We’re continuing on with these galoshes.
The counsellor decided that it was time to leave the party. He was imagining the time of King Hans during the middle ages and mistakenly put on the galoshes of fortune instead of his own. Soon he found himself in the middle ages. Things weren’t at all the same. People were dressed like old times. The streets were not paved. A procession moved through the streets, which was unfamiliar. There was no bridge across the river. When he talked about the names of places he knew, no one understood him.
He went to East Gate, but there was nothing there but a meadow. He reasons that he must be drunk, but he only had one glass of punch. He thinks about going back to the party to tell the hostess he has food poisoning, but he doesn’t.
He finds a house, it turns out to be a public house. The woman inside gives him water. He asks her if she has the day’s paper. she hands him an old thing and he says that it’s a depiction of a meteor. The man beside him begins to talk to him. They talk about Latin words and places. They compare old books and printers. Some things sort of match up, but others do not. Eventually he forgot why he was there and started to drink with several men. He gets up to leave, but finds his drunk body is not cooperating and falls out into the street, where the galoshes fall off and he finds himself back in his own time. He thinks he’s been passed out drunk in the street.
When this story speaks of the middle ages, it’s actually speaking of the reign of King John of Denmark; yes, the story does call him Hans. He was also known as Hans. He was king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden until 1513. There was a lot of political reform under King Hans and he conquered Sweden.
At one point our counsellor tells himself he must be seeing a fata morgana. In plain words, he thinks he’s seeing a mirage. It’s quite interesting, you can actually look up pictures of mirages and people have them. It’s not just a mental thing; it’s a light thing and thus you can actually take pictures of a mirage. It commonly occurs at sea. The phrase is loosely based on the phrasing for fairy, but it most notoriously associated with Morgan Le Fey of Arthurian lore.
Roeskilde and Ringstedt are both mentioned in the story and they are both towns in Denmark, although spelled a little differently these days as Roskilde and Ringsted.
There are several Latin Phrases used in the story:
- Mihi secus videtur-I think other wise, basically, “I beg to differ.”
- Locus Docendi-The place of teaching, a schoolhouse, a place where one learns lessons, etc.
Jutland is mentioned in this story and Jutland is basically Denmark. It literally juts out into the sea. It’s also called Cimbria. Jutland is a peninsula. There are other portions of Denmark, but most of Denmark is made of Jutland.
Muscovite is another word mentioned in the story. At one point the counsellor is trying to talk to people and they think he’s speaking the Muscovite language. Basically, they think he’s speaking Russian. A Muscovite is a person from Russia, but also mica, that glassy stuff you find in rocks, just FYI. Another unfamiliar word mentioned in this story is droshky, which is basically a type of carriage. The word is Russian and Polish.
Did the counsellor like his time with the galoshes? Well, he might have liked it more had he known what was going on and if he had known it was only temporary. I don’t think he would have wanted to stay there.
This guy enjoyed learning about this period of time, but when it came down to actually going there, it was a completely different thing. We’re used to the things we’re used to. Having to suddenly live a different way of life is very hard. Many of us have never experienced that, but there are a few who have. Think of people who have had to deal with sudden and devastating wars in their homeland. Think of people who have been displaced by natural disasters. Think of people who have been stranded in wildernesses they’re not used to. Ways of life have to change. People have to adjust to a new way of living if they want to survive and it is very difficult.
It’s no different for the counsellor. He finds himself in a place he doesn’t recognize. The infrastructure he’s used to is gone. People have a hard time understanding him. The only thing that is familiar to him is the pub, and that is just barely familiar to him.
Time traveling may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Too bad this guy didn’t have a Tardis.
Those darn galoshes, always getting people into sticky situations.
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Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian