Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill
Also published under the titles: The Satanic Mill,
The Curse of the Darkling Mill,
Original Title: Krabat
Challenging and eerie.
Fourteen-year-old Krabat is a homeless orphan who is happy when he finds a mill that provides him with work, a place to sleep and food. There he, like the other eleven assistants, has to hire himself out to the dark “master,” and there he learns the miller’s trade and also the magic. Krabat sees firsthand how satanic magic has the ability to make those who follow it and submit to it mighty and strong. But … it does not make him happy and he is no longer free, for he has subordinated his will to the will of the black master.
After some tragic experiences and the death of two miller journeymen he was close with, he begins to secretly prepare for the fight against the magician master. To do this, he has to learn a lot in order to strengthen his own will. In addition, in order to gain his freedom, he needs the affection and love of a girl.
In the final battle, the power of selfless love and the dark power of black magic face off.
There were several times during the first fifty pages that I considered putting the book down. The story itself is compelling, but I couldn’t take any pleasure in the spookier aspects. However, since I wanted to understand why a teacher and father of four had recommended this book to me, I read on and … indeed, it all paid off in the final part of the book. From then on, the girl Kantorka, the young man Krabat and his friend Juro have been among my favorite heroes.
Anyone who wants to follow Krabat along his path to freedom and redemption should know what they are getting into with this book: many, many pages full of magic formulas, black magic, influencing the thoughts of others, transforming people into animals, fear, humiliation, distrust, murder and death …
Otfried Preußler on his work:
My Krabat is not a story aimed at young people only, nor is it a story for an exclusively adult audience. It is the story of a young boy who gets involved with dark forces. He is fascinated by them until he realizes what he has gotten himself into. At the same time, it is my story, the story of my generation [Preußler was born in 1923 and belonged to a generation that followed a false “Führer” to war.], and it is the story of all young people who come into contact with, and get caught up in, power and its temptations. There is only one way out, the only one I know of: a strong will to free oneself from it, the help of loyal friends, and the kind of help that comes from the power of love – a love that is stronger than the forces of evil and all the world’s temptations.