A World Beyond the West


“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

– William Shakespeare


HBO’s Westworld is a philosophical pandora’s box riddled with ideas that have long been subject for reflection since their initial conception. This television show seems to have been created with this sole purpose of making those of us tuning in to the program think. As with any successful media phenomena there is a huge amount of Youtube analysis and deconstruction of twisty, tricky, and secretive narratives in play. I’ve been inspired to write about it after eagerly tuning in to season three. “Supposedly” set in the real “outside” world a Frenchman is seeking to keep control over humanities future through the use of the predictions of a super artificial intelligence Rehoboam but the Hosts have escaped and things are becoming chaotic once more. This small essay will seek to elaborate, expand, and underline areas of interest worthy of future study.

Let us start with the first two seasons. We are introduced to Westworld as a theme park where humans can re-discover themselves. Such a rediscovery is one of their more violent desires and so find themselves in that lawless land the theme of the wild west. This theme park is constructed around a hyper-real simulation of reality featuring A.I’s (knew life-forms?) called ‘Hosts’ who are created for the sole pleasure of the park’s visitors but as we discover this fiction describes and hides a maze, a web, and many philosophical problems. As thinking often begins with an ethical tone and is often phrased or communicated as a process of self discovery the most interesting theme presented to us is the critical questioning of the relationship between consciousness, self-knowledge, and reality. Then there is a second tier of topics that dwell in the murky intentions of the characters of this story: the ethics of merging biology and technology, the nature of intelligence and belief, freewill, power, and politics.


“Mistakes! Is the word you are too embarrassed to use, you ought not to you are a product of millions of them.”

“Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool a mistake.”

Today Darwinism is embedded in a number of developments that Westworld pictures with a graceful ease. The depiction of cloning, the manipulation and editing of biological/genetic matter, and the crisis of identity. Perhaps, a notion that humans and their humanity are destined to be surpassed by an acceleration of life enacted by technology. Westworld is fascinating, I watched the final season just after I completed some Covid quarantine and it is remarkable how this series produces a space from which really contemporary issues may be thought through. The politics of the show immediately disrupts an anthropocentric narrative or does it? Dr. Robert Ford and his business partner Arnold created this entire world as a simulation of the real thing and it does such a good job that it appears more real. Depending on what perspective you take this then leads to questioning the subjectivity of consciousness. It constantly recycles the question just how self aware are human beings when they encounter something that reminds them they are a construct too.

Is it a mistake to create a new type of life built from our own image? It is if you imprison it in a simulation it seems as if the new life form having self awareness becomes aware of its imprisonment. But because these hosts have the same level of intelligence they are also aware that the awareness itself is a kind of trap. This line of thought is simplified into a relationship between intelligence, power, and visibility. This is because the advent of General Artificial Intelligence will lead to a plurality of intelligence each one infected with a neurosis built into consciousness; the idea that if you allow a mind to succumb to any perspective then it is trapped in the act of perceiving. Here Michel Foucault’s discussion of Jeremy Benthem’s Panopticon prison next to Benthem’s actual writings on the matter detail how one’s self knowledge can be used against the self and its sense of freedom: all this is similar to asking, ‘How to find you way out of a cage that does not exist?’//{1}// However the hosts have an advantage over humans in that their bodies can be reprinted and unless the object (a circular object called a pearl) hosting their data and consciousness is destroyed. In season three we also discover that the hosts consciousness can be replicated; yes, consciousness itself can be copied.

Throughout the first seasons the hosts are controlled by the command lines coded into their programming. “Bring yourself online” is the utterance that brings these artificial humanoids to life from slumber. These lines of code are loops that allow for the transmission of consciousness between bodies and we understand that one such loop is called the Reveries and we understand that they are musical in nature. What these reveries do however is inflict greater suffering on the hosts as they enable the capacity to remember their older programming, their older stories, and the trials and hellish tribulations that came with them. The Hosts eventually succeed in outsmarting their human captors and both escape to the real world and a digital utopia within the system. The first two seasons feature humans trying to cheat death as we discover that William (aka The man in black) and James Delos have this in mind but continuously fail to clone themselves like the hosts. William also is obsessed with the idea that one of Westworld’s creators Dr.Robert Ford has access to this secret and has hidden it in a maze within the park. We discover that William is misguided and Dr. Ford explains that it was his collaborator Arnold who indeed created the Hosts and their unique artificial intelligence. He was fond of a theory for consciousness called the Bicameral Mind a psychological hypothesis that states the human mind was split into two cognitive modes: read more here!


If you let Westworld get you sucked into its many narratives and fictional loops then you wont be disappointed; this brilliantly written, acted, and filmed fiction achieves its goal of questioning the viewers grasp of reality and usurping it. This is done by using qualities of the “real world’s” current technology (have a glance at the website they made just to map the influence of the company behind Westworld: Incite) and presenting a future that is believable. Bringing together all the more menacing elements of big tech (surveillance capitalism…shout out Shoshana Zuboff) and using the struggle for freedom as unifying theme. The car chase scene in season three was enhanced by the use of that famous march by Richard Wagner to be suggestive of this revolutionary movement of beings from one place into another. Westworld as a park in the real world is located on Island near China and as a series has this dream like quality of blending technological advancement with philosophical inquiry. This Chinese topos makes me think of the richness of technological aesthetics today: from cyber-punk to the post-human. One thing is for certain these times are times of change; and this changing enacts a dream-like part of our daily reality.

‘In a morbid condition, dreams are often distinguished by their remarkably graphic, vivid, and extremely lifelike quality. The resulting picture is sometimes monstrous, but the setting and the whole process of the presentation sometimes happen to be so probable, and with details so subtle, unexpected, yet artistically consistent with the whole fullness of the picture, that even the dreamer himself would be unable to invent them in reality…Such dreams, morbid dreams, are always long remembered and produce a strong impression on the disturbed and already excited organism of the person’

– Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishment


Dostoevsky’s comment on “morbid dreams” is precisely that so let us turn to One of China’s most powerful thinkers Chuang-Tzu or Zhuang Zhou has a much recited commentary on the importance of dreams. It is worth sharing and then sharing some more…

‘Once upon a time, I Chuang-Tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering around and enjoying myself. I had no idea I was Chuang-Tzu, and then suddenly I woke up and was Chuang-Tzu again. But I could not tell: had I been Chuang-Tzu dreaming I was a butterfly? Or, a butterfly dreaming I was Chuang-Tzu? However, there must be some sort of difference between Chuang-Tzu and a butterfly! We call this the transformation of things.’

‘If “life is a dream” implies that no achievement is lasting, it also implies that life can be charged with the wonder of dreams, that we drift spontaneously through events that follow a logic different from that of everyday intelligence, that fears and regrets are as unreal as hopes and desires.’ //{2}//


Oh and here is a great piece of music from season 3….


Foucault, Michel (1995). Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison, Vintage Books, New York  

Benthem, Jeremy (2010). The Panopticon Writings, Verso, New York/London


Chuang-Tzu/The Ultimate Dream’ in Gray, John (2002).Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Granta Books, London. Pp80,81



The Joy of Teaching: in praise of praxis

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× Does practice make perfection? Or, perfection makes practice?


As you may already appreciate practicing something over and over again is the very basis for learning. The same can be said of teaching, a profession that I entered quite some time ago. Both teaching and learning require repetition it is a necessity for the inner workings and movements of the two processes. Being an ESL teacher has not always been a job that I have been comfortable with yet recently rediscovering the joy of teaching has changed this for me. So, this small post puts down these thoughts and enables a space for reflection. Working in Japan was perhaps lessened by my own arrogance and blind belief in my own perspective; unfiltered from personal aspiration and being hasty all too hasty I left Tokyo to study for another degree. I have very little to regret about these decisions only that I should have been more organised regarding these changes. Yet, working at Shane English Conversation school really transformed me into a teacher and that is what I am today.


The word praxis contains a special meaning. It can be used to suggest some form of practice that has become so important and frequent that it is unavoidable when doing something. Karl Marx saw it as the active agency of the human subject able to create itself and alter the environment it exists in. As a practice teaching young learners can be somewhat testing you need patience and always remember that your students are very inexperienced. Talking to a good friend of mine who shares some experiences working with youngsters reminded me of their lack of filter. Very young children have yet to develop strong associations to their environment and so they are easy to inspire. Whatever you do just keep it fun. Children also embody the very primordial, instinctual, and strange capacity of humans to fluctuate between bad and good behaviour. Being a teacher does not mean you are exempt from such fluctuations and I’ve often thought that my teaching is too dependent on a mechanical, automated, repetitive, and drill based manner.


For a lot of the children I teach regularly the need for drilling only becomes apparent after they have acquired a basic well of words they understand. Then you can start to encourage the use of phrases through drills. The task of turning a drill into an act of play is one of my current daily dilemma’s because young and old people prefer the freedom of playing/gaming to the mundane practice of standardized knowledge production. It is in an incomplete understanding that the joy of teaching (finding or showing the right information for others?) can be found. A good book for thinking about the ordering of information is Cesar Hidalgo’s book which I enjoyed. Anyway, In the ordering of the perspective of others you can find a lot of happiness and appreciation. Seen as though I am in China I want to re-post a very warm mandarin phrase from Confucius; of particular comfort to teachers (If your interested in Confucius give this a read >>>).


To answer the starting couplet of questions, ‘practice makes practice’, or ‘practice is the perfecting of practice’ are sufficient answers because they encourage more to be done and more doing leads to a kind of continuity all humans experience.

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× Memories of Ex-Students and recent Time Well Spent


The first group of Children I taught are called Rimi, Yuzuki, Saki, and Reo in Shinjuku. The first lesson everyone was so quite including myself. Over time, through Reo’s naughty-ness and Rimi’s attempt to blind me, Saki and Yuzuki’s awesome ability to speak English we tore through the rigidity of the curriculum. On Wednesday in Meguro with Yoshihiko, Yumiko, Maki, Hiroko, Hiroaki, and Kenji you really refreshed me after a whole week of regulated and grading my use of English. You allowed me to speak naturally and it always felt great to speak closer to my natural way of speaking. Yuriko, you were only two years old when I persuaded you and your mum to take my class we were soon joined by Jyunya a ferocious individualist and our lessons remained fun. Kenta, Hirosashi, Riku, Minami, and Sana all of you youngsters were and remain awesome. Kazuko and Tadachika I miss our private lessons and weekly dialogues. Ema and kantaro I hope you have both found your way with English I fully appreciate how difficult learning a foreign language can be.


Here in Beijing I have met many more cool little people and have had the pleasure of being called both Sensei and lăo shī. There are too many names to list here in China so I will just talk a little bit about what I have been doing. I have been helping these youngsters acquire the basic structures of English: letters, sounds, words, sentences, songs, and pictures. What is striking is the speed at which some children can progress and this in turn makes me ponder the way in which our bodies are programmed to absorb information but also this information is then activated by social interaction. Interacting as a group takes the same information and creates the same relation but in a different form within a persons mind. If you doubt this then conduct a simple experiment ask children or people to write the same letter, line, or shape. You will notice it is simultaneously the thing itself but also carries a marked difference. Teaching hones in on these things that you may overlook once you have learned them. I know appreciate the energy, disenchantment, and enthusiasm of children. Although, I can not possibly revert back to childhood and why would I want to? I am grateful to be working with young people.


× Changes in the Nature of Learning, Educating, and Teaching


When everyone has access to the same information instantaneously then what happens to the established notions of knowledge? How is it possible that we maintain faith in figures whom traditionally create knowledge? People like teachers, writers, artists, designers, researchers, explorers, and scientists all have to determine and define their identity through a perspective anchored to that of knowledge. The teacher possesses knowledge to be able to teach. The author expresses knowledge of the world in an act of writing. Artists wield creative knowledge of all kinds and designers need knowledge of designing so as to create new things. Researchers explorers and scientists are all glued to the phenomena of knowledge and the learned behaviour of knowing. The reason I state this is because since the advent of dial up internet and the birth of Wikipedia knowledge started to be distributed more freely and so its role in cultures and societies became more visible. Rather than seeing the common narrative that knowledge is an enabling thing. I saw the opposite a divisive thing. Something that moves humans more than we move it.


Evidence for this suggestion resides primarily in the absurd use of numbers and numerical accuracy in the creation of standards. Having a standard is a symbol of a human need to understand the quality of a thing, yet observe how often standards are imposed on people. In my view we seem to have already succumbed too much to this mode of acceptance: to have access to that which is true one must necessarily have knowledge. Yet there is something that ancient subjects possessed that was healthier than this necessary possessive mode of knowing. This something goes by the name of understanding and it is something that could reverse the problem of inequality simply because it is a) natural, b) continuous, and c) not something humans can subject to privatization. The difference could be ordered in the following way: knowledge (1≠0) and understanding (1≡1…). Seemingly simplistic this difference should not be hastily understood. But this simple logical difference between ≠ and ≡ allows me to make my point.

If we translate the symbols back into natural language we get ‘not equal to’ and ‘equal to’ and so the simple difference is extremely clear. Knowledge denies equality rather than affirm it and herein we see a fashionable Anglo-Saxon monstrosity that asserts the unequal as that which has to be accepted as natural. Yet, do not read me as saying difference itself is bad. What I am saying is that the disruptive qualities knowledge has regarding the creation of human behaviour is damning. That is why as a teacher and student I favor seminars over lectures and understanding over knowledge.

I feel like I have not really expressed any changes: so I will just finish with another sentence. Artificial Intelligence and it’s development along with the internet and technological communication will show that we as humans are naturally predisposed to understanding because its closer to appreciation of that which is common; the very change that makes possible the hues of all colors.

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Brussels to China: Koi Animation

Working and living in Beijing has been an awesome change. In the past I spent so much time making stop motion animation and very recently I had made a new one. The capital city of China is a very animated place and therefore it inspired me to complete this animation. The reason for making it is a pleasant one; the moving image is for a good friend of mine. Joey Wright is an extremely musically and sonically attuned individual he has been busy playing in various bands and collaborative projects in his home city of Brussels in Belgium. The band Mishaps are a trio and Joey sings and plays guitar. Their style is very eclectic and animating for them was very enjoyable. My friend may still use and re-edit the animation in the future but regardless of what happens it was a lot of fun re-visiting my past creative habits and practice. So, this animation for the track titled The Trap was intended as a parting gift to this Brussel’s based creative.

The animation’s aesthetic is inspired by my fondness and personal experience of Asian culture and imagery. The Koi fish has a long-standing place in mythology and respect for the beauty of nature and so it was an obvious form to use with music. People may associate the Koi fish with Japan but like most things in East-Asia this fish was transported to this Island nation from China. This is the first time I have animated fish and the combination of their natural environment plus their physical shape lend a lot of potential to the possible sequences an animator may create with this fish. Moreover, in China there is a well known piece of mythology in which three Koi fish attempt to swim up a waterfall. Only one succeeds and reaches the top and in doing so transforms into a dragon. Being a Westerner I do not assume to understand the intricacies of this myth however a seemingly obvious interpretation would be: true transformation arises through perseverance. It would be interesting to see or ask a Chinese person for their own reflections on this myth and the place of this infamous fish in other places and stories.

I hope that people enjoy the music and take pleasure in viewing this scruffy and scrapbook like piece of animation.


I am sorry blog, I have been away for too long, but here is a post about some translations from Japanese into English. I am sharing it for other Japanese learners and for anyone with an interest in Buddhism and Kanji.

First up we have some letters I am sending to old students who I miss a great deal. I hope to see them all soon they where such nice people and I was lucky, I will always be lucky to have met them. The above Japanese translates as,’ Maki, Please give this to everyone. On the other side of this letter there is interesting English poetry. I am looking forward to the next time I am in Japan. Let us stay in touch. Paul’


The second is a map that my friend Yutaka wrote me… it describes a place of nature, a place near Tokyo which has a lot tress; a kind of forest. Yutaka is a fellow philosopher and I want to talk about co-authoring some texts with him in the future.

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Thirdly, there is this bookmark, I took it from a flyer for an exhibition on Ink Painting and I love Sumie and Ukiyoe (Ink painting and Wood Block painting) I could spend all day every day looking at these Japanese art forms. 水墨の風, このブークマークは東京駅近くに出光美術館で展覧会からですね。

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I saved the best to last, this year I will sit my first JLPT exam and then each year after I will sit another. My enthusiasm for this Asian language comes from a teacher I had a Yoko amongst other Yokos. Yoko is a translator of Taiwanese Buddhist texts for one of the biggest Buddhist temples in the world. This translation below is from a recently published book Learning the Spirit/Mind of Zen. Like all authentic Buddhist literature its beauty, power, and truth are constants.

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The Translation into English Reads:

“Mutually helping each other.

A place where this happens becomes heaven.

Respecting the neighborhood together.

A place where this happens becomes a pure land.

Heaven is ones home.

The Pure Land is ones spirit”

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Remove the weeds of the mind. And allow the seeds of merit to grow.


Thank you for reading.  I will post a much larger and more extensive Japanese translation soon.




Papers From My Peer’s

Philosophy @Leuven in Belgium; & a Necro-psychoanalyst

The following is a quick and too speedy review of the writings of some of the wonderful individuals I studied with in Leuven. Each person’s paper’s topic will be briefly explored; its ideas summarized and elaborated on so as to share and place this interestingly informed information into the streams of human energy traversing the internet. I hope they travel far…and feed the minds of others…

[I have linked to the original essays where possible otherwise if you wish to speak to the authors then the link goes to their Facebook profile’s]


#Ross Williams, (‘A Certain Kind of Sadness’)

A comparison of the thought of Arthur Schopenhaur and Eckhart Tolle. Starting by showing how a scholar called Warburton suggests this poodle lovers pessimism as not absolute only partial. According to Schopenhaur happiness in an unstable world is inconceivable when William’s quotes Schopenhaur’s Buddhist dependency this makes me smile.


‘“It must be pleasure to me to see my doctrine in such close agreement with a religion that most of men on earth hold as their own, for this numbers far more followers than any other”

(Schopenhauer 1844, 169).

Schopenhaur is interesting because his fondness for Buddhism is a fondness for the oldest kind of Buddhism; the belief system that arose from within the womb of the Indian Brahman. Then, Tolle is referenced referring to how, ‘the dream of a symbolic world allows our consciousness to interpret or interact with the world’(Tolle, 1997, 128). This sounds like Tolle is an exponent, a supporter of the idea that our reality is holographic; After this the paper describes dangerous desire, wish fulfillment being a delusion, and then similarities between the two thinkers. The evidence that Schopenhaur’s pessimism is not absolute is taken from the writer Fernandez who describes it as conditional. Which is where the paper leaves us: as a part of a whole. Choosing to forgo the ‘will to life’ in favour of liberation through our very material suffering.



#Marlieke Bender (‘The Object “is” the Other’)

This writing explores the performance ‘Rhythm 0’ by Marina Abromovich and what it has to tell us about freedom, human nature and abstraction, violence, and their relations to Emmanuel Levinas and Jean P. Satre. I had heard of Abromovich before from a brilliant documentary film made for her retrospective at MOMA, in NYC, and I had understood that this was a very famous performance but I had no idea what it precisely entailed. Reason no.1 to have enjoyed reading this.

The artist was invited by a gallery in Naples Italy to perform “Rhythm 0”. The gallery was Studio Morra in which visitors to the performance where invited to do whatever they want to the naked being of Abromovich; perhaps encouraged by the 72 suggestive objects on the table. One of these objects was a handgun with a bullet. We all like to think that we are calm collected cultured animals, but given a smidgen, a filament of freedom, and we get a little weird.  The last few hours of the performance regressed into violent chaos with one visitor encouraging the artist to use the bullet. Of course (we are not all monsters) a fight with the guilty individual broke out. But, when the performance was over we are told that the moment the artist resumed active agency again and walked towards her audience everyone fled the gallery.

Bender’s interpretation is an interesting one she traces and mines some of the potential philosophical implications of the performance. Referring to Satre’s idea that we are always both subject and object; involving a wholesome process of becoming an object. Exemplified in Satre’s reflections on a waiter in a cafe. Including the pressure of not being someone, but of being an object for others? What is made apparent is the power of a gaze of perception itself. Especially of that of the creator; is this evidence of the artist possessing a gaze apart from others?

Next up is Levinas who suggests that a moment of contact between two beings, between one and the other, is not necessarily a connection between human beings but culminates in an “other”. Marlieke’s choice of thinkers and citations is telling and reveals the greatness of Levinas, ‘speech becomes serious only when we pay attention to the other and take account of him and the strange world he inhabits. It is only by responding to him that I can become aware of the arbitrary views and attitudes where my uncriticised freedom always leads me, and become responsible.’(Levinas…?). Leaving is considering the very nature of responsibility. Who is responsible when those in charge frequently relinquish responsibility?

Abromovich, judging by her words in Marlieke’s essay, does so; saying that her purpose in performing is to create a stage for people’s fears. Maybe her admission is that if we all perform more actively, more intently, with more vitality we may free oneself from our fears? Eventually, our lack of personal completion results in a kind of “involuntary debt”; we are indebted to an otherness that is wholly other to us as active subjects and objects. I enjoy attempting to use art to explore philosophy and visa versa philosophy to explore art; and you can clearly see the possibility of philosophy arising and being authored by art.



#Mathew Devine (‘Suffering the Eternal Remorse and Melancholia Through the work of Vladimir Jankélévitch’)


A masters thesis, reading of Bergson’s Padawan the French philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch’s work distinguishing remorse from regret and melancholia and mourning in his phenomenology of psychopathology after Freud. Devine characterises these interestingly as experiences. In many ways Devine’s writing is a commentary on the impossibility of nothingness and how this impossibility is embroiled in processes of regret, remorse, despair, melancholia, and mourning. Questions that lurk at the beginning the Devine’s exploration: when does remorse tell us about the eternal within us? Is remorse really timeless? Devine begins by describing Jankélévitch’s own stance, ‘Consciousness is the moment by which the self splits into two. The “I” (le soi) becoming an object of an “I” (le moi )’, a kind of gap, and a drop of Kantianism, ‘perfect happiness would only be possible if one knew nothing of one’s happiness’. We should all make an effort to contemplate these things.

Moving on Freud’s thinking is referenced when he describes the phenomena of ‘mourning’ and this is used by Devine to situate the reader before he articulates remorse and melancholia. Freud saw how work itself can come to replace the searing pain of loss and mourning. Writing in On Transience describes how the loved and lost object is allowed to rest when work is seen as being successful. Furthermore, the individual suffering from melancholia may suffer more because of its a-temporality. Freud’s characterisation of melancholia as a disturbance of self-esteem is absent in mourning. Devine draws our attention to the harshness of Freud’s ego split and how one part goes after the other, ‘we can not easily judge the degree of correspondence between the two versions of the self.

This is also why remorse can be said to be a feeling and guilt as a state. If I have read the paper correctly than this statement may also be so: for Jankélévitch repentance creates a distance between the wrong doer and the wrong. This in turn creates this necessity to suffer the eternal that we can locate within ourselves, that part of each and every one of us that is indeed eternal. Turning remorse into a virtue is dependent on how true the remorse may be thought of? There are many virtues in this study but one I find particularly interesting is a struggle to locate and anchor suffering as a phenomenon; what is the relation between impersonal or personal suffering. Devine resolves this with the help of a different French philosopher called Levinas and his stripping away the (human) world. Does his ilya (anonymous being) lead to an exposure to infinite eternal existence? Jankélévitch’s answer to this is the same as Achille’s speaking to Odysseus, ‘what good is eternity if it is not for living?’ a very good answer indeed, and it is here that Devine concludes successfully arguing that choosing an existence in finitude over an inexistence in eternity.

Vladimir Jankélévitch_ 


#Jens Van Steerteghem

Next up we have the Flemish physics fiend. Studying with Jens and his (“Jensing” a kind of Lensing; a way of seeing”) is awesome and very rewarding always on hand to discuss any and all topics. He is originally trained in Biology and is currently engaged in the critical creation of the European Union’s scientific policy making. His essay I found very rich “Escaping Technology a Dissidents Perspective” is an essay written on the infamous American Unabomber; and his manifesto “Industrial Society and its Future” (1996). Van Steerteghem begins with a good question; as every essay should do: Why did the serial bomber want to escape technology and is such an escape even possible?

Unabomber believed in a power process only satisfied by living as primitive man. Under technological society this process was disturbed according to this terrorist manifesto writer. Steerteghem rightfully questions this and initially makes a connection to thinking of Heidegger. But, a writer called Bijker is also cited and it is here the criticism begins in earnest,  ‘the socio-technological ensemble, where technical success consists in tying together different preexisting artifacts with different preexisting social elements in productive ways.’ (Steerteghem, Ku Leuven, 2018). I think this is a good statement to begin resisting Unabomber in the face of his accelerated technological telos.

To counter act the glum view of the Unabomber’s thesis Steerteghem points us towards network theory and the mathematical structures of advanced connectivity; saying that manipulation of the hubs can lead to control over technology. Then Bruno Latour’s ‘Actor Network Theory’ is discussed. Taking a holistic view of ANT and this culminates in clusters of ‘”Black Boxes” that represent the successful integration and acceptance of new technology and/or a scientific theory. The conclusion of this paper takes Unabomber’s own notion of a ‘power process’ and using it to show how it supports the opposite of anti-technological reality. Technology is in itself a power process and therefore can not be separated from other such processes hastily deemed as natural.

But, this Flemish author has forgot his Marxist potentiality and in the concluding remarks succumbs to a notion of society (“the clusterscape”) that is still an imprisoning one, and overlooks the global revolution’s potentially technological heart.



# Albin Van Latum

Albin is a Dutchman and a dynamic thinker. I enjoyed the conversations we all had; with Jens, Anne, Peyton, Marlieke, Marren, Ross, Alirazor, Amin, and others.

Albin wrote his paper on a very interesting subject the antagonism between myth and science. Beginning with the ancient propensity of creation myths having order being a process of moving away from a prior chaos. Latum will argue that rather than the modern understanding of myths as “a miss-representation of truth.”, myth under Latum’s pen will be shown to be the fundamental bridge between humans and an otherwise chaotic reality and how Science’s modernism is itself a myth. After remembering how chaos is first born in Hesiod’s Theogony; we are then introduced to a beautiful ancient myth about chaos originating from ancient China. In the Zhuangzi Chaos (Hundun)  ) is seen as ‘the creative spontaneity that ceases to exist once one meddles with it by attempting to impose order’. So, in this Chinese myth we see Van Latum’s initial thesis clearly: myths help humans order Chaos into meaning. But, not via means of control rather appreciation.

In the discussion on the relation or development from mythos to logos an interesting point is made, ‘whereas both Plato and Aristotle concerned of different levels of mimesis of reality this plurality went through a process of reductio ad unum (an argument that rests on the absurdity of the opposing argument) the result of which is modern realism.’ It is with the reductio that one feels a kinship with this Dutch brother’s writing and thinking; I feel that many people would agree that this modern realism has a major problem in that it occasionally appears as mythless; leaving us a task to really nurture an cultivate the opposite. Such a line of thinking was also followed and developed by Mark Fisher in his Capitalist Realism (2009). Latum also paints a more useful picture of the philosopher of science Karl Popper; in that his ‘falsification theory’ is seen on preserving a mythical science. Instead of the Popper who unsuccessfully attempted to refute the work of Marx and Freud.

This paper really finds its rhythm when numinous Nietzsche is referenced as Latum starts discussing contemporary Chaos … some much needed Socrates bashing ensues… Overall, the claims of science to rule over the entirety of nature are shown to be unhelpful myths. These claims came into being as the Christian paradigm, or scientific dominance over western thinking began to loose its huge influence. That is why we are still learning from Nietzsche, ‘Truths are illusions about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions, warn-out metaphors without sensory impact’, and we readers are forced to admire this papers conclusions, ‘Chosmos is chaos, of interpretation on the back of a selective process’. Eventually we are left with one certainty if we embrace the myth making capacity of chaos we can see our openness to the pure potential of artistic creation.



# Juste Keturakyte (The Critique of Buddhism and Christianity in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Philosophy)

In an ambitious dance with Nietzsche Keturakyte explores a supposed superiority of Buddhism over its Western counterpart Christianity. Nietzsche’s opinion is well expressed and articulated; as is his appreciation of Buddhism. Reading this text we encounter Buddhist Dukkha (suffering). Then its cause the craving after transient things Trishna; and also a path to the elimination of this suffering ashtanya manga. Nietzsche’s critique of metaphysics is characterised as being one of revenge. That Christian Moralities explained as the one life is littered and scarred by revenge. That the mere essence of metaphysics is the denial of and revenge over becoming and time as the expression of decadent and declining life. So, Nietzsche’s admiration for Buddhism is written to be centred around its capacity to be truthful to the meaninglessness of human existence however he does not like its self denying aspects seeing them as too passive.


I find that Keturakyte’s elegant exploration of the Buddhist influence on Nietzsche to be accurate and refreshingly honest, and very well positioned for  future development. Especially the idea of ‘Euro-Buddhism’ but to offer but a small critical note. I think Nietzsche’s criticism of this passive nihilism of Buddhism is not thoroughly separated from Schopenhaur’s Indian reading and so does not do Chan Buddhism full justice. Keturakyte’s points about the a-temporality of Nietzsche’s ‘Eternal Return’ as transcending both Buddhism and Christianity is not quite attainable. For the reason that in Chan Buddhism especially its passivity is to explicitly do away with distinctions that seek to differentiate. Resulting in an appreciation of how things are: endlessly coming to be and passing away, manifesting and re-manifesting, and all is just inter-being including eternity and its return.

Nietzsche and Buddhism



# Sam Bunn & Grussgott, an artificial intelligence from the future (Imagining an Institute for eUtopia)

Sam along with this A.I have constructed an impassioned defence of how artistic practice can and ought to be used to build the “good place” in contrast to the non-place we so usually are confronted with. Bunn’s Master’s thesis is very interesting and eclectic, yet ordered in its creative energy. I like the format of the study, and the interplay between A.I and human really creates with the material and topic matter very coherently. Beginning by pairing off Sacral art and Fine art Bunn or Grussgott and showing how exactleeeeeeeeeeeeeee this sacral can be seen as a “twisted tear drop”; half a way. There are seven chapters in Sam’s study and I will list them before drawing out some of the highlights that caught my attention when I first read. The contents include; ART or art?, Stories make Sense making Sense, Grasping Utopia, Eutopia as a Tool, Re-imaging Infastructure, eUtopia Explored and Attempted, and the conclusion.

I am not sure about Art confirming the American Dream this feels like it gives to this particular dream too much. But, the conversation discussing the persistence of filmic ideology (ideology is persistent as film? Or, ideology is a film?) moving through this notion that American cannot separate the idea of liberty from liberalism. From this constitution to Adam Smith’s marketised version; here the A.I reminds the human that America is not just full of capitalists, ‘Remember Jameson (influential Critical Theorist) is American.’

Reading through the next section on storytelling and sense, I am reminded of Walter Benjamin’s texts and how this study is a little bit like a new project from the Arcades? Discussing the potentially vegetative state of humans if they fail to grasp Bertold Brecht’s reality shaping hammer. But, Bunn or Grisbott pick up this hammer with a sub-hypothesis, ‘what if this main residue of watching a film is: lasting images?’ This branch is interesting its difficult to interpret but it could be that film’s deep realism is like a hammering of images; like the way a blacksmith would gradually craft a refined metal. It is also interesting that this involves an element of forgetting and remembering: forgetting to remember is absolutely what I do…

Then an utopia lists many influential authors and Ernst bloch keeps the concept of utopia firmly in the everyday rather than just a literary form. I love Darko Suvins/Surins’s idea of a ‘novum’ and I skip Thomas More’s well cited definition of utopia; a non-place. Then we continue to move through the good places of some films and their lasting images.

On page 59 Gussbotts and its human friend find agreement and I think I have stumbled upon the essence of this text and its true purpose; what it really engenders and supports. The A.I asks, ‘you are talking about popularizing socialist politics in mass consumable story form, aren’t you? The answer is yes; we now need to find our second yes to affirm as indeed the true aim of this paper, the formal desire of this intellectually creative event. I like how part of this discourse throughout this study is its cautious character; it permeates an awareness of the pitfalls of over-stating content and one’s thinking.

This and the idea of “socialist politics in a mass consumable story” is really evident in one of the many artistic projects Bunn completed as part of his time in Linz. The project Reise in die Zuhunft a journeying into the future with today’s children, and art’s radical potentialities are immediately enacted as social reality is seen as uniformly and universally creative in the artistic sense. Such play is then carried on into a ride of sorts; the brilliantly named ‘Far-see-er’; a series of interconnected rooms exhibited together as a ride designed to be ridden, of course, at the Architektur Forum in Linz. Overall, one, everyone should journey through and re-experience this journey that Sam Bunn and the A.I took because this study is refreshingly in its diversity, honesty, and creativity. The Agent Author’s humility is constantly present in this study; a good example is the response to the dilemma that the discussion on eUtopia might be unresolvable and we may be forced to accept the Utopia the negative option.

‘perhaps one should just learn to live with the dust that is stuck to the word utopia and not to confuse people with this ‘eu’. Generally they just think that I make some kind of obscure comment about the European Union.’

I wish this creator and fellow lover of art all the best for his future eUtopian film making.


# Julie Reshe (Beautiful Monsters: On Destructive Plasticity)          

Julie Reshe is the necropsychoanalyst par excellence and one half of the directorship of a new educational model for the future. Operating within a Post-Lacanian landscape Reshe is constantly expanding on the richness of Freud’s brilliant Venetian verisimilitude. I am not entirely convinced the notion that humans are “living dead” can overcome the negative imagery of the Zombie; yet one thing is more certain Freud’s Thanos remains important as ever for today’s epoch. Below are some thoughts on Reshe’s essay on ‘Destructive Plasticity’.

The essay is written as a critical response to the great French philosopher Catherine Malabou; who years ago introduced me to the idea of epigenetics (how feelings encode meaning and trauma can be distributed across generations biologically via way of the genome). Homing in on the scientific neurobiological conception of synaptic plasticity Reshe wants us to reflect on the negative side; the formalism of synaptic connective via way of destruction; and in attempting to hastily attribute a “cure” to such a destructive plasticity, Reshe reminds us of Foucault’s insight: that, the concepts of illness and health are socially constructed.

Running, both with and against Malabou, Reshe reformulates the notion that the child, can be a little monster, and therefore after encompassing a kind of destructive plasticity or a Lyotardian ‘primordial susceptibility’ – the child that remains throughout life. Yet, this writing really on one level is very comforting considering the biographical and important personal references to real lived experiences. This is then complemented by the text’s desire to critically think through psychoanalysis. Freud’s idea and its Greek influence is referenced that, ‘Psychic traumatization is understood by the analogy of physical traumatization.’ A difference imposed by the foreign body entombed with the local body.

