Till Eulenspiegel

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Till Eulenspiegel was an impudent trickster figure who originated in the Middle Low German folklore and was disseminated in popular printed editions narrating the string of lightly-connected episodes that outlined his picaresque career, primarily in Germany, the Low Countries and France. He made his entrance in English-speaking culture late, in the 19th century.

Till Eulenspiegel is presented as a trickster or fool who played practical jokes on his contemporaries, exposing vices at every turn, greed and folly, hypocrisy and foolishness.

The Metzel soup story

The Metzel soup story is an anecdote from Till Eulenspiegel's childhood.

According to a local tradition in the village where Till Eulenspiegel grew up, anyone who slaughtered a pig had to invite the neighbour's children to a meal called Metzel soup. Now there was one miser who thought of a way to spoil the children's fun. When the boys and girls came to his house for the Metzel soup, he let them in and locked the door. Then he served them a less-than-appetizing version of the soup he had prepared with hard bread crusts and made them eat this. Whenever a child stopped eating, he took a rod and whipped the unfortunate, thus forcing the children to eat more than they could take. This went on until the entire bowl of the nasty meal was completely finished up. As the man knew about Till's pranks, he was extra harsh on him and made sure Till got plenty of both the soup and the rod.

After this event, none of the children ever entered the man's house for Metzel soup again. But Till took revenge. He knotted pieces of bread to strings and laid them on the ground where the man's chicken came by. The chicken eagerly swallowed the bread, still attached to the strings, such that the pieces got stuck in their necks as another chicken would be pulling on the same string. The man's entire poultry, about 200 chicken, nearly choked to death this way and Till had a good laugh.

Till's method of revenge was later adapted by Wilhelm Busch in Max and Moritz.

See also

More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Till_Eulenspiegel ]