I wish to share an Adivasi folk tale that was told to Ferdinand Hahn over 100 years ago. It is published in a collection folklore, folk tales, and proverbs he published in 1906 called "The Views of the Spirit World." A few years ago Rev. Ilse Nottrott-Peetz, a cousin, translated some of the stories for us. I am only now finding some of the stories very helpful to incorporate into the Life Story of Ferdinand that I am now writing. I am so grateful to her and to the other distant cousins who have given me so many gems of insight.
I can not help but think that when Ferdinand heard this story he did not think it appropriate for his "totem" [Hahn=Rooster]. It conveyed a theme that he could relate to that he had an ear for the people and an invitation to the "wedding feast" of Jesus and the realm of God. What do you think? See the fairy tale below:
There was an old beggar woman. One day she came to a house where they were unable to give her anything. But she did not believe that and insisted they give her something. So the woman of the house said, “I myself have nothing but one chicken egg.”
The beggar woman replied, “So give it to me.” And she gave it. The old woman went home and thought, “I will let it lie here till morning, and then I will eat it.” But during the night, a chick came out of the egg and peeped. The old woman said, “What is peeping there?” And when she saw the chick, she said, “I will raise it.”
Now she had to beg daily for some rice leftovers to feed to the chick. Soon, it was big and strong and began to crow. It was a rooster! One day the rooster spoke to his foster-mother: “I will earn my bread by myself now.”
The old woman said, “How will you do that?”
The rooster replied, “You will see, it will work somehow.” Having said this, he left. He met a farmer and said, “Can you use a mower?”
The farmer answered, “How can such a little rooster be able to mow grain? Go! We have no use for you.” So, the rooster went to another farmer. At first, he too did not want to have anything to do with the idea.
But he needed help and said, "Okay. We will go home first to eat, and then we will see what you can do.” When he returned to the field, what did he see? All the grain had been mowed and lay perfectly sorted on the threshing floor. So, the farmer said to the rooster, “When we will have completed threshing, come back and receive your pay.”
He returned home where the foster mother received him with these words: "You wanted to go to work. Where then are your wages?”
But the rooster said,” I will get it when the harvest is over and all the grain threshed.”
When the farmer was done threshing, he sent for the rooster to come. When he arrived, the farmer asked, “How do you want to carry the rice, you did not bring any basket.”
But the rooster said, “Just give it to me, I will take it home somehow.”
They asked, “How much will you be able to carry?”
He answered, “However much you give me, I will carry away.” So, they assigned to him a big pile of rice, which he could take as his wages. The rooster said, “Pour into my ear as much as fits.” So they poured the entire pile into his ear, but it was not all; they poured everything into his ear that was on the threshing floor, and it still was not full. Then, the rooster went home and poured out his wages before the old women, and the entire house was full.
After that, the old woman said, “My son can work and earn his wages. Now I have to look for a wife for him. But no one wanted to give a girl to the rooster saying, “How can a rooster feed our daughter?”
So the old woman returned home every time without success. Her son spoke, “Where is the bride you went to find?”
She answered, “Oh son, nobody wants to give their girl to you.”
So he said, “Go away old woman, you are unable to search. I will go myself now.” And he went to look for a bride.
On his way he met a fox** that asked him, “Friend, where are you going?”
The rooster replied, “I am going to a wedding, do you want to come?”
The fox said, “One carries wedding guests, and they get something good to eat. How shall I go with you?”
The rooster said, “Come, sit down in my ear and you shall get much meat to eat.” So the fox crawled into the rooster’s ear.
When the journey continued, he met a tiger that asked him, “Where to, friends?”
The rooster said, “To a wedding, do you want to come along? There will be much to eat for you.”
The tiger said, “I would enjoy going with you, but how are you going to take me there?”
The rooster said, “If you want to come along, step into my ear, I will carry you.” So the tiger entered too.
When the rooster continued, he met a swarm of bees and wasps. They too asked, “Where are you going, Friend?”
He again said, “To a wedding, come along if you like.”
They said, “We will go, but we do not know how.”
“Come on into my ear, my friends, you will get much delicious food.”
Further on, he met the water and the fire and both asked, “Where are you going, Friend Rooster?”
He answered, “I am going to a wedding. Do you want to come along? You all will get plenty to eat.” So, the fire and the water entered.
Finally, they came to the King’s palace. In front of it stood a cotton tree. He climbed it and crowed loudly, “Will the King give me his daughter voluntarily, or do I have to go to war with him?”
When the King heard that, he became angry and said to his servants, “Go, catch the rooster and stick him into a barrel with syrup. He will get stuck there, and his naughty crowing will cease.”
The servants caught him and stuck him into the syrup barrel and closed the lid. Then, the rooster spoke to his friends, the bees and wasps, “Up, get out and see, here is something for you. Did I no tell you, you will get plenty of sweets at my wedding?” They came out and consumed all the syrup except for a few leftovers that had turned into hard clumps.
The next morning, the King said to his servants, “Go and check up on the rooster, whether he has died in the syrup or not.”
The servants returned and reported, “The rooster lives, and the barrel is empty except for a few hardened pieces.”
Then the king ordered, “Bind him in the buffalo barn, down on the floor, so the water buffalos will trample him to death during the night.” They did that.
But in the night, the rooster said, “Come out my friend, Tiger. Your wedding feast is ready that I have promised you, come out!” So the tiger attacked the water buffalo, strangled them all and sucked out their blood.
Early in the morning, the King again sent his servants to see whether the rooster would be dead by now. They came and reported that all the buffalo were dead, but the rooster is still alive. Then, the King commanded to hang him on the straw roof of the house until he was dead.
They did so, but the rooster said to the fire, “Friend, come out, here is plenty to eat for you, come out and eat – you came to the wedding to feast.” So the roof of the King’s house began to burn, and the rooster flew back to the tree, crowd and said. “Will the King now give me his daughter as my wife, or shall I continue to fight with you?”
Then the King spoke, “Stop it, I will give you my daughter.”
So the rooster called, “Come out, Friend water, take in your wedding meal – the palace roof is burning. Consume the fire.” And the water came out and extinguished the fire. Then the King ordered a pavilion to be built and gave him his daughter as wife. So the rooster took the hand of the girl and led her to his old foster mother.
She rejoiced and said, “So, my son really searched for a bride and found one!” Thereupon they all lived with the old woman and were happy and content.
** He brings up the fox but never mentions it again, but I cannot help think that he might have added the fox into the story. He is writing these Adivasi folk tales in German for a German audience. He was married to a Voss.[Voss=Fox]. Elsewhere he wrote that in this part of India there were no foxes (like in Germany) that it would actually be a jackal, but still he used the word voss for fox.