The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Legend of Ulenspiegel, Vol. II (of 2), by
Charles de Coster

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Legend of Ulenspiegel, Vol. II (of 2)
       And Lamme Goedzak, and their Adventures Heroical, Joyous
              and Glorious in the Land of Flanders and Elsewhere

Author: Charles de Coster

Translator: F. M. Atkinson
            John Hero Lepper

Release Date: June 15, 2012 [EBook #40004]
Last Updated: July 3, 2016

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


The Legend of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak


Original Title Page.
The Legend of Ulenspiegel
And Lamme Goedzak, and their Adventures Heroical, Joyous and Glorious in the Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
Vol. II
London: William Heinemann

London: William Heinemann. [v]



Book III 1
Book IV 197
Book V 305

The Legend of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak

And their Adventures Heroical, Joyous, and Glorious in the Land of Flanders and Elsewhere.

Book III



He goes away, the Silent One, God guideth him.

The two counts have been seized already; Alba promises the Silent One lenity and pardon if he will present himself before him.

At this news, Ulenspiegel said to Lamme: “The Duke summons, at the instance of Dubois, the procurator general, the Prince of Orange, Ludwig his brother, De Hoogstraeten, Van den Bergh, Culembourg, de Brederode, and other friends of the Prince’s, to appear before him within thrice fourteen days, promising them good justice and grace. Listen, Lamme, and hearken: One day a Jew of Amsterdam summoned one of his enemies to come down into the street; the summoner was on the pavement and the summoned at a window.

“‘Come down, then,’ said the summoner to the summoned, ‘and I will give thee such a cuff on the head with my fist that it will tumble into thy breast, and thou shalt look through thy ribs like a thief through the bars of his prison.’ [2]

“The summoned replied: ‘Even if thou wast to promise me an hundredfold more, I would not come down even then.’ And so may Orange and the others answer.”

And they did so, refusing to appear. Egmont and de Hoorn did not follow their example. And weakness in duty evokes the hour of God and fate.



At this time were beheaded on the Horse Market at Brussels the sires d’Andelot, the sons of Battemberg and other renowned and valiant lords, that had wished to seize Amsterdam by surprise.

And while they were going to execution, being eighteen in number, and singing hymns, the drummers drummed before and behind, all along the way.

And the Spanish troopers escorting them and carrying blazing torches burned their bodies with them all over. And when they writhed because of the pain, the troopers would say: “What now, Lutherans, does that hurt then to be burned so soon?”

And he that had betrayed them was called Dierick Slosse, who brought them to Enkhuyse, that was still Catholic, to hand them over to the duke’s catchpolls.

And they died valiantly.

And the king inherited.



“Didst thou see him go by?” said Ulenspiegel, clad as a woodman, to Lamme similarly accoutred. “Didst thou see the foul duke with his forehead flat above like an eagle’s, and his long beard like a rope end [3]dangling from a gallows? May God strangle him with it! Didst thou see that spider with his long hairy legs that Satan vomiting spat out upon our country? Come, Lamme, come; we will fling stones into his web....”

“Alas!” said Lamme, “we shall be burned alive.”

“Come to Groenendal, my dear friend; come to Groenendal, there is a noble cloister whither His Spiderly Dukishness goes to pray to the God of peace to allow him to perfect his work, which is to rejoice his black spirits wallowing in carrion. We are in Lent, and it is only blood from which His Dukishness has no mind to fast. Come, Lamme, there are five hundred armed horsemen roundabout the house of Ohain; three hundred footmen have set out in little bands and are entering the forest of Soignes.

“Presently, when Alba is at his devotions, we shall run out upon him, and having taken him, we shall put him in a good iron cage and send him to the prince.”

But Lamme, shivering in anguish:

“A great risk, my son,” he said to Ulenspiegel. “A great risk! I would follow you in this emprise were not my legs so weak, if my belly was not so blown out by reason of the thin sour beer they drink in this town of Brussels.”

This discourse was held in a hole dug in the earth in a wood, in the middle of the undergrowth. Suddenly, looking through the leaves as though out of a burrow, they saw the yellow and red coats of the Duke’s troopers, whose weapons glittered in the sun and who were going afoot through the wood.

“We are betrayed,” said Ulenspiegel.

When he saw the troopers no more, he ran at top speed as far as Ohain. The troopers let him pass [4]without noticing him, because of his woodcutter’s clothes and the load of wood he carried on his back. There he found the horsemen waiting; he spread the news, all scattered and escaped except the sire de Bausart d’Armentières who was taken. As for the footmen that were coming from Brussels, they could not find a single one.

And it was a cowardly traitor in the regiment of the Sieur de Likes that betrayed them all.

The Sire de Bausart paid cruelly for the others.

Ulenspiegel went, his heart beating wildly with anguish, to see his cruel punishment in the Cattle Market at Brussels.

And poor d’Armentières, put upon the wheel, received thirty-seven blows of an iron bar on legs, arms, feet, and hands, which were broken to pieces one by one, for the murderers desired to see him suffer terribly.

And he received the thirty-seventh on the breast, and of that one he died.



On a June day, bright and sweet, there was erected at Brussels, on the marketplace in front of the City Hall, a scaffold covered with black draperies, and hard by two tall stakes with iron spiked ends. Upon the scaffold were two black cushions and a little table on which there was a silver crucifix.

And on this scaffold were put to death by the sword the noble counts of Egmont and of Hoorn. And the king inherited.

And the ambassador of François, the first of that name, said, speaking of Egmont: [5]

“I have just seen the head cut from off the man that twice caused France to tremble.”

And the heads of the counts were set on the iron spikes.

And Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“The bodies and the blood are covered with black cloth. Blessed be they that shall hold their heart high and the sword straight in the black days that are at hand!”



At this time the Silent One gathered an army and invaded the Low Countries from three sides.

And Ulenspiegel said at a meeting of Wild Beggars at Marenhout:

“Upon the advice of the Inquisitors, Philip, the king, has declared each and every inhabitant of the Low Countries guilty of treason through heresy, both for adherence to it and for not having opposed it, and in consideration of this execrable crime, condemns them all, without respect to sex or age, excepting those that are expressly noted by name, to the penalties attached to such misdemeanours; and that without hope of grace. The king inherits. Death is reaping throughout the wide rich lands that border on the Northern Sea, the country of Emden, the river Amise, the countries of Westphalia, of Clèves, of Juliers and of Liége, the bishoprics of Cologne and of Trèves, the countries of Lorraine and of France. Death is reaping over a land of three hundred and forty leagues, in two hundred walled cities, in a hundred and fifty villages holding city rights, in the countryside in bourgs and plains. The king inherits. [6]

“It is nowise too much,” he went on, “eleven thousand butchers to do the work. Alba calls them soldiers. And the land of our fathers has become a charnel house whence the arts are taking flight, which the trades abandon, whence industries are departing to go and enrich foreigners, who allow them in their land to worship the God of the free conscience. Death and Ruin are reaping. The king inherits.

“The countries had acquired their privileges by dint of money given to needy princes; these privileges are confiscated. They had hoped, in accordance with the contracts entered upon and passed between them and the sovereigns, to enjoy riches as the fruit of their labours. They are deceived: the mason builds for the fire, the worker toils for the thief. The king inherits.

“Blood and tears! death reaps at the stake; upon the trees that serve as gallows all along the highways; in the open graves wherein poor girls are thrown alive; in the judicial drownings of the prisons, in the circles of blazing faggots within which the victims burn by slow fire, in the wrappings of burning straw in which the victims die in flame and smoke. The king inherits.

“So has willed the Pope in Rome.

“The cities are bursting with spies waiting for their share of the victims’ goods. The richer a man is, the guiltier he is. The king inherits.

“But the valiant men of the countries will not suffer themselves to be slain like lambs. Among those that flee there are armed men that take shelter in the woods. The monks had denounced them that they might be slain and their goods seized. And so by night, by day, by bands, like wild beasts they rush upon the cloisters, and take back from thence the money stolen from the [7]poor people, in the shape of candelabra, gold and silver shrines, pyxes, patens, precious vases. Is not that so, good fellows? They drink from them the wine the monks were keeping for themselves. The vases melted down or pledged will serve for the holy war. Long live the Beggars!”

“They harass the king’s soldiers, slay them and strip them, and then they flee into their dens. Day and night fires are seen lighted and extinguished, changing place incessantly. They are the fires of our feastings. For us the game, both fur and feather. We are lords. The peasants give us bread and bacon when we want it. Lamme, look at them. Raggedy, fierce, resolute, and proud eyed, they wander about the woods with their hatchets, halberds, long swords, daggers, pikes, lances, crossbows, arquebuses, for all weapons are good to them, and they will never march under ensigns. Long live the Beggars!

And Ulenspiegel sang:

Slaet op den trommele van dirre dom deyne

Slaet op den trommele van dirre doum, doum.

Beat upon the drum! van dirre dom deyne,

Beat upon the drum of war.

“Let them tear out his bowels from the Duke!

Let them lash his face with them!

Slaet op den trommele, beat upon the drum

Cursed be the Duke! Death to the murderer.

“Let him be thrown to dogs! Death to the

Butcher! Long live the Beggars!

Let him be hanged by the tongue

And by the arm, by the tongue that orders,

And by the arm that signs the sentence of death.


Slaet op den trommele.

Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!

“Let the Duke be shut up alive with his victims’ bodies!

In the noisome stench

Let him die of the corpse plague!

Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!

“Christ from on high look on thy soldiers,

Risking the fire, the rope,

The sword for thy word’s sake.

They will deliverance for the land of their fathers.

Slaet op den trommele, van dirre dom deyne.

Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!”

And all set to drinking and shouting:

“Long live the Beggar!”

And Ulenspiegel, drinking from the gilt tankard of a monk, looked proudly round on the valiant faces of the Wild Beggars.

“Wild men,” said he, “ye are wolves, lions, and tigers. Eat the dogs of the bloody king.”

“Long live the Beggar!” said they, singing:

Slaet op den trommele van dirre dom deyne;

Slaet op den trommele van dirre dom dom:

Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!”



Ulenspiegel, being at Ypres, was recruiting soldiers for the Prince: pursued by the Duke’s catchpolls, he offered himself as beadle to the provost of Saint Martin. [9]There he had for his companion a bellringer called Pompilius Numan, a coward of the deepest dye, who at night took his own shadow for the devil and his shirt for a ghost.

The provost was fat and plump as a hen fattened just ripe for the spit. Ulenspiegel soon saw on what grass he grazed to make himself so much pork. According to what he heard from the bellringer and saw with his own eyes, the provost dined at nine and supped at four by the clock. He stayed in bed until half-past eight; then before dinner he went walking in his church to see if the poor-boxes were well filled. And the half he put into his own pouch. At nine o’clock he dined on a bowl of milk, half a leg of mutton, a little heron pie, and emptied five tankards of Brussels wine. At ten, sucking a few prunes and washing them down with Orleans wine, he prayed God never to bring him in the way of gluttony. At noon, he ate, to pass the time, a wing and rump of a chicken. At one o’clock, thinking of his supper, he drained a big draught of Spanish wine; then stretching himself out on his bed, refreshed himself with a little nap.

Awaking, he would eat a little salted salmon to whet his appetite, and drink a great tankard of dobbel-knol of Antwerp. Then he would go down into the kitchen, sit down before the chimney place and the noble wood fire that flamed in it. There he watched roasting and browning for the abbey monks a big piece of veal or a well-scalded little pigling, that he would have eaten more gladly than a piece of bread. But his appetite was a little wanting. And he would study the spit, which turned by itself like a miracle. It was the work of Peter van Steenkiste the smith, who lived in the [10]castellany of Courtrai. The provost paid him fifteen Paris livres for one of these spits.

Then he would go up again to his bed, and dozing upon it through fatigue, he would wake up about three o’clock to gulp in a little pig jelly washed down with wine of Romagna at two hundred and forty florins the hogshead. At three he would eat a fledgling chick with Madeira sugar and empty two glasses of malvoisie at seventeen florins the keg. At half-past three, he took half a pot of preserves and washed it down with hydromel. Being now well awaked, he would take one foot in his hand and rest in meditation.

The moment of supper being come, the curé of Saint Jean would often arrive to visit him at this succulent hour. They sometimes disputed which could eat most fish, poultry, game, and meat. The one that was quickest filled must pay a dish of carbonadoes for the other, with three hot wines, four spices, and seven vegetables.

Thus drinking and eating, they talked together of heretics, being of opinion anyhow that it was impossible to do away with too many of them. And then they never fell into any quarrel, except only when they were discussing the thirty-nine ways of making good soups with beer.

Then drooping their venerable heads upon their priestly paunches, they would snore. Sometimes half waking, one of them would say that life in this world is very sweet and that poor folk are very wrong to complain.

This was the saintly man whose beadle Ulenspiegel became. He served him well during mass, not without filling the flagons three times, twice for himself and [11]once for the provost. The ringer Pompilius Numan helped him at it on occasion.

Ulenspiegel, who saw Pompilius so flourishing, paunchy, and full cheeked, asked him if it was in the provost’s service he had laid up for himself this treasure of enviable health.

“Aye, my son,” replied Pompilius, “but shut the door tight for fear that one might listen to us.”

Then speaking in a whisper:

“You know,” said he, “that our master the provost loveth all wines and beers, all meats and fowl, with a surpassing love. And so he locks his meats in a cupboard and his wines in a cellar, the keys of which are ever in his pouch. And he sleeps with his hand on them.... By night when he sleeps I go and take his keys from his pouch and put them back again, not without trembling, my son, for if he knew my crime he would have me boiled alive.”

“Pompilius,” said Ulenspiegel, “it needs not to take all that trouble, but the keys one time only; I shall make keys on this pattern and we shall leave the others on the paunch of the good provost.”

“Make them, my son,” said Pompilius.

Ulenspiegel made the keys; as soon as he and Pompilius judged about eight of the clock in the evening that the good provost was asleep they would go down and take what they chose of meats and bottles. Ulenspiegel would carry two bottles and Pompilius the meats, because Pompilius always was trembling like a leaf, and hams and legs of mutton do not break in falling. They took possession of fowl more than once before they were cooked, which brought about the accusation of several cats belonging to [12]the neighbourhood, which were done to death for the crime.

They went thereafter into the Ketel-straat, which is the street of the bona robas. There they spared nothing, giving liberally to their dears smoked beef and ham, saveloys and poultry, and gave them wine of Orleans and Romagna to drink, and Ingelsche bier, which they called ale on the other side of the sea, and which they poured in floods down the fresh throats of the pretty ladies. And they were paid in caresses.

However, one morning after dinner the provost sent for both of them. He had a formidable look, sucking a marrow bone in soup, not without anger.

Pompilius was trembling in his shoes, and his belly was shaken with fear. Ulenspiegel, keeping quiet, felt at the cellar keys in his pocket with pleased satisfaction.

The provost, addressing him, said:

“Someone is drinking my wine and eating my fowl, is it thou, my son?”

“No,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“And this ringer,” said the provost, pointing to Pompilius, “hath not he dipped his hands in this crime, for he is pallid as a dying man, assuredly because the stolen wine is poison to him.”

“Alas! Messire,” answered Ulenspiegel, “you wrongly accuse your ringer, for if he is pale, it is not from having drunk wine, but for want of drinking enough, from which cause he is so loosened that if he is not stopped his very soul will escape by streams into his shoes.”

“The poor we have always with us,” said the provost, taking a deep draught of wine from his tankard. “But tell me, my son, if thou, who hast the eyes of a lynx, hast not seen the robbers?” [13]

“I will keep good watch for them, Messire Provost,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“May God have you both in his joy, my children,” said the provost, “and live soberly. For it is from intemperance that many evils come upon us in this vale of tears. Go in peace.”

And he blessed them.

And he sucked another marrow bone in soup, and drank another great draught of wine.

Ulenspiegel and Pompilius went out from him.

“This scurvy fellow,” said Ulenspiegel, “would not have given you a single drop of his wine to drink. It will be blessed bread to steal more from him still. But what ails you that you are shivering?”

“My shoes are full of water,” said Pompilius.

“Water dries quickly, my son,” said Ulenspiegel. “But be merry, to-night there will be flagon music in the Ketel-straat. And we will fill up the three night watchmen, who will watch the town with snores.”

Which was done.

However, they were close to Saint Martin’s day: the church was adorned for the feast. Ulenspiegel and Pompilius went in by night, shut the doors close, lit all the wax candles, took a viol and bagpipe, and began to play on these instruments all they might. And the candles flared like suns. But that was not all. Their task being done, they went to the provost, whom they found afoot, in spite of the late hour, munching a thrush, drinking Rhenish wine and opening both eyes to see the church windows lit up.

“Messire Provost,” said Ulenspiegel to him, “would you know who eats your meats and drinks your wines?”

“And this illumination,” said the provost, pointing to [14]the windows of the church. “Ah! Lord God, dost thou allow Master Saint Martin thus to burn, by night and without paying, poor monks’ wax candles?”

“He is doing something besides, Messire Provost,” said Ulenspiegel, “but come.”

The provost took his crozier and followed with them; they went into the church.

There, he saw, in the middle of the great nave, all the saints come down from their niches, ranged round and as it seemed commanded by Saint Martin, who out-topped them all by a head, and from the forefinger of his hand, outstretched to bless, held up a roast turkey. The others had in their hands or were lifting to their mouths pieces of chicken or goose, sausages, hams, fish raw and cooked, and among other things a pike weighing full fourteen pounds. And every one had at his feet a flask of wine.

At this sight the provost, losing himself wholly in anger, became so red and his face was so congested, that Pompilius and Ulenspiegel thought he would burst, but the provost, without paying any heed to them, went straight up to Saint Martin, threatening him as if he would have laid the crime of the others to his charge, tore the turkey away from his finger and struck him such heavy blows that he broke his arm, his nose, his crozier, and his mitre.

As for the others, he did not spare them bangs and thumps, and more than one under his blows laid aside arms, hands, mitre, crozier, scythe, axes, gridirons, saw, and other emblems of dignity and of martyrdom. Then the provost, his belly shaking in front of him, went himself to put out all the candles with rage and speed. [15]

He carried away all he could of hams, fowl, and sausages, and bending beneath the load he came back to his bedchamber so doleful and angry that he drank, draught upon draught, three great flasks of wine.

Ulenspiegel, being well assured that he was sleeping, took away to the Ketel-straat all the provost thought he had rescued, and also all that remained in the church, not without first supping on the best pieces. And they laid the remains and fragments at the feet of the saints.

Next day Pompilius was ringing the bell for matins; Ulenspiegel went up into the provost’s sleeping chamber and asked him to come down once more into the church.

There, showing him the broken pieces of saints and fowls, he said to him:

“Messire Provost, you did all in vain, they have eaten all the same.”

“Aye,” replied the provost, “they have come up to my sleeping chamber, like robbers, and taken what I had saved. Ah, master saints, I will complain to the Pope about this.”

“Aye,” replied Ulenspiegel, “but the procession is the day after to-morrow, the workmen will presently be coming into the church: if they see there all these poor mutilated saints, are you not afraid of being accused of iconoclasm?”

“Ah! Master Saint Martin,” said the provost, “spare me the fire, I knew not what I did!”

Then turning to Ulenspiegel, while the timid bellringer was swinging to his bells:

“They could never,” said he, “between now and [16]Sunday, mend Saint Martin. What am I to do, and what will the people say?”

“Messire,” answered Ulenspiegel, “we must employ an innocent subterfuge. We shall glue on a beard on the face of Pompilius; it is always respectable, being always melancholic; we shall dight him up with the Saint’s mitre, alb, amice, and great cloak; we shall enjoin upon him to stand well and fast on his pedestal, and the people will take him for the wooden Saint Martin.”

The provost went to Pompilius who was swaying on the ropes.

“Cease to ring,” said he, “and listen to me: would you earn fifteen ducats? On Sunday, the day of the procession, you shall be Saint Martin. Ulenspiegel will get you up properly, and if when you are borne by your four men you make one movement or utter one word, I will have you boiled alive in oil in the great caldron the executioner has just had built on the market square.”

“Monseigneur, I give you thanks,” said Pompilius; “but you know that I find it hard to contain my water.”

“You must obey,” replied the provost.

“I shall obey, Monseigneur,” said Pompilius, very pitifully.



Next day, in bright sunshine, the procession issued forth from the church. Ulenspiegel had, as best he could, patched up the twelve saints that balanced themselves on their pedestals between the banners of the guilds, then came the statue of Our Lady; then the daughters of the Virgin all clad in white and singing [17]anthems; then the archers and crossbowmen; then the nearest to the dais and swaying more than the others, Pompilius sinking under the heavy accoutrements of Master Saint Martin.

Ulenspiegel, having provided himself with itching powder, had himself clothed Pompilius with his episcopal costume, had put on his gloves and given him his crozier and taught him the Latin fashion of blessing the people. He had also helped the priests to clothe themselves. On some he put their stole, on others their amice, on the deacons the alb. He ran hither and thither through the church, restoring the folds of doublet or breeches. He admired and praised the well-furbished weapons of the crossbowmen, and the formidable bows of the confraternity of the archers. And on everyone he poured, on ruff, on back or wrist, a pinch of itching powder. But the dean and the four bearers of Saint Martin were those that got most of it. As for the daughters of the Virgin, he spared them for the sake of their sweetness and grace.