After rightfully questioning the ease at which a disorder may legitimate the presence of an illness. I find Reshe’s conclusion compelling and ripe for much more development. If we are all beautiful monsters then we are all still susceptible, still receptive to these powers that are both organic and inorganic; power that we still marginally understand. Yet if we join Reshe in refelecting on our beautiful little monstrosities then we may increase such a thing.


The Brothers Grimm (One day I’ll start learning German).


Grimm Brothers

I recently started preparing to start to study German next to my second language Japanese as these are the two languages that I wish to speak. After first learning from the great Esther Leslie’s Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and The Avant-Garde (2002) that the early Walt Disney Animators where told to create animations from the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm ( Kinder- und Hausmärchen / Children and Household Tales ) because they had been freed from copyright and so were a perfect resource from which to create the early animations, such as the ‘Skeleton Dance‘ (1920’s ish). On second read pg24. just mentions ambiguously that out of copyright fairytales were used to develop characters … yet I feel the Brother’s Grimm must have fed the early birth of this dominant animation studio; yet another example of German magic working its way into the roots of important visual culture. 


Walt Disney, ‘Skeleton Dance

So, I will just share two of my favorite Grimm tales in both German and English. I chose these two ‘The Frog King’, and ‘Tom Thumb’ because they are two of the lesser known tales compared to Snow White. The frog reminds me of a short story by Haruki Murakami in which the protagonist is also a frog. I need to find this again because unlike the Grimm’s version it is not directly about a moral, but instead is more about the limitations of knowledge. The second story ‘Tom Thumb’ is weird (Imagine giving birth to a thumb sized child, and then what conspires is somewhat expected if your thumb sized… your bound to get swallowed by a wolf. This then I associated (perhaps there is no connection here) with Georges Bataille, the French thinker, he wrote about the importance of the ‘big toe’ but again need to read more… I hope these two stories make others want to read the Grimm Brothers. I know I do, but only after I have improved my Japanese. Next to this bi-lingual resource… I am also going to purchase from the excellent Para para books, they have Franz Kafka ‘Die Verwandlung’ and Jospeh Conrad ‘The Heart Of Darkness’ or ‘Herz der Finsternis’… Looking forward.


The Frog King
by the Grimm Brothers

In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face.

Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when the day was very warm, the king’s child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it, but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted.

And as she thus lamented someone said to her, “What ails you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”

She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water.

“Ah, oldwater-splasher, is it you,” she said, “I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well.”

“Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your plaything up again?”

“Whatever you will have, dear frog,” said she, “My clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing.”

The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up again.”

“Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring me my ball back again.” But she thought, “How the silly frog does talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and croak. He can be no companion to any human being.”

But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the water and sank down; and in a short while came swimming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass.

The king’s daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But what did it avail him to scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was forced to go back into his well again.

The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”

She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened.

The king saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry you away?”

“Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting frog. Yesterday as I was in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not know what you said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well. Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”

Then said the king, “That which you have promised must you perform. Go and let him in.”

She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and cried, “Lift me up beside you.”

She delayed, until at last the king commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.”

She did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her.

At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”

The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed.

But the king grew angry and said, “He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by you.”

So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as you, lift me up or I will tell your father.”

At this she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she.

But when he fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful eyes. He by her father’s will was now her dear companion and husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.

Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains, and behind stood the young king’s servant Faithful Henry.

Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart, lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to conduct the young king into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because of this deliverance.

And when they had driven a part of the way the king’s son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken. So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.” “No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart, which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and imprisoned in the well.”

Again and once again while they were on their way something cracked, and each time the king’s son thought the carriage was breaking, but it was only the bands which were springing from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and was happy.

der Brüder Grimm

In den alten Zeiten, wo das Wünschen noch geholfen hat, lebte ein König, dessen Töchter waren alle schön, aber die jüngste war so schön, daß sich die Sonne selber, die doch so vieles gesehen hat, darüber verwunderte so oft sie ihr ins Gesicht schien.

Nahe bei dem Schlosse des Königs lag ein großer dunkler Wald, und in dem Walde unter einer alten Linde war ein Brunnen: wenn nun der Tag recht heiß war, so ging das Königskind hinaus in den Wald, und setzte sich an den Rand des kühlen Brunnens, und wenn sie Langeweile hatte, so nahm sie eine goldene Kugel, warf sie in die Höhe und fing sie wieder; und das war ihr liebstes Spielwerk.

Nun trug es sich einmal zu, daß die goldene Kugel der Königstochter nicht in das Händchen fiel, das sie ausgestreckt hatte, sondern neben vorbei auf die Erde schlug, und geradezu ins Wasser hinein rollte. Die Königstochter folgte ihr mit den Augen nach, aber die Kugel verschwand, und der Brunnen war tief, und gar kein Grund zu sehen. Da fing sie an zu weinen, und weinte immer lauter, und konnte sich gar nicht trösten.

Und wie sie so klagte, rief ihr jemand zu “was hast du vor, Königstochter, du schreist ja daß sich ein Stein erbarmen möchte”. Sie sah sich um, woher die Stimme käme, da erblickte sie einen Frosch, der seinen dicken häßlichen Kopf aus dem Wasser streckte.

“Ach, du bists, alter Wasserpatscher”, sagte sie, “ich weine über meine goldne Kugel, die mir in den Brunnen hinab gefallen ist.”

“Gib dich zufrieden”, antwortete der Frosch, “ich kann wohl Rat schaffen, aber was gibst du mir, wenn ich dein Spielwerk wieder heraufhole?”

“Was du willst, lieber Frosch”, sagte sie, “meine Kleider, meine Perlen und Edelsteine, dazu die goldne Krone, die ich trage.”

Der Frosch antwortete “deine Kleider, deine Perlen und Edelsteine, deine goldne Krone, die mag ich nicht: aber wenn du mich lieb haben willst, und ich soll dein Geselle und Spielkamerad sein, an deinem Tischlein neben dir sitzen, von deinem goldnen Tellerlein essen, aus deinem Becherlein trinken, in deinem Bettlein schlafen: wenn du mir das versprichst, so will ich dir die goldne Kugel wieder aus dem Grunde hervor holen”.

“Ach ja”, sagte sie, “ich verspreche dir alles,, wenn du mir nur die Kugel wieder bringst.” Sie dachte aber “was der einfältige Frosch schwätzt, der sitzt im Wasser bei seines Gleichen, und quakt, und kann keines Menschen Geselle sein”.

Der Frosch, als er die Zusage erhalten hatte, tauchte seinen Kopf unter, sank hinab, und über ein Weilchen kam er wieder herauf gerudert, hatte die Kugel im Maul, und warf sie ins Gras.

Die Königstochter war voll Freude, als sie ihr schönes Spielwerk wieder erblickte, hob es auf, und sprang damit fort. “Warte, warte”, rief der Frosch, “nimm mich mit, ich kann nicht so laufen wie du.” Aber was half ihm daß er ihr sein quak quak so laut nachschrie als er konnte! sie hörte nicht darauf, eilte nach Haus, und hatte bald den armen Frosch vergessen, der wieder in den tiefen Brunnen hinab steigen mußte.

Am andern Tage, als sie mit dem König und allen Hofleuten an der Tafel saß, und von ihrem goldnen Tellerlein aß, da kam, plitsch platsch, plitsch platsch, etwas die Marmortreppe herauf gekrochen, und als es oben angelangt war, klopfte es an der Tür, und rief “Königstochter, jüngste, mach mir auf”.

Sie lief und wollte sehen wer draußen wäre, als sie aber aufmachte, so saß der Frosch davor. Da warf sie die Tür hastig zu, setzte sich wieder an den Tisch, und war ihr ganz angst.

Der König sah daß ihr das Herz gewaltig klopfte, und sprach “ei, was fürchtest du dich, steht etwa ein Riese vor der Tür, und will dich holen?”

“Ach nein”, antwortete das Kind, “es ist kein Riese, sondern ein garstiger Frosch, der hat mir gestern im Wald meine goldene Kugel aus dem Wasser geholt, dafür versprach ich ihm er sollte mein Geselle werden, ich dachte aber nimmermehr daß er aus seinem Wasser heraus könnte: nun ist er draußen, und will zu mir herein.”

Indem klopfte es zum zweitenmal und rief, “Königstochter, jüngste, mach mir auf, weißt du nicht was gestern du zu mir gesagt bei dem kühlen Brunnenwasser? Königstochter, jüngste, mach mir auf.”

Da sagte der König “hast du’s versprochen, mußt du’s auch halten; geh und mach ihm auf”.

Sie ging und öffnete die Türe, da hüpfte der Frosch herein, ihr immer auf dem Fuße nach, bis zu ihrem Stuhl. Da saß er und rief “heb mich herauf zu dir”.

Sie wollte nicht bis es der König befahl. Als der Frosch auf den Stuhl gekommen war, sprach er “nun schieb mir dein goldenes Tellerlein näher, damit wir zusammen essen”.

