The Pack of Scoundrels

The Pack of Scoundrels aka The Pack of Ragamuffins aka The Adventures of Chanticleer and Partlet: How They Went to the Mountains to Eat Nuts aka The Vulgar Crew aka A Pack of No-goods aka Riffraff

One day a cock said to the hen they should go to the mountain where nuts are just right to be eaten.

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They enjoyed so much they stayed the whole day and made a carriage out of nutshells. But nobody wanted to pull it. Then came a duck arguing it’s her mountain and nuts.

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After the fight, the rooster forced the duck to pull the coach with him and the hen.

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After a while, they met two very thin people. They were pin and needle and asked if they can go with the coach too.

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Considering the fact they were so thin rooster allowed the to sit with them. It was almost dark when they drove by an inn. So they asked an inn-keeper if they can sleep there.

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Inn-keeper said the place was full and they didn’t seem respectable enough. But they convinced him with a promise to pay him in the morning with hen’s egg and a duck.

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They spend the night, the cock and the hen got up very early, ate an egg, and throw eggshells into the fireplace. They stuck the pin into the towel and the needle into the seat. After that, they ran out of the inn. The duck ran away too.

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Later, the inn-keeper woke up and washed his face. He hurt his face when using the towel, got eggshells in his eyes when wanted to light his fireplace and was pricked by the needle when he sat in the chair.

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He swore he’ll never let such ragamuffins under his roof again.

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Short commentary

This story annotated as KHM 10 in the list is a typical example of a literary piece that doesn’t suit a definition of a fairy tale. There is no magic and no transformation. Talking animals, hitchhiking needles and pins and other surreal elements are only amusing additions to the otherwise very earthly story. It’s more like a somehow prolonged joke or amusing short story with an educational message (for the inn-keeper): never trust people who take advantage of others. People, in this case, are the cock and the hen, of course.

A few words about the illustrator

Karl Appold (1840-1884) was a German draftsman, engraver, and painter who especially loved watercolors. His father Johann Leopold was an engraver too and Karl would very likely follow his steps if he wouldn’t have problems with eyes which led him to change this profession with painting. His most important teacher was Moritz von Schwind.

Karl Appold was poor and sich for most of his life although he worked a lot. Just not on the well-paid projects. His legacy is fragmented in numerous leaflets, calendars, illustrations for the newspapers, and other similar stuff. When he was only 40 he developed a serious heart condition and after a few years he died.

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