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Herbert Windolf

September 26th, 2009


herbertwindolfHerbert Windolf was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1936. In 1964 he emigrated to Canada with his family to provide his German employer with technical services for North America. In 1970 he was transferred to the United States and eventually became Managing Director, later Vice President, of the US affiliate. He has taught courses on scientific subjects at an adult education center, has written science essays and, widely traveled, miscellaneous travelogues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and, now retired, resides in Prescott, Arizona. He is the Vice President Emeritus of the Planetary Studies Foundation. An astronomer friend has named an asteroid after him. He has translated a number of literary works from German to English, his first being Karl May’s, “The Oil Prince”, published by Washington State University Press.

Karl May Translations


The Mahdi I – Karl May/Herbert Windolf

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The Mahdi I
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A Turkish trader befriends the narrator and invites him into his Cairo home where he uncovers a fake ghost, who turns out to be the leader of a powerful Muslim organization. The Turk then induces his guest to accompany him to the Sudan. Circumstances however force the narrator to travel ahead alone up the Nile River on a sailing ship. The ship’s crew turns out to be accomplices of a Muslim leader, who are slave traders. An Egyptian naval officer arrests the ship’s crew and invites the narrator to continue his travel upriver with him. Arriving in Asyut he is hosted at a Pasha’s residence, tames an Arab stallion, and visits a mummy cave. A Fakir lures him into a well from where he extricates himself. Joined by the Turk, the two continue to travel up the Nile. In the Sudan, the narrator discovers that his Turkish “friend” is actually allied with the slavers. The Egyptian naval officer asks for the narrator’s help and he intercepts a caravan of enslaved Bedouin women, returning them to their home and their tribe, the Bani Fassara.

Deadly Dust – Karl May/Herbert Windolf

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The narrator, here for the first time called Old Shatterhand, is on his second trip through the Wild West, where he happens to meet the old frontiersman, Sans-Ear. Together, they foil an attack by a group of Sioux Ogallalla, joined by the rogue Morgan, scattering the losers. Their pursuit of Morgan takes them through the Texan Llano Estacado, where, themselves being in dire straits, they find Bob, a Negro servant of a jeweler known to Old Shatterhand. Shortly thereafter, they catch up with one of the jeweler’s sons, Bernard Marshal, who is traveling with several other men, some who turn out to be stakemen. After eliminating this renewed threat, and pursuing the ever elusive Morgan, they meet Winnetou, who now joins them in a skirmish with Comanche, then rides along on their way to San Francisco, the Sacramento gold fields and beyond. Eventually, the frontiersmen, Bernard Marshal and the Bob catch up with the Morgan criminals, who find their deserved end.

The Scout – Karl May/Herbert Windolf

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The narratives Der Scout (The Scout), together with Deadly Dust are, in some sense, forerunners of the later Winnetou novels. This volume presents the translation named, The Scout. Karl May saw his narrative Der Scout published in the magazine ‘Deutscher Hausschatz’ (German Home Treasures) in 1888/89. Between 1881 and 1889, Karl May had successfully produced his Oriental Odyssey, following which he proceeded to accomplish the same for the Wild West of his imagination. In so doing, he incorporated some aspects of The Scout in Volume II of his Winnetou Series.

May’s Scout, a first-person narrative, plays before a historical background, shortly after the American Civil War and the battle for power between the forces of Juarez and Maximilian, supported by the French, in Mexico, in the years 1865/66. He, furthermore, uses the opportunity to insert and express his beliefs about the then recently founded Ku-Klux-Klan.

The Scout certainly holds a special position in May’s Wild West stories in that the first-person narrator is still a novice to the trials and tribulations encountered. Although the young man is capable, he is still encumbered by the trappings of civilization, and has difficulties dealing with his new environment. Still a greenhorn, aptly described here, he is familiarized with the rules of the West by the story’s other protagonist, his mentor, the Scout, going by the frontiersman’s name of Old Death.

In this narrative, the storyteller is still far removed from the later, always competent and experienced frontiersman, but is described as a fallible human being with a long way to go to become the Old Shatterhand of the Winnetou Series and other Wild West novels of May’s. However, he also meets and defeats Winnetou in this story and is befriended by the Apache chief, who, in this early epic, is vengeful and is yet to become the noble human being of May’s later writings.

