Saturday, December 10, 2005

Grimm Fairy tale: The Brementown musicians

Once upon a time in a village so small that you can't even find it on a map there was a small farmhouse standing on the corner of a hay field. If you looked very carefully and squinted your eyes just a bit you would see that right next door to the house there was a wooden stable even tinier than the tiniest house. In the stable there lived a donkey named Chanter.

Chanter had worked very hard and for many years. One day the farmer said to him that he should travel and see the world before the very sad day his eyes would close forever. The farmer patted him on his back, gave him a bag of corn, and wished him good luck. Chanter smiled and said goodbye to the farmer and began walking along the dusty road. He was walking toward the famous city of Bremen where all of the finest musicians in the world lived. He thought he would become singer.

Chanter walked along the road for more than an hour. Suddenly a howl came up from the ground. He hadn't been looking where he was walking and had stepped right on the paws of dog! The dog jumped up as fast as an old dog can jump. They looked at each other and Chanter quickly apologized for stepping on the dog's paw, as his hooves were quite large, much larger than paws.

The old dog began to calm down and introduced himself as Anciano. They became friends and since Anciano was a baritone they decided to sing together and off they went to Bremen.

Later they came upon a strange mass of fur in the middle of the road. Anciano let out a growl and the ball of fur flew off the ground. Chanter dropped his bag of corn. But instead of corn, to everyone's amazement a dozen mice ran from the sack. Things looked quite a mess. Someone was crying. It was a very old fat cat. The mice had all gone. She looked up at Chanter and Anciano and purred out her name: it was Songe.

They told her that they were off to Bremen to sing. Her eyes began to glow and she asked if she could sing with them. They all became friends and walked close together. The more they talked to each other the closer they walked to each other until they thought that they must be the closest friends in the world.

It was almost dinnertime and they came across a farmhouse. Strutting back and forth on top of the barn was a rooster who looked so nervous they all thought he would fall off at any moment. He was making such a racket! They heard him saying that the farmer's wife had decided to put him in the soup! Chanter wailed. Belemente Chanticleer was the rooster's name.

He asked where they were going and faster than a hen's beak can peck decided to join them on the road. He told them that Bremen was still very far off and that they should find a place to sleep. Belemente Chanticleer told his friends that there was a house no more than an hour away and that a bright light was shining in the window so they would be able to find it in the dark.

None of them knew that the house they were approaching was full of robbers. They thought it was another farmhouse and made a plan. They would open the window and sing for their supper. They hoped that the farmer and his wife would think that their voices were so beautiful that they would be invited in for some dinner and be given a place to stay for the night. They began to sing.

"Ghosts!" cried the robbers. Out of the front door the robbers ran. They ran down the road until they could no longer be seen. Chanter, Anciano, Songe and Belemente Chanticleer looked into the house. Dinner was still on the table. They ate it all up! The friends were tired. Each found a spot and they curled up for the night.

One of the robbers didn't believe in ghosts. He said that they must have been chased out of their home not by ghosts but by other robbers! He crept back to the house to see what or who was there. He went into the dark cottage from the back door. He felt in his pockets and found some matches and bent down to light the fire on the glowing coals of the fireplace. The coals were really Songe's eyes!

Songe leapt up terrified and jumped onto his face. She pulled his ears with her nails and slapped his head with her tail. The robber couldn't see. He ran over Anciano who bit him on the leg. Chanter was scared and kept kicking the walls until Belemete Chantileer fell right off the house and cock-a-doodle-do'ed with all his might.

It was only two minutes after the Robber had entered the house from the back door that he was running out of the front door as fast as his feet would carry him, crying out that he believed in ghosts after all! His friends all screamed and ran after him.

The following morning Belemente Chantileer woke everyone up. They had all slept very well. They looked at the empty house and walked around the empty garden. They thought it was a better place to live than Bremen, and that they could sing with each other. In fact, they all live there today. They are all very old and they are all very happy.

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