Saturday, 21 November 2009

Good old Fred

Frederick II of Prussia or Frederick the Great or nicknamed der alte Fritz ("Old Fritz") loved dogs. Although he was an accomplished rule, he had an artistic temperament. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and promoted religious tolerance throughout his realm. Interested primarily in the arts during his youth, Frederick unsuccessfully attempted to flee from his authoritarian father, Frederick William I, after which he was forced to watch the execution of a childhood friend.
Frederick the Great wrote endless letters to his sister, Wilhelmina, who had gone through those turbulent childhood years with him. He sought the companionship and love of his pet dogs. After the death of his beloved greyhound, Biche, he wrote in one of his letters to his sister:
“I have had a domestic loss which has completely upset my philosophy. I confide all my frailties in you: I have lost Biche, and her death has reawoken in me the loss of all my friends, particularly of him who gave her to me. I was ashamed that a dog could so deeply affect my soul; but the sedentary life I lead and the faithfulness of this poor creature had so strongly attached me to her, her suffering so moved me, that, I confess, I am sad and afflicted. Does one have to be hard? Must one be insensitive? I believe that anyone capable of indifference towards a faithful animal is unable to be grateful towards an equal, and that, if one must choose, it is best to be too sensitive than too hard”.
Frederick and his dogs are buried at Sanssouci, the summer residence he had built in Potsdam.


rosiero said...

It is amazing how the hardest ofhearts can be turned by the death of a pet. Animals have the gift of unconditional love and maybe it is that very aspect that puts the human race to shame.

Winchester whisperer said...

The dear faithful friends are sorely missed