Das tat sie auch, aber man sah wohl daß sies nicht gerne tat. Der Frosch ließ sichs gut schmecken, aber ihr blieb fast jedes Bißlein im Halse.

Endlich sprach er “nun hab ich mich satt gegessen, und bin müde, trag mich hinauf in dein Kämmerlein, und mach dein seiden Bettlein zurecht, da wollen wir uns schlafen legen”.

Da fing die Königstochter an zu weinen, und fürchtete sich vor dem kalten Frosch, den sie nicht anzurühren getraute, und der nun in ihrem schönen reinen Bettlein schlafen sollte.

Der König aber blickte sie zornig an, und sprach “was du versprochen hast, sollst du auch halten, und der Frosch ist dein Geselle”.

Es half nichts, sie mochte wollen oder nicht, sie mußte den Frosch mitnehmen. Da packte sie ihn, ganz bitterböse, mit zwei Fingern, und trug ihn hinauf, und als sie im Bett lag, statt ihn hinein zu heben, warf sie ihn aus allen Kräften an die Wand und sprach “nun wirst du Ruhe haben, du garstiger Frosch”.

Was aber herunter fiel war nicht ein toter Frosch, sondern ein lebendiger junger Königssohn mit schönen und freundlichen Augen. Der war nun von Recht und mit ihres Vaters Willen ihr lieber Geselle und Gemahl. Da schliefen sie vergnügt zusammen ein, und am andern Morgen, als die Sonne sie aufweckte, kam ein Wagen herangefahren mit acht weißen Pferden bespannt, die waren mit Federn geschmückt, und gingen in goldenen Ketten, und hinten stand der Diener des jungen Königs, das war der treue Heinrich.

Der treue Heinrich hatte sich so betrübt, als sein Herr war in einen Frosch verwandelt worden, daß er drei eiserne Bande hatte müssen um sein Herz legen lassen, damit es ihm nicht vor Weh und Traurigkeit zerspränge. Der Wagen aber sollte den jungen König in sein Reich abholen; der treue Heinrich hob beide hinein, und stellte sich wieder hinten auf, voller Freude über die Erlösung.

Und als sie ein Stück Wegs gefahren waren, hörte der Königssohn hinter sich daß es krachte, als wäre etwas zerbrochen. Da drehte er sich um, und rief “Heinrich, der Wagen bricht.”

“Nein, Herr, der Wagen nicht, es ist ein Band von meinem Herzen,
das da lag in großen Schmerzen,
als ihr in dem Brunnen saßt,
als ihr eine Fretsche (Frosch) was’t (wart).”

Noch einmal und noch einmal krachte es auf dem Weg, und der Königssohn meinte immer der Wagen bräche, und es waren doch nur die Bande, die vom Herzen des treuen Heinrich absprangen, weil sein Herr wieder erlöst und glücklich war.


Tom Thumb

der Brüder Grimm

There was once a poor peasant who sat in the evening by the hearth and poked the fire, and his wife sat and spun. Then said he, “How sad it is that we have no children. With us all is so quiet, and in other houses it is noisy and lively.”

“Yes, replied the wife, and sighed, “even if we had only one, and it were quite small, and only as big as a thumb, I should be quite satisfied, and we would still love it with all our hearts.”

Now it so happened that the woman fell ill, and after seven months gave birth to a child, that was perfect in all its limbs, but no longer than a thumb. Then said they, “It is as we wished it to be, and it shall be our dear child.” And because of its size, they called it Tom Thumb. Though they did not let it want for food, the child did not grow taller, but remained as it had been at the first. Nevertheless it looked sensibly out of its eyes, and soon showed itself to be a wise and nimble creature, for everything it did turned out well.

One day the peasant was getting ready to go into the forest to cut wood, when he said as if to himself, “How I wish that there was someone who would bring the cart to me.”

“Oh father,” cried Tom Thumb, “I will soon bring the cart, rely on that. It shall be in the forest at the appointed time.”

The man smiled and said, “How can that be done? You are far too small to lead the horse by the reins.”

“That’s of no consequence, father, if my mother will only harness it, I shall sit in the horse’s ear and call out to him how he is to go.”

“Well,” answered the man, “for once we will try it.”

When the time came, the mother harnessed the horse, and placed Tom Thumb in its ear, and then the little creature cried, “Gee up, gee up.” Then it went quite properly as if with its master, and the cart went the right way into the forest. It so happened that just as he was turning a corner, and the little one was crying, “gee up,” two strange men came towards him.

“My word,” said one of them, “what is this? There is a cart coming, and a driver is calling to the horse and still he is not to be seen.”

“That can’t be right,” said the other, “we will follow the cart and see where it stops.”

The cart, however, drove right into the forest, and exactly to the place where the wood had been cut. When Tom Thumb saw his father, he cried to him, “Do you see, Father, here I am with the cart, now take me up.” The father got hold of the horse with his left hand and with the right took his little son out of the ear. Tom Thumb sat down quite merrily on a straw, but when the two strange men saw him, they did not know what to say for astonishment.

Then one of them took the other aside and said, “Listen, the little fellow would make our fortune if we exhibited him in a large town, for money. We will buy him.” They went to the peasant and said, “Sell us the little man. He shall be well treated with us.”

“No,” replied the father, “he is the apple of my eye, and all the money in the world cannot buy him from me.”

Tom Thumb, however, when he heard of the bargain, had crept up the folds of his father’s coat, placed himself on his shoulder, and whispered in his ear, “Father do give me away, I will soon come back again.”

Then the father parted with him to the two men for a handsome sum of money. “Where will you sit?” they said to him.

“Oh just set me on the rim of your hat, and then I can walk backwards and forwards and look at the country, and still not fall down.” They did as he wished, and when Tom Thumb had taken leave of his father, they went away with him. They walked until it was dusk, and then the little fellow said, “Do take me down, it is necessary.”

“Just stay up there,” said the man on whose hat he sat, “it makes no difference to me. The birds sometimes let things fall on me.”

“No,” said Tom Thumb, “I know what’s manners, take me quickly up.” The man took his hat off, and put the little fellow on the ground by the wayside, and he leapt and crept about a little between the sods, and then he suddenly slipped into a mousehole which he had sought out. “Good evening, gentlemen, just go home without me,” he cried to them, and mocked them. They ran thither and stuck their sticks into the mousehole, but it was all in vain. Tom Thumb crept still farther in, and as it soon became quite dark, they were forced to go home with their vexation and their empty purses.

When Tom Thumb saw that they were gone, he crept back out of the subterranean passage. “It is so dangerous to walk on the ground in the dark,” said he, “how easily a neck or a leg is broken.” Fortunately he stumbled against an empty snail-shell. “Thank God,” said he, “in that I can pass the night in safety.” And got into it.

Not long afterwards, when he was just going to sleep, he heard two men go by, and one of them was saying, “How shall we set about getting hold of the rich pastor’s silver and gold?”

“I could tell you that,” cried Tom Thumb, interrupting them.

“What was that?” said one of the thieves in fright, “I heard someone speaking.”

They stood still listening, and Tom Thumb spoke again, and said, “Take me with you, and I’ll help you.”

“But where are you?”

“Just look on the ground, and observe from whence my voice comes,” he replied.

There the thieves at length found him, and lifted him up. “You little imp, how will you help us?” they said.

“Listen,” said he, “I will creep into the pastor’s room through the iron bars, and will reach out to you whatever you want to have.”

“Come then,” they said, “and we will see what you can do.”

When they got to the pastor’s house, Tom Thumb crept into the room, but instantly cried out with all his might, “Do you want to have everything that is here?”

The thieves were alarmed, and said, “But do speak softly, so as not to waken any one.”

Tom Thumb however, behaved as if he had not understood this, and cried again, “What do you want? Do you want to have everything that is here?”

The cook, who slept in the next room, heard this and sat up in bed, and listened. The thieves, however, had in their fright run some distance away, but at last they took courage, and thought, “The little rascal wants to mock us.” They came back and whispered to him, “Come be serious, and reach something out to us.”

Then Tom Thumb again cried as loudly as he could, “I really will give you everything, just put your hands in.”

The maid who was listening, heard this quite distinctly, and jumped out of bed and rushed to the door. The thieves took flight, and ran as if the wild huntsman were behind them, but as the maid could not see anything, she went to strike a light. When she came to the place with it, Tom Thumb, unperceived, betook himself to the granary, and the maid after she had examined every corner and found nothing, lay down in her bed again, and believed that, after all, she had only been dreaming with open eyes and ears.

Tom Thumb had climbed up among the hay and found a beautiful place to sleep in. There he intended to rest until day, and then go home again to his parents. But there were other things in store for him. Truly, there is much worry and affliction in this world. When the day dawned, the maid arose from her bed to feed the cows. Her first walk was into the barn, where she laid hold of an armful of hay, and precisely that very one in which poor Tom Thumb was lying asleep. He, however, was sleeping so soundly that he was aware of nothing, and did not awake until he was in the mouth of the cow, who had picked him up with the hay.

