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A Grimm Review: The Devil has FamilyA Grimm Review: The Devil has Family

Upon reading through the Grimm’s Fairy Tales a theme popped up from time to time. The Devil is actually bearable enough to have relatives, specifically a grandmother. I don’t know who made this picture to the left, but it’s great. I wish more people would credit the artists who create illustrations like this one.

Now, in the previous post I talked about how people tried to outsmart the Devil in the Grimm’s series. They assumed that the Devil was an idiot and that they could trick him. I explained that there could be several reasons for this, but one of those reasons was to make the Devil more relatable. I know you may think it’s weird that people want to relate to the Devil, but it’s not really about saying the Devil is their homeboy; it’s about making the Devil more understandable. What is more understandable than having relatives?

In several Grimm’s stories and specifically The Devil and his Grandmother, the Devil has a grandmother. He lives with his grandmother. She cooks his food and keeps his house and he can tell her how his day went. She also regularly tricks the Devil because he trusts her implicitly, which is kind of sad if you think about it. Here the Devil trusts his grandmother with everything, but she betrays his trust to random passersby who want to know the answers to various questions or get hairs from his chin.

Most of us don’t really have a back story for the Devil. We don’t have his origin story. We don’t know a story other than God doesn’t like him. There are origin stories though, and some of them do involve the Devil having relatives, specifically you and me. That’s right, we’re related to the Devil, according to some.

People of the Christian belief generally believe that the Devil was cast out from heaven. That’s the story that most people know, but there is more to the story. The Devil was once known as Lucifer, or the Son of the Morning. He was favored in heaven. He was also our brother and God was his father. When God brought for his plan for how people would come down and spend their Earthly lives, the Lucifer wanted to do it his way and Jesus wanted to do it God’s way. When Lucifer was turned down, he became angry and riled up a bunch of other souls in heaven. There was a war. After the revolt was put down, Lucifer and his followers were cast out upon the Earth in spirit form, never having the chance to actually get a body. Lucifer hence forth became the Devil and encouraged people to do all manner of bad things because he felt bad because of the choices he made and he wants everyone else to feel bad too. He’s kind of a party pooper.

This story says nothing about a grandmother, which is notoriously the relative the Devil has in the Grimm’s stories, but there is a little more to the story above. Continuing in that same pattern, some believe that God has a wife. We’re all God’s children, literally, so is Jesus and so is Lucifer. This belief goes further and says that perhaps that God was even like us one day and he had his own heavenly parents and eventually became a God himself. It’s a really out-there idea to some people, but the idea is there. This would explain how the Devil could have a grandmother. Now why this grandmother, our grandmother if we take the story seriously, would be spending all her time with the Devil I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem fair, but maybe he’s the neediest one so he gets all the time with Grandmother, I don’t know.

Now, portions of this explanation might have been floating around in religious circles during the time in which these fairy tales were created. This belief isn’t exactly new. There are Christian beliefs floating around that sound like something out of a Greek mythology book, but we don’t discuss them commonly so when we hear them we’re like, “Whoa, it doesn’t say that in the Bible.” Well, the thing about the Bible is that the Bible has been tinkered with. It’s been translated. People took out pieces they didn’t like. People voted on the pieces they did like. The Bible we have today is most likely a very stream-lined and sanitized version from what used to exist. There probably used to be something like the story I relayed in the Bible, but it’s gone now and we just won’t know if it used to be in there or not unless we find a really, really old Bible or piece of the Bible hidden somewhere.

Despite the fact that people might have known about this story, there may have been other stories floating around. There may have been an idea that the Devil was spawned from some other evil family completely unrelated to any of us. Of course he’s got a grandmother because everyone has a grandmother. If this is the case, it does make sense that the Devil is constantly being undermined by his grandmother. She’s evil; he’s evil; it works out. If she is truly evil, it doesn’t make sense that she constantly help people who show up at the door, but maybe all grandmothers are bound to help people out, evil or not, because there is some kind of secret grandmother code.

The whole point of this is that the idea of the Devil having relatives isn’t exactly far-fetched. The idea isn’t coming from nowhere.



