24 Festive Tasks: Door 23 – Hogswatch, Task 2:

A Cologne legend dating all the way back to the Middle Ages has it that once upon a time, there was a race of busy little household gnomes called Heinzelmännchen who would come at night and secretly do all your work: If there ever has been a supernatural being we’ve fervently wished into existence, it would be them … or, well, a god or a fairy doing the same thing.  So, what one domestic or work-related chore would you want your Heinzelmännchen to do in your stead?

Since I just copied to this blog my post that inspired this incarnation of a similar task from the 2018 game, first of all, here again is the depiction of the Heinzelmännchen in words and image:

The Cologne “Heinzelmännchen” fountain: detail

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 lay 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! …

If I’d have to pick one particular task I’d want them to do for me, though, I’d definitely also be in the “vacuuming and dusting” faction!


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