Previous story (8) - Till Eulenspiegel - Next story (10)

The ninth story tells of how Eulenspiegel crept into a beehive, how two thieves came to steal it and how he made them fight and drop it.

One time it so happened that Eulenspiegel and his mother went to a consecration in a nearby village. And Eulenspiegel drank beyond his fill. So he looked for a place where he could sleep undisturbed. In a yard he found a number of empty bee baskets and next to them some empty beehives. He crept into the basket closest to the bees and thought he'd take a nap. And he slept from noon until almost midnight. His mother thought he had gone home for he was nowhere in sight.

The same night, two thieves came to steal a bee basket. And one of them said to the other: "I've always heard that the heaviest basket is the best." So they lifted all the baskets and hives and, when they came to the one Eulenspiegel was in, decided that it was the heaviest. So they said: "This is the best hive," lifted him up and carried him off on their shoulders.

In the meantime Eulenspiegel had woken up and heard their plans. It was also pitch dark so one of them was unable to see the other. So Eulenspiegel stuck his arm out of the basket and yanked the front man's hair. This one became angry at the man behind and started cursing at him because he thought it was he who had pulled his hair. But the one walking behind said: "Are you dreaming or sleepwalking? How could I pull your hair? I can barely hold the basket in my hands." Eulenspiegel laughed to himself, thinking this game could be fun. He waited until they'd travelled another field's length and then tugged at the hair of the man behind so strongly that the man grimaced in pain. The man behind became even angrier and said: "I walk and break my back carrying this thing and you say I pull your hair! You've almost pulled my hair off my head!" And the man in front replied: "You're a miserable liar too! How can I pull your hair when I can barely see the way in front of me? And I know very well that you pulled my hair!"

Thus they continued on their way, carrying the bee basket and fighting with each other. Not long after that, at the height of the fight, Eulenspiegel stuck his hand out of the basket and pulled the front man's hair so violently that he banged his head against the basket. The man became so enraged that he let go of the basket and started to blindly flail with his fists in the direction of the man behind. This one also let the basket drop and threw himself at the man who had been in front. They rolled together, then got separated and neither of them knew where the other was. Finally, they lost themselves in the darkness, leaving the basket behind.

Now Eulenspiegel peered out of the basked and, seeing that it was still dark, stayed inside until it became broad daylight. Then he crept out of the basket and had no idea where he was. He followed a road and came to a castle where he found work as a page.


English translation created for E2 from the original by Hermann Bote at the German project Gutenberg.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.