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The Time Machine

A long time ago there was a master locksmith who slaved away in his workshop day in, day out. Rumours slowly started to spread through the back streets of Nuremberg that he was crazy. Many stared at his wife and pitied her. One Sunday she came home from St. Lorenz Church, burst into her husband’s workshop and asked him why he worked even on Sundays. He screamed at her, „I'll just never succeed at this, and now you nag at me the whole day!“ With that, he left her crying in his workshop.

She saw the little locker in which her husband always kept his most secret work. It was open; he must have forgotten to lock it. She approached it and took out something very little. It was in the size of an egg and appeared to be a little heart. She was shocked because she could actually feel it beating in her hands! The devil must have made a pact with her husband. She threw the thing down onto his workbench in disgust and hit it with a hammer until it had shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.

When she turned round her husband was standing right there in front of her. Sobbing, she begged his forgiveness. But then he said: "Tonight I shall start all over again. It was the Devil’s work. So, please, pray for me that I can withstand the temptation this time." His wife understood and went into the kitchen to pray. The locksmith accompanied her for only a moment.

But then, as if out of nowhere, three black ravens suddenly appeared on the floor of his workshop, picked up the tiny broken pieces of his broken invention in their beaks and flew off into the darkness. But when he returned, Henlein had forgotten all about his first invention and immediately began working on a new project.

By next morning it was finished. The citizens of Nuremberg gathered at the city hall where Peter Henlein’s invention was proudly displayed. There, inside a small glass case, was a tiny, delicate ticking clock. No-one had ever seen such a small clock before. Soon it was known far and wide as the “Nuremberg Egg” – the world’s first pocket watch.

But whatever happened to Henlein’s first invention? Centuries later, in our not too distant future, a visitor from Fürth will be spending the night at Hotel Drei Raben when he suddenly hears a strange noise at midnight. From out of nowhere three ravens will have landed on the floor of his hotel room. They’ll open their beaks and drop the wondrously tiny pieces taken from Henlein’s workshop long ago. Then they’ll start to speak and tell the amazed guest just exactly what these parts are for. Since the man from Fürth is a mechanical engineer he will understand the significance immediately. By next morning he will have assembled the pieces into a tiny machine and put it into operation.

And so it will be one day, on a future January 21, 2070, that the world will once again stand in awe of yet another Nuremberg invention, something that mankind has desired for thousands of years – a time machine. But no-one will know it was the Three Ravens from Nuremberg which centuries before had taken the tidings of time eternal from Peter Henlein and had now brought it to the man from Fürth, enabling him to make the greatest Nuremberg invention of all time.