The spiritual Message of German Fairy tales

Rat King Birlibi

Ernst Moritz Arndt [1818], Translation by Undine
Interpretation by Undine & Jens in green [2020]

I want to tell the story of the Rat King Birlibi: In the Stralsund village of Altenkamp, which lies sideways on the beach between Garz and Putbus, there used to be a rich peasant whose name was Hans Burwitz. He was a decent, clever man, who succeeded in everything he undertook, and who was a man of influence in his village. He had sixteen cows, forty sheep, eight horses and two foals in the stable and in the paddocks, smooth as eels and so well bred that his foals were always paid with eight to ten gold coins each at the Berger horse market. He also had six pretty children, sons and daughters, and he was doing so well that people used to call him the rich farmer from Altenkamp. This man lost all his fortune by walking through the woods at night.

The fairy tale begins with a “decent and clever” farmer who made it into a respectable and wealthy family, at least by village standards. But by going into the forest at night, he had lost all his fortune. “Fortune” is a very old term, originally used to mean “ability” and only later to mean having money. Apparently, these abilities included some intelligence, diligence, skill, and a sense of order. Do we still want to be a “decent person” today? It’s not just about straightening your shoes, it’s also about recognizing a larger order in this world and how to place yourself in it. One can develop a certain trust in such a higher order, and they say that whoever finds his right place here will succeed in everything, as if by himself, which means: You don’t need a strong ego or deceit to achieve something. But when our farmer left this order, it all went downhill.

Hans Burwitz was also a strong hunter, he had a particularly good scent for foxes and martens and was therefore often at night in the forest, where he laid his irons and waited for the catch. In the dark and in the twilight of the moonlight he saw and heard many things that he did not want to retell, how many strange and wondrous things happen in the forest at night. But the story of the Rat King Birlibi was learned from him.

Well, first of all, the farmer increasingly begins to fight against his enemies, the foxes and martens, which particularly threaten the henhouse. And because these animals are primarily active at night, he begins to fight this battle at night as well. However, twilight and night are also symbolic terms for increasing ignorance, which now overshadows and darkens the cleverness or wisdom of the farmer. One could also say that he loses himself in an illusionary world of superstition, and in this darkness his thoughts paint pictures for him, which are described here as “wondrous and strange”. The term “wonder” is said to be closely related to the term “wish” (in German: Wunder and Wunsch) and expresses a spiritual desire. In addition, there is “separation”, which means that people want to be something “special” and no longer want to fit into their place in the great order of nature. As a result, he increasingly begins to fight enemies he finds in nature, believing that killing enemies will bring him happiness, at least what he thinks of as happiness. And of course, the greater his ignorance, the stranger his idea of happiness in life.

This theme of the fight against nature runs throughout the fairy tale and reminds us very much of the fight that our modern farmers are waging, with the help of science and vast amounts of poison, against the diverse herbs, insects, worms, bacteria and viruses, that Mother Nature opposes to a livestock and agricultural monoculture. This is how a diabolic image of the enemy emerges, like here in the fairy tale the “Rat King”, who had conspired with all sorts of rabble against the interests of the farmers. But in the forest, i.e. in nature itself, he could not find this Rat King at first.

In his childhood Hans Burwitz had often heard stories about a Rat King who wore a golden crown on his head and ruled over all weasels, hamsters, rats, mice and other such easy-going rabble and was a mighty king of the forest; but Hans had never wanted to believe it. For many a dear year he had also wandered around in the forest catching foxes and martens and hunting birds, and had neither seen nor heard the least bit about the Rat King. But the Rat King might have been doing his thing in a different area. Because he has many castles in all the countries under the mountains and almost every year he moves to a different castle, where he has fun with his lords and court ladies. For he lives like a very noble gentleman, and the Great Mogul and King of France can’t have better days, and the Queen of Antioch hasn’t had them, who spent her fortune in the hearts of birds of paradise and the brains of nightingales. And just don’t think that this Rat King and his friends ever put nuts and wheat grains and milk in their mouths; nay, sugar and marzipan is their daily food, and sweet wine is their drink, and they live better than King Solomon and Captain Holofernes.

One compares the Rat King with extravagantly living nobles, who probably became a plague for the people because they had lost all connection to living nature and lived in an artificial world that was getting crazier and crazier. We don’t need to explain this further here, but the allusion to King Solomon, who was considered the wisest of all kings of Israel and was eventually seduced into worshiping idols by his beloved, the daughter of the Moors and Queen of Sheba, is interesting. In contrast to this is Field Captain Holofernes, who, after much robbery, murder and plunder, was intoxicated, deceived and beheaded by a woman. From a symbolic point of view, one can already sense the female role of Mother Nature, which we will talk about later.

