[This Pioneer Tale is about Merry Mät, a German immigrant in Arkansas who, after he settles in one place, has an urge to move to another. The first part of Mat's story is about his move from Arkansas to the Washington Territory, which, Mat has heard, is a paradise with easy living. Much of the tale is in the form of a poem with rhyming couplets. The translation does not attempt to match the rhyme, but instead is intended to convey the meaning.]
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Who could not have known, at least in our county, Merry Mät, also known as the Primeval Poet. Mät was always a happy, merry brother, and he could not only use a lathe to carve all kinds of nice things, but he also knew how to carve verse in his spare time. Often this came out somewhat rough, and certainly his verse could hardly be compared with that of Schiller and other greats. Well, in truth, it was plain fare, and jolly Ernst Pope, then editor of the paper in Fort Smith that we were happy to have, the Volksblattes, was always ready to serve it up to his readers.
Mät was a carpenter, farmer, owner of a furniture store; he was agent for a half-dozen companies; and, lastly, he was a photographer. He wasn't too lucky with photographs because they didn't turn out too good. Incidentally, he made good money in his various businesses and had a good and comfortable life.
Mät was affected by one weakness that never allowed him to really amount to much. This was a sickness that was, so to speak, in his blood. When he had settled in somewhere, he was immediately struck with a fever to travel, and he had to move. Then he would sell off and get rid of everything, and would take off to another region. In that way, he had moved twice out of Arkansas, but had always returned again.
So it happened the last time, a few years ago, that he got the fever to change, and he traveled away, this time to the Washington Territory, where in his opinion, he would find a real paradise. In reality, he found something different and, if he had been able to, would have immediately returned. For the pleasure of, perhaps, many readers, we want to present his journey here in verse: