The Louse and The Flea

Little Louse and Little Flea Fairy Tale

A little louse and little flea are brewing beer in an eggshell. Little louse falls in and that is the start of a lot of misery…

The Louse and The Flea is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about Little Louse and Little Flea who are brewing beer. Louse hurts herself, Flea screams, door creaks, broom sweeps, cart runs, ash heap burns, tree shakes, girl breaks water jug and spring flows, causing all of them to drown.

Complete text The Louse and The Flea

A louse and a flea lived happily together.

One day they were brewing beer in an eggshell. The little louse fell in and burnt herself. On this the little flea began to scream loudly.

Suddenly the little door said: “Little flea, why are you screaming?”

“Little louse has burnt herself!”

The little door began to creak.

On this a little broom in the corner said, “Why are you creaking, little door?”

“I have all reason to creak!
Little louse has burnt herself,
Little flea is weeping.”

The little broom began to sweep frantically.

A little cart passed by and said, “Why are you sweeping, little broom?”

“I have all reason to sweep!
Little louse has burnt herself,
Little flea is weeping,
Little door is creaking.”

The little cart said, “Then I will run,” and began to run wildly.

The ash heap by which it ran asked, “Why are you running around, little cart?”

“I have all reason to run around!
Little louse has burnt herself,
Little flea is weeping,
Little door is creaking,
Little broom is sweeping.”

The ash heap said, “Then I will burn furiously,” and began to burn in clear flames.

A little tree stood near the ash heap and said, “Ash heap, why are you burning?”

“I have all reason to burn!
Little louse has burnt herself,
Little flea is weeping,
Little door is creaking,
Little broom is sweeping,
Little cart is running.”

The little tree said, “Then I will shake myself,” and began to shake herself so that all her leaves fell off.

A girl who came up with her water pitcher saw that and said, “Little tree, why are you shaking yourself?”

“I have all reason to shake myself!”

“Little louse has burnt herself,
Little flea is weeping,
Little door is creaking,
Little broom is sweeping,
Little cart is running,
Little ash heap is burning.”

On this the girl said, “Then I will break my little water pitcher,” and she broke her little water pitcher.

The little spring from which ran the water said, “Girl, why are you breaking your water jug?”

“I have all reason to break my water jug!
Little louse has burnt herself,
Little flea is weeping,
Little door is creaking,
Little broom is sweeping,
Little cart is running,
Little ash heap is burning,
Little tree is shaking itself.”

“Oh, ho!” said the spring, “then I will begin to flow,” and began to flow violently.

And in the water everything was drowned; the girl, the little tree, the little ash heap, the little cart, the little broom, the little door, the little flea, the little louse, all together.

Tips for Telling The Louse and The Flea

Storyteller Rudolf Roos
  • This tale is a cumulative tale, it builds up as the tale progresses. Because there is a part that repeats itself, it is a good tale for audience participation. Your listeners can repeat the ‘chorus’ with you.
  • This story feels like a story for children. However the funny start (brewing beer in eggshells) and the miserable ending (everybody drowns) make it also a quick humorous in between story you could tell for adults. Especially because we all get the shivers of little animals like louses and fleas.
  • You can freely change the characters in the middle of the story, as long as you keep track of the order. Visualizing the story might help you better remember the order.
A reading of ‘The Louse and The Flea’

All Questions Answered

Who wrote the story The Louse and The Flea?

The tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Their source was Dorothea Catharina Wild.

When was The Louse and The Flea written?

The fairy tale was included in the first edition of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales (1812).

Under what other names is The Louse and The Flea also known?

It is also known as “Little Louse and Little Flea”. 

More useful information

Photo credits: congerdesign from Pixabay

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