Drawing “Ria-Rumpelbein”

When some years ago I saw the posters for the animation film »Puss in Boots« it was in vain that I searched my mind for reminiscences of that old fairy tale. I had known it as a child. But I could not remember the story now. Not a single tiny bit.

My mother could. Her head is a treasury of fairy tales, legends, proverbs, nursery rhymes – and songs. Here’s a merry and boldly nonsensical song of hers. Unknown to 99.99% of humankind, I guess. The kids love it.

Here’s the text (Deepl gives a good translation into English):

Im Jahre 86 in einer Stadt am Rhein,
da ward ein Kind geboren mit Namen Rumpelbein.

Das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria-Rumpelbein,
das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria – Rumpelbein.

Schauspieler wollt es werden, die Mutter sagte Nein,
mach lieber Schularbeiten, verflixtes Rumpelbein!

Das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria-Rumpelbein,
das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria – Rumpelbein.

Kein Knopf mehr an der Hose, kein Knopf mehr am Jackett,
so reiste es nach England und tanzte im Ballett!

Das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria-Rumpelbein,
das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria – Rumpelbein.

Doch bald ist es gestorben, die Mutter weinte sehr,
der Lehrer in der Schule, die Kinder noch viel mehr!

Ums Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – ums Ria-Rumpelbein,
ums Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – ums Ria-Rumpelbein.

Und als es dann begraben, in einer Friedhofseck,
da dachten alle Mäuse, es wär ein Stückchen Speck!

Das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria-Rumpelbein,
das Ria-Ria-Rumpel… – das Ria – Rumpelbein!

Perhaps this song was once meant as an (entertaining) admonition to keep the children from day-dreaming and quixotic ideas. If so it did not work with me. For me, the »Ria-Rumpelbein« had the attraction of the outsider who did it his way, a strong fascination (with a good admixture of uneasiness and shiver).

I always had an affection for the loners and freaks. Not those shmocks who call themselves »freaky« or »crazy«, oh no, not the »extroverted, obnoxious, pseudo-bohemian losers« as Enid puts it in »Ghost World«. No, it’s the quiet and friendly outsiders who mostly go unnoticed whom I’m talking about. I like to see this song as an ode to them.

But be it as it may – the crucial point here is that it’s a fine little song and that the kids squeak and laugh with pleasure when Grannie sings it.

(As I said, this song is not very well-known but you can find different versions named »Humpelbein«.)