Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Heinzelmännchen - Fairy Mythology.


The Heinzelmännchen and the tailor's wife, a fairy mythology in Cologne.

During our visit to Cologne we came across this statue of a woman and what appeared to be Gnomes or Elves. A Google search found the following information. The Heinzelmännchen (Dwarves or Elves) are a race of creatures appearing in a tale connected with the city of Cologne.

Gnomes or dwarfs in a workshop.

Underneath the statue you can see the Gnomes working hard in the workshop.

The story of the Heinzelmännchen  is celebrated in the Heinzelmännchenbrunnen (fountain). The little house gnomes are said to have done all the work of the citizens of Cologne during the night so that the inhabitants of Cologne could be very lazy during the day. According to the legend, this went on until a tailor's wife got so curious to see the gnomes that she scattered peas onto the floor of the workshop to make the gnomes slip and fall. The gnomes, being infuriated, disappeared and never returned. From that time on, the citizens of Cologne had to do all their work by themselves.

This legend was first written down by the Cologne teacher Ernst Weyden (1805-1869) in 1826. It was translated into English by Thomas Keightley and published 1828 in his book "The Fairy Mythology".In 1836 the painter and poet August Kopich published a famous poem beginning with the words:

Wie war zu Cölln es doch vordem
Mit Heinzelmännchen so bequem!
Denn war man faul, ... man legte sich
Hin auf die Bank und pflegte sich.
Da kamen bei Nacht, eh' man's gedacht,
Die Männlein und schwärmten
Und klappten und lärmten
Und rupften
Und zupften
Und hüpften und trabten
Und putzten und schabten -
Und eh' ein Faulpelz noch erwacht,
war all sein Tagwerk ... bereits gemacht!...
Translated as:-
So it was once upon in Cologne,
so comfortable with the Heinzelmen!
One could been lazy ... just lie
down on the bench and let things slide.
There came at night, before one knew it,
little men who swarmed and worked and fussed
and plucked and picked jumped and trotted
cleaned and scoured - and before the lazy man awoke,
his daily work was ... already done! ...

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

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