Nicolas Gonner


The Dwarfs of Sterpenich

D'wîchtelcher zó Stèrpenéch

In Sterpenich a mansion stood
With many walls and towers,
The nobleman who owned it would
Misuse his wealth and powers.
He was a mean and cruel man,
Took pleasure in tormenting,
Therefore the peasants on his land
Were bitterly lamenting.
One day when he was early roused
He felt especially wicked,
He called a peasant to his house
This man would now be tricked.
"Go, churl, and bring this note to Metz,
And don't you pause and chat
Or else I'll beat without regrets
You up until you're dead.
Before the sun sinks in the west
I want the answer back here."
The peasant said: "Even the best
Could not run such a whacker."
The lord was reaching for his whip:
"I'll teach you, lazy bonehead!"
The peasant set out on his trip,
There's no more to be said.
The poor old peasant jogged along,
Through wood and mud he's dashing,
There's not much else he could have done,
To avoid his lord's mean thrashing.
His wife called after him: "Whereto?
Why this unusual hurry?"
His neighbour friendly asked: "What's new?"
He ran past in a flurry.
A little munchkin asked: "Whereto?
Just hop onto my wagon,
We'll be in Metz before the noon,
My horses fly like dragons.
Before the sun sets in the west
You'll bring the answer back here,
We'll see then if the rich old pest
Still dares call you a slacker."
The peasant sinks upon the cart,
The fine gray horses gallop,
Out of the village they depart,
And fast they run the dell up.
Thus soon the cart arrives in Metz,
He gets a note to give his lord,
Not wasting time the peasant gets
Back to the cart and climbs aboard.
The journey home went quickly by,
The grays as fast as lightning,
The sun was still high in the sky,
Such speed was almost frightening.
To luxury transport quite unused,
He's grateful for the favour,
Instead of being thrashed and bruised,
His mashies he will savour.
"You need not," said the little man,
"You need not praise and thank me.
I got you safely home again,
If I could help, I thank thee.
Just tell your master, be so kind,
Tomorrow I will take him,
But fine gray mares he shall not find,
My pitchblack steeds are waiting."
The peasant ran up to his lord,
His master, condescending,
Twice read the letter which was brought,
Wide-eyed, uncomprehending.
He asked just how the peasant could
Get back from Metz this fast,
The good man told his tale, minute,
How this feat came to pass.
The lord did not enjoy the tale,
He wrought his hands despairing,
"Da sterpen ech," he whispered pale,
"Into Death's face I'm staring."
The peasant crossed himself in fear
And ran out of the mansion,
At home he ate and made good cheer,
Released was all the tension.
At dawn next day, the peasant peeps
Out of his window shutters,
Along the road the dwarf's cart creeps –
Inside a coffin clutters.
The stallions frighteningly black,
To bed the peasant clambers,
The place is thus called "Sterpenich",
As such it's still remembered.
Zó Stèrpenéch, dô wôr e schlasz
Matt fillen tîr a mauren,
Den èdelmann, dên hêrr drop as,
Dê kennt guor kê bedauern.
Et wôr e rechte bëse wupp,
Séng frêt wôr d'leit ze plôen,
Duorfîr hât gënt dê belzebupp
Och jidderên ze klôen.
E stong emôl frë muorgens op
Matt uorge, bëse launen,
E rifft e bau'r op d'bûrch erop,
De bauer wôr foll staunen.
"Hei flappes drô dê brëf nô Metz,
A géf déch brâf un d'lâfen,
Soss krisde brîgelen nôm gesetz
Fîrt tôzen an d'maulâfen.
Ir d'sonn den owent énnergêt,
Muszt du mer entwért bréngen."
De bauer sêt: "Keng mîgelechkêt
Ech dât môl ze bedéngen."
Den hêrr dê greift nôm geiszelstronk:
"Mâ wârt éch wêrt déch lëren."
De bauer mécht a gëe spronk,
'T wôr aus mam resonnëren.
Den ârme schelm gét séch drun
Matt leif a sël un d'rennen,
Wât sollt en och wuol ânescht dun,
Sollt him de réck nét brennen?
Séng frâ frêt op der fîschter dîr,
Wuofîr esó pressëert;
De nôper frêt, wât him wuol wîr,
En huot se nét gehëert.
E klenge mennche frêt: "Wóhin?
Wéllt dîr èch nét opsétzen?
Zó Metz kénn dîr fîr méttech sin,
Méng geil, dë gin 'wë d'blétzen,
Ir d'sonn gënt owent énnergêt,
Kénn dîr êr entwért bréngen;
Wât dann de bëse wupp wuol sêt,
Dasz dîr e konnt bedéngen."
De mann sétzt op, de wîchtel dreift,
Séng schémmelen dë zëen,
Dasz duoref ém duoref hanne bleift,
An d'bêm an d'heiser flëen.
Zu Metz wôr hèn a gudder zeit,
Fîr d'entwért ofzehuolen,
De bauer hât séch nét geheit,
Gespuort u' schong a suolen.
Um hêmwê góng ét nach më schnell,
'Well d'schémmele se geflûen,
Hëch stóng nach d'sonn a schéngt nach hell,
Wë sî gént duorf gezûen.
De bauer dankt fill dausent môl
Dem wîchtelchen fun hèrzen,
Den hêrr klappt hèn nét blô an hôl,
Den owent gét ét stèrzen.
"Mîr brauchst de", sêt de klenge mann,
"Mîr brauchst de nét ze danken;
Wë éch de ménschen helfe kann,
Dât sén oft méng gedanken.
Sô déngem hêrr, wannste geseis,
Ech këm e muorgen huolen,
Zwar se méng schemm'len dann nét weisz,
Meng geil se schwârz 'wë kuolen."
De bauer rennt mam brëf an d'bûrch,
Den hêrr hât âner launen,
E lèst de brëf gleich zwêmôl dûrch,
E lèst e foller staunen.
E frêt de bauer hin, an hèr,
Wë hèn nô Metz konnt gôen,
De bauer sêt dem bûrechhêrr,
Wë d'sâch séch zógedrôen.
Dem hêrr, dêm gêt dât gënt de stréch,
E kritt e gëe schrecken,
"Alsó", sêt hèn, "da stèrpen éch,
Op d'bôr musz éch méch strecken."
De bauer, dên huot d'kreiz gemâcht,
As aus dem schlasz gesprongen,
Séng stèrzen hun em gutt geschmâcht,
En huot se all gezwongen.
Frë muorgens kuckt de bauer aus
Dûrch d'spâlen an de luoden,
De wîchtel fîrt lânscht baurenhaus,
En hât eng leich geluoden.
Schwârz wôren d'geil, a férchterlech,
'T as guore nét më ze sôen,
Duofîr hêscht d'schlasz och "Stèrpenéch"
Bis haut zó onsren dôen.