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A Grimm Review: The Devil is an IdiotA Grimm Review: The Devil is an Idiot

Cunning is a word that can be associated with the Devil, if you believe in such a thing. A person who is cunning is not someone we would consider dim, stupid, or in any way defunct in mental ability, but in the Grimm’s stories, the Devil is always depicted as something of an idiot. In every tale where the Devil is mentioned, he is always being tricked.

The Devil is tricked by his grandmother. He is tricked by people visiting his home. He is tricked by farmers. He is tricked by pretty much everyone. Everyone can get the better of the Devil in the Grimm’s stories.

First of all, the Grimm’s stories are not the only stories where people can out-smart the Devil. The picture for this post is a depicting of the story of Stingy Jack or the story of the Jack O’Lantern. Jack was able to trick the Devil not once, but twice, and the Devil subsequently refused to accept him into Hell. There is a country song all about defeating the Devil at a fiddling contest; it’s called The Devil Went Down the Georgia; it’s a great song by the way.

So why are we trying to depict the Devil as an idiot? The truth of the matter is that everyone isn’t trying to depict the Devil as an idiot. I grew up in the Bible Belt. The religious people inhabiting the Bible Belt know that the Devil is not to be trifled with. He is crafty. He can trick you. He can paint a rosy picture and make sin look delicious. My thoughts on the matter are that people are trying to personalize the Devil or  they’re trying to minimize his impact on their lives or maybe they just flat-out don’t believe he exists.

We try to personalize things that are hard for us to understand. We want to make tough concepts a little more relatable. That’s why people print Bibles today where Jesus talks to his homeboys. It’s why we like to read internet articles about how much celebrities are just like us. We want to understand these beings better, but the only way we can understand them better is if we see similarities between us and them. The Devil can be a hard concept to grasp. We’re kind of stupid sometimes. Sometimes we do stupid things when we’re doing things that are “bad,” so it kind of makes sense that maybe the Devil is a bit stupid because he’s all bad. I think it might make the concept of the Devil easier to understand, but I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to relate to the idea of the Devil.

Let’s say you do believe in the Devil. You know in your heart he’s real and he’s terrible. You know if you do bad things you’re his. Maybe you’re kind of bad too. You know you’re doing bad things, but you don’t feel like stopping those things or you just keep getting sucked into doing those things and you know down the road it’s going to lead to problems, but for now, your life is going to stay the same tinged way it’s been. The idea of the Devil is in the back of your mind and you try to keep him there. You tell jokes about how stupid the Devil is because that makes him less real. That makes him more human rather than some supernatural force, or spirit, or whatever. If he is a mere idiot, how is he going to claim your soul for eternity?

The third option about people poking fun at the Devil has to deal with disbelief. Maybe you don’t believe in the Devil and you think the whole concept of the Devil is stupid so you poke fun at the concept of the Devil because you have some friends who believe in the Devil and you want to make them squirm. It’s pretty simple. If you don’t believe something, you really don’t have a problem poking fun at it.

The people who made up the Grimm’s stories did believe, mostly; they poked fun at the Devil to make their lives a little easier. It was also great entertainment. The Devil was the ultimate villain in those days. Hitler hadn’t been born yet and people weren’t really scared of terrorists yet, so the Devil was the go-to guy for poking fun at. You make fun of your enemies. You belittle your enemies. It’s a tactic to help you believe that you can win. These people were trying to say that they could beat the Devil.


 
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A Grimm Review: Women are to be Seen and not HeardA Grimm Review: Women are to be Seen and not Heard

In the story Our Lady’s Child a woman is tasked with either confessing her sin or remaining unable to speak. In the story The Twelve Brothers a sister must remain silent for seven years in order for her brothers to regain their human forms. Those two stories aren’t the only Grimm’s fairy tales in which a woman must keep her mouth shut.

Why does it matter? It matters because nowhere in the Grimm’s stories does a man have to stay silent for any punishment or chance to save a loved one. It’s only the women. The situation seems a little skewed. It’s actually a lot skewed.

Women like to talk. We like to get together with our friends and talk about life. We like to talk to our significant others. We like to talk to our families. It’s called communicating. It’s a completely normal thing, but in days past, and even still today, there are people who think women talk entirely too much. People say that women are nagging. People say that women gab and gossip. It just goes on and on. If a woman speaks to another human being, she talks too much.

In the Grimm’s stories the bouts of women being silent are either punishments or sacrifices. Are either of those words good words? Do you associate anything good with those words? Most likely, neither of those words are something that you find positive. Punishment isn’t positive. Sacrifice isn’t positive. Sacrifice hurts. We can basically say that women being silent in these stories is not a good thing.

The men must go off and slay all manner of evils while the women simply have to keep their mouths shut. The deal seems one-sided. Why couldn’t the woman go out and slay that dragon? Well, because she’s a woman. Women don’t slay dragons. Only men do that. The women will be sacrificing enough by not talking for seven years, or however long.

Women are actors in the fairy tales at a fairly often rate, but they’re generally more of a prize rather than an actual character. They’re a trophy. If you do this, this, and this, you get the beautiful woman. She may have a part in your story, but in the end, she’s still the beautiful woman; that’s what matters. It actually doesn’t matter if she can talk because she’s still beautiful. Talking and having a personality is seen as a second-class trait in the Grimm’s stories. The Grimm’s stories go so far as to paint women having anything to say as a bad thing.

The dialog that women produce in the Grimm’s stories is not a lot. There’s actually not much of it compared to all the things men say. No woman in the Grimm’s stories declares anything other than her love for her man. She doesn’t have an opinion on all the local wars. She doesn’t have an opinion on taxation. In some situations she can’t even defend herself by speaking. She never gets to tell her side of the story.

Women don’t really get a say in the Grimm’s fairy tales. They’re there to be beautiful. They’re there to be a prize for a prince or a man. They’re not there to speak their mind about anything. They’re not there to even say anything, unless it’s something about how awesome their man is.



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A Grimm Review: Men are AnimalsA Grimm Review: Men are Animals

I have finished my reading of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales and now I would like to dive into some observances I made upon my Grimms journey. This will be the first of a series of essays on the things I learned from the Grimms brothers and their collection of stories.

How often do you meet a guy who was a frog when you met him? Not often I would guess, but that doesn’t stop us from saying that men act like animals, most notoriously pigs and dogs. Men are pigs. Men are dogs. The Grimm’s tales get a little bit more creative with men being animals. Men can be frogs. Men can be fish. Men can be birds. Men can be stags. Men can be bulls. Men can be lions. Men can be bears. Men can be hedgehogs. Men can even be donkeys.

Don’t think women are entirely left out of this deal. The Grimm’s fairy tales do have some women turned animal; toads, roe, and birds are the types of animals women get turned into during the stories. Women are not turned into animals nearly as often as men. Women most often get the flower treatment. This girl got turned into a rose. This woman was a flower out in the field. Sometimes they get turned into bodies of water, once there was even a fish. I doubt any woman wants to be a fish, barring being half-fish, which would make her a mermaid. I think there would be some women that would go for that.

You can clearly see the difference in the types of animals men and women are turned into. Every animal women are turned into seems more delicate and smaller than the animals men get turned into. The fact of the matter is that it just doesn’t happen nearly as often as it happens to men. So we’re going to talk about the men.

This is generally how the story goes: a man by some enchantment has been turned into an animal, or he was born that way. He goes out into the world to find his place, but also to search for something that will turn him human again. He generally finds a woman. When he finds this woman he either turns back into a man right before he has sex with her, or he only turns into a man at night for a specified period of time. Once the specified period of time is relieved, the man is a man once more.

What all of these stories have in common is that no one ever explains why the man is enchanted. Did someone just not like him? Was someone mad at his parents? Was he just a jerk? Did he get someone’s daughter pregnant? We don’t know. We don’t know what this man has done to deserve being an animal. No story-teller thinks it is important to tell us why this man is an animal. It’s almost as if it’s just supposed to be that way.

To explore this further, you have to look at gender roles and  assumptions about those roles. Men are supposed to be tough, but men also are notoriously a little messy, rude, and base in their actions. Not all men are like that, well, maybe they are, but some of them might be pretty good about acting like they’re not like that. I’m not a man, so I couldn’t really say for sure.

