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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Careful with the peas! Vorsicht mit den Erbsen!

Writing about my "mystey helpers " yesterday, reminded me of the little helpers from Cologne! :)

Als ich gestern ueber meine "geheimen Helfer" schrieb, fielen mir die Heinzelmaennchen wieder ein! Ihr kennt es..denke ich, daher dieser Eintrag nur auf Englisch!

The Heinzelmännchen are a race of creatures appearing in a tale connected with the city of Cologne in Germany.

Detail of the Heinzelmännchenbrunnen

The little house gnomes are said to have done all the work of the citizens of Cologne during the night, so that the inhabitants of Cologne could be very lazy during the day. According to the legend, this went on until a tailor's wife got so curious to see the gnomes that she scattered peas onto the floor of the workshop to make the gnomes slip and fall. The gnomes, being infuriated, disappeared and never returned. From that time on, the citizens of Cologne had to do all their work by themselves.
This legend was first written down by the Cologne teacher Ernst Weyden (1805-1869) in 1826.  It was translated into English by Thomas Keightley and published 1828 in his book "The Fairy Mythology".

In 1836 the painter and poet August Kopisch published a famous poem beginning with the words:

Wie war zu Cölln es doch vordem

Mit Heinzelmännchen so bequem!

Denn war man faul, ... man legte sich

Hin auf die Bank und pflegte sich.

Da kamen bei Nacht, eh' man's gedacht,

Die Männlein und schwärmten

Und klappten und lärmten

Und rupften

Und zupften

Und hüpften und trabten

Und putzten und schabten -

Und eh' ein Faulpelz noch erwacht,

war all sein Tagwerk ... bereits gemacht!...


Once upon a time in Cologne,

how comfortable it was with the Heinzelmen!

For if you were lazy, ... you just lied down

on your bench and took care of yourself.

Then at night, before one knew it, came

the little men and swarmed

and clattered and rattled

and plucked

and picked

and jumped and trotted

and cleaned and scoured -

and even before a lazy bum awoke,

all his daily work was ... already done! ...

In Cologne, a fountain (Heinzelmännchenbrunnen) commemorates the Heinzelmännchen and the tailor's wife.



found a full English text here:



  1. Oh wie schön!! Da kommen Kindheitserinnerungen hoch!!
    Liebe Grüße

  2. ........ ich muß jetzt schlafen gehen, damit die Wichtelchen genug Zeit haben, bei mir ist nämlich einiges zu tun......

    Gute Nacht