The Tale of The Dutch Ghostbusters
On a grey, cold and windy autumn evening, I, dear reader, was in a little Scottish village drinking Whisky in the pub. The light was dim and the pub was empty. Almost empty, that is. The barman poured me a glass of peated whisky while an old sailor with a wooden arm drank ale, after ale, after ale. After watching this orange-bearded seaman for a while, I started talking to the old lad, who, with the strongest Scottish accent recounted the wildest sagas. After my second or eighth whisky - I don’t remember quite exactly - he told the following story:
It was 1578, and Holland was haunted by terrible French sailors’ ghosts. The whole country was terrorized by an army of those silly spirits. Every night, just as the good, Dutch people were falling asleep, the ghosts appeared singing nothing but „Oh no, no. Vous ne pouvez pas dormir.“ Which basically means: „Oh no, no. You cannot sleep.“ Nobody knew why or how this annoyance began – but they did exactly remember when: it was on July 14 of this year. As things progressed, by Mid-October, not one Dutch citizen went to bed sober. There was no negotiating with the ghosts and no mute-button either - the ghosts kept rambling, on and on. The people tried everything you can imagine, but no magic or sorcery could counter those spirits. The whole country was in despair. Tired and drunk, day in and day out.
If not for the following lucky incident, the good people would have never gotten rid of the ghosts and would probably still be stuck in their misery to this day. On December the Third, it was Fenna van Vonnel who, in her delirium, accidentally found the magical cure. You have to know, dear reader, that Fenna worked in a fine manufactory for beautiful socks and was usually a very diligent worker. Never before had she mixed red dye with some yellow, but Fenna had also never been that sloshed before – thanks to the doing of the horrible ghosts. „So what?“ she thought and went ahead dying the socks in that strange, newly invented color. Despite the circumstances, she liked the orange color and decided to wear the socks with joy. And that’s when the story really gets scary.
As every night, she neatly wetted her whistle and went to bed, awaiting the same ghost that came to haunt her every night. (I should mention, that Fenna had a habit of wearing socks to bed to stay warm.) Promptly after she laid down, not a minute later, the ghost popped up out of nothing, starting his whining, as every night „Oh no, no, no, no,…“ But suddenly, his face turned whiter than any ghost had ever been, and the well-known sentence got stuck in his throat. It seemed that the color, the beautiful color, of the socks – which stuck out at the end of the blanket – was not to his liking. Not at all, I might add. He started screaming „C’est horriiiiible!“ and with a big „PUFF“ he vanished.
Fenna was puzzled but realized slickly that what she fabricated would make the creatures disappear very quickly. Not two days later, all Dutch were wearing orange socks to bed. Lo and behold, all ghosts puffed away.
Fenna was knighted, she surely deserved that. And if you, dear reader, haven’t yet noticed, this is the story - believe it or not - of how orange became the Dutch national color.