Dear and highly esteemed Master! I have long cherished the notion of writing to you, and I am grateful beyond measure that I now have an opportunity to do so. To many people it may seem strange that I would want to communicate with you at all, you who have been dead for more than a century. If so, that can only be because they lack imaignation and are incapable of understanding how important your life and work have become to me. Suffice it to say that during the twenty-five years I worked on your biography, which surely gives me some claim to your attention, there were times when I longed to set aside my work in order to consult you directly about the problems before me.
What better place to start than at the beginning? Your early education was neglected, a situation you strove to overcome in later years. I recall reading somewhere that you attended school in your natal village of Raiding from your sixth year and received some basic tuition in reading and writing from the village schoolmaster Johann Rohrer. The most telling image I retained when considering your rustic education was that the schoolroom in which you and your fellow pupils were prepared for the outside world by Rohrer was a mere twenty feet in length and fourteen feet in width. From this early construction, you widened your boundaries to a point where you were able to embrace the whole world.