Who’s who – Apprentice

Original name: Never really had one
Origin: Germany
Original tale: See below

Well… in this particular case, I must to confess to having cheated. Even though there are in fact several versions of the tale which inspired Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous balladThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice – which in turn gave birth to a symphonic poem, two animated segments and a movie, the fact of the matter is that Apprentice’s story is more based on the ballad’s events, imagery and lyricism than in the original tale. To wit, and for thoroughness’ sake, Apprentice’s origins aren’t based in oral tradition, unlike every other character in the series.

However, the traditional source Goethe based his ballad on lends legitimacy to Apprentice’s presence among such illustrous figures of European folklore, so I chose to turn a blind eye to his less-than-traditional origins. Besides, in the original tale, the young sorcerer summons Beelzebub instead of nameless spirits, and Donkey’s peculiar ties to a certain denizen of Hell would cause far too many narrative constraints in the long term. Not only that, had I opted for the “original” Apprentice, I would have deprived the story of a rich source of recurring characters (in the form of the summoned spirits), who give so much color and zest to the bleak world of Happily Upon a Time, and the end result has convinced me that I made the right call in picking this version of the character.

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