Do you remember the story of the musicians of Bremen? According to this tale by the Brothers Grimm, there was an elderly donkey who overheard his master planning to have him killed since his usefulness had already ended.
The donkey managed to escape and set off to Bremen to become a musician there. On the way, he met three more animals with the same dilemma: they were old and about to be killed. So, the donkey, the dog, the cat, and the chicken decided to band together and become the town musicians of Bremen.
During their journey, however, they stumbled upon a house where they saw robbers having a feast while counting their loot. Hungry and needing a place to stay, the four friends decided to scare them off.
The donkey stood in front of the window, the dog jumped on his back, the cat climbed up onto the dog, the rooster perched on the cat’s head, and together, they made the loudest music possible and scared the robbers off.
The four musicians of Bremen never did reach their destination. They stayed in the house all their lives, content to have each other’s company.
When I arrived in Bremen, Germany, this statue was one of the things I looked for. I was a teenager when I read the story, and I couldn’t forget the emotions and the images it evoked in me. It is a story not only of courage and the ability to overcome adversity, but it’s a very strong tale of friendship as well.
It’s like it’s saying: we are not alone; there’s always someone out there who’s experiencing the same difficulties, the same life challenges. If we could find each other, we could give each other strength.
The statue Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (The Bremen Town Musicians) stands in the center of the city. I was lucky when I went; there were only a handful of people in front of it. I was told that during peak season, it’s very hard to take this picture; the square is full of tourists waiting for their turn to hold the donkey’s legs for good luck.
While I was walking around looking for a place to sit down and just rest, I came upon a street musician by the Rathaus (city hall). He was so good I gave him a total of 5 euros, not small change for me!
I just sat down on the bench near him, letting his music calm me down and stop my endless self-reflection. I was totally immersed in that moment, lost in his music and the scenery around me. Yes, I thought. I can stay here forever.
Here’s the raw video of one of his songs. This moment with an actual musician of Bremen will always stand out in my memory as one of the most peaceful ones during my Euro trip.
Have you been to Bremen? What did you like most about it?