The Two Party System and Grimm’s fairy tale “The Little Peasant”

Thinking back on the 2008 election of President Obama, alongside the pain and misery people suffered from in the 8 years before it during the Bush administration, it’s easy to notice that President Obama hasn’t done much else different from Bush – a few progressive measures here and there, but by and large has been detrimental to our economy, just as Bush was. This comes as no surprise to us. The Democrat party is, after all, largely no different from the Republican party – two parties representing the wealthy 1% against the masses.

It reminds me of the old Grimm’s fairy tale known as “The Little Peasant.” The tale goes of a land where there’s the mass village of “wealthy peasantry,” with a single poverty-stricken peasant (“wealthy” being defined here in terms of their large allocation of resources needed to survive relatively well, i.e. cattle). Desperate, the peasant finds himself with a cow, but no food, leaving him having to eat it and use its skin as a means of trade for a small calf.

To do so, he must travel to another area and attempt this trade. Coming out empty handed, he lands himself in the home of a wealthy husband and (deceitful) wife, who hides food and whatnot from her husband. The wife lets the peasant in and provides him with some roast, wine, salad, etc. etc. while the husband is away. Soon, though, the husband returns and the wife quickly hides all the secret items in her possession. Observing this, the peasant then takes advantage of this by tricking the husband in believing that he was magical and could provide him with luxuries by simply making a raven squawk. In doing so, the peasant reveals all of the wife’s items, though without implicating the wife, and instead earning vast wealth from the husband.

The peasant then returns to his village, now among equals, per se. This isn’t enough for him though. When the village asked how he attained such wealth, he tricks the entire village that he did so by simply selling his cow skin in the area he returned from. And so the entire village killed all of their cattle – thus destroying all of their sources of wealth – so they could acquire their skin and sell it. Though when they reached the same area, they barely acquired a small fraction of what the peasant earned.

Realizing they’d been deceived, the village then rebels against the now-only-wealthy peasant and attempts to kill him by locking him inside a barrel and throwing him into water. The village felt they’d acquired justice. Unfortunately, given his sly nature, the peasant was able to convince the husband who provided him his wealth before to replace him in the barrel, tricking him in believing he’d be the next mayor of the village if he was to do so. With the husband now dead, and the peasant alive and wealthier as ever, he returns to his village.

The villagers dumbstruck, they ask him how he’s still alive with more wealth than before. Playing a new card, though with similar results, the peasant then convinces the entire village they should jump into the water and attain their rightful wealth. In doing so, the entire village was killed.


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