Now, what do we think of animals? I have never heard anyone say, “Oh the dog is just so well-behaved he sits at his place at the table and quietly eats his food and then he excuses himself. He never pees on the carpet and he never chews up anything.’ When we think about animals, we know they’re going to do animal things, like pee on the carpet and hump your leg. We might get angry, but in the end, it’s a dog and it does dog things. Your cat is still going to scratch your furniture. A bird still might poop on your car. A raccoon might still get into your attic and tear everything up. That’s just the way it is. No matter how well an animal may be trained, they’re not above licking their butt in your presence.

A Grimm Review: Men are AnimalsMen don’t act like that. They don’t lick their butts, hump your leg, or make a big mess…right? As humans, we are expected to behave better than the animals that surround us, but sometimes you come home to your house and find a male of our species sitting in a terribly messy room, in their underwear, spilling food on their clothes, smacking when they eat, grunting, and farting. They might even be speaking in grunts. You’ll look around and think, “Dear Lord, what have I gotten myself into?” The situation is not exactly uncommon. There are a lot of people who have come home to find something very similar to what I just described.

Are women guilty of the same type of thing? Sometimes they are, but most often, it’s the men. Men are the ones more likely to display animal-like behavior. This type of behavior is so often attributed to men that we readily insult them by saying, “He’s a dog,” or, “He’s a pig.” Is it nice of us to do that? No, it’s not. Sexism goes both ways. Saying men are dogs is just as bad as saying all women are nagging. Despite the fact that it’s not exactly nice to say men behave like animals and it is kind of insulting to the men who genuinely make an effort to be civilized, we have a hard time getting rid of the image of men acting like animals. It’s so engrained into our collective assumption of what men are supposed to be.

So when these stories had people saying, “Oh yeah this guy is a frog,” or, “this one is a donkey,” it all seemed fairly plausible. A woman might hear the story and think, “Yeah, my husband kind of acts like a donkey sometimes. He pees wherever he wants to and makes loud obnoxious noises when he isn’t happy.”  It just fit; so people went with it. Men kept acting like animals and so they kept getting turned into animals in these stories.

We also tend to think that men are more controlled by their “baser” urges than women are. We have that saying about how men think about sex every seven seconds, which isn’t true, but we keep perpetuating it. We paint men as creatures who are constantly on the prowl for food and sex.

Something else interesting in these stories about animal-men is their ability to become human again. They become human again at the prospect of sex. The frog prince becomes a man again when he’s in the princess’s bed. Hans the Hedgehog can take off his hedgehog skin before he’s about to have sex. The donkey man can also take off his skin before he’s about to have sex. The man who was a lion was able to turn into a man, only at night, when it was likely that he would be having sex. Nowhere in the Grimm’s stories does it say something like, “Well, he turned back into a man when he tasted a wonderful slice of apple pie,” or, “he took a class on etiquette and afterwards he turned back into a man.”

Now, girls, women, think with me here–when you were first dating your boyfriend or husband he was just great right? He held open doors. He didn’t slurp his food. He didn’t fart around you. He bought you flowers. You know before you started dating him that he did X, Y, or Z, but he cleaned up his act when you two got serious. Then maybe he was just awesome and so refined for a while, but then you two got into the nitty-gritty of your relationship. You had sex; you got really familiar with each other, then…BAM! He’s farting around you all the time, like ALL THE TIME; you’re actually considering investing in a gas mask.What happened?

I’ll tell you what happened, your boyfriend/husband stopped their “trying to get you” act, or if you want to be a little more crass, “the trying to get into your pants” act. Women are guilty of the same thing, so don’t automatically jump to chastise the men for their acting performances.

So let’s recap–your boyfriend acted like an animal before you started dating; you two got serious; he started buying flowers; you two got really serious and he then he starting acting like an animal again because he knew he had you. Do you see any similarities between this and the Grimm’s stories about men being animals? I do. It’s the same thing. Man is an animal; man meets a woman he wants to have sex with and automatically straightens up. Alternately, man is an animal; man meets a woman; he behaves long enough to have sex, then turns back into an animal.

