“‘Good-day, Father Hollenthe.’ ‘Many thanks, Pif-paf-poltrie.’ ‘May I be allowed to have your daughter?’ ‘Oh, yes, if Mother Malcho (Milch-cow), Brother High-and-Mighty, Sister Käsetraut, and fair Katrinelje are willing, you can have her.'”
This fairy tale is absolute nonsense, and I was a little upset that I spent any time at all reading it – at first. After Father Hollenthe gives his blessing, Pif-paf-poltrie goes to each of the people named and asks for their blessings. That is literally all there is to this story. I could see how it would be fun to read to a child, or for a child to hear its repetitiveness, but my at-the-time maxed out, stressed out adult brain had had enough by the end. I took to Google to search for some explanation of this nonsense, and was quite satisfied (calmed down) by the results.
Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie is a chain, or cumulative, tale. In a cumulative tale, the plot is thin or barely existing, and the action and/or dialogue relies on repetitiveness and rhythm to mount and progress. These tales are often tongue twisting, and can be quite a performance when read aloud. Some additional cumulative tales (that are much more familiar to me) include Green Eggs and Ham, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, and Old MacDonald Had a Farm. For more fairy tales that fall under the chain tale classification, browse the 2000-2100 classifications of the Aarne-Thompson-Uther index. I’ll admit that after re-reading Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie, out loud this time and with a little more of my attention focused on maintaining a rhythm, it was a little more enjoyable, although it’s still not my favorite.
- The Old Beggar-Woman