Then a policeman and a local officer came to check why the foreigner, namely Goethe, was making a sketch of an old castle on the border.  They suspected that Goethe might be a kind of spy.  So, Goethe improvised a speech on how it was meaningful to record a nice scenery since he was a traveler from a German city to Rome.  Many local people watching the incident agreed with Goethe.  But the policeman and the local officer were not convinced, claiming that they had to take him to a central town in the region to further investigate this case.

But one of local people came forward, saying that he had once lived for several years in the German city Goethe mentioned.  And Goethe and this local man talked about their memory of the city.  So, this local man told the policeman and the officer that it was true that Goethe was just traveling from the German city to Rome and he could not be a spy.

So, finally, the policeman and the local officer gave up the idea to arrest Goethe.  They left the place around the old castle.  And, Goethe could continue his travel to Rome without problems.

This episode looks like a typical case that shows how God rescues someone He wants to rescue.  Of course, if Goethe had been arrested on suspicion of spying, sooner or later he must have been released.  But, it must have some negative influence on Goethe's impression on Italy.

Anyway, it is said that the modern German language started to be formed and shaped by Martin Luther (1483-1546) and was finally completed by Goethe.

Maybe due to completeness of the German language, the German culture has survived the two world wars.  Especially, Germans could rebuild the nation after it had been destroyed by evil of Nazis.

**** **** ****

Mar 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.