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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hauff - The Wonder Child, parts 1 & 2 - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The joys of revisions!  Somehow I forgot to click again to publish.  Right now is extra busy, but still I prefer Burning Out to Rusting Out!  The coming month is so jam packed with storytelling, I've decided to work ahead with a multi-part story.  Went to my shelves and found Wilhelm Hauff's Caravan Tales, then discovered last year in May I posted his well-known Caliph Stork as a multi-part story!  Hauff is one of those people long dead by my age!  People like Hauff or Mozart burned brightly and left a legacy making the rest of us feel like late bloomers.  Hauff's Wikipedia article shows this + gives online sources to read his work -- in English or the original German.

Whenever possible, I like to include whatever research enriches a story.  There is a great deal related to this month's story.  Since I missed last week it probably doesn't hurt that today's posing is extra long.  I also will give today the first two sections of this multi-part story because this helps you enter the title character's predicament.  While the predicament may seem unique to a fairy tale, trust me, the metaphor has a useful purpose for today's audiences.  I won't reveal it until today's introduction to the entire story has been given.

"The Wonder Child" is not as well known as "Caliph Stork" and translation is partly responsible. Caravan Tales', "The Wonder Child", is the only version of the story omitting a form of either "dwarf" or "nose" from its title.  Taking the Wikipedia External Links, it's in the titles at Project Gutenberg's many volumes of his books, most are in German, but included in Talesfrom the German; Talesof the Caravan, Inn, and Palace (in the Palace section); and TheLittle Glass Man and Other Stories; as well as Internet Archives' Tales by Wilhelm Hauff (among the stories in its “The Sheik of Alexandria and His Slaves”section); there's also a version of the story in Andrew Lang's The Violet Fairy Book (available from that link and many others, but none include the illustrations which relate to the alternate version of the ending); and finally in Digital Library's the U. of Pennsylvania “Celebration of Women Writers”, because the translation and adaptation is by Cicely McDonnell (notice her modern version -- and the illustrations -- of Hauff's Fairy Tales is still under copyright).  The LibriVox audio recordings are all in German.  Google Translate tells me what German readers would already know, the words "zwerg" and "nase" are the vocabulary to search.  "Der Scheik von Alessandria und seine Sklaven" from his Märchen-Almanachauf das Jahr 1827 is how it originated.  There are many ways to find it and, when it comes to translations and adaptations, there's plenty to research.  My own use of  
is not necessarily a recommendation of its translation, but rather it's one of many Public Domain versions and is the easiest version in my own library to give here.  On its title page we see 
a caution to readers as it is not only a translation, but J.G. Hornstein took the original German and shaped the story to match Hornstein's ideas of how it should be told.

One of the most obvious things I discovered while comparing various versions, was most take the story out of Hornstein's setting in Baghdad, placing it in Germany and giving many names for our "Wonder Child."  I confess I'm not fond of calling the boy, "the Wonder" or "Little Wonder", but  the essence of Hauff's  Märchen (fairy tales), which he set as stories told by slaves to the sheik of Alexandria seemed to be their setting in the mysterious Orient -- a place notoriously fascinating to early 19th century audiences, including the children of Württemberg's famous Minister of War, General Baron Ernst Eugen von Hugel, whom Hauff  tutored.

I'm aware of the limitations of Google Translate, but it helped me realize the setting by Hauff was indeed Germany, saying we are in error to assume magic only happens in Baghdad.  True, but I confess to prefering Hornstein's setting for these Caravan Tales (which all versions of the total book play up).  My disagreement with this version is reserved for the ending when I will give both Hornstein and an alternate seen in several editions so you may make your own decision when re-telling the story.

In the meantime, call the boy, often titled "Dwarf Long-Nose", whatever you like in telling it, but please consider keeping it in Baghdad where you wouldn't call the boy "Hans" or "Jem."

I knew that name rang a could I forget Maurice Sendak's humorous illustrations in the translated version by Doris Orgel!?!
Yes, like the original German. it calls the boy, Jacob,  his father's a shoemaker, not a farmer,  his mother is named Hannah, selling vegetables from her garden, and the German rulers are not the Iraqi Cadi and Caliph of Hornstein.  Orgel seems to stay close to Hauff if you check Google Translate, so there is much to recommend it if you can find a copy.

After four parts, when we get to the story's ending, however, because the 1912 book's free adaptation and retelling clearly omits Hauff's intent, there you may choose from an alternate version or the Hornstein version .

With so many versions, I shall include some illustrations in addition to those by Norman Ault, giving their sources in any caption.  Now let's jump into Baghdad, as viewed in earlier times with the first two sections of the story. 
That's the end of the first section, but we need to follow "Dame Nose" along with the Wonder Child.  In some versions the translator even calls her an "old witch."  If that's not enough to catch your curiosity, the next section is called "The House of Enchantment."
"He was horrified to see they were a couple of repulsive creatures" - Norman Ault, illustrator

If you have read this far, please be sure to return in the coming three weeks.  For a bit of a further hint to keep reading, I let you see the title of Part 3.

It's always worthwhile to think about why a traditional story calls to us.  This story is more than a mere fairy tale in a day when identity theft and human trafficking exist.  It also may have something to say about physical appearance and how we view it.  That's what occurs in me as I read it, but it's also a wonderfully spooky and intriguing tale and, after all, don't we all find things in our lives change us without our trying to make it happen?

Hauff may come to us via translation, but his story is translated in our own way of receiving it.

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