It’s not necessarily an insult to men that the Grimm’s brothers were saying men were animals. It’s more like a real-life parallel. It’s the life-cycle of a relationship, but you could also just say “men are animals” if that’s how you feel. You’re entitled to your opinion.

In the end though, the man eventually remains a man. He calms down as he ages and becomes comfortable in his life and doesn’t have quite the same need to be an animal. The married life has cured him of his animal-ness and now he can watch the game on TV.



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The Maid of Brakel RevisitedThe Maid of Brakel Revisited

A reader gave me some great information about the story The Maid of Brakel. It turns out there is more cultural information that I did not have for the story and since I wasn’t in Germany there was really no way I could have known. The picture to the left(generously provided by our reader who has actually been to Brakel) is the fountain in Brakel. It depicts two stories. The woman kneeling and the boy peeking out from behind the little pillar are from the Maid of Brakel. The other two women and animals on the other side are from a story called The Woman-kind Place, which is a story local to Brakel and actually happened nearby in the vicinity of the fountain. I do not know what that story is about.

I would like to re-post the text of the story so we have a refresher on what I’m referencing. Then we’ll get into some of the new information.

Story

A girl from Brakel once went to St. Anne’s Chapel at the foot of the Hinnenberg, and as she wanted to have a husband, and thought there was no one else in the chapel, she sang:

“Oh, holy Saint Anne!

Help me soon to a man.

Thous know’st him right well,

By Suttmer gate does he dwell,

His hair it is yellow,

Thou know’st him right well.”

The clerk, however, was standing behind the altar and heard that, so he cried in a very gruff voice:

“You shall not have him! You shall not have him!”

The maiden thought that the child Mary who stood by her mother Anne had called out that to her, and was angry and cried:

“Fiddle de Dee, conceited thing, hold your tongue, and let your mother speak!”

The End

St. Anne’s Chapel

In my original post, I said that I couldn’t find St. Anne’s chapel anywhere near Brakel and I was correct, but also not correct at the same time. It turns out that there was a tradition in the area to have little road side chapels. They weren’t very big. The idea was that you stopped in to pray. I guess like some kind of drive through church. This concept isn’t unfamiliar to me. I lived in Okinawa for three years and there were often small shrines at various locations. They were never listed on any map because only a few people used them. They weren’t quite as important as temples, which would be listed on the map. It’s actually something I have encountered in studies of several cultures, I just never really associated it with European culture.

The reader who gave me this information said that the chapels would have been about four to six feet deep. I assume they would have been covered. From what I have read of other cultures and their use of road-side chapels is that the chapels are covered and really possess just enough space to get out of the rain.

We already explained who St. Anne was, but just in case you missed it, St. Anne is the mother of the Virgin Mary. She is not mentioned in the Bible, only the Apocrypha. Anne is the patron saint of unmarried women, so it makes sense this young woman was praying to her for a husband.

The Hinnenberg

According to our wonderful reader:

The “Hinnenberg” is the forest in the North-Rhine Westphalia area.

It is not a mountain as I first thought, but that’s what I get for knowing only a few words of German and trying to find some of this information over the internet. So this roadside chapel was not at the foot of a mountain, but it was near a forest.

Suttmer

Suttmer is a town and it did have a gate. Our reader says that the little towns all had gates that were arches, probably brick, in the walls surrounding the city. Basically, this guy our maid likes lives near the town gate, or one of them rather.

The Clerk

In my original post about this story I assumed that maybe the clerk was older and was either the father of the boy the girl liked or he was just a jerk. Some assume that the clerk was young, a teenager in fact. He could have been the boy our maid liked and maybe he didn’t like her, or he could have been just another naughty teenager playing a prank.

Additional Good Stuff

Brakel is pronounced Brah chkel.

End Note

I really appreciate this reader pointing me towards additional information about this particular fairy tale. It’s neat to be able to find out so much about the culture in which these tales were created.

If you have any additional information about any of these stories, feel free to contact me on the contact page and tell me about it.



