National Geographic : 1938 Aug
CZECHOSLOVAKS, YANKEES OF EUROPE Photograph by Jii Jenicek GIRLS LOVE THE SOLDIERS, AND SOLDIERS LOVE THEIR BEER Bivouacked in border towns bright with costumed lasses, the conscripted Czechoslovak Army is ready for what troubled times may bring, especially if it's Pilsner in a frosty, battered mug. One corporation owns and rents to pro ducers the film studios where Czech pic tures are made on a high sunny hill near Praha. Anny Ondra, Czech star, wife of Max Schmeling, was working on the set at the time of my visit. One of her two lead ing men spoke German, the other Czech. She was fluent in both. Each scene was recorded twice, in German and Czech. THE MOUNTAINS OF A GIANT Because it was winter, I did not go to Karlovy Vary, the old spa called "Karls bad" by the Austrians, nor to near-by Jachymov, long called "Joachimsthal," where bathing waters are radioactive, and where radium is produced from uranium ore. Joachimsthal silver once was minted into thalers, forebears of the dollar.* Instead, I went to the Krkonose, called Riesen Gebirge, or Giant Mountains, by the Germans, not for their mile of altitude, but for Krakonos, a giant in Czech folk lore, whose kingdom they are. Krakonos, they say, likes to stop millwheels, climb into tired travelers' packs, or change him self into a stump beside a muddy road and vanish when someone sits on him. He punishes injustice, rewards virtue, and hates misers. Because a princess once tricked him into counting beets while she ran off with a rival, he is still a bachelor. On a sunny morning I climbed a ski trail that zigzagged up a forested moun tainside. The trail crossed a steep slide with rounded sides and banked curves. It seemed a quick, if arduous, way to the mountain top. Watchfully, lest I be struck by a toboggan, I climbed for nearly an * See "Geography of Money," by William Atherton Du Puy. ATIONTOAL GEIRAPIT(C MA(A ZINF, December, 1927.