About the Translation
Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures is a translation of a German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsay (Wunderbare Fahrten und Abenteuer der kleinen Dott). Reminiscent of The NeverEnding Story, Nils Holgersson and the Wild Geese, and the Magic Tree House series, the book would be appropriate for children ten years of age and older. The book was first published by Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart, in 1941. An expanded edition of the book in three volumes appeared after World War II in 1950/1951. An abridged new edition in a single volume appeared in 1965 (Stuttgart: Union Verlag, 1965). Over 25 editions of the book appeared between 1941 and 2008. In 2007, it was published in a new expanded edition in two volumes by Prignitz-Pur Verlag, Germany. The book was translated only once previously, into Dutch in 1986 (De wonderbare avonturen van Kleine Dot, Christofoor, Zeist, 1986). The translated text reflects the German abridged edition of 1965.
Dott is a twelve-year old girl. She lives in the countryside east of Berlin in an unspecified time between the two world wars. On the evening of the midsummer night festival, she walks through the fields in order to get to the big bonfire, even though Dott’s mother had instructed her to stay home and watch her younger brother and sister. A magical flower drops into her shoe, and she is enchanted. Her enchantment makes her invisible to human beings. At the same time, it endows her with two unexpected gifts. It allows her to understand the language of animals. Some of these animals befriend her and assist her in her search for a release from her enchantment, while she in turn assists them with some of their quests. Her enchantment also allows her to time-travel for a few hours at a time, thus providing her with first-hand insights into her own country’s history. In search for release from her enchantment and in the course of assisting others, humans and animals alike, Dott travels to different geographical areas as well as into various historical eras. She experiences life in the Middle Ages, the Baroque era, and the 18th and 19th centuries. In the course of these excursions, she encounters historical figures such as poets, kings, and average individuals that lived in the respective times. She visits Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, and Breslau (Wraclaw, Poland). She befriends Klaus, a boy from Berlin, who faces a magical predicament of his own, and travels together with him. Dott and Klaus are both eventually able to return home, much enriched by their experiences as well as with greater self-understanding and understanding of others.
Tamara Ramsay was a German writer of children’s books. In addition to her writing work, she illustrated several of her books. She also translated the tales of Hans Christian Andersen into German. Ramsay was born in Kiev in 1895; her father, manager of the Kiev Millworks, was of Scottish and Baltic descent. Her mother was the daughter of a Russian orthodox priest and his German-Danish wife. Ramsay’s father died unexpectedly in 1901. His young widow left Kiev with her three children and moved to Hamburg where she had relatives. Tamara Ramsay’s mother supported her family through her work as an interpreter and piano teacher. Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures was her most well-known work. Ramsay wrote the first draft in the 1930s. The book appeared originally in 1941. After the war, Ramsay wrote additional volumes, and the work was published in its entirety in 1951. An abridged edition appeared in 1965, and it has been in print continually since that year. It was translated only once previously, into Dutch. In 2007/2008, the complete work was published in a new edition in two volumes by Prignitz-Pur Verlag, Germany. Ramsay converted to Catholicism in 1932. During the war years, Ramsay was engaged in advocacy on behalf of rape victims and active in connection with youth work through her church. After the war, Ramsay struggled to come to terms with the concept of guilt and the reality of suffering as result of the war, in particular, the suffering of Jews, displaced persons, refugees, and prisoners of war. Throughout these years, her faith was her mainstay of support. She died in Mühlacker, Germany on March 7, 1985.