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Black Forest Village Stories   By: (1812-1882)

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Transcriber's Notes:

1. Page scan source:

2. Diphthong oe is represented by [oe].

3. Footnotes are at the end of the book.






Illustrated with Facsimiles of the original German Woodcuts.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by LEYPOLDT & HOLT, In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.



I see you now, my fine fellow, as large as life, with your yellow hair cropped very short, except in the neck, where a long tail remains as if you had cut yourself after the pattern of a plough horse. You are staring straight at me with your broad visage, your great blue goggle eyes, and your mouth which is never shut. Do you remember the morning we met in the hollow where the new houses stand now, when you cut me a willow twig to make a whistle of? We little thought then that I should come to pipe the world a song about you when we should be thousands of miles apart. I remember your costume perfectly, which is not very surprising, as there is nothing to keep in mind but a shirt, red suspenders, and a pair of linen pantaloons dyed black to guard against all contingencies. On Sunday you were more stylish: then you wore a fur cap with a gold tassel, a blue roundabout with broad buttons, a scarlet waistcoat, yellow shorts, white stockings, and buckled shoes, like any other villager; and, besides, you very frequently had a fresh pink behind your ear. But you were never at ease in all this glory; and I like you rather better in your plainer garb, myself.

But now, friend gawk, go about your business; there's a good fellow. It makes me nervous to tell your story to your face. You need not be alarmed: I shall say nothing ill of you, though I do speak in the third person.

The gawk not only had a real name, but a whole pedigree of them; in the village he ought to have been called Bart's Bast's[1] boy, and he had been christened Aloys. To please him, we shall stick to this last designation. He will be glad of it, because, except his mother Maria and a few of us children, hardly any one used it; all had the impudence to say "Gawk." On this account he always preferred our society, even after he was seventeen years old. In out of the way places he would play leap frog with us, or let us chase him over the fields; and when the gawk I should say, when Aloys was with us, we were secure against the attacks of the children at the lime pit; for the rising generation of the village was torn by incessant feuds between two hostile parties.

Yet the boys of Aloys' own age were already beginning to feel their social position. They congregated every evening, like the grown men, and marched through the village whistling and singing, or stood at the tavern door of the Eagle, by the great wood yard, and passed jokes with the girls who went by. But the surest test of a big boy was the tobacco pipe. There they would stand with their speckled bone pipe bowls, of Ulm manufacture, tipped with silver, and hung with little silver chains. They generally had them in their mouths unlit; but occasionally one or the other would beg a live coal from the baker's maid, and then they smoked with the most joyful faces they knew how to put on, while their stomachs moaned within them... Continue reading book >>

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