The procession went forth, banners in the wind, ensigns displayed, in goodly order. Men and women crossed themselves as they saw it passing. And the sun shone hot.

The dean was the first to feel the effect of the powder, and scratched a little behind his ear. All, priests, archers, crossbowmen, were scratching neck, legs, wrists, without daring to do it openly. The four bearers were scratching, too, but the bellringer, itching worse than any, for he was more exposed to the hot sun, did not dare even to budge for fear of being boiled alive. Screwing up his nose, he made an ugly grimace and [18]trembled on his tottery legs, for he nearly fell every time his bearers scratched themselves.

But he did not dare to move, and let his water go through fear, and the bearers said:

“Great Saint Martin, is it going to rain now?”

The priests were singing a hymn to Our Lady.

“Si de coe ... coe ... coe ... lo descenderes

O sanc ... ta ... ta ... ta ... Ma ... ma ... ria.”

For their voices shook because of the itching, which became excessive, but they scratched themselves modestly and parsimoniously. Even so the dean and the four bearers of Saint Martin had their necks and wrists torn to pieces. Pompilius stayed absolutely still, tottering on his poor legs, which were itching the most.

But lo on a sudden all the crossbowmen, archers, deacons, priests, dean, and the bearers of Saint Martin stopped to scratch themselves. The powder made the soles of Pompilius’s feet itch, but he dared not budge for fear of falling.

And the curious said that Saint Martin rolled very fierce eyes and showed a very threatening mien to the poor populace.

Then the dean started the procession going again.

Soon the hot sun that was falling straight down on all these processional backs and bellies made the effect of the powder intolerable.

And then priests, archers, crossbowmen, deacons, and dean were seen, like a troop of apes, stopping and scratching shamelessly wherever they itched.

The daughters of the Virgin sang their hymn, and it [19]was as the angels’ singing, all those fresh pure voices mounting towards the sky.

All went off wherever and however they could: the dean, still scratching, rescued the Holy Sacrament; the pious people carried the relics into the church; Saint Martin’s four bearers threw Pompilius roughly on the ground. There, not daring to scratch, move, or speak, the poor bellringer shut his eyes devoutly.

Two lads would have carried him away, but finding him too heavy, they stood him upright against a wall, and there Pompilius shed big tears.

The populace assembled round about him; the women had gone to fetch handkerchiefs of fine white linen and wiped his face to preserve his tears as relics, and said to him: “Monseigneur, how hot you are!”

The bellringer looked at them piteously, and in spite of himself, made grimaces with his nose.

But as the tears were rolling copiously from his eyes, the women said:

“Great Saint Martin, are you weeping for the sins of the town of Ypres? Is not that your honoured nose moving? Yet we have followed the counsel of Louis Vivès and the poor of Ypres will have wherewithal to work and wherewithal to eat. Oh! the big tears! They are pearls. Our salvation is here.”

The men said:

“Must we, great Saint Martin, pull down the Ketel-straat in our town? But teach us above all ways of preventing poor girls from going out at night and so falling into a thousand adventures.”

Suddenly the people cried out:

“Here is the beadle!”

Ulenspiegel then came up, and taking Pompilius [20]round the body, carried him off on his shoulders followed by the crowd of devout men and women.

“Alas!” said the poor ringer, whispering in his ear, “I shall die of itch, my son.”

“Keep stiff,” answered Ulenspiegel; “do you forget that you are a wooden saint?”

He ran on at full speed and set down Pompilius before the provost who was currying himself with his nails till the blood came.

“Bellringer,” said the provost, “have you scratched yourself like us?”

“No, Messire,” answered Pompilius.

“Have you spoken or moved?”

“No, Messire,” replied Pompilius.

“Then,” said the provost, “you shall have your fifteen ducats. Now go and scratch yourself.”



The next day, the people, having learned from Ulenspiegel what had happened, said it was a wicked mockery to make them worship as a saint a whining fellow who could not hold in his water.

And many became heretics. And setting out with all their goods, they hastened to swell the prince’s army.

Ulenspiegel returned towards Liége.

Being alone in the wood he sat down and pondered. Looking at the bright sky, he said:

“War, always war, so that the Spanish enemy may slay the poor people, pillage our goods, violate our wives and daughters. And all the while our goodly money goes, and our blood flows in rivers without profit to any one, except for this royal churl that would [21]fain add another jewel of authority to his crown. A jewel that he imagines glorious, a jewel of blood, a jewel of smoke. Ah! if I could jewel thee as I desire, there would be none but flies to desire thy company.”

As he thought on these things he saw pass before him a whole herd of stags. There were some among them old and tall, with their dowcets still, and proudly wearing their antlers with nine points. Graceful brockets, which are their squires, trotted alongside them seeming all prepared to give them succour with their pointed horns. Ulenspiegel knew not where they were going, but judged that it was to their lair.

“Ah!” said he, “old stags and graceful brockets, ye are going, merry and proud, into the depths of the woodland to your lair, eating the young shoots, snuffling up the balmy scents, happy until the hunter-murderer shall come. Even so with us, old stags and brockets!”

And the ashes of Claes beat upon Ulenspiegel’s breast.



In September, when the gnats cease from biting, the Silent One, with six field guns and four great cannon to talk for him, and fourteen thousand Flemings, Walloons, and Germans, crossed the Rhine at Saint Vyt.

Under the yellow-and-red ensigns of the knotty staff of Burgundy, a staff that bruised our countries for long, the rod of the beginning of servitude that Alba wielded, the bloody duke, there marched twenty-six thousand five hundred men, and rumbled along seventeen field pieces and nine big guns.

But the Silent One was not to have any good success in this war, for Alba continually refused battle. [22]

And his brother Ludwig, the Bayard of Flanders, after many cities won, and many ships held to ransom on the Rhine, lost at Jemmingen in Frisia to the duke’s son sixteen guns, fifteen hundred horses, and twenty ensigns, all through certain cowardly mercenary troops, who demanded money when it was the hour of battle.

And through ruin, blood, and tears, Ulenspiegel vainly sought the salvation of the land of our fathers.

And the executioners throughout the countries were hanging, beheading, burning the poor innocent victims.

And the king was inheriting.



Going through the Walloon country, Ulenspiegel saw that the prince had no succour to hope for thence, and so he came up to the town of Bouillon.

Little by little he saw appearing on the road more and more hunchbacks of every age, sex, and condition. All of them, equipped with large rosaries, were devoutly telling their beads on them.

And their prayers were as the croakings of frogs in a pond at night when the weather is warm.

There were hunchback mothers carrying hunchback children, whilst other children of the same brood clung to their skirts. And there were hunchbacks on the hills and hunchbacks in the plains. And everywhere Ulenspiegel saw their thin silhouettes standing out against the clear sky.

He went to one and said to him:

“Whither go all these poor men, women, and children?”

The man replied: [23]

“We are going to the tomb of Master Saint Remacle to pray him that he will grant what our hearts desire, by taking from off our backs his lump of humiliation.”

Ulenspiegel rejoined:

“Could Master Saint Remacle give me also what my heart desireth, by taking from off the back of the poor communes the bloody duke, who weighs upon them like a leaden hump?”

“He hath not charge to remove humps of penance,” replied the pilgrim.

“Did he remove others?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Aye, when the humps are young. If then the miracle of healing takes place, we hold revel and feasting throughout all the town. And every pilgrim gives a piece of silver, and oftentimes a gold florin to the happy one that is cured, becomes a saint thereby and with power to pray with efficacy for the others.”

Ulenspiegel said:

“Why doeth the wealthy Master Saint Remacle, like a rascal apothecary, make folk pay for his cures?”

“Impious tramp, he punishes blasphemers!” replied the pilgrim, shaking his hump in fury.

“Alas!” groaned Ulenspiegel.

And he fell doubled up at the foot of a tree.

The pilgrim, looking down on him, said:

“Master Saint Remacle smites hard when he smites.”

Ulenspiegel bent up his back, and scratching at it, whined:

“Glorious saint, take pity. It is chastisement. I feel between my shoulder bones a bitter agony. Alas! O! O! Pardon, Master Saint Remacle. Go, pilgrim, go, leave me here alone, like a parricide, to weep and to repent.” [24]

But the pilgrim had fled away as far as the Great Square of Bouillon, where all the hunchbacks were gathered.

There, shivering with fear, he told them, speaking brokenly:

“Met a pilgrim as straight as a poplar ... a blaspheming pilgrim ... hump on his back ... a burning hump!”

The pilgrims, hearing this, they gave vent to a thousand joyful outcries, saying:

“Master Saint Remacle, if you give humps, you can take them away. Take away our humps, Master Saint Remacle!”

Meanwhile, Ulenspiegel left his tree. Passing through the empty suburb, he saw, at the low door of a tavern, two bladders swinging from a stick, pigs’ bladders, hung up in this fashion as a sign of a fair of black puddings, panch kermis as they say in the country of Brabant.

Ulenspiegel took one of the two bladders, picked up from the ground the backbone of a schol, which the French call dried plaice, drew blood from himself, made some blood run into the bladder, blew it up, sealed it, put it on his back, and on it placed the backbone of the schol. Thus equipped, with his back arched, his head wagging, and his legs tottering like an old humpback, he came out on the square.

The pilgrim that had witnessed his fall saw him and cried out:

“Here is the blasphemer!”

And pointed to him with his finger. And all ran to see the afflicted one.

Ulenspiegel nodded his head piteously. [25]

“Ah!” said he, “I deserve neither grace nor pity; slay me like a mad dog.”

And the humpbacks, rubbing their hands, said:

“One more in our fraternity.”

Ulenspiegel, muttering between his teeth: “I will make you pay for that, evil ones,” appeared to endure all patiently, and said:

“I will neither eat nor drink, even to fortify my hump, until Master Saint Remacle has deigned to heal me even as he has smitten me.”

At the rumour of the miracle the dean came out of the church. He was a tall man, portly and majestic. Nose in wind, he clove the sea of the hunchbacks like a ship.

They pointed out Ulenspiegel; he said to him:

“Is it thou, good fellow, that the scourge of Saint Remacle has smitten?”

“Yea, Messire Dean,” replied Ulenspiegel, “it is indeed I his humble worshipper who would fain be cured of his new hump, if it please him.”

The dean, smelling some trick under this speech:

“Let me,” said he, “feel this hump.”

“Feel it, Messire,” answered Ulenspiegel.

And having done so, the dean:

“It is,” said he, “of recent date and wet. I hope, however, that Master Saint Remacle will be pleased to act pitifully. Follow me.”

Ulenspiegel followed the dean and went into the church. The humpbacks, walking behind him, cried out: “Behold the accursed! Behold the blasphemer! What doth it weigh, thy fresh hump? Wilt thou make a bag of it to put thy patacoons in? Thou didst mock at us all thy life because thou wast [26]straight: now it is our turn. Glory be to Master Saint Remacle!”

Ulenspiegel, without uttering a word, bending his head, still following the dean, went into a little chapel where there was a tomb all marble covered with a great flat slab also of marble. Between the tomb and the chapel wall there was not the space of the span of a large hand. A crowd of humpbacked pilgrims, following one another in single file, passed between the wall and the slab of the tomb, on which they rubbed their humps in silence. And thus they hoped to be delivered. And those that were rubbing their humps were loath to give place to those that had not yet rubbed theirs, and they fought together, but without any noise, only daring to strike sly blows, humpbacks’ blows, because of the holiness of the place.

The dean bade Ulenspiegel get up on the flat top of the tomb, that all the pilgrims might see him plainly. Ulenspiegel replied: “I cannot get up by myself.”

The dean helped him up and stationed himself beside him, bidding him kneel down. Ulenspiegel did so and remained in this posture, with head hanging.

The dean then, having meditated, preached and said in a sonorous voice:

“Sons and brothers of Jesus Christ, ye see at my feet the greatest child of impiety, vagabond, and blasphemer that Saint Remacle hath ever smitten with his anger.”

And Ulenspiegel, beating upon his breast, said: “Confiteor.”

“Once,” went on the dean, “he was straight as a halberd shaft, and gloried in it. See him now, humpbacked [27]and bowed under the stroke of the celestial curse.”

Confiteor, take away my hump,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Yea,” went on the dean, “yea, mighty saint, Master Saint Remacle, who since thy glorious death hast performed nine and thirty miracles, take away from his shoulders the weight that loads them down. And may we, for this boon, sing thy praises from everlasting to everlasting, in saecula saeculorum. And peace on earth to humpbacks of good will.”

And the humpbacks said in chorus:

“Yea, yea, peace on earth to humpbacks of good will: humpbacks’ peace, truce to the deformed, amnesty of humiliation. Take away our humps, Master Saint Remacle!”

The dean bade Ulenspiegel descend from the tomb, and rub his hump against the edge of the slab. Ulenspiegel did so, ever repeating: “Mea culpa, confiteor, take away my hump.” And he rubbed it thoroughly in sight and knowledge of those that stood by.

And these cried aloud:

“Do ye see the hump? it bends! see you, it gives way! it will melt away on the right”—“No, it will go back into the breast; humps do not melt, they go down again into the intestines from which they come”—“No, they return into the stomach where they serve as nourishment for eighty days”—“It is the saint’s gift to humpbacks that are rid of them”—“Where do the old humps go?”

Suddenly all the humpbacks gave a loud cry, for Ulenspiegel had just burst his hump leaning hard against the edge of the flat tomb top. All the blood that was in it fell, dripping from his doublet in big [28]drops upon the stone flags. And he cried out, straightening himself up and stretching out his arms:

“I am rid of it!”

And all the humpbacks began to call out together:

“Master Saint Remacle the blessed, it is kind to him, but hard to us”—“Master, take away our humps, ours too!”—“I, I will give thee a calf.”—“I, seven sheep.”—“I, the year’s hunting.”—“I, six hams.”—“I, I will give my cottage to the Church”—“Take away our humps, Master Saint Remacle!”

And they looked on Ulenspiegel with envy and with respect. One would have felt under his doublet, but the dean said to him:

“There is a wound that may not see the light.”

“I will pray for you,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Aye, Pilgrim,” said the humpbacks, speaking all together, “aye, master, thou that hast been made straight again, we made a mock of thee; forgive it us, we knew not what we did. Monseigneur Christ forgave when on the cross; give us all forgiveness.”

“I will forgive,” said Ulenspiegel benevolently.

“Then,” said they, “take this patard, accept this florin, permit us to give this real to Your Straightness, to offer him this cruzado, put these carolus in his hands....”

“Hide up your carolus,” said Ulenspiegel, whispering, “let not your left hand know what your right hand is giving.”

And this he said because of the dean who was devouring with his eyes the humpbacks’ money, without seeing whether it was gold or silver.

“Thanks be unto thee, sanctified sir,” said the humpbacks to Ulenspiegel. [29]

And he accepted their gifts proudly as a man of a miracle.

But greedy ones were rubbing away with their humps on the tomb without saying a word.

Ulenspiegel went at night to a tavern where he held revel and feast.

Before going to bed, thinking that the dean would want to have his share of the booty, if not all, he counted up his gain, and found more gold than silver, for he had in it fully three hundred carolus. He noted a withered bay tree in a pot, took it by the hair of its head, plucked up the plant and the earth, and put the gold underneath. All the demi-florins, patards, and patacoons were spread out upon the table.

The dean came to the tavern and went up to Ulenspiegel.

The latter, seeing him:

“Messire Dean,” said he, “what would you of my poor self?”

“Nothing but thy good, my son,” replied he.

“Alas!” groaned Ulenspiegel, “is it that which you see on the table?”

“The same,” replied the dean.

Then putting out his hand, he swept the table clean of all the money that was upon it and dropped it into a bag destined for it.

And he gave a florin to Ulenspiegel, who pretended to groan and whine.

And he asked for the implements of the miracle.

Ulenspiegel showed him the schol bone and the bladder.

The dean took them while Ulenspiegel bemoaned himself, imploring him to be good enough to give him [30]more, saying that the way was long from Bouillon to Damme, for him a poor footpassenger, and that beyond a doubt he would die of hunger.

The dean went away without uttering a word.

Being left alone, Ulenspiegel went to sleep with his eye on the bay tree. Next day at dawn, having picked up his booty, he went away from Bouillon and went to the camp of the Silent One, handed over the money to him and recounted the story, saying it was the true method of levying contributions of war from the enemy.

And the Prince gave him ten florins.

As for the schol bone, it was enshrined in a crystal casket and placed between the arms of the cross on the principal altar at Bouillon.

And everyone in the town knows that what the cross encloses is the hump of the blasphemer who was made straight.



The Silent One, being in the neighbourhood of Liége, made marches and countermarches before crossing the Meuse, thus misleading the duke’s vigilance.

Ulenspiegel, schooling himself to his duties as a soldier, became very dexterous in handling the wheel-locked arquebus and kept his eyes and ears well open.

At this time there came to the camp Flemish and Brabant nobles, who lived on good terms with the lords, colonels, and captains in the following of the Silent One.

Soon two parties formed in the camp, eternally quarrelling and disputing, the one side saying: “the Prince is a traitor,” the other answering that the accusers lied [31]in their throat and that they would make them swallow their lie. Distrust spread and grew like a spot of oil. They came to blows in groups of six, of eight, or a dozen men; fighting with every weapon of single combat, even with arquebuses.

One day the prince came up at the noise, marching between two parties. A bullet carried away his sword from his side. He put an end to the combat and visited the whole camp to show himself, that it might not be said: “The Silent One is dead, and the war is dead with him.”

The next day, towards midnight, in misty weather, Ulenspiegel being on the point of coming out from a house where he had been to sing a Flemish love song to a Walloon girl, heard at the door of the cottage beside the house a raven’s croak thrice repeated. Other croakings answered from a distance, thrice by thrice. A country churl came to the door of the cottage. Ulenspiegel heard footsteps on the highway.

Two men, speaking Spanish, came to the rustic, who said to them in the same tongue:

“What have you done?”

“A good piece of work,” said they, “lying for the king. Thanks to us, captains and soldiermen say to one another in distrust:

“‘It is through vile ambition that the prince is resisting the king; he is but waiting to be feared by him and to receive cities and lordships as a pledge of peace; for five hundred thousand florins he will abandon the valiant lords that are fighting for the countries. The duke has offered him a full amnesty with a promise and an oath to restore to their estates himself and all the highest leaders of the army, if they would re-enter [32]into obedience to the king. Orange means to treat with him alone by himself.’

“The partisans of the Silent One answered us:

“‘The duke’s offer is a treacherous trap. He will pay them no heed, recalling the fate of Messieurs d’Egmont and de Hoorn. Well they know it, Cardinal de Granvelle, being at Rome, said at the time of the capture of the Counts: “They take the two gudgeons, but they leave the pike; they have taken nothing since the Silent remains still to take.”’”

“Is the variance great in the camp?” said the rustic.

“Great is the variance,” said they: “greater every day. Where are the letters?”

They went into the cottage, where a lantern was lighted. There, peeping through a little skylight, Ulenspiegel saw them open two missives, read them with much satisfaction and pleasure, drink hydromel, and at last depart, saying to the rustic in Spanish:

“Camp divided, Orange taken. That will be a good lemonade.”

“Those fellows,” said Ulenspiegel, “cannot be allowed to live.”

They went out into the thick mist. Ulenspiegel saw the rustic bring them a lantern, which they took with them.

The light of the lantern being often intercepted by a black shape, he took it that they were walking one behind the other.

He primed his arquebus and fired at the black shape. He then saw the lantern lowered and raised several times, and judged that, one of the two being down, the other was endeavouring to see the nature of his wound. He primed his arquebus again. Then the lantern [33]going forward alone, swiftly and swinging and in the direction of the camp, he fired once more. The lantern staggered about, then fell, and there was darkness.

Running towards the camp, he saw the provost coming out with a crowd of soldiers awakened by the noise of the shots. Ulenspiegel, accosting them, said:

“I am the hunter, go and pick up the game.”

“Jolly Fleming,” said the provost, “you speak otherwise than with your tongue.”

“Tongue talk, ’tis wind,” replied Ulenspiegel. “Lead talk remains in the bodies of the traitors. But follow me.”

He brought them, furnished with their lanterns, to the place where the two were fallen. And they beheld them indeed, stretched out on the earth, one dead, the other in the death rattle and holding his hand on his breast, where there was a letter crushed and crumpled in the last effort of his life.

They carried away the bodies, which they recognized by their garments as bodies of nobles, and thus came with their lanterns to the prince, interrupted at council with Frederic of Hollenhausen, the Markgrave of Hesse, and other lords.

Followed by landsknechts, reiters, green jackets and yellow jackets, they came before the tent of the Silent, shouting requests that he would receive them.

He came from the tent. Then, taking the word from the provost who was coughing and preparing to accuse him, Ulenspiegel said:

“Monseigneur, I have killed two traitor nobles of your train, instead of ravens.”

