Bad, have you got a bladder for us?
Why does aunt Trui no longer take part in loving kindness, Bernard wonders, now that it is nearly Mardi Gras.
They can tell aunt Trui more.
But they have spoiled it there again and Trui is not silly.
Then Bernard must not cheat aunt Trui so openly, because cheating is cheating.
And they need not go to their mother either, she has no money to spare.
Manus fell for it, but not aunt Trui.
But they need money to dress up, otherwise it is no fun at all.
Because Mardi Gras requires a nice devil’s outfit or a witch’s outfit, it doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it is scary.
Only then does it put money in your pockets and that money is then for the fair.
Bernard took him to task and said that what he had learned from Deut Messing and Duumke is nothing compared to that other thing, which he will now experience, Mardi Gras.
That is something so great, that no one would believe it if you hadn’t seen it for yourself.
If you knew, Jeus, what will now happen, you would jump from the roof; Mardi Gras would tickle between your ribs.
So much you can’t get enough of it, but it only lasts three days and three nights.
There is really nothing in the world to compete with Mardi Gras, nothing!
Now Bernard feels that he has something to tell again and Jeus can listen and be very polite to Bernard.
Or ... he will leave him alone and celebrate Mardi Gras with other people.
What do you want now, Jeus?
“Of course, Bernard, I am very grateful to you.”
See, Bernard likes that.
He forces respect from Jeus and Tall Hendrik can learn from it.
But in order to celebrate Mardi Gras, you have to learn the song.
They are sitting at the back of the house, but because it is too chilly there, they climb up to the attic.
Where Jeus will learn the song of Mardi Gras.
Bernard will sing it for him, because by singing this song for people, they will give you money.
“And now listen, then I will sing it for you.”
“Money is better than a sausage
La, la, la, what a lot
Money is better than a sausage
La, la, la, what a lot
Gloria Victoria, just mess up the lot
Gloria Victoria, la, la, la, what a lot sasa ...
Gloria Victoria, la, la, la what a lot
What do you think of that, Jeus?”
“That’s a real miracle, Bernard.
Do you know more of these songs?”
“Yes, there is another one, just listen.”
Bernard begins and continues with:
“Rumbling pot, rumbling pot
Give me a cent, and I will go on my way
I have walked with my rumbling pot for so long
But I am too poor to buy food
Rumbling pot, rumbling pot, give me a cent and I will be on my way.”
And they sing that ten times after each other, they dance and jump and try to make people laugh.
Jeus is studying it, he is quite good already, but when that takes too long Bernard has something else.
They must make sure they have ‘fancy dress outfits’.
There is something to be found here and there.
Bernard looks between the old discarded aprons and red and green cloths of Crisje, but aunt Trui also has something old and discarded in her wardrobe.
An hour later the boys can say, we will not look bad tomorrow.
It takes the whole afternoon, but they have a ‘fancy dress outfit’, Crisje.
Tomorrow he will earn money enough and he can pay Bernard his cent.
Crisje puts her hand on her heart.
They each get five cents for a mask and you can buy such a thing at Hanne Schuurman.
A short while later they run into her shop.
“Hanne, what does this one cost?”
“Five cents, Bernard.”
“That’s an ugly one, a right evil looking mask, and I want that one.
Here’s your money, Hanne.”
“What does this one cost, Hanne?”
“Exactly the same, Jeus.”
“Then I want one at four cents, Hanne.”
“That’s possible, Jeus.
Here, this is an ugly one.”
Jeus puts on a witch’s mask.
“Are you afraid of me, Bernard?”
He pays Hanne and when they are standing outside, Bernard hears:
“Here, Bernard, your cent.”
“God, damn, he is a piece of business”, Bernard says aloud.
He could have done that as well, but Bernard doesn’t think.
And he must admit, he can learn something from Jeus.
Isn’t that something, Bernard?
And now homewards, to make mother afraid and to see how that thing looks on you.
But Bernard has to admire Jeus.
And wonders why he didn’t think of that, and actually, Jeus’ mask is uglier than his.
Bernard could hit himself on the head, but it is too late.
And now they are back in the attic, are rummaging about with the old clothes, trying them on and changing one thing and another, until Bernard thinks of something else, which he had completely forgotten.
“Damn it, Jeus, where are my brains today?”
“What is it now, Bernard?”
“Now, we forgot the rumbling pot.”
“What kind of thing is that?”
