Language: • Indonesia • English
Karl May was born on February 25, 1842 in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Saxony, Germany, in a poor weaver family of Heinrich August May and Christiane Wilhemine Weise. He was the only son of fourteen children of Christiane. From the fourteen, only five survived. Not long after he was born, Karl May suffered blindness because of malnutrition.
During this time, his grandmother often told him stories of Arabian Nights. According to Karl May, his grandmother known these stories by heart and he did not need to go to the library to find this "ancient book". Later, these stories would influnce his career as an author.
When Karl May was four years old, his family's economic condition became a little better after his mother was accepted into a course to become a midwife and passed with good result. Because of his mother's connection with two doctors, Professor Grenzer and Professor Haase, Karl May could be operated and could see again.
Karl May was brought up in a strict manner by his father. Oance he was ordered to copy a German geography book published in 1802 five hundred times in order to have him learn numbers by heart. His father also introduced him to his favourite field of study: geography dan ethnography.
Since childhood, Karl May had been familiar with books because his family were fond if reading. On this, Karl May siad:
"In the attic, in the old bookshelf, there were inherited books, religious books or secular books. When the night falls, the small lamp was being lit up. The whole family gathered up and one of them read one of those book and the others listened respectfully. At intermissions, they talked about what they just heard. Sometimes the book have been read twenty times but they were still not getting bored because there were always something new to talk about."