Now Hans Burwitz once again went into the forest after midnight and was on the fox stalk. Then in the distance he heard a shrieking, many-voiced roar, and a clear voice rang out: “Birlibi! Birlibi! Birlibi!’ Then he remembered the tale of the Rat King Birlibi, which he had often heard, and he thought: ‘You want to go and see what it is!’. And he was about to leave when he thought of the proverb: “Stay away when you have nothing to do with it, then you’ll keep your nose!” But the “Birlibi” echoed after him as long as he was in the forest. And the other night and the third night it was the same again. But he didn’t allow himself to be challenged and said: “Let the devil and his rabble do as they please! They can’t hurt anyone who doesn’t bother with them. ” Would that Hans had always done it that way! But by the fourth night it overpowered him and he really got into snares.

The classic enemy of nature used to be the devil, whose nature was described in an excellent way by Goethe in his Faust poem. This connection between the devil and Mother Nature can be found in many old fairy tales (e.g. “The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs”), and the devil’s grandmother is often mentioned. One could also regard the devil as a being or tool of nature that challenges people. Goethe also lets God speak to the devil:

The like of thee have never moved My hate.
Of all the bold, denying Spirits,
The waggish knave least trouble doth create.
Man’s active nature, flagging, seeks too soon the level;
Unqualified repose he learns to crave;
Whence, willingly, the comrade him I gave,
Who works, excites, and must create, as Devil,...

And what is the devil’s call? Here it says “Birlibi!”, a term that could be translated as insatiable desire and a call for “Money!”. Behind this is of course the idea of “I” and “mine”, which is so deeply anchored in our human memory that there is probably no person who is not overwhelmed by it at some point. The devil also speaks to Faust in mystical words of this “ego delusion” as part of nature:

Part of that Power, not understood,
Which always wills the Bad, and always works the Good…
I am the Spirit that Denies
And justly so: for all things, from the Void
Called forth, deserve to be destroyed:
‘Twere better, then, were naught created.
Thus, all which you as Sin have rated,
Destruction, - aught with Evil blent, -
That is my proper element.

It was Walpurgis evening and his wife asked him not to go into the forest that night, because it was too scary and all the sorcerers and weather makers were on their feet, they could do something to him; for in that night, which the whole army of hell unleashed, many a Christian had been harmed. But he laughed at her and called it a woman’s fear and went his usual way into the forest when the others were in bed. King Birlibi, however, had become too powerful for him.

What is the woman’s fear? Today, in our materialistic worldview, we believe that nature is a dead machine and that life is just a tiny phenomenon in the big universe on a tiny speck of dust that we call earth. Our knowledge about it is based on supposedly reliable foundations of scientific knowledge about the laws of nature. Anyone who is still afraid of witches and ghosts is considered crazy and should see a psychiatrist. In this masculine pride we no longer listen to the feminine voice of intuition or reason that speaks to us and warns us throughout nature. On the contrary, we laugh at such warnings and go the well-trodden paths of our habit. And meanwhile we have almost completely forgotten how to listen to the voice of nature at all. What did nature want to tell us when people increasingly gave up their village life, moved to overcrowded cities and the pestilence broke out? What did nature want to tell us when the Spanish flu raged after the First World War? And what does nature want to tell us about the AIDS virus, swine flu, mad cow disease, bird flu, corona, allergies, depression, cancer, heart disease, obesity, addictions and, and, and...? One should have woken up at the latest after the realization of the social background of AIDS. But most scientists see disease only as a challenge to invent and sell some means to combat the unloved effects. Only few think about the deeper causes. Is it possible to defeat nature in this way? So, we go deeper and deeper into the nocturnal forest, where the Rat King Birlibi reigns and the call for “money” rings out, and we do not believe in the message of nature.

At first this night in the forest was just like the previous nights, there was a roar and noise from afar, and the “Birlibi” sounded brightly underneath; and what was buzzing and whistling and rustling above his head through the treetops didn’t bother Burwitz much, because he didn’t believe in witchcraft at all and said they were only night spirits, which people dread because they didn’t know them, and all sorts of deception and illusions of darkness, which can do nothing to those who have no faith in them. But when it was midnight and the bell had struck twelve, a completely different “Birlibi!” came out of the forest, making Hansen’s hair tingle and whoosh, and he wanted to run away. But they were too quick for him, and he was soon in the midst of the mob and could not get out.

Well, over a few centuries modern science has really managed to abolish the faith in a holistically ensouled nature and establish a materialistic, egocentric worldview that hardly anyone can escape today. And why night and darkness? Because people today are increasingly lacking in inner light and inner peace, because they are looking for light above all in external, material things and love the noise of the world. Accordingly, the widespread disease of depression continues to increase.

For when twelve had struck, the whole forest suddenly sounded like drums and kettledrums and whistles and trumpets, and it was so bright in it as if it had suddenly been lit up by many thousands of lamps and candles. But that night was the great main festival of the Rat King, and all his subjects and people and men and vassals were summoned to celebrate it. And all the trees seemed to rustle and all the bushes to whistle and all the rocks and stones to jump and dance, so that Hansen became terribly afraid. But when he tried to run away, so many animals barred his way that he could not get through and had to resign himself to standing where he was. There were foxes and martens and polecats and weasels and dormice and marmots and hamsters and rats and mice in such countless numbers that it seemed they had been drummed up for this festival from all over the world. They ran and jumped and hopped and danced about each other as if they were mad; but they all stood on their hind feet, and with their front feet they carried green may branches, and cheered and roared and howled and shrieked and whistled each in his own way. In short, all the easy rabble of nightly thieves was together and made a hideous ringing and jingling and tumult. It was just as wild in the air as it was on earth; the owls and crows and bats and dung beetles flew all over the place and announced the joy of the high day with their shrieking and screeching throats and with their buzzing and whirring wings.

