German town stops playing nursery rhyme after complaint from vegan

A town mayor granted relief to a local vegan woman who was offended by the lyrics of a nursery rhyme played multiple times a day. The fact the version of the song contained no vocals was no consolation.

A vegan woman's complaints about a famous nursery rhyme resulted in a German town removing the song from the rotation in the town hall's belfry, local media reported on Wednesday.

The 19th-century children's song "Fox, You've Stolen the Goose" included the offending lines: "Fox, you've stolen the goose. Give it back! Give it back! Or the hunter will get you with his gun." The Limburg version of the song, however, was purely instrumental.

An unnamed vegan woman who worked within earshot of the mechanical carillon complained to the mayor of Limburg. Town spokesman Johannes Laubach said the mayor, who was reportedly friendly with the woman, had temporarily granted her a reprieve.

"It's time to go easy on the goose and exchange the pieces of music," said Marius Hahn, who managed the town hall. "We have 15 pieces in our repertoire, most of them German folk songs."

The "Frankfurter Neue Presse" newspaper reported the woman was distressed by being reminded of the song's lyrics - "the hunter's going to get you with his gun," rather than by the fox's theft of the goose.

"Behind this is not an ideological motive, but it is a temporary grace period for a woman working in the immediate vicinity of the town hall and thus hears the chimes every day - and is annoyed about the song," "Die Welt" newspaper quoted Laubach as saying.

The carillon - a series of bells - played tunes several times a day.

A local newspaper posted a recording of the bells on YouTube featuring a photo of the mayor superimposed on a photo of the town hall.

The German branch of animal rights group PETA released a statement saying some nursery rhymes unfairly targeted some animals and that foxes were an important link in the ecosystem.

"We understand the concerns of the resident and ask the mayor to remove the song from the program permanently. Old-fashioned songs like this, or even fairy tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf" are, unfortunately, still widespread and send the wrong message to children, especially by throwing a bad light on specific animals," the group said in a statement.

Related Subjects

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

A Grimm world

The new Brothers Grimm Museum in Kassel explores not only the work of the fairytale duo, but also art associated with their tales. Ukrainian artist Alexej Tchernyi studied in Kassel; his installation "First Delivery" is among the works on show in the museum, which opens on Sept. 4, 2015. It takes visitors back to the 19th-century world of the writers, who worked for a time as librarians in Kassel.

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

Professors on the run

Alexej Tchernyi is still working on his installation "Jacob Grimm's Dismissal from Göttingen and Exile," referring to the Grimm brother's flight from the central German city of Göttingen. In November 1837, seven professors including the Brothers Grimm staged a protest planned changes to the Kingdom of Hanover's constitution - and lost their jobs as a result.

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

Ai Weiwei's 'Colored Roots'

Kassel is not only known for its connection to fairytales, but also for hosting the contemporary art exhibition Documenta. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei exhibited at Documenta 12 in 2007. In 2010, he announced that he felt so inspired by the city, which had honored him with a civic award, that he wanted to create a work for the Grimm museum. The result: "Colored Roots 2009-2015."

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

A gift for Kassel

Just a few weeks prior to the opening of the Brothers Grimm Museum in September, Ai Weiwei's installation arrived in Kassel. The five boxes each weighed half a ton. The artist himself traveled to Germany on July 30 when Chinese authorities returned his passport after revoking it four years ago.

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

Fairytale meets modern art

Filmmaker Hannah Leonie Prinzler specializes in cross-medial documentary projects. She created the video installation "Telling Rumpelstiltskin" for the Brothers Grimm Museum.

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

The book of words

Ecke Bonk's installation "Buch der Wörter/ Book of Words: Random Reading" was on show at the Documenta in 2002 and has been reinstated in Kassel's newest museum. The "German Dictionary" written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm included 318,000 entries - some of which are incorporated into Bonk's work.

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

Listen to the grass

This work, called "Thorn Hedge," is a prickly affair made up of turf-covered poles and a corresponding sound installation that will undoubtedly draw in visitors of all ages.

Brothers Grimm get new museum in Germany

Between fantasy and reality

Small windows resembling arrow slits give visitors to the museum an altered view of the real world outside. Starting on September 4, the museum dedicated to the lives and fairytales of the Brothers Grimm expects some 400 visitors daily.

aw/sms (dpa, AP)