Real love is everlasting. Or it should be. I think that’s the moral of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, even in Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Town Musicians of Bremen), which, according to Aarne Thompson’s classification is a folktale of type 130: “outcast animals find a new home”
Four farm animals; a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster realize that their respective masters are mistreating them because their days of usefulness at their farms are over. They each decide to leave their homes and begin an odyssey. They plan to travel to Bremen, a city known for its freedom of spirit, and start a brand new life as musicians.
They are not afraid of leaving home. “Something better than death we can find anywhere”. With that motto in mind the journey begins and as the story goes the friendship bonds between the animals become stronger and keep them tied forever and ever. They never make it to Bremen, actually, but as Aesop (by all accounts) remarked in his fable The Four Oxen and the Lion, they learned that “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Town Musicians of Bremen has been illustrated by George Cruikshank (1823), Walter Crane (1886), Paul Meyerheim (1889), Otto Ubbelohde (1907).