The Scout is thought to be one of Karl Mays best travel stories, into which the author wove, as it appears, some of his early personal experiences from his incarceration, which find expression in the poem ‘The Night Most Terrible,’ and remarks of Old Death about his misdeeds.

So, if you have read the Winnetou Series, go back in time to meet the, not-yet-so-named, ‘Old Shatterhand’ when he was still a greenhorn. Enjoy!

The Inca’s Legacy – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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The Inca’s Legacy takes the reader from the city of Buenos Aires on Argentina’s east coast and a more than exotic bull fight, through the Gran Chaco, a wilderness only second to Central Africa at Karl May’s time, to the Cordilleras in the west. In the course of their journey, the heroes deal with friendly and hostile Indian tribes, are pursued and pursue some crooks, until the ‘bad guys’ find their deserved end in the high Cordilleras at and by the Inca’s Legacy.

Peek Inside The Inca’s Legacy 

Pacific Shores – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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Pacific Shores is a wide-ranging adventure series centered on the Pacific and Indian Oceans with side trips to Germany, Russia and Mongolia. The reader will find in this adventure novel May’s sidekicks, the Yankee captain Frick Turnerstick, and the English lord Sir John Raffley, both quite funny at times. May’s highly detailed description of Ceylon’s / Sri Lanka’s and Sumatra’s flora is likely based on his personal experience when he traveled as far as Sumatra. His extremely vivid account of a typhoon on a sailing ship in the Pacific must be based on reports of others. And, again and again, it is amazing how this prolific writer, Karl May, weaved fact and fiction together to an exciting narrative.

Peek Inside Pacific Shores 

Imaginary Journeys III – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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Karl May is best known for his novels, wherein his greatest heroes, Winnetou and Hajji Halef Omar, are prominently featured. In “Imaginary Journeys I” and II, fifteen each of Karl May’s short stories are presented. This volume now offers the reader seven of May’s novellas, writings in length between novels and short stories.
As in his short stories and these novellas, Winnetou and Hajji Halef Omar make their appearances in numerous adventures. These take place in the Wild West, Egypt, Iraq and at the Turkish-Persian border. Captain Frick Turnerstick, another of May’s sidekicks, makes his appearance in an adventure playing in China.
As in many of the aforementioned short stories, here too, in Layla/Leilet and Old Firehand, this prolific author did not use his well-known noms de guerre, Kara ben Nemsi and Old Shatterhand, nevertheless, all characteristics ascribed to these protagonist match those of his heroes and are told in the personal form.

Imaginary Journeys II – A Short Video

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This second volume of Karl May’s short stories offers seven more tales for your enjoyment.
Winnetou and Hajji Halef Omar make their appearances in numerous adventures. These take place in the Wild West, Egypt, Iraq and at the Turkish-Persian border. Captain Frick Turnerstick, another of May’s sidekicks, makes his appearance in an adventure playing in China.
As in many of the aforementioned short stories, here too, in Layla/Leilet and Old Firehand, this prolific author did not use his well-known noms de guerre, Kara ben Nemsi and Old Shatterhand, nevertheless, all characteristics ascribed to these protagonist match those of his heroes and are told in the personal form.
Now enjoy this short movie preview of this book, narrated by Victor Epp.

Imaginary Journeys II – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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A solo-trip in 1889 took Karl May via the Near Orient and Ceylon all the way to Sumatra, Indonesia. Upon his return journey, he met his first wife and friends, another couple, in Egypt to travel there. Only towards the end of his life did he manage to visit the eastern part of the United States. But in his imagination, in his mind’s eye, this prolific writer roamed the globe!
Except for Greenland, Australia and Antarctica, his many novels and short stories took place on every continent. He researched the locations very well, where his heroes and characters, his alter egos, Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi, and his friends, Winnetou and Hajji Halef Omar, as well as many others, some named, some unnamed, performed their various deeds. For this he relied on travelogues and research of people who had visited the respective areas.
Some of Karl May’s characters, Old Shatterhand, Winnetou and Sam Hawkens, and locales, like the Wild West, Southeast Asia, Arabia, North Africa, Egypt, the Caribbean, the Bering Sea, South Africa and the Indian Ocean, are featured in this collection of fifteen short stories.

Winnetou IV – A Short Video

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This is the final volume of the Winnetou saga. Karl May wrote this volume years after he had completed the Winnetou trilogy. This volume was translated by Herbert Windolf and Victor Epp transformed the work into an Audio Book. Here for your enjoyment is a short movie clip.