The Dwarfs of Reckange

D'wîchtelcher zó Recken

"Oh God, what now? what should I do?
My husband's dead, my children small,
Sold are the mares, my oxen too!
I have, poor me, no friend at all!
Who shall now plough and sow for me?
How shall I find a helping hand?"
Thus goes a good wife's anxious plea
Who owns in Reckange some small land.
"Let me," replies her eldest son,
"Tomorrow go to Rollingen,
The road is dry and warm the sun,
And there I'll talk to uncle then.
Our uncle surely will agree
To sow for us a bit of seed
I'll soon be back, I promise thee,
't is but a little trip indeed."
Before the sun shines in the sky
The boy sets out upon his quest,
With heavy heart he says good bye,
A hopeful purpose in his breast.
He walks through forest, meadow, glen,
Not once he's straying from the way,
At last arrives in Rollingen
His uncle a visit for to pay.
The boy then tells his uncle and aunt
That – cruel fate – his father died
And how he hopes they'll lend a hand.
The farmer looks at him and sighs.
He says he has so much to do
And also horses need some rest,
And once he is with sowing through
The toilsome harrowing's no jest.
They'd love to help, his aunt explains,
No doubt about it, clear as day,
If 't weren't for that horse, the lame,
They'd be already on their way.
"There are," she says, "rich farmers too
In Reckange, bound to pity you."
So teary-eyed the boy has to
Set out towards his home anew.
Bemoaning fate he goes his way,
Bemoaning it to tree and stone,
And wonders what his mum will say
When without help he gets back home.
"What ails thee, boy, wherefore the tears?
Why does your joy to sadness morph?
How can I help to ease your fears?"
Thus speaks to him a little dwarf.
The boy cries out: "My father died,
And then they took our ox and mare,
I hate to see my mother's plight
With seven children in despair.
Who'll help us do the dreadful sowing?
An ox or horse we do not own.
I'd hoped my uncle'd do the ploughing
But woe is me, his heart's of stone."
The dwarf then takes the poor child's hand,
Instilling courage and new hope,
He promises to plough the land,
With sowing he would also cope.
The only thing the dwarf must ask
Is that the boy provide the seeds
And bring the plough, that is his task,
A pie he wants too, for his deeds.
The boy runs home, he's full of joy,
Relates what their dear family said
And how a dwarf then met the boy
And how he told him of his dread.
And how the dwarf had then agreed
To plough for them, and sow and till!
They only must provide the seed
And put a pie upon the sill.
True to their word, the dwarfs appeared,
With fervour did they plough the land,
The furrows were well engineered,
The seeds all sown with steady hand.
The harrows too were used with care
And not a single village field
Looked better than the acres where
Dwarf craftsmanship was soon revealed.
And ere the cock crows in the morn
The dwarfs had finished, fast and spry:
The land was tilled, sown was the corn
And relished was the apple pie.
But when the day dawned in the east
The time had come to leave the place,
The dwarfs retired, exhausted, pleased,
And slept, a smile upon their face.
The early morning sees the lad
Expectantly get out of bed,
To check if nightly their homestead
Was ploughed, just like the dwarf had said.
He's greeted by a wondrous sight:
The dwarfs were diligent and neat,
There stands the cleaned-up plough all right,
The seedbag's empty at his feet.
The corn grew plentiful and high,
The widow's joy no boundaries knew,
And every stormwind that came nigh
Raged left and right, but never through.
The crops were gathered from the field
And all the neighbours were agreed
It was the most abundant yield
And, as the wind showed, full indeed.
"O Gott, wât mân? wât soll éch din?
Mei mann as dót, méng kanner kleng,
Ferkâft sén d'pêrt, méng ochsen hin!
Nu sén éch óne héll'f, eleng!
Wè wêrt mer plóen, wêrt mer sëen?
Wó soll ech d'leit zur sôt hèrkrëen?"
'Só klôt zu Recken eng brâf frâ,
Matt trënen an dem drëwen â.
"Lôszt mamm", sêt hîren élste jong,
"Lôszt muorge méch nô Rolléng gôn,
De wê as gutt, ganz sé méng schong,
Dem ëm wéll éch onst lêt dô klôn.
An onsen ëm wêrt séch nét zëen,
Fîr ons dât bés-chen frûcht ze sëen;
Ech sén erém matt gudder zeit,
Dë rês, dë as jo nét ze weit."
Mei gudde jong wôr muorgens frë,
Nach îr der dâch grôt, an der wèr,
Gêt fun der mamm matt hèrzewë,
Mâ dach zum ëm, duor gêt e gèr.
En zët dûrch bésch, a felt, a wîsen,
Dem wê nô, dên em d'mamm gewisen,
E ként dann och zu Rolléng un,
Fîr bei dem ëm ufrô ze dun.
De jong, dé klôt der mimm, dem ëm,
Dasz hîre papp gestuorwe wîr,
A wuofer hèn nô Rolléng quëm.
De bauer rompelt d'deischter stîr,
E sêt en hett ze fill ze plóen,
A sonndes miszten d'pêrt dach róen,
A wann séng sôt am buodem lëch,
Mîszt hèn dach drîwer matt der ëch.
Séng mimm, dë sêt: "Sî déngent gêr,
Dô wîr dach wuol kên zweîwel drun,
Wann némmen dât schlammt pêrt nét wêr,
Dât sî am stall dô stôen hun."
"Zu Recken", sêt se, "sén déck bauern,
Op da fun dênen kê bedauern?"
De jong, dê kreischt, gêt sénges wês
Matt schwèrem hèrzen hêm op d'rês.
Bâl klôt e séch sein êgent lêt,
Da klôt en ét de steng a bêm,
A wât séng ârem mamm wuol sêt,
Wann hèn den owent 'rém dohêm.
"Wât fêlt, mei jong, wuofîr dein trauern?
Wât huos du klengen ze bedauern?"
'Só rèt de jong e wîchtel un,
A frêt, wât hè ként fîr en dun?
De jong dê kreischt: "Mei papp as dót,
Hu pêrt an ochs dernô ferluor,
Méng mamm, dë as a grószer nót,
A sîwe kanner huot se guor.
A wë nu plóen, wë nu sëen?
Et fêlt ons pêrt an ochs zum zëen,
Fum ëm, dô hât éch héll'f erwârt,
Mâ 't schéngt, sein hèrz as stengenhârt."
De wîchtelchen, dên trëscht dât kant,
E mécht em frésche, gudde mutt,
Fersprécht em all hîrt âkerlant,
Ze plóen, sëen, an dât gutt.
Dach miszt de jong fîr d'sômfrûcht suorgen,
Am wîchtelchen de pló och bréngen,
Mâ dât helt hèn dem jong nach fîr,
E schuodë wîr sei lón derfîr.
De jong lêft hêm a foller frêt,
En zèlt, wat ëm a mimm gesôt,
Wë hèn dem wîchtelchen hîrt let,
Hîr nót an alles hett geklôt.
Fum wîchtel, dô wir héll'f ze krëen,
E gëf e plóen, gëf e sëen!
Mâ d'sômfrûcht miszt gelîwert gin,
An op der mârk e schuodë sin.
A rîchtech! d'wîchtelcher si komm,
Geplót, an nét gestréppt, góf d’lant
Hîr fûre wôre rîcht, nét kromm,
Si hu gesët matt sich'rer hant.
An d'ëgen hun se gutt ferstânen,
Em d'duorf op den drei gewânen,
Konnt dîr kê prop'rert lant gesinn,
Eng zêchen, datt se d'sâch ferstinn.
Ir nach am duorf den huon gekrët,
Wôr all dë ârbecht scho' gemâcht,
An d'lant, dât wôr geplót, gesët,
An hîre schuodë hât geschmâcht.
Mâ wë der dâch ufóng ze grôen,
Dû wôr ét zeit fîr hêm ze gôen,
A well se midd si', gin s' an d'ró
An di bis owents d'âen zó.
Frë muorgens, dasz den dâ nach fellt,
Dû spréngt mei jong schon aus dem haus,
Ze kucken, op der mamm hîrt felt
Geplót, gesët, geëcht, a wë!
De jong, dê staunt, traut kaum den âen,
Dasz d'wîchtelcher dât konnte mâen,
'Só guor sei sâk, dé wôr gefâlt,
An d'schuor gebotzt, dasz ét gestrâlt.
An d'wittfrâ krût dë schënste frûcht,
Dë dîr matt âe konnt gesinn,
A góng e wèder dûrech d'lûcht,
'T zët émmer lânscht dât stéck dohin.
A wë se d'frûcht am hèrscht gebonnen,
Dû huot all ménsche séch entsonnen,
Et wôr dë allerschënst fum bann
An dasz se schwëer, weiszt de wann.


The Dwarfs of Schoenfels

D'wîchtelcher zó Schéndels

The lord of Schoenfels leaves his home
To hunt for leisure only,
And with him through the forest roams
His wife, who won't be lonely;
And Eberhard, his only son,
Along must come as well then
His mother fears to have him gone
And carries him not seldom.
The lord now blows his horn: "Trarah!"
And disappears in hedges,
Young Eberhard says: "Lo, mama,
Relax on these grass patches,
See here are flowers red and white,
A bunch there are and plenty,
I'll pluck the roses from the height,
Look, they are laughing friendly."
The castle lady likes the way
Her dear son speaks, it pleased her;
She sits down in the pleasant shade
To view the steeple rooster.
She watches as the peasants work,
Behind the plough they're staying,
And then there sings the cuckoo, hark,
She wonders what he's saying.
The son is full of happy joy,
The pretty blooms appraising,
But then he sees a butterfly
And after it starts chasing.
He tries to catch a dovetail fair,
From plant to plant the stunner
Is flitting round, first here, then there,
Like the brook from Wies to Ganer.
The mother's eyelids heavy grow,
She slumbers on the mounds;
She sleeps awhile, thinks not of woe
And dreams of mighty counts.
The lord is hunting in the woods,
He's hunting stag and deer;
To make the world obey his rules
His hounds bark loud and clear.
The butterfly eludes the boy,
He simply cannot get it;
The butterfly is way too spry,
It's toying with the laddie.
The dovetail suddenly then has
Just vanished in the hedges,
The boy, he stands with great distress
Upon the rocky ledges.
He's calling for his mum, his dad,
And bitter tears are falling;
He cries, he sobs a long time yet,
He cries just like the Magdalene.
"What is the matter, little boy?"
A tiny man is asking,
"Say, are you lost? What kills your joy?"
And then his hand he's grasping.
Young Eberhard, he holds his hand,
The dwarf now cheers him up;
Dwarfs know their way around the land,
The boy can brighten up.
He leads him all around the place,
Beneath them fissures splinter;
Young Eberhard is much afraid
That they should both fall in there.
They take a path so steep and small
O'ergrown with moss and fern
No sun or moon shone there at all,
They have to twist and turn.
The path sometimes is just too tight,
Innumerous are the dangers;
It hangs on rock walls in great height,
A deadly walk for strangers.
Thus to a happy vale he's brought,
The threats have lost their powers,
The boy, he likes it here a lot
Cause everywhere grow flowers.
He picks the flowers manyfold
To have a nice bouquet;
He sits beneath a high rock bold
And soon he's laughing gay.
And when the castle lady sweet
From half-hour slumber woke,
She got up quickly to her feet,
"Where is my son?" she spoke.
She called the boy, her voice rang clear
Where hedges, brambles, grass grow,
But no reply from her young dear,
She hears a mocking echo.
And great and greater her distress,
The lady was afraid,
She feared her son lay lifeless
In hedges dark out-splayed.
"He's fallen in a crevice steep,"
Thus she began lamenting,
"He's in a vale, oh God, so deep,
In torment unrelenting."
And should the Schoenfels castle burn,
And burn in every part,
The mother would not faster run,
To find her dearest heart.
She runs into the deepest hole,
Beneath huge mountain shadows,
And there she finds her heart and soul,
He sits there in the meadows.
Gone is her fear, her woe has passed,
Delight shines from her eye,
She holds the dear boy to her breast,
Beside herself with joy.
The boy relates about his stroll,
And who has led him here.
"Yon, mother, where you see the hole,
It's there he disappeared."
Upon her knees the lady goes
To thank her God sincere;
Upon her knees she makes an oath
In this her plan to persevere:
She will, unless her lifeblood's spilled,
Up on the rocks exposed
A beautiful small chapel build
In case a wanderer's lost.
The lady built the chapel there,
Just like she said she would;
And on the rocks high in the air,
Since then the chapel's stood.
Amid the rocks a path winds up,
But dwarfs you'll see no more,
It leads you to the mountaintop,
Where the lady was scared sore.
Den hêrr fum schlasz zó Schéndels gêt
Op d'juocht zum zeitferdreiwen,
Fu sénger frâ as hè beglêt,
Dë nét dohêm wollt bleiwen.
An Eberhârt, sein ênzecht kant,
Dê musz dann och mattgôen;
Bâl hât séng mamm e bei der hant,
Bâl huot s' ene gedrôen.
Den hêrr, dê blëszt an d'huor: Trarâ,
A schlët séch dûrech d'hecken,
Den Eberhârt, dê sêt: "Mama,
Hei kanns d'an d'grâs déch strecken,
Hei sé fill blummen rót a weisz,
Lôsz méch eng streiszchen mâchen,
Ech plécken d'róse fun dem reis,
Kuck, wât se fréntlech lâchen."
Der schlaszfrâ, dêr gefellt dë rèt
Fun hîrem lèwe sînchen;
Si sétzt séch an de kille schèt
A kuckt nôm kîrechhînchen.
Kuckt wë dë bauren, dë um pló,
Séch rackren a séch plôen,
A lauschtert dann dem guckuck zó,
Wât dên er wuol ze sôen.
De sînchen foller loscht a frêt,
Gêt blimmelcher séch plécken,
Dach góf en dêrs, a bâl, ferlêt,
A fenkt séch peiperlécken.
E schmuolweschwanz, dem rennt e nô,
Fun enger blumm zur âner,
Bâl wâr en hei, bâl wôr en dô,
Wë d'bâch fu Wîs nô Gâner.
Der mamm, dêr fâlen d'âen zó
A sî fenkt un ze schlôfen;
Sî schlëft eng zeit a gudder ró
An drêmt fu grósze grôfen.
Den hêrr jêt weit am dëwe bésch
Nô hirschen a nô rëen;
Séng honn, dë billen hell a frésch
Fir d'wélt nôm hêrr ze drëen.
De jong, dê krût de peiperléck
E krût e nét ze fenken;
De peiperléck e wôr ze fléck,
E wollt mam jong blós zenken.
Op êmôl wôr de schmuolweschwanz,
An enger heck ferschwonnen,
De jong stóng op em fèlzekranz
En hett séch bâl entsonnen.
E rifft séng mamm, e rifft sei papp,
Et fâle batter trënen;
E rifft, e kreischt e gudde strapp,
E kreischt as wë d'madlënen.
"Wât as mei jong, wât as geschitt?"
Frôt dû e klenge mennchen,
"Bas du ferluor? bas du fleicht mitt?
Géf mir, mei jong, déng hennchen."
Den Eberhârt, dên hélt dë hant,
De mennche mécht em fëschten;
Dem wîchtel as de wê bekannt,
E sicht de jong ze trëschten.
E lêt en îwer stên a stack,
Duor, wó séch d'fèlze spâlen;
Den Eberhârt e fèrecht dack,
E miszt mam wîchtel fâlen.
Et góng e gëe pât erân,
Dê nach kê ménsch betruoden,
Duor schéngt keng sonn, kê mont duordrân,
Sî muszten séch oft bruoden.
De pât wôr muonchmôl guor ze schmuol
An henkt un hëge wennen;
D'gefôren wôren óne zuol,
Dë hei guor nét ze nennen.
Sî komme glécklech an den dall
Nô allen dê gefôren,
Et huot dem jong dô gutt gefall,
Well dô fill blumme wôren.
E pléckt séch blumme fillerlê
Fer séch eng strausz ze mâchen;
E sétzt séch énner dë hëch lê
A fenkt 'rém un ze lâchen.
Wë d'schlaszfrâ dû fum schlôf erwâcht,
Nô enger hâlwer sténnchen,
Huot sî séch schnell op d'bê gemâcht
A kuckt nô hîrem kénnchen.
Sî rifft de jong matt heller stemm
An treischer an an hecken,
De jong, dên entwért nét erém,
Sî hëert d'êchô zecken.
A grósz a grëszer gét hîr nót,
An d'èdelfrâ foll schrecken,
Sî fèrcht den Eberhârt wîr dót
A lëch an donklen hecken.
"Eng fèlz erân as hè gefall",
Só fenkt se un ze jëmern;
"E leit, o Gott, am dëwen dall,
Dô leit mei jong ze wëmern."
A wîr zó Schéndels d'schlasz a brant,
A brennt un allen ecken,
Da wîr dë mamm nét më gerannt,
Wë fîr hîrt kant z' entdecken.
Sî lêft bîs an den dëwe gront
Bis énner d'fèlzerîsen,
Dô huot se hîrt hèrzblèdche font,
Et sétzt dô an de wîsen.
Fort wôr hîr angscht, fort hîre schmèrz,
D'frêt lîcht aus hîren âen,
Sî dréckt de lèwe jong un d'hèrz,
Woszt nét fu gléck wât mâen.
De jong ferzèlt, wât him geschitt,
A wèn en hèr gefëert.
"Dô mamm, wó dîr dât lach gesitt,
Dô as en âgekëert."
Op d'knëe wêrft séch d'schlaszfrâ duor,
Fer hîrem Gott ze danken;
Op hîre knëen det s' e schwuor
Am fîrsâz nét ze wanken,
Dasz sî, wann sî zó lèwe blëf,
Hëch op de fèlzestîren
Eng schë kapellche baue gëf,
Wann ên séch sollt ferîren.
An d'schlaszfrâ huot d'kapell gebaut,
Wë sî d'gelübt gedôen;
An op der fèlz, kénn dîr nach haut
D'kapell gesinn dô stôen.
Dûrch d'fèlze gêt e kreizwê op,
Mâ d'wîcht'le sé ferschwonnen;
E gêt bis duor op d'fèlzekopp,
Wó d’schlaszfrâ séch entsonnen.


