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Throwback Thursday: Türelüre-Lißje

Maybe, you remember my post from Sunday, when I included a part of a sculpture I stumbled upon a few years ago in Aix-la-Chapelle during a day trip. I liked the artistry of the sculptor, and how he was able to model the mimics of the kids. Later at home, I tried to find out a bit more about it.

When spotting the fountain from a distance, you can see kids playing. While trying to find a good angle to take an image, I came closer and closer. When coming closer, I noticed the faces and wondered about the discrepancy between the face of the girl in the middle in comparison to the boys’ faces dancing around her.

The scenery consists of four kids. Three boys form a circle with their arms around a girl, apparently of the same age, crouching down in the middle. When looking at the very detailed modeled faces, you can see, that the boys are happy, mischievous, and showing some schadenfreude.

The name of this sculpture is “Türelüre-Lißje”. This is not German. It’s in an old local dialect relative to Lower German.

Lißje, or Lieschen is a belittling form of the woman’s name Lise (short from Elisabeth, sometime Gisela). The other part “Türelüre” is a kind of ring-a-ring-a-roses. When pronouncing this, it’s also a reference to the time, when the story happened: the time of the French occupation in the Rhineland (1794-1814)

 

You can see, in this image, that the nearly kid-sized figurines are part of a fountain and the water below the girl is also a reference to the background story. The girl was stopped by the mischievous boys and prevented from going to the toilet. They danced around her until it was too late.

 

This final image is in my option the essence of the scene: the girl is captured and in fear while the surrounding boys, although only one is visible in this frame, are blocking the viewer to come any closer and at the same time hindering the girl at least on two sides to escape. In addition, the boys are leaning towards the center and covering the girl even in this direction.

For me, it’s kind of a memorial and picturing the cruelty already available even in small kids.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Let men be noble, helpful and good”. It’s the first sentence of a hymn, he wrote in 1783. It’s a wish and a product of education. It’s not god-given. We have to work hard to respect each other and treat everyone equally.

 

These are the lyrics of one version of the old song (local dialect) handed down from the 19th century with my translation to German and English:

Türelüre-Lißje uus Klapperjaaß
Wovör hat dat Kengsche et Böksje esue naaß
Haue die Schelme va Jonge jeddooe
Haue dat Kengsche net pesse losse jooeh
Türelüre-Lißje uus Klapperjaaß
Dovör hat dat Kengsche et Böksje esue naaß

Türelüre-Lieschen aus der  Klappergasse
warum hat das Mädchen ihr Höschen naß?
Haben die Schelme von Jungs verursacht
Haben das Mädchen nicht pinkeln lassen
Türelüre-Lißje aus der Klappergasse
Darum hat das Mädchen ihr Höschen naß.

Türelüre-Lißje from Klappergasse
why did the girl wet her panties
the rascals of young boys have made things
didn’t let the girl pee
Türelüre-Lißje from Klappergasse
that’s why the girl wet her panties

Klappergasse (rattle alley) is the name of a small street in Aix-la-Chapelle. It’s said, a windmill once stood here. Maybe the girl used to live here because the lyrics says “Türelüre-Lißje from Klappergasse”.

We have a saying here in Germany:

Was Du nicht willst, was man Dir tue
das füge such keinem Anderen zu!

What you don’t want, what people do to you
don’t do that to anyone else!

Take care!

4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Türelüre-Lißje”

    1. You’re right, Tina. But what about all the war memorials around the world? They are also set up to memorize cruelty, death, fighting, and so on. But there’s a second message: never again! This aspect could also be true for this sculpture.

  1. The Golden Rule. It seems as thought there’s so much more bad behavior and hatred these days but looking back through history, I’m not sure that’s true. There’s always been a lot unfortunately.

    1. In Goethe‘s time, people believed human nature were good and became worse because of the circumstances. Today we would turn this to ‘education can make you a better human‘. But even the well educated teachers, politicians, leaders, and so on are failing in one or another category. Think of the recent findings in Canada (not only limited to Canada). Human nature is selfish. Even young kids try to find a way around a rule then accepting it. Later some establish such as their model of making business (investing a lot of time and money to make their living with illegal actions instead of finding a legal way of benefiting from their skills)

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