Winnetou IV – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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Karl May wrote Winnetou IV—his last Winnetou book—in 1909-1910 under the influence of his American journey in 1908. May and his wife Klara arrived by ship in New York, where they saw the Statue of Liberty, visited the Museum of Natural History and other places of interest. They continued their journey by boat up the Hudson River to Albany and further to Buffalo by railroad. In Buffalo Klara took a photo of Karl May next to the statue of the Indian chief Sa-go-ye-wat-ha.
From Buffalo they traveled to Niagara Falls, where they checked into the Clifton Hotel, which was on the Canadian side of the border. Karl May’s description of the Clifton and the breakfast there is a true and unique record he penned of his journey. The Clifton Hotel was where Karl May met with the fictional brothers, Harriman and Sebulon Enters, characters of his story.
The close-by Tuscarora Indian Reservation was visited and another photo of Karl May with a member of the tribe posing at a wigwam was taken by Klara. From Niagara Falls the Mays traveled to Lawrence, Massachusetts, to visit an old school mate of Karl’s. The scenery around Lake Kanubi, the Rock, and the Devil’s Pulpit provided May with an authentic background for scenes in his novel. Lawrence Council members organized a lecture by Karl May, which appeared in the local Evening Tribune
“World-renowned writer claims that the United States must become the great World power, which God and nature has destined it to be.”

Imaginary Journeys I – A Short Video

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Karl May never visited the locations he wrote about, but in his imagination, in his mind’s eye, this prolific writer roamed the globe! Except for Greenland, Australia and Antarctica, his many novels and short stories take place on every continent. He researched the locations very well, where his heroes and characters, his alter egos, Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi, and his friends, Winnetou and Hajji Halef Omar, as well as many others, some named, some unnamed, performed their various deeds. For this, he relied on travelogues and the research of people who had visited the respective areas. Some of these characters, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, and locales, like the Wild West, North and Northeast Africa, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, are featured in this collection of fifteen short stories. Even the prototype of Winnetou, before he was called by this name, will be found here by the name of Inn-nu-woh. Here for your enjoyment, a short move narrated by Victor Epp.

Imaginary Journeys I – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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A solo-trip in 1889 took Karl May via the Near Orient and Ceylon all the way to Sumatra, Indonesia. On his return, he met his first wife and a couple of friends, in Egypt to travel there. Only towards the end of his life did he manage to visit the eastern part of the United States.
But in his imagination, in his mind’s eye, this prolific writer roamed the globe! Except for Greenland, Australia and Antarctica, his many novels and short stories take place on every continent. He researched the locations very well, where his heroes and characters, his alter egos, Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi, and his friends, Winnetou and Hadshi Halef Omar, as well as many others, some named, some unnamed, performed their various deeds. For this, he relied on travelogues and the research of people who had visited the respective areas.
Some of these characters, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, and locales, like the Wild West, North & Northeast Africa, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, are featured in this collection of fifteen short stories. Even the prototype of Winnetou, before he was called by this name, will be found here by the name of Inn-nu-woh.

The Son of the Bear Hunter – A Short Video

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Fat Jemmy and Long Davy come across the young Indian Wohkadeh. He is on a mission to report to Martin, the Son of the Bear Hunter, that his father has been captured by a Sioux band. He and his are to be sacrificed at the stake in a valley at Yellowstone, where Old Shatterhand once killed three Sioux in duels. Jemmy and Davy, together with Martin, Hobble-Frank, the Bear Hunters assistant, and his servant Bob set out to liberate the Bear Hunter. On route they meet Old Shatterhand and Winnetou who join in their venture. Here for your enjoyment is a short movie in which Victor Epp narrates Herbert Windolf’s translation of Karl May’s ‘The Son of the Bear Hunter’.

The Son of the Bear Hunter – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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Fat Jemmy and Long Davy come across the young Indian Wohkadeh. He is on a mission to report to Martin, the Son of the Bear Hunter, that his father has been captured by a Sioux band. He and his are to be sacrificed at the stake in a valley at Yellowstone, where Old Shatterhand once killed three Sioux in duels. Jemmy and Davy, together with Martin, Hobble-Frank, the Bear Hunters assistant, and his servant Bob set out to liberate the Bear Hunter. On route they meet Old Shatterhand and Winnetou who join in their venture. Subsequently, the group fights a band of Shoshone and Upsaroca, but turns them into friends and allies. After much strife, the capture of the five original friends, and a vivid description of the wonders of Yellowstone, everyone is freed at Yellowstone and even the defeated Sioux are turned into friends.

