“Made in Hong Kong” – by Franz Hohler

One of the tales that has inspired me most as a young girl is a little story called “Made in Hong Kong”. You will see why – I shared the translation below.


“Made in Hong Kong” – you have certainly read this somewhere, usually imprinted on the bottom of one of your toys. But do you know what that really means? I will to tell you the story behind it.

You know what a “Made” is? It’s the German word for a maggot, you know? A baby fly, when it’s still so small that it looks like a tiny worm. Once upon a time, in a lush and beautiful garden, there lived a whole flock of such maggots, such “Maden”. One of them was particularly small and was constantly ridiculed by the others. “You’ll never make it”, they said over and over again, until the little Made was so angry that she said, “I’ll make it much further than you all. I’ll go all the way to Hong Kong and become the biggest Made of us all”! All said and done, soon it took off and crawled out of the garden. “Cheers”, screamed the others, roaring with laughter, “and let us know when you have arrived in Hong Kong!”

The maggot crawled to the airport, searched and found a big cargo box and hid in a tiny little crack in the wood, scared but determined to make it. It was by total chance that this box was indeed shipped to Hong Kong directly! But that’s not all: The box was in fact full of gold!

But when it arrived in Hong Kong, a gang of robbers stole the box and brought it to an abandoned basement, immediately taking off again to steal a second box of gold. Well, they happened to be detected and taken out by the police. Now, no one knew where the box of gold was, except for our little Made, who wondered how she could let the other maggots in Germany know that she had indeed arrived in Hong Kong.

Suddenly she had an idea. She remembered that in her home garden there was a large sand box where many children came to play. So with all her gold, she bought every toy factory in Hong Kong and immediately ordered that on each toy sold to Europe the message “Made in Hong Kong” needed to be imprinted.

I can tell you that the other maggots were struck by surprise when they heard the children in the sand box reading out aloud what was printed on their toys. “Did you hear that?”, the maggots were whispering to each other, “she actually arrived!” Many of them, inspired by the Made’s story, also tried to make the journey, but none of them succeeded. One flew to Amsterdam with a pendulum shipment, the other hid in a sandwich and was eaten while traveling, and most did not even get to the airport because they either didn’t find it or were eaten by a bird on their way.

Simply being bold and small is not enough, it also takes a little bit of – luck!

Freely translated from Franz Hohler’s “Made in Hongkong”