by Christian Morgenstern (1871 - 1914)
Translation © by Gary Bachlund (b. 1947)

Kleine Geschichte
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Litt einst ein Fähnlein große Not,
halb war es gelb, halb war es rot
und wollte gern zusammen
zu einer lichten Flammen.

Es zog sich, wand sich, wellte sich,
es knitterte, es schnellte sich -
umsonst! es mocht nicht glücken,
die Naht zu überbrücken.

Da kam ein Wolkenbruch daher
und wusch das Fähnlein kreuz und quer,
daß Rot und Gelb, zerflossen,
voll Inbrunst sich genossen.

Des Fähnleins Herren freilich war
des Vorgangs Freudigkeit nicht klar -
indes, die sich besaßen,
nun alle Welt vergaßen.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Gary Bachlund) , "Little story", written 2011, copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2004-07-11
Line count: 16
Word count: 84

Little story
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
A troop's little banner suffered great distress,
for half was yellow, the other half red
and it wanted very much
to burn as one bright flame instead.

It pulled, it writhed, it waved,
it crumpled and it whipped -- 
in vain it was unlucky,
for the seam was always ripped.

Suddenly came a cloudburst
and washed it from hither to yon,
that the red and yellow bled,
as so together were frawn.

The men under that banner
did not clearly understand,
but in as much as they did,
the world has now forgotten that little band.

Rhymed paraphrase.

Authorship

Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2012-01-05
Line count: 16
Word count: 95