A Brave Woman

The following poem is based on a true story. According to a contract made with the Sioux, a ferocious Indian tribe in Minnesota in the United States of America, these were to receive relief money and gold. In 1862, rogue agents kept the gold and paid the Indians with paper money. This was reason for the Indians to start a war in which they pillaged, burned, murdered and besieged New Ulm in Brown County. During the siege of 23rd and 24th August, Schmitze M'rei from Dommeldange, whose husband, John Schmitz, had been shot by the Indians, sat on a powderkeg in the Erb family's cellar in New Ulm, her level-headedness and courage preventing a great disaster. Several times, men came in saying that the town was lost, but Schmitze M'rei remained calm and prudent. The story is related in Indianer Rache, oder die Schreckenstage von Neu Ulm im Jahre 1862 [The Indians' Revenge, or The Horrible Days of New Ulm in the Year 1862] by Alexander Berghold.

Eng couragëert frâ

Dem folgende gedîcht leit eng wóer begêbenhêt zó gront. Nô engem contract zwéschen den Sioux (l. Sûss), engem bësen indianerstâm a Minnesota an de Fereinigte Stâten, sollten d'Sioux hîr hélfsgelder a golt krëen. Spétzbuowen fun agenten behâlen d'golt a bezuolen 1862 d'indianer a popeiergelt. Dât wôr d'ursâch, dasz d'indianer krich ugefângen, geraft, gebrannt, gemuort an Neu Ulm, a Brown (l. Braun) County, gestîrmt hun. Schmîtze M'rei fun Dummeldéng, dêm d'indianer de mann, John Schmîtz, erschoss hâten, sósz an Erb's keller zó Neu Ulm bei der belêeronk fum 23. a 24. August wîrklech op dem polferfâsz an huot durch séng kaltbliddegkêt a sei mutt grószt ongléck ferhitt. Wîfill môl sé menner komm, dë gesôt hun, d'stât wîr ferluor, mâ Schmîtze M'rei wôr róech a weis. Lès nô: Indianer Rache, oder die Schreckenstage von Neu Ulm im Jahre 1862", fun Alexander Berghold.
When 'gainst the North the South was battling
At the time of our Civil War,
The Indians began their saber-rattling,
Just dreadful like never before,
Had powder, leadshot, coins to spend
And meat and covers and their tent.
The redskins had complaints to make,
Great Father'd promised them their gold,
But that the white man took the cake,
Could not to this high man be told.
For greenbacks they held not their breath,
So vowed revenge and murder, death.
The white man knew that rumour had it
The Sioux were taking devilish aim,
And Little Crow for war was headed
Instead of hunting for the game.
Thus you all whispered mouth to ear
And yet no one believed it here.
War council was held by the Sioux,
The tomahawk they'd taken out,
To rob the white-skinned crooks anew
They'd rolled up furs and beds, no doubt.
They'd painted skin and painted bone,
They looked just like the devil's own.
The burning started and the murder
In beauteous Minnesota lands,
Those who had legs ran fast and further,
Their life on running now depends.
And death took many men so fine
Who could not fast escape in time.
At night the sky was full of fire
Around the town of New Ulm all,
They whooped and screamed in monstrous ire,
They let their shots left and right fall.
And when the houses burnt so bright
The Indians crawled back through the night.
The people of New Ulm were frightened,
But were not frightened out of wits,
Their resolution only tightened
To fight on, never call it quits.
Put barricades up, did not flee,
They trust in God and bravery.
And with the children women sat
In cellars and in sore distress,
It's true, no bullet reached them yet,
But what they feared was shame and death.
Some cry, some lips in prayers moved,
Some others tried the kids to soothe.
And if calamity should strike,
The town be taken quick and brief,
No woman and no child alike
Would prey fall to the Crow's red thieves.
Inside a cellar in the street
A powderkeg would do the deed.
And Schmitze M'rei from Dommeldange
Sits calmly down upon the block,
She'll put to use the powdery stash,
Protection 'gainst the red-skinned dog.
Her husband, he had fallen prey
To Indians cruel, so they would pay.
"Hey, Mary! hear the Indians howl,
Oh, hear their dreadful cries of war,
First this way and then that they prowl,
The wild are dreadful to the core."
These are a neighbour's words, full ire,
Who's putting logs into the fire.
"See, Mary, how the barn burns bright,
The flames have started now to roar,
And how they run off through the night,"
Thus speaks one at the cellar door.
"Hey, Kate," says M'rei, "then build a queue,
Since nothing else you have to do."
"Swift past the gym upon their horse,
Oh God! Oh God! they'll soon be nigh,"
Thus cries a young girl with full force.
"Just take a flame, go 'head, Marei!"
"It is too soon," says Mary calm,
"Go close the hatch, there is no harm."
There comes a lad along the way,
He moans, besmeared with blood and dirt,
Inside he hears them whine and pray
And cannot tell them to take heart.
"The Indian's coming, there's no doubt,
"They're coming after me," he shouts.
"Oh Lord! Oh God! what should we do?
Oh, Mary, light that powderkeg."
Although she's feeling rather blue,
Schmitze M'rei, she laughs right back
And says: "I want to see them ere
We go with smoke away from here."
And to the manyfold great terrors
A pitchdark night is added now,
Yet everywhere the weapon bearers
Themselves no rest and peace allow.
Should all their courage lose tonight,
From Dommeldange Marei sits tight.
They hear a horseman's swift approach,
Can barely see him through the night,
"It is an Indian," some reproach,
While fearful grabbing for a light.
But Mary's words much smarter chime.
She says: "You people, we have time."
