Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Wish-table, the Gold-donkey and the Cudgel in a Sack

There was, is a German fairy tale attributed to the Grimm Brothers called "The Wish-table, The Gold Donkey and The Cudgel" -not just a stick, a cudgel- "In a Sack." Now, that will tell you a lot about the German psyche. They're told from a young age that as long as they're good, obedient children they can live in a world where there are such things as wish-tables and gold-donkeys. No honey, you're in the world with the cudgel, in a sack. And apparently in this fairy tale, a lying goat caused three boys to be beaten out of their home. That's right, a lying goat. We called them "teddy-philes" when I was young, but who am I to argue?
     So anyhow, the first brother, let's call him Peter, became a Joiner and when he graduated to Journeyman-hood, his Master gave him a wish-table. This wish-table, whenever Peter took it out of his pack and set it on all 4 legs -cos 2 or 3 just wouldn't do!- and said "Spread yourself!", he would get everything he wanted. By way of food and drink of course, because although blood, guts, murder most foul, cannibalism and, let's be honest here, light bestiality feature heavily in Grimm's Fairy tales, actual physical, well verbal, even written sexuality is a no-no! Unlike every teen and adult mag in the world I might add. So Peter decides to go home and show his Dad how brilliantly he's done, but on the way he stops into an Inn and is daft enough to show off his marvellous wish-table to all and sundry and then fall asleep, allowing the crooked Innkeeper to swap it for another, non-wishing one. Because apparently he, Peter, couldn't tell the difference. Guess what he did when he got home. That's right, a demonstration of his amazing table in front of Dad and all the neighbours, without checking first....   
   Just to go off the point a little bit, there are people who think that the Brother's Grimm made up their stories instead of, as they claimed, gathering them from peasant folk. I do not agree with this theory and this is why, because of the gold-donkey that was awarded to brother number 2 on his graduation to Journeyman, we'll call him Paul. Why is the gold-donkey proof that these tales are genuine? Because it "spewed out gold." That is a direct quote from the Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales Collection of the Pantheon Fairytale and Folklore Company, so they know what they are talking about! "If you set him on a cloth and say 'Bricklebrit,' the good animal will spew forth gold from back and from front." That's another direct quote. And that's how I know that only country people could have come up with these stories. Only people who had spent their whole lives watching donkeys shitting all over the place could have come up with that. And how would you feel about that anyway? Handing over a piece of gold that not half-an-hour before had been your donkey's indigestion? I'd start wondering about my former wages for a start. And how could you make it do anything? Your whole life would be dictated by this donkey! Not that it's very different from most people's lives, but at least those donkeys have the decency to be two-legged. But imagine it! For the rest of your life, if you pissed off this donkey the next time you go 'Bricklebrit,' it'll go *raspberry, farts* streams of greeny-brown shit and vomit interspersed with now and then with some bits of gold. 'Yeah,' spit. 'Enjoy your dinner.' Anyway, back to the story.
 So this gold-donkey of Paul's looks just like every other non-gold-donkey in the whole, wide world apparently because when Paul calls into the same Inn as Peter and shows off his wonderful posession, the Innkeeper managed to swap that out too and Paul also never notices until he tries to show off in front of Dad and the neighbours. I'd have branded the damn thing!
 And the cudgel in a sack -yes, we got to the 3rd one, focus now, cudgel in a sack, brother number 3, right?- was essentially a bloody great club that would leap out of it's sack and pummel anyone who was "ill-disposed" towards you! Can you imagine it? I'd start pissing people off deliberately! 'Hey, Bobby Spencer, remember me?' 
I love how the story ends though and I'm sure you will too because that means I'm almost done talking about it. The story ends when the third brother beats up the crooked Innkeeper with his cudgel, gets back his brothers' things and their father welcomes them back because they've all proved that they're amazing at last. Then the father "locked away his needle and thread'" for he was a tailor you see, "yardmeasure and goose in the closet." Cos you're a bad goose! No, no I promise he did not lock a live goose in the closet, it's a tool that tailors use, but now! Now he has a table that will spread itself on command, a donkey that shits and pukes pure gold and a cudgel that beats up anyone he's pissed off! To hell with the goose!