Hans Breitmann
by Charles G. Leland. 1889

The Magic Shoes

| Hans Breitmann Index | Deutsche Volkslieder | Ahnenforschung | Ferienaufenthalt | Folksongs | Hymns | Genealogy | Pacific Holiday | HOME PAGE | SEARCH | Email |


IT was stiller, dimmer twilight -
amber toornin' into gold,
Like young maidens' hairs get yellow
und more dark as dey crow old;
Und dere shtood a high ruine
vhere de Donau rooshed along,
All lofely, yet neclected -
like an oldt und silent song.

Out shpoke der Ritter Breitmann,
"Ven I hafe not forgot,
Ich kenn an anciendt shtory
of dis inderesdin shpot,
Of the Deutscher Middleolter
vot de Minnesingers sung,
Ven dot olt ruine oben
vas a-bloomin, fair, und yung.

"Vonce dere lifed a noble fräulein -
fery peautiful vas she,
More ash twendy dimes goot lookin -
it is in de historie;
Und mit more ash forty quarters
on her woppenshield,[90] dot men
Might beholdt mitout a discount
she vas of de upper ten.

"But dough lofely as an angel,
mit eyes of turkos plue,
She vas cruel ash a teufel,
und de vorst man efer knew.
Vonce ven a nople young one
kneeled down to her mit lofe,
She kicket him mit her slipper
und oopset him on de shtove.

"Und said, 'I do refuse you,
as you may plainly see;
Und from dis day henseforvart
mine refuse you shall pe,
Und when I do run afder you
like dogs run afder men,
Den I vill pe your vife, yung man -
boot keep avay dill denn!'

"He lishten to her crimly,
and no single vort he said,
Boot de bitter dings she spoken
poot der teufel in his head;
For she hafe not learned de visdom,
vich is alvays safe and sound,
'Don't go to pourin' water on a mouse
ven id ist trowned.'

"Vonce, at de end of autoom,
ven de vind vos bitter cold,
Dis maiden out a-ridin'
met a voman poor and old;
Her feets vere bare and pleedin',
and she said, 'Ah! ton't refuse
To gife me, nople lady,
yoosht de vorst of your oldt shoes!'

"De lady boorst out laughin',
'Fool here, or fool me dere,
You give to me a couple,
I gives to you a pair.'
Denn she rode avay a-laughin';
de old voman says 'I wete,
I'll give you shoes, my lady,
dot vill fit your soul and feet!'

"Dis voman vas a vitchè,
an bitter one dere to,
All dot vot she had shpoken
she light enough could do;
De Ritter did not know it,
but he told her of his love,
And how dot shkornful lady
hat oopset him mit de shtove.

"Out spoke de grimme witchè,
'She shall pay dee well to boot,
If yo pring to me de measure
of dat lady's liddle foot.'
He got it from her shoemaker,
and gafe id to de vitch,
Denn she gafe it to de damsel
pooty soon as hot as pitch.

"Von morn de lofely lady,
on openin' her toor,
Found de nicest pair of gaiter boots
she efer saw pefore;
Dey vitted her exoctly -
mitouten any doubt-
Boot, mein Gott! how she vas shrocken
ven dey 'gun to valk apout!

"Und ash de poots go valkin',
like de buds go mit de stem,
It vollowed dot de lady
had to valk apout in dem.
Dey took her out into de street -
dey run her on de road,
Bym-by she saw a man ahead
vot led her vhere she goed.

"Vhen he vent valkin' longsome
denn longsome vas her pace,
Vhen he roon like a greyhound
she skompered in a race;
He led her o'er de moundains
und cross de lonely plain,
Until de evenin' shadows,
ven he took her home again.

"Denn she dink mit hate and fury
of dis man she used to skoff,
Und den go at de gaiters -
boot she couldn't pull dem off,
She vork mit all de servants,
boot 'tvasent any use,
Und so she hafe to go to bett -
a-shleepin' in her shoes.

"Next mornin' off dey shtarted,
apout de broke of day,
Den he led her to a castle
in de woods and far away,
And shpeak to her, 'My lady -
I dink at last you see
Dat de dime has come in earnesdt
vhen you've cot to vollow me!'

"Oh vat ish female nature?
Oh vat ish mortal pride?
How all dot shtands de firmest
most quickly shlips aside
De cloudts dot o'er de moundains
look shkornful at de plain,
Ere long mit shtormy wetter
come toomble down in rain.

"So de storm-cloud of Superbia
vhich shweep her soul above,
Vas meltet mit his shternness
and be-turnèd into love,
As his words like donner wetter
croshed ven de lightnin' flies,
So downward coom de torrents
of dear trops from her eyes.

"Und she gry, 'Mit shame I own it,
to say de fery least,
I gonfess dat in dis matter
I hafe acted like a peast;
Ven I made of you my refuse,
I dinked it no account,
But now de pack is on my back
it seems a big amount.

"'But if you vish to ved me,
I vill do vat you require.
He answered, 'Now you're talkin' -
dot is yoost vot I tesire,
For I am very willin',
and you do not refuse,
Boot remember vot you bromised -
send de vitch a pair of shoes!'

"She answered, 'I vill follow
verever you may go,
All ofer hills and falleys,
in sunshine, rain, or schnow,
All over in der Welt, dear,
I'll vander on vith thee,
I do not care how rough de road
or dark de path may be!

"'Or in de bloomin' meadows,
vhere de grass is soft and sweet,
Or in de rocky passes,
vhere de stones are under veet,
Or if I vear de shoes, love,
vitch you hafe given me,
Or if I moost go barefoot,
is all de same to me.'

"He drew away de gaiters.
She said, 'As I'm rich
I vill fill dem both mit money,
and take dem to de vitch.'
Ja wohl, she saw die Hexe,
and takin' her aside,
She danked her for de lesson
vot hat dook avay her pride.

"On de vay vhen dey vere married,
how vere dey all erstaun
To see a lofely lady
come in mit golden crown,
All in a rosy-silken dress
vot shined as pright as glass,
Said, 'My dears, I am de vitch
dot fetch dis ding to pass.

"'You know I look so ogly vonce,
und now am peautiful,
Dot ist de vay dot all dings vork
ven folks pe dutiful.
Ash de lily toorns to vhitey
vot once vas dirty green,
So all ist fair ven virdue
ist runnin' de machine.'"

Dis is de vondrous shtory
vot de Ritter Breitmann told
Besides the rooshin' Danube
of de schloss so grey und old,
Vhile a shmokin' of his meerschaum;
und till all time pe gone
The rustlin' of de vasser
tells de tale for ever on.

Dat is an alt legende,
und yet 'tis efer new,
Und to efery von dot hears it
it fits yoost like a shoe.
Und dis de shinin' moral
dot in de oyster lies-
Some day you may roon after
de dings you vonce despise!
Vienna, 1888.

[90] Woppenshield, coat of arms.

| Hans Breitmann Index | Deutsche Volkslieder | Ahnenforschung | Ferienaufenthalt | Folksongs | Hymns | Genealogy | Pacific Holiday | HOME PAGE | SEARCH | Email |