12 July 2012

By Far the Most Disturbing Thing the Grimm Brothers Ever Wrote

Okay so I'm reading the Lucy Crane translation of select tales collected by the Brothers Grimm. While this is the source of such eternal classics as "Little Red Riding Hood" ("Little Red-Cap"), "Cinderella" ("Aschenputtel"), and "Rapunzel" (same name), as well as lesser known but wonderful stories like "Mother Hulda" and "The Fisherman and His Wife" (what does the ending mean? Anyone know?), not all of the stories are gorgeous gems. Some are just...bizarre.

Today I read "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage." This is a good example of a tale with a fairly straightforward message (everyone has a special skill and should stick with that lest disaster strike), but with content so weird and awful that the message does not matter because you'll forget all about it while trying to get the weirdness out of your mind. Follow that link to read it. It's short. I'll wait. In case you're busy here is a synopsis:

Mouse, Bird, and Sausage live together and each perform their own household tasks. It works pretty well: the sausage cooks dinner, the bird collects firewood, the mouse does pretty much everything else. Don't look too closely though at what you're eating, because the sausage dips himself into the broth and swirls himself around to make it taste better.

If your life looks like this, get out while you still can.
(That is all you need to know. Oh, and the bird screws it all up by deciding he would like to switch jobs. Sausages are not good at collecting firewood. 'Nuff said.)

The following is a transcript of Dave's comment on the story after I explained it to him this morning:

"So...after the sausage flavours the broth, does he eat it?"

I think the answer is yes. THE ANSWER IS YES.

It will take man's best friend to get us out of this hell.



17 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

We got my daughter a big Grimm's collection a bit over a year ago, but we haven't gotten that far into it. She's been busy with Harry Potter.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Prepare yourself. That sausage is upsetting and upsetting things happen to him.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, I believe that. We read this one with a giant... well, I can't remember, now, exactly what it was about, but my daughter just ended up confused.

Hildred said...

As gruesome as this one is, I still find the Cinderella take of everybody hacking off their heels even grodier. =x

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm still wondering why the sausage was allegedly carrying forged letters when in search of wood... Maybe I just need more coffee. Or less.

The Insolitus Lupus said...

hahaha
"So...after the sausage flavours the broth, does he eat it?"
I was wondering that too x)

Thanks for sharing

Sarah said...

Have you ever read Struwwelpeter? My grandmother's German, so I grew up with a lot of German children's books. And seriously, Struwwelpeter is the creepiest book in existence. You have to find the right addition though (really old one), the one that shows the blood spurting and the cats crying and all the right stuff. The stories are straightforward, but, well, maybe it would be better if they weren't! I'd rather read self-cannibalistic sausages any day!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Agreed, those scenes are absolutely awful. And they get their eyes plucked out by birds!

I guess I have some kind of problem with sausages? (Insert (ha) Freudian joke here)? I think they are gross, so one that can walk around and dip itself in food is extra yuck to me.

Elizabeth Twist said...

The way I see it, the Grimms were probably visiting some town in the throes of a beer festival or rye ergot harvest or something when they collected this tale.

Elizabeth Twist said...

You're welcome, and great to see you round these parts.

Elizabeth Twist said...

I am looking at Struwwelpeter (Project Gutenberg edition) now. Wow! I don't suck my thumb, but I certainly won't start for fear of the great tall tailor. Yikes.

In tone, and even in some of the character names, (Augustus?), it reminds me a bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I wonder if Roald Dahl used it as inspiration.

kelworthfiles said...

Well, I'm a bit too tired to read, but somehow I just find the notion of the sausage drinking his own broth hilariously funny, not particularly disturbing.

Yeah, maybe that's the being tired thing too...

Mina Lobo said...

Can't trust those shifty sausages. Forged letters, indeed...
Some Dark Romantic

Elizabeth Twist said...

I suppose it depends on your view of sausages? Probably most people don't find them as creepy as I do.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Isn't that the kookiest detail? I think it's the kookiest.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Fairytales are weird, but Grimm Brothers take the cake, don't they? :)
A sausage that cooks... who THINKS of that?

David List said...

I do love the Grimm's stories. There are superbly disturbly.
I've scanned this entire list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimms%27_Fairy_Tales
in my researching... There are some weird tales for sure.

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