Wonderful! And why did the “rabble of thieves” stand on their hind legs? This also reminds us that it is not about any enemies or plagues out there in nature, but about our human being with all the raging thoughts inside us that are whirling around in confusion. As long as we cannot control our thoughts, passion reigns, which is known to create much suffering.

When Hans, frightened and astonished, found himself in the midst of the throng and tumult and roar and did not have a clue what to do, behold, it suddenly shone brighter, and now many thousands of voices sang at the same time, so that it rang through with terrible, horrible solemnity. The forest resounded and Hansen’s heart trembled:

Open up, open up, open up the gates!
And cometh from all places!
You are invited all at once;
The king moves through his kingdom.

I am the great Rat King.
Come to me, if you have too little!
My house is of gold and silver,
I measure the money with bushels.

Yes, that’s the call of our modern world: “I’ll hand out the money in bushels!” There is now hardly any area in our society that is not ruled by money. Kindergartens, schools and universities have to “pay off” - we even want to earn money from our children. Also, hospitals and nursing homes have to be “economical” and patients are increasingly viewed as a means to an end of earning money. The whole of science is almost exclusively ruled by the subsidy demon, and people like to lie and cheat for that. Because wherever a lot of money plays a role, there is also corruption, fraud, lies and blindness.

Due to the globalization of the economy, more and more money is getting into the hands of fewer and fewer people, some of whom already have “private assets” of a whopping $100 billion. You could call them the modern rat kings, because with the same spirit that they amassed so much money, they also work with it and want to wield their power as great kings. Of course, they are also trying to do good in the world, but of course their work corresponds to their spirit and their selfish interests. They speak of charitable “foundations”, but even this term is reminiscent of “regulations” and “dictates”. Anyhow, these are our great role models in life, the world loves them and everywhere is heard the jubilant call “Money! Money! And more money!”, so that they are celebrated as the greatest of kings.

So, it continued to sound in a solemn and slow song, and then again and again individual screeching and shrieking voices resounded with a disgusting sound: “Birlibi! Birlibi!’ and the whole crowd also called out ‘Birlibi!’ so that it echoed through the forest. Now the Rat King came along. He was enormously tall as a fattened ox and sat on a golden chariot and had a golden crown on his head and held a golden sceptre in his hand. His queen sat beside him and she also had on a golden crown and was so fat that she shined, and they had intertwined their long bare tails behind them and were playing with them, for they felt very comfortable. And those tails were the most hideous thing you saw there; but the King and Queen were hideous enough. The chariot in which they sat was drawn by six skinny wolves, baring their teeth, and two long tomcats stood up behind as haiduks (plunderers or highwaymen) and held burning torches and meowed horribly. But the Rat King and Rat Queen were not afraid of them, because they seemed to be too powerful lords and kings over everyone here. Twelve swift drummers also went in front of the chariot and drummed. Those were rabbits; they have to beat the drum and encourage others because they don’t have any courage themselves.

Here we find a wonderful symbolism in the form of a body chariot with a fat-fed couple consisting of a male and female half playing with each other and entwined tightly. Both wear a crown and the man holds the sceptre. Actually, one could again think of spirit and nature as a unit, where reason should rule. But overwhelmed by gluttony, it is now more the greedy ego that wears the crown and reigns along with ignorance. Ignorance arises from the intellectual mind, which becomes more and more lost in illusion without the higher reason, and its close connection with the ego-consciousness can, according to experience, produce the most terrible acts of violence, the most hideous things to be found on earth. Correspondingly, the chariot of the body, which is actually made of gold - thus embodying a certain truth - is drawn by six hungry wolves, by which one might understand the five senses with thinking. The two hungry tomcats could stand for desire and hate, lighting up the consciousness with the torch of passion only in a narrow circle and complaining horribly about everything that doesn’t please them. The twelve rabbits preceding the body chariot are reminiscent of the twelve months and the fleeting time that passes to the beat of a drum. This is associated with a constant existential fear because death is unstoppably approaching. And the courage we give each other is probably holding on to a material physicality that you can’t hold on to.

Hansen had been scared enough; but now, when he saw the Rat King and the Rat Queen and the wolves and tomcats and hares together like this, his skin shuddered all over his body, and his usually brave heart almost gave up, and he said to himself: “Here may the hangman stay longer, where everything goes so against nature! I have also read and heard of miracles; but they always happened to be somehow naturally. Clearly you can see that this is a colourful devil’s game and a devilish pack. Who would be out here!”

