The Legend of Dumbass and the City of Bern (Or, Our First Weekend Excursion)

In the Middle Ages there was a faire and handsome prince named Dumbass. Back then, Dumbass was a princely name, like the modern day Jonathan, Simon, Nathaniel or any other good and strong-sounding name.

Dumbass was preparing a croissant at his favorite restaurant at the Hotel National in the Old City, a beautiful burg surrounded on three sides by the river Aare. The year was 1405.

Unfortunately, Prince Dumbass failed to take heed of a relatively big-ass sign, but not big enough, apparently, that read: “Toast only, no croissants.” It also showed a picture of a flaming croissant, which Dumbass took to be a flaming hot dog, which he thought strange but since it was breakfast and no hot dogs were in sight, his brain decided it did not concern him.

Handsome and hungry Prince Dumbass proceeded to send his delicious buttery flaked croissant through the moving grill of the toaster. But alas, the plump croissant was much too high for the machine. The croissant promptly caught against the heating coils and burst into flame, igniting the toaster, burning down the restaurant, and setting fire to the entire city which, because of the wide use of wooden timber, burned to the ground.

The city was quickly rebuilt with beautiful and burn-proof gray-green sandstone quarried from the nearby hills. And the city was renamed Burn, or in Swiss, Bern. And because the name Dumbass took a particularly negative meaning after this incident, the Prince changed it to the princely-sounding Ken.

Such is the legend of the origin of the somewhat uncomplimentary meaning of Dumbass and the name of the city of Bern.

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  • David  On October 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I don’t buy the story, but very cute.
    What is true is that Einstein came up with his Theory of Relativity while living in Bern…maybe there’s a connection.

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