Then he recounted what he had seen, heard, and done. [34]

The Silent said not a word. The two bodies were searched, there being present himself, William of Orange, the Silent, Frederic de Hollenhausen, the Markgrave of Hesse, Dieterich de Schooenbergh, Count Albert of Nassau, the Count de Hoogstraeten, Antoine de Lalaing, the Governor of Malines; the troopers, and Lamme Goedzak trembling in his great paunch. Sealed letters from Granvelle and Noircarmes were found upon the gentlemen, enjoining upon them to sow dissension in the prince’s train, in order to diminish his strength by so much, to force him to yield, and to deliver him to the duke to be beheaded in accordance with his deserts. “It was essential,” said the letters, “to proceed subtly and by veiled speech, so that the people in the army might believe that the Silent had already, for his own personal profit, come to a private agreement with the duke. His captains and soldiers, being angry, would make him a prisoner. For reward a draft on the Függers of Antwerp for five hundred ducats had been sent to each; they should have a thousand as soon as the four hundred thousand ducats that were expected should have arrived in Zealand from Spain.”

This plot being discovered and laid open, the prince, without a word, turned towards the nobles, lords, and soldiers, among whom were a great many that held him in suspicion; he showed the two corpses without a word, intending thereby to reproach them for their mistrust of him. All shouted with a great tumultuous noise:

“Long life to Orange! Orange is faithful to the countries!”

They would, for contumely, fain have flung the bodies to the dogs, but the Silent: [35]

“It is not bodies that must be thrown to the dogs, but feeblemindedness that bringeth about doubts of singleminded and good intents.”

And lords and soldiers shouted:

“Long live the prince! Long live Orange, the friend to the countries!”

And their voices were as a thunder threatening injustice.

And the prince, pointing to the bodies:

“Give them Christian interment,” said he.

“And I,” said Ulenspiegel, “what is to be done with my faithful carcase? If I have done ill let them give me blows; if I have done well let them accord me reward.”

Then the Silent One spake and said:

“This musketeer shall have fifty blows with green wood in my presence for having, without orders, slain two nobles, to the great disparagement of all discipline. He shall receive as well thirty florins for having seen well and heard well.”

“Monseigneur,” replied Ulenspiegel, “if they gave me the thirty florins first, I would endure the blows from the green wood with patience.”

“Aye, aye,” groaned Lamme Goedzak, “give him first of all the thirty florins; he will endure the rest with patience.”

“And then,” said Ulenspiegel, “having my soul free of guilt, I have no need to be washed with oak or rinsed with cornel.”

“Aye,” groaned Lamme Goedzak as before, “Ulenspiegel hath no need of washing or of rinsing. He hath a clean soul. Do not wash him, Messires, do not wash him.” [36]

Ulenspiegel having received the thirty florins, the stock-meester was ordered by the provost to seize him.

“See, Messires,” said Lamme, “how piteous he looks. He hath no love for the wood, my friend Ulenspiegel.”

“I love,” replied Ulenspiegel, “to see a lovely ash all leafy, growing in the sunshine in all it’s native verdure; but I hate to the death those ugly sticks of wood still bleeding their sap, stripped of branches, without leaves or twigs, of fierce aspect and harsh of acquaintance.”

“Art thou ready?” asked the provost.

“Ready,” repeated Ulenspiegel, “ready for what? To be beaten. No, I am not, and have no desire to be, master stock-meester. Your beard is red and you have a formidable air; but I am fully persuaded that you have a kind heart and do not love to maltreat a poor fellow like me. I must tell it you, I love not to do it or see it; for a Christian man’s back is a sacred temple which, even as his breast, encloseth the lungs wherewith we breathe the air of the good God. With what poignant remorse would you be gnawed if a brutal stroke of the stick were to break me in pieces.”

“Make haste,” said the stock-meester.

“Monseigneur,” said Ulenspiegel, speaking to the Prince, “nothing presses, believe me; first should this stick be dried and seasoned, for they say that green wood entering living flesh imparts to it a deadly venom. Would Your Highness wish to see me die of this foul death? Monseigneur, I hold my faithful back at Your Highness’ service; have it beaten with rods, lashed with the whip; but, if you would not see me dead, spare me, if it please you, the green wood.”

“Prince, give him grace,” said Messire de Hoogstraeten [37]and Dieterich de Schooenbergh. The others smiled pityingly.

Lamme also said:

“Monseigneur, Monseigneur, show grace; green wood it is pure poison.”

The Prince then said: “I pardon him.”

Ulenspiegel, leaping several times high in air, struck on Lamme’s belly and forced him to dance, saying:

“Praise Monseigneur with me, who saved me from the green wood.”

And Lamme tried to dance, but could not, because of his belly.

And Ulenspiegel treated him to both eating and drinking.



Not wishing to give battle, the duke without truce or respite harried the Silent as he wandered about the flat land between Juliers and the Meuse, everywhere sounding the river at Hondt, Mechelen, Elsen, Meersen, and everywhere finding it filled with traps and caltrops to wound men and horses that sought to pass over by fording.

At Stockem, the sounders found none of these engines. The prince gave orders for crossing. The reiters went over the Meuse and held themselves in battle order on the other bank, so as to protect the crossing on the side of the bishopric of Liége; then there formed up in line from one bank to the other, in this way breaking the current of the river, ten ranks of archers and musketeers, among whom was Ulenspiegel.

He had water up to his thighs, and often some treacherous wave would lift him up, himself and his horse. [38]

He saw the foot soldiers cross, carrying a powder bag upon their headgear and holding their muskets high in air: then came the wagons, the hackbuts, linstocks, culverins, double culverins, falcons, falconets, serpentines, demi-serpentines, double serpentines, mortars, double mortars, cannon, demi-cannon, double cannon, sacres, little field pieces mounted on carriages drawn by two horses, able to manœuvre at the gallop and in every way like those that were nicknamed the Emperor’s Pistols; behind them, protecting the rear, landsknechts and reiters from Flanders.

Ulenspiegel looked about to find some warming drink. The archer Riesencraft, a High German, a lean, cruel, gigantic fellow, was snoring on his charger beside him, and as he breathed he spread abroad the perfume of brandy. Ulenspiegel, spying for a flask on his horse’s crupper, found it hung behind on a cord like a baldric, which he cut, and he took the flask, and drank rejoicing. The archer companions said to him:

“Give us some.”

He did so. The brandy being drunk, he knotted the cord that held the flask, and would have put it back about the soldier’s breast. As he lifted his arm to pass it round, Riesencraft awoke. Taking the flask, he would have milked his cow as usual. Finding that it gave no more milk, he fell into mighty anger.

“Robber,” said he, “what have you done with my brandy?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Drunk it. Among soaking horsemen, one man’s brandy is everybody’s brandy. Evil is the scurvy stingy one.” [39]

“To-morrow I will carve your carcase in the lists,” replied Riesencraft.

“We will carve each other,” answered Ulenspiegel, “heads, arms, legs, and all. But are you not constipated, that you have such a sour face?”

“I am,” said Riesencraft.

“You want a purge, then,” replied Ulenspiegel, “and not a duel.”

It was agreed between them that they should meet next day, mounted and accoutred each as he pleased, and should cut up each other’s bacon with a short stiff sword.

Ulenspiegel asked that for himself the sword might be replaced by a cudgel, which was granted him.

In the meanwhile, all the soldiers having crossed the river and falling into order at the voice of the colonels and the captains, the ten ranks of archers also crossed over.

And the Silent said:

“Let us march on Liége!”

Ulenspiegel was glad of this, and with all the Flemings, shouted out:

“Long life to Orange, let us march on Liége!”

But the foreigners, and notably the High Germans, said they were too much washed and rinsed to march. Vainly did the prince assure them that they were going to a certain victory, to a friendly city; they would listen to nothing, but lit great fires and warmed themselves in front of them, with their horses unharnessed.

The attack on the city was put off till next day when Alba, greatly astonished at the bold crossing, learned through his spies that the Silent One’s soldiers were not yet ready for the assault. [40]

Thereupon, he threatened Liége and all the country round about to put them to fire and sword, if the prince’s friends made any movement there. Gerard de Groesbeke, the bishop’s catchpoll, armed his troopers against the prince, who arrived too late, through the fault of the High Germans, who were afraid of a little water in their stockings.



Ulenspiegel and Riesencraft having taken seconds, the latter said that the two soldiers were to fight on foot to the death, if the conqueror wished, for such were Riesencraft’s conditions.

The scene of the conflict was a little heath.

Early in the morning, Riesencraft donned his archer’s array. He put on his salade with the throat piece, without visor, and a mail shirt with no sleeves. His other shirt being fallen into pieces, he put it in his salade to make lint of it if need was. He armed himself with an arbalest of good Ardennes wood, a sheaf of thirty quarrels, with a long dagger, but not with a two-handed sword, which is the archer’s sword. And he came to the field of battle mounted upon his charger, carrying his war saddle and the plumed chamfron, and all barded with iron.

Ulenspiegel made up for himself an armament for a nobleman; his charger was a donkey; his saddle was the petticoat of a gay wench, his plumed chamfron was of osier, adorned above with goodly fluttering shavings. His barde was bacon, for, said he, iron costs too much, steel is beyond price, and as for brass in these later days, they have made so many cannon out of it that there is not enough left to arm a rabbit for battle. He [41]donned for headgear a fine salade that had not yet been devoured by the snails; this salade was surmounted by a swan’s feather, to make him sing if he was killed.

His sword, stiff and light, was a good long, stout cudgel of pinewood, at the end of which there was a besom of branches of the same tree. On the left hand of his saddle hung his knife, which was of wood likewise; on the right swung his good mace, which was of elderwood, surmounted with a turnip. His cuirass was all holes and flaws.

When he arrived in this array, at the field of the duel, Riesencraft’s seconds burst out laughing, but he himself remained unbending from his sour face.

Ulenspiegel’s seconds then demanded of Riesencraft’s that the German should lay aside his armour of mail and iron, seeing that Ulenspiegel was armed only in rags and pieces. To which Riesencraft gave consent. Riesencraft’s seconds then asked Ulenspiegel’s how it came that Ulenspiegel was armed with a besom.

“You granted me the stick, but you did not forbid me to enliven it with foliage.”

“Do as you think fit,” said the four seconds.

Riesencraft said never a word and cropped down with little strokes of his sword the thin stalks of the heather.

The seconds requested him to replace his sword with a besom, the same as Ulenspiegel.

He replied:

“If this rascal of his own accord chose a weapon so out of the way, it is because he imagines he can defend his life with it.”

Ulenspiegel saying again that he would use his besom, the four seconds agreed that everything was in order. [42]

They were set facing each other, Riesencraft on his horse barded with iron, Ulenspiegel on his donkey barded with bacon.

Ulenspiegel came forward into the middle of the field of combat. There, holding his besom like a lance:

“I deem,” said he, “fouler and more stinking than plague, leprosy, and death, this vermin brood of ill fellows who, in a camp of old soldiers and boon companions, have no other thought than to carry round everywhere their scowling faces and their mouths foaming with anger. Wherever they may be, laughter dares not show itself, and songs are silent. They must be forever growling and fighting, introducing thus alongside of legitimate combat for the fatherland single combat which is the ruin of an army and the delight of the enemy. Riesencraft here present hath slain for mere innocent words one and twenty men, without ever performing in battle or skirmish any act of distinguished bravery or deserved the least reward by his courage. Now it is my pleasure to-day to brush the bare hide of this crabbed dog the wrong way.”

Riesencraft replied:

“This drunkard has had tall dreams of the abuse of single combats: it will be my pleasure to-day to split his head, to show everybody that he has nothing but hay in his brain-box.”

The seconds made them get down from their mounts. In so doing Ulenspiegel dropped from his head the salad which the ass ate quietly and slyly; but the donkey was interrupted in this job by a kick from one of the seconds to make him get out of the duelling enclosure. The same treatment fell to the lot of the horse. And they went off elsewhere to graze in company. [43]

Then the seconds, carrying broom—these were Ulenspiegel’s pair, and the others, carrying sword—they were Riesencraft’s, gave the signal for the fray with a whistle.

And Riesencraft and Ulenspiegel fell to fighting furiously, Riesencraft smiting with his sword, Ulenspiegel parrying with his besom; Riesencraft swearing by all devils, Ulenspiegel fleeing before him, wandering through the heather obliquely and circling, zigzagging, thrusting out his tongue, making a thousand other faces at Riesencraft, who was losing his breath and beating the air with his sword like a mad trooper. Ulenspiegel felt him close, turned sharp and sudden, and gave him a great whack under the nose with his besom. Riesencraft fell down with arms and legs stretched out like a dying frog.

Ulenspiegel flung himself upon him, besomed his face up and down and every way, pitilessly, saying:

“Cry for mercy or I make you swallow my besom!”

And he rubbed and scrubbed him without ceasing, to the great pleasure and joy of the spectators, and still said:

“Cry for mercy or I make you eat it!”

But Riesencraft could not cry, for he was dead of black rage.

“God have thy soul, poor madman!” said Ulenspiegel.

And he went away, plunged in melancholy.



It was then the end of October. The prince lacked money; his army was hungry. The soldiers were [44]murmuring; he marched in the direction of France and offered battle to the duke, who declined it.

Leaving Quesnoy-le-Comte to go towards Cambrésis, he met ten companies of Germans, eight ensigns of Spaniards, and three cornets of light horse, commanded by Don Ruffele Henricis, the duke’s son, who was in the middle of the line, and cried in Spanish:

“Kill! Kill! No quarter. Long live the Pope!”

Don Henricis was then over against the company of musketeers in which Ulenspiegel was dizenier, in command of ten men, and hurled himself upon them with his men. Ulenspiegel said to the sergeant of his troop:

“I am going to cut the tongue out of this ruffian!”

“Cut away,” said the sergeant.

And Ulenspiegel, with a well-aimed bullet, smashed the tongue and the jaw of Don Ruffele Henricis, the duke’s son.

Ulenspiegel brought down from his horse the son of Marquis Delmarès also.

The eight ensigns, the three cornets were beaten.

After this victory, Ulenspiegel sought for Lamme in the camp, but found him not.

“Alas!” said he, “there he is, gone, my friend Lamme, my big friend. In his warlike ardour, forgetting the weight of his belly, he must have pursued the flying Spaniards. Out of breath he will have fallen like a sack upon the road. And they will have picked him up to have ransom for him, a ransom for Christian bacon. My friend Lamme, where art thou then, where art thou, my fat friend?” [45]

Ulenspiegel sought him everywhere, and finding him not fell into melancholy.



In November, the month of snow storms, the Silent sent for Ulenspiegel to come before him. The prince was biting at the cord of his mail shirt.

“Hearken and understand,” said he.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“My ears are prison doors; to enter is easy, but it is a hard business to get anything out.”

The Silent said:

“Go through Namur, Flanders, Hainaut, Sud-Brabant, Antwerp, Nord-Brabant, Guelder, Overyssel, Nord-Holland, announcing everywhere that if fortune betrays our holy and Christian cause by land, the struggle against every unjust violence will continue on the sea. May God direct this matter with all grace, whether in good or evil fortune. Once come to Amsterdam, you shall give account to Paul Buys, my trusty friend, of all you have done and performed. Here are three passes, signed by Alba himself, and found upon the bodies at Quesnoy-le-Comte. My secretary has filled them. Perchance you will find on the way some good comrade in whom you may be able to trust. Those are good folk who to the lark’s note answer with the warlike bugle of the cock. Here are fifty florins. You will be valiant and faithful.”

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” replied Ulenspiegel.

And he went away.



He had, under the hand of the king and the duke, license to carry all weapons at his own convenience. [46]He took his good wheel-lock arquebus, cartridges, and dry powder. Then clad in a ragged short cloak, a tattered doublet, and breeches full of holes in the Spanish fashion, wearing a bonnet with plume flying in the wind, and sword, he left the army near the French frontier and marched off towards Maestricht.

The wrens, those heralds of the cold, flew about the houses, asking shelter. The third day it snowed.

Many times and oft on the way Ulenspiegel must needs show his safe conduct. He was allowed to pass. He marched towards Liége.

He had just entered into a plain; a great wind drove whirls of flakes upon his face. Before him he saw the plain stretch out all white, and the eddies of snow driven hither and thither by the gusts. Three wolves followed him, but when he knocked one over with his musket, the others flung themselves on the wounded one and made off into the woods, each carrying a great piece of the corpse.

Ulenspiegel being thus delivered, and looking to see if there was no other band in the country, saw at the end of the plain specks as it were gray statues moving among the eddies, and behind them shapes of mounted soldiers. He climbed up into a tree. The wind brought a far-off noise of complaining: “These are perchance,” he said to himself, “pilgrims clad in white coats; I can scarcely see their bodies against the snow.” Then he distinguished men running naked and saw two reiters, harnessed all in black, who sitting on their chargers were driving this poor flock before them with great blows of their whips. He primed his musket. [47]Among these wretches he saw young folk, old men naked with teeth chattering, frozen, huddled up, and running to escape the whips of the two troopers, who took a delight, being well clad, red with brandy and good food, in lashing the bodies of the naked men to make them run quicker.

Ulenspiegel said: “Ye shall have vengeance, ashes of Claes.” And he killed, with a bullet in the face, one of the reiters, who fell down from his horse. The other, not knowing from whence had come that unlooked-for bullet, took fright. Thinking there were enemies hidden in the wood, he would fain have fled with his comrade’s horse. While he dismounted to despoil the dead man, and had taken hold of the bridle, he was stricken with another bullet in the neck and fell, like his companion.

The naked men, believing that an angel from heaven, a good arquebusier, had come to their rescue, fell upon their knees. Ulenspiegel came down from his tree and was recognized by those in the band who had, like him, served in the prince’s army. They said to him:

“Ulenspiegel, we are of the land of France, sent in state to Maestricht where the duke is, there to be treated as rebel prisoners, unable to pay ransom and condemned in advance to be tortured, beheaded, or to row like ruffians and robbers on the king’s galleys.”

Ulenspiegel, giving his opperst kleed to the oldest of the band, replied:

“Come, I will fetch you as far as Mézières, but first of all we must strip these two troopers and take their horses with us.” [48]

The doublets, breeches, boots, and headgear and cuirasses of the troopers were divided among the weakest and most ailing, and Ulenspiegel said:

“We shall go into the wood, where the air is thicker and milder. Let us run, brothers.”

Suddenly a man fell and said:

“I am cold and I am hungry, and I go before God to bear witness that the Pope is Antichrist on earth.”

And he died. And the others were fain to bear him away with them, in order to give him a Christian burial.

While they were journeying along a main road they perceived a countryman driving a wagon covered with its canvas tilt. Seeing the naked men, he took pity and made them get into the wagon. There they found hay to lie on and empty sacks to cover themselves with. Being warm, they gave thanks to God. Ulenspiegel, riding by the side of the wagon on one of the reiters’ horses, held the other by the bridle.

At Mézières they alighted: there they were given good soup, beer, bread, cheese, and meat, the old men and the women. They were lodged, clad, and weaponed afresh at the charge of the commune. And they all gave the embrace of blessing to Ulenspiegel, who received it rejoicing.

He sold the horses of the two reiters for forty-eight florins, of which he gave thirty to the Frenchmen.

Going on his way alone, he said to himself: “I go through ruins, blood, and tears, without finding aught. The devils lied to me, past a doubt. Where is Lamme? Where is Nele? Where are the Seven?”

And he heard a voice like a low breath, saying: [49]

“In death, ruin, and tears, seek.”

And he went his way.



Ulenspiegel came to Namur in March. There he saw Lamme, who having been seized with a great love for the fish of the River Meuse, and especially for the trout, had hired a boat and was fishing in the river by leave of the commune. But he had paid fifty florins to the guild of the fishmongers.

He sold and ate his fish, and in this trade he gained a better paunch and a little bag of carolus.

Seeing his friend and comrade going along the banks of the Meuse to come into the town, he was filled with joy, thrust his boat up against the bank, and climbing up the steep, not without puffing, he came to Ulenspiegel. Stammering with pleasure:

“There you are then, my son,” said he, “my son in God, for my belly-ark could carry two like you. Whither go you? What would you? You are not dead, without a doubt? Have you seen my wife? You shall eat Meuse fish, the best that is in this world below; they make sauces in this country fit to make you eat your fingers up to the shoulder. You are proud and splendid, with the bronze of battle on your cheeks. There you are then, my son, my friend Ulenspiegel, the jolly vagabond.”

Then in a low voice:

“How many Spaniards have you killed? You never saw my wife in their wagons full of wenches? And the Meuse wine, so delicious for constipated folk, you shall drink of it. Are you wounded, my son? You will stay here then, fresh, lively, keen as an eagle. And the [50]eels, you shall taste lad. No marshy flavour whatever. Kiss me, my fat lad. My blessing upon God, how glad I am!”

And Lamme danced, leapt, puffed, and forced Ulenspiegel to dance as well.