Thoughts of Heaven – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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Many readers of Karl May are likely not aware that he also wrote quite a number of poems, most of which have been collected under the title Himmelsgedanken, Thoughts of Heaven. The majority of these poems are of an ethical-religious nature. It is peculiar that I, an agnostic leaning to the atheist side, became very much intrigued by May’s thoughts to, little by little, and finally in a major push decided to translate them in their totality, if not for their content, then for their historical value. It is my position to respect others’ belief or non-belief systems, as long as they conform to the quote at the end of this foreword. While I wish Karl May’s poems would have been more often of a ‘lighter’, less dark nature, his ethics, which suffuse all of his writings, are nothing to be critical about, and are ever so much attributable to the conditions of our times, a hundred years hence. In this context, may I cite an American writer, this one of Science Fiction, Robert Heinlein, whose quote I slightly modified: “… if you lived long enough, you could love all those who are decent and just.”

The Ghost of Llano Estacado – A Short Video

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The Spanish name Llano Estacado, meaning Staked Plain, is part of the high plains of the United States, located west of today’s Lubbock, Texas. It covers an area of about 30,000 square miles, extending to the state of New Mexico. It is a strikingly flat and monotonous area at an elevation of between 3,000-4,000 feet. Local water-retaining depressions and washes that, due to the meager rainfall, rarely hold water occasionally break this semiarid plain. Sandstorms can cut down vision in the midst of day and scour the unwary with tiny bullets of sand. It is said that even Indians hesitated to cross this wasteland. Myth holds that the Coronado expedition planted stakes as guideposts for the return trip when it first crossed the plain westward, giving the area its name. Karl May has used the myth of the stakes as a backdrop for his story of ‘The Ghost of Llano Estacado’. Again, he assembles many of his Western heroes for new adventures and the performance of good deeds, in the process adding a few new characters. Here for your enjoyment is a short movie narrated by Victor Epp.

The Ghost of Llano Estacado – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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The Spanish name Llano Estacado, meaning Staked Plain, is part of the high plains of the United States, located west of today’s Lubbock, Texas. It covers an area of about 30,000 square miles, extending to the state of New Mexico. It is a strikingly flat and monotonous area at an elevation of between 3,000-4,000 feet. Local water-retaining depressions and washes that, due to the meager rainfall, rarely hold water occasionally break this semiarid plain. Sandstorms can cut down vision in the midst of day and scour the unwary with tiny bullets of sand. It is said that even Indians hesitated to cross this wasteland. Myth holds that the Coronado expedition planted stakes as guideposts for the return trip when it first crossed the plain westward, giving the area its name. Karl May has used the myth of the stakes as a backdrop for his story of ‘The Ghost of Llano Estacado’. Again, he assembles many of his Western heroes for new adventures and the performance of good deeds, in the process adding a few new characters.

The Treasure of Silver Lake – A Short Video

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The Treasure of Silver Lake is a popular Karl May tale of mystery. It was Translated by into English by Harbert Windolf and will soon be transformed into an Audio Book by Victor Epp. Here for your enjoyment is a short movie clip.

The Treasure of Silver Lake – Karl May / Herbert Windolf

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Towards the end of the 19th century, there arose a uniquely European genre of stories about the American West, a frontier by then tamed from the general lawlessness that had prevailed in earlier decades. Influenced by James Fenimore Cooper’s novels dating from the first half of that century, Buffalo Bill Cody’s shows and other accounts, British, Scandinavian and German writers developed their own characters and plots in which they portrayed an American Wild West which was then already both legend and history. The stories of the most prolific writer, the German Karl May, (pronounced “my”) have been translated into many other languages. Sales of his books in Europe are exceeded only by those of the Bible. Generations of Germans grew up reading May, the titan of popular German writings, much more than literary greats like Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, Heine, Nietzsche and others. While May’s plots and character development are generally not deep, he never failed to create exciting stories, catching the enthusiasm of readers young and old even as long as a century later, among them such luminaries as Albert Einstein.


Other Books


The Oil Prince – Washington State University Press

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