Sonderling Sunday – Jinx in Das Haus des Zauberers

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books, creating a Very Silly Phrasebook for Travelers.

This week, let’s go back to Jinx, by Sage Blackwood, known in German as Jinx und der magische Urwald.


Last time, we finished Chapter One, so this week we’re starting Zweites Kapitel, Das Haus des Zauberers, “The Wizard’s House.”

We’ll look at interesting phrases and how they are translated. My sister’s visiting Germany this week, so bonus points to her if she can think of ways to use these phrases.

The first sentence (its own paragraph) of this chapter is interesting enough to write out in its entirety here:
“And that is how Jinx came to live with a possibly evil wizard and twenty-seven cats in a huge stone house that stood alone in its own clearing, protected by invisible wards that kept monsters out but let some very strange visitors in.”
= So kam es, dass Jinx bei einem möglicherweise bösen Zauberer und seinen siebenundzwanzig Katzen einzog, in ein großes Haus aus Stein, das einsam auf einer Lichtung stand, beschützt von unsichtbaren Wachen, die Monster fernhielten, einige sehr merkwürdige Besucher jedoch einließen.

“a very satisfactory dinner” = ein höchst schmackhaftes Mahl

“pie” always seems to get translated Kuchen, though it’s not really the same thing. (But Kuchen isn’t really the same as “cake,” either.)
“pumpkin pie” = Kürbiskuchen.

“rafters” = Dachbalken

“barrels and shelves” = Fässern und Regalen

“probably something evil” = vermutlich für etwas Böses

“Jinx was annoyed at being laughed at.”
= Jinx ärgerte sich über den Spott.

“hasten the process” = den Prozess beschleunigst

“drop dead” = tot umfällt

“formidable enemy” = einflößender Feind

“Put that nonsense out of your head.”
= Schlag dir diesen Unsinn aus dem Kopf.

Try finding a reason to say this:
“bottle-shaped blob of terror”
= flaschenförmigen Schreckensklecks

“swear word” = Schimpfwort

“chipmunk” = Streifenhörnchen

This is fun:
“worse and worse” = immer schlimmer

“How darling!” = Wie reizend!

“puff” = Lufthauch

“spiral staircase” = Wendeltreppe

“scattering cats” = verscheuchte mehrere Katzen

“a many-colored patchwork skirt” = einen bunten Flickenrock

Now isn’t it lovely to have one word for this?
“mustache of foam” = Schaumschnurrbart

“dragon scales” = Drachenschuppen

“a red polka-dot kerchief” = ein rot getupftes Tuch

“worrying” = nachgrübeln

“wormwood” = Beifuß

“cackled” = gackerten

“suck your soul out with a straw”
= den Menschen die Seele mit einem Strohhalm aussaugte

“stack your bones up crisscross”
= ihre Knochen kreuzweise übereinanderstapelte

“campfire” = Lagerfeuer

“scrubbed” = schrubbte

“night-blooming bindweed” = Nachtblütenwinde

“zipped” = sausten

“hurtling” = brauste

“He saw footprints, hoofprints, and claw prints frozen in the mud.”
= Er sah gefrorene Spuren von Füßen, Hufen und Tatzen im Matsch.

“zooming” = schwindelerregend

“shakily” = mit wackligen Beinen

“Simon flickered irritation at him.”
= Simon funkelte ihn ärgerlich an.

And that’s it for Chapter Two! I hope things won’t get immer schlimmer and you won’t encounter any flaschenförmigen Schreckensklecks. But now if you see a Schaumschnurrbart, you’ll know what to call it.


  1. Here’s a copy of how my sister responded on Facebook:
    Sondy, these are marvelously appropriate! We have had many “very satisfactory dinners” during this vacation, including one just tonight. I used the phrase “[Becky] was annoyed at being laughed at” to describe how I’ve felt when Kristen expresses her amusement at my attempts to speak German. Kristen and I are looking forward to telling each other to “Schlag dir diesen Unsinn aus dem Kopf.” We’ve also been up and down many a Wendeltreppe these days, including today when we went up a long one to a church spire to look out over the town of Heidelberg. Yesterday I pointed out a gargoyle on Notre Dame that had Drachenschuppen. And of course, sometimes I look at Kristen and say “Wie reizend!” Heh. So thanks, sis! Very Useful Phrases Indeed. 🙂

  2. I really like “möglicherweise bösen Zauberer” and “flaschenförmigen Schreckensklecks” But I’m disappointed to see that Jinx has been white-washed on the German cover – it’s only briefly mentioned in the text, but he is supposed to have brown skin.

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