Well, when at some point one begins to wake up and to look within, and see one’s own animal nature, one is usually seized by a horrid despair. At first you don’t want to believe that your own nature can be so devilish or demonic and you don’t want to have anything to do with it. You think you can stay away from it and just get on with life. But what you see there is part of our natural being and therefore part of nature as a whole. So, the above quote from Goethe about the “spirit that denies” continues as follows:

The modest truth I speak to thee.
If Man, that microcosmic fool, can see
Himself a whole so frequently,
Part of the Part am I, once All, in primal Night,
Part of the Darkness which brought forth the Light,
The haughty Light, which now disputes the space,
And claims of Mother Night her ancient place.
And yet, the struggle fails ; since Light, however it weaves
Still, fettered, unto bodies cleaves:
It flows from bodies, bodies beautifies;
By bodies is its course impeded;
And so, but little time is needed,
I hope, ere, as the bodies die, it dies!

The sages of the ancient religions say: Accepting this challenge is the greatest task in life, and victory is the greatest victory one can ever achieve. This is the very purpose why Mother Nature constantly oppresses us with diseases, vermin and other worries so that we finally wake up and search for the real causes within ourselves. This is the beginning of a hard fight against our animal nature, which has formed into a body out of egoism and ignorance with the help of the five senses, thinking, desire and hatred, which is constantly threatened by death and impermanence. We are usually so dependent on this physical being that there is no stopping when passion calls.

Well, Hans made another attempt to push himself out; but the train kept roaring through the forest, and Hans had to go with it. This went on until they came to an outer corner of the forest. There was an open field and many hundreds of wagons had stopped there laden with bacon and meat and corn and nuts and other edible things. A farmer drove each wagon with his horses, and other farmers carried the sacks of grain and bacon and ham and sausages and whatever else they had loaded down into the forest. When they saw Hans Burwitz standing there, they called out to him: “Come! Help carry it, too!’ And Hans went and unloaded and carried with them; but he was so confused that he did not know what he was doing. However, it seemed to him in the twilight that he saw familiar faces among the farmers, and among others the mayor from Krakvitz and the blacksmith from Casnevitz. Well, he didn’t let show anything, and they also behaved like unknown people. But the case with the farmers was as follows: they had surrendered themselves to the service of the Rat King and his followers and had to drive their plunder to the forest on Walpurgis Night, when the Rat King had a big festival, and what the Rat King’s subjects had pilfered and stolen one by one from all over the world.

Who are the servants of the Rat Kings who bring them the fat riches? How can you become the richest man in the world in a few years with “software” or “Face-Book”? You definitely can’t manage that with hard work. The keyword is advertising and selling related data. (Anyone who wants to learn more about this global swamp should read Schlecky Silberstein’s book “The Internet Must Go: A Reckoning”.) Nowadays all public media serve advertising more or less directly, and the people obsessively follow advertising and the associated visions and promises. At first you can’t find anything bad about it. Why not promote a good product? But in the background, of course, everything revolves around money, and as was already said, where a lot of money plays a role, corruption, fraud, lies and blindness rule. From this the greedy ego feeds, and the higher reason disappears.

So, Hans joined quite innocently and didn’t know how. As soon as the sacks and the other things were carried into the forest, the wild rabble of thieves went for it, and it went grip! grap! and snatch! snitch! as fast as possible, and everyone grabbed and dragged his share away, so that the goods were fewer and fewer. But the king was still standing there in his high and magnificent carriage, and some were still dancing and roaring and making noise around him. But when all the wagons were unloaded, a hundred large rats came and poured gold out of bushels into the field and onto the road, and sang:

Hands here! Hats fro!
Who wants more? Who wants more?
Merry! Merry! It’s great today!
Merry! Hands and hats are full!

And the farmers fell on the spilled gold like hungry ravens and grabbed and pushed each other, and everyone snatched up as much of the red prey as he could get his hands on, and Hans was not lazy either and helped vigorously to. And when they were at their best work like doves, under which peas were thrown, behold, the morning cock crowed, where the pagan and hellish realm on earth has no more power - and in a moment everything was gone as if it had been only a dream, and Hans was standing there all alone in the forest. Morning broke, and he went home with a heavy heart. But he also had heavy bags and beautiful red gold in them; he didn’t pour it out. His wife had become very anxious that he was coming home so late, and she was startled when she saw him so pale and distraught, and asked him all sorts of questions. But he answered her with a joke, as he usually did, and did not tell her a single word of what he had seen and heard.

