The Bremen Musicians   4 comments

At the Rathaus, Bremen

All over Bremen, there are icons of a donkey with a dog (with a cat (with a rooster on its back) on its back) on its back, so I asked–over some raki at a Turkish restaurant–what’s the deal with this.  Here’s the story.

The donkey was aging and didn’t want to work anymore.  One day, he kicked the shit out of the farmer who had raised him from birth then buried the corpse in a dung heap.  “Fuck this,” he thought; “I’ve still got some good years left in me.  I’m going to Bremen to be a musician,”  as you do.

A bunch of murder mysteries, no doubt…

On the road, he came across a dog.  “Whaddup, bitch?” he asked the dog.  “I’ll tell you whaddup, you goofy looking mofo.  The hunter I worked for had a little, shall we say, ‘accident’ so I’m getting out of town till the heat is off.  What about yourself?”  The donkey told the dog his plan to be a musician; “I’m all over that,” said the dog, dreaming of groupies and the donkey tranquilizers he could probably score.

They continued on down the road to Bremen.  They met a cat licking its paw.  “What’s your story, pussy?”  “The old lady switched me to dry food…said she couldn’t afford expensive canned food.  She should have thought about spending that extra money on repairing that clawed up bit of carpet at the top of her stairs, as it turned out.”  “Dude, you’ll fit into our band, nicely.”  And, off they went.

They met a rooster soon after, a bit twitchy and on edge.  “Nice bling,” the donkey said noting the glint of silver on the rooster’s spur.  “Yeah, tools of the trade and I used it to fix the tool of the trade that wanted me to take a dive at the next fight,” he crowed.  “Hey, you got some pipes.  You want to join our band?  We’re going to Bremen to gig.”  Of course, you get the picture.

In Bremen, they needed some quick money so found a retirement home.  The pensioners of the town were well off so they figured they could busk for a few coins outside the window.  “What about a little choreography?” asked the rooster.  “Here,” said the donkey, “Bitch, you climb up on my back, Pussy on her’s, Cock on top…now, let’s go over and sing.”

Propaganda piece for the Bremen Musicians

Their voices blended dischordantly, an awful racket.  What did you think would happen?  They were murderous farm animals, not touchy-feely cartoon characters, for-christ’s-sake.  It was awful and the old guy nearest the window shut it and pulled the curtain in a vain attempt to mute the cacophony.

“Did you see that shit?” asked the donkey.  “Of course I saw it, I’m eight feet up in the air, Ass,” said the rooster.  “Let’s show them how we do this Bavarian-style,” said the dog and with that the donkey lept through the window with his stack of accomplices.

No one seemed disturbed by the sweaty, middle-aged foreigner in revealing running shorts taking photos of their kids (and, why should they?).

Since kids may be reading this, I will refrain from detailing the carnage that ensued or the taste for freshly slain pensioner flesh these beasts developed on that day.  Their career as musicians was definitely in a shambles after this, but the youth of Bremen seemed to love their authoritarian brutality; they were elected to the town council by overwhelming margins (although the stink of fraud and voter intimidation still lingers to this day). Many monuments to them were erected during their long reign.

I think that’s how the story goes, anyway.

They even appear in Mexican restaurants, here (Mexcall in Aldstadt, Bremen)

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