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The 13th tale tells of how Eulenspiegel was hired by a priest and ate the roasted chickens off the spit

In the land of Braunschweig, in the area of Magdeburg there lies a small village called B├╝ddenstedt. In this village Eulenspiegel arrived at the priest's house. The priest took him in as a servant but knew nothing about him. And he told him he should find his days and his service under him pleasant. He should eat and drink only the best, just like his housekeeper did. Everything he had to do he could do with half the labour. Eulenspiegel agreed and promised to behave accordingly. And he saw that the priest's housekeeper had only one eye. Right aways she killed two chickens, stuck them on the spit and told Eulenspiegel to sit by the oven and turn the chickens. Eulenspiegel was ready for that much and started turning the chickens over the fire.

And when they were almost done, he thought to himself: "When the priest hired me, did he not say that I should eat and drink as well as he and his housekeeper did? That could not possibly happen with the chickens but, if it failed to be so, the priest's words would not be true and I would not get to eat of the roasted chickens. I'll be smart and eat of them so that his words will remain truthful." So he took one of the chickens off the spit and ate it without bread.

When it was time for the meal, the priest's one-eyed housekeeper came to the fire to baste the chickens. She noticed that there was only one chicken on the spit and said to Eulenspiegel: "But there were two chickens! What happened to the other one?" Eulenspiegel said: "Lady, open your other eye and you'll see them both." When he made fun like this over the cook's one eye she became ill-tempered and was angry at Eulenspiegel. She ran to the priest and told him his his good servant has made fun of her because of her one eye. She had put two chickens on the spit but had found no more than one when she went to see how they were roasting.

The priest went into the kitchen and to the hearth and said to Eulenspiegel: "Why do you make fun of my maid? I see very well that there is only one chicken on the spit, and there were two." Eulenspiegel said: "Yes, indeed there were two of them." The priest said: "So what happened to the other one?" Eulenspiegel replied: "It's still there! Just open both your eyes and see that there's still a chicken on the spit! That's what I told your cook and she got angry at me." So the priest began to laugh and said: "My maid can't open both eyes because she has only one." And Eulenspiegel said: "Sir, you said so, not I." The priest made the observation: "That's bygone and shall remain so... but the other chicken is still missing." Eulenspiegel said: "Well, yes, one is gone and the other's still there. I ate one of them because you said I should eat as well as you and your maid. It would have saddened me had you been proven a liar if you ate the two chickens together and I got nothing. I ate one chicken so that you would not be untrue to your word." The priest was satisfied with the reply and said: "My dear servant, one roast is of little concern to me; in the future though do as my housekeeper says and follow her wishes." Eulenspiegel said: "Very well, kind Sir, of course, as you bid me."

After that, of everything the housekeeper told him to do, he did only half. When he was supposed to fetch a pail of water, he brought it to her half full; and when he was to bring two logs for the fire, he brought only one. When he was to feed two bundles of hay to the bull, he gave him only one and when he was to fetch one measure of wine from the public house, he brought home only half a measure. He did the same with many tasks. The cook saw very well that he was doing it towards her annoyance. But she said nothing to him but complained about him to the priest. So the priest said to Eulenspiegel: "Dear servant, my maid complains about you, but I bade you do everything accroding to her will." Eulenspiegel said: "Well, Sir, I have done only as you have told me to. You said I could perform my service to you with half the work. And your maid would like to see with both eyes but she sees only with one." The priest laughed but the housekeeper became angry and spoke: "Sir, if you keep this ne'er-do-well trickster as a servant any longer, I will have to leave you." So the priest was forced, against his will, to send off his servant Eulenspiegel.

But he made arrangements with the farmers for the village sexton had died not long before. And, since the villagers could not bear to be without a sexton, the priest advised and made a deal with them that saw them appoint Eulenspiegel as sexton.


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

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