Leben des vergnügten Schulmeisterlein Maria Wutz in Auenthal: eine Art Idylle - Jean Paul
I find the 18th-century language tough going, but the story is interesting enough in itself; and I can get along with the author's enthusiastic, sweet way of telling it, which is mostly rescued from cutesiness by its antiquity. It's the portrait of a man who (though certainly simple, even foolish) is enviably happy because he has all the internal resources for it. He has no ambition, neither hope nor fear for the future, and plenty of enjoyment of simple day-to-day things. His schoolmaster's salary is enough to keep him from hunger and cold, and even when these things were imposed on him in the school he attended, he didn't mind them because of thinking of the good things waiting for him at home. When he was in love, he didn't worry about getting married or the farther future, just enjoyed being in love. He can't afford books, but looks at the titles of new appearances and writes them himself! He's convinced that his own productions are at least as good as those at the bookseller's. He firmly sticks to thinking of positive things, which is why he has a set of account books that record his income but not his expenses. When all else fails, when it's dark winter or he's ill, he conjures up vivid memories of summer childhoods. These, then, are the internal resources needed for happiness, which would be out of reach of cleverer but less wise men.