At midnight still the fights were heaving,
No happy end was yet in sight,
And greater grew the fear and grieving,
It turned some people's hair to white.
But Schmitze M'rei would not despair,
Consoled with guidance wise and fair.
"Well, quick, Marei, the Indian's nigh,"
Screams loudly someone in the street,
"Good gracious!" grumbles Schmitze M'rei,
"Here from my keg I have to see it,
There's plenty time to light the store
When they appear inside the door."
But finally the dawn creeps near,
The sun is rising in the east,
They hear up in the street somewhere:
"There's help approaching, we're released;
And our salvation is this whack,
The Indians have them in their back."
But still the killing is not over,
For Crow surrender feels not right,
He knows no fear, runs not for cover,
He thinks he still can win the fight.
But by and by the shooting fades,
The enemy has run away.
"You people," M'rei says, "on your knees,
For our good luck let's thank you say,
It's Sunday and the Indian is
By our people sent away.
I'll take this keg outside and fast,
Methinks the danger has now passed."
Wë gënt de Nôrt de Süd' gestridden
Zur zeit fun onsem bîrgerkrich,
Dû wôren d'indians schlecht ze hidden,
Sî gówen dû ganz fèrchterlech.
Sî hâte polfer, blei a gelt
A flêsch, an decken a gezelt.
De róde mann hât schwëer klóen,
De Grósze Papp hât golt fersprach,
Mâ him konnt hè sei lêt nét sôen,
Dasz d'blêchgesîcht ét âgestach.
A well de greenback nét séng sâch,
Dû schwèrt en dót a muort a râch.
Dë weisz, dë hun alt mónkeln hëeren,
Dasz Sioux eng deiw'lerei am schélt,
Dasz d'Krë, dë kleng, e krich wéllt fëeren
An nét op d'juocht géng nô dem wélt.
Dât góng èch all fu mont zu mont,
Mâ nîrges huot ét glâwe font.
Dach hâten Sioux de rôt gehâlen,
Den tomahawk eraus gewullt,
A fîr dë weisz ze îwerfâlen,
Wôr pelz a bett schon opgerullt,
Sî hâten séch och ugestrach,
Dasz sî dem deiwel selwer glach.
Dû fóng a muorden an e brennen
Am schëne Minnesota un,
A wèn nach bên hât góng un d'rennen,
Sei lèwen, dât hóng of derfun.
Wë muonchen huot den dót dô font,
De nét zur zeit entlâfe konnt.
Nuots wôr den himmel foller feier
Em d’stât Neu Ulm ronderém,
Geheilt, gejaut hun d'onggeheier,
Bâl hei geschosz, bâl dô erém.
A wôren d'heiser ugestach,
Sén d'indians fort dûrch d'grâs geschlach.
D'Neu Ulmer wôre foller angscht a schrecken,
Mâ d'kepp dë hun se nét ferluor,
Et gêt keng rèt fum waffestrecken,
Sî hâle brâf hîr broschten duor.
Hîr schanzen hun se schnell gebaut,
Op Gott an hîre mutt fertraut.
Matt hîre kanner sószen d'frâen
A kellern an der bânger nót,
Zwâr kont keng kugel sî erzâen,
Dach hâten s' angscht fîr schân an dót.
Eng hu gekrasch, eng hu gebèt,
Eng hun de kanner zógerèt.
A sollt dât onggléck fleicht geschëen,
Dasz d'stât am stûrm erûwert gëf,
Net frâ, nét kanner sollt se krëen
Dë Krë matt hîre róden dëf.
An engem keller bei der gâsz
Dô stóng fîr d'nót e polferfâsz.
A' Schmîtze M'rei fun Dummeldéngen,
Dât setzt séch róech op dë tonn,
Hatt wollt dât polferfâsz bedéngen
Als schotz a schîrm gënt d'rót honn.
Dûrch sî hât d'M'rei sei mann ferluor
An duorfîr hât ét râch geschwuor.
"Du Marë! hëer d'indians heilen,
O hëer dach hîrt krichsgebréll,
Wë sî bâl heihin, dôhin eilen,
Et sin dach schrecklech leit, dë wéll."
Dât sêt eng nôpesch zum Marei
A lêt a scheit zóm feier bei.
"Geseis de Marë d'scheier brennen,
Dë hun se 'lô grât ugestach,
A wë se schnell derfunne rennen",
'Só rifft eng frâ beim kellerlach.
"Du Kett", sêt M'rei, "hâl d'feier un,
Du huos jô soss dach neischt ze dun."
"Lânscht d'turnhall jôn s' op hîren hengschten,
O Gott! o Gott! bâl sin se hei",
Rifft eng jong frâ an hîren engschten.
"Huol dach e brant, go 'head Marei!"
" 'T as nach ze frë", sêt d'M'rei a ró,
"Mâch du de kellerluoden zó."
Dû quóm ên d'gâsz era' sór'n a wëmmern
Ferwonnt a foller schmotz a blutt,
Dên hëert s' am keller bède, jëmmern,
E mécht en och kê grósze mutt.
"Mîr kommen se", rifft en, " 't as keng frô,
Mîr kommen d'indians all ernô."
"O Lord! o Gott! wât as ze mâchen?
O Marë, stèch dât fesz-chen un."
Mâ Schmîtze M'rei fenkt un ze lâchen,
Obschon ét him nét grât êndun,
A sêt: "Ech wéll se dach gesinn,
Ir mîr matt damp zum himmel gin."
An zó de fille grósze schrecken
Quóm nach eng deischter nuocht derzó,
Mâ fîru gêt op allen ecken
D'gefècht, mer kennt keng rascht a ró.
A wann s' och all de mutt ferluor,
Fun Dummeldéngen d'M'rei helt duor.
Dû hëren s' e reiter rennen,
Kaum dasz senen dûrch d'nuocht gesinn,
En indian wollten eng erkennen
A lânge schon nôm feier hin.
Mâ Schmîtze M'rei wôr më gescheit
A sêt: "Dât huot nach zeit, dir leit."
'T góf hallef nuocht a nach hât d'streiden,
Nach hât d'gefècht kên enn erêcht,
A' grëszer gówen d'angscht an d'leiden,
Dë muonechem sein hôer geblêcht;
Mâ Schmîtze M'rei wôr nét ferzôt,
Et huot getrëscht matt guddem rôt.
"Jë, schnell M'rei d'indianer kommen",
Jeitzt an der angscht ên op der gâsz.
"Morbleu!" sêt Schmîtze M'rei matt brommen,
Gesinn musz éch se hei um fâsz;
Et as nach plenty zeit derfîr,
Wann sî douowen an der dîr."
Dach entlech fenkt ét un ze grôen,
An d'Sonn dë gêt am Osten op,
Dû hëren s' op der gasz ê sôen:
"Dohannen, dô kémt héll'f erop;
Zó onsem hêl an onsem gléck,
Sén sî den deiwelen nun am réck."
A nach wôr d'muorden nét gedôen,
Dë Krë huot séch nét gèr ergin,
Sî kennt kê fèrchten, kennt kên zôen,
Sî mengt, sî miszt nach mêschter gin.
Mâ nô a nô góf d'schësze schwâch,
De feind hât séch derdûrch gemâch.
"Dîr leit", sét d'M'rei, "sétzt èch op d'knëen,
Mîr wéllen danke fîr onst gléck,
'T 'as sonndéch haut an d'indians zëen,
Ons leit, dë schlôen se zeréck;
Ech drôen d'polferfâsz eraus,
D'gefôr, dë denken éch, as aus."


