|About the Book|
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 strikinglyMoreThe 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. One of his recurring characters, Hobble-Frank, owner of the Villa “Bear Fat” in Saxony, know-it-all, mangler of half-knowledge, with his persistent and extensive elaboration’s, may have been funny a hundred years ago when read in German. However, his argumentative discourses, when translated into English, become rather tedious. They often have no meaning for the English-only reader, since they deal with local events and characters of his (and Karl May’s) home state, and mangle geography and ancient history in an attempt to be funny. At worst, they make no sense when translated. Hence, I have taken the liberty to severely edit his profuseness to make the story line flow more smoothly. Rest assured, that I have otherwise stayed as close as possible to Karl May’s writings and left even his many, many compass directions unaltered.