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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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Sternthaler--Leipzig









The Star Talers
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father and mother had died, and she was so poor that she no longer had a room to live in, nor a bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little piece of bread in her hand that some charitable soul had given her. She was good and pious, however. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she went forth into the country, trusting in dear God.

Then a poor man met her, who said, "Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry."

She handed him her entire piece of bread, saying, "May God bless it for you," and went on her way.

Then came a child who moaned and said, "My head is so cold. Give me something to cover it with." So she took off her cap and gave it to the child. And when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who had no jacket and was freezing. So she gave her jacket to that child, and a little farther on one begged for a dress, and she gave her dress away as well. At length she made her way into a forest and it was already dark. Then there came yet another child, and asked for a shift, and the pious girl thought to herself, "It is a dark night and no one can see you. You can very well give your shift away," and she took it off, and gave it away as well.

And thus she stood there, with nothing left at all, when suddenly some stars fell down from heaven, and they were nothing else but hard shining talers, and although she had just given her shift away, she was now wearing a new one which was of the very finest linen. Then she gathered together the money into it, and was rich all the days of her life.

[Translated by Margaret Hunt (1884). Translation corrected and revised by D. L. Ashliman. © 2000.]



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4 comments:

x larry said...

don't know about the grimm bros. reich mentioned them i think. i now see why. i've not read them till now. i always have a problem with these kinds of children's stories. there's a phony wisdom in them to me. my main problem is this: people always seem to be giving away their last piece of bread. first, you can hardly live, even for a day, on a bread crust, which is what they all seem to be stuck with. then, they give it away. what about their next meal in, say, two hours? then, with this particular poem, the rest is just ridiculous. all the usual old christian moral. still, i'm not sure--it at least gives a child quite a few issues to grapple with. sorry, but in my drunkenness i can't remember what reich said that made so much sense at the time about fairy tales leading to fascism. maybe later, if anyone can stomach it. (sorry, quite pissed and bitter after the comments on unz after linh's article on me. but--now i can appreciate it--this site seems to be peopled with poets)

Linh Dinh said...

Hi x larry,

The creepy image drew my attention. This was a display at the Leipzig Christmas Market. The story itself is ridiculous, of course. Give everything away and money will rain from the sky.

As for nasty commenters, they're everywhere, man! The ones at Information Clearing House disgusted me so much, I broke ties with that website.


Linh

Anonymous said...

Folks


This is a 100% true story.

Been there done that.

I'm still waiting for the money to rain down from the sky. But the radar has a big front moving in. Maybe this will be the one.



Leo

Linh Dinh said...

Hi Leo,

It didn't work because you didn't really do it. Next time you see me, make sure you give me your wallet, cell phone and watch. You can keep your clothes.


Linh

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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.