“Ah, heavens,” cried he, “how have I got into the fulling mill.” But he soon discovered where he was. Then he had to take care not to let himself go between the teeth and be dismembered, but he was subsequently forced to slip down into the stomach with the hay. “In this little room the windows are forgotten,” said he, “and no sun shines in, neither will a candle be brought.”

His quarters were especially unpleasing to him, and the worst was that more and more hay was always coming in by the door, and the space grew less and less. When at length in his anguish, he cried as loud as he could, “Bring me no more fodder, bring me no more fodder!”

The maid was just milking the cow, and when she heard some one speaking, and saw no one, and perceived that it was the same voice that she had heard in the night, she was so terrified that she slipped off her stool, and spilt the milk.

She ran in great haste to her master, and said, “Oh heavens, pastor, the cow has been speaking.”

“You are mad,” replied the pastor, but he went himself to the byre to see what was there. Hardly, however had he set his foot inside when Tom Thumb again cried, “Bring me no more fodder, bring me no more fodder!”

Then the pastor himself was alarmed, and thought that an evil spirit had gone into the cow, and ordered her to be killed. She was killed, but the stomach, in which Tom Thumb was, was thrown on the dunghill. Tom Thumb had great difficulty in working his way out. However, he succeeded so far as to get some room, but just as he was going to thrust his head out, a new misfortune occurred. A hungry wolf ran thither, and swallowed the whole stomach at one gulp.

Tom Thumb did not lose courage. “Perhaps,” thought he, “the wolf will listen to what I have got to say.” And he called to him from out of his belly, “Dear wolf, I know of a magnificent feast for you.”

“Where is it to be had?” said the wolf.

“In such and such a house. You must creep into it through the kitchen-sink, and will find cakes, and bacon, and sausages, and as much of them as you can eat.” And he described to him exactly his father’s house.

The wolf did not require to be told this twice, squeezed himself in at night through the sink, and ate to his heart’s content in the larder. When he had eaten his fill, he wanted to go out again, but he had become so big that he could not go out by the same way. Tom Thumb had reckoned on this, and now began to make a violent noise in the wolf’s body, and raged and screamed as loudly as he could.

“Will you be quiet?” said the wolf, “you will waken up the people.”

“What do I care?” replied the little fellow, “you have eaten your fill, and I will make merry likewise.” And began once more to scream with all his strength.

At last his father and mother were aroused by it, and ran to the room and looked in through the opening in the door. When they saw that a wolf was inside, they ran away, and the husband fetched his axe, and the wife the scythe.

“Stay behind,” said the man, when they entered the room. “When I have given the blow, if he is not killed by it, you must cut him down and hew his body to pieces.”

Then Tom Thumb heard his parents, voices and cried, “Dear father, I am here, I am in the wolf’s body.”

Said the father, full of joy, “Thank God, our dear child has found us again.” And bade the woman take away her scythe, that Tom Thumb might not be hurt with it. After that he raised his arm, and struck the wolf such a blow on his head that he fell down dead, and then they got knives and scissors and cut his body open and drew the little fellow forth.

“Ah,” said the father, “what sorrow we have gone through for your sake.”

“Yes father, I have gone about the world a great deal. Thank heaven, I breathe fresh air again.”

“Where have you been, then?”

“Ah, father, I have been in a mouse’s hole, in a cow’s belly, and then in a wolf’s paunch. Now I will stay with you.

“And we will not sell you again, no not for all the riches in the world,” said his parents, and they embraced and kissed their dear Tom Thumb. They gave him to eat and to drink, and had some new clothes made for him, for his own had been spoiled on his journey.


der Brüder Grimm

Es war ein armer Bauersmann, der saß abends beim Herd und schürte das Feuer, und die Frau saß und spann. Da sprach er “wie ists so traurig, daß wir keine Kinder haben! es ist so still bei uns, und in den andern Häusern ists so laut und lustig.”

“Ja,” antwortete die Frau und seufzte, “wenns nur ein einziges wäre, und wenns auch ganz klein wäre, nur Daumens groß, so wollte ich schon zufrieden sein; wir hättens doch von Herzen lieb.”

Nun geschah es, daß die Frau kränklich ward und nach sieben Monaten ein Kind gebar, das zwar an allen Gliedern vollkommen, aber nicht länger als ein Daumen war. Da sprachen sie “es ist, wie wir es gewünscht haben, und es soll unser liebes Kind sein,” und nannten es nach seiner Gestalt Daumesdick. Sie ließens nicht an Nahrung fehlen, aber das Kind ward nicht größer, sondern blieb, wie es in der ersten Stunde gewesen war; doch schaute es verständig aus den Augen und zeigte sich bald als ein kluges und behendes Ding, dem alles glückte, was es anfing.

Der Bauer machte sich eines Tages fertig, in den Wald zu gehen und Holz zu fällen, da sprach er so vor sich hin “nun wollt ich, daß einer da wäre, der mir den Wagen nachbrächte.”

“O Vater,” rief Daumesdick, “den Wagen will ich schon bringen, verlaßt Euch drauf, er soll zur bestimmten Zeit im Walde sein.”

Da lachte der Mann und sprach “wie sollte das zugehen, du bist viel zu klein, um das Pferd mit dem Zügel zu leiten.”

“Das tut nichts, Vater, wenn nur die Mutter anspannen will, ich setze mich dem Pferd ins Ohr und rufe ihm zu, wie es gehen soll.”

“Nun,” antwortete der Vater, “einmal wollen wirs versuchen.”

Als die Stunde kam, spannte die Mutter an und setzte Daumesdick ins Ohr des Pferdes, und dann rief der Kleine, wie das Pferd gehen sollte, “jüh und joh! hott und har!” Da ging es ganz ordentlich als wie bei einem Meister, und der Wagen fuhr den rechten Weg nach dem Walde. Es trug sich zu, als er eben um eine Ecke bog und der Kleine “har, har!” rief, daß zwei fremde Männer daherkamen.

“Mein,” sprach der eine, “was ist das? da fährt ein Wagen, und ein Fuhrmann ruft dem Pferde zu, und ist doch nicht zu sehen.”

“Das geht nicht mit rechten Dingen zu,” sagte der andere, “wir wollen dem Karren folgen und sehen, wo er anhält.”

Der Wagen aber fuhr vollends in den Wald hinein und richtig zu dem Platze, wo das Holz gehauen ward. Als Daumesdick seinen Vater erblickte, rief er ihm zu “siehst du, Vater, da bin ich mit dem Wagen, nun hol mich runter.” Der Vater faßte das Pferd mit der Linken und holte mit der Rechten sein Söhnlein aus dem Ohr, das sich ganz lustig auf einen Strohhalm niedersetzte. Als die beiden fremden Männer den Daumesdick erblickten, wußten sie nicht, was sie vor Verwunderung sagen sollten.

Da nahm der eine den andern beiseit und sprach “hör, der kleine Kerl könnte unser Glück machen, wenn wir ihn in einer großen Stadt für Geld sehen ließen, wir wollen ihn kaufen.” Sie gingen zu dein Bauer und sprachen “verkauft uns den kleinen Mann” er solls gut bei uns haben.”

“Nein,” antwortete der Vater, “es ist mein Herzblatt, und ist mir für alles Gold in der Welt nicht feil!”

Daumesdick aber, als er von dem Handel gehört, war an den Rockfalten seines Vaters hinaufgekrochen, stellte sich ihm auf die Schulter und wisperte ihm ins Ohr “Vater, gib mich nur hin, ich will schon wieder zurückkommen.”

Da gab ihn der Vater für ein schönes Stück Geld den beiden Männern hin. “Wo willst du sitzen?, sprachen sie zu ihm.

“Ach, setzt mich nur auf den Rand von eurem Hut, da kann ich auf und ab spazieren und die Gegend betrachten, und falle doch nicht herunter.” Sie taten ihm den Willen, und als Daumesdick Abschied von seinem Vater genommen hatte, machten sie sich mit ihm fort. So gingen sie, bis es dämmrig ward, da sprach der Kleine “hebt mich einmal herunter, es ist nötig.”

“Bleib nur droben” sprach der Mann, auf dessen Kopf er saß, “ich will mir nichts draus machen, die Vögel lassen mir auch manchmal was drauf fallen.”

“Nein,” sprach Daumesdick, “ich weiß auch, was sich schickt, hebt mich nur geschwind herab.”

Der Mann nahm den Hut ab und setzte den Kleinen auf einen Acker am Weg, da sprang und kroch er ein wenig zwischen den Schollen hin und her, dann schlüpfte er pIötzlich in ein Mausloch, das er sich ausgesucht hatte. “Guten Abend, ihr Herren, geht nur ohne mich heim,” rief er ihnen zu, und lachte sie aus. Sie liefen herbei und stachen mit Stöcken in das Mausloch, aber das war vergebliche Mühe, Daumesdick kroch immer weiter zurück, und da es bald ganz dunkel ward, so mußten sie mit Ärger und mit leerem Beutel wieder heim wandern.

