The Bremen Town Musicians

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The Bremen Town Musicians
Herrfurth Bremer Stadtmusikanten.jpg
Original Title: Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten
Written by: The Brothers Grimm
Central Theme: Cooperation trumps predation.
Synopsis: Runaway old farm animals band together to reinvent themselves as a musical troupe; their singing don't give them a career but helps them to get a new home from its previous criminal owners.
Genre(s): Fairy tale
First published: 1819
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The Bremen Town Musicians is a German folk story about a group of animals who decide to run away and form a musical troupe. Unfortunately, although they don't realize it, their singing is beyond awful, and their first "concert" scares away its audience: a group of robbers stationed in a cottage. The animals settle into the cottage, and when the robbers return by night, again repel them, mostly because of the robbers' own superstitious fears. The animals decide to remain at the cottage, and live happily ever after.

The story is short and lighthearted, more a folktale than a Fairy Tale. It was collected by The Brothers Grimm and included in their Children's and Household Tales. Although it has not achieved the prominence of some of their other stories, it remains a fairly popular and easily adaptable story for children. Adaptations include the Soviet animated musical Town Musicians of Bremen, Jim Henson's The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, and the German animated movie The Fearless Four.

Cartoon Network has also produced a number of shorts called "Wedgies"; one of these is The Bremen Avenue Experience, a Garage Band which includes Funny Animal versions of the same animals from the original folktale: a rooster, a cat, a dog, and a donkey.

Alluded to in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask by the Bremen's Mask, which is used to play a flute that makes animals follow Link.

There is also a manga called Bremen, which is about a rock group in Japan who name themselves from this story. A small allusion to the animal motifs exist in the manga.

Bremen, by the way, is a real city in northwestern Germany. It acknowledges and celebrates the folk story with a statue of the Musicians.

Tropes used in The Bremen Town Musicians include:
  • Accidental Hero: The whole band never realizes they're up against "bad guys"; they repel them more or less by accident.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: Which is about what you'd expect, given that they're a mismatched group of animals trying to "sing".
  • Happily Ever After
  • Talking Animal: Well, they talk to each other. But probably not to people.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The reason why the animals all run away is because their asshole owners planned to kill them now that they're old and no longer able to do their jobs.