Why is man so easily overcome by desire? Gold or money is actually neither good nor bad, or as William Shakespeare wrote: “In itself, nothing is neither good nor bad. Thinking makes it so.” With this, our thoughts become a creative force, and one could even say: money is only a human thought construct, whereby the gold becomes the “red gold” of burning passion. This brings a mental phenomenon into play that we call desire and even addiction. Our modern world in particular is increasingly full of addictions, not only to money, alcohol, drugs and sex, but in almost all areas of society. And the biggest addiction we cultivate is the “I”. An alcoholic can at least imagine to live without alcohol. But who can still imagine living without “I”? This ego addiction is very deeply anchored in us and usually determines everything in our life, even if higher reason opposes it. Therefore, we live in the dark night, falling from one dream to the next and lying to ourselves. And as the fairy tale says: We could open our eyes and wake up from this dream, but for that we would have to leave the beautiful red gold in our pockets behind. Here, too, nature comes into play as the female aspect of the spirit, observing us with concern and asking many questions that, out of usual pride, we do not want to answer and ignore as far as possible.

Hans counted his gold - it was a pretty little pile of ducats - put it in the cupboard and did not go into the forest for the first few months after this adventure. He had a secret dread of it. Then he gradually forgot, how it is with people, the Walpurgis Night and its horrible tumult and continued to go hunting for foxes and martens in the moonlight and starlight. He saw and heard nothing more of the Rat King and his Birlibi, and in the end he seldom thought about it. But as spring approached, everything changed. Sometimes around midnight he heard the “Birlibi” ringing again, so that the limpest hair on his head came alive, and then he always ran quickly out of the forest, but he still had his secret thoughts about Walpurgis Night. However, what people think during the day comes back to them in their dreams at night and plays all sorts of games and mirrors and tricks. Therefore, the Rat King was not absent with his night tricks, and Hans often dreamed as if the Rat King was standing in front of his door knocking; and he opened it up for him and saw him in the flesh, as he was sitting in the carriage at that time, and he was now all pure gold and not as ugly as he had appeared to him then, and the rat king sang to him the following verse in the sweetest voice, about you didn’t want to believe that a rat’s throat could have it:

I am the great Rat King.
Come to me, if you have too little!
My house is of gold and silver,
I measure the money with bushels.

And then he came close to him and whispered in his ear: “You’re coming back to Walpurgis Night, Hans Burwitz, and help carry sacks and get your pockets full of ducats, will you?”

Here the topic of “dreaming” is described in an excellent way. In the beginning there is the idea of “I” and “mine” in the form of personal possessions. From this existential fear follows and a fight starts against all enemies who threaten personal property. At some point you live in a world of thoughts like in a dream state and you get used to it more and more. Through the glasses of thoughts you see a corresponding world, and a so-called world view emerges. And if we are honest with ourselves, we all know that this limitless greed for more and more wealth cannot go well in this world. And yet we are already so addicted and used to it that hardly anyone can resist the cry for “Money!”.

It is true that Hans, when he awoke from such dreams, always had a dread in addition to his joy at the gold, and he would say: “Just wait, Prince Birlibi, I won’t come to your party!” But it happened to him, as it has happened to other people, and the old proverb should also come true with him: Whoever the devil has by a thread, he will soon lead him by a rope. Enough, the closer Walpurgis Night came, the more Hans grew greedy to be there too. But he firmly resolved not to follow the will of the evil this time, and he went to bed happily with his wife on Walpurgis Eve. But he couldn’t sleep; he kept thinking about the wagons with the sacks and the farmers and the big rats pouring the gold out of bushels on the floor, and he couldn’t stand it any longer in bed, he had to get up and sneak away from the woman and walk in the dark forest. And then he experienced this second night just as the first time. He had taken a little bag with him for the gold and collected much more than the year before.

Why is our modern world so threatened by addiction? Well, on the one hand we are getting further and further away from nature, or as the fairy tales say: we are sneaking away from the women. On the other hand, more and more natural boundaries are being broken, which ensure a natural control of desire, as is normal in the animal and plant realms. There you can only build up a certain amount of supplies, and after times of plenty there are times of shortage again and again. This is how nature works in a huge organism and ensures that the diverse life systems remain in a certain balance. Because the basis of all life are sensitive balances, and what loses its balance dies. Now modern men believe that all this can be calculated with science and mastered in such a way that it can be used to one’s advantage. For this purpose, a materialistic, egocentric worldview was propagated for several centuries, which turns nature into a dead machine and develops egoism more and more intensively. The great trust in a spiritual world that the old religions still had is disappearing. Accordingly, existential fear increases and, together with egoism, becomes the basis of a capitalist social order in which addiction plays an important role, and people are happily turned into addicted consumers. How do you get out of there?

Now it seemed to him that he had enough of the gold, and he swore a high oath that he would never give himself into temptation again, nor would he ever go into the forest again. And he kept his oath and overcame himself that he didn’t go into the forest and didn’t keep up with Walpurgis Night again, no matter how often he dreamed of Birlibi and the golden Rat King. But he didn’t let that sit in his heart, but drove it out with fervent prayer and finally made the wicked tired that he left him. Then many a year had passed, and Hans was called a very rich man. He had bought villages and estates with his ducats and had become a lord. It was rumoured among the people that things weren’t going right with his wealth; but no one could prove it to him. But eventually the proof came.