Then they wended their way towards Namur. At the gate of the city Ulenspiegel showed his pass signed by the duke. And Lamme brought him to his house.

While he was making their meal ready, he made Ulenspiegel tell his adventures and recounted his own, having, he said, abandoned the army to follow after a girl that he thought was his wife. In this pursuit he had come as far as Namur. And he kept repeating:

“Have you not seen her at all?”

“I saw others that were very beautiful,” replied Ulenspiegel, “and especially in this town, where all are amorous.”

“In truth,” said Lamme, “a hundred times they would fain have had me, but I remained faithful, for my sad heart is big with a single memory.”

“As your belly is big with innumerable dishes,” answered Ulenspiegel.

Lamme replied:

“When I am in distress I must eat.”

“Is your grief without respite?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Alas, yes!” said Lamme.

And pulling a trout from out a saucepan:

“See,” said he, “how lovely and firm it is. This flesh is pink as my wife’s. To-morrow we shall leave Namur; I have a pouch full of florins; we shall buy an ass apiece, and we shall depart riding thus towards the land of Flanders.” [51]

“You will lose heavily by it,” said Ulenspiegel.

“My heart draws me to Damme, which was the place where she loved me well: perchance she has returned thither.”

“We shall start to-morrow,” said Ulenspiegel, “since you wish it so.”

And as a matter of fact, they set out, each mounted on an ass and straddling along side by side.



A sharp wind was blowing. The sun, bright as youth in the morning, was veiled and gray as an old man. A rain mixed with hail was falling.

The rain having ceased, Ulenspiegel shook himself, saying:

“The sky that drinks up so much mist must relieve itself sometimes.”

Another rain, still more mingled with hail than the former, beat down on the two companions. Lamme groaned:

“We were well washed, now we must needs be rinsed!”

The sun reappeared, and they rode on gaily.

A third rain fell, so full of hail and so deadly that like knives it chopped the dry twigs on the trees to mincemeat.

Lamme said:

“Ho! a roof! My poor wife! Where are ye, good fire, soft kisses, and fat soups?”

And he wept, the great fellow.

But Ulenspiegel:

“We bemoan ourselves,” said he, “is it not from ourselves none the less that our woes come on us? [52]It is raining on our backs, but this December rain will make the clover of May. And the kine will low for pleasure. We are without a shelter, but why did we never marry? I mean myself, with little Nele, so pretty and so kind, who would now give me a good stew of beef and beans to eat. We are thirsty in spite of the water that is falling; why did we not make ourselves workmen steady in one condition? Those who are received as masters in their trade have in their cellars full casks of bruinbier.”

The ashes of Claes beat upon his heart, the sky became clear, the sun shone out in it, and Ulenspiegel said:

“Master Sun, thanks be unto you, you warm our loins again; ashes of Claes, ye warm our heart once more, and tell us that blessed are they that are wanderers for the sake of the deliverance of the land of our fathers.”

“I am hungry,” said Lamme.



They came into an inn, where they were served with supper in an upper chamber. Ulenspiegel, opening the windows, saw from thence a garden in which a comely girl was walking, plump, round bosomed, with golden hair, and clad only in a petticoat, a jacket of white linen, and an apron of black stuff, full of holes.

Chemises and other woman’s linen was bleaching on cords: the girl, still turned towards Ulenspiegel, was taking chemises down from the lines, and putting them back and smiling and still looking at him, and sat down on linen bands, swinging on the two ends knotted together. [53]

Near by Ulenspiegel heard a cock crowing and saw a nurse playing with a child whose face she turned towards a man that was standing, saying:

“Boelkin, look nicely at papa!”

The child wept.

And the pretty girl continued to walk about in the garden, displacing and replacing the linen.

“She is a spy,” said Lamme.

The girl put her hands before her eyes, and smiling between her fingers, looked at Ulenspiegel.

Then pressing up her two breasts with her hands, she let them fall back, and swung again without her feet touching the ground. And the linen, unwinding itself, made her turn like a top, while Ulenspiegel saw her arms, bare to the shoulders, white and round in the pallid sunshine. Turning and smiling, she kept always looking at him. He went out to find her. Lamme followed him. At the hedge of the garden he searched for an opening to pass through, but found none.

The girl, seeing what he was doing, looked again, smiling between her fingers.

Ulenspiegel tried to break through the hedge, while Lamme, holding him back, said to him:

“Do not go there; she is a spy, we shall be burned.”

Then the girl walked about the garden, covering up her face with her apron, and looking through the holes to see if her chance friend would not be coming soon.

Ulenspiegel was going to leap over the hedge with a running jump, but he was prevented by Lamme, who caught hold of him by the leg and made him fall, saying:

“Rope, sword, and gallows, ’tis a spy, do not go there.”

Sitting on the ground, Ulenspiegel struggled against [54]him. The girl cried out, pushing up her head above the hedge:

“Adieu, Messire, may Love keep your Longanimousness hanging!”

And he heard a burst of mocking laughter.

“Ah!” said he, “it is in my ears like a packet of pins!”

Then a door shut noisily.

And he was melancholy.

Lamme said to him, still holding him:

“You are counting over the sweet treasures of beauty thus lost to your shame. ’Tis a spy. You fall in luck when you fall. I am going to burst with laughing.”

Ulenspiegel said not a word, and both got up on their asses once more.



They went on their way each well astride his ass.

Lamme, chewing the cud of his last meat, sniffed up the cool air rejoicing. Suddenly Ulenspiegel fetched him a great stinging slash of his whip on his behind, which was like a cushion in the saddle.

“What are you doing?” cried Lamme, piteously.

“What!” answered Ulenspiegel.

“This lash with the whip?” said Lamme.

“What lash with the whip?”

“The one I got from you,” returned Lamme.

“On the left?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Aye, on the left and on my behind. Why did you do that, scandalous vagabond?”

“In ignorance,” replied Ulenspiegel. “I know well enough what a whip is, and very well, too, what a behind of small compass is upon a saddle. But seeing this [55]one wide, swollen, tight, and overflowing the saddle, I said to myself: ‘Since it could never be pinched with a finger, a stroke of the whip could not sting it either with the lash.’ I was wrong.”

Lamme smiling at this speech, Ulenspiegel went on in these terms:

“But I am not the only one in this world to sin through ignorance, and there is more than one past-master idiot displaying his fat on a donkey saddle who could give me points. If my whip sinned on your behind, you sinned much more weightily on my legs in preventing them from running after the girl who was coquetting in her garden.”

“Crow’s meat!” said Lamme, “so it was revenge then?”

“Just a little one,” replied Ulenspiegel.



At Damme Nele the unhappy lived alone with Katheline who still for love called the cold devil who never came.

“Ah!” she would say, “thou art rich, Hanske my darling, and mightest bring me back the seven hundred carolus. Then would Soetkin come back alive from limbo to this earth, and Claes would laugh in the sky: well canst thou do this. Take away the fire, the soul would fain come out; make a hole, the soul would fain come out.”

And without ceasing she pointed her finger to the place where the tow had been.

Katheline was very poor, but the neighbours helped her with beans, with bread and meat according to their [56]means. The commune gave her some money. And Nele sewed dresses for rich women in the town; went to their houses to iron their linen, and in this way earned a florin a week.

And Katheline still repeated:

“Make a hole; take away my soul. It knocks to get out. He will give back the seven hundred carolus.”

And Nele, listening to her, wept.



Meanwhile, Ulenspiegel and Lamme, armed with their passes, came to a little inn backed up against the rocks of the Sambre, which in certain places are covered with trees. And on the sign there was written: Chez Marlaire.

Having drunk many a flask of Meuse wine of the fashion of Burgundy and eaten much fish, they gossiped with the host, a Papist of the deepest dye, but as talkative as a magpie through the wine he had drunk and all the time winking an eye cunningly. Ulenspiegel, divining some mystery under this winking, made him drink more, so much that the host began to dance and burst out into laughter, then returning to the table:

“Good Catholics,” he said, “I drink to you.”

“To you we drink,” replied Lamme and Ulenspiegel.

“To the extinction of all plague, of rebellion and heresy.”

“We drink,” replied Lamme and Ulenspiegel, who kept replenishing the goblet the host could never allow to stay full.

“You are good fellows,” said he. “I drink to your [57]Generosities; I make a profit on wine drunk. Where are your passes?”

“Here they are,” answered Ulenspiegel.

“Signed by the duke,” said the host. “I drink to the duke.”

“To the duke we drink,” replied Lamme and Ulenspiegel. The host, continuing:

“How do we catch rats, mice, and field mice? In rat-traps, snares, and mouse-traps. Who is the field mouse? ’Tis the great heretic Orange as hellfire. God is with us. They are coming. Hé! hé! Something to drink! Pour out, I am roasting, burning. To drink! Most goodly little reforming preachers.... I say little ... goodly little gallants, stout troopers, oak trees.... Drink! Will you not go with them to the great heretic’s camp? I have passes signed by him. Ye shall see their work.”

“We shall go to the camp,” answered Ulenspiegel.

“They will get there all right, and by night if an opportunity offers” (and the host, whistling, made the gesture of a man cutting a throat). “Steel-wind will stop the blackbird Nassau from ever whistling again. Come on, something to drink, hey!”

“You are a gay fellow, even though you are married,” replied Ulenspiegel.

Said the host:

“I neither was nor am. I hold the secrets of princes. Drink up! My wife would steal them from my pillow to have me hanged and to be a widow sooner than Nature means it. Vive Dieu! they are coming ... where are the new passes? On my Christian heart. Let us drink! They are there, three hundred paces [58]along the road, at Marche-les-Dames. Do ye see them? Let us drink!”

“Drink,” said Ulenspiegel. “I drink to the king, to the duke, to the preachers, to Steel-wind; I drink to you, to me; I drink to the wine and to the bottle. You are not drinking.” And at every health Ulenspiegel filled up his glass and the host emptied it.

Ulenspiegel studied him for some time; then rising up:

“He is asleep,” said he; “let us go, Lamme.”

When they were outside:

“He has no wife to betray us.... The night is about to come down.... You heard clearly what this rogue said, and you know who the three preachers are?”

“Aye,” said Lamme.

“You know they are coming from Marche-les-Dames, along by the Meuse, and it will be well to wait for them on the way before Steel-wind blows.”

“Aye,” said Lamme.

“We must save the prince’s life,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Aye,” said Lamme.

“Here,” said Ulenspiegel, “take my musket; go there into the underwoods between the rocks; load it with two bullets and fire when I croak like a crow.”

“I will,” said Lamme.

And he disappeared into the undergrowth. And Ulenspiegel soon heard the creak of the lock of the musket.

“Do you see them coming?” said he.

“I see them,” replied Lamme. “They are three, marching like soldiers, and one of them overtops the others by the head.”

Ulenspiegel sat down on the road, his legs out in [59]front of him, murmuring prayers on a rosary, as beggars do. And he had his bonnet between his knees.

When the three preachers passed by, he held out his bonnet to them, but they put nothing in.

Then rising, Ulenspiegel said piteously:

“Good sirs, refuse not a patard to a poor workman, a porter who lately cracked his loins falling into a mine. They are hard folk in this country, and they would give me nothing to relieve my wretched plight. Alas! give me a patard, and I will pray for you. And God will keep Your Magnanimities in joy throughout all their lives.”

“My son,” said one of the preachers, a fine robust fellow, “there will be no joy more for us in this world so long as the Pope and the Inquisition reign therein.”

Ulenspiegel sighed also, saying:

“Alas! what are you saying, my masters! Speak low, if it please Your Graces. But give me a patard.”

“My son,” replied a preacher who had a warrior-like face, “we others, poor martyrs, we have no patards beyond what we need to sustain life on our journey.”

Ulenspiegel threw himself on his knees.

“Bless me,” said he.

The three preachers stretched out their hands over Ulenspiegel’s head with no devoutness.

Remarking that they were lean men, and yet had fine paunches, he got up again, pretended to fall, and striking his forehead against the tall preacher’s belly, he heard therein a gay clink and tinkle of money.

Then drawing himself up and drawing his bragmart:

“My goodly fathers,” said he, “it is chilly weather and I am lightly clad; you are clad overly much. Give me your wool that I may cut myself a cloak out of it. I am a Beggar. Long live the Beggars!” [60]

The tall preacher replied:

“My Beggar-cock, you carry your comb too high; we shall cut it for you.”

“Cut it!” said Ulenspiegel, drawing back, “but Steel-wind shall blow for you before ever it blows for the prince. Beggar I am; long live the Beggars!”

The three preachers, dumbfounded, said one to another:

“Whence does he know this news? We are betrayed! Slay! Long live the Mass!”

And they drew from under their hose fine bragmarts, well sharpened.

But Ulenspiegel, without waiting for them, gave ground towards that side of the brushwood where Lamme was hidden. Judging that the preachers were within musket range, he said:

“Crows, black crows, Lead-wind is about to blow. I sing for your finish.”

And he croaked.

A musket shot, from out of the brushwood, knocked over the tallest of the preachers with his face to the ground, and was followed by a second shot which stretched the second on the road.

And Ulenspiegel saw amid the brush Lamme’s good visage, and his arm up hastily recharging his arquebus.

And a blue smoke rose up above the black brushwood.

The third preacher, furious with rage, would fain by main force have cut down Ulenspiegel, who said:

“Steel-wind or Lead-wind, thou art about to go over from this world to the other, foul artificer of murders!”

And he attacked him, and he defended himself bravely. [61]

And they both remained standing face to face stiffly upon the highway, delivering and parrying blows. Ulenspiegel was all bloody, for his opponent, a tough soldier, had wounded him in the head and the leg. But he attacked and defended like a lion. As the blood that flowed from his head blinded him, he broke ground continually with great strides, wiped it off with his left hand and felt himself grow weak. He was like to be killed had not Lamme fired on the preacher and brought him down.

And Ulenspiegel saw and heard him belch forth blasphemy, blood, and deathfoam.

And the blue smoke rose up above the black brushwood, amidst of which Lamme showed his good face once more.

“Is that all over?” said he.

“Aye, my son,” answered Ulenspiegel. “But come....”

Lamme, coming out of his niche, saw Ulenspiegel all covered with blood. Then running like a stag, in spite of his belly, he came to Ulenspiegel, seated on the earth beside the slain men.

“He is wounded,” said he, “my friend, wounded by that murdering rascal.” And with a kick from his heel he broke in the teeth of the nearest preacher.

“You do not answer, Ulenspiegel! Are you going to die, my son? Where is that balsam? Ha! in the bottom of his satchel, under the sausages. Ulenspiegel, do you not hear me? Alas! I have no warm water to wash your wound, nor any way to have it. But the water of the Sambre will serve. Speak to me, my friend. You are not so terribly wounded, in any case. A little water, there, very cold water, is it not? He [62]awakes. ’Tis I, thy friend: they are all dead! Linen! linen to tie up his hurts. There is none. My shirt then.” He took off his doublet. And Lamme continuing his discourse: “In pieces, shirt! The blood is stopping. My friend will not die.”

“Ha!” he said, “how cold it is, bareback in this keen air. Let us reclothe ourselves. He will not die. ’Tis I, Ulenspiegel, I thy friend Lamme. He smiles. I shall despoil the assassins. They have bellies of florins. Gilded entrails, carolus, florins, daelders, patards, and letters! We are rich. More than three hundred carolus to share. Let us take the arms and the money. Steel-wind will not blow as yet for Monseigneur.”

Ulenspiegel, his teeth chattering from the cold, rose up.

“There you are on your feet,” said Lamme.

“That is the might of the balsam,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“The balsam of valiancy,” answered Lamme.

Then taking the bodies of the three preachers one by one, he cast them into a hole among the rocks, leaving them their weapons and their clothes, all save their cloaks.

And all about them in the sky croaked the ravens, awaiting their food.

And the Sambre rolled along like a river of steel under the gray sky.

And the snow fell, washing the blood away.

And they were nevertheless troubled. And Lamme said:

“I would rather kill a chicken than a man.”

And they mounted their asses again. [63]

At the gates of Huy the blood was still flowing; they pretended to fall into quarrel together, got down from their asses, and fenced and foined with their daggers most cruelly to behold; then having brought the combat to an end, they mounted again and entered into Huy, showing their passes at the gates of the city.

The women seeing Ulenspiegel wounded and bleeding, and Lamme playing the victor upon his ass, they looked on Ulenspiegel with pity and showed their fists at Lamme saying: “That one is the rascal that wounded his friend.”

Lamme, uneasy, only sought among them whether he did not see his wife.

It was in vain, and he was plunged in melancholy.



“Whither are we going?” said Lamme.

“To Maestricht,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“But, my son, they say the duke’s army is there all about and around, and that he himself is within the city. Our passes will not be enough for us. If the Spanish troopers accept them, none the less we shall be held in the town and interrogated. Meanwhile, they will have discovered the death of the preachers, and we shall have finished with living.”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“The ravens, the owls, and the vultures will soon have made an end of their meat; already, beyond a doubt, they have faces that could not be recognized. As for our passes they may be good; but if they learned of the slaughter, we should, as you say, be taken prisoners. [64]Nevertheless, we must needs go to Maestricht and take Landen on our way.”

“They will hang us,” said Lamme.

“We shall pass,” replied Ulenspiegel.

Thus talking, they arrived at the Magpie inn, where they found good meals, good beds, and hay for their asses.

The next day they set out on their way to Landen.

Having arrived at a great farm near the city, Ulenspiegel whistled like the lark, and immediately there answered from within the warlike clarion of a cock. A farmer with a goodly face appeared on the threshold of the farmhouse. He said to them:

“Friends, as freemen, long live the Beggar! Come within.”

“Who is this one?” asked Lamme.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Thomas Utenhove, the brave reformer; his serving men and women on the farm work like him for freedom of conscience.”

Then Utenhove said:

“Ye are the prince’s envoys. Eat and drink.”

And the ham began to crackle in the pan and the black puddings also, and the wine went about and glasses were filled. And Lamme fell to drinking like the dry sand and to eating lustily.

Lads and lasses of the farm came in turns and thrust in their noses at the half-open door to look at him labouring with his jaws. And the men, jealous of him, said they could do as well as he.

At the end of the meal Thomas Utenhove said:

“A hundred peasants will go from here this week under pretence of going to work on the dykes at Bruges [65]and round about. They will travel by bands of five or six and by different ways. There will be boats at Bruges to fetch them by sea to Emden.”

“Will they be furnished with weapons and money?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“They will have each ten florins and big cutlasses.”

“God and the prince will reward you,” said Ulenspiegel.

“I am not working for reward,” replied Thomas Utenhove.

“What do you do,” said Lamme, eating big black puddings, “what do you do, master host, to have a dish so savoury, so succulent, and with such fine grease?”

“’Tis because we put in it,” the host said, “cinnamon and catnip.”

Then speaking to Ulenspiegel:

“Is Edzard, Count of Frisia, is he still the prince’s friend?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“He hides it, while at the same time giving refuge at Emden to his ships.”

And he added:

“We must go to Maestricht.”

“You will not be able to do so,” said the host; “the duke’s army is before the town and in the environs.”

Then taking him into the loft, he showed him far away the ensigns and guidons of horse soldiers and footmen riding and marching in the country.

Ulenspiegel said:

“I shall make my way through if you, who are of authority in this place, will give me a permit to marry. As for the woman, she must be pretty, gentle, and sweet, [66]and willing to marry me, if not for always, at least for a week.”

Lamme sighed and said:

“Do not do this, my son; she will leave you alone, burning in the fires of love. Your bed, where you now sleep so snugly, will become as a mattress of holly to you, depriving you of sweet slumber.”

“I will take a wife,” replied Ulenspiegel.

And Lamme, finding nothing more on the table, was deeply distressed. However, having discovered castrelins in a bowl, he ate them in melancholy fashion.

Ulenspiegel said to Thomas Utenhove:

“Come, then, let us drink; give me a wife rich or poor. I shall go with her to church and have the marriage blessed by the curé. And he will give us the certificate of marriage, which will not be valid since it comes from a Papist and inquisitor; we shall have it set down in it that we are all good Christians, having confessed and taken the Sacrament, living apostolically according to the precepts of our Holy Mother the Roman Church, which burneth her children, and thus calling upon us the blessings of our Holy Father the Pope, the armies celestial and terrestrial, the saints both men and women, deans, curés, monks, soldiers, catchpolls, and other rascals. Armed with this certificate aforesaid, we shall make our preparations for the usual festal wedding journey.”

“But the woman,” said Thomas Utenhove.

“You will find her for me,” replied Ulenspiegel. “I will take two wagons, then; I will bedeck them with wreaths adorned with pine boughs, holly, and paper flowers; I will fill them with certain of the lads you want to send to the prince.” [67]

“But the woman?” said Thomas Utenhove.

“She is here without a doubt,” replied Ulenspiegel. And continuing:

“I shall harness two of your horses to one of the wagons, our two asses to the other. In the first wagon I shall put my wife and myself, my friend Lamme, the witnesses of the marriage; in the second, tambourine players, fifers, and shawm players. Then displaying the joyful marriage flags, playing the tambourine, singing, drinking, we will go trotting down the highway that leads to the Galgen-Veld, the Gallows Field, or to liberty.”

“I will help you,” said Thomas Utenhove. “But the women and girls will wish to go with their men.”

“We shall go, by the grace of God,” said a pretty girl, putting her head in at the half-open door.

“There will be four wagons, if they are needed,” said Thomas Utenhove; “in this way we shall get more than twenty-five men through.”

“The duke will be crestfallen,” said Ulenspiegel.

“And the prince’s fleet served by some good soldiers the more,” replied Thomas Utenhove.

Having his serving men and women summoned then by ringing a bell, he said to them:

“All ye that are of Zealand, men and women, oyez; Ulenspiegel the Fleming here present desires that you should pass through the duke’s army in wedding array.”

Men and women of Zealand shouted together:

“Danger of death! we are willing!”

And the men said, one to another:

“It is joy to us to leave the land of slavery to go to the free sea. If God be for us, who shall be against us?” [68]

Women and girls said:

“Let us follow our husbands and our lovers. We are of Zealand and we shall find harbour there.”

Ulenspiegel espied a pretty young girl, and said to her, jesting:

“I want to marry you.”

But she, blushing, replied:

“I am willing, but only in church.”

The women, laughing, said to one another:

“Her heart turns to Hans Utenhove, the son of the baes. Doubtless he is going with her.”

“Aye,” replied Hans.

And the father said to him:

“You may.”

The men donned festal raiment, doublet and breeches of velvet, and the big opperst-kleed over all, and large kerchiefs on their heads, to keep off sun and rain; the women in black stockings and pinked shoes; wearing the big gilt jewel on their foreheads, on the left for the girls, on the right for the married women; the white ruff upon their necks, the plastron of gold, scarlet, and azure embroidery, the petticoat of black woollen, with wide velvet stripes of the same colour, black woollen stockings and velvet shoes with silver buckles.

Then Thomas Utenhove went off to the church to beg the priest to marry immediately, for two ryck-daelders which he put in his hand, Thylbert the son of Claes, which was Ulenspiegel, and Tannekin Pieters, to the which the curé consented.

Ulenspiegel then went to church followed by the whole wedding party, and there he married before the priest Tannekin, so pretty and sweet, so gracious and so plump, that he would gladly have bitten her cheeks [69]like a love-apple. And he told her so, not daring to do it for the respect he had to her gentle beauty. But she, pouting, said to him:

“Leave me alone: there is Hans looking murder at you.”

And a jealous girl said to him:

“Look elsewhere: do you not see she is afraid of her man?”

Lamme, rubbing his hands, exclaimed:

“You are not to have them all, rogue.”

And he was delighted.

Ulenspiegel, applying patience to his trouble, came back to the farm with the wedding party. And there he drank, sang, and was jolly, drinking hob-nob with the jealous girl. Thereat Hans was merry, but not Tannekin, nor the girl’s betrothed.

At noon, in bright sunshine and a cool wind, the wagons set forth, all greenery and flowers, all the banners displayed to the merry sound of tambourines, shawms, fifes, and bagpipes.

At Alba’s camp there was another feast. The advanced outposts and sentinels having sounded the alarm, came in one after another, saying:

“The enemy is near at hand; we have heard the noise of tambourines and fifes and seen his ensigns. It is a strong body of cavalry come there to draw you into some ambush. The main army is doubtless farther on.”

The duke at once had his camp masters, colonels, and captains informed, ordered them to set the army in battle array, and sent to reconnoitre the enemy.

Suddenly there appeared four wagons advancing towards the musketeers. In the wagons men and [70]women were dancing, bottles were jigging round, and merrily squealed the fifes, moaned the shawms, beat the drums and droned the bagpipes.

The wedding party having halted, Alba came in person to the noise, and beheld the new-made bride on one of the four wagons; Ulenspiegel, her bridegroom, all rosy and fine beside her, and all the country folk, both men and women, alighted on the ground, dancing all about and offering drink to the soldiers.

Alba and his train marvelled greatly at the simplicity of these peasants who were singing and feasting when everything was in arms all about them.

And those who were in the wagons gave all their wine to the soldiers.

And they were well applauded and welcomed by them.

The wine giving out in the wagons, the peasants went on their way again to the sound of the tambourines, fifes, and bagpipes, without being interfered with.

And the soldiers, gay and jolly, fired a salvo of musket shots in their honour.

And thus they came into Maestricht, where Ulenspiegel made arrangements with the reformers’ agents to despatch by vessels arms and munitions to the fleet of the Silent.

And they did the same at Landen.

And they went in this way elsewhere, clad as workmen.

The duke heard of the trick; and there was a song made upon it, which was sent him, and the refrain of which was:

Bloody Duke, silly head,

Have you seen the newlywed?


And every time he had made a wrong manœuvre the soldiers would sing:

The Duke has dust in eye:

He has seen the newlywed.



In the meantime, King Philip was plunged in bitter melancholy. In his grievous pride he prayed to God to give him power to conquer England, to subdue France, to take Milan, Genoa, Venice, and great lord of all the seas, thus to reign over all Europe.

Thinking of this triumph, he laughed not.

He was continually and always cold; wine never warmed him, nor the fire of scented wood that was always burning in the chamber where he was. There always writing, sitting amid so many letters that a hundred casks might have been filled with them, he brooded over the universal domination of the whole world, such as was wielded by the emperors of Rome; on his jealous hatred of his son Don Carlos, since the latter had wanted to go to the Low Countries in the Duke of Alba’s place, to seek to reign there, he thought, without doubt. And seeing him ugly, deformed, a savage and cruel madman, he hated him the more. But he never spoke of it.

Those who served King Philip and his son Don Carlos knew not which of the twain they ought to fear the most; whether the son, agile, murderous, tearing his servitors with his nails, or the cowardly and crafty father, using others to strike, and like a hyæna, living upon corpses.

The servitors were terrified to see them prowling [72]around each other. And they said that there would soon be a death in the Escurial.

Now they learned presently that Don Carlos had been imprisoned for the crime of high treason. And they knew that he was devouring his soul with black spite, that he had hurt his face trying to get through the bars of his prison in order to escape, and that Madame Isabelle of France, his mother, was weeping without ceasing.

But King Philip was not weeping.

The rumour came to them that Don Carlos had been given green figs and that he was dead the next day as if he had gone to sleep. The physicians said as soon as he had eaten the figs the blood ceased to beat, the functions of life, as Nature meant them, were interrupted; he could neither spit, nor vomit, nor get rid of anything from out of his body. His belly swelled at his death.

King Philip heard the death mass for Don Carlos, had him buried in the chapel of his royal residence and marble set over his body; but he did not weep.

And the lords in waiting said to one another, mocking the princely epitaph that was on the tombstone:



A qui jaze qui en para desit verdad,

Morio s’in infirmidad

And King Philip looked with a lustful eye upon the Princess of Eboli, who was married. He besought her love, and she yielded.

Madame Isabelle of France, of whom it was said that she had favoured the designs of Don Carlos upon the [73]Low Countries, became haggard and woebegone. And her hair fell out in great handfuls at a time. Often she vomited, and the nails of her feet and her hands came out. And she died.

And King Philip did not weep.

The hair of the Prince of Eboli fell out also. He became sad and always complaining. Then the nails of his feet and his hands came out, too.

And King Philip had him buried.

And he paid for the widow’s mourning and did not weep.



At this time certain women and girls of Damme came to ask Nele if she would be the May bride and hide among the brushwood with the groom that would be found for her; “for,” said the women, not without jealousy, “there is not one young man in all Damme and round about who would not fain be betrothed to you, who stay so lovely, good, and fresh: the gift of a witch, doubtless.”

“Goodwives,” answered Nele, “say to the young men that seek after me: ‘Nele’s heart is not here, but with him that wandereth to deliver the land of our fathers.’ And if I am fresh, even as you say, it is no gift of a witch, but the gift of good health.”

The goodwives replied:

“All the same, Katheline is suspect.”

“Do not believe what ill folk say,” answered Nele; “Katheline is no witch. The law-men burned tow upon her head and God struck her with witlessness.”

And Katheline, nodding her head in a corner where she was sitting all huddled up, said: [74]

“Take away the fire; he will come back, my darling Hanske.”

The goodwives asking who was this Hanske, Nele replied:

“It is the son of Claes, my foster brother, whom she thinks she lost since God struck her.”

And the kindly goodwives gave silver patards to Katheline. And when they were new she showed them to someone that nobody could see, saying:

“I am rich, rich in shining silver. Come, Hanske, my darling; I will pay for my love.”

And the goodwives being gone, Nele wept in the lonely cottage. And she thought on Ulenspiegel wandering in far-off countries where she might not follow him, and on Katheline who, often groaning “take away the fire,” held her bosom with both hands, showing in this way that the fire of madness burned her head and her body feverishly.

And in the meanwhile the bride and groom of May hid in the grass.

He or she who found one of them was, according to the sex of the one found, and his or her own, King or Queen of the feast.

Nele heard the cries of joy of the lads and lasses when the May bride was found on the edge of a ditch, hidden among the tall grasses.

And she wept, thinking on the sweet time when they hunted for her and her friend Ulenspiegel.



Meanwhile, Lamme and he were riding along well astraddle upon their asses. [75]

“Listen here, Lamme,” said Ulenspiegel, “the nobles of the Low Countries, through jealousy against Orange, have betrayed the cause of the confederates, the holy alliance, the valiant covenant signed for the good of the land of our fathers. Egmont and de Hoorn were traitors alike and with no advantage to themselves. Brederode is dead; in this war there is nothing left us now but the poor common folk of Brabant and Flanders waiting for loyal chiefs to go forward; and then, my son, the isles, the isles of Zealand, North Holland, too, over which the Prince is governor; and farther still and on the sea, Edzard, Count of Emden and East Frisia.”

“Alas,” said Lamme, “I see it clear; we journey between rope, rack, and stake, dying of hunger, gaping for thirst, and with no hope of rest.”

“We are but at the beginning,” replied Ulenspiegel. “Deign to consider how that all in this is pleasure for us, slaying our enemies, mocking them, having our pouches full of florins; well laden with meat, with beer, with wine, with brandy. What would you have more, feather bed? Would you like us to sell our asses and buy horses?”

“My son,” said Lamme, “the trotting of a horse is very severe on a man of my corpulence.”

“You will sit on your steed as peasants do,” said Ulenspiegel, “and no man will mock at you, since you are clad like a peasant, and do not wear the sword like me, but only carry a pikestaff.”

“My son,” said Lamme, “are you sure that our two passes will avail for the little towns?”

“Have not I the curé’s certificate,” said Ulenspiegel, “with the great seal of the Church in red wax hanging from it by two tails of parchment, and our confession [76]cards? The soldiers and catchpolls of the duke have no power against two men so well armed. And the black paternosters we have for sale? We are two reiters, both of us, you a Fleming and I a German, travelling by express command from the duke, to win over the heretics of this land to the Holy Catholic faith by the sale of sacred articles. We shall thus enter everywhere the houses of noble lords and the fat abbés. And they will give us rich hospitality. And we shall surprise their secrets. Lick your chops, my gentle friend.”

“My son,” said Lamme, “we will then be carrying on the trade of spies.”

“By law and right of war,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“If they hear of the affair of the three preachers, we shall die without a doubt,” said Lamme.

Ulenspiegel sang:

“My standards ‘Live’ as motto bear

Live ever in a sunshine land

My skin the first is buff well tanned

And steel the second skin I wear.”

But Lamme, sighing:

“I have nothing but one skin, and a soft one; the least stroke of a dagger would make a hole in it immediately. We should do better to settle in some useful trade than to gad about in this way over hill and valley, to serve all these great princes who, with their feet in velvet hose, eat ortolans on gilded tables. To us the blows, perils, battle, rain, hail, snow, the thin soups that fall to vagabonds. To them the fine sausages, fat capons, savoury thrushes, succulent fowls.”

“The water is coming into your mouth, my gentle friend,” said Ulenspiegel. [77]

“Where are ye, fresh bread, golden koekebakken, delicious creams? But where art thou, my wife?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“The ashes beat upon my heart and drive me on to the battle. But thou, mild lamb that hast naught to avenge, neither the death of thy father nor of thy mother, nor the grief of those thou lovest, nor thy present poverty, leave me alone to march whither I say, if the toils of war affright thee.”

“Alone?” said Lamme.

And he pulled up his ass, which began to eat a tuft of thistles, of which there was a great plantation on that wayside. Ulenspiegel’s ass stopped and ate likewise.

“Alone,” said Lamme. “You will not leave me alone, my son; that would be an infamous cruelty. To have lost my wife and then further to lose my friend, that is impossible. I will whine no more, I promise you. And since it must be”—and he raised his head proudly—“I will go under the rain of bullets. Aye! And in the midst of swords; aye! in the face of those foul soldiers that drink blood like wolves. And if one day I fall at your feet bloody and death-stricken, bury me; and if you see my wife, tell her that I died because I could not bear to live without being loved by someone in this world. No, I could not do it, my son Ulenspiegel.”

And Lamme wept. And Ulenspiegel was moved to see that mild courage.



At this time the duke, dividing his army into two corps, made the one march towards the Duchy of Luxembourg and the other towards the Marquisate of Namur. [78]

“This,” said Ulenspiegel, “is some military decision unknown to me; it is all one to me, let us go towards Maestricht boldly.”

As they went alongside the Meuse near the city Lamme saw Ulenspiegel looking attentively at all the boats that were moving in the river; and he stopped before one of them that bore a siren on the prow. And this siren held a scutcheon on which there was marked in gold letters on a sable ground the sign J. H. S., which is that of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ulenspiegel signed to Lamme to stop and began to sing merrily like a lark.

A man came up on the boat, crowed like a cock, and then, on a sign from Ulenspiegel, who brayed like a donkey and pointed him to the people gathered on the quay, he began to bray terribly like a donkey. Ulenspiegel’s two asses laid back their ears and sang their native song.

Women were passing; men, too, riding the towing horses, and Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“That boatman is mocking us and our steeds. Suppose we go and attack him on his boat?”

“Let him rather come hither,” replied Lamme.

Then a woman spoke and said:

“If you do not want to come back with arms cut off, broken backs, faces in bits, let that Stercke Pier bray in peace as he pleases.”

“Hee haw! hee haw! hee haw!” went the boatman.

“Let him sing,” said the goodwife, “we saw him the other day lift up on his shoulders a cart laden with huge casks of beer, and stop another cart pulled by a powerful horse. There,” she said, pointing to the inn of the [79]Blauwe-Toren, the Blue Tower, “he pierced with his knife, thrown from twenty paces off, an oaken plank twelve inches thick.”

“Hee haw! hee haw! hee haw!” went the boatman, while a lad of twelve years old got up on the bridge of the boat and started to bray also.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Much we care for your strong Peter! However Stercke Pier he may be, we are more of it than he is, and there is my friend Lamme who would eat two of his size without a hiccup.”

“What are you saying, my son?” asked Lamme.

“What is,” replied Ulenspiegel; “do not contradict me through modesty. Aye, good people, goodwives and artisans, soon you will behold him try the work of his arms and annihilate this famous Stercke Pier.”

“Hold your tongue,” said Lamme.

“Your might is well known,” replied Ulenspiegel, “you could never hide it.”

“Hee haw!” went the boatman; “hee haw!” went the lad.

Suddenly Ulenspiegel sang again, most melodiously like a lark. And the men, the women, and the artisans, ravished with delight, asked him where he had learned that divine whistle.

“In paradise, whence I have come direct,” answered Ulenspiegel.

Then, speaking to the man who never stopped braying and pointing with his finger for mockery:

“Why do you stay there on your boat, rascal? Do you not dare to come to land and mock at us and our steeds?”

“Do you not dare?” said Lamme. [80]

“Hee haw! hee haw!” went the boatman. “Masters, donkeys, playing the donkey, come up on my boat.”

“Do as I do,” said Ulenspiegel in a low voice to Lamme.

And speaking to the boatman:

“If you are the Stercke Pier, I, I am Thyl Ulenspiegel. And these twain are our asses, Jef and Jan, who can bray better than you, for it is their native tongue. As for going up on your rickety planks, we have no mind to it. Your boat is like a tub; every time a wave strikes it it goes back, and it can only move like the crabs, sideways.”

“Aye, like the crabs!” said Lamme.

Then the boatman, speaking to Lamme:

“What are you muttering between your teeth, lump of bacon?”

Lamme, becoming furious, said:

“Evil Christian, who reproached me with my infirmity, know that my bacon is my own and comes from my good food; while thou, old rusty nail, thou livest but on old red herrings, candle wicks, skins of stockfish, to judge from thy scrawny beef that can be seen sticking through the holes in thy breeches.”

“They’ll be giving each other a stiff drubbing,” said the men, women, and artisans, delighted and full of curiosity.

“Hee haw! hee haw!” went the boatman.

“Do not throw stones,” said Ulenspiegel.

The boatman said a word in the ear of the lad hee-hawing beside him on the boat, and with the help of a boat hook, which he handled dexterously, came to the bank. When he was quite close, he said, standing proudly upright: [81]

“My baes asks if you dare to come on board his boat and wage battle with him with fist and foot. These goodmen and goodwives will be witnesses.”

“We will,” said Ulenspiegel with much dignity.

“We accept the combat,” said Lamme with great stateliness.

It was noon; the workmen, navvies, paviours, ship-makers, their wives armed with their husbands’ luncheons, the children that came to see their fathers refresh themselves with beans or boiled meat, all laughed and clapped their hands at the idea of a battle at hand, gaily hoping that one or the other of the combatants would have a broken head or would fall into the river all in pieces for their delectation.

“My son,” said Lamme in a low voice, “he will throw us into the water.”

“Let yourself be thrown,” said Ulenspiegel.

“The big man is afraid,” said the crowd of workmen.

Lamme, still sitting on his ass, turned on them and looked wrathfully at them, but they hooted him.

“Let us go on the boat,” said Lamme, “they will see if I am afraid.”

At these words he was hooted again, and Ulenspiegel said:

“Let us go on the boat.”

Alighting from their asses, they threw the bridles to the boy who patted the donkeys in friendly fashion, and led them where he saw thistles growing.

Then Ulenspiegel took the boat hook, made Lamme get into the dinghy, sculled along towards the boat, where by the help of a rope he climbed up, preceded by Lamme, sweating and blowing hard.

When he was upon the bridge of the vessel, Ulenspiegel [82]stooped down as though he meant to lace up his boots, and said a few words to the boatman, who smiled and looked at Lamme. Then he roared a thousand insults at him, calling him rascal, stuffed with guilty fat, gaol seed, pap-eter, eater of pap, and saying: “Big whale, how many hogsheads of oil do you give when you are bled?”

All at once, without answering him, Lamme hurled himself on him like a wild bull, flung him down, struck him with all his might, but did him little harm because of the fat pithlessness of his arms. The boatman, while pretending to struggle, let him do as he would, and Ulenspiegel said: “This rascal will pay for liquor.”

The men, women, and workmen, who from the bank looked on at the battle, said: “Who would have imagined that this big man was so impetuous?”

And they clapped their hands while Lamme struck like a deaf man. But the boatman took care for nothing except to save his face. Suddenly Lamme was seen with his knee on Stercke Pier’s breast, holding him by the throat with one hand and raising the other to strike.

“Cry for mercy,” he said in fury, “or I will drive you through the ribs of your tub!”

The boatman, coughing to show that he could not cry out, asked for mercy with his hand.

Then Lamme was seen generously lifting up his enemy, who was soon on his feet, and turning his back on the spectators, put out his tongue at Ulenspiegel, who was bursting with laughter to see Lamme, proudly shaking the feather in his cap, walking up and down the boat in mighty triumph.

And the men, women, lads, and lasses, who were on the [83]bank, applauded with all their might, saying: “Hurrah for the conqueror of Stercke Pier! He is a man of iron. Did ye see how he thumped him with his fist and how he stretched him on his back with a blow from his head? There they are, going to drink now to make peace. Stercke Pier is coming up from the hold with wine and sausages.”

In very deed, Stercke Pier had come up with two tankards and a great quart of white Meuse wine. And Lamme and he had made peace. And Lamme, all gay and jolly because of his triumph, because of the wine and the sausages, asked him, pointing to an iron chimney that was disgorging a black thick smoke, what were the fricassees he was making in his hold.

“War cookery,” replied Stercke Pier, smiling.

The crowd of artisans, women, and children being dispersed to go back to their work or to their homes, the rumour ran speedily from mouth to mouth that a great fat man, mounted on an ass and accompanied by a little pilgrim, also mounted on an ass, was stronger than Samson and that care must be taken not to offend him.

Lamme drank and looked at the boatman with a conquering air.

The other said suddenly:

“Your donkeys are tired of being over yonder.”

Then, bringing the boat up against the quay, he got out on the earth, took one of the asses by the hind legs and the forelegs, and carrying him as Jesus carried the lamb, set it down on the bridge of the boat. Then having done the same with the other one without so much as drawing a quicker breath, he said:

“Let us drink.” [84]

The lad leaped on the bridge.

And they drank. Lamme, all in a maze, no longer knew if it was himself, native of Damme, who had beaten this strong man, and he no longer dared to look at him, save by stealth, without any triumphing, fearing that he might take a notion to lay hold of him as he had done with the donkeys and throw him alive into the Meuse, for spite at his overthrow.

But the boatman, smiling, invited him gaily to drink again, and Lamme recovered from his fright and looked on him once more with victorious assurance.

And the boatman and Ulenspiegel laughed.

In the meanwhile, the donkeys, dumbfounded to find themselves on a floor that was not the cows’ floor, as the peasants call dry land, had hung their heads, laid back their ears, and dared not drink for fear. The boatman went off to fetch them one of the pecks of corn he gave the horses that towed his boat, buying it himself so as not to be cheated by the drivers in the price of fodder.

When the donkeys saw the grain they murmured paternosters of the jaw while staring at the deck of the boat in melancholy fashion and not daring to move a hoof for fear of slipping.

Thereupon the boatman said to Lamme and to Ulenspiegel:

“Let us go into the kitchen.”

“A war kitchen, but you may go down into it without fear, my conqueror.”

“I am nowise afraid, and I follow you,” said Lamme.

The lad took the tiller.

Going down they saw everywhere bags of grain, of beans, peas, carrots, and other vegetables. [85]

The boatman then said to them, opening the door of a small forge:

“Since ye are men of valiant heart and know the cry of the lark, the bird of the free, and the warrior clarion of the cock, and the braying of the ass, the gentle worker, I am minded to show you my war kitchen. This little forge you will find such an one in most Meuse boats. No one can be suspicious of it, for it serves to mend and repair the ironwork of the vessels; but what all do not possess is the goodly vegetables contained in these cupboards.”

Then removing some stones that covered the floor of the hold, he raised a few planks, and pulled up a fine sheaf of musket barrels, and lifting it as if it had been a feather, he put it back in its place; then he showed them lance heads, halberds, sword blades; bags of bullets, bags of powder.

“Long live the Beggar!” said he; “here are beans and their sauce, the musket stocks are legs of mutton, the salads are these halberd heads, and these musket barrels are ox shins for the soup of freedom. Long live the Beggar! Where am I to take this victual?” he asked Ulenspiegel.

“To Niméguen, where you will enter with your boat still more heavily laden, with real vegetables, brought you by the peasants, which you will take on board at Etsen, at Stephansweert, and at Ruremonde. And they, too, will sing like the lark, the bird of the free; you shall answer with the warlike clarion of the cock. You are to go to the house of Doctor Pontus, who lives beside the Nieuwe-Waal; you are to tell him you are coming to the city with vegetables, but that you fear the drought. While the peasants go to the market to sell the vegetables [86]at a price too dear for any to buy, he will tell you what you are to do with your weapons. I think, too, that he will direct you to pass, not without danger, by the Wahal, the Meuse, or the Rhine, exchanging vegetables for nets for sale, so that you may wander with the Harlingen fishing boats, where there are many sailors that know the lark’s song; skirt the coast by the Waden, and get to the Lauwer-Zee; exchange the nets for iron and lead; give costumes of Marken, Vlieland, and Ameland to your peasants; remain awhile on the coasts, fishing and salting down your fish to keep it and not to sell it, for to drink cool and make war on salt is a lawful thing.”

“Wherefore, let us drink,” said the boatman.

And they went up on the deck.

But Lamme, falling into melancholy:

“Master boatman,” said he, suddenly, “you have here in your forge a little fire so bright that for certain one might cook with it the most delicious of hotpots. My throat is thirsty for soup.”

“I will refresh you,” said the man.

And speedily he served him a rich soup, in which he had boiled a thick slice of salt ham.

When Lamme had swallowed a few spoonfuls, he said to the boatman:

“My throat is peeling, my tongue is burning: this is no hotpot.”

“‘Cool drink and salt war’, it was written,” replied Ulenspiegel.

Then the boatman filled up the tankards, and said:

“I drink to the lark, the bird of freedom.”

Ulenspiegel said:

“I drink to the cock, blowing the clarion of war.” [87]

Lamme said:

“I drink to my wife; may she never be athirst, the poor darling.”

“You are to go as far as Emden by the North Sea,” said Ulenspiegel to the boatman. “Emden is a refuge for us.”

“The sea is wide,” said the boatman.

“Wide for the battle,” said Ulenspiegel.

“God is with us,” said the boatman.

“Who then shall be against us?” replied Ulenspiegel.

“When do you depart?” said he.

“Immediately,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Good voyage and a following wind. Here are powder and bullets.” And kissing them, he brought them ashore, after carrying the two donkeys on his neck and shoulders like lambs.

Ulenspiegel and Lamme having mounted them, they started for Liége.

“My son,” said Lamme, as they went on their way, “how did that man, so strong as he is, allow himself to be so cruelly thumped by me?”

“So that everywhere we go,” said Ulenspiegel, “terror may precede you. That will be a better escort to us than twenty landsknechts. Who would henceforth dare to attack Lamme the mighty, the conqueror; Lamme the bull without peer, who with his head, before the eyes and to the knowledge of everyone, overthrew the Stercke Pier, Peter the Strong, who carries asses like lambs and lifts with one shoulder a cart of beer barrels? Everyone knows you here already; you are Lamme the terrible, Lamme the invincible, and I walk in the shadow of your protection. Everyone will know [88]you along the way we are to go, no one will dare to look on you with an unfriendly eye, and considering the great valour of mankind, you will find nothing on your path but louting, salutations, homage, and venerations offered to the might of your redoubtable fist.”

“You speak well, my son,” said Lamme, drawing himself up in his saddle.

“And I speak the truth,” replied Ulenspiegel. “Do you see these curious faces in the first houses of this village? They are pointing the finger, showing to one another Lamme, the terrific conqueror. Do you see these men that look at you with envy and these poor cowards that doff their kerchiefs! Reply to their salutation, Lamme, my dear; disdain not the poor weak common herd. See the children know your name and repeat it with awe and fear.”

And Lamme passed by, proud and stately, saluting to the right and to the left like a king. And the word of his prowess followed him from burg to burg, from city to city, to Liége, Choquier, to Neuville, Vesin, and Namur which they avoided because of the three preachers.

They went on thus a long time, following up rivers, streams, and canals. And everywhere to the lark’s song answered the crowing of the cock. And everywhere for the work of liberty men founded forges and furbished the weapons that went away on the ships that skirted along the coasts.

And they passed the tolls in casks, in cases, in baskets.

And there were found always good folk to receive them and to conceal them in a sure place, with powder and bullets, until the hour of God. [89]

And Lamme wending his way with Ulenspiegel, still preceded by his victorious reputation, began himself to believe in his great strength, and becoming proud and bellicose, he let his hair grow long. And Ulenspiegel christened him “Lamme the Lion.”

But Lamme did not hold steadfast in the design because of the irritation of the young growth on the fourth day. And he had the razor passed over his conquering face, which appeared to Ulenspiegel once more, round and full like a sun, lit up with the flame of good victual.

In this wise they came to Stockem.



About nightfall, having left their asses at Stockem, they entered into the city of Antwerp.

And Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“Lo this great city; here the whole world piles up its riches: gold, silver, spices, gilded leather, Gobelin tapestry cloth, stuffs of velvet, wool, and silk; beans, peas, grain, meat, and flour, salted hides, Louvain wines, wines of Namur, of Luxembourg, Liége, Landtwyn from Brussels and from Aerschot, Buley wines whose vineyard is beside the Plante gate at Namur, Rhine wines, wines from Spain and Portugal; grape oil from Aerschot that they call Landolium; wines of Burgundy, Malvoisie and so many more. And the quays are cumbered with merchandise.

“These riches of earth and of human toil bring into this place the most beautiful light ladies that are.”

“You are growing dreamy,” said Lamme.

Ulenspiegel answered: [90]

“I shall find the Seven among them. It was told me:

In ruins, blood and tears, seek!

What then is there that causeth more of ruin than light wenches? Is it not in their company that poor witless men lose their goodly carolus, shining and chinking; their jewels, chains, and rings, and come away without a doublet, ragged and despoiled, even without their linen; while the girls grow fat upon their spoils? Where is the red clear blood that used to course in their veins? ’Tis leek juice now. Or else, indeed, to enjoy their sweet and lovely bodies do they not fight with knife, with dagger, with sword, without pity? The corpses borne away, pale, and bloody, are corpses of the love-distraught. When the father scolds and remains on his chair with forbidding looks; when his white hairs seem whiter and stiffer; when from his dry eyes, wherein burns the grief at a son’s loss, the tears refuse to flow; when the mother, silent and pale as a dead woman, weeps as if she saw nothing before her now save all the sorrows that this world holdeth, who is it makes those tears to fall? The gay ladies that love but themselves and money, and hold the world, thinking or working or philosophizing, fastened to the end of their golden girdle. Aye, it is there the Seven are, and we shall go, Lamme, among the girls. Perchance thy wife is among them; that will be a double sweep of the net.”

“I am willing,” said Lamme.

It was then in the month of June, towards the end of the summer, when the sun was already reddening the leaves on the chestnuts, when the little birds sing in the trees and there is never a mite so small that he does not chirp for pleasure to be so warm in the grass. [91]

Lamme wandered beside Ulenspiegel through the streets of Antwerp, hanging his head and dragging his body along like a house.

“Lamme,” said Ulenspiegel, “you are plunged in melancholy; do you not know that nothing is worse for the skin; if you persist in your grief, you will lose it in strips. And it will be a fine word to hear when they say of you: ‘Lamme the flayed.’”

“I am hungry,” said Lamme.

“Come and eat,” said Ulenspiegel.

And they went together to the Old Stairs, where they ate choesels and drank dobbel-cuyt as much as they could carry.

And Lamme wept no more.

And Ulenspiegel said:

“Blessed be the good beer that maketh thy soul all sunny! Laughest and shakest thy big paunch. How I love to see thee dance of the merry entrails.”

“My son,” said Lamme, “they would dance far more if I had the good luck to find my wife again.”

“Let us go and seek for her,” said Ulenspiegel.

They came thus to the quarter of the Lower Scheldt.

“Look,” said Ulenspiegel to Lamme, “see that little house all made of wood, with handsome windows, well opened and glazed with little square panes; consider these yellow curtains and that red lamp. There, my son, behind four casks of bruinbier, of uitzet, of dobbel-cuyt, and Amboise wine, sits a beauteous baesine of fifty years or upwards. Every year she lived gave her a fresh layer of bacon. Upon one of the casks shines a candle, and there is a lantern hung to the beams of the roof. It is bright and dark there, dark for love, bright for payment.” [92]

“But,” said Lamme, “this is a convent of the devil’s nuns, and this baesine is its abbess.”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, “’tis she that leadeth in Beelzebub’s name, down the path of sin fifteen lovely girls of amorous life, which find with her shelter and food, but it is forbidden to them to sleep there.”

“Do you know this convent?” said Lamme.

“I am going to look for your wife therein. Come.”

“No,” said Lamme, “I have taken thought and will not go in.”

“Wilt thou let thy friend expose himself all alone in the midst of these Astartes?”

“Let him not go there,” said Lamme.

“But if he must go in to find the Seven and your wife?” replied Ulenspiegel.

“I would rather sleep,” said Lamme.

“Come on then,” said Ulenspiegel, opening the door and thrusting Lamme in front of him. “See, the baesine stays behind her casks, between two candles; the chamber is large, with a roof of blackened oak with smoked beams. All around reign benches, lame-legged tables covered with glasses, quart pots, goblets, tankards, jugs, flasks, bottles, and other implements of drinking. In the middle are still more tables and chairs whereon are enthroned odds and ends, the which are women’s capes, gilded belts, velvet shoes, bagpipes, fifes, shawms. In a corner is a ladder leading to the upper story. A little bald hunchback plays on a clavecin mounted on glass feet that make the sound of the instrument grating. Dance, my fat lad. Fifteen lovely ladies are sitting, some on the tables, some on the chairs, a leg here, a leg there, bending, upright, leaning on an elbow, thrown back, lying on their back or on [93]their side, at their pleasure, clad in white, in red, their arms bare like their shoulders, too, and their bosom down to the waist. There are some of every kind; choose! For some the light of the candles, caressing their fair hair, leaves in the shadow their blue eyes, of which nothing can be seen but the gleaming of their liquid fire. Others, looking at the ceiling, sigh to the viol some German ballade. Some round, brown, plump, brazen-faced, are drinking from full tankards Amboise wine, and show their round arms, bare to the shoulder, their half-opened dress, whence come out the apples of their breasts, and shamelessly talk with their mouths full, one after the other or all at once. Listen to them.”

“A straw for money to-day! it is love we must have, love at our own choice,” said the lovely ladies, “child’s love, youth’s love, whoever pleases us, and no paying.”—“Yesterday was the day when one paid, to-day is the day when one loves!” “Who so would fain drink at our lips, they are still moist from the bottle. Wine and kisses, it is a whole feast!” “A straw for widows that lie all alone!” “We are girls! ’Tis the day of charity to-day. To the young, the strong, and the comely, we will open our arms. Something to drink!” “Darling, is it for the battle of love that your heart is beating the tambourine in your breast! What a pendulum! ’Tis the clock of kisses. When will they come, full hearts and empty purses? Do they not scent out dainty adventures? What is the difference between a young Beggar and Monsieur the Markgrave? Monsieur pays in florins and the young Beggar in caresses. Long live the Beggar! Who will go and wake up the graveyards?” [94]

Thus spake the good, the ardent, and the gay among the ladies of amorous life.

But there were others of them with narrow faces, lean shoulders, who made of their bodies a shop for savings, and liard by liard harvested the price of their thin flesh. And these were fuming among themselves: “It is very foolish for us to refuse payment in this fatiguing trade, for these ridiculous whimsies running in the heads of girls that are wild over men. If they have a cantle of the moon in their heads, we have none, and prefer not to have to drag around in our old age like them, in rags in the gutter, but to be paid since we are for sale. A straw for this gratis! Men are ugly, stinking, grumbling, greedy, drunken. It is nothing but them that turns poor women to ill!”

But the young and beautiful ones did not hear these speeches, and all in their pleasure and drinkings said: “Do you hear the passing bells ringing in Notre Dame? We are on fire! Who will go and waken the graveyards?”

Lamme seeing so many women all at once, brunette and fair, fresh and withered, was ashamed; lowering his eyes he cried out: “Ulenspiegel, where are you?”

“He is dead and gone, my friend,” said a great stout girl taking hold of his arm.

“Dead and gone?” said Lamme.

“Aye,” said she, “three hundred years ago, in the company of Jacobus de Coster van Maerlandt.”

“Let me go,” said Lamme, “and do not pinch me. Ulenspiegel, where are you? Come and save your friend! I am going away immediately if you do not let me go.”

“You will not go away,” they said. [95]

“Ulenspiegel,” said Lamme, again, piteously, “where are you, my son? Madame, do not pull my hair in this way; it is not a wig, I assure you. Help! Do you not think my ears red enough, without your bringing the blood to them besides? There is that other one filliping me all the time. You are hurting me! Alas! what are they rubbing my face with now? A looking glass! I am black as the jaws of an oven. I will be angry in a minute if you do not stop; it is ill done of you to torment a poor man like this. Let me go! When you have tugged me by my breeches to right, to left, from all sides, and have made me go like a shuttle, will you be any the fatter for it? Aye, I shall get angry without a doubt.”

“He will get angry,” said they, mocking; “he will get angry, the good man. Laugh rather, and sing us a love lay.”

“I will sing one of blows, if you wish, but let me alone.”

“Whom do you love here?”

“Nobody, neither you nor the others. I will complain to the magistrates and he will have you whipped.”

“Oh, indeed!” they said. “Whipped! And suppose we were to kiss you by main force before this whipping?”

“Me?” said Lamme.

“You,” said they all.

And thereupon the lovely and the ugly, the fresh and the faded, the brown and the fair all rushed upon Lamme, flung his bonnet into the air, and his cloak, too, and fell to caressing him, kissing him on the cheek, the nose, the back, with all their might.

The baesine laughed between her candles. [96]

“Help!” cried Lamme; “help, Ulenspiegel; sweep away all this rubbish. Let me go. I want none of your kisses; I am married, God’s blood! and keep all for my wife.”

“Married,” said they; “but your wife has over much: a man of your corpulence. Give us a little. Faithful woman, ’tis well and good; a faithful man, he is a capon. God keep you! you must choose, or we shall whip you in our turn.”

“I will do no such thing,” said Lamme.

“Choose,” said they.

“No,” said he.

“Will you have me?” said a pretty, fair girl: “See, I am gentle, and I love whoever loves me.”

“Let me alone,” said Lamme.

“Will you have me?” said a delicious girl, who had black hair, eyes and complexion all brown, and in everything else made to perfection by the angels.

“I don’t like gingerbread,” said Lamme.

“And what of me, would you not take me?” said a tall girl, who had a brow almost covered by her hair, heavy eyebrows joined together, big drowned eyes, lips thick as eels and all red, and red, too, of face, neck, and shoulders.

“I don’t like,” said Lamme, “burnt bricks.”

“Take me,” said a girl of sixteen with a little squirrel face.

“I don’t like nut crunchers,” said Lamme.

“We must whip him,” said they, “with what? Fine whips with a lash of dried hide. A sound lashing. The toughest skin cannot resist it. Take ten of them. Carters’ and donkey drivers’ whips.”

“Help! Ulenspiegel!” cried Lamme. [97]

But Ulenspiegel made no answer.

“Ye have a bad heart,” said Lamme, seeking his friend on every side.

The whips were brought; two of the girls set to work to strip Lamme of his doublet.

“Alas!” said he; “my poor fat, that I had so much trouble to make, they will doubtless lift it off with their keen whips. But, pitiless females, my fat will be no use to you, not even to make sauces.”

They replied:

“We shall make candles with it. Is it nothing to see clear without paying for it! She that will henceforth say that out of the whip comes forth candle will seem mad to everybody. We will uphold it to the death, and win more than one wager. Steep the rods in vinegar. There, your doublet is off. The hour is striking at Saint Jacques! Nine o’clock. At the last stroke of the clock, if you have not made your choice, we shall strike.”

Lamme, paralyzed, said:

“Have pity and compassion upon me; I have sworn faithfulness to my poor wife and will keep it, although she left me in evil fashion. Ulenspiegel, dear friend, help!”

But Ulenspiegel did not show himself.

“See me,” said Lamme to the light ladies, “see me at your knees. Is there a humbler posture? Is it not enough to say that I honour your great beauties like the very saints? Happy is he that, not being married, can enjoy your charms! ’Tis paradise, without doubt; but do not beat me, if you please.”

Suddenly the baesine, who remained between her two candles, spoke in a strong and threatening voice: [98]

“Good women and girls,” said she, “I take my oath on my great devil that if, in a moment, you have not, by laughter and gentle ways, brought this man to a good mind, that is to say into your bed, I will go fetch the night watch and have you all whipped instead of him. Ye do not deserve to be called girls of amorous life if in vain you have free mouth, wanton hand, and flaming eyes to excite the males, as do the females of the glow-worms that have their lanterns but to this end. And you shall be whipped without mercy for your simpleness.”

At that word the girls trembled and Lamme became joyful.

“Now, then, good women, what news bring you from the land of sharp thongs? I will myself go and fetch the watch. They will do their duty, and I shall help them with it. It will give me great pleasure.”

But then a pretty little girl of fifteen threw herself at Lamme’s knees:

“Messire,” said she, “you see me here before you, humbly resigned; if you do not deign to choose me from among us, I must needs be beaten for you, monsieur. And the baesine there will put me into a foul cellar, under the Scheldt, where the water oozes from the wall, and where I shall have but black bread to eat.”

“Will she verily be beaten for me, Madame baesine,” said Lamme.

“Till the blood runs,” replied she.

Lamme then, considering the girl, said: “I see thee fresh, perfumed, thy shoulder coming out from thy robe like a great petal of a white rose; I would not have this lovely skin under which the blood flows so young, [99]suffer under the whip, nor that those eyes bright with the fire of youth should weep for the anguish of the strokes, nor that the cold of the prison should make thy body shiver, thy body like a love fay. And so I had rather choose thee than know that thou wert beaten.”

The girl took him away. So sinned he, as he did all things in his life, through kindness of heart.

Meanwhile, Ulenspiegel and a tall handsome brown girl with curling waving hair were standing before one another. The girl, without saying a word, was looking at Ulenspiegel coquettishly and seemed not to wish to have anything to do with him.

“Love me,” said he.

“Love thee,” said she, “wild lover who lovest only at thine own hour?”

Ulenspiegel answered: “The bird that passes above thy head sings his song and flies away. And so with me, sweetheart: wilt thou that we sing together?”

“Aye,” said she, “a song of laughter and of tears.”

And the girl flung herself on Ulenspiegel’s neck.

Suddenly, as both were happy in the arms of their darlings, lo! there came into the house, to the sound of fife and drum, and jostling, pushing, singing, whistling, crying, shouting, bawling, a gay company of meesevangers, who at Antwerp are titmouse catchers. They were carrying bags and cages full of these little birds, and the owls that had helped them in the sport were opening wide their eyes, gilded in the light.

The meesevangers were full ten in number, all red, bloated with wine and cervoise ale, with waggling heads, dragging their tottering legs and crying out in a voice so hoarse and so broken that it seemed to the timid [100]girls that they were rather listening to wild beasts in a wood than men in a house.

However, as they never stopped saying, speaking singly or all at once: “I would have the one I love.” “We are his that pleaseth us. To-morrow to the rich in florins! To-day to the rich in love!” the meesevangers replied: “Florins we have and love as well; to us then the light ladies. He that draws back is a capon. These are tits, and we are sportsmen. Rescue! Brabant for the good duke!”

But the women said, laughing loudly: “Fie! the ugly muzzles that think to eat us! ’Tis not to swine that men give sherbets. We take whom we please and do not want you. Barrels of oil, bags of lard, thin nails, rusty blades, you stink of sweat and mud. Get out of here; you will be well and duly damned without our help.”

But the men: “The Frenchies are dainty to-day. Disgusted ladies, you can well give us what you sell to everybody.”

But the women: “To-morrow,” they said, “we will be slaves and dogs, and will accept you; to-day we are free women and we cast you out.”

The men: “Enough words,” they cried. “Who is thirsty? Let us pluck the apples!”

And so saying they threw themselves upon them, without distinction of age or beauty. The girls, resolute in their minds, threw at their heads chairs, quart pots, jugs, goblets, tankards, flasks, bottles, raining thick as hail, wounding them, bruising them, knocking out their eyes.

Ulenspiegel and Lamme came down at the tumult, leaving their trembling lovers above at the top of the [101]ladder. When Ulenspiegel saw these men striking at the women, he took up a broom in the courtyard, tore away the twigs from the head, gave another to Lamme, and with them they beat the meesevangers without pity.

The game seemed hard to the drunkards; thus belaboured, they stopped for an instant, by which profited the thin girls who desired to sell themselves and not to give, even in this great day of love voluntary as Nature wills it. Like snakes they glided among the injured, caressed them, tended their wounds, drank wine of Amboise for them, and emptied so well their pouches of florins and other moneys, that they had left not a single liard. Then, as the curfew was ringing, they put them to the door through which Ulenspiegel and Lamme had already taken their way.



Ulenspiegel and Lamme were marching towards Ghent and came at daybreak to Lokeren. The earth in the distance sweated dew; white cool mists glided along the meadows. Ulenspiegel, as he passed before a forge, whistled like the lark, the bird of liberty. And straightway appeared a head, tousled and white, at the door of the forge, and imitated the warlike clarion of the cock in a weak voice.

Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“This is the smitte Wasteele, who forges by day spades, mattocks, plough shares, hammering the iron when it is hot to fashion with it fine gratings for the choirs of churches, and oftentimes, at night, making and furbishing arms for the soldiers of freedom of [102]conscience. He has not won the looks of health at this game, for he is pale as a ghost, sad as a damned soul, and so lean that his bones poke holes in his skin. He has not yet gone to rest, having doubtless toiled all night long.”

“Come in, both of you,” said the smitte Wasteele, “and lead your asses into the meadow behind the house.”

This being done, Lamme and Ulenspiegel being in the forge, the smitte Wasteele took down into a cellar of his house all the swords he had furbished and the lance heads he had cast during the night, and made ready the day’s work for his men.

Looking at Ulenspiegel with lack-lustre eye, he said to him:

“What news do you bring me from the Silent?”

“The prince has been driven out of the Low Countries with his army because of the misconduct of his mercenaries, who shout ‘Geld, Geld! money, money!’ when they ought to fight. He has gone away towards France with the faithful soldiers, his brother Count Ludovic and the Duke of Deux-Ponts, to help the King of Navarre and the Huguenots; from thence he passed over into Germany, to Dillenbourg, where many that have fled from the Low Countries are with him. You must send him arms and what money you have collected, while we, we shall ply the task of free men upon the sea.”

“I shall do what is to be done,” said the smitte Wasteele; “I have arms and nine thousand florins. But did you not come riding on asses?”

“Aye,” they said.

“And have you not, on your way, heard news of [103]three preachers, slain and stripped and thrown into a hole among the rocks of the Meuse?”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, with the utmost boldness, “these three preachers were three spies of the duke’s, assassins, paid to kill the prince of freedom. Together we two, Lamme and I, sent them from life to death. Their money is ours and their papers likewise. We shall take what we need from it for our journey; the rest we shall give to the prince.”

And Ulenspiegel, opening his own doublet and Lamme’s, pulled out from them papers and parchments. The smitte Wasteele having read them:

“They contain,” he said, “plans of battle and conspiracy. I will have them sent to the prince, and he will be told that Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak, his trusty vagabonds, saved his noble life. I will have your asses sold that you may not be recognized from your mounts.”

Ulenspiegel asked the smitte Wasteele if the sheriff’s court at Namur had already set their catchpolls on their track.

“I will tell you what I know,” replied Wasteele. “A smith of Namur, a stout reformer, passed through here the other day, under pretext of asking me to help him with the screens, weathercocks, and other ironwork of a castle that is to be built near the Plante. The usher of the sheriff’s court told him that his masters had already met, and that a tavern keeper had been summoned, because he lived a few hundred fathom from the place where the murder had taken place. Asked if he had seen the murderers or not, or any he might suspect as such, he had replied: ‘I saw country folk men and women travelling on donkeys, asking me for something [104]to drink and staying seated on their mounts, or getting down to drink in my house, beer for the men, hydromel for the women and girls. I saw two bold rustics that talked of shortening Messire of Orange by a foot.’ And so saying, the host, whistling, imitated the sound of a knife going into the flesh of the neck. ‘By the Steel-wind,’ he said, ‘I will speak with you in private, being empowered to do so.’ He spoke and was released. From that time the councils of justice have without doubt sent despatches to their subordinate councils. The host said he had seen only country men and country women riding upon asses; it will therefore follow that pursuit will be directed against all persons that may be found bestriding a donkey. And the prince hath need of you, my children.”

“Sell the asses,” said Ulenspiegel, “and keep the price for the prince’s treasury.”

The asses were sold.

“You must now,” said Wasteele, “have each a trade free and independent of the guilds; do you know how to make bird cages and mouse traps?”

“I have made such long ago,” said Ulenspiegel.

“And thou?” asked Wasteele of Lamme.

“I will sell eete-koeken and olie-koeken; these are pancakes and balls of flour cooked in oil.”

“Follow me; here are cages and mouse traps all ready; the tools and copper filigree work also which are needed to mend them and to make others. They were brought me by one of my spies. This is for you, Ulenspiegel. As for you, Lamme, here is a little stove and a bellows; I will give you flour, butter, and oil to make the eete-koeken and the olie-koeken.” [105]

“He will eat them,” said Ulenspiegel.

“When shall we make the first ones?” asked Lamme.

Wasteele replied:

“First ye shall help me for a night or two; I cannot finish my great task alone by myself.”

“I am hungry,” said Lamme, “can one eat here?”

“There is bread and cheese,” said Wasteele.

“No butter?” asked Lamme.

“No butter,” said Wasteele.

“Have you beer or wine?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“I never drink them,” he answered, “but I will go in het Pelicaen, close by here, and fetch some for you if you wish.”

“Aye,” said Lamme, “and bring us some ham.”

“I will do as you wish,” said Wasteele, looking at Lamme with great disdain.

All the same he brought dobbel-clauwert and a ham. And Lamme, full of joy, ate enough for five.

And he said:

“When do we set to work?”

“To-night,” said Wasteele; “but stay in the forge and do not be afraid of my workmen. They are of the Reformed faith like yourselves.”

“That is well,” said Lamme.

By night, the curfew having rung and the doors being shut, Wasteele, making Ulenspiegel and Lamme help him, going down and bringing up from his cellar heavy bundles of weapons:

“Here,” he said, “are twenty arquebuses to mend, thirty lance heads to furbish, and lead for fifteen hundred bullets to melt down; you shall help me with it.”

“With all my hands,” said Ulenspiegel, “and why have I not four to serve you?” [106]

“Lamme will help us,” said Wasteele.

“Aye,” replied Lamme, piteously, and falling with drowsiness through excess of drink and food.

“You shall melt the lead,” said Ulenspiegel.

“I will melt the lead,” said Lamme.

Lamme, melting his lead and running his bullets, kept looking with a savage eye at the smitte Wasteele who was driving him to keep awake when he was dropping with sleep. He ran his bullets with a wordless fury, having a great longing to pour the molten lead on the head of Wasteele the smith. But he controlled himself. Towards midnight, his rage getting the better of him at the same time as excess of fatigue, he addressed him thus in a hissing voice, while the smitte Wasteele with Ulenspiegel was patiently furbishing musket barrels, muskets, and lance heads:

“There you are,” said Lamme, “meager, pale, and wretched, believing in the good faith of princes and the great ones of the earth, and disdaining, in an excessive zeal, your body, your noble body that you are leaving to perish in misery and humiliation. It was not for this that God made it with Dame Nature. Do you know that our soul which is the breath of life, needs, that it may breathe, beans, beef, beer, wine, ham, sausages, chitterlings, and rest; you, you live on bread, water, and watching.”

“Whence have you this talkative flow?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“He knows not what he says,” answered Wasteele, sadly.

But Lamme growing angry:

“I know better than you. I say that we are mad, [107]I, you, and Ulenspiegel, to wear out our eyes for all these princes and great ones of the earth, who would laugh loudly at us if they saw us dying of weariness, losing our sleep to furbish up arms and cast bullets for their service while they drink French wine and eat German capons from golden tankards and dishes of English pewter; they will never ask whether, while we are seeking in the open wild the God by whose grace they have their power, their enemies are cutting off our limbs with their scythes and casting us into the well of death. They, in the meanwhile, who are neither Reformed, nor Calvinists, nor Lutherans, nor Catholics, but sceptics and doubters entirely, will buy or conquer principalities, will devour the wealth of the monks, abbeys, and convents, and will have all: virgins, wives, women and bona robas, and will drink from their gold cups to their perpetual jollity, and to our everlasting foolishness, simplicity, stupidity, and to the seven deadly sins which they commit, O smitte Wasteele, under the starveling nose of thy enthusiasm. Look upon the fields, the meads, look on the harvest, the orchards, the kine, the gold rising out of the earth; look at the wild things in the woods, the birds of the skies, delicious ortolans, delicate thrushes, wild boars’ heads, haunches of buck venison; all is theirs, hunting, fishing, earth, sea, everything. And you, you live on bread and water, and we are killing ourselves here for them, without sleep, without eating, and without drinking. And when we shall be dead they will fetch our carrion a kick and say to our mothers: ‘Make us more of these; those ones can do us no service now.’”

Ulenspiegel laughed and said nothing. Lamme [108]breathed hard with indignation, but Wasteele, speaking in a gentle voice:

“Thou speakest but lightly,” said he. “I live not for ham, for beer, or for ortolans, but for the victory of freedom of conscience. The prince of freedom does even as I do. He sacrifices his wealth, his sleep and his happiness to drive out from the Low Countries the butchers and tyranny. Do as he does and try to grow thinner. ’Tis not by the belly that peoples can be saved, but by proud courage and fatigues endured even unto death without a murmur. And now go and lie down, if thou art sleepy.”

But Lamme would not, being ashamed.

And they furbished arms and cast bullets until it was morning, and thus for three days.

Then they departed for Ghent, by night, selling bird cages, mouse-traps, and olie-koekjes.

And they stopped at Meulestee, the little town of the mills, whose red roofs are seen everywhere, and there they agreed to carry on their trades apart and to meet each other at night before curfew in de Zwaen, at the Swan Inn.

Lamme wandered about the streets of Ghent selling olie-koekjes getting a liking for this trade, seeking for his wife, emptying many a quart pot and eating continually. Ulenspiegel had delivered letters from the prince to Jacob Scoelap, licentiate in medicine; to Lieven Smet, cloth seller; to Jan Wulfschaeger, to Gillis Coorne, the scarlet dyer, and to Jan de Roose, tile maker, who gave him the money harvested by them for the Prince, and bade him wait some days longer at Ghent and in the neighbourhood, and he would be given still more. [109]

Those men having been hanged later on the New Gibbet for heresy, their bodies were buried in the Gallows Field, near the Bruges Gate.



Meanwhile, the provost Spelle le Roux, armed with his red wand, was hurrying from town to town on his lean horse, everywhere setting up scaffolds, lighting fires of execution, digging graves to bury poor women and girls alive in them. And the King inherited.

Ulenspiegel being at Meulestee with Lamme, under a tree, found himself full of weary lassitude. It was cold although the month was June. From the skies, laden with gray clouds, there fell a fine hail.

“My son,” said Lamme, “you are for the past four nights shamelessly running wild, gadding after the bona robas, you go to sleep in de Zoeten Inval, at the Sweet Fall; you will do like the man on the sign, falling head foremost into a hive of bees. Vainly do I wait for you in de Zwaen, and I draw evil forebodings from this liquorish living. Why do you not take a wife virtuously?”

“Lamme,” said Ulenspiegel, “he to whom one woman is all women, and to whom all women are one in this gentle combat that they call love, must not lightly rush upon his choice.”

“And Nele, do you not think at all on her?”

“Nele is at Damme, far away,” said Ulenspiegel.

While he was in this posture and the hail was falling thick, a young and pretty woman passed by, running and covering up her head in her petticoat. [110]

“Eh,” said she, “dreamy one, what dost thou under that tree?”

“I am dreaming,” said Ulenspiegel, “of a woman that should make me a roof against the hail with her petticoat.”

“Thou hast found her,” said the woman. “Rise up.”

“Wilt thou leave me alone again?” said Lamme.

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, “but go in de Zwaen, eat a leg of mutton or two, drink a dozen tankards of beer; you will sleep and you will not be forlorn then.”

“I will do that,” said Lamme.

Ulenspiegel went up to the woman.

“Pick up my skirt on one side,” said she, “I will lift it on the other, and now let us run.”

“Why run?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Because,” she said, “I am fain to flee from Meulestee; the provost Spelle is in it with two catchpolls and he has sworn to have all the light ladies whipped if they will not pay him five florins each. That is why I am running: run, too, and stay with me to defend me.”

“Lamme,” cried Ulenspiegel, “Spelle is in Meulestee. Go off and away to Destelberg, to the Star of the Wise Men.”

And Lamme, getting up affrighted, took his belly in both hands and began to run.

“Whither is this fat hare going?” said the girl.

“To a burrow where I shall find him again,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Let us run,” said she, beating the ground with her foot like a restive filly.

“I would fain be virtuous without running,” said Ulenspiegel. [111]

“What does that mean?” asked she.

Ulenspiegel made answer:

“The fat hare wants me to renounce good wine, cervoise ale, and the fresh skin of women.”

The girl looked at him with an ugly eye.

“Your breath is short; you must rest,” said she.

“Rest myself? I see no shelter,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Your virtue,” said the girl, “will serve for a quilt.”

“I like your petticoat better,” said he.

“My petticoat,” said the girl, “would not be worthy to cover a saint such as you would fain be. Take yourself off that I may run alone.”

“Do you not know,” replied Ulenspiegel, “that a dog goes swifter with four feet than a man with two? And so, having four feet, we shall run better.”

“You have a lively tongue for a virtuous man.”

“Aye,” said he.

“But,” said she, “I have always observed that virtue is a quiet, sleepy, thick, and chilly quality. It is a mask to hide grumbling faces, a velvet cloak on a man of stone. I like men that have in their breast a stove well lighted with the fire of virility, which exciteth to valiant and gay enterprises.”

“It was ever thus,” replied Ulenspiegel, “that the lovely she-devil spake to the glorious Saint Anthony.”

There was an inn a score of paces from the road.

“You have spoken well,” said Ulenspiegel, “now you must drink well.”

“My tongue is still cool and fresh,” said the girl.

They went in. On a chest there slumbered a big jug nicknamed “belly,” because of its wide paunch.

Ulenspiegel said to the baes: [112]

“Dost thou see this florin?”

“I see it,” said the baes.

“How many patards would thou extract from it to fill up that belly there with dobbel-clauwert?”

The baes said to him:

“With negen mannekens (nine little men), you will be clear.”

“That,” said Ulenspiegel, “is six Flanders mites, and overmuch by two mites. But fill it, anyhow.”

Ulenspiegel poured out a goblet for the woman, then rising up proudly and applying the beak of the belly to his mouth, he emptied it all every drop into his throat. And it was as the noise of a cataract.

The girl, dumbfounded, said to him:

“How did you manage to put so big a belly into your lean stomach?”

Without replying, Ulenspiegel said to the baes:

“Bring a knuckle of ham and some bread, and another full belly, that we may eat and drink.”

Which they did.

While the girl was munching a piece of the rind he took her so subtly, that she was startled, charmed, and compliant all at once.

Then questioning him:

“Whence,” she said, “have they come to your virtue, this thirst like a sponge, this wolf’s hunger, and these amorous audacities?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Having sinned a hundred ways, I swore, as you know, to do penance. That lasted a whole long hour. Thinking during that hour upon my life that was to come, I saw myself fed meagrely on bread, dully refreshed with water; sadly fleeing from love; daring [113]neither to move nor sneeze, for fear to commit wickedness; esteemed by all, feared by each; alone like a leper; sad as a dog orphaned of his master, and after fifty years of martyrdom, ending by undergoing my death in melancholy fashion on a pallet. The penance was long enough: so kiss me, my darling, and let us go out from purgatory together.”

“Ah!” said she, obeying cheerfully, “what a good sign virtue is to put on the end of a pole!”

Time passed in these amorous doings; nevertheless they must needs rise and go, for the girl feared to see in the midst of their pleasure the provost Spelle suddenly appear with his catchpolls.

“Truss up thy petticoat then,” said Ulenspiegel.

And they ran like stags towards Destelberg, where they found Lamme eating at the Star of the Three Wise Men.



Ulenspiegel often saw at Ghent, Jacob Scoelap, Lieven Smet, and Jan de Wulfschaeger, who gave him news of the good or bad fortune of the Silent.

And every time that Ulenspiegel came back to Destelberg, Lamme said to him:

“What do you bring? Good luck or bad luck?”

“Alas!” said Ulenspiegel, “the Silent, his brother Ludwig, the other chiefs and the Frenchmen were determined to go farther into France and join with the Prince of Condé. Thus they would save the poor Belgian fatherland and freedom of conscience. God willed it otherwise; the German reiters and landsknechts refused to go farther, and said their oath was to go against the Duke of Alba and not against France. [114]Having vainly entreated them to do their duty, the Silent was forced to take them through Champagne and Lorraine as far as Strasbourg, whence they went back into Germany. All has gone awry through this sudden and obstinate departure: the King of France, despite his contract with the prince, refuses to give over the money he promised; the Queen of England would have sent him money to get back the town and the district of Calais; her letters were intercepted and despatched to the Cardinal at Lorraine, who forged an answer in the contrary sense.

“Thus we see melt away, like ghosts at the crowing of the cock, that goodly army, our hope; but God is with us, and if the earth fail us, the water will do its work. Long live the Beggar!”



The girl came one day, all weeping, to say to Lamme and to Ulenspiegel:

“Spelle is allowing murderers and robbers in Meulestee to escape for money. He is putting the innocent to death. My brother Michielkin is among them. Alas! Let me tell you, ye will avenge him, being men. A vile and infamous debauchee, Pieter de Roose, an habitual seducer of children and girls, does all the harm. Alas! my poor brother Michielkin and Pieter de Roose were one evening, but not at the same table, in the tavern of the Valck, where Pieter de Roose was avoided by every one like the plague.

“My brother, not willing to see him in the same room as himself, called him a lecherous blackguard, and ordered him to purge the chamber of his presence. [115]

“Pieter de Roose replied:

“‘The brother of a public baggage has no need to show such a lofty nose.’

“He lied. I am not public, and give myself only to whomsoever I please.’

“Michielkin, then, flinging his quart of cervoise ale in his face, told him he had lied like the filthy debauchee that he was, threatening, if he did not decamp, to make him eat his fist up to the elbow.

“The other would have talked more, but Michielkin did what he had said: he gave him two great blows on the jaw and dragged him by the teeth, with which he was biting, out on to the road, where he left him battered and bruised, without pity.

“Pieter de Roose, being healed, and unable to live a solitary life, went in ’t Vagevuur, a veritable purgatory and a gloomy tavern, where there were none but poor people. There also he was left to himself, even by all those ragamuffins. And no man spoke to him, save a few country folk to whom he was unknown, and a few wandering rogues, or deserters from some troop or other. He was even beaten there several times, for he was quarrelsome.

