A Grimm Review: Stupid is isn’t always Stupid Does

A Grimm Review: Stupid is isn't always Stupid DoesA Grimm Review: Stupid is isn’t always Stupid Does

…huh? Never mind, it makes sense in my head.

This is probably one of the good lessons from the Grimm’s fairy tales. There is more than one good lesson in the collection, but it seems there are an awful lot of bad lessons, well, they’re bad by today’s PC standards. They probably weren’t so bad back then.

There are multiple stories about someone who is “clever.” When the Grimm’s stories use the word “clever” they mean no such thing. I have already explained that it’s like how a Southern person says, “Bless your little heart,” but really means, “You’re an idiot,” or how Bilbo Baggins says, “Good Morning,” to Gandalf, but really means, “Get the heck off my lawn you pointy hatted weirdo.”

These stories are obviously poking fun at the idea of people who just aren’t that bright. Sometimes the story really keeps with the idea that the person in it is terribly stupid. There was the story of the man who had a servant who was stupid and ran after birds instead of doing his work. There was also the story of the woman who rolled a cheese down the hill to catch another cheese that had rolled down first. Then there was the story about the woman who was so dim that she ran away from her own house because she couldn’t remember who she was anymore.

A Grimm Review: Stupid is isn't always Stupid DoesSadly, it is true that there are some people who exist in the world who just don’t get it, ever. It doesn’t matter how many times you explain something to them; it never quite sinks in. These people have to be led through life. For the most part they can manage to live on their own, but the results are never as good as they would be if they were just a little smarter. If you don’t believe me about these people existing, just go look at some of the really stupid Yahoo questions that people ask. Some of these people are simply ignorant, while others really just don’t get it.

It’s ok though. We’re all different levels of intelligence in the world and we all have to live with each other. Sometimes patience is severely tested when dealing with someone who is just plain stupid, but hopefully those moments are less than rather that more often.

In the Grimm’s stories, the stupid person isn’t always necessarily that stupid. Everyone thinks he or she is stupid, but in the end, he or she does some really awesome things. I’ve got news for you, we’re going to drop the “she” because if a she is stupid in the Grimm’s stories, she stays stupid. She never really proves to anyone that she’s not stupid. It’s another gender stereotype, I know.

In the Grimm’s stories there is generally a younger brother who everyone thinks is an idiot. They’re scared to actually let him leave the house. They think he’s that stupid. At some point they’re like, “Oh well, let him go. He’s stupid anyway. It will just be one less mouth to feed.” So the stupid guy goes off on his own. He goes to find out what fear is or he goes to try for a princess. Nobody thinks he will survive his ordeal, but…surprise…he does.

Just because someone says you’re stupid does not make it so. Maybe you just think differently than those around you. People thought Helen Keller was stupid before she learned sign language. She went on to write words of wisdom and teach people. Einstein failed classes. He went on to develop all kinds of important theories and ideas we use today. I think people realized this even back in the day of the Grimms brothers. That’s why we have some story heroes who do what no one expected of them. They succeed when other smarter, braver, and stronger people fail.

These people succeed because they do really think differently or because they’re humbled and people and/or supernatural beings are more likely to help them out.

In the first case, sometimes we meet a character in one of the Grimm’s stories who just says to himself, “Maybe I can do it this way,” and it works. No one else who tried thought of the alternate way. Everyone else was thinking with a brute force mindset, but here our unlikely hero comes along and says, “I got this.” Sometimes a problem needs a fresh mind. Sometimes we need that person who thinks “outside of the box.”

Then in the other scenario our hero has some help. This help is only offered because our hero is a humble person. If you’re called stupid for years, it makes you doubt yourself, but it also makes you consider yourself not as important. Generally, we would think this is a bad thing, but it is also humbling. If you believe you’re truly not more important than a person around you, you’re going to be kinder to the people around you. You will consider them above your status if not equal in status. You’re more likely to treat them with respect, even if it’s only out of a desire to treat others well where you were not treated well. In essence, you’re almost more likable

In the end, either by the out-of-the-box thinking the other supposedly smarter people do not possess or by help from others, our hero with a perceived lack of intelligence wins. The idea of intelligence set forth by our society is not always what we need to figure out a problem.