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Snakes in the Attic

Snakes in the AtticPeople always said the adventures of home ownership were abundant and sometimes downright weird. How about creepy? Or slithery…as the cause was. How did a person get rid of something that no one expected. All the animal removal sites listed removal of raccoons, rats, bats, and squirrels, but no one said anything about snakes in the attic. People always told horror stories about snakes crawling up through busted plumbing pipes, only to end up in the toilet bowl, but somehow having snakes slithering about overhead was even scarier. A person would just about die if a snake fell out of the ceiling and onto their head. Something had to be done.

Anne and Noah were terrified of what they knew. They knew that there were snakes, not one, not two, and not even three, but multiple snakes living in their attic. It had purely been chance that they found the snakes. They had purchased an older home; it wasn’t that large and needed many renovations, but the price had been right. Many plans were made to remodel the home. One of those plans including enlarging one of the rooms, so the walls came out. Noah had a bit of knowledge of carpentry and had been able to tackle most of the home remodeling himself. When Noah and Anne tore into the wall, they saw something both strange and eerie at the same time. There in the wall was a long snake-skin coiled between studs and around pipe. It disappeared through a hole up into the attic.

They had hoped that this was a one time deal. The house was old. At some point in the past a snake had slithered its way into the wall and into the attic, where it presumably died, because the attic was about a thousand degrees in the swampy southern summer heat. All hopes of that hypothesis died when Noah took a look inside the attic. Anne stood down below ready to catch Noah if he fell from the small ladder.

Noah carefully pushed the attic entry hatch up and out-of-the-way. He then poked his head through fifty years of spider webs to the interior of the attic. He was in their territory now. He brought his flash light into the attic with him to see what was going on. It was dark and looked as if it had been burned at one point. All seemed normal. There were cords draped over the ceiling joists, which seemed strange to Noah because he knew that it wasn’t up to code. After doing a once-over of the attic, Noah looked back to the spot where he had originally saw the sub-par wiring. The cords were gone.

As his eyes focused further into the attic, he was able to discern movement off near the eaves of the house. This was not the movement of a mouse, or a squirrel, that would have been inconvenient, but a million times more pleasant than what was actually in the attic. No, there were snakes in the attic and they were alive.

Noah lowered his head out of the attic. He wasn’t going to be a sitting duck for all those snakes to bite on. He quickly put the hatch back over the attic opening then asked Anne for some duct tape.

“Why do you need duct tape?”

“Just get it. Get it now.”

Anne obediently went and dug through the mess that was their house for the duct tape. Piles of supplies littered the house. It took her longer than Noah would have liked, but she finally returned with the circle of silver that was going to put Noah’s mind at rest. He took the tape from Anne and tore off long strips. He taped the attic shut.

“Why are you taping the attic shut? How are we supposed to get back up in there if you duct tape it shut?”

“Snakes! There are snakes up there! They’re moving around everywhere!”

“You mean like real snakes?” Anne asked incredulously. Who had ever heard of snakes in the attic?

“What are we going to do about it?” Anne was already worrying about how the snakes would get out of the attic. “Do you think they can come down?”

“I have no idea. I have never once heard of having snakes in the attic. The basement or the bathroom maybe, but not the attic.”

“Maybe we can call one of those pest removal places?” Anne suggested.

“Ok, let’s do it. We’re tight on money, but maybe they’ll be reasonable or at least have a free estimate.”

Anne went to Google animal removal places that were nearby. She found one that was only five miles from the house and called them on her cell phone. A man with a very southern accent answered the phone.

“Bubba’s Animal Removal, how can I help you?”

“Hi, um, do you remove snakes?”

“Yea, we remove snakes all the time. We get about twelve calls a week for snakes, sometimes more, depending.”

“Oh, good…do you do free estimates?”

“Sure we can do an estimate. Most people don’t want snakes sticking around though, so we usually remove the snakes right away. When would you like us to come over?”

“How about now? We’re only a few miles away”

“We can do that, we’ve got Roy who isn’t on a call right now. Roy can come and check out your problem and give you an estimate. He can be there in about ten minutes.”

Anne gave Bubba, or who she assumed was Bubba the address of their house.

