Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Der Schneekönig

Leafing through one of my favorite books (Karl Wildhagen’s German-English dictionary),  I happened upon the following expression:

Er freut sich wie ein Schneekönig
he is as merry as a grig

Now -- grigs are proverbially merry;  but why should the Schneekönig be that way?

We looked into the matter, and found that the explanation is really quite simple:
The Schneekönig is much beloved among the snow-bunnies.
Round and around and around him they run,
till his silly head is spinning,
and he is dizzy with love and laughter.
(And the hop-happy sandboy  laughs along with.)


O my gracious !  Just stumbled across another allusion to snow-bunnies  in that same fine reference source:

der Osterhase
Easter-hare (that lays the Easter eggs)

Not many people realize where Easter eggs come from  but now you know!


Heavens to Betsy -- Yet another covert snow-bunny reference from that wonderful book!

  ~  schlohweiss  ~

This is a word  impossible to define (I invented it myself, before I was born);  but Dr. Wildhagen does his best:  he calls it “white as snow".  The tricky part is: “schloh” by itself  isn’t a word;  to say ‘snow’, you say Schnee.   So,  schneeweiss means ‘snow-white, white as snow’.  Whereas schlohweiss means:  white as snowbunnies.

Now, many things are white, and some are quite white;  your laundry might be ‘whiter than white’ if you use the new Tide.   A few things are even:  blindingly white.  But only snow-bunnies are exactly, precisely as white as the snow.  
And that means you can’t see them -- a scientist would explain.
But the real reason they’re invisible is:  they’re shy.

Be very gentle with snow-bunnies if you see one (you won't),
because they're really very, very shy.

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