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Literature / Der Münchner im Himmel

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'Luja, sog i!

Der Münchner im Himmel is a satirical Short Story written by Ludwig Thoma of Lausbubengeschichten fame and published in 1911. As the German title indicates, it is about what happens when a stereotypically perpetually grumpy citizen of Munich ends up in Fluffy Cloud Heaven.

It starts with Alois Hingerl dying on his duty at Munich's main station, being dragged into Heaven, outfitted as an angel named Aloisius and demanded to stand on a cloud and cheer. To his dismay, it turns out that there is no beer in Heaven, only mana. Not even snuff is available. So not only does he cheer in his usual strong Munich Bavarian, but his "cheers" are interspersed with loads and loads of curses.

It is only then that God notices that Aloisius is from Munich and therefore doesn't fit into Heaven. Instead, he sends Aloisius back to Munich to act as a divine counselor for the Bavarian Secretary of Church and Education in Munich. What Aloisius does instead is head straight for the Hofbräuhaus to drink beer. He has done so ever since and completely forgotten about his task, and the government is still waiting for their divine counselor.

More well-known than the short story is the animated short from 1962 which is based on an earlier Audio Play. If you understand spoken Bavarian, you can watch it here.

Tropes, I say!

  • Angelic Transformation: Forced upon poor Alois after his death.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Aloisius' way of angelic cheering. Justified because he won't get any beer or snuff in Heaven. Der Münchner im Himmel is better for learning Bavarian curses than My Summer Car is for learning Finnish curses.
  • Creator Provincialism: Thoma was an Upper Bavarian and spent most of his time in or near Munich, so he knew its inhabitants pretty well.
  • Dead to Begin With: Alois' death on duty kicks the story off.
  • Fallen Angel: Aloisius falls twice, first because he can't get any beer and snuff in Heaven, then because he can get beer once he's back in Munich.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Aloisius even gets assigned his own little Solid Cloud.
  • God Is Flawed: He should have known better than to keep someone from Munich away from beer and then expect them to be happy.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: The standard angel equipment is a white gown, white wings and a golden harp. That said, "divine" doesn't quite describe Aloisius. And God wears a blue gown.
  • Grandpa God: He wears the usual long white beard, yes.
  • Guardian Angel: This is basically what Aloisius is tasked to be to the Bavarian Secretary of Church and Education. He prefers to sit in the Hofbräuhaus and drink beer instead, though.
  • Hell of a Heaven: There's no beer, and there's no snuff, so it can only be this for anyone from Munich like Aloisius.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They're all your standard Winged Humanoids, but Aloisius' behavior is quite un-Angelic.
  • Protagonist Title: It translates to "The Munich citizen in Heaven".
  • Solid Clouds: Solid enough to carry an angel and a harp.
  • Winged Humanoid: Aloisius and the other angels.