Archive for March 29th, 2012
Shmuck had always thought he was the most likely to succeed in his class. When he graduated with distinction he went to work for a gnome in Zurich. He slaved like a donkey to make the House of Black Friars the biggest bank. But one day he was shown the door. When he went out the portier feeling sad asked if he had thought of singing for his supper. Shmuck was an expert at it and he said, ‘Show me the color of money I will make my guitar weep.’ Finally he said, ‘I shall go to Bremen that lies at the end of the rainbow.’
That was how Shmuck hit the road. With a song in his heart and without a care except his severance pay and it weighed heavily in his pocket. Before long he met a fellow who sang only one tune and his imitation of Elvis Presley was fantastic. When he sang the number ‘Hound Dog’ even late king turned in his grave to say in sepulchral tone, ‘I am stoned, man!’. Poor ‘Bulldog’ Drummond was a private eye but the Eye in the Sky made his position redundant. ‘Technology stepped on my blue suede shoes.’ he confided in his new friend. ‘I am done in, friend.’
‘No you are not.’ said Shmuck.
Mr. Shmuck added, ‘We shall conquer Bremen!” Mr. Drummond didn’t know what was special about Bremen but the way Shmuck, the donkey described it,’ It was Graceland prim and proper’.
A little further the two came across a drag queen. ‘I am Meeow’ and asked them to follow the rules if they expected to conquer Bremen.’I am It to you but Alley Cat to others.’
The two were surprised that there were such rules for one who played coy and played like a jerk in next. ‘Meeow likes to purr!’ said It cheerily.
‘Can you sing?’
‘O I sing flat like no other!’ replied It coyly.
‘Just me and my Jewish harp!’
‘You will do’ said the other two.
In the town they came next was a popinjay and he strutted while they were supping in a roadside diner. They saw his outlandish dress and exaggerated manners and asked him to join them.’ I came to this town hoping to buy a suit most sober for an undertaker.’ He said, ‘I wanted this gray suit that I saw hanging in a shop window. Since buying it I got a funeral parlor as if I had pressed some magic button.’ He added how it got into his head to strut about like a rooster since every wish began coming true. He ended saying,’ I lost it all since townsfolk thought a high kicking undertaker who had a joke for every wake was giving death a bad name.’
‘Call Me Dude, the rooster.’ Dude wasn’t in the least bothered by his losses. As he said he intended to make his loss add to his personality. ‘But can you sing? They anxiously asked him. He said he was a rapper.
‘Some times I am adenoidal, but mostly I prefer off-key’ replied he.
‘I take the rap/ for the sick/ that so-ciety yiee yiee is,/Of course I am the sim-simp-tom!’
The three immediately took him. They didn’t know what he meant but it sounded very musical to them.
Thus the four went to a town and they said they should sleep early since they would be wowing the folks of Bremen next morning.
“All the more reason we should paint the town red.’ insisted Dude the rooster.
So they let Dude to arrange a card party. The inn-keeper said ‘you play but I take my cut’.
They agreed. Ten thalers a point they played for high stakes. The four musicians were losing like a roller coaster that had missed rail some hours earlier. The donkey whispered in between to ask Meeow if It knew what was going on. The drag queen threw Its hand and said,’ Even the folks from Bremen have come pouring to take us on.’ It was true. The news went around about four musicians who were hell bent to lose. ‘Ah this is the lowest form of self-advertisement,’ one worthy gent observed,’ they are bent on making the city of Bremen to sit and take note.’
The game was in full swing. He directly put a duffel bag full of money to play against the four.
The fellows of Bremen took turns to play against these four and in the end the four owed the city of Bremen 6 million thalers not counting the sundry losses the four had incurred in playing against other guests in the inn. Only the innkeeper seemed to be pleased. He had his cut while the four musicians played a losing game.
The Mayor after a week’s game stood up and demanded the four musicians to make good of their losses. ‘We won good and proper.’
Mr. Dude the rooster let out a cry ‘cock a doodle doo.’
When asked what he meant he said, ‘Nothing’ that will stand up in a court of law.’
The other three pointed to each other and said, ‘We shall sing for your suppers, considering you shall be kicked out of the City Hall for gambling away the reputation and assets’.
The folks of Bremen looked at each other angrily while the four musicians smiled. They knew all along they gambled for nothing. The good folks of Bremen were disappointed and angry.’ They surrounded the Mayor and their councilors saying, ‘You all are a bunch of crooks!’
In the end the four musicians of Bremen formed an association of sorts. They would help those who were thrown out of their office. They sang for their suppers at inns and the customers invariably paid up before they warmed up before tables. One thought their heart was in the right place but their sounds caterwauling.
The Four musicians survived in spite of this.
Years later they became the stuff legends are made of, but somewhat altered in the real facts. There is a famous statue commemorating the four in the city of Bremen.( based on an old German Tale)
(Posted here earlier-and in Elves Bells.)