“In the heart of the Swiss mountains, where the snow falls heavy and the air is crisp, there lived a poor but generous farmer named Fidelis. His kindness and willingness to help those in need was known throughout the village, and on New Year’s Eve, he decided to invite all of his neighbors to his humble home to celebrate the arrival of the new year….”
One of the ways we connect with our ancestors is through the folklore stories. That thought crossed my mind this morning as I was taking some bread out of the oven, the way the aroma filled the room. And then I recalled an old traditional Swiss-German story about New Year’s Eve; “Der Güetzi”. Here’s my retelling of it as a way to wish you all the very best of health and abundant prosperity in the new year.
Ei Güetzi-Gmüetli (Table of Good Fortune)
While Fidelis’ wife, Verena, labored over a pot of Güetzisuppe, a hearty soup made from dried peas and other simple ingredients, the guests arrived – the miller and his wife, the two other farmers and their wives, Gabriel the teacher, and the shepherd and his daughter, Dorma. As the fire flickered and the moon rose high in the sky, they all gathered round the table, the warm aroma of the soup filling the small room.
As they slurped and smacked their lips, the rich, flavorful broth warming their bellies on the cold, snowy night, Dorma and Verena caught up on the news, chatting and laughing over the pot. And when the hour of midnight approached, Fidelis stood and made a wish for prosperity and happiness in the coming year.
As if by magic, a bolt of lightning struck the chimney, and a shower of gold coins rained down upon Fidelis and his guests. From that day on, Fidelis was no longer poor, and he used his wealth to help others and make the world a better place.
This tale reminds us of the old Swiss-German saying, “Güetzi ha’s Güetzi” – that good fortune begets good fortune. By being kind and generous, and by making our wishes with a pure heart, we can attract more good into our own lives. And as the German saying goes, “Gutes tut gut” – doing good does good. Fidelis’ kindness and generosity brought good fortune and happiness not only into his own life, but also into the lives of those around him.
As the guests finished their soup and said their goodbyes, Fidelis embraced Verena and whispered in her ear, “Dankeschön, meine Liebe. Your Güetzisuppe was the best I’ve ever tasted.” Verena blushed and smiled, her heart filled with love and pride at the compliment from her dear husband. They lived happily ever after, as they say.
Here is a recipe for Güetzisuppe:
1 cup dried peas
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the dried peas and soak them in water for at least 8 hours or overnight.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, potatoes, and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain the soaked peas and add them to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth and add the bay leaf and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the peas are tender.
Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnished with additional thyme if desired. Enjoy!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!