“Just come with me, then I will explain that on the way.
We have to go to Bad Klink immediately.”
Now they are at Bad’s house, Bernard asks:
“Bad, have you still got a bladder for us?”
“No, Bernard, all the bladders are gone.”
“Are you sure of that, Bad?”
“Yes, Bernard, I haven’t got any more.”
“Where did they get to then, Bad?”
Big Bad Klink now has to laugh and he really finds it a pity but he hasn’t got any left.
“They were ahead of you, Bernard.
You should have ordered a bladder like that from me last week.
Yes, but what now?
They’re left like that, but Bernard doesn’t have to think for long, the boys were ahead of him, he wants to make up for that.
Now to Theet Hendriks first.
“Have you still got a bladder for us, Theet?”
“No, Bernard, they are completely gone.”
Now to Straus’.
None there either, Bernard.
Then to Mieneke Klarendaal,
He will surely get one from Mieneke.
But nothing, the pig’s bladders are sold out, Bernard.
What a pity, but nothing can be done about it, the boys were ahead of you, and you are too late.
Then to Cohen’s.
And they have none left either, Bernard, the pigs’ bladders are gone.
Then to Zwaap’s, but Jeus already knows.
Bernard has now let himself be cheated and he thinks that it is a pity, even if he doesn’t know what Bernard actually wants with such a pig’s bladder.
But now that they come across a boy with such a thing who pulls on the rumbling pot and Jeus hears that rumbling, he has to say that it is a damn shame.
And Bernard agrees with him, because it is exactly the rumbling pot which gets money.
Just try Mozes, but the goat butcher doesn’t have any pig’s bladders either.
What to do now?
But Bernard has a good head on his shoulders.
Then just some old pots and pans, a lot of noise is also worth something.
These pots and pans are soon found.
There are plenty of them on the moorland.
When he thinks he has everything for Mardi Gras, he remembers something else, how can it be, Bernard forgets nearly everything today.
“We do not have a hat yet, Jeus.
And we can’t use our caps,
They will recognize us immediately.”
The money is gone, they just do not know how to get a proper hat.
They look shabby and people do not give their money to half-dressed jokers.
But something else will probably happen today.
They will just hope for it, you can never know beforehand.
Now, half frozen, they come downstairs from the attic, however, Crisje cannot afford to pay for hats.
Crisje is missing Jeus, she misses his questioning and that chatting about the heavens, but José and his Tall One can tell him more.
Yet, in this stage in his life Jeus has told them:
And they did just that, for they see that Jeus has his own life to live and Bernard’s life is also really pleasant.
The oldest children are now looking for their own way and even if the smallest children are still hanging on her skirt, she knows that they will also leave the nest,
And that’s life.
She misses the nice little things and those things of Jeus brought her real happiness.
It was divine!
Last year Bernard celebrated Mardi Gras with Johan, now he is doing that with Jeus.
Crisje follows the boys.
Because she cannot stand that they come home with harsh and rude words.
Jeus sleeps with Gerrit in the box bed, Johan has moved to the attic with Bernard.
Tall Hendrik built a nice cosy bedroom there and they can lie there very comfortably.
What Crisje sometimes hears from them is terrible.
But that is the fault of the older children, they talk away and the younger children learn from them.
She gets a fright if the boys give each other a good shouting, she hears all kinds of things.
But where did they learn that?
She feels that Jeus no longer thinks about her happily expecting a baby.
Now he has Mardi Gras on his mind and that is better as well.
She even talked to Father about it.
He said, just give in to it, Crisje, you can’t prevent that anyway.
But it is terrible.
You get a fright now and again; it sounds so harsh, that your heart does a somersault when you hear it.
And you keep hearing something new.
Tall Hendrik laughs.
Because he understands it well.
‘They have to learn to talk anyway, Crisje.
What do you want?
Do you want to make us into Hollanders?
Do you want to protect your children from rude words?’
Tall Hendrik doesn’t go into it, try telling him that he is wrong.
But Crisje does not dirty her mouth if it is not necessary and when you can say something else for it.
Children are children, Cris.
Just try it, Tall Hendrik, if your children are sitting at the table.
Then Crisje always has something to say about it, but Tall Hendrik doesn’t bother about anything and talks as it suits him.
Crisje is now outside of Jeus’ life.
She hears nothing more about the Tall One.
