This week in Mailbox: messages to Radio Prague; a swallow from the Czech Republic spotted in Africa; the poem "May" by Karel Hynek Macha. Listeners quoted: Helen Brock, UK; Gordon Skinner, UK; Johan Everaert, Democratic Republic of Congo; David Wright, UK.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox - Radio Prague's weekly programme which answers your questions and responds to your comments.

And let's start with a couple of nice letters from England. Helen Brock from Oxford sent us a reception report and included this message.

"Please do not stop the short wave programmes! The only way a busy person like me can listen is when one is doing something else at the same time, such as cooking or eating. Radio Praha is a regular part of our breakfast time. Thank you particularly for the archaeological news, which is of professional importance to me. I am always glad to hear my friend Professor Jan Bouzek. We are about to go to New York and will make a beeline for the Metropolitan Museum to see the Czech Gothic exhibition. And how did we learn about that? Why, from Radio Praha, of course!"

And Gordon Skinner from the county of Essex sent us this with his reception report.

"I often listen to Insight Central Europe with my favourite station being Radio Prague. You succeed in presenting informed articulate and well-edited programmes of international interest but with the flavour of your own country. I am grateful to Radio Prague for assembling this international offering."

You may remember that a few weeks ago we quoted from a letter sent to us by a listener from India, a vet who treated a black stork with a broken wing. We found out that that particular bird did not come from the Czech Republic - unlike this one mentioned in an e-mail from Mr Johan Everaert.

"Could you please help me to contact Czech ornithologists? Here in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we have captured a bird whose ring reads TB 22500, N MUSEUM, PRAHA. How can we contact the person who ringed it?"

I forwarded the e-mail to the National Museum's ringing station in Prague and received an immediate reply from Mr Jaroslav Cepak. He said the bird in question was a swallow, ringed in the Ostrava region in North Moravia. Mr Cepak said it was a precious piece of information because this swallow is only the fourth Czech bird monitored in the Democratic Republic of Congo (or former Zaire) despite the fact that since 1934 more than 215,000 birds have been ringed by Czech ornithologists. As a matter of fact, the annual conference of Czech ringers is taking place this very weekend, and this piece of information will be discussed there. So thank you very much, Mr Everaert, for turning to Radio Prague. For those who are interested, on our website you can find a map showing where in Africa Czech swallows have been monitored. That's at

And now from swallows to doves, featured in the famous poem "Maj" or "May" by 19th-century Czech poet Karel Hynek Macha. David Wright who listens to us in South Wales sent us this letter.

"Thank you for your Czech books broadcast this week on 'Den poezie'. It was very informative and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the short readings from the poem Maj. It set me to wondering what the poem sounded like in Czech, though I would not understand it, it would be good to hear such a celebrated poem as the author intended. I thought the article would be in the Czech section of your website but I could not find anything that corresponded. Do you know where an audio file of 'Maj' in Czech exists?"

Many recordings of "Maj" have been made, including versions recited by children or read in many voices. I'm sure some of them could be bought over the internet from Czech record companies but you can listen to a few lines of the poem on our website, at

I'm afraid now we only have time to repeat the competition question for November.

We are looking for the name of one of the founding fathers of the world-famous fast-food chain McDonald's. Born in Chicago in 1902, the son of Czech immigrants from the town of Plzen, he tried many jobs before he met the brothers Dick and Mac McDonald. He went into business with them and acquired franchising rights to open a Mc Donald's restaurant of his own in 1955. With the opening of his first franchise he founded McDonald's Corporation (originally "McDonald's Systems, Inc."). He died a multimillionaire in 1984.

Please send us the name of the man by the end of November to the usual address, Radio Prague, 120 99 Prague, Czech Republic or [email protected].