Karel Čapek - War with the Newts
VÁLKA S MLOKY
It may not be a conventional Czech or Slovakian speciality, but a válka s mloky is an excellent and tasty alternative to the unbearable lightness of being when a metamorphosis into an engineer of the human souls is too loud a solitude.
Preparation time: 1936-1937
Cooking time: approximately 3 days
You will need:
- An aquarium
- An atlas reporting the pre World War II borders
- Around 100 newts of both genders
- Sea salt
- Biscuits in crumbs
- Granny Smith apples
- A long spoon
- A dictionary
- A wireless radio
- A comfortable armchair
- Several bottles of Pilsner Urquell
- Small explosive devices.
Fill the aquarium with tap water. Put sea salt into it. Mix it up with the long spoon.
Uncork a Pilsner Urquell. Pour a few drops of beer into the salty water. Mix again in clockwise circles.
Take your time. Move the armchair close to the aquarius so that everything is at hand's reach.
When the daylight is fading out, turn on a lampshade.
Start adding up pinches of fresh newts into the aquarium. Let them swim creating their sexual milieu. Let the newts multiply. When the newts reach a number of thousands, switch on the radio and find some station broadcasting a selection of classic music. Then, open the dictionary and read in a clear, firm and loud voice all the terms between letters A and M and let the newts repeat them.
(You can have some breaks for uncorking additional bottles of Pilsner Urquell).
Feed the newts with the biscuits crumbs. Add lemon at will. Turn off the light. Switch off the radio. Go to sleep. Shut the door of your bedroom. Let the newts multiply and explore your living room mainland out of their aquarius during the night time.
The morning after start by mixing up the aquarium waters clockwise with the long spoon. Your newts won't bother. Switch on the radio looking for some jazz or, even better, either charleston or fox-trot. Read in a clear, firm and loud voice all the terms between letters N and Z in the dictionary. Let the newts repeat them.
At tea-time feed the newts with more biscuits crumbs and give them some slices of Granny Smith apples.
Take the atlas and look for the following items: 1. A map showing Europe in the 1930s. 2. A map showing Indonesia. 3. A map of the United States focusing on Louisiana. 4. A map of Japan. 5. A map of Africa including Cape Verde.
Put the atlas in a way so that its open pages are facing the long side of the aquarium. When the night falls, turn off the light but don't switch off the radio. Leave the small explosive devices not too far from the aquarius, at newt hands' reach.
Shut the door of your bedroom and lock yourself in. Some sleep pills may help.
At the dawn of the third day, your válka s mloky will be finally ready. You could serve millions of educated newts with mayonnaise and Granny Smith apples if you like. Now two problems may rise while coping with this elaborate Czech-made delicacy.
First and foremost, it must be said that newts are not really edible. But this unforeseen difficulty can be easily solved by boiling them up (if you will manage to convince them) so that your newts will taste of inferior beef.
Secondly, your living room is likely to be already underwater by now while the rest of your home, armchair and radio included, has been blown up by those small explosive devices the newts are so fond of.
No worries: you can work it out. With the newts. For the sake of the newts.