Chimneys play a central role in folktales and folk superstitions. The most obvious:
Even if a house or apartment has no chimney.
The folk superstition – a way to explain reproduction of the species without a mention of sex – has a stork bringing the baby to the chimney.
And the fairy tale within a fairy tale, the election of a new pope.
The reality of chimney sweeps was brutal.
It was brutal. Dirty. Dangerous. Exploitative. In Mukacheve, Ukraine, there is a statue honoring a local chimney sweep, Bertolon Tovt.
And statues elsewhere, honoring generic/stereotyped chimney sweeps.
MacPherson, Kansas, was briefly famous when it was reported that Terry Nichols bought large amounts of fertilizer used in the Oklahoma City bombings in MacPherson. I have never been to MacPherson. I have a very good friend/mentor who lives in MacPherson. It is approaching criminal that I have never visited. I couldn’t very well go now wanting to see the giant chimney sweep, could I?
There exist at least two museums honoring chimney sweeps, in Vienna and in Italy.
My friend sent a draft of this posting to Gabby. Gabby was okay with it. He asked if I wanted photos of his collection of cute chimney sweep postcards. At this point in time, no thanks. He asked if I wanted photos of a collection of chimney sweep figurines that a friend of his had in London. At this point in time, no thanks.
But – he did have one further chimney idea. And, no surprise, Gabby has a decent collection of bird trading cards and so could send these:
I asked my friend what he thought of the posting on chimney lore and chimney reality. He expressed some interest in the postcards and figurines that I passed on, but when pressed on what I did put together he was clear: