Turnips are awesome!
Said no one ever. I don’t even think I’ve actually even eaten a turnip in my life.
Once upon a time there were two brothers and they were both soldiers, but one was rich and the other one was poor. The poor one couldn’t make very much money off of soldiering so hung up his coat and became a farmer. He planted turnips. As the plants grew, it became apparent that one turnip was growing larger than the others. It grew and grew and grew until it would fill up an entire wagon just by itself. The man thought on what to do with this gigantic turnip. If he sold it, he would only get money for a little while. If hate it, it would just be gone because he could eat the smaller turnips just as well. He finally decided to give it to the king.
The king was impressed with the man’s turnip, being as it was the largest one he had ever seen. The soldier asked the king to accept his gift. He also went on to say that the king knew his brother, but no one knew him because he was poor. The king decided that all of this should be remedied and the man was provided with wealth, property and other riches.
The rich brother became jealous. He figured if his brother could get all of that for a turnip surely he could do better. He presented the king with gold and jewels. The king agreed that it was all very nice swag, but he had nothing tremendous to give the rich brother in return except for a giant turnip. HA!
The rich brother was irritated at all of this and contrived to kill his brother. He told him that he knew where some buried treasure was and that the two of them should go out and dig it up in a brotherly bonding experience. The brother agreed. So on the way, murderers attacked the brother. They were just about to hang him up in a tree when they heard hoof beats. They decided to abandon their murder, instead they put the brother in a sack and hung him in a tree.
The hoof beats belonged to the horse of a scholar. The brother called down to the scholar from his tree. He said he was learning all there was to know up in that sack. The scholar begged him to have a turn. The brother told him he had to wait an hour. So the scholar paced impatiently underneath the brother for and hour. After the hour was up, the brother told the scholar to let him down and they would trade places. The scholar let the brother down. He got out and then told the scholar to get in. The scholar got in head ride-side up, but the brother told him that would not do. He turned the scholar upside down, then hoisted him into the tree. He told the scholar he should already feel the knowledge rushing to his head. The brother then rode off on the scholar’s horse. He did send someone back to cut the scholar down in a little while.
Your brother tries to murder you, so you hang a student up in a tree, somehow, this doesn’t seem right. What of the brother? What does he do afterwards to the other brother? Does he just say, “Hey it’s ok that you tried to kill me”? (I really need to refresh my mind as to the placement of punctuation in concerns to quotation marks, so forgive any errors)
Like I said before, I don’t ever recall eating a turnip. Are they good? What do they taste like? I’m not really sure. I keep thinking of radishes, but turnips and radishes are not the same thing. I have had turnip greens though. I know people like how they taste, but I really don’t. More about turnips, your Jack O’Lanterns originated with turnips and not pumpkins. How sad. Stingy Jack carried around a hollowed-out turnip in his never-ending not-life-but-not-death with a light inside to light his way.
This reminds me of a Brer Rabbit story. Brer Rabbit was once in a tree, caught in a trap set by one of the other Brer animals. He tells another Brer animal that he’s making a dollar a minute up in the tree, so the animal decides he’s got to try for himself, thus Brer Rabbit gets free.
I’m going to Google a picture of a big turnip for this section of my post.
Right, so the poor brother gave what he had, which was a giant turnip. It wasn’t of much worth. It probably wasn’t pretty. Eventually, it was going to rot, but this brother gave his only item of any worth, in any sense, to the king. The king repays this grand sacrifice by giving him many riches of worth in the eyes of men. The rich brother on the other hand, tries to buy more wealth, with the wealth he already has. It would be silly to repay wealth with more wealth, so a giant turnip is quite a novel idea. It’s sentimental and unique rather than that old, trite wealth and money everyone keeps talking about.
This story is about sacrifice. If you give up something of great worth to yourself, even though it’s not of great worth to the world, the general idea is that you’re going to be repaid handsomely. The second brother gave up what he already had and he had plenty. There was no real sacrifice there. The first brother was gambling of course, the king might not have given him anything in return, but this story has some religious undertones.
There are no outright religious references in this story, but it’s very similar to many religious parables. It even somewhat references a New Testament saying, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” found in Matthew 19: 24. There is no camel in this story and there is no heaven, it’s all metaphors, symbols and types. The king is your equivalent of God in this story. He realizes what a great sacrifice this one turnip is to the poor man so he grants him rewards beyond measure in return, or in religious talk, eternal salvation and heavenly mansions. The rich brother tries to buy his way into heaven, in a sense, with money. You can’t buy your way into heaven. The money was not a real sacrifice to the rich man, the king saw this and he rewarded the rich man with what he deserved, which was a turnip that was probably already going bad.
Also, consider the idea of the “last shall be first and the first shall be last.” The roles of the two brothers were exchanged when they met their judgement by the king.
Moving on, the story does not speak of any retaliation on the part of the first brother for the act of almost being murdered by the second brother. Maybe because he knows he is in God’s(the king’s) good graces and would do as the king would have and forgives his brother for this trespass, but that still doesn’t explain why he ties a student up in a tree.
I’m thinking the part of the story with the student is just a several-hundred-year-old way of making fun of nerds. People are always picking on other people who want to learn. They think it’s a stupid waste of time. Just you wait– we’re going to rule the world.
I also want to point out that some people think their “book learning” is so important. They think it’s the only thing that matters and they don’t need anything else to get by on life. Sure, you can be a professional student your entire life, but you’ve got to pay the electricity bill somehow. Common knowledge and working knowledge are also very essential to life. You cannot neglect an area of knowledge and get very far in life, if you do, it’s only by pure luck. This student had plenty of “book learning,” but he sadly lacked in common sense. Anyone with common sense would know that sitting in a tree, in a sack, was not going to make you any smarter, in fact, it’s probably going to make you dumber because the blood flow to your brain is probably going to be restricted somehow by being in a sack.
I’m sensing that this was not the original-original story. I could be wrong on that though.
Turnips for crying out loud!
a big turnip, grimm’s fairy tales, guy in a sack in a tree, guy in a tree, poor brother, rich brother, The Turnip, the turnip grimm’s fairy tales, two brothers
Grimm’s Fairy Tales