“The provost Spelle had come to Meulestee with two catchpolls, and Pieter de Roose followed them everywhere about like a dog, filling them up at his expense with wine, with meat, and many other pleasures that are bought with money. And so he became their companion and their comrade, and he began to do his wicked best to torment all he hated; which was all the inhabitants of Meulestee, but especially my poor brother.

“First of all he attacked Michielkin. False witnesses, [116]gallows birds, greedy for florins, declared that Michielkin was a heretic, had uttered foulness about Notre Dame, and oftentimes blasphemed the name of God and the saints in the tavern of the Falcon, and that, besides all, he had full three hundred florins in a coffer.

“Notwithstanding that the witnesses were not of good life and conduct, Michielkin was arrested, and the proofs being declared by Spelle and the catchpolls good and sufficient to warrant putting the accused to the torture, Michielkin was hung up by the arms to a pulley fastened to the ceiling, and they put a weight of fifty pounds on each of his feet.

“He denied the charge, saying that if in Meulestee there was a rogue, a blackguard, a blasphemer and a lecherous brute, it was no other than Pieter de Roose, and not he.

“But Spelle would listen to nothing, and bade his catchpolls hoist Michielkin right up to the ceiling, and to let him drop heavily with his weights on his feet. And this they did, and so cruelly that the skin and the muscles of the victim were torn, and that the foot scarcely held to the leg.

“As Michielkin persisted in saying he was innocent, Spelle had him tortured afresh, while giving him to understand that if he would give him a hundred florins he would leave him free and acquitted.

“Michielkin said that he would die first.

“The folk of Meulestee, having learned the fact of the arrest and the torture, desired to be witness par turbes, which is the testimony of all the reputable inhabitants of a commune. ‘Michielkin,’ said they, unanimously, ‘is in no way or guise heretical; he goes [117]every Sunday to mass and to the holy table; he has never said anything else of Our Lady than to call on her to succour him in difficult circumstances; having never spoken ill, even of an earthly woman, he would much less ever have dared to speak ill of the heavenly Mother of God. As for the blasphemies that the false witnesses declared they had heard him utter in the tavern of the Falcon, that was in all points false and lies.’

“Michielkin having been released, the false witnesses were punished, and Spelle cited Pieter de Roose before his court, but set him free without examination or torture, in consideration of one hundred florins paid down in one sum.

“Pieter de Roose, fearing that the money he still had left might attract Spelle’s attention to him once again, fled from Meulestee, while Michielkin, my poor brother, died of the gangrene that had caught hold of his feet.

“He who no longer wished to see me, yet had me sent for to bid me beware well of the fire in my body that would bring me into the fire of hell. And I could but weep, for the fire is within me. And he gave up his soul in my arms.”

“Ha!” said she, “he who would avenge upon Spelle the death of my beloved kind Michielkin would be my master forever, and I would obey him like a dog.”

While she spake, the ashes of Claes beat upon the breast of Ulenspiegel. And he determined to bring Spelle the murderer to the gallows.

Boelkin (that was the girl’s name) returned to Meulestee, well assured in her home against the vengeance of Pieter de Roose, for a cattle dealer, passing by Destelberg, [118]informed her that the curé and the townsfolk had declared that if Spelle touched Michielkin’s sister, they would cite him before the duke.

Ulenspiegel, having followed her to Meulestee, came into a low chamber in Michielkin’s house, and saw there a portrait of a master pastry cook which he supposed to be that of the poor victim....

And Boelkin said to him:

“It is my brother’s portrait.”

Ulenspiegel took the picture and said, going away:

“Spelle shall be hanged!”

“What will you do?” said she.

“If you knew that,” said he, “you would have no pleasure in seeing it done.”

Boelkin nodded her head and said in a grieving voice:

“You show no confidence in me.”

“Is it not,” said he, “showing you extreme confidence to say to you ‘Spelle shall be hanged!’ For with this mere word alone you can have me hanged before him.”

“That is true,” said she.

“Then,” said Ulenspiegel, “go fetch me good potter’s clay, a double quart of bruinbier, clear water, and a few slices of beef. All separate.”

“The beef will be for me, the bruinbier for the beef, the water for the clay, and the clay for the portrait.”

Eating and drinking Ulenspiegel kneaded the clay, and now and then swallowed a morsel of it, but heeded it little, and looked most attentively at Michielkin’s portrait. When the clay was kneaded, he made a mask out of it, with a nose, a mouth, eyes, ears so much like the portrait of the dead man, that Boelkin was astonied at it. [119]

After that he put the mask in the oven, and when it was dry, he painted it the colour corpses are, showing the haggard eyes, the solemn face, and the various contractions of a man in the act of dying. Then the girl, ceasing to be astonied, looked at the mask, without being able to take her eyes off it, grew pale and livid, covered up her face, and said shuddering:

“It is he, my poor Michielkin!”

He made also two bloody feet.

Then having conquered her first fright:

“Blessed will he be,” said she, “that will slay the murderer.” Ulenspiegel, taking the mask and the feet, said:

“I must have an assistant.”

Boelkin replied:

“Go in den Blauwe Gans, to the Blue Goose, to Joos Lansaem of Ypres, who keeps this tavern. He was my brother’s best friend and comrade. Tell him it is Boelkin that sends you.”

Ulenspiegel did as she bade him.

After having laboured for death, the provost Spelle went to drink in’t Valck, at the Falcon, a hot mixture of dobbel-clauwert, with cinnamon and Madeira sugar. They dared refuse him nothing at his inn, for fear of the rope.

Pieter de Roose, having plucked up courage again, had come back to Meulestee. Everywhere he followed Spelle and his catchpolls to have their protection. Sometimes Spelle paid the wherewithal for him to drink. And they drank up merrily the money of the victims.

The inn of the Falcon was not filled now as in the good days when the village lived joyously, serving God after the Catholic fashion; and not tormented because [120]of religion. Now it was as though in mourning, as could be seen from its numerous houses that were empty or shut up, from its deserted streets in which there wandered a few starved dogs searching among the rubbish heaps for their rotten food.

There was no place now in Meulestee for any but the two evil and cruel men. The timid dwellers in the village saw them by day insolent and noting the houses of future victims, drawing up the lists of death; and by night venturing from the Falcon singing filthy choruses, while two catchpolls, drunk like them, followed them armed to the teeth to be their escort.

Ulenspiegel went in den Blauwe Gans, to the Blue Goose, to Joos Lansaem, who was at the bar.

Ulenspiegel took from his pocket a little flask of brandy, and said to him:

“Boelkin has two casks for sale.”

“Come into my kitchen,” said the baes.

There, shutting the door, and looking fixedly at him:

“You are no brandy merchant; what do these winkings of your eyes mean? Who are you?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“I am the son of Claes that was burned at Damme; the ashes of the dead man beat upon my breast; I would fain kill Spelle, the murderer.”

“It is Boelkin who sends you?” asked the host.

“Boelkin sends me,” replied Ulenspiegel. “I will kill Spelle; you shall help me in it.”

“I will,” said the baes. “What must I do?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Go to the curé, the good pastor, an enemy to Spelle. Assemble your friends together and be with them to-morrow, after the curfew, on the Everghem road, above [121]Spelle’s house, between the Falcon and the house aforesaid. All post yourselves in the shadows and have no white on your clothes. At the stroke of ten you will see Spelle coming out from the tavern and a wagon coming from the other side.

“Do not tell your friends to-night; they sleep too near to their wives’ ears. Go and find them to-morrow. Come, now, listen to everything closely and remember well.”

“We shall remember,” said Joos. And raising his goblet: “I drink to Spelle’s halter.”

“To the halter,” said Ulenspiegel. Then he went back with the baes into the tavern chamber where there sate drinking certain old clothes merchants of Ghent who were coming back from the Saturday market at Bruges, where they had sold for high prices doublets and short mantles of cloth of gold and silver bought for a few sous from ruined nobles who desired by their luxury and splendour to imitate the Spaniards.

And they kept revels and feasting because of their big profits.

Ulenspiegel and Joos Lansaem, sitting in a corner, as they drank, and without being heard, agreed that Joos should go to the curé of the church, a good pastor, incensed against Spelle, the murderer of innocent men. After that he would go to his friends.

On the morrow, Joos Lansaem and Michielkin’s friends, having been forewarned, left the Blauwe Gans, where they had their pints as usual, and so as to conceal their plans went off at curfew by different ways, and came to the Everghem causeway. They were seventeen in number.

At ten o’clock Spelle left the Falcon, followed by [122]his two catchpolls and Pieter de Roose. Lansaem and his troop were hidden in the barn belonging to Samson Boene, a friend of Michielkin. The door of the barn was open. Spelle never saw them.

They heard him pass by, staggering with drink like Pieter de Roose and his two catchpolls also, and saying, in a thick voice and with many hiccups:

“Provosts! provosts! life is good to them in this world; hold me up, gallows birds that live on my leavings!”

Suddenly were heard upon the road, from the direction of the open country, the braying of an ass and the crack of a whip.

“There is a restive donkey indeed,” said Spelle, “that won’t go on in spite of that good warning.”

Suddenly they heard a great noise of wheels and a cart leaping along and coming down the middle of the road.

“Stop it!” cried Spelle.

As the cart passed beside them, Spelle and his two catchpolls threw themselves on the donkey’s head.

“This cart is empty,” said one of the catchpolls.

“Lubber,” said Spelle, “do empty carts gallop about by night all alone? There is somebody in this cart a-hiding; light the lanterns, hold them up, I am going to look in it.”

The lanterns were lighted and Spelle climbed up on the cart, holding his own lamp; but scarcely had he looked than he uttered a great cry, and falling back, said:

“Michielkin! Michielkin! Jesu! have pity upon me!”

Then there rose up from the floor of the cart a man [123]clad in white as pastry cooks are and holding in his hands two bloody feet.

Pieter de Roose, seeing the man stand up, illuminated by the lanterns, cried with the two catchpolls:

“Michielkin! Michielkin, the dead man! Lord have pity upon us!”

The seventeen came at the noise to look at the spectacle and were affrighted to see in the light of the clear moon how like was the image of Michielkin, the poor deceased.

And the ghost waved his bleeding feet.

It was his same full round visage, but pale through death, threatening, livid, and eaten under the chin by worms.

The ghost, still waving his bleeding feet, said to Spelle, who was groaning, lying flat on his back:

“Spelle, Provost Spelle, awake!”

But Spelle never moved.

“Spelle,” said the ghost again, “Provost Spelle, awake or I fetch thee down with me into the mouth of gaping hell.”

Spelle got up, and with his hair straight up for terror, cried lamentably:

“Michielkin! Michielkin, have pity!”

Meanwhile, the townsfolk had come up, but Spelle saw nothing save the lanterns, which he took for the eyes of devils. He confessed as much later.

“Spelle,” said the ghost of Michielkin, “art thou prepared to die?”

“Nay,” replied the provost, “nay, Messire Michielkin; I am nowise prepared for it, and I would not appear before God with my soul all black with sin.”

“Dost thou know me?” said the ghost. [124]

“May God be my helper,” said Spelle, “yea, I know thee; thou art the ghost of Michielkin, the pastry cook, who died, innocently in his bed, of the after effects of torture, and the two bleeding feet are those upon each of which I had a weight of fifty pounds hung. Ha! Michielkin, forgive me, this Pieter de Roose was so strong a tempter; he offered me fifty florins, which I accepted, to put thy name on the list.”

“Dost thou desire to confess thyself?” said the ghost.

“Aye, Messire, I desire to confess myself, to tell all and do penance. But deign to send away these demons that are there, ready to devour me. I will tell all. Take away those fiery eyes! I did the same thing at Tournay, with respect to five townsmen; the same at Bruges, with four. I no longer know their names, but I will tell them you if you insist; elsewhere, too, I have sinned, lord, and of my doing there are nine and sixty innocents in the grave. Michielkin, the king needed money. I had been informed of that, but I needed money even likewise; it is at Ghent, in the cellar, under the pavement, in the house of old Grovels my real mother. I have told all, all: grace and mercy! Take away the devils. Lord God, Virgin Mary, Jesus, intercede for me: save me from the fires of hell, I will sell all I have, I will give everything to the poor, and I will do penance.”

Ulenspiegel, seeing that the crowd of the townsmen was ready to uphold him, leapt from the cart at Spelle’s throat and would have strangled him.

But the curé came up.

“Let him live,” said he; “it is better that he should die by the executioner’s rope than by the fingers of a ghost.” [125]

“What are you going to do with him?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Accuse him before the duke and have him hanged,” replied the curé. “But who art thou?” asked he.

“I,” replied Ulenspiegel, “am the mask of Michielkin and the person of a poor Flemish fox who is going back into his earth for fear of the Spanish hunters.”

In the meantime, Pieter de Roose was running away at full speed.

And Spelle having been hanged, his goods were confiscated.

And the king inherited.



The next day Ulenspiegel went towards Courtray, going alongside the Lys, the clear river.

Lamme went pitifully along.

Ulenspiegel said to him:

“You whine, cowardly heart, regretting the wife that made you wear the horned crown of cuckoldom.”

“My son,” said Lamme, “she was always faithful, loving me enough as I loved her over well, sweet Jesus. One day, being gone to Bruges, she came back thence changed. From then, when I prayed her of love, she would say to me:

“‘I must live with you as a friend, and not otherwise.’

“Then, sad in my heart:

“‘Beloved darling,’ I would say, ‘we were married before God. Did I not for you everything you ever wished? Did not I many a time clothe myself with a doublet of black linen and a fustian cloak that I [126]might see you clad in silk and brocade despite the royal ordinances? Darling, will you never love me again?’

“‘I love thee,’ she would say, ‘according to God and His laws, according to holy discipline and penance. Yet I shall be a virtuous companion to thee.’

“‘I care naught for thy virtue,’ I replied, ‘’tis thou I want, thou, my wife.’

“Nodding her head:

“‘I know thou art good,’ she said; ‘until to-day thou wast cook in the house to spare me the labour of fricassees; thou didst iron our blankets, ruffs, and shirts, the irons being too heavy for me; thou didst wash our linen, thou didst sweep the house and the street before the door, so as to spare me all fatigue. Now I desire to work instead of you, but nothing more, husband.’

“‘That is all one to me,’ I replied; ‘I will be, as in the past, thy tiring maid, thy laundress, thy cook, thy washwoman, thy slave, thy very own, submissive; but wife, sever not these two hearts and bodies that make but one; break not that soft bond of love that clasped us so tenderly together.’

“‘I must,’ she replied.

“‘Alas!’ I would say, ‘was it at Bruges that thou didst come to this harsh resolve?’

“She replied:

“‘I have sworn before God and His saints.’

“‘Who, then,’ I cried, ‘forced thee to take an oath not to fulfil your duties as a wife?’

“‘He that hath the spirit of God, and ranks me among the number of his penitents,’ said she.

“From that moment she ceased to be mine as much as if she had been the faithful wife of another man. [127]I implored her, tormented her, threatened her, wept, begged, but in vain. One night, coming back from Blanckenberghe, where I had been to receive the rent of one of my farms, I found the house empty. Without doubt fatigued with my entreaties, grieved and sad at my distress, my wife had taken flight. Where is she now?”

And Lamme sat down on the bank of the Lys, hanging his head and looking at the water.

“Ah!” said he, “my dear, how plump, tender, and delicious thou wast! Shall I ever find a lass like thee? Daily bread of love, shall I never eat of thee again? Where are thy kisses, as full of fragrance as thyme; thy delicious mouth whence I gathered pleasure as the bee gathers the honey from the rose; thy white arms that wrapped me round caressing? Where is thy beating heart, thy round bosom, and the sweet shudder of thy fairy body all panting with love? But where are thy old waves, cool river that rollest so joyously thy new waves in the sunshine?”



Passing before the wood of Peteghem, Lamme said to Ulenspiegel:

“I am roasting hot; let us seek the shade.”

“Let us,” replied Ulenspiegel.

They sat down in the wood, upon the grass, and saw a herd of stags pass in front of them.

“Look well, Lamme,” said Ulenspiegel, priming his German musket. “There are the tall old stags that still have their dowcets, and carry proud and stately their nine-point antlers; lovely brockets, that are their [128]squires, trot by their side, ready to do them service with their pointed horns. They are going to their lair. Turn the musket lock as I do. Fire! The old stag is wounded. A brocket is hit in the thigh; he is in flight. Let us follow him till he falls. Do as I do: run, jump, and fly.”

“There is my mad friend,” said Lamme, “following stags on foot. Fly not without wings; it is labour lost. You will never catch them. Oh! the cruel comrade! Do you imagine I am as agile as you? I sweat, my son; I sweat and I am going to fall. If the ranger catches you, you will be hanged. Stag is kings’ game; let them run, my son, you will never catch them.”

“Come,” said Ulenspiegel, “do you hear the noise of his antlers in the foliage? It is a water spout passing. Do you see the young branches broken, the leaves strewing the ground? He has another bullet in his thigh this time; we will eat him.”

“He is not cooked yet,” said Lamme. “Let these poor beasts run. Ah! how hot it is! I am going to fall down there without doubt and I shall never rise again.”

Suddenly, on all sides, men clad in rags and armed filled the forest. Dogs bayed and dashed in pursuit of the stags. Four fierce fellows surrounded Lamme and Ulenspiegel and brought them into a clearing, in the middle of a brake, where they saw encamped there, among women and children, men in great numbers, armed diversely with swords, arbalests, arquebuses, lances, pikestaff, and reiter’s pistols.

Ulenspiegel, seeing them, said to them:

“Are ye the leafmen or Brothers of the Woods, that ye seem to live here in common to flee the persecution?” [129]

“We are Brothers of the Woods,” replied an old man sitting beside the fire and frying some birds in a saucepan. “But who art thou?”

“I,” replied Ulenspiegel, “am of the goodly country of Flanders, a painter, a rustic, a noble, a sculptor, all together. And through the world in this wise I journey, praising things lovely and good and mocking loudly at all stupidity.”

“If thou hast seen so many countries,” said the ancient man, “thou canst pronounce: Schild ende Vriendt, buckler and friend, in the fashion of Ghent folk; if not, thou art a counterfeit Fleming and thou shalt die.”

Ulenspiegel pronounced: Schild ende Vriendt.

“And thou, big belly,” asked the ancient man, speaking to Lamme, “what is thy trade?”

Lamme replied:

“To eat and drink my lands, farms, fees, and revenues, to seek for my wife, and to follow in all places my friend Ulenspiegel.”

“If thou hast travelled so much,” said the old man, “thou art not without knowledge of how they call the folk of Weert in Limbourg.”

“I do not know it,” replied Lamme; “but would you not tell me the name of the scandalous vagabond who drove my wife from her home? Give it to me; I will go and slay him straightway.”

The ancient man made answer:

“There are two things in this world which never return once having taken flight: they are money spent and a woman grown tired and run away.”

Then speaking to Ulenspiegel:

“Dost thou know,” said he, “how they call the men of Weert in Limbourg?” [130]

De reakstekers, the exorcisers of skates,” replied Ulenspiegel, “for one day a live ray having fallen from a fishmonger’s cart, old women seeing it leap about took it for the devil. ‘Let us go fetch the curé to exorcise the skate,’ said they. The curé exorcised it, and carrying it off with him, made a noble fricassee in honour of the folk of Weert. Thus may God do with the bloody king.”

Meanwhile, the barking of the dogs reëchoed in the forest. The armed men, running in the wood, were shouting to frighten the beast.

“’Tis the stag and the brocket I put up,” said Ulenspiegel.

“We shall eat him,” said the old man. “But how do they call the folk of Eindhoven in Limbourg?”

De pinnemakers, boltmakers,” replied Ulenspiegel. “One day the enemy was at the gate of their city; they bolted it with a carrot. The geese came and ate the carrot with great pecks of their greedy beaks, and the enemies came into Eindhoven. But it will be iron beaks that will eat the bolts of the prisons wherein they seek to lock up freedom of conscience.”

“If God be with us, who shall be against us?” replied the ancient man.

Ulenspiegel said:

“Dogs baying, men shouting, branches broken; ’tis a storm in the forest.”

“Is it good meat, stag meat?” asked Lamme, looking at the fricassees.

“The cries of the trackers come nearer,” said Ulenspiegel to Lamme; “the dogs are close at hand. What thunder! The stag! the stag! take care, my son. Fie! the foul beast; he has flung my big friend down to the [131]earth in the midst of the pans, saucepans, cooking pots, boilers, and fricassees. There are the women and girls fleeing daft with fright. You are bleeding, my son?”

“You are laughing, scoundrel,” said Lamme. “Aye, I am bleeding; he hath landed his antlers in my seat. There, see my breeches torn, and my flesh, too, and all those lovely fricassees on the ground. There, I am losing all my blood down my hose.”

“This stag is a foresighted surgeon; he is saving you from an apoplexy,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Fie! rascal without a heart,” said Lamme. “But I will follow you no more. I will stay here in the midst of these good fellows and these good women. Can you, without any shame, be so hardhearted to my woes, when I walk at your heels like a dog, through snow, frost, rain, hail, wind, and when it is hot weather, sweating my very soul out through my skin?”

“Your wound is nothing. Clap