Three translations of Kafka’s Aphorism 20

WHM provides three translations of Kafka’s aphorism about the leopards and the temple.

Mosaic of Leopard Chasing a Gazelle from Roman, Homs, Syria, 450-462 AD, polychrome marble tesserae - Chazen Museum of Art
Mosaic of Leopard Chasing a Gazelle; Roman, Homs, Syria, 450-462 AD; material = polychrome marble tesserae; on display in the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison; photography by wikimedia user Daderot

20. Leoparden brechen in den Tempel ein und saufen die Opferkrüge leer; das wiederholt sich immer wieder; schließlich kann man es vorausberechnen, und es wird ein Teil der Zeremonie. (From Aphorismen – Betrachtungen über Sünde, Leid, Hoffnung und den wahren Weg*; source = Project Gutenberg)

Translation 1:

Leopards break into the temple and drink the sacrificial vessels empty; that repeats again and again; finally, it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes part of the ceremony.

Translation 2:

Leopards break into the temple and lap up the contents of the gold chalices. It happens again and again until, finally, it become predictable and is incorporated into the ceremony.

Translation 3:

Leopards invade the temple and empty the ewers. This event recurs over and over until at last it can be anticipated and thus become part of the ceremony.

* Aphorisms — Reflections on Sin, Hope, Suffering, and the True Way