#FairytaleTuesday: Little Louse and Little Flea

I told y’all I would be back in May! I’m not actually done with school but I’ve done pretty much all I can do to prepare for my remaining exams. This seemed like a good way to distract myself for a bit. And, as a reminder, my posts won’t always match up with the hashtag themes because I’m going straight through the Grimm’s 1812 edition, one after the other.

Not that kind of Flea, y’all…

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index type 2022: An Animal Mourns the Death of a Spouse

This one is what’s known as a “chain tale.” The story itself is pretty basic but that’s because it’s not the story that matters. It’s the rhyme and repetition that are important. Stories like this are relatively common–like Green Eggs and Ham or The Fisherman and His Wife–and very often they are sung, like Old MacDonald Had a Farm or Twelve Days of Christmas. The tales and songs are very old, and they come from all over the world.

Since there really isn’t any analysis to be done here, I’m going to share the entire, weird little tale with y’all. Enjoy!

(This is the only picture y’all are getting for this one because, honestly, I was getting grossed out trying to find pictures that weren’t just lice and fleas)

A little louse and a little flea were living together in a house and were brewing beer in an eggshell when the louse fell in and was scalded. Then the flea began to scream as loud as he could, and the little door to the room asked: “Why are you screaming, little flea?”

“Because little louse has been scalded.”

Then the little door began to creak, and a little broom in the corner asked, “Why are you creaking, door?”

“Why shouldn’t I creak?
Little louse has just got scalded.
Little flea is weeping.”

Then the little broom began to sweep in a frenzy, and when a little cart came driving by, it asked, “Why are you sweeping, broom?”

“Why shouldn’t I sweep?
Little louse has just got scalded.
Little flea is weeping. Little door is creaking.”

“Well, then I’m going to race around,” said the little cart, and it began racing around furiously, and the little dung heap, which it passed, asked, “Why are you racing around, little cart?”

“Why shouldn’t I race around?
Little louse has just got scalded.
Little flea is weeping.
Little door is creaking.
Little broom is sweeping.”

“Then I’m going to burn with fury,” said the little dung heap, and it began to burn in bright flames. Then a little tree nearby asked, “Why are you burning, little dung heap?”

“Why shouldn’t I burn?
Little louse has just got scalded.
Little flea is weeping.
Little door is creaking.
Little broom is sweeping. Little cart is racing.”

“Well, then I’m going to shake myself,” said the tree, and it shook itself so hard that all its leaves began to fall. Then a maiden with a water jug came by and asked, “Little tree, why are you shaking?”

“Why shouldn’t I shake?
Little louse has just got scalded.
Little flea is weeping.
Little door is creaking.
Little broom is sweeping.
Little cart is racing.
Little dung heap is burning.”

“Well, then I’m going to break my little water jug,” said the maiden, and as she was breaking it, the little spring from which the water came asked, “Maiden, why are you breaking the little water jug?”

“Why shouldn’t I break it?
Little louse has just got scalded.
Little flea is weeping.
Little door is creaking.
Little broom is sweeping.
Little cart is racing.
Little dung heap is burning.
Little tree is shaking.”

“Goodness gracious!” said the little spring. “Then I’m going to flow,” and it began to flow so violently that they were all drowned in the water—the maiden, the little tree, the little dung heap, the little cart, the little door, the little flea, and the little louse, every last one of them.

Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition (p. 97). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

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