Short Fiction: ‘The Copernicus Brothers in Krakoów’ by Michal Karski


In 1491, the eighteen-year-old Nicolaus Copernicus and his older brother Andrzej came to Krakow from their home town of Toruń for a few years’ study at the University. Michal Karski was there at the railway station to witness their arrival…

NICOLAUS: Postremo sumus hic. (Aside) If that was the express train, I’d hate to see the slow train. (To Andrzej) Hic locus grandis appellatus est “Plac Jana Nowaka-Jeziorańskiego”.

ANDRZEJ: Schau mal, Bruder! Die schönen Mädchen da.

NICOLAUS: Quare loqueris in lingua Germana?

ANDRZEJ: Because we’re both supposed to be fluent in Latin, German and Polish and a few other languages, aren’t we? Mind you, I only got a C- in Latin.

NICOLAUS: Quare das Mädchen et non die Mädchen? Non est femina?

ANDRZEJ: You and your analytical mind. But actually, that’s a good point. Why is ‘girl’ neuter in German? Those two over there are far from neuter. Shall we go and say hello?

(enter an Erasmus student)

STUDENT: Cześć chłopcy! Dokąd idziecie? Na uniwerek? Volete andare all’universita?

NICOLAUS: Sum famelicus. Invenimus fish chipsque hoc apud?

STUDENT: Co on prawi? Qu’est-ce qu’il a dit ?

ANDRZEJ : Don’t you understand him? I thought everyone spoke Latin in Poland in 1491.

STUDENT: Parlo un po’ Italiano. Un peu français. Etwas Deutsch. En smule dansk. Algún español. Um pouco de português. A bit of Cherokee and Esperanto. Even a bit of Dick Van Dyke Cockney. Cor blimey, guv. But not Latin.

ANDRZEJ: He’s saying he’s starving and is there anywhere we can get some fish and chips?

STUDENT: Well, strike a light, me old China! As it ’appens—

NICOLAUS: (Aside) ‘Struth. This is like a Quentin Tarantino film. We need subtitles.

ANDRZEJ: How is the university, my friend? And life in Krakow in general? I hear you have a baseball team.

STUDENT: Oui, nous avons le baseball. Abbiamo anche la musica Klezmer molto caratteristica. Och aye the noo. Очень хорошо.

ANDRZEJ: I don’t know how much of this I can take. My head’s spinning. In fact, the earth is spinning beneath my feet…

NICOLAUS: (Aside) Earth spinning? That gives me an idea… (continues like this until 1495)

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3 thoughts on “Short Fiction: ‘The Copernicus Brothers in Krakoów’ by Michal Karski

  • March 4, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Bonege! Tre amuze!

  • March 5, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    God luv a duck! Oi feels loik a Berliner.

  • March 6, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Delizioso! Bravissimo!


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