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Otfried Preussler (1923–2013) was born into a family of teachers in Reichenberg, Czechoslovakia, and as a boy loved listening to the folktales of the region. Drafted into the army during World War II, Preussler was captured in 1944 and spent the next five years as a prisoner of war in the Tatar Republic. After his release, he moved to Bavaria and became a primary-school teacher and principal, supplementing his income by working as a reporter for a local newspaper and by writing scripts for children’s radio. One of the most popular authors for children in Germany, Preussler was twice awarded the German Children’s Book Prize. His many books have been translated into fifty-five languages and have sold over fifty million copies. New York Review Books also publishes Preussler’s Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill, The Little Water Sprite, and The Little Witch.