Well, the first step, of course, is recognizing the diabolical delusion and trying to tame and break the addiction. This is primarily a mental battle against accumulated memory and seductive thoughts. In the past, the great remedy of prayer was used for this. What is prayer? Nowadays, this term is often confused with an appeal, i.e.: I would like this or that... But actually, prayer is more about dissolving the concept of “I” and “mine” and connecting yourself with a holistic being. That is why the Lord’s Prayer says: “Thy will be done...” This attacks the fundamental evil of all addictions, namely ego addiction. To date, there is virtually no better remedy for addiction, and the “Twelve-Step Program” of trusting God is still recommended as the most effective method for alcoholics. And then? Can we just go on living like before?

The evil lied in wait for the poor man, over whom he had already gained some power. He was angry with him because he stayed away from his high festivals on Walpurgis Night, and when Hans once again thought with sinful lust of collecting gold and forgot his evening prayer because of it, and he also cursed a few unchristian things about a trifle, the evil could break out with his rabble, and Hans has now learned what King Birlibi’s golden puppet is all about. Since that time, Hans has had neither star nor luck in his business. No matter how hard he strived, he could no longer bring forth anything, but was going backwards from day to day. But his worst enemies were the mice that ate his grain in the fields and in the barns, the weasels, rats and martens that slaughtered his chickens, ducks and doves, the foxes and wolves that killed his lambs, sheep, colts and calves. In short, the rabble made it so bad that Hans lost property and farms, horses and cattle, sheep and calves in a few years, and in the end he couldn’t call a single chicken his own. He had to leave house and yard with his wife and children as a poor man, staff in hand, and had to support himself as a day labourer in his old age.

This is certainly not the happy ending we would like to have after a long struggle against desire and addiction. And yet it is the experience that many people made on this path in the past and passed on in such stories. The question is: Can you just continue living after a crisis like before? Well, as long as the fundamental causes have not been eliminated, such crises will of course occur again and again and even more rapidly. Because the causes of our suffering in this world are anchored incomparably deep in our spiritual being. Anyone who has once imprinted and accumulated the image of nature’s enemy sees evil in nature and will be pursued by it for a long time to come. Because if you make an enemy of nature, you make an enemy of life and in the end you have to lose everything. People have known this for a long time, but modern science doesn’t believe in it, so again we go down that horrible path, making the enemy of nature and blindly fighting unloved herbs, insects, worms, bacteria and viruses that Mother Nature sends to prevent a deadly sterile monoculture and to maintain the natural balance on this earth. As if you could conquer illness, old age and death with a lot of money. What madness?!

The Bible also addresses this issue of selfish enmity with one’s environment and teaches:

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” But I tell you not to resist evil; but if someone strikes you on your right cheek, offer the other one to him as well. And if someone wants to argue with you and take your coat, leave him your cloak too. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two with him. Give to those who ask you, and do not turn away from those who want to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you: Love your enemies; bless those who curse you; do good to those who hate you; pray for those who offend and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for He causes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t the tax collectors do the same? And if you are only kind to your brothers, what are you doing special? Don’t the tax collectors do the same?

Therefore, you should be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. [Matthew 5:38]

How a society develops that cannot live peacefully with nature, but promotes and cultivates egoistic enmity, was already predicted in the ancient Indian Puranas for the dark age of Kali:

The Kali Age is characterized by violence, jealousy, falsehood, deceit and a decline in asceticism. As a result, dharma (virtue and righteousness) is fading, and it is doubtful whether people can still make a living even with great mental and physical exertion or prayer. In the Kali Age, fatal diseases and a constant fear of hunger reign supreme. There is a terrible fear of drought, and the spiritual vision is dim and perverted. The authoritarian wisdom of the scriptures is no longer respected... As the age advances, thieves and robbers rule the kingdoms, and kings act like thieves and robbers. The servants have no more love, friendship and loyalty (to their masters). Women become unchaste and disinterested in sacred rites, love wine and meat, and resort to deceitful means... In the Kali Age, people increasingly become traders, cheating their buyers with false measurements. Society abounds with ungodly people full of deceit, unwholesome deeds and unvirtuous behaviour. The men will be in the minority and the women will be superior. People will beg excessively, eat too much meat, use harsh words, and be dishonest and jealous. Nobody helps the others, even if you have received help yourself. Men grow weary and weak, and unhesitatingly turn to the deeds that cause their own downfall... In savage struggle, people kill each other, thinking to achieve their goals. Worried, they die prematurely, kingdoms perish, and sickness, madness, depression, discontent, and sloth take over... Few people survive this time, scattered here and there on the earth. When they come together in groups, their nature comes out and they hate and hurt each other. Anarchy reigns as a result of the Kali Age, and filled with doubt and inner tension, fear reigns among subjects everywhere. Extremely tormented and exhausted, they try to save their selfish lives, leave their wives, children and home, become increasingly unhappy and die... But in their greatest desperation and apathy to the outside world, they begin to look within. And as they look within, they attain a state of calmness. They are enlightened by calmness, and by enlightenment they recognize the divine and become pious. And when those, who survived the end of the Kali age, attain this enlightenment, the age is transformed in a single day. Once their spirit is disenchanted, the golden age of Krita begins through the power of inevitable fate. [Vayu Purana 1.58]

