Ulenspiegel was living at Koolkerke, in the intimate favour of a farmer's widow, a sweet and gentle person who refused him nothing of what was hers to give. He was very happy there, petted and made much of, until one day a treacherous rival, an alderman of the village, lay in wait for him early in the morning when he was coming out of the tavern, and would have beaten him with a wooden club. But Ulenspiegel, thinking to cool his rival's anger, threw him into a duck-pond that was full of water, and the alderman scrambled out as best he could, green as a toad and dripping like a sponge.
-from Chapter XXXVII
Based upon scatterings of European folktales and mythologies, this is a romantic drama of human vice and virtue spun around the wanderings of Tyl Ulenspiegel, artist, prankster, and fool.
First published in 1867-this 1918 English translation is by British writer GEOFFREY WHITWORTH (1883-1951)-it is a saga of witches and martyrs, torture and heroism that sings of the national character of heartiness and generosity of the Flemish people, with Ulenspiegel the embodiment of Flemish spirit.
From its fascinating depiction of Flemish life in the 16th century to its stalwart pluck in the face of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition that then was raging, this is the first classic of Belgian literature, the personification of the tiny country's honor and courage.
ALSO AVAILABLE AT COSIMO: deCoster's Flemish Legends
OF INTEREST TO: readers of classic European literature, students of myth and folklore