Manfred Kyber - The Hazel Dormouse Wedding

At an old ruin stood a hazel-bush. Fine silks spun from the old ruin over to the hazel-bush. The moon in the sky was big and silvery. It shone on a small, coat-bearing and emotional party. The hazel dormice celebrated a wedding. My hazel-bush is also your hazel-bush. My hazelnuts are also your hazelnuts, an old hazel dormouse said.

All were deeply moved and folded the paws. The hazel dormouse groom got a hiccup and stroked his snout. The hazel dormouse bride sobbed into a hazelnut-leaf handkerchief.

Then one went to dinner on a garden bench and everyone was served a hazelnut in the paw. One nibbled and talked, politely squeaking. It looked exceedingly good. Hazel dormice are humble and very demure.

After dinner, the young hazel dormice danced the hazel hop.

One whistled with it in two parts.

Once we've also whisteled this way, the hazel dormouse grandmother told the hazel dormouse grandfather and stroked this year's coat with old-fashioned coquetry.

The hazel dormouse grandfather cozily fondled his white throat tie and jiggled the hind paw to the hazel hop's beat.

Yes, if one really thinks about it…, he said. But he really thought of nuts.

The hazel dormouse bridal pair had retreated to a lonely branch. Here was the new appartment, a spherical little nest. The relatives had contributed moss and leaves and even belly hair they had pulled out. One really did one more thing when there was a wedding.

The hazel dormouse bride held the hazelnut-leaf handkerchief scrunched up in the paw. It was wet from tears. The hazel dormouse groom sat beside her and held her in his paws. He kissed her on the snout and behind the ears. The ears were very small. It was a beautiful hazel dormouse girl. The moon shone bright. The silks spun silvery from the old ruin to the hazel dormouse branches.

In the distance one heard the hazel hop whistling. The young hazel dormice balletically strode along each other and in doing so wore the tail laid over the paw. It looked very graceful. But the hazel dormouse bridal pair paid no attention. It sat there engrossed — paw in paw. None of them squeaked a word.

Then something horrible happened. The hazel dormouse groom had kissed behind the ears so intensely that he lost his balance and tipped backwards. In love, one looses ones balance so easily! A sharp squeaking call — then he disappeared in the depth. The hazel dormouse bride pressed the hazelnut-leaf handkerchief onto her eyes.

Where are you? she squeaked. Crawl up! Are you possibly hurt?

Below was a fearful rustling.

I fell into a pit, a muffled squeaking was heard from below. It's quite slippery. I can't get up again. Goodbye!

One heard little paws desperately knocking at the pit walls.

Is there really no way up? the hazel dormouse bride exclaimed, stunned. You really have to try! You've only recently won the green nut in the climbing competition!

The knocking stopped.

The pits widens towards the bottom. It has to be some kind of trap. I is hopeless. Forget me not! Farewell forever! It is awful. Throw down your hazelnut-leaf handkerchief for me. I will wrap me up when the bell tolls for me. Oh! The hazelnut-leaf handkerchief came falling in the depth.

Your hazel-bush is also my hazel-bush, the hazel dormouse bride thought. Then, isn't your pit also my pit? It was a big struggle in a small creature.

It didn't take long. Then, the small hazel dormouse bride took her courage in her paws and also jumped into the pit.

Now both hazel dormice sat in the pit and sobbed into the hazelnut-leaf handkerchief.

When the leaf was completely wet and there was no longer a point in crying, both stopped and looked around in the prison of their shared death. Then they noticed a big branch that had fallen diagonally into the pit, from top to bottom. The hazel dormouse bride seemingly had dragged it along it when she had jumped into the pit although it was really too big for a hazel dormouse to drag it along. It seemed to already have been loosened. Even then it was wonderful. One could crawl up on it like on a staircase if one was a hazel dormouse. The two hazel dormice did that and squeaked full of gratitude from the depths of their hazel dormouse soul. Only the hazelnut-leaf handkerchief remained down — a wet testimony of love.

On tiptoes the two went to their appartment made of leaves, moss and bellyhair.

It is really a miracle, hazel dormouse bride said, it is impossible that I have teared off the branch on my own. It seems as if invisible paws had helped us.

Fine threads spun over from the old ruin — Francis of Assisi had once lived in it.


From: Das Manfred Kyber Buch, Rowohlt, December 1985
Translation: Ulrich Messerle, March 2015
Published on:

Text Version: 2015-03-14 (a)