|“||Are you Death?||„|
|“||If people knew what death is, they wouldn't fear it anymore. And then no Grey Gentlemen and no one else could steal their life time any more.||„|
|~ Master Hora|
Master Hora is one of the protagonists of the German novel Momo by Michael Ende and one of the closest friends of the titular main protagonist. Being the keeper of time, he's the good counterpart to the members of the Time Saving Bank, the Grey Gentlemen, who feed on wasted time while Hora is responsible for giving time to humanity, although he doesn't create it.
Master Hora first encounters Momo when she follows the turtle Kassiopeia to Hora's lair. When Momo asks if he's death, he just answers that if people knew what death was, the Gentlemen would no longer be able to steal time. Hora reveals to her that the time he sends to humans manifests in their hearts as a flower, a so-called hour lilly which only lasts for one hour. The Grey Gentlemen manipulate people into saving time, which allows them to get into their hearts and take the hour-lilies, as the Gentlemen need to constantly smoke cigars made of dead hour lillies to exist and to replicate. Hora is the arch-enemy of the Gentlemen as they want to find his lair in order to take time directly from the source.
Attack of the Gentlemen
When she visits Hora once more, the Gentlemen follow Momo so Hora decides to stop them by falling asleep, which would cause time to stand still. He instructs Momo to open the safe of the Gentlemen's Time Saving Bank and release the hour liles, otherwise time would stand still forever. When Hora falls asleep, the Gentlemen panic due to loosing the source of their life energy and flee back into their headquarters, followed by Momo, where they start to kill off some of their members so their supply would be enough and they could think of new strategies. Momo uses the hour lillie given to her by Hora to close their safe and cut them off their last supply. The Gentlemen, realizing they would die when their cigars burn out unless they re-open the door, start chasing Momo. After they all died and Momo openened the door again, the flowers return to humanity and Hora reawakens, causing time to go on.
Master Hora is a gentle, old man open to talk to Momo and answer her questions. He's also worried about the actions of the Gentlemen and explains their nature as well the nature of time itself. When Momo asks him whether he's death, he asnwers that if humans knew what death was, they wouldn't fear it any more and then no Gentlemen could steal their time. His warm and gentle personality is the exact opposite to the Gentlemen's, as they resemble cold-hearted bankers while Hora is more like a friendly old man.
Master Hora's task is to constantly send hour-lilies, which represent an individual person's life time, to humanity. However the work of the Grey Gentlemen constantly causes them to rot, which makes his task more difficult. He explains that, despite he send the lilies, he's not the creator of them, he's just the administrator.
In extreme cases, such as the Grey Gentlemen invading his hideout, Hora is able to freeze time by falling asleep, and he only awakens if the stolen hour-lilies are returned to humanity in one hour, otherwise he stays asleep and time will stand still forever.
It is possible that, like his evil counterparts, Hora is immortal, but if that's the case, it's unknown what his source of immortality is. Unlike the Gentlemen, who constantly need to smoke cigars of rotten lilies to exist, Hora is never seen doing something that would imply that he's depending on some source of life.