Good Girls

The following poem is based on a true story. During the war of 1812, which England led against the United States, the fishing towns on the shores of New England suffered much hardship at the hands of the English. One evening in September, Rebecca Bates, a girl of eighteen, sat in the living room, sewing. Her fourteen-year-old sister Abigail and their mother sat nearby. The father, Simon Bates, had gone out to look after the lighthouse. The rest will be told in the story.

Brâf Meedercher

Dât folgent gedîcht berót op enger wôrer dôt. Am krich fun 1812, dên Englant gënt d'Fereinecht Stâten gefëert huot, hâten d'féscherdèrfer un de küsten fun Nei Englant fill fun den englesche kreizer ze leiden. En owent am Séptember sósz Rebecca Bates (l. Bêts), e mêdchen fun 18 jôer, an der stuff an huot genët. Sêng schwester Abigail fu 14 jôer an hîr mamm sósze bei er. Simon Bates, de pap, wôr fort um lîchttûr fer dên ze fersinn. De rescht ferzèlt d'geschicht.
't was end of summer, in September,
When swallows long to be going,
Then Mrs Bates sat in her chamber
And taught her daughters sewing.
They talked of all, they talked of sundry,
All subjects did they browse,
The father'd gone out in the country
To look after the lighthouse.
"Oh, mother," Abby with emotion
Said, "Red Coats are so vicious,
I wish them to the deepest ocean,
That solves our problems expeditious."
"You should not mean with mean repay,
And no mean word allow,"
Thus tells her daughter gravely
The mother, "Fear not, now."
"Oh, mother, you know what they do,
If Red Coats are around,
Then every ship that's coming through
Is run into the ground.
How often have they wounded, shot
And hanged poor fishermen?
How often have we nightly sought
In woods some safety then?
And when they come the land is cursed,
They steal and burn and pillage,
Of all the bad they've done the worst,
This much knows every village.
Just listen to the orphans' wail,
Just ask the wretched womenfolk,
And when you hear their woeful tale
You'll know it is no joke.
The thieves have run off with our horse,
They've stolen pear and apple,
They've thrashed the windows and the doors,
The Bible in the chapel."
The mother said: "It's true, despair
Is what they've brought upon us.
And yet we should not damn and swear,
'Cause only devils cuss.
The Lord will duly punish them
For what they've done on Earth,
Has not Decatur beaten them?
Not Bainbridge won with mirth?"
"Just let them come once more into
Our port," Rebecca vows,
"I'll throw out the entire crew,
No matter how they cuss."
The day goes by, the golden sunrays flashing
Grow long and longer, and the heat relents,
Upon the shore the waves are crashing,
But otherwise the quiet sea extends
Onto the point where sea and sky are clashing.
"Get up, Rebecca, to the kitchen stroll,"
Says to her daughter then the mother.
"To make some tea, fetch twigs and coal,
The fire burns without much bother
If beech tree clippings you put round the kettle whole.
And Abigail, lay the table like a dream,
Put cups and plates and savoury rolls thereon,
Cut bread, bring butter, cheese and roasted bream,
All things that on a table should be laid upon,
Don't let the cat lick at the milk and cream."
The kettle's simmering and the fire burns,
The table's quickly set, and Abigail
Sees, as she to the window turns,
A ship is moving fast under full sail
Into the port of Scituate, whereto it yearns.
"Oh God, oh God! Rebecca, come and look,
It is Lahogue, who comes into the port,
Those surely are its masts and sails and crooks.
And father's gone, to what shall we resort
Now that the Red Coats to the shore here took?"
"Oh Lord," the mother cries and nearly faints,
"Just what on Earth shall we now do?
And father's in the lighthouse," she complains,
"We are alone, where shall we run, whereto?
Go woodward, with what little sunlight still remains?
Run to, my girls, run fast and quick.
Run to the woods, to hedges and to underbrush!"
Cries out their mother, heart with sorrow big,
"I shall remain behind here in the crush
Until the Red Coats leave after their trick."
Rebecca says: "My plan is better, and a lot:
We scare the evil Red Coats witless
So that they will run without a single thought
Back to their ships. No hair they'll harm us,
And swift as lightning sail from our port.
See here, here lies a good militia drum
And on the shelf there is the fife I seek.
You take the fife, my sister, I the drum
The Yankee doodle is the language that we speak.
This day shall be remembered, let them come."
The mother, frightened, yet must laugh with pride,
Her daughters, undeterred, will never yield,
They cannot be discouraged from their fight
With fife and drum they march into the field,
The strongest wheat stalks crush to either side.
Dee rang dee dang, dee rang dee dang!
Dee riddle, dee tiddle, dee tang!
The girls are a-playing and drumming,
The Englishmen hear they are coming,
They're turning their boats fast around,
Like cats they climb into their ship,
Set sails − every sail they can grip −
In no time they're once more seaward bound.
Dee rang dee dang, dee rang dee dang!
Dee riddle, dee tiddle, dee tang!
The girls are a-playing and drumming,
As if more than a thousand were coming,
The sailors are heaving anchor,
They're changing course with fullest speed,
Mighty Lahogue is hightailing it,
The captain, who's sick, he's got sicker.
Dee rang dee dang, dee rang dee dang!
Dee riddle, dee tiddle, dee tang!
The girls are a-playing and drumming,
As they are now homeward coming.
Raving mad, the captain retreated
The sailors are all discontented men
That day they had caught neither cock nor hen
The girls' clever trick had succeeded.
'T wôr am Séptember, ausgangs summer,
Wann d'schmuolwe weider zëen,
Dû sósz frâ Bates an hîrer kummer,
A lëert d'dèchter nëen.
Bâl góf matt désem ugefângen,
Bâl d'rèt fun dêm gefëert,
De papp, dê wôr nôm lîchtûr gângen
A nach nét hêm gekëert.
"O mamm", sét d'Abigail, "wât ménschen
Sén d'rótreck, bës an uorech,
Ech mècht se dëf an d'mèr ferwénschen,
Mîr wîren dann aus nót a suorech."
"Du dârfs nét bëse bëses gonnen,
Nach nét 'môl bëses sôen",
Sêt zó der duochter d'mamm besonnen,
"Lôsz déch keng angscht ugôen."
"O mamm, dîr wészt dach wât se mân,
Wann d'rótreck heierémme fuoren,
Sî sîchen d'schéffer ze erzâen,
Fîr s' an de gront ze buoren.
A wîfill hun se ârem féscher,
Ferwonnt, ermuort, gehângen?
Wë oft se mîr bei nuocht an d'béscher,
Sonst hetten s' ons gefângen.
A wann se hei um lant 'rém jôen,
Sî stèlen, râwen, brennen,
Hu fun dem schlechten, d'schlechst gedôen,
Ech brauch ét nét ze nennen.
Frôt dîr emôl dë arem frâen,
Kuckt dach emôl dë wêsekanner,
A wann dë sôen, wât se mâen,
Da sidder bâl derhanner.
Gestuol hun d'dëf ons d'eppel, d'bîren,
De schëne bless entfëert,
Am haus zerschlôen d'fénstern, d'dîren,
An d'bîbel rujenëert."
"Sî hun", sêt d'mamm, "fill lêts gedôen,
'T brauch kên dodrun ze zweiweln,
Dach duorfer dârf kê fluch ergôen,
'Well d'fluchen dât din deiweln.
De Lord, hè wêrt se schon erzâen,
Fîr dât, wât sî gedôen,
Huot nét Decatur sî ferhâen?
Nét Bainbridge sî geschlôen?"
"Lôszt sî nach êmôl an den hâfen",
Sêt Rebeeca, "hèr kommen;
Ech wêrt se bâl eraus draus schâfen,
A wann s' och fluche, brommen."
'T gét spët a spëder, d'golde sonnestrâlen
Gi lâng a lenger, d'hétzt fum dâch lëszt nô,
Um ûwersand dô krénkele, kreislen d'wâlen,
Mâ soss leit d'mèr ganz majestëtesch dô,
Bis duor, wó d'firmament an d'së musz fâlen.
"Stë op Rebecca, schnell a gë an d'kichen",
Sêt d'mamm zur duochter, "mâch ons të,
Huol dréche reiser, hèr komm d'kuole sichen,
Schnell huos de feier, schnell an óne më,
Lê ém de kessel etlech spën fu bichen.
Du Abigail, du gês den désch ons decken,
Setz tâsen drop an telleren matt gebrôde fésch,
Schneits d'brót, bréngs botter, kës a wecken,
Setz alles drop, wât nëdech op dem désch,
Lósz d'kâtzen nét u râm a méllech lecken."
De kessel simmert, d'feier as um brennen,
Den désch as schnell gedeckt, an d'Abigail,
Et kuckt dûrch d'fénster fîr e schéff z' erkennen,
E schéff matt folle sêgeln, dât an eil
Nô Scituate an den hâfen sicht ze rennen.
"O Gott, o Gott! Rebecca komm hèr kucken,
Et as d'Lahogue dë an den hâfe ként,
Gewész dât sén hîr mâschten, sêgeln, lucken.
De papp as fort, wât mâche mîr nun hént,
Wann d'rótreck hei an déser gëgent spucken?"
"O Lord", jeitzt d'mamm, a soll zesummefâlen,
"Wât an der welt nu mâchen a nun din?
De papp am tûr fîr d'feier unzehâlen,
Mîr hei eleng, wuor solle mîr nun hin?
An d'béscher matt de leschte sonnestrâlen?
Nu fort dîr mêdercher, lâft fort a sëer,
Lâft an de bésch ant d'hecken, an d'getreisch!"
Rifft d'mamm matt engem hèrzen zennerschwëer.
Ech bleiwen hei bei allem dem gedeisch,
Bis matt dem stèlen d'rótreck op der këer."
"Ech wêsz", sêt d'Rebecca, "ét besser unzefenken
Mîr jôen d'rótreck an e schrecken drân,
Dasz sî séch óne lâng a fill bedenken,
Schnell aus dem hâfen, fun de küste mân
An ons kên hôer op dem kapp më krenken.
Mîr hu jo d'tromm fun der miliz hei henken,
An d'quërpeif leît dô uowen op dem brèt,
Huol d'peif, du schwester, d'tromm wéll éch unhenken,
De Yankee doodle, dât as d'sprôch, dë mîr hei rèt",
Sêt d'Rebecca; "dèn dâch soll e gedenken."
Hîr mamm, dë muszt trotz allen engschte lâchen,
Mâ d'mêdercher, dë stëren séch nét drun,
An hîrem plang konnt kên se reiles mâchen,
Matt peif an tromm sén sî dûrch d'kuor gezun,
Dasz d'déckste strénk zó bëde seite krâchen.
De rang ta plang, de rang ta plang!
Deridel detidel detîtî!
Dë mêdercher trommen a peifen,
An d'englenner mussen 't begreifen,
Sî fuoren erém zréck matt den âchen,
Sî klammen ewë kâzen op d'schéff erop,
A setzen dêr sêgeln nach fill më op,
Fir séch aus dem hâfen ze mâchen.
De rang ta plang, de rang ta plang!
Deridel detidel detîtî!
Dë mêdercher peifen an trommen,
As gëwen der dausende kommen,
D'matrósen, dë lichen den anker,
Sî drëen de wellbâm, bis dasz e krâcht,
Schnell huot séch d'Lahogue aus dem stéps gemâcht,
De cäpten, dê krank wôr, gét kranker.
De rang ta plang, de rang ta plang!
Deridel detidel detîtî!
Dë mêdercher trommen a peifen,
Wë sî op d'hêmecht zóstreifen,
Dem cäpte wôr neischt më ze brôden,
'T wôr och de matrósen nét grât êndun,
Si krûte kên hénkel an och kên hunn,
De piffeche strêch wôr gerôden.


