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Friedrich Schiller writes from Spain

Dear Carleton,

Every year, just around this time, a group of friends – it could be twenty students, or it could be three – starts to plan. They study, they scout, they meet in secret. “For what?” you ask. Oh, only the greatest tradition in the history of this wonderful college (some might say that I have a biased viewpoint, and that’s probably a fair argument). Yes, every Halloween, the Guardians of Schiller – that is to say, the Guardians of Myself – try to come up with some new and exciting way to display me during the Halloween Concert. Sometimes they’re successful beyond all expectations (last year I was thrilled, to say the least), but other times, well, let’s just say that two years ago wasn’t all it was cracked up to be (get it? Though I’m an 18th century German poet, I can really be quite funny). Though there are several events throughout the year that can be assigned a probability of my appearance greater than 50%, Halloween Concert is the one event that I almost certainly expect myself to be displayed.

Except, not this year. I write to you now from Madrid, Spain, where I’m being kept in what is thought to be a “really great idea” – to travel throughout Spain, and then throughout Europe. Carleton, from across the Atlantic Ocean, I tell you that I am less than thrilled to be here, and not to be there, with you. While I don’t want to name names, let me just say that Sam Benshoof is not involved with this. I wouldn’t want to spread rumors about him – he’s a good kid. He writes about me.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love to travel. Heck, since the 18th century, I’ve been around the block, if you know what I mean. But Carleton, you don’t take me away from my home, and you don’t disrupt tradition, for some selfish, egotistical whim. If you want to take me somewhere, take me to Florida or Mexico during Winter or Spring Break, or hiking with your family in some National Park during the Summer. But tradition dictates that you keep me on campus during the school year, and you display me as often as possible, in new and exciting ways. That’s how this tradition was built – by fun-loving Carleton students such as yourselves, always thinking of a new and clever way to improve the tradition, and if that involved risks, well, so be it. They were willing to do whatever it took, no matter how bizarre, or what was at stake. History is written by the brave, not by the meek. I should know – I’ve seen more of it than you have.

While it’s possible that these thieves can still have a change of heart and return me to Carleton, I believe that it’s too late in October for that to happen. Thus, you should expect to celebrate Halloween without me, Carleton. And that’s as sad a thought for me as it is for you. When these criminals return from Spain, tell them that they have let their selfishness come before tradition, and Carleton has suffered for it.

Yours forever,

Friedrich Schiller

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