“He says that Roy can be here in ten minutes to give us an estimate.”

“Good, let’s wait outside. I don’t want to be in here any longer than I have to.” Noah tried to be tough and manly, but creepy crawly things were not his forte.

In reality, it took Roy about thirty minutes to get to the house. Anne and Noah both developed a layer of sunburn on their exposed skin. Roy arrived. He got out of his truck and hitched up his pants, which were barely held up by his thin hips. He spat on the ground, a brown gob of gunk anyone could tell was chewing tobacco related.

“Bubba said yuns weren’t too far ‘way, but I git lost ’round all these trees. Le’s see dem snakesss.”

It was clear that there was a reason Bubba was the brains of the operation instead of Roy.

Noah spoke up to explain the situation.

“Well, the snakes are in the attic.”

“The ATTIC?! YUNS got SNAKES in the ATTIC!”

“Yes, there are snakes in the attic.”

“A’ight, let’s see de snakess in the attic.”

They showed Roy into the house. He climbed up on the ladder and looked up at the duct taped attic hatch.

“Scared dey gonna git ya?” Roy grinned down from his perch like some kind of toothless brown-mouthed angel. He had been chewing tobacco for a really, really long time.

Roy peeled back the duct tape, lazily humming to himself. It was probably the 1990s Monday Night Football song, at least that’s what it sounded like. He pushed the hatch up and poked his head up there, quickly followed by a flashlight from his tool belt, which did not help hold his pants up at all. As Noah and Anne looked on, they could see Roy’s pants gradually resuming the slacked position they once held before he got out of his truck.

“DAMN!”

“DAMN!”

“There are snakes up here. Dis is gonna take le’st five people. We gotta have two people up here catchin em and we gotta have two people down there ready with bags and then we gotta have another guy to help out. We gonna need two trucks. We prob’ly gonna need ev’rybuddy from the shop.”

This did not sound good price-wise to either Noah or Anne.

“So how much is that all going to cost?” Anne finally asked.

“Oh, prob’ly at least five hundret, maybe more. I reckon.”

“We don’t have five hundred dollars right now. Do you do any type of payment plan?” Asking about a payment plan had always been worth a try in Anne’s opinion.

“Nope, he don’t do no payment plans. He gotta have a check or cash to git the job done. I even knowed him ta put snakes right back under the house if the check bounced.”

Anne and Noah really didn’t have five hundred dollars. All the renovations had been expensive. With all the moving expenses they were still paying on, they really didn’t have any wiggle room(more like slither room, Anne thought) to afford the snake removal people. They had to be honest with Roy.

“We can’t afford that right now. We really can’t.” Anne let Noah do the explaining, since this was the South and people still had a penchant to charge women more for certain repairs.

“Well, they been up der, they prob’ly gonna stay der for a while. Jus’ make sure yuns don’ have any holes in the ceiling anywhere. Get some moth balls…but if I were yuns, I’d carry ’round a stick, just in case.”

Roy got down from the ladder, hitched up his pants, left the house, spat on the ground, got in his truck and left.

Anne and Noah stood side by side in the yard watching their toothless, brown-mouthed angel drive away. It seemed they were going to have to learn to live with the snakes for a while, but first, they were going to go into the trees and find big sticks.

The End

P.S. This is loosely based on a true story. Really! I have snakes in my attic! Well, not my attic, the attic of my rental house, but it’s still technically my attic. I really wish Steve Irwin was still alive right now.



attic, pest problems, pest removal, snake invasion, snake nest, snakes, Snakes in the Attic
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I’ve added a new progress bar. I’m writing query letters. Go me! I have it set for fifty, but if I write fifty letters and it’s a “no go” I’ll set the bar to one-hundred. I’m being optimistic. Maybe fifty is too low of a number, but I’m open to trying again, and again, and again. You guys have stuck with me through over a thousand posts, so fifty query letters is nothing.

P.S. as an afterthought, it’s probably not the best idea to let you guys know that I failed x of x times, but I’ll be open. I’m going to let you see me fail. I’ve already been embarrassed enough in this life, a little more can’t hurt.
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