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THE TILL EULENSPIEGEL SERIES : TALE 16
The sixteenth story tells of how Eulenspiegel announced he wished to fly off the town hall in Magdeburg and made fun of the spectators
Long before Otto von Guericke came along, Till Eulenspiegel was performing his own Magdeburg experiments, albeit of a social rather than scientific nature. Here we once again find him manoeuvering people into looking foolish.
Soon after the time when Eulenspiegel had been a sexton, he came to the city of Magdeburg and performed many a prank. In fact, his name became so well known that everyone had something to tell about Eulenspiegel. Some of the most respected citizens asked him to perform some adventurous trick. So he said he would do just that and that he would climb atop the town hall and fly off its oriel. Soon there was hue and cry throughout the town and young and old alike assembled in the marketplace to see how he flew.
Eulenspiegel stood on the bay, flapped his arms and acted as if he were about to fly. The people stood there, eyes wide open and mouths agape, really thinking he would fly. Then Eulenspiegel began to laugh and called: "I thought there were no other idiots and fools in the world besides myself. But now I see that the whole town is full of fools. Nay, had you all told me you would fly, I should not have believed it. But you believe me, a fool! How should I have been able to fly? For I am neither goose nor bird. I also have no wings, and without wings or feathers no one can fly. Now you see that it was all made up."
Thus having spoken, he turned around, ran off the bay and left the townsfolk standing. Some of them cursed; others laughed and said: "Though he be a good for nothing jester, nonetheless he spoke the truth!"
English translation based on text in the public domain and available at Projekt Gutenberg-DE.
Source URI: http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/bote/eulenspg/eulen16.htm
Commentary preceding story text added and, where applicable, researched by writeup author.