One evening Crisje said to her Hendrik: “If one of our boys ever wishes to become an altar boy, Father would not even be able to use him.”
And then Hendrik said:
“If one of mine wants to become an altar boy, then I will wring his neck first.
Not one of my children will be an altar boy, Cris.
I have something else in mind for my boys, and you know that.
What I threw away for myself, I don’t need to throw away for my boys.”
But then Crisje just quickly held her tongue.
She knows that Tall Hendrik offered everything and the boys have good voices, they will be singers.
He is not bringing up the boys to be altar boys.
Father has enough of those swearing troopers already, or did you think, Crisje, that they do not swear until they are blue in the face?
Now, would these lads never get angry?
Then they are not boys, then they are old wives and Tall Hendrik wants nothing to do with it.
“Those ones there who read mass for Father”, Crisje also had to swallow, “are just such villains as my own boys.”
And a short while later he also utters:
“They do not need any angels for that, that’s child labour, Cris.”
Even if Tall Hendrik sings in the choir and is a good friend of Father, he has his own life and own opinion and does not let himself be influenced.
Yes, Crisje, it is becoming difficult.
I would just give in to it, the world is big and a child becomes older, later they will find even more harsh words, they know that themselves.
You have got it or you haven’t got it, Crisje, and you cannot stop anybody if the life doesn’t possess that feeling.
And you cannot change the life either.
Something else always happens, Crisje.
You saw that in the past as well.
Alie van den Zoepert was always afraid that her husband would murder her.
And what happened?
He misses his footing and breaks his neck.
Did you expect that?
That is what I mean and that it is not in people’s hands.
And as far as your own dialect is concerned, Crisje, you should know how sweet your rough dialect sounds in the ears of people, who have nothing else to listen to but that nice carry-on, which they are sick to death of.
Do not be ashamed of anything, Crisje.
When the book about your life is written later, I will throw everything in to it which you know here and which belongs to you, or the life’s work of you and Jeus would be as dry as old cake and we will prevent that from happening.
Believe me, everything the boys say and think of, Crisje, I will write down, I was already advised now to remember everything.
I was told, do not forget a word and learn the dialect, so that you will later be ready to describe the life of Crisje and her Jeus.
What do you say to that, Crisje?
The world will also get to know you, your dear Tall Hendrik, Jeus and the other boys as well.
The children are lying in bed and sleeping like babies.
They were exhausted.
But by eight o’clock two strange men come to the house and make an awful lot of fuss.
They are lodging with Trui for a while.
They are Italians.
When Trui thought that she could behave importantly by telling the Italians about her sister and Tall Hendrik and they heard that Tall Hendrik played the violin along with being a good singer, they went to have a look.
Trui was annoyed, but, if you know Chang and Carlo?
Less than five minutes later Crisje’s whole house was in an uproar.
The boys had to make an appearance one by one.
Chang and Carlo told that they were roofers and needed months to fix up the church again, with which they earned good money.
Then Tall Hendrik introduced his family.
“That is Johan.
That is Bernard.
That is Jeus.
That is Gerrit and the other one, you can see for yourself, I cannot introduce to you yet, can I, but it will also come soon and I can introduce you then to the child.”
Chang is immediately crazy about Jeus.
Chang has just lost a boy like him and the doctor told him that his wife cannot have any more children, her organism is disturbed.
Jeus looks just like his little Chang, true or not, Carlo, but, as Chang is quickly told, they cannot have Jeus for all the money in the world, even if Chang would want to do everything for Jeus and be able to do it.
Chang says that he wants to give Jeus a wonderful education, he has money and his own vineyard, what do you want, Crisje?
But when Jeus appears not to be for sale, they have fun.
Tall Hendrik plays the violin, and Carlo plays the guitar really well.
Now Gerrit Noesthede as well and everything will be complete.
And talk of the devil, Gerrit crosses the threshold.
It can start.
Gerrit was in Italy, he always boasts about it, now he can prove whether he really can speak Italian.
But Carlo and Chang already soon heard that Gerrit talks nonsense and now they can laugh, little Gerrit has lost his crown and has gone down in esteem, but there is fun.
A miracle has happened for the boys, they get money from Chang.
The hat is there, Crisje!
Now they can pray, now they may thank Our Lord after all, true or not, Bernard?
Chang remains in love with Jeus, he is crazy about him, he suddenly said to Tall Hendrik, that Jeus can think.
Did Tall Hendrik not know that?