Our farmer in the fairy tale comes to a similar ending on a small scale:

He often told the story of how he got rich and how the farmer became a nobleman, and thanked God that he sent rats and mice to convert him and made him so poor. “Because otherwise,” said the poor man, “I probably wouldn’t have gone to heaven, and the devil would have retained his power over me, and I would finally have had to dance to the Rat King’s piping there too.” And he also said that such gold, which one wins in such a wondrous and secret way, has no blessing in it; for despite all his treasures his heart had never been so good as afterwards in the direst poverty. Yes, he was a miserable man when he drove with six as a squire than afterwards, when he was often glad if he only had salt and potatoes in the evening.

That is probably a salvation that a materialistically oriented person cannot even imagine, because he does not know any spiritual life and does not want to see this higher meaning in nature. But earlier people knew about it, and so it says in the Bible:

Truly I say to you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And further I say to you: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. [Matthew 20:23]

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5.3]

If anyone wants to follow me, deny yourself and take up the cross and follow me. For whoever wants to preserve his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What use is it to man if he gains the whole world and suffers damage to his soul? Or what can man give so that he can free his soul again? [Matthew 16:24]

“They have become rich in all virtues,” so it is written. Truly, that can never happen unless one first becomes poor in everything. Whoever wants to receive all things must also give all things. This is a fair trade and an equal exchange, as I said a long time ago. Therefore, because God wants to give us himself and all things to be our own, he wants to take everything that belongs to us completely. Yea, verily, God will not at all that we should have as much of our own as I can see in my eyes. For all the gifts that he ever gave us, both gifts of nature and gifts of grace, he never gave with any other will than that we should have nothing for our own; and as his own, he gave nothing in any way to his mother, or to any man or creature. And in order to teach us and to provide us with it, he often takes both physical and spiritual goods from us. For the possession of honour shall not be ours, but only his. Rather, we should have all things (only) as if they were lent to us and not given to us, without any possession of our own, whether body or soul, senses, powers, external goods or honour, friends, relatives, house, home, and all things. [Meister Eckhart, Tracts 23]

What is this wealth in poverty? It is nothing other than the end of material physicality and Ego-consciousness, the dissolution of the idea of “I” and “others”, a pure consciousness and a complete oneness with everything. Could there be greater riches? Certainly, in our materialistic, egocentric world view, this is completely impossible. But if you look at current developments in the world with open eyes, there are increasing doubts about this world view. The settings still look reasonably friendly, but they are crumbling more and more and behind them you can find an extremely terrible swamp where only three terms rule: MONEY-MAKES-BLIND. And if we continue like this, people will be talking in a few centuries about the dark ages of scientific materialism and how selfish, greedy and blind people were back then.


Slaves of Money, satirical illustrations by Al Margen

What can we do? What is our freedom?

We will certainly have to live with the laws of nature. As long as there is birth, there will be old age, sickness and death in nature, and no money in the world can conquer them. So, are we slaves to nature? No, we have freedom, freedom of thought. Thoughts have a creative power and it is up to us how we use them to see this world. If we want to see particles, then we see particles, if we want to see waves, then we see waves. People knew this before, and quantum physics has even confirmed it scientifically. This gives us the freedom to decide whether we follow a materialistic, egocentric world view and see dead particles, or a holistic, ensouled world view and with living waves. The main difference is that you can capture and own particles, but not waves. That is the essence and the freedom of thought. Viewed as a particle, money leads to selfish possessiveness and ruined investments; viewed as a wave, money comes and goes in a holistic economic process and can even become a source of vibrant creativity. Because money is neither good nor bad, only our thinking makes it so. The same applies to everything else, as well as to viruses: if you look at a dangerous virus as a particle, it imprints itself in your mind as an eternal enemy, if you look at the virus as a wave, it comes and goes in the process of a holistic living nature, where it fulfills its task, constantly transforms and doesn't even need a special name. The same applies to our own body, which is also more like a wave than a particle. Modern science has known this for almost a hundred years, but most scientists are still 19th-century materialists and love their dead particles more than anything, presumably because they are as easy to count and hold as dear money.

Crisis of confidence in our science

“Listen to the scientists!” This is what our youth movement “Fridays for Future” is currently demanding in order to preserve a future worth living with a better climate policy that “is based on scientific knowledge”. That’s good and badly needed! But which scientists should you listen to? There are now so many “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who call themselves scientists, but are actually money and funding slaves. And the best thing they can think of to protect the environment is tax increases and the sale of indulgences. Dear young people, please take a close look at which scientists and politicians you entrust your future to. Do you really want to listen to the “particle hunters” selling their souls to the rat kings? Consider it well! With the belief that our life consists of dead matter particles, how could one ever be able to preserve the sensitive balance of a worth living nature? Those who fundamentally regard nature as something dead can never protect its vitality. In addition, there is a growing number of scientists who follow the call of “Birlibi” instead of looking for truth, selling themselves to the media, being harnessed for political purposes and getting paid by the rat king. Then it says: “Whose bread I eat, his song I sing!” And what comes out of it?

