"And so they've killed our Ferdinand," says Svejk's charwoman, in the famous line that opens the novel, describing the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, 1914. Svejk, busy massaging his knees for rheumatism responds: "Which Ferdinand, Mrs Muller? I know two. One is a messenger at Prusa's, the chemist's, who once drank a bottle of hair oil there by mistake. And the other is Ferdinand Kokoska who collects dog manure. Neither of them is any loss."