I knew my way around in the city of my fathers, in the barnyards and in the forests, in the truck gardens and in the workshops of the mechanics, I knew trees, birds, and butterflies, I could sing songs and whistle through my teeth and much else besides that is important for living. To this was now added various sorts of school knowledge, which came easy to me and gave me pleasure; in particular I got real enjoyment from the Latin language and I was writing Latin verses almost as soon as German ones. For the art of lying and of diplomacy I have my second year in school to thank, during which a preceptor and his accomplice afforded me mastery of these accomplishments after I had earlier brought down upon myself in my childish openness and trustfulness one disaster after another. These two educators successfully opened my eyes to the fact that a sense of humour and a love of truth were not qualities they were looking for in pupils. They ascribed to me a misdeed, a quite unimportant one which had occurred in class and of which I was wholly innocent, and since they could not force me to confess that I was the culprit, the trivial matter was turned into an inquisition and the two tortured and beat out of me, not the desired confession, to be sure, but instead all belief in the decency of the teaching profession. In time, thank God, I became acquainted with teachers worthy of respect, but the damage had been done, and my relations not only with schoolmasters but with all authority were distorted and embittered. On the whole I was a good student during my first seven or eight years in school, at any rate I regularly stood among the first in my class. It was not until those battles began which no one who is going to become a person is spared that I came more and more into conflict with the school. Two decades were to pass before I understood those battles; at the time they were simply going on all around me, contrary to my will, and were a great misery.