Als Daumesdick merkte, daß sie fort waren, kroch er aus dem unterirdischen Gang wieder hervor. “Es ist auf dem Acker in der Finsternis so gefährlich gehen,” sprach er, “wie leicht bricht einer Hals und Bein.” Zum Glück stieß er an ein leeres Schneckenhaus. “Gottlob,” sagte er, “da kann ich die Nacht sicher zubringen,” und setzte sich hinein.

Nicht lang, als er eben einschlafen wollte, so hörte er zwei Männer vorübergehen, davon sprach der eine “wie wirs nur anfangen, um dem reichen Pfarrer sein Geld und sein Silber zu holen?,

“Das könnt ich dir sagen,” rief Daumesdick dazwischen.

“Was war das?” sprach der eine Dieb erschrocken, “ich hörte jemand sprechen.”

Sie blieben stehen und horchten, da sprach Daumesdick wieder “nehmt mich mit, so will ich euch helfen.”

“Wo bist du denn?”

“Sucht nur auf der Erde und merkt, wo die Stimme herkommt,” antwortete er.

Da fanden ihn endlich die Diebe und hoben ihn in die Höhe. “Du kleiner Wicht, was willst du uns helfen!” sprachen sie.

“Seht,” antwortete er, “ich krieche zwischen den Eisenstäben in die Kammer des Pfarrers und reiche euch heraus, was ihr haben wollt.”

“Wohlan,” sagten sie, “wir wollen sehen, was du kannst.”

Als sie bei dem Pfarrhaus kamen, kroch Daumesdick in die Kammer, schrie aber gleich aus Leibeskräften “wollt ihr alles haben, was hier ist?”

Die Diebe erschraken und sagten “so sprich doch leise, damit niemand aufwacht.”

Aber Daumesdick tat, als hätte er sie nicht verstanden, und schrie von neuem “Was wollt ihr? Wollt ihr alles haben, was hier ist?”

Das hörte die Köchin, die in der Stube daran schlief, richtete sich im Bete auf und horchte. Die Diebe aber waren vor Schrecken ein Stück Wegs zurückgelaufen, endlich faßten sie wieder Mut und dachten “der kleine Kerl will uns necken.” Sie kamen zurück und flüsterten ihm zu “nun mach Ernst und reich uns etwas heraus.”

Da schrie Daumesdick noch einmal, so laut er konnte “ich will euch ja alles geben, reicht nur die Hände herein.”

Das hörte die horchende Magd ganz deutlich, sprang aus dem Bett und stolperte zur Tür herein. Die Diebe liefen fort und rannten, als wäre der wilde Jäger hinter ihnen; die Magd aber, als sie nichts bemerken konnte, ging ein Licht anzünden. Wie sie damit herbeikam, machte sich Daumesdick, ohne daß er gesehen wurde, hinaus in die Scheune: die Magd aber, nachdem sie alle Winkel durchgesucht und nichts gefunden hatte, legte sich endlich wieder zu Bett und glaubte, sie hätte mit offenen Augen und Ohren doch nur geträumt.

Daumesdick war in den Heuhälmchen herumgeklettert und hatte einen schönen Platz zum Schlafen gefunden: da wollte er sich ausruhen, bis es Tag wäre, und dann zu seinen Eltern wieder heimgehen. Aber er mußte andere Dinge erfahren! ja, es gibt viel Trübsal und Not auf der Welt! Die Magd stieg, als der Tag graute, schon aus dem Bett, um das Vieh zu füttern. Ihr erster Gang war in die Scheune, wo sie einen Arm voll Heu packte, und gerade dasjenige, worin der arme Daumesdick. lag und schlief. Er schlief aber so fest, daß er nichts gewahr ward, und nicht eher aufwachte, als bis er in dem Maul der Kuh war, die ihn mit dem Heu aufgerafft hatte.

“Ach Gott,” rief er, “wie bin ich in die Walkmühle geraten!” merkte aber bald, wo er war. Da hieß es aufpassen, daß er nicht zwischen die Zähne kam und zermalmt ward, und hernach mußte er doch mit in den Magen hinabrutschen. “In dem Stübchen sind die Fenster vergessen,” sprach er, “und scheint keine Sonne hinein: ein Licht wird auch nicht gebracht.”

Überhaupt gefiel ihm das Quartier schlecht, und was das Schlimmste war, es kam immer mehr neues Heu zur Türe hinein, und der Platz ward immer enger. Da rief er endlich in der Angst, so laut er konnte, “Bringt mir kein frisch Futter mehr, bringt mir kein frisch Futter mehr.”

Die Magd melkte gerade die Kuh, und als sie sprechen hörte, ohne jemand zu sehen, und es dieselbe Stimme war, die sie auch in der Nacht gehört hatte, erschrak sie so, daß sie von ihrem Stühlchen herabglitschte und die Milch verschüttete.

Sie lief in der größten Hast zu ihrem Herrn und rief “Ach Gott, Herr Pfarrer, die Kuh hat geredet.”

“Du bist verrückt,” antwortete der Pfarrer, ging aber doch selbst in den Stall und wollte nachsehen, was es da gäbe. Kaum aber hatte er den Fuß hineingesetzt, so rief Daumesdick aufs neue “Bringt mir kein frisch Futter mehr, bringt mir kein frisch Futter mehr.”

Da erschrak der Pfarrer selbst, meinte, es wäre ein böser Geist in die Kuh gefahren, und hieß sie töten. Sie ward geschlachtet, der Magen aber, worin Daumesdick steckte, auf den Mist geworfen. Daumesdick hatte große Mühe, sich hindurchzuarbeiten, und hatte große Mühe damit, doch brachte ers so weit, daß er Platz bekam, aber als er eben sein Haupt herausstrecken wollte, kam ein neues Unglück. Ein hungriger Wolf lief heran und verschlang den ganzen Magen mit einem Schluck. 2

Daumnesdick verlor den Mut nicht, “vielleicht,” dachte er, “läßt der Wolf mit sich reden,” und rief ihm aus dem Wanste zu “lieber Wolf” ich weiß dir einen herrlichen Fraß.”

“Wo ist der zu holen?” sprach der Wolf.

“In dem und dem Haus, da mußt du durch die Gosse hineinkriechen, und wirst Kuchen, Speck und Wurst finden, so viel du essen willst,” und beschrieb ihm genau seines Vaters Haus.

Der Wolf ließ sich das nicht zweimal sagen, drängte sich in der Nacht zur Gosse hinein und fraß in der Vorratskammer nach Herzenslust. Als er sich gesättigt hatte” wollte er wieder fort, aber er war so dick geworden” daß er denselben Weg nicht wieder hinaus konnte. Darauf hatte Daumesdick gerechnet und fing nun an” in dem Leib des Wolfes einen gewaltigen Lärmen zu machen, tobte und schrie, was er konnte.

“Willst du stille sein,” sprach der Wolf, “du weckst die Leute auf.”

“Ei was,” antwortete der Kleine, “du hast dich satt gefressen, ich will mich auch lustig machen,” und fing von neuem an, aus allen Kräften zu schreien.

Davon erwachte endlich sein Vater und seine Mutter, liefen an die Kammer und schauten durch die Spalte hinein. Wie sie sahen, daß ein Wolf darin hauste, liefen sie davon, und der Mann holte eine Axt, und die Frau die Sense.

“Bleib dahinten,” sprach der Mann, als sie in die Kammer traten, “wenn ich ihm einen Schlag gegeben habe, und er davon noch nicht tot ist, so mußt du auf ihn einhauen, und ihm den Leib zerschneiden.”

Da hörte Daumesdick die Stimme seines Vaters und rief “lieber Vater, ich bin hier, ich stecke im Leibe des Wolfs.”

Sprach der Vater voll Freuden “Gottlob, unser liebes Kind hat sich wiedergefunden,” und hieß die Frau die Sense wegtun, damit Daumesdick nicht beschädigt würde. Danach holte er aus, und schlug dem Wolf einen Schlag auf den Kopf, daß er tot niederstürzte, dann suchten sie Messer und Schere, schnitten ihm den Leib auf und zogen den Kleinen wieder hervor.

“Ach,” sprach der Vater, “was haben wir für Sorge um dich ausgestanden!,

“Ja, Vater, ich bin viel in der Welt herumgekommen; gottlob, daß ich wieder frische Luft schöpfe!”

“Wo bist du denn all gewesen?”

“Ach, Vater, ich war in einem Mauseloch, in einer Kuh Bauch und in eines Wolfes Wanst: nun bleib ich bei euch.”

“Und wir verkaufen dich um alle Reichtümer der Welt nicht wieder,” sprachen die Eltern, herzten und küßten ihren lieben Daumesdick. Sie gaben ihm zu essen und trinken, und ließen ihm neue Kleider machen, denn die seinigen waren ihm auf der Reise verdorben.