Wise Folks

Wise FolksWise Folks

Remember how we’ve run across these stories about “clever” people who aren’t really that clever? This is one of those stories, but they use the word “wise” instead of “clever.” I don’t know what school these people went to,  but apparently they purposefully taught students the opposite meanings for words.

Once upon a time there was a man and his wife. The man was going to be gone for three days. He told his wife that if the cattle dealer happened to come while he was gone to take no less than two-hundred talers for the three cows he had. The wife was like, “Hey I got this,” but the man wasn’t so sure. He left her with an expression of his love.

“You once fell on your head when you were a little child, and that affects you even now; but let me tell you this, if you do anything foolish, I will make your back black and blue, and not with paint, I assure you, but with the stick which I have in my hand, and the coloring shall last a whole year, you may rely on that.”

The woman was like:

“I love you too, honey.”

Not, really, but I couldn’t resist.

The man went on his way and the next morning the cattle dealer came. He agreed that two-hundred talers was a fine price for such good cows, but he forgot his money belt. He made an arrangement with the wife. He told her that he would take two cows now, but leave one as security that he would bring the money. The wife thought this was clever and agreed to the plan.

Her husband came home and she told him about the deal she had made. He was quite angry.

“You are the stupidest goose that ever waddle on God’s earth, but I am sorry for you. I will go out into the highways and wait for three days to see if I find anyone who is still stupider than you. If I succeed in doing so, you shall go scot-free, but if I do not find him, you shall receive your well-deserved reward without ay discount.”

Then the woman was like:

“I’m so glad you’re home honey, I missed you so much.”

Again, not really, but I couldn’t resist.

The man goes out into the highways awaiting stupid people. He soon sees a woman driving a wagon, standing up. She isn’t sitting on the wagon and she isn’t walking beside it, but standing up in the wagon as she drives the horses. The man acts like he is distressed and runs back and forth in the road. The woman stops her wagon. She asks him what is the matter. He tells her that he has fallen from heaven and he doesn’t know how to get back. The woman believes every word. She tells him that she drives the wagon standing up because it lightens the load for the horses. That makes perfect sense. She says she does not know the way back to heaven, but the man should know how her husband is because he’s been there three years.

The man says that the woman’s husband is alright if you call looking after sheep all day and your clothes falling apart “alright.” The woman thinks this is terrible that her husband should be practically naked in heaven, so she offers to go home and get her husband’s coat that the man may take it back with him to heaven. The man says he can’t do this. Once you go to heaven you have to leave all your earthly clothes behind and God doesn’t let any tailors into heaven(this is a reference to another Grimm’s tale). The woman knows just the thing. She says she will go home and grab her money sack. The man can sneak the money into heaven in his pocket and no one will ever know.

The man agrees to this. He takes the woman’s money and goes on his way. The woman goes home and her son asks her how her day was. She tells him that she met a man who fell from heaven. The son says this is a thing that doesn’t happen every day and he would like to ask this man how things work up in heaven. He hops on his horse, but it’s been a long day, so he’s tired. He finds the very man who made up this whole falling from heaven scheme. The young man asks him if he has seen the man who fell from heaven. The man says he went up the highest peak nearby because it’s closer to heaven. The man tells the young man that if he rides fast and hard he might be able to catch up. The young man admits that he is weary from a day’s work and asks the stranger to ride to the man in his place. Maybe he can get the stranger to bring the man from heaven back so the young man could ask him questions.

The man gets on the horse and rides away. The young man waits on his horse to return, but after a while, he gives up and figures that the stranger gave the horse to the man from heaven to take to his father.

The man went home to his wife with a pocket full of money and a brand new horse.

“Trina, as your luck would have it, I have found two who are still sillier fools than you; this time you escape without a beating. I will store it up for another occasion.”

The man sat down in his chair and lit his pipe pondering on the fact that if stupidity always brought him this much fortune, he would hold it in honor.

And they lived happily ever after… not.

The End

Wise FolksObservations

This poor woman needs another man. This guy is a jerk. Can you believe the things he said to her? If my husband said that to me, I would beat the crap out of him. I’m exaggerating….probably, but if I did that I probably wouldn’t be any better than the man in this story, so maybe I wouldn’t do that.

This is clearly an abusive relationship. This man is going around insulting his wife saying she was dropped on her head as a baby and now she’s permanently damaged. If she’s so damaged why did this man marry her? Does he only have one leg and couldn’t get a better woman? He probably couldn’t get a better woman because he’s such a jerk. No other woman would have him, Trina was the only one not smart enough to say, “No,” or her parents were just glad to be rid of her. Poor woman. I don’t care if she is permanently damaged from being dropped on her head as a baby, she doesn’t deserve this jerk.

Does this guy live in a town of idiots? How does standing up on a wagon make you any lighter than if you were sitting down? I guess it might make the wagon lighter if you fall off the back because you lost your balance, being as you’ve completely changed your center of gravity.

Wise FolksThemes

This jerk of a man wins in this story. He wins. He gets everything he wants. He gets to keep his stupid wife and trick other stupid people along the way. It just goes to show you that sometimes the jerk gets ahead. The good guy doesn’t always win. Sometimes if you’re nice, you don’t win at all. Sometimes, if you’re less than a genius, people take advantage of you. It’s sad, but true.

Trina is probably blissfully unaware that she is married to a total jerk, so I guess that’s good for her. She doesn’t realize that she could do better. This is one of those cases where the phrase “ignorance is bliss” applies.

There is no “good” moral to this story. The good guy doesn’t win and nobody learns a valuable lesson. To top it all off, a mother and her son now think that heaven is all work and you go around practically naked. Way to change a person’s religious views,  you big jerk.

Overall

I hope this guy falls down a well.


 

 

Hans in Luck

Hans in LuckSummary

Hans in Luck is one of those stories about someone who is “clever.” I’m getting quite tired of these “clever” people.

Once upon a time there was a man named Hans who had worked for a person for seven years and his time of servitude was up. This is called being an indentured servant by the way. As payment, Hans receives a chunk of gold as large as his head. He wraps it in a handkerchief and starts walking towards his mother’s village.

The large hunk of gold gets heavy. Hans encounters a man with a horse. Hans wishes, aloud, that he had something like the horse. He could ride and not be weary from walking and his shoes would not get scuffed up. The man on the horse hears this and suggests a trade. He suggest trading the lump of gold for the horse, Hans agrees.

So Hands rides away with the horse and the man walks away with a very large chunk of gold. After a while, the horse becomes rowdy and throws Hans off into a ditch on the side of the road. A man and his cow are nearby. Hans laments the horse and how it was wild. He admires the man’s cow and thinks that if he had a cow, he could walk slowly behind it and could have all the milk and butter he wanted. The man suggests a trade. Hans trades his mare for the cow.

Hans gets hungry and decides to eat all of the food he has. He spends his last money on beer. After this, he is determined to get milk from his cow. Well, try all he might, the cow will not give milk. Hans becomes angry and laments having the stubborn cow that will not give milk. A butcher just happened to be driving by with a pig. The butcher asks why Hans is so upset and Hans tells him. The butcher tells Hans his cow is too old to give milk and that it is only fit to pull a cart or be butchered. The butcher suggest a trade. The pig for the cow. Hans agrees.

Hans is happy with his pig. He likes pork better than beef anyway. Hans reflects on how lucky and blessed he is. He meets a young man with a fine white goose. The man admires the pig, but also talks up his goose. His goose is heavy and it has been fattened up for a while. This guy goes on to say that in a nearby town someone had their pig stolen and it looks an awfully lot like the pig Hans has. The young man suggests a trade. Hans quickly agrees. He doesn’t want to fool around with any stolen pigs. He also figures that the goose will taste very good, its fat will provide him with fat for several months and its feathers will make a nice pillow. So Hans takes the goose.

On the way home, with the goose, Hans meets a scissors-grinder who talks up the profession. He says that whenever he puts his hand in his pocket-money comes out. Hans is intrigued. Hans also tells the scissors-grinder the saga of his trades. The scissors-grinder tells Hans he has done well for himself(as if) and tells Hans he should also have money in his pocket every time he puts his hands in there. Hans asks how he is to accomplish this. The scissors-grinder tells Hans he must take up the profession. He offers to trade Hans some grinding stones and tools for the goose. The stone he gives Hans is just a regular old stone.

Hans recounts on his luck. He exclaims that he must have been born with a caul upon his head to have such luck. After a while, Hans gets tired and hungry. He finds a field, where there is a well, and wants to take a drink. He sets his stones down on the side of the well and leans over to drink, but as he does so, his stones fall into the well and sink to the bottom. Hans jumps for joy because he no longer has to carry his heavy stones with him. He thanks God for having shown him this favor.

