Friday, August 1, 2008

I saw this and I thought of you...


This Frosch-König (FP's uncle? father-in-law?) sits on the edge of the fountain in the Stadtplatz in Ehingen, a lovely little town which Mrs Abahachi and I encountered on Day 3 of our cycle trip from the source of the Danube. Highly recommended if you're ever in the area: fantastically friendly and helpful people - especially the proprietress of the Gasthof zur Rose, who happened to be driving past when we were standing outside lamenting the fact that it was their Ruhetag and so we had to keep looking for accommodation, stopped, opened up and offered us a room, and sent us away next morning with a free jar of her fabulous home-made strawberry jam - and enough pleasant drinking establishments and sights to keep anyone busy for an evening. Okay, so it's only very tangentially connected to this week's theme...

16 comments:

FP said...

[wipes tear from eye] Great Uncle Gustav! How lovely that you've seen his statute. That's the German branch of the family of which he was the head. If you're wondering why the good Burgers of Ehingen saw fit to have a statue made of him, they didn't. He was found that way. Petrified. We don't often allude to the story but since you ask.... About 2 hundred years ago, the village of Blairheim-bei-Ehingen was suffering from disappearences of young people. They were just vanishing without a trace. As there was an old lady living in the forest in which the disappearances took place, and folks being superstitious at the time, it was assumed she was somehow connected to the disappearances. Well Frogprince Gustav and his family lived in and around the forest in question and it is said they had some inkling of what was actually going on or had even witnessed some strange events from their advantageous viewpoint under the mossy ferns. Gustav ordered a preventative action whereby any young person straying into the woods would be met by hoards of frantically croaking frogs doing their best to intimidate them away from there. This worked to a point and for a while the disappearances stopped. But one particularly stubborn young Austrian brushed the frogs aside and strode on purposefully to the old lady's cottage. Gustav frantically hopped after him, hoping to avert disaster in some way. He crossed the threshhold of the cottage and was never seen again. The young man was never seen again alive and.. neither was the old lady. When the villagers dared to enter the cottage, all they found was a stone Gustav sitting inert in the middle of the floor. And finding no explanation for the curious circrumstances, they conveniently decided that Gustav had heroically sacrificed himself and set up his "statue" in the town square in Ehingen. Curious that you should take that photo...I've often thought someone should make a film of the story. Think it'd work...?

Shoegazer said...

Recommend Neil Jordan, David Lynch or M. Night Shamalamadingdong to direct.

Blimpy said...

as i have now listened to This Is Radio Abahachi three times through on my ipod, I demand another episode!!!

FP said...

How do you clean cappuccino off a keyboard? M Night Shamalamadingdong!!!!!!!!!!! Nice one Shoey. And he would do a good job.
---
Blimpy - hell, if Madonna can write kids books.....? Trouble is, I would be tempted to 'do a Saki' and they would be very dark with violent undercurrents. More Roald Dahl than Enid Blyton....

blimpy said...

Is this the first Spill comment sent from an Iphone I wonder? Man this thing is amazing!!! I'm totally feeling out here !

blimpy said...

Is this the first Spill comment sent from an Iphone I wonder? Man this thing is amazing!!! I'm totally feeling out here !

Blimpy said...

Ha ha my last 2 comments just go to show I'm still getting the hang of the inteface; the word feeling replaced my original geeking without me even noticing! and then i double posted!!!

FP said...

Yeah but it worked!! Curious about the i Phone. I have a PDF with a windows calendar which I use for work. Does it have the same facilities?

Abahachi said...

Great story, FP; of course it would be an Austrian... The magical side of things is confirmed by the fact that, whereas the rest of the fountain is Kein Trinkwasser, Uncle Gustav spouts out drinking water for thirsty passers-by, and has been known to produce lemonade on special occasions.

I was actually on the look-out for a copy of the original stories from the Brothers Grimm - not the sanitised versions they produce for children - but no luck as yet, so can't comment on how the story appears in the folklore tradition.

Radio Abahachi? I'm still feeling paranoid - having only ever read the books - about what's implied in suggesting that my voice resembles someone who used to narrate Noggin the Nog. I suppose I can imagine worse comparisons...

FP said...

Abahachi - if your voice resembles anything like Oliver Postgate's who not only did Noggin the Nog but also the unparallelled Bagpuss, then you should give up the day job pronto and get work as a speaker. I know about these things as I used to be the boss of a small dubbing and sub-titling company and directed the "Sprachaufnahmen" or voice recordings. Postgate was the king of storytellers. And you have a voice like THAT? Crivvens...

Abahachi said...

I have absolutely no idea - all I know is that it sounds bloody silly to me when I have to listen to myself on the answering machine - but that was the comparison that someone else came up with in response to my podcast effort.

fp said...

I shall listen in....

FP said...

What excellent podcast - MORE than a touch of Oliver Postgate. That's a very good speaking voice you've got there - no strong regional accent of any note so I confirm, you COULD give up the day job and be a speaker if you wanted...!!!

Blimpy said...

1. MORE RADIO ABAHACHI!!! MORE!!

2. The iPhone is just like having a wee Mac in your pocket. It's all there: itunes, safari, iphoto, mail, calender, last fm, facebook. Seconds after plugging it into my iBook my emails were flooding in (Spill comments mostly, natch)!! Amazing stuff!! And I can even use it as a remote control for my laptop's itunes!!

Proudfoot said...

\Agree that any Oliver Postgate comparisons should be taken as a sky-high compliment. It's the way he gets that 'Yes the Clangers are silly but aren't we humans even sillier' idea across just in the tone of his voice. I thought I detected a tinge of Arthur Lowe (Capt. Mainwaring/ narrator of Mr. Men in 70s) too.Please accept this as praise too! John Peel also combined world weary cynicism without ever sounding cynical about the music he played.
My favourite voice is Richard Burton's. It makes even Jeff Wayne's 'War of the Worlds' sound great.
Believe me if you sounded like Bruce Forsythe (so fake and aren't-I-funny and loveable) or Noel Edmunds (so smug!)that really wouldn't work would it?

FP said...

Agree about Richard Burton. His recording of Under Milk Wood is definitive. Busy watching "Where eagles dare". Not only the voice but those eyes... Hell, he was just beautiful. Broadsword calling Nilpferd! And we DO want to know what Toffeeboy's book is about, don't we? I plump for different recipes for caramel ice cream in which case I want an advance copy and I'll pay top dollar.