Wish I Were There Wednesday


While Sam and I are returning to West Pines today to bring smiles to mental health patients, I really wish I were in Hamburg, Germany. One of the most iconic symbols associated with this northern German port city. The Wasserträger Statue, has a colorful historic legend associated with it.

Before the city of Hamburg introduced the local water system in 1848, Wasserträgen (literal translation: “carrying water”) was a popular profession. One of those water bearers became part of local legend.

Johann Heinrich Bentz in was born in 1787 and was called Hans Hummel by local citizens. It’s believed that Bentz acquired the nickname once he moved into the former apartment of soldier Daniel Christian Hummel upon his death. The original Hummel was well-loved by the local children for his kind nature and thrilling war stories. The children teased the ‘new’ Hummel who was described as somewhat ill-tempered and grumpy compared to the ‘real’ Hummel and began taunting him with ‘Hummel, Hummel’ whenever he passed by with his filled buckets. Local folklore suggested some of the children mooned him knowing he couldn’t chase them with his heavy load. Hummel’s response was to yell back in the Low German dialect of Plattdeutsch, ‘Mors, Mors!’ a blue phrase which roughly translates to kiss my ‘you-know-what.’

Hummel lost his job in 1848 and died six years later in a poorhouse. But since that time, the phrase ‘Hummel, Hummel!’ and its response, ‘Mors, Mors!’ have been a popular salute in Hamburg. There is even a sports connection with the phrase. When one of the city’s two popular football teams (HSV) scores a goal, the stadium announcer calls the name of the scorer, then ‘Hummel, Hummel!’ to which the crowd replies, ‘Mors, Mors!’

Hamburg used to be home to many of these colourful statues and were spread throughout the city. An outdoor city-wide exhibition took place until 2006 after which  most of the pieces were sold to private collectors. The proceeds were donated to Hamburg’s homeless. There are a few remaining colorful figures still around the city, though they are mostly found near the Rathaus, (city hall).

We’re moving closer to our favorite day, Friday but till then, ‘Hummel, Hummel!’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

71 thoughts on “Wish I Were There Wednesday

  1. Wow what a great story Monika! My Father was born & raised in Hamburg Germany. When WW11 came along he ended up in Concentration camps….he never spoke much about life b4 the War. All I know is he had a Jack Russell type dog named Jack (not very German, lol) & he loved to canoe on the river that runs thru the city. If I had 1 trip I would go to Hamburg & visit my Grandfather Johann’s grave & explore the city….
    Thanks again for such a great story!
    Sherri-Ellen & BellaDharma

    1. You’d love the city. So beautiful and full of so much to see and do.

    1. Thanks, whenever I look through my images of Hamburg, I always shout out Hummel, Hummel…Mors, Mors! And that always makes me smile.

  2. I love this story, Monika. It’s great all in itself. However, it resonates for me as one of my ancestors lived their and was a professor at the Conservatoire and played with Brahms in his early days. I also have a good friend who has lived there. I could imagine the platt Deutsch wouldn’t have gone down well there.
    Best wishes,
    PS Zac is lying on my lap underneath the laptop. It’s almost Winter here and I think he likes the warmth of both.

    1. Thank, Ro…Hamburg was such a wonderful place to visit. I fell in love with the city and the sights. Enjoy the puppy snuggle, it’s been chilly and wet here (we even received 4″ of snow last week!) and Sam and Elsa have been delighted to snuggle close on cold nights. It should start warming up now and will no doubt be scorching hot in no time. Hummel! Hummel!

  3. What a great story to go with a colourful statue. One of the things I love about traveling is finding out little snippets of stories like this.

  4. MOL..Granny is from Ostfriesland, where they also speak Plattdeutsch and she heard about ‘Mors’ but never knew where it came from. Loved the story about Hummel <3 Pawkisses for a Happy Day to all of you🐾😽💞

    1. So much history and cultural tidbits. I always learn something new whenever I go back.

    1. There’s so much to see and take in when in Hamburg. The water bearer statues are like cherries on top of a delicious sunday.

  5. Thank you for the story – I enjoy reading those types of stories. Hamburg is on my bucket list to visit and I will look for those statues. I will send an email to my cousin’s wife in Germany, she’s from Hamburg! Hummel Hummel!!! (that makes me laugh)

    1. Thanks for swinging by the Ranch. We 💙 visitors. Hamburg is a lovely place to visit-you’ll enjoy it. Hummel, Hummel!

    1. We like to think sharing interesting cultural info brings us closer together.

  6. That’s an interesting story. I can’t imagine having to schlep water all day. And to think some peeps complain about having to lug around a 16 oz bottled water!

    And as for the Bruins coming from behind to win Game 1, I say to them. “Mors, Mors!”

    1. Bwahaha…I totally agree with you in Game 1. Fingers crossed for the equalizer for Game 2. 🤞🏻

      1. The Bruins look really good when they get going. Dammit, if they win this series . . that’s the triple for Boston. Sawx and Pats already won. Now I’m relieved the Celtics laid an egg!

        1. They are going to be hard to beat. The Blues took some stupid penalties and you just can’t do that with a eam as good as the B’s. But the notion that there may a Cup in their future is not appealing to me. 😕

          1. The Blues came up big last night. It would have been nice if they’d been able to take both games, but whatevs. The Blues are actually playing better on the road so far. I hope they change it up come Game 3.

            1. That makes two of us! Now if Toronto will win tonight, I’ll be a very happy camper. 🏀

                    1. Marc Gassol played far better than his 20 points would indicate.

                    2. They followed the blueprint of the Cavs from a few years ago when they beat Golden State. Lay on the muscle and hit the dagger shots.

                    3. They were shooting the lights out. Leonard looked good. Sorry I haven’t kept up with them. They’re fun to watch. Incredible clock management. A real treat to watch.

  7. Germany is a country I would love to visit. What a sad ending to this poor fellow, but he lives on. That’s a good thing.

    Have a fabulous day, my friend. ♥

    1. Hamburg is a very vibrant city with some very interesting historical facts.

    1. There is quite a musical scene in this lovely sea port to this day. Queen also enjoyed performing there.

  8. How interesting! I didn’t know at all about that guy and that he was the reason for that phrase. I did know that phrase, of course, but that’s all. Thanks!
    I do have a picture of a “mors”, though not taken in Hamburg. [https://wp.me/p107Dr-14K]
    Have a wonderful Wednesday,

    1. Thanks. Hamburg is a great place to visit with a fascinating history.

    1. Walking along the docks was great fun. We think your mama needs to serve you guys some fresh fish today!

    1. That photo always makes me smile as I recall an incredible visit to a wonderful place to visit.

        1. ❤️This trip was full of beautiful and amazing sights that could never be forgotten. One of my all time favorite trips.

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