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THE TILL EULENSPIEGEL SERIES: TALE 20
The 20th story tells of how a farmer seated Eulenspiegel on a cart in which he was driving plums to Einbeck and how Eulenspiegel shat on them.
Eulenspiegel wasn't always playing tricks on the deserving or the gullible. In some stories, like this one, he's simply playing nasty pranks on helpful folk doing him a favour. This is a tale that paints Eulenspiegel as a mean-spirited villain who adds insult to injury after the deed and not just a practical joker. Redundant warning: Here be scatology (as if that were news in an Eulenspiegel tale).
The noble and highborn lords of Braunschweig once held a tournament with running and jousting in the town of Einbeck. To this event there came many foreign lords and gentlemen, knights and knaves, each with their entourage. This took place in summer, when plums and other fruit were ripe. In the village of Oldendorf, near Einbeck there lived a simple, not all too bright farmer who owned an orchard with plum trees. He had a cartful of freshly-picked plums and wished to travel with them to Einbeck since there were many people gathered there and, because of that, he thought that his plums would sell better then than on another day.
As he was making his way towards the town, Eulenspiegel lay in the shade of a green tree. He had overeaten so badly at the gentry's courts that he was unable to eat or drink any more and looked more dead than alive. As the brave man drove past him, Eulenspiegel addressed him as plaintively as he could possibly manage: "Oh, my good friend, I've been lying here sick for three days and nights with no human to help me. If I lay here one more day, surely I should die of hunger and thirst. So, for God's sake, please take me into town." The good man replied: "Why, my dear friend, that I shall indeed do. But I have plums on the cart. If I put you in the cart they would all be squashed and spoiled." Eulenspiegel said: "Take me with you, I'll make do at the front of the cart."
The farmer was an old man and had to strain himself very much in order to lift the scoundrel, who of course made himself as heavy as he could, onto the cart. And he drove slower on account of the sick man.
After they had driven for a while, Eulenspiegel lifted the hay off the plums, rose silently behind the farmer's back and shat all over the poor man's plums quite horribly.
When the farmer arrived at the town, Eulenspiegel shouted: "Stop! Stop! Help me get off, I want to stay here outside the gates." The good man helped the unrepentant scoundrel off the cart and drove along, taking the shortest way to the market. After arriving there, he unhitched his horse and rode it to the inn.
In the meantime, many townsfolk came to the market. Among them there was one who was always first whenever something new was brought to market. He immediately went, pushed aside a bit of the hay and soiled his hands and frock. While this was happening, the farmer came out of the inn. Eulenspiegel, in the meantime, had disguised himself, came from another direction and asked the farmer: "What's this you've brought for sale?" "Plums," said the farmer. Eulenspiegel then said: "You brought them as an evil prank, these plums are full of shit. They ought to banish you and your plums from the land." The farmer looked and saw that is was indeed so and said: "Outside the town there was a sick man, he looked just like the one who stands right here, only he wore different clothes. I took him, for mercy's sake, as far as the city gates. That's the villain who did this to me!" And Eulenspiegel, acting quite incensed, replied: "That villain deserves a good hiding!"
And that was it. The poor farmer had to drive his plums away to the rubbish dump and couldn't sell a single one.
Translated from public domain text for E2.