Jacques Prevert

the barrel organ

Me, I play the piano said one, me, I play the violin said another, me the harp, me the banjo, me the cello, me the bagpipes, me the flute and me, a rattle. And they talked and talked, talked about what they played. No music was heard everyone talked, talked, talked, and no one played, but in a corner one man remained silent: "And you, Sir, who remain silent and say nothing, what instrument do you play?" the musicians asked him. "Me, I play the barrel organ and I also play the knife," said the man who until now had said absolutely nothing and then he advanced knife in hand and killed all the musicians and played the barrel organ and his music was so true and so lively and so pretty that the daughter of the house’s owner came out from under the piano where she lay bored to sleep and said: "Me, I played hoop ball, chase I played hopscotch, I played with a pail, I played with a shovel, I played house, I played tag, I played with my dolls, I played with a parasol, I played with my little brother, with my little sister, I played cops and robbers but that’s over, over, over... I want to play assassin I want to play the barrel organ." And the man took the little girl by the hand and they went into towns into houses, into gardens and killed as many people as possible after which they married and had many children. But the oldest learned piano the second, violin the third, harp the fourth, the rattle the fifth, cello and they all took to talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, so that no more music was heard and all was set to begin again!

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