Friday, 29 June 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Kuttel Daddeldu Tells His Children The Fairy Tale of Little Red Cap by Joachim Ringelnatz (1923)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

Last week we looked at a delightful tale of a grandfather gently messing up the details of a beloved familiar story, but this week we contrast it with an alcoholic father venting his rage and spleen on his children as he haphazardly retells Little Red Riding Hood.

Kuttel Daddeldu Tells His Children The Fairy Tale of Little Red Cap  was written by Joachim Ringelnatz (pen name of the German author and painter Hans Bötticher.)  According to Wikipedia:  In the 1920s and 1930s, he worked as a Kabarettist which is a kind of satirical stand-up comedian. He is best known for his wry poems that use word play and sometimes bordering on nonsense poetry. In 1933 he was banned by the Nazi government as a “degenerate artist.”

This story was first published in Kuttel Daddeldu in 1923. According to English translator Trevor Helminski,  Kuttel Daddeldu is a frequently drunken sailor who shows disdain for authority and colours his German with puns and foreign words and phrases.

Image result for drunken sailor painting
Kuttel Daddeldu Tells His Children The Fairy Tale of Little Red Cap  
So kids if you can shut your traps for just five minutes, then I'll tell you the story of Little Red Cap, if I can still make sense out of it. Old Captain Muckelmann told me this story when I was as little and dumb as you are now. And Captain Muckelmann never lied.

There once was a little girl. She was dubbed Little Red Cap—that means, she was named that because she had a red cap on her head night and day. She was a beautiful girl, as red as blood and as white as snow and as black as ebony .She had such big, round eyes, and from behind her legs were nice and plump and in front—well, in short, she was one hell of beautiful, wonderful, splendid little lass.

And one day her mother sent her through the woods to Grandmother. She was sick, naturally. And the mother gave Little Red Cap a basket to take with her, and it had three bottles of Spanish wine and two bottles of Scotch whiskey and a bottle of Rostock rye and a bottle of Swedish punch and a bottle of schnapps then a few more bottles of beer and cake and some other junk that was supposed to help Grandmother get back her strength.

"Little Red Cap," her mother said on top of that, "do not stray from the path, for there are wild wolves in the woods!"(This whole thing must have taken place near Nikolayevor elsewhere in Siberia.) Little Red Cap promised everything and went off. And the wolf met her in the woods. He asked, "Little Red Cap, where are you headed?" And so she told him everything she knew so far. And he asked, "Whereabouts does your Grandmother live?" And she told it to him quite exactly:"Schwieger Street, thirteen, on the ground floor.” And then the wolf pointed out some juicy raspberries and strawberries to the child and lured her far away from the path, deep into the woods. And while she was busy picking berries the wolf ran full sail ahead to Schwieger Street numero 13 and knocked on the Grandmother's door on the ground floor. The Grandmother was a gap-toothed old hag and very mistrustful. Hence she barked, "Who is this knocking on my little house?" And then the wolf, who was outside, said in a fake voice, "It’s me, Sleeping Beauty!" And then the old woman called, "Come in!" And then the wolf swept into the front room. And then the old woman put on her nightgown and laced up her bonnet and gobbled up the wolf in one whole bite. 

Meanwhile, Little Red Cap had gotten lost in the woods. And as it always is with these dumbass little girls she started bawling at the top of her lungs. And deep in the woods the hunter heard this and the came in a rush. Well—What business is it of ours what these two got up to with each other deep in the woods now that it was completely dark out! Anyway, he saw her to the right path. So, now she ran off to Schwieger Street. And there she saw that her Grandmother had become completely fat and bloated. And Little Red Cap asked, "Grandmother, how come you have such big eyes?" And the Grandmother answered, "So that I can see you better!" And then Little Red Cap asked further, "Grandmother, how come you have such big ears? "And the Grandmother answered, "So that I can hear you better! "And then Little Red Cap asked further, "Grandmother, how come you have such a big mouth? "Now is that any way for a child to talk to a grown-up Grandmother? So then the old woman got hopping mad and couldn't even utter a word. Instead, she gobbled up poor Little Red Cap in one whole bite. And then she snored like a whale. 

And just then the hunter was passing by outside. And he wondered to himself how a whale ended up on Schwieger Street. And then he loaded his musket and drew his long knife from its sheath and stepped into the living room without knocking. And there to his horror he saw not a whale but the bloated Grandmother in bed. And—diavolo carajo! —This will knock you down flat on deck!—It's hard to believe ,but the gluttonous old woman gobbled up the hunter too.—Yeah, you brats are gawking at me with your mouths wide open like there’s something more coming. But clear on out of here now quick as the wind, or else I'll tan your hides. My throat is all dried out from these stinking, dumb stories, which are all just lies anyway. March out of here! Let your father drink one down now, you leftover small fry!

Stay tuned next week as we begin to explore some modern versions of Little Red Riding Hood that hark back to the sexual nature of its origin.

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