By derdurchdiezeitreisende [the time traveler]
Translated by T. H. Enerdly
This caption originally appeared in a now defunct German Yahoo group. It appeals to me for two reasons: it is a rather unusual example of a Lady-to-Maid story, an I think it could be re-written as a full length story.
I’m told that there are there are two types of translations:
- Faithful translations that are true to the source language, German in this case, or
- Idiomatic translations that read as if originally written by a native speaker of the target language, English in this case.
A translation can be one or the other, but not both. My translation is idiomatic.
The Original Caption
“That’s better Anna Katarina. You look like one of my maid servants now. No one will find you.”
Anna Katarina was the spoiled daughter of a Russian industrialist. But ever since her father had been sent into exile, she was completely destitute. In addition, the Mafia was looking for her, and, for all intents and purposes, they had a contract out on her.
In desperation, she turned to her aunt Patrizia, who offered to hide her. Patrizia and Anna Katarina’s mother had been fierce rivals. After the mother’s death, this rivalry had continued between Patrizia and Anna Katarina. But Anna Katarina was now so desperate that she had to turn to her arch-rival for help. Patrizia was the only person from whom Anna Katarina could expect to receive help. In contrast, Patrizia relished her new found power and was eager to apply it. She’d teach the spoiled brat how to behave in front of her betters.
“To start with, I should clarify some things, my love. From here on out, not only are you going to be disguised as a maid, you’re also going to be a maid. I'm a demanding mistress. You'll have to anticipate my every need. If I'm not satisfied, I make a single phone call and you're dead.”
Patrizia was completely drunk with the power she had over her former rival. She gloated over the humble, shy glances of her former rival.
“Rule number one for maid Anna is that she never speaks of herself in the first person. Rule number two is that when she enters the room of her Mistress, she curtsies courteously and asks what Mistress desires.”
Anna didn't want to give Patrizia the satisfaction of seeing maid Anna struggle to maintain her composure. Patrizia’s hectoring hurt Anna’s pride. She felt the effects of the maid’s uniform: It was difficult to stand opposite Patrizia with one’s head held high. Everyone could see that Anna was the maid and Patrizia, the Mistress. Anna curtsied humbly and meekly asked, “Madame, what can maid Anna do for you?”
Patrizia smiled contentedly and leaned back satisfied. “I don't require your presence right now. Report to Rosewita, my housekeeper. She'll assign you some work.”
Patrizia had informed Rosewita earlier that she had hired a new scullery maid. She knew that Rosewita would soon whip Anna into shape. For her part, Anna feared that soon a combination of shame and humiliation would irreparably break her pride. She knew that she would get to experience what maid servants experience when, as they scrub the floor, the exquisite, highly polished pumps of their Mistresses enter their field of vision. The girl will be keenly aware at this moment that her knees hurt and that, as a result of her vigorous scrubbing, her uniform stinks from dirty water and sweat. It takes willpower in moments like this to look up into the cold, impatient eyes of the Mistress.