Spring 1624. The army of the Swedish king gathers soldiers to march on Poland. Feldwebel and the recruiter recognize only war as the founder of public order and civilization. Where there is no war, what kind of morality is there: everyone wanders wherever he wants, says what he wants, eats what he wants – no order, no soldering, no accounting!
Two guys are rolling in the van of Mother Courage, the two women of the Second Finland Regiment. Here is what she sings: “Hey, commander, give a sign of halt, / Save your soldiers! / You’ll have time to fight, let’s start / Infantry will replace boots. / And feed the lice under the rumble of guns, / And live and turn into dust – / Pleasant people, if people / At least in new boots. / Hey, Christians, the ice is melting, / Sleeping dead in the sepulchral haze. / Get up! It’s time for everyone to go camping / / Who lives and breathes on the ground! “
She is a native brewer, and her real name is Anna Firling, and she was nicknamed Courage because she never threw her van with goods under bombs or under bullets. Her children – the sons and the dumb daughter of Catherine – are the real children of the war: everyone has their own surname, and their fathers are soldiers of different armies who fought under the banners of different faiths – all have already been killed or gone to an unknown destination.
The recruiter is interested in her grown-up sons, but Courage does not want them to go into the soldiers: they are fed by war, but they do not want to pay the war! She starts to guess and, in order to scare the children, arranges so that each of them receives a piece of paper with a black cross – a mark of death. And fraud becomes an ominous prophecy. Now the recruiter deftly takes her elder son Eilif, while mother Courage is bargaining with the sergeant-major. And there’s nothing to be done: we must keep up with our regiment. The two of her remaining children are harnessed into the van.
In the 1625-1626 gg. milf Courage is traveling around Poland in a train of the Swedish army. Here she brought the capon to the commander’s cook and skillfully traded with him. At this time, the commander in his tent takes her son, the brave Eilif, who performed a heroic feat: fearlessly repulsed a few bulls from the superior forces of the peasants. Eilif sings about what the soldiers say to their wives, mother Courage sings another verse – that wives tell soldiers. Soldiers talk about their courage and luck, their wives – about how little the feats and rewards for those who are doomed to perish. Mother and son are happy to meet unexpectedly.
Three more years of war have passed. A peaceful picture of the bivouac of the Finnish regiment, battered in battles, is violated by the sudden offensive of the imperial troops. Mother Courage is in captivity, but she manages to replace the Lutheran regimental banner over her van to the Catholic one. The regimental priest who has appeared here has time to replace a pastoral dress on clothes of the assistant markant. However, the Imperial soldiers hunt down and grab the younger son of Courage, a simpleton of Schweitzerkas. They demand that he give out the regimental treasury entrusted to him. Honest Schweitzerkas can not do this and must be shot. To save him, you must pay two hundred guilders – all that Mother Courage can help out for her van. It is necessary to bargain: is it possible to save the son’s life for 120 or 150 guilders? You can not. She agrees to give everything, but it’s too late. The soldiers bring the body of her son,
The song about the Great surrender: “Someone tried to move the mountains, / From the sky to take off the star, to catch the smoke with his hand. / But... such were convinced soon, / That these efforts are not for them. / And the starling sings: / Perebeysa ya, / It is necessary with all in a row to walk, / It is necessary to wait, / It is better to remain silent! “
Two years passed. War captures all new spaces. Not knowing the rest, mother Courage with his van goes through Poland, Moravia, Bavaria, Italy and again Bavaria. 1631 Victory Tilly at Magdeburg is the mother of Courage of four officers’ shirts, which her compassionate daughter breaks into bandages for the wounded.
Near the city of Ingolstadt in Bavaria Courage is present at the funeral of the commander-in-chief of the imperial troops Tilly. The regimental priest, her lieutenant, complains that in this position his abilities are lost in vain. The looters attack the dumb Catherine and severely smash her face. 1632
Mother Courage is at the top of business success: the van is full of new goods, on the neck of the hostess there is a bunch of silver thalers. “Still, you will not convince me that war is shit.” It destroys the weak, but it is not easy for them in peacetime. But she feeds her properly.
In the same year, at the Battle of Lutzen, the Swedish King Gustav-Adolf was killed. The world is declared, and this is a serious problem. The world is threatening the mother with courage to ruin. Eilif, courageous son of mother Courage, continues to plunder and kill peasants, in peacetime these feats were considered superfluous. The soldier dies like a robber, but how many did he differ from him? The world meanwhile proved to be very fragile. Mother Courage is again harnessed to her van. Together with the new assistant, the former chef of the commander, who contrived to replace the too-soft-hearted regimental priest.
For sixteen years the great war for faith has lasted. Germany lost a good half of the population. In the lands that once flourished, hunger now reigns. Wolves wander through the burnt cities. In the autumn of 1634, we meet Courage in Germany, in the Pine Mountains, away from the military road along which the Swedish troops are moving. Things are going bad, I have to beg. Hoping to get something out, the chef and mother of Courage are singing a song about Socrates, Julia Caesar and other great men whom their brilliant mind has not benefited.
A cook with virtues is not thick. He proposes to save himself, leaving Catherine to the mercy of fate. Mother Courage leaves him for her daughter’s sake.
“How nice to sit in the heat, / When the winter has come!” – sing in a peasant house. Mother Courage and Catherine stop and listen. Then they continue their journey.
January 1636 Imperial troops threaten the Protestant city of Halle, until the end of the war is still far away. Mother Courage went to the city to take valuables from hungry citizens in exchange for food. Meanwhile the besiegers, in the darkness of the night, make their way to make a massacre in the city. Catherine can not stand it: she climbs onto the roof and strikes the drum with all her might, until she is heard by the besieged. Imperial soldiers kill Catherine. Women and children are saved.
Mother Courage sings a lullaby over her dead daughter. Here is the war and took all her children. And the soldiers pass by. “Hey, take me with you!” Mother Courage drags her van. “A war of success with a variable / One hundred years of age will hold out completely, / Though an ordinary man / Does not see the joy in the war: / He eats shit, he is dressed badly, / He is ridiculous to his executioners. / But he hopes for a miracle / As long as the campaign is not completed. Hey, Christians, the ice is melting, / The dead men are sleeping in the grave darkness / Get up! It’s time for everyone to go camping / / Who lives and breathes on earth! “