“There is no man under the sun so fortunate as I.”

The End

Hans in LuckObservations

As you can tell, Hans is a freaking moron…I mean, he’s “clever.”

I assume that Hans was an indentured servant, especially since he worked for seven years. Seven years was a pretty standard time period during which to be an indentured servant. An employer would agree to hire someone for a time period in exchange for something else. When people came to the Americas, indentured servants most often were paid in their passage to the New World. They would work for seven years in exchange for being moved to the new continent. An indentured servant could not quit during the period of indenture and if they ran away, they could definitely be prosecuted. For the most part, an indentured servant was a slave that got to go free after seven years.

Hans has been indentured and now he’s free to go home. I also wonder if he might have been an apprentice, but it doesn’t seem he has learned anything. Whoever hired him must have really liked him or they must have been “clever” themselves to pay Hans so much. A lump of gold as big as a person’s head is worth a lot of money, lots and lots of money. LOTS OF MONEY. Hans’ employer must have had money coming out of his, what is the phrase, wahoo? yahoo? wazoo? I think it’s wazoo. We are talking at least a hundred grand. What kind of work did Hans do? Maybe he was a drug mule? He’s just “clever” enough to do that.

Horses are nice, but they’re not worth that much money, unless we’re talking about race horses, then we’re totally talking about that much money. If you know how to browse craigslist, you can get your very own horse for around $1000.00. That’s pretty reasonable. Now, a race horse on the other hand, would set you back quite a bit. Think, about enough money to buy at least one of your house, if not two of your house, and maybe even more. The horse Hans trades for is not a racehorse. It’s a regular horse. This random guy pretty much gets a hundred grand for a thousand dollar horse. Hans gets screwed upon each successive trade.

Hans does ponder if he might have been born with the caul on his head. Caul, meaning the amniotic sac you’re floating around in as a fetus. Every once in a while, babies are born with this sack still on their heads and superstition says these babies will be lucky, blessed, or have ESP, take your pick

Hans in LuckThemes

Even though Hans is “clever” and this might get other “clever” people down, Hans makes the best of his life. You know what, I’m just going to come right out and say it, “Hans is stupid.” He’s stupid. He’s as stupid as the day is long. He’s so stupid he thinks a quarterback is refund. I don’t know how Hans has managed to survive to this age. I don’t know how old he is, but let’s assume he’s twenty-two or something. Ok? How is he not dead?

Let’s move forward a bit, yes, we’re all surprised Hans is actually alive. Many of us know at least one person who is stupid. God bless their little hearts, they’re the sweetest people alive, but Good Lord are they dumb! They fell off the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. We get along ok with our stupid friends(that sounds so mean, but I don’t know how else to phrase it), but our stupid friends also, often, end up as the brunt of many of our jokes. They also happen to end up on the short end of many deals and agreements, because they’re “clever” and can’t figure the consequences of what they’re agreeing to. They get taken advantage of. We know this, they don’t know this, but we know this.

These people see Hans coming from a mile away. They know he’s stupid. Hans doesn’t know he is stupid, but everyone else can tell.

Here’s the thing, we’ve established that Hans is a few crayons short of a box, but we haven’t pointed out the one very good thing about Hans. Hans is an optimist. No matter what happens to him, he thinks things are going well. He gets rid of his gold nugget, that’s just great, he gets a horse. He gets rid of his horse, that’s just great, he gets a cow. He gets rid of his cow, that just great, he gets a pig. It goes on and on and on. You cannot get Hans down. Every once in a while, he does get a little upset. He gets thrown off a horse as an example, but Hans doesn’t let that upset him for long. He gets right back up and goes on with life.

Hans is a prime example of how life goes on even after bad things happen to you. You can let these bad things break you or you can let them make you. WORD! Hans uses all his experiences, good and bad, to live his life. Bad things happen, but Hans doesn’t waste his energy worrying about it or coulda, woulda, shouldaing the situations. (Yes, I know, totally not words, but remember, I’m a writer, I can make up all the freakzazzle words I want to. freakzazzle is also not a real word).

Overall

Hans is stupid, but at least he’s happy.