lesser-known tales: Little Louse and Little Flea

A little louse and a little flea were living together in a house and were brewing beer in an eggshell when the louse fell in and was scalded. Then the flea began to scream as loud as he could, and the little door to the room asked:

‘Why are you screaming, little flea?’

‘Because little louse has been scalded.’

Then the little door began to creak, and a little broom in the corner asked, ‘Why are you creaking, little door?’

‘Why shouldn’t I creak? Little louse has just got scalded. Little flea is weeping.”

‘Well, then I’m going to break my little water jug,’ said the maiden, and as she was breaking it, the little spring from which the water came asked, ‘Maiden, why are you breaking the little water jug?’

‘Why shouldn’t I break it? Little louse has just got scalded. Little flea is weeping. Little door is creaking. Little broom is sweeping. Little cart is racing. Little dung heap is burning. Little tree is shaking.’

‘Goodness gracious!’ said the little spring. ‘Then I’m going to flow,’ and it began to flow so violently that they were all drowned in the water–the maiden, the little tree, the little dung heap, the little cart, the little door, the little flea, and the little louse, every last one of them.

from Zipes, Jack (ed. and trans.) The Complete First Edition, the Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Princeton UP, 2014.

read more lesser-known tales

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