New in the play-along theatre: “The Conspiracy”

Dear theatre friends! In March 2020, we witnessed the premiere of a multi-billion dollar public television and radio production led by leading politicians and scientists. In the meantime, the screenplay (original link) for this production has also been published in the play-along theatre, in which it was already pointed out that this production was “the greatest challenge for politics, society and the economy in Germany since the end of the Second World War”. Apparently little thought was given to the great challenge for the spectators playing along. The main role is played by a hitherto little-known actor named “Covid”. The theme of the play that led to the title “The Conspiracy” was briefly summarized by Mephisto in Goethe’s Faust:

In every way shall ye be stranded.
The elements with us are banded,
And ruin is the certain fate.

The first reactions among viewers and critics were promising, and only some thought: “Too much horror and not enough reasonable message.” But after just a few weeks, the number of infected viewers fell drastically. A member of the production team expressed acute doubts and explained that the damage of this production will far exceed any benefit and the production should be stopped immediately. It was probably a big cheek to speak of proportionality and maybe even reason in a horror performance! He was therefore immediately suspended by the production team, because the script does not allow going back, and they are now trying to drastically increase the number of infected viewers by increasing the advertising budget. But the number continued to fall, undeterred. At the same time, the practitioners of the “conspiracy” increasingly began to scold the theorists, who simply thought too much and no longer wanted to be part of this play. A veritable war broke out between “conspiracy practitioners” and “conspiracy theorists”. And to further increase the horror of the play, a lot of fear was now imported from other countries, which was relatively cheap to get there. This was also required by the screenplay, which literally says: “In order to achieve the desired shock effect, the concrete effects of a contagion on human society must be made clear.” The children must not be spared as co-players either, and the screenplay says it literally: “Children will hardly suffer from the epidemic.”: Wrong! (That means you can’t say something like that in public. The propaganda has to be:) “Children will be easily infected, even with exit restrictions, e.g. from the neighbours’ children. When they then infect their parents and one of them dies in agony at home and they feel guilty about it because they forgot to wash their hands after playing, for example, it’s the most terrifying thing a child might ever experience.” Well, dear children, from now on you will be considered as potential murderers of your parents and grandparents as soon as you cuddle or kiss them, maybe even a breath or the touch with unwashed hands is enough! Such devilish thoughts can actually only be injected into the minds of children from those, who have no children of their own. Isn’t that insanely awful? Yes, more and more theatre critics now fear that this paranoid horror production will be a terrible disaster...


Karl-Marx wrote as early as 1867: Capital is terrified of the absence of profit or very little profit, like nature is of emptiness. With corresponding profit, capital becomes bold. Ten percent safe and you can use it anywhere; 20 percent, it’s getting lively; 50 percent, positively daring; for 100 percent it stamps all human laws under its foot; 300 percent, and there’s no crime that doesn’t risk it, even at the risk of the gallows. If tumult and strife bring profit, it will encourage them both. [Marx, Capital I]

To conclude, we would like to take a little look behind the scenes mentioned. The following report “The WHO ruined: Bill Gates decides what is healthy” was published by SWR2 (Südwestrundfunk as part of ARD) in 2017, but the situation has probably not improved significantly since then, on the contrary, it still seems to be a lot worse. Because today no public broadcaster dares to report so honestly about the terrible abuses behind the scenes.


... Table of contents of all fairy tale interpretations ...
The Pea Trial / The Princess and the Pea - (topic: Natural sensitivity)
The Seven Swabians - (topic: Corona Hysteria, the essence of fear)
Thumbling - (topic: What is the soul? Is our worldview correct?)
The Crystal Ball / Castle of the Golden Sun - (topic: Egoism, defeating the inner beast)
The emperor's new clothes - (topic: MONEY-MAKES-BLIND - Memorial 2020)
Rat King Birlibi (topic: Money, Enmity, Addiction, Poverty)
The Ditmarsh Tale of Wonders - (topic: Lies, Thoughts and Reason)
The Robber Bridegroom - (topic: dead soul, spiritual murder)
The Poor Boy in the Grave - (topic: Education, Ego, Fear and Reason)
Simeli Mountain - (topic: material and spiritual world)
Strong Hans - (topic: Ego, robbers and ultimate gain)

[1818] Ernst Moritz Arndt, Mährchen und Jugenderinnerungen, 1818, Berlin
[Bibel] Luther Bibel, 1912
[Faust I] Faust Part 1, translated by Bayard Taylor, 1870/71
[Faust II] Faust Part 2, translated by Bayard Taylor
[Meister Eckhart] Deutsche Predigten und Traktate, Diogenes 1979
[MHB] Das Mahabharata, www.mahabharata.pushpak.de
[Vayu Purana] Das Vayu Purana, www.pushpak.de/vayu
[2020] Text and Pictures by Undine & Jens / www.pushpak.de