Crisje is enjoying how Chang, with his German he picked up and dialect, makes it clear to Tall Hendrik, and Gerrit also has to agree, it is the case, he can think.
But Rome became Napolitano ... and Napolitano changed into Lafresco and la Ssssssst, Gerrit could only make hissing noises, for the rest Gerrit Noesthede knew nothing, absolutely nothing.
Gerrit has just fooled them all those years, as if Tall Hendrik didn’t know who little Gerrit was.
You had to laugh about it, then you forget everything, but the Sistine chapel is somewhere between Rome and Francisca.
Gerrit doesn’t know what kind of thing that is and Carlo and Chang had to laugh about it so much, that they drunk five full bottles of good wine, one after each other, they were having such fun!
A while later of course the Ave Maria could be heard from Tall Hendrik, just like that, in between times and, fair’s fair, it didn’t sound bad, even Crisje thought that Tall Hendrik hadn’t played so well in months.
Chang and Carlo therefore had no more time for Gerrit.
Tall Hendrik and Crisje have their attention.
“Can I get Jeus, Crisje?
Come on, give me Jeus, Tall Hendrik.
I will take good care of him, you have enough children.”
How is it possible, tears came into Chang’s eyes and that was not only from the wine, but it also came from the true longing and the soul of Jeus, ‘because that child has something inside’, said Chang.
What do you think of that, Crisje?
But Crisje doesn’t need to think about that.
No one will get Jeus from her!
Until late into the night there is a party and then they go to sleep, but good gracious, wasn’t that a lucky shot, Cris?
How good Our Lord is for a poor person.
Did you see Gerrit?
‘My God, Cris, how he was hemmed in.’
And Tall Hendrik also fell asleep and a while later he awoke to have his coffee, and make sure that he was on time in Emmerik.
The boys are now also awake, it is Mardi Gras, Bernard!
And now, get ready and be off.
By ten o’clock they are on their way.
The hat is there and they look good.
And now they scream: ‘Rumbling pot, give me a cent and I will be on my way ...’, but people do not give so quickly.
Aunt Trui has also left them standing in the cold.
Because she gives them another dry piece of sausage when they were really wanting money.
Others close the door in their faces.
“So, did you have to walk so fast?
That is not rumbling pot anyway.”
Then Bernard comes forward.
He has his word ready and his excuse, the rumbling pot fell under a cart between the stones and now?
Look for yourself, is this not great music?
Do we get a cent?
Just one cent?
Of course, the best people are visited first.
Jeus screams himself silly and Bernard is just as bad; he knows the songs.
They compete with each other.
But there are a lot of boys walking about.
From Bad Klink they get two cents of course.
From Mieneke Klarendaal, you won’t believe it, five cents.
But at Hosman’s house they close the door in their faces and start to scold them,
And when Bernard wanted to talk back to them Jeus pulled him away, because if you let your own voice be heard then people will recognize you.
And Bernard had to agree with him, because the Hosman’s are misery guts who never give anything.
But they did not recognize them, otherwise they would have said so a long time ago.
They are already full to the brim with sweets and nice liquorice.
Here and there they get sausage, that is also a part of it, because they sing: “Money is better than a sausage!”
You can always eat that sausage.
But adults are mean and all the same, yet by about five o’clock Bernard and Jeus have almost got a quarter each.
Exhausted and half-frozen they come home; they are starving to death.
What did you think of it, Jeus?
He has to think about it first, Bernard.
And tomorrow then?
That lasts three days, Jeus.
Crisje hears everything, they eat tasty soup and then they may go to bed.
Now it is ‘fancy dress night’ for the adults.
And really, now you can see Crisje dancing with her Tall Hendrik, such a lovely waltz.
Who doesn’t like that?
They go out with Chang and Carlo for a while, Johan looks after the children, he can be trusted with that, but it mustn’t take too long, Crisje knows.
You see all kinds of things in such a hall.
Carlo and Chang didn’t think that the Hollanders could have such fun.
You see all kinds of things, Crisje thinks.
Princes and kings, dwarfs and a strange mishmash.
Even barons and counts.
The thieves and murderers have also had an outfit made for themselves and play the rich customer for three days.
And they know very well, amongst this royalty there are real thieves and knife stabbers.
Every year you see something else here.
Now and again five or six people are stabbed and have to go to hospital.
And then the fun is usually suddenly over.
If that lot from Die’m come, just go into hiding.
