The Ragamuffins

It’s another day in the country side. Cock and hen decide to have an advendure and subsequently enslave a duck, talk to pins and torture a landlord. Yes, the landlord gets poked, and… not in the head.

And why not? What’s wrong with being cruel? As the moral of this tale goes, lies and trickery save you lots of money and get you invited to the best parties.

Here’s some advice for your next pub outing.

The story is not a traditional fairy tale, but what we Germans call a “Schwank” (it’s not what you think it is, either), a funny, short tale meant to entertain and tease.

If you have a pin in your… nether regions, read more about this condition here.

The twelve brothers

With birth control being somewhat rudimentary in 18th century Germany, a king finds himself saddled with 12 sons. Once his beloved daughter arrives, he takes a rather drastic approach to ensuring she gets her share of his fortune.

Fast forward and we find ourselves in a magic forest. Ravens, lillies, witches and tales of sibling love. A confusing story, but a beautiful one nonetheless.

It’s a classic “I heard it from these girls who heard it from a woman who heard it in her husband’s pub”. Such Chinese whispers might explain the older story fragments we find in this tale.

Confused? Read the story here.

The Wonderful Musician

A musician wanders into a forest and gets bored. Animal cruelty ensues.

Well, what can you do when all these wolves, hares and foxes are constantly clinging to your genius. After all, man is cleverer than beast, so why not demonstrate this by stringing the pesky creatures up some trees?

Truly,this is an old tale from before the days of the RSPCA. It’s a nice example of how our perception of appropriate treatment of wildlife has changed. And a neat story.

If your paws happen to be stuck in a tree trunk and you cannot press play, read the story here.

I borrowed the image from a certain Mark Thompson, who has disappeared from the internet. Sorry Mark. If you’d rather I take it down, let me know.

A shout-out also to Professor Hans-Jorg Uther, whose work is very helpful!

Faithful John

Aaah, Faithful John! A story about true love, in all its wonderful forms. And how do you prove true love, Grimm-style? Well, shooting a horse, burning a bridal gown and beheading some babies might be a good start.

I’m serious – the amount of violent crime in this tale tops everything we’ve heard so far. Yet, it is also a hauntingly beautiful fairy tale. And it’s our first “happily ever after”.

Discerning listeners and gaming fans will notice something special: I’ve used the soundtrack of Torin’s Passage, one of my favourite Sierra games, for this episode. It was composed by the wonderful Michel Le Grand, and you can download it here.

If you’re still not over the beheaded babies and think I made it all up, read the original here.

This story is quite long – I will do an analysis in a separate podcast.

The Wolf and the Seven Kids

And then there were none. Well, one. But hey, a visit from the big, bad wolf can be devastating, especially when he is armed with chalk and flour.

Fortunately one of the seven little kids is clever enough to hide in a clock. Oh, for the good old days of yore when that was still possible. In the days of the Apple Watch that little kid would have been a goner.

You still have no idea what I am talking about, right? Well, listen to this:


You can find more on Ludwig Bechstein, the dude with the all-round beard, here. If you’re getting tired of me bleating on about goats, read the story here.

Truly, men are like that!