The Tale of the Gatekeepers

Christina Bishop
4 min readOct 26, 2020
Photo by Kyle Mackie on Unsplash

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom where everyone loved music and loved playing music. Inside the kingdom was a great music school with a giant gate where they hired a gatekeeper reminding him that that the gates should always be open to musicians who want to learn everything about music. However, the gatekeeper heard a rumor, a very terrible rumor that Alpenlanders were coming to the village to learn music and because their music was different they should not be let in. Despite being told that the gates must be open he wrote down a silly rule for the gates to be shut when

  1. Alpenlanders want to learn about their music they must learn our ways!

One day an Alpenlander named Hanzl and his musician friends decided to enter the gates because they wanted to share their music with others. But when they came to the gates they slammed shut while the gatekeeper mocked them, “Why do you jodel when you can just sing like the rest of us”. Then Hanzl saw a mark of rust on the gates of the school and asked the gatekeeper, “If you are a gatekeeper why is your gate rusting?” but he did not listen to Hanzl and continued mocking him and opened up the rusty gate to people that were not Aplenlanders.

Then the school hired another gatekeeper who heard a rumor that too many people with very little money were entering the school. Yet despite being told about the gate always being open he again wrote another silly rule

  1. Alpenlanders want to learn about their music they must learn our ways!
  2. If anyone wants to enter the school they must pay 1,000 grobels!

A wonderful fiddle player Lizal who grew up very poor but was very brilliant wanted to enter the school to earn money for his family. But when he too came to the gates they were shut on him, “Why don’t you get a wage and then come back!” laughed the two gatekeepers, “Then if your gatekeepers, why is your gate rusting?” Then when the third gatekeeper got in he wrote a rule that no three-valve tubas were to enter the school, the forth wrote a rule that everyone had to learn how to play the piano, the fifth wrote another rule that all women must wear a restrictive cummerbund and a bow in their hair and must never wear pants. It got so bad that the people asked the king why the school needed a gatekeeper?

So, the King waited for a rainy day to come to the school, and a rainy day so horrible that the rain fell like a wall of water. He got so impatient he thought of unusual weather; clouds that charged like rhinos, hail the size of coconuts, and rain that made metal burn and he went to a wizard and asked him how much water would rust a gate, “But my King the gate was always rusting from the beginning, knowledge must never be locked by a gate for it is the greatest of all powers. Fear is the only thing that prevents people from learning great things.” then the King wondered why the school was so afraid of letting people in and because of the wizard he knew the answer. He knew he could not control the weather or people, but he could change minds.

However, news got to the gatekeepers that the King was coming to the school. So they began to spread rumors about the King at the tavern for they knew that drunk people have lost all logic, “If the King thinks he’s so wise why doesn't he give us a new gate with an electric fence and walls of poison ivy!” said the seventh gatekeeper, “Hey Gorge why can’t you be king?” Gorge was the eighth gatekeeper and he loved power and began to boast about how many awards and women he won, and while they all talked and boasted a storm rolled through the kingdom while they all plotted and drunk themselves until dawn. They were so drunk that morning they could not see the rainbow in the sky and when they came to the gate.


It crushed every one of them and with the gate came down the school’s walls, for you see the wizard gave the King a bottle that captured a rainbow, and that bottle was labeled DEEDS. And in order to have a rainbow, a storm must come with it, and that day the King and the people in his kingdom learned a very important lesson…

Deeds not Words



Christina Bishop

Tuba player, creator of Struwwelkinder and The Flying Circus Orchestra