They are poachers and thieves and those poachers and thieves are now walking around dressed as barons and counts, kings and emperors.
“Just look at those domonos, Hendrik.”
‘They are called ... dominos, Cris.’
Green, yellow, red, black and snow-white domonos, no, that’s not it ... they are called dominos.
Crisje is enjoying it.
Crooks and all the worst scum of Our Lord are having the greatest fun.
A workman cannot afford those expensive things.
But heaven is dancing, you won’t believe it, there are even angels under the masks.
Just look at that piece of dirt?
That is that slut from the hills, true or not?
Isn’t that something, Cris?
And red Dien there!
Has she put something on?
That is Jan.
You can see that from his footsteps, he doesn’t walk any differently.
That domino is Gerrit.
You recognize him by the way he drinks his glass of beer.
You know exactly how he picks up that beer.
They have already given themselves away, they will not get any prize, because that’s what it is about.
Anyone who is not recognized gets a prize.
Of at least two hundred guilders.
But one person after the other is unmasked, even if they have put on the strangest get-up.
Just dance with that princess and you will recognize her from that hopping about which she can’t help doing.
And yes, there is Anneke van de Zoepert.
That one there is Mieneke.
That is Alie and that is ... goodness, but that one bothers me, no, I must be mistaken.
And so you hear all kinds of things, Crisje thinks, but she must go to the children, Tall Hendrik stays a while to look, with Chang and Carlo.
He also soon has enough of it.
Carlo and Chang still want to talk for a bit, but tomorrow?
Do you hear that?
There is already someone in the hospital.
The constabularies have their hands full with work and that is a pity, always through those troublemakers from Die’m!
You could give them what for, but their quarrels are fought out on Mardi Gras.
Nothing till now stops them, that’s the way it is, and say it yourself, otherwise those people do not get their satisfaction, now they do.
A few days later, Bernard and Jeus are lying sick in bed.
No, that is nothing, Jeus knows, no, you have to slave far too hard for it and then you are sick in bed; it is not worth the trouble.
Give me the fair instead!
From the fun they end up in misery and have to swallow these troubles, Crisje is also faced with an awful lot of complaining, but it was good, Bernard thinks.
Then Bernard heard: “You keep your rotten world and I’ll keep mine.
I don’t want anything more to do with it.”
That is once and never again, Bernard thought!
Now a bit of skating, but that fun is also over quickly.
The winter flies past, spring is already approaching.
They were sent a delicious bottle of wine from Chang and Carlo, they kept their word, but the mayor is seriously considering forbidding the Mardi Gras, there were too many victims.
Why do those big men always have to spoil such fun again?
That is also food for thought.
Those kings and counts fought like wild animals.
And one of those lads had also earned the prize, now he has nothing.
And now that the money is still there, the mayor cannot forbid Mardi Gras, Our Lord, say it now yourself, that cannot be allowed, can it?
It is all too much.
You could find the rags again on the street the next day.
And people knew exactly who had worn them.
How they had let themselves go.
According to Crisje Mardi Gras is only to make people bad.
That is playing into the hands of the devil, whom Our Lord has fought against for years.
Father thinks the same about it.
They have already been talking for years about scrapping Mardi Gras for good from the annual festivities, but it doesn’t happen, it is far too nice, it is something different, so to speak.
For a few days you can feel rich for a change, the whole year long they suck your blood and sweat.
And there are too many here who have to sweat and therefore, next year there will be Mardi Gras again.
What does Jeus think about it then?
Bernard will have to go to school soon, but then there is still Gerrit, but Jeus has no contact with him.
Then he will have to go in search himself, Crisje, now his other friends will probably get the chance to play with him and talk to him again.
You don’t see Deut either, Duumke runs through the neighbourhood like a wild, hungry dog.
Life really stands still, he determines for himself, now that Bernard is preparing himself to look elsewhere.
That’s the way it is, Crisje, children become older and you become a bit stiff?
No, you are expanding again, another child, Crisje?
Or what is it?
The fun is forgotten, daily life demands everything from you, but one thing is for sure, and all have to accept, you know what you live for and whoever doesn’t know that, has to still master it; but once you know, Crisje says, you will have something new to experience every day, the children as well; Jeus knows all about it.
Well, what is to happen now?
Wait a bit and you will know!
But then Bernard had on his new clogs and he was also faced with something else!
There you go, and close the door behind you!