Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Bremen Town Rock Musicians

One day, a long time ago, I was walking in the forest near the town of Bremen, when I came across a very old cat, seemingly all alone and lost. 

I rather like cats. 

“Here, kitty, kitty”, I called out and from my pocket pulled out a bit of sandwich which was meant to be my lunch. I held it out in front of me and the cat came closer. I knelt down, still holding out a morsel, when I felt sharp teeth going into my leg through the cloth of my trousers. I yelped and looked round, seeing that a mangy cur had got hold of my leg, fangs bared and slobbering. 

“Let go, you nasty beast”, I shouted, trying to kick at it with my free foot.

The dog held on. By now the cat had come close enough to snatch the bread;
it ignored the bread, however, and sank its teeth into my hand instead, causing me excruciating pain.

I shouted and screamed, kicked and cursed, the beasts held on.

“Hallo, hallo, hallo, what have we here”; a shrill voice rang out from the wood and a ragged donkey appeared.

“What’s all the fuss about”, the donkey brayed, ‘ you are making enough noise to wake the dead”. The donkey continued “ Griselda, Grimper, let go  for now, but keep a close eye on this human; we know they can’t be trusted”.

Cat and dog let go. I sat on the ground, rubbing my wounds. 

The donkey asked me what I was doing in the forest, so far from other humans. 

“Walking, just walking”, I said. “Minding my own business and trying to be kind to the cat.”

“Walking? Just walking?” the donkey clearly didn’t believe me.  “Just walking?” it repeated. “Being kind? Humans being kind?”

The donkey swished his tail, the dog scratched its flank, the cat yawned. 

Finally the donkey said “ this is a matter to lay before the boss, let’s call him.”

The three produced the most earsplitting noise. it was worse than being mauled. The donkey noticed that I winced. 

“We are singing to our conductor and soloist. When he comes he’ll sort this problem out for us. Conductors and soloists have special powers, you’ll see”.

Sure enough, a fourth creature appeared from the top of the trees, flying down to us, crashing into trunks and branches on the way. His coat was moth eaten and he’d lost most of his tail feathers a long time ago, his comb  but a floppy semblance of his former crown.

The donkey cleared its throat. “This human was found trespassing. He says he was walking, just walking and being kind. What shall we do with him?”

The cock croaked. He cawed. He stalked up and down and round and round.

“He was being kind, you say? Hmmm”. The cock scratched at the ground.

He seemed to come to a decision.

“Humans are never kind”, he said. “All four of us were threatened with death by our former masters. Would you believe, they were going to turn me into soup? We all ran away before they could do for us; we decided to be our own boss, form a band and earn our living that way. Our kind of music is all the rage and we will soon have earned enough for homes in Florida, Acapulco, Paris and Berlin. In the meantime we live in a very desirable residence right here in the forest. The former owners, a band of robbers, kindly left it to us when they were suddenly called away.”

Hearing this sad story almost broke my heart. 

“ I am so very sorry for the treatment you have received at the hand of humankind’” I said; “Let me make it up to you. You can trust me, I never hurt an animal.”

“And how would you do that, make it up to us, I mean,” the cock asked.

Out of nowhere, I had a brainwave. Sitting there on the ground, the idea hit me. I knew what I would do.

“I am going to become your manager,” I said.

And that’s why I now have second and third homes all over the world. The band? They’re doing fine, since you ask. Still in that wood near Bremen, but we’re getting there. We’re getting there. 


  1. Oh, I love it! Well, not the part where the human gets bitten, but his revenge was certainly sweet. LOL
    -- Kay

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. so cool! keep on rockin' in the free range world

  3. love exploring your mind and talent, Friko!

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral



  4. Impressed and thankful.

    Please have a good Thursday.

    daily athens

  5. Fun twist on the Bremen town musicians!

  6. A clever re-write of an old story!

  7. Ah my. Had to laugh. Well done. Love the cock photo!

  8. You do have the most marvelous turns of mind, well on display here!

  9. Fun! And I just had to look the band up for myself. Thanks for the neat musical lesson!


  10. Delightful story!

    I hope my cat thinks we are to be trusted.

  11. Ha! I think the human still outsmarted the beasts. Wonderful take on the prompt and story!

  12. A wonderful take on the Tale of the Musicians of Bremen. I remember my Dad telling me this story.

  13. Delightful, I really enjoyed reading this :o)

  14. Sounds like you out-foxed them there Friko! Lovely re-write.

  15. ahhh the musicians. a surlier bunch that you met than the ones i met while sharing a lovely picture book with little weebles so many years ago. this is a fun response friko!!! steven

  16. This may be my favorite as I love the Bremen Town Musicians. I guess they were screwed over by a human one more time.
    Brilliant writing and imagining.

  17. This heart warming tale comes to life in the forest with your vivid narration.

  18. thanks for the back story of the tale.

  19. The Musicians of Bremen is one of my favorite children's books. I still have a whole shelf full of books I couldn't bear to pack away when the kids grew up. I still treat myself to a new one now and then, just because.

  20. I love your fractured fairy tales. You've a wonderful mind. :)

  21. I enjoyed this one, a great deal.

  22. An excellent fable, Friko! That photo of the cockerel is... though... scary!

  23. Wise protagonist there. Quick thinking and talented animals save the day!

  24. Never let an opportunity go to waste! A great take on this image...

  25. Good twist on the Bremen town musicians. I loved it.

  26. Leave to you, dear lady, who
    certainly is the undisputed Mistress
    of the fractured fable and fairy tale,
    to take Willow's cockerel image,
    and her recipe, and twist in up
    into a delicious Bavarian moment.
    I was unfamiliar with this children's
    story. i may have to search for it
    in order to read it to my grandsons,
    age 3 & 4. As for your tale, it is not
    just for magpies only, and that's why
    it was a joy to repost it over at
    my place. Love your creativity
    and your unique take on things.

  27. Whether you fractured it or reassembled the tale, you nearly had me sucking my thumb and cuddling up with my blankie.

  28. We're really in trouble when the tame ones turn against us. In a just universe, we do get what we deserve..
    this is really creative!!

  29. Wonderful story. And just imagine the music made by a wild cat, a howling dog, a braying donkey and a cockerel with a croak. They'd give any contemporary group of pop musicians a run for their money . . .

  30. Oh I loved it. A wonderful imaginative retell. You are the story teller for sure.

  31. I really like this fable, Friko. My husband had his 3rd grade students write fables for their genre part of language arts, and some of them were pretty good.

  32. i love it - "die Bremer Stadtmusikanten" how we say in germany...very nice magpie...

  33. Very sweet/clever story! I'm sorry to have missed your Musings--I'm now a fan! My family, incidentally is from Bremen. Last name is KOCH. I'm a total American, but my Grandfather, Otto was born there.

  34. smart one,
    thanks for sharing.

  35. Good story. The manager gets the most, yet again.

  36. What a fabulous spin on the folktale! My sons' band's could do with a better manager........


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