by Rune Cutter
A lost Grimm's Brothers tale brought back to life
|Originally Wie Kinder Schlachtens miteinander gespielt haben (How the children played at killing)
A long while ago in a city which has become a field of weeds and its name nearly forgotten; children played at being grown-ups.
All was well, one pretended to be a baker and another to be a farmer. The oldest pretended to be the mayor and the youngest who did not understand the game acted as if he were a pig. He rooted about on the ground and followed the others until they would pretend to give him some scrap and then he would squeal in delight.
The children laughed and played until morning was heated to noonday. They wandered to the East side of town where the smells were not as pleasant and as the “pig” passed a certain door the hand of the butchers son snatched the small boy by the ankle. When the “pig” squealed the huge boy clubbed him in the head with a killing hammer and then stabbed hooks into his legs to hang him with. As the “pig” thrashed in his death throws the butchers son cut his throat and caught the blood for sausages.
Poor Francesca, who had been playing the part of a merchant was the closest to the “pig” and saw everything. She screamed until all the words in her mind were gone and from that day on she could only scream.
The constable came and took the butchers son away. The city elders were brought together to judge the crime but they were divided because of the boy's young age. They debated for days until one who was very old and wise said “We shall do this; we shall offer him either an apple or a gold coin. If he takes the apple he is simple and innocent, if he takes the coin then he is not and we will know what to do.”
When they made the boy the offer, without thought, he took the apple and so he was set free to return to his father’s shop, though few would go there to buy meat.
Consider well the things you do in front of children because they learn all that they are and will be from us - and steer wide from butchers who enjoy too much their chores.