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April 2017, vol 13 no 1

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Philip Léon Mattes

A Foe of God and Mercy


The steep forested path up to Castle Urslingen is fragrant with the smell of pine. I come to a broken wall, more a pile of rubble overgrown with shrubs and trees. Only a tower has been restored, all that is left of the domain of the Dukes of Urslingen. While commanding a cavalry regiment, one of their offspring wore a breastplate on which a text proclaimed that he was the foe of God, of pity and of mercy. A century later, the reign of the Dukes of Urslingen ended with the last duke dying as a beggar. In the last stage of their misery, the dukes may have used the sword of their ancestor to cut firewood, when they could not afford to buy an axe. I wonder, how must it have been to be ruled by an enemy of mercy?

the dance of mayflies
crows caw
on ruined walls


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