The Rose of Shiraz – Completing the Old Shatterhand Legend

The Rose of Shiraz – Completing the Old Shatterhand Legend


Excerpt from: SavageTo Saint: The Karl May Story,

“Well! Would you be so kind and show us this fist, please?”

“Here it is.”
I stretched my hand out to him. He took it into his, looked at it, felt it, squeezed it, and then declared with a laugh, “You truly are an extraordinary comedian. This is a woman’s hand. Our aunt, may she rest in peace, has fingers as soft as these. I know this precisely because I’ve received many a clout around the ears from her but I never fell over or lost consciousness. And you floor a person with these fingers?”


“So that he loses consciousness?”

“If I wish he’ll never wake up again.”

“Well! Then please be so kind and give me one such punch! I am asking you for it because I would love to know once what it’s like to lose consciousness.”

He laughed and stretched his head in my direction. I felt a reflexive twitch in my hand but suppressed the urge to punch him and answered, “You can’t ask that of me, Mr. Snuffle, because you’d require two whacks.”


“An extra one for the nose.”

“Ah, so! Not a bad recovery but we know where we stand with you. If you really were Old Shatterhand, you would have executed that punch because being called a comedian wouldn’t have gone unpunished with that man.”

“Particularly since this word in this case means to say that I’m a liar,” I added. “Please be so kind and use a less vexing expression. But especially this, your kindness, prevents me from fulfilling your wish.”

“Another good excuse! Do you know by chance what kind of guns Old Shatterhand owns?”



“A bear killer and a Henry rifle.”
My Henry rifle was securely wrapped in its canvas casing because of last night’s rain as I didn’t want to expose it to moisture. Jim Snuffle pointed to the bear killer next to me and asked:

“Are you trying to tell us that this old, awkward cannon is Old Shatterhand’s bear killer?”


“Then a howitzer from Washington’s era would be a salon pistol in your estimation! And the Sunday rifle that’s so delicately wrapped-up would therefore be the Henry rifle?”


“Then show it to us, why don’t you! Would like to have a close look at it!”

“Did the other Old Shatterhand in Fort Clark show you his guns?”


“Why not?”

“Wouldn’t dare to inconvenience a man such as him!”

“But you feel free to inconvenience me! Did he have a bear killer and a Henry rifle on him?”

“Don’t know. It’s not necessary to know that. I tell you, he was the right one—broad-brimmed hat, hunting coat made from elk skin, hunting shirt made from deerskin, leggings from the same material and tall boots; that’s Old Shatterhand, there’s no other way to imagine him. But now have a look at yourself! Your hat is the only item that would be part of a hunter or frontiersman; everything else belongs behind a plough or in the hay barn. And the main thing is, Old Shatterhand is not in this region, he cannot possibly be.”


“Because he’s in the Gros Ventre Mountains.”

“And you’re so sure about that?”

“Yes. Of course, you wouldn’t know what happened up there. Have you ever heard of Winnetou?”

“The chief of the Apache? What do you know of him?”

“That he is dead. Yes, just think, this magnificent man is dead! The Ogallala Sioux have shot him in the crater of Hancock Mountain and Old Shatterhand is after them, of course, to take bloody revenge for the death of his famous friend and blood brother. I tell you that none of them will get away alive! Old Shatterhand never spills blood unnecessarily but in this case he won’t rest until every last one of them is extinguished. Do you still maintain that you are Old Shatterhand?”


“Then please tell us what happened in and around Hancock Mountain!”

“It’s enough for me to have experienced it, I don’t feel like talking about it.”

“Well! Another excuse that doesn’t sound too bad! I’m beginning to like you, dear fellow. You’re either gone mad and think you are somebody you’re not—in that case we have to look out for you so that you don’t end up thinking that you’re the Turkish sultan, or the Chinese emperor. Or you are having your fun with us and in that case you’re good company because we’re people who like to have a bit of fun every now and then. If you’re going in the same direction we’re headed we would like to take you with us.”

“Truly? You would do me such a favor?”

“Favor or not—we like a laugh. Where did you come from?”

“Down from the Gros Ventre Mountains.”

“Suit yourself and maintain your role. And where are you headed?”

“To the Apache.”

“Blimey! What do you want with them?”

“To inform them of Winnetou’s death.”

“Man, you really are insistent! But if this truly is your intention then you’d be making this dangerous journey for nothing because the Apache would know already that Winnetou is dead in any case.”

“That’s correct! I couldn’t get away immediately but was held up by circumstances and so word of it reached them ahead of me; you know how fast rumors or other news travels here in the West. But I have to go there regardless. The Apache must hear an eyewitness.”

“Eyewitness! You are an altogether priceless fellow! It would be the thrill of thrills for us if you would accompany us. We want to cross the Canadian and then travel to Santa Fe. This seems to be your direction also. Will you join us?”

“Yes, because I’ve taken a liking to you as well.”

“Well, then! It’s a done deal. But before we do we must know this—how shall we address you?”

“By my name.”

“Old Shatterhand?”


“Mister, you can’t ask that of us! We won’t say this name in jest.”

“I’m serious.”

“So are we. Let’s have another name, if you don’t mind!”

“I keep this one.”

More: Savage To Saint: The Karl May Story,