Old Schmit

Den âle Schmit

When you in Echternach have gnawed
On military kommiss,
You must have met there in the squad
Old Schmit – great guy, I promise.
That corporal sporting a moustache,
He was quite singular and brash.
Old Schmit had learnt in Belgian times
The ropes high up on horseback,
In Ettelbruck he oftentimes
Taught peasants with a whipcrack.
When on a horse he sat again,
No man on Earth was prouder then.
But when they took away his horse,
The chestnut with the brown streaks,
Old Schmit lost every vital force,
He said that shame burned in his cheeks:
On foot are running cat and dog,
And those who swift to Frankfurt jog.
Old Schmit he liked his bottoms up,
A quetsch or pear schnapps even,
Good liquor made his eyes light up
As if 't were stars in heaven.
And when the guy was sloshed he told
One joke after the other bold.
Old Schmit had good friends, wide and far,
On earth and higher places,
Saint Gabriel and Saint Peter are
About him full of praises.
Thus the old geezer always spoke
When he was asked 'bout it by folk.
Saint Peter goes, quoth he, each night
On duty at heaven's gate,
Meanwhile old Schmit makes sure the bright
Stars will not lose their way;
He's rolling thunder, wind gets fanned
And chased as storm across the land.
In heaven there's no easy shift,
By no means call it child's play;
Disaster's sure to make short shrift
If 't were not for the Schmit way.
And when old Schmit has done his task
He gets a drop from heaven's flask.
"How get," is singing oft old Schmit,
"The soldiers into heaven?"
And then continues with his hit,
"Upon a horse of gray,
There ride the soldiers into heaven.
I too shall thus to heaven ride,
The devil will not get my hide."
Old Schmit was sitting on his bed,
A beautiful young morning.
"If I had now a quetsch," he said,
"I would not mind the warning,
Which I tonight in heaven saw:
It won't be long till I withdraw."
"What ails thee, Schmit," the sergeant asks,
"Did you not ride out swiftly?
Did you vex someone in your task,
Or did they chide you stiffly?
You've done a perfect job tonight,
Just look, the sun is shining bright."
"Oh, sergeant, no, that is not it,
Truth out! It's all that matters:
Tonight I've spotted on a sheet
My name in pitchblack letters.
Saint Gabriel wiped them all away,
And I alone could on it stay.
How long I am to stay on there,
I'd really love to know it.
Already Gabriel took his share
He sure could do without Schmit.
And if all else fails anyway
I'll groom my darling horse of gray.
Yes, sergeant, for today old Schmit
Gets drunk upon a coin or three,
Who knows when I will have to quit
And join the Heaven Cavalry."
The old man dons his sabre and
Walks out the gate into the land.
Next morning Schmit all proud appeared
High up upon his horse of gray,
His major, he had commandeered
To ride out for the day.
Schmit really liked the gray a lot,
So full of courage, fiery blood.
Schmit rides along the Sauer route,
He's bound for Steinheim village,
And there he has to stop for food
At a great inn, with relish.
He drinks a schnapps, eats cheese and bread,
His horse comes home, but Schmit was dead.
When Schmit had knocked on heaven's door,
Was buried in his grave,
Then sang the whole entire corps:
"Upon a horse of gray,
There ride the soldiers into heaven.
Saint Gabriel swiftly wiped away
Old Schmit's name from the list that day.
Wann dîr zó Echternach kaméss
Beim Contingent muszt knâen,
Huddîr mam âle Schmit gewész
Bekanntschâft misse mâen.
Dê caperôl mam grósze schnauz,
Dât wôr e sénnerleche kauz.
De Schmit, dên hât zur belscher zeit,
Den déngscht zó pêrt gelëert,
Zó Ettelbréck séch fill geheit
An d'bauren execëert.
A sósz hè selwer op dem pêrt,
Da wôr kê stolzer op der êrt.
Mâ wë s' em Schmit sei pêrt geholt,
De fochs matt bronge strummen,
Dû hett de Schmit gèr stèrwe wollt,
E sôt e miszt séch schummen,
Zó fósz dô lëf jô kâz an hont
An dë zó Frankfert fun dem bont.
De Schmit huot gèr en huor gepétzt
Fu quetschen oder bîren,
A wôr ét gutt, hun d'â' geblétzt,
As wann ét stère wîren.
An hât den âlen eng um bôk,
Reiszt hèn èch schnôken îwer schnôk.
De Schmit, dên hât fill gudder frénn
Hei énnen an douowen,
Zént Gâbriel an zént Pëter sén
Berêt de Schmit ze luowen.
'Só huot den âle kauz gesôt,
Wann ên emôl dernô gefrôt.
Zént Pëter zët, sêt hèn, all nuocht
Op d'wuocht bei d'himmelsdîren,
Den âle Schmit, dê gét gutt uocht,
Dasz d'stère nét ferîren;
E rollt den donner, mécht de want
A jêt de stûrem îwer d'lant.
Den déngscht am himmel as nét lîcht
E kannerspill ze nennen;
Wât gëf en onhêl ugerîcht,
Gëf nét de Schmit e kennen.
A wann de Schmit recht flénk a brâf,
Kritt hèn eng aus dem himmelsschâf.
"Wie reiten", séngt den âle Schmit,
"Soldaten in den Himmel?"
A fîrt da fort a séngem litt:
"Auf einem weiszen Schimmel,
So reiten die Soldaten in den Himmel.
Ech reiden och op engem drân,
Méch soll dê schwârzen nét erzân."
De Schmit, dê sósz bei séngem bett,
E schëne, frëe muorgen:
"Wann éch elô en quetschen hett,
Dë brëch mer all méng suorgen.
Ech hun am himmel hént gesinn,
Datt éch nét lang më matt hei gin."
"Wât fêlt da Schmit", sêt den zergeant,
"Siddîr nét ausgeridden?
Siddîr am himmel ugerannt,
Hun sî matt èch gestridden?
Hént hudder d'sâch grât gutt gemâcht,
Kuckt dach wë schën ons d'sonn haut lâcht."
"Och nên zergeant, ét as nét dât,
Ech musz èch d'wórecht sôen,
Hént hun éch op dem schwârze blât
Mei nuom gesinn drop stôen.
Zént Gabriel huot se all gewéscht,
Mâ méch, méch lëszt en op der léscht.
Wë lang éch dô nach stôe soll,
Dât mècht éch dach gèr wéssen.
Zént Gabriel huot der fill geholl,
Méch kénnt e wuol ferquéssen.
A wann dann alles neischt më notzt,
Da gét de schimmel fei gebotzt.
Zergeant, haut gêt den âle Schmit,
Fum décke sû eng pétzen.
Wè wêsz, wë oft mer nach eng kritt,
Bis éch zó pêrt musz sétzen."
Den âle henkt de sâbel un
An as zur puort eraus gezun.
Den âner muorge konnt de Schmit
Um schémmel fei stolsëeren,
Fum ôberst hât en uorder kritt
Sei pêrt eraus ze fëeren.
Dem Schmit gefellt de schémmel gutt,
Dê foller feier, foller mutt.
De Schmit dê fîrt lânscht Sauer ân,
Nô Stênem wollte reiden,
Dô muszten dann och méttech mân
Bei gutt bekannte leiden.
En drénkt eng drépp, észt kês a brót,
Sei pêrt ként hêm, de Schmit wôr dót.
Wë dû de Schmit begruowe wôr,
A wë en an dem himmel,
Dû sangen sî beim ganze corps:
"Auf einem weiszen Schimmel,
So reiten die Soldaten in den Himmel."
Zént Gabriel hât de Schmit gewéscht,
E stóng nun nét më op der léscht.


A Tale From Normandy

Eng sêchen aus der Normandie

When our Lord upon the Earth did wander,
A human, just as we are humans all,
Saint Peter on the sea in danger and storm's thrall
Caught fish today and soon their price then pondered,
He went one day, as you and I well know,
With John and Peter both out for a stroll.
The day was warm, bright the sun, the Lord stopped dead
He wipes the sweat and quietly to Peter said:
"Saint Peter," quoth he, " 't is no whim,
You'll get a bride ere day turns dim."
"O Lord, thy will be done, if I'm to marry now,
The girl whom first we meet shall be my bride, I vow."
Not far into the land,
A basket in her hand,
Appears a skinny
And almost bare
Girl with red hair,
Not worth a guinea.
Saint Peter begs the Lord to have the next,
He thinks she should be cleaner in some respects.
The Lord nods yes, he will not turn him down,
They march all three towards the little town.
They're walking slowly up a hilly grade
When they lay eyes upon another maid.
She's dirty, sticky,
Disgusting, icky,
Barefoot she appears,
Her hair such a mess
And that for no less
Than seven long years.
Saint Peter felt a creepy shudder
When he laid eyes upon this hairy smother.
"Oh Lord!" said he, "please give to me the third,
No more complaints of mine will then be heard."
The Lord nods yes, Saint Peter is relieved,
Their walk toward the village is achieved.
From the very first house,
Appears an ugly louse,
Like leather so dry,
And missing one eye,
Not buxom and round,
But bent to the ground,
A heap of bones, thus were her hands,
The mouth all toothless stands.
The Lord says, "This you need to wed,
But love her, do not treat her bad.
The girl with just one eye,
Today shall be your bride."
Saint Peter gives his bride his hand,
They travel further through the land.
It's time to have a bite to eat,
At a smithy they will rest their feet.
The blacksmith lights a mighty fire soon,
A lot of work awaits him still at noon.
His mother, grey and old,
Sits at the fire 'cause she's cold.
"Allow me please," says our Lord to the fellows,
To try and use the hammer and bellows."
The blacksmith does not mind a bit,
Our Lord is free to work with it.
He's stepping back, the Lord the apron dons,
To start in earnest with the work at once.
The Lord is ready to commence
When Peter screams and claps his hands,
His bride is in the fire
Upon the coal's hot pyre.
The Lord, he works the bellows hard,
A decent fire for a start,
He puts the hag with tong-like tools
Upon the anvil ere she cools.
And the apostles have to hit,
No grumbling, moaning will do it.
And while Saint John is full of sympathy,
Saint Peter's hitting her with glee,
That glowing light,
The sparks fly bright.
When they have forged the old all right,
Saint Peter gets a sweet, young bride.
The smith, great craftsman, so he thinks,
Approved not of this forging jinx.
He thought that everyone should understand
That he's the best smith in the land.
And yet he must admit
The three, they knew just how to hit,
If they, says he, can turn old girls
Into such nice, young pearls,
Then I can do it too, no doubt.
He did not stop to think about
And works the bellows hard,
The sparks fly wide apart.
He takes his mother – wham,
She's in the fire – and bam
The coals are piled around
And bellows busy sound.
Ere long the blacksmith longs
To reach out for his tongs,
Alas, his mother's flesh
Has turned a heap of ash.
Great fear the blacksmith now transpires,
He leaves his bellows, anvil, fires,
And fast runs up the street the Lord went through,
He cannot think what else to do.
He tells the Lord his woe, his dread,
He tells him that his mother's dead.
"You loved her then?"
Is asked the man.
"Of course," he says sincerely,
"I loved my mother dearly,
She was the best in all the land
And I, I burnt her with my hand!"
"Go home," our God Lord says, "and go in peace,
Our mother's safe, so be at ease."
Elated, full of joy the smith
Is quickly running home forthwith,
He finds his mother sound and able,
She's drinking coffee at the table.
She's gulping down cup number twelve,
Then pours out one more for herself.
But whether Peter got his bride
I sadly cannot say for sure;
Just ask him for yourself all right,
When one day you're at heaven's door.
Wë onser Hêrr op êrden hei gewandelt,
E ménsch as wë mîr âner ménsche wôr,
Zént Pëter op dem mèr a stîrem a gefôr
Haut fésch gefângen, muor dermatt gehandelt,
Góng hèn emôl, as wë ons all bekannt,
Matt Pëtrus a Gehânes aus op d'lant.
Den dâch wôr wârm, d'sonn dë brennt, der Hêrr bleift stôen,
E wéscht de schwêsz fîr Pëtrus eppes neis ze sôen.
"Zént Pëter", sêt en, " 't as keng flaut,
Haut krisd'e mêdchen fîr déng braut."
"O Hêrr, dei wéll geschë, wann éch bestuot soll gin,
Soll d'mêdchen, dât ons d'ëscht begënt, méng braut och sin."
Nét weit fum nechsten duorf
Ként ént matt engem kuorf.
'T wôr lâng a gâkech,
Erschrecklech môer,
Matt róden hôer.
An hallef plâkech.
Zént Pëter bèt den Hêrr em d'nechst ze gin,
En denkt, dât miszt dach eppes proprer sin.
Den Hêrr, dê wénkt, dasz hèn zefridden as,
Sî trappen allen drei op d'duoref las.
Sî gónge luos e gëen hîwel ân,
Dû quóm en ânert frâménsch en ant d'ân.
'T wôr dreckech, blatzech,
Ekelech, katzech,
Bârfósz, bârbeng,
Matt knetzeln am hôer,
seit sîwe jôer,
An dë nét kleng.
Zént Pëter krût e grushelen, schuddern,
Fun all de knetzeln, dë dô kluddern.
"O Hêrr!" sêt hèn, "lôsz mîr dât drétt zókommen,
Ech wêrt gewész nét weider knótere, brommen."
Den Hêrr, dê wénkt, zént Pëter, dên as fró,
E fószt zefridde matt op d'duoref zó.
Mâ scho beim ëschten haus,
Dô ként en âlt eraus.
'T wôr lèdergèl,
An hallef schèl,
Nét ronn a mockelech,
Mâ kromm gebockelech,
E lauter knoche wôren d'henn,
Am monn dô fêlen d'zenn.
"Dât musz de huolen", sêt der Hêrr,
"Mâ hâl ét gutt an hèf et gêr.
Dât matt dêm engen â,
Dât gét nach haut déng frâ."
Zént Pëter gét der braut séng hant,
Sî rêse weîder îwer d'lant.
An enger schmétt dô këren s' ân,
Fîr dô hîr méttesrascht ze mân.
De schmatt e blëszt e mechtecht feier un,
En hât nach haut der ârbecht fill ze dun.
Séng mamm, dë grô an âl,
Wèrmt séch beîm feier well se kâl.
"Lôszt méch emôl", sêt onser Hêrr, "probëren,
Ech kann de ballech an den hummer fëren."
De schmatt, dê wôr et wuol zefrîden,
Dasz onser Hêrr fîr hè sollt schmîden.
E stêt dann zréck, der Hêrr dât schûrzfell un
Fîr séch am èrscht un d'ârbecht drun ze dun.
Kaum hât der Hêrr an d'henn gespaut,
Huot och zént Pëter scho gejaut,
Séng braut dë luoch am feier,
An d'kuole rondém bei er.
Der Hêrr gét séch un d'ballechzëen,
Fîr d'feier gutt a gânk ze krëen,
Hélt dann eng zâng a lêt dë âl
Duor op den amboss, îr se kâl.
D'apostele muszten him zóschlôen,
Dô helleft kê knuotern a kê klôen.
Dem hellege Gehânes, dêm dóng ét lêt,
Zént Pèter schlët aus gellech frêt,
Dasz d'quónke blétzen
An d'fónke sprétzen.
Wë sî dë âl dû gutt geschmît,
Huot Pëtrus eng jong breitche krît.
De schmatt, dê fill fun séch gehâlen,
Dêm konnt dât schmîde nét gefâlen.
En duocht, ét wîr dach îwerall bekannt,
Dasz hèn de beschte schmatt am lant.
Mâ dach, e musz gestôen,
Dë drei, dë konnten och zóschlôen.
Wann dë, sêt hèn, aus âle frâen,
Schë proprer, jonger mân,
Wuofîr soll éch dann dât nét kénnen?
An óne lâng séch ze besénnen,
Zët hèn de ballech un,
Dasz quónke drém geflun.
En hélt séng mamm – a jupp,
Leit d'frâ am fei'r – a flupp
Dû lógen d'kuolen drém
A gêt de ballech 'rém.
Et dauert nét guor lâng,
Mei schmatt greift nô der zâng,
Mâ wë en d'mamm wollt huolen,
Wôr sî e képche kuolen.
De schmatt dê quóm an d'angscht, dasz nét ze sôen,
Lëszt ballech, fei'r an amboss stôen,
E lêft zum duoref aus, d'apostelen ze erzâen,
E woszt neischt ânescht an der nót ze mâen.
E klôt dem Hêrr sei lêt, séng nót,
E sêt em, dasz séng mamm nun dót.
"Hâs du se gêr?"
Frêt onser Hêrr.
"Gewész, gewész dîr hêrren,
Méng mamm, éch hât se gêren,
Et wôr dë beschte frâ am lant,
An éch, éch hun se nu ferbrannt!"
"Gë hêm", sêt onser Hêrrgott, "gë a fritt,
'T as dénger mamm nach neischt geschitt."
De schmatt foll frêt a foller gléck,
Rennt spuorestréchs ant duoref zréck,
E fént séng mamm gesont a frésch,
Dohêm beim kaffë hannerm désch.
Dë zwëleft tâs, dë dêt se ân,
Fîr séch un d'dreizéngt drun ze mân.
Mâ op zént Pèter d'braut huot kritt,
Ech kann èch dât nét sôen;
Wann dir dûrch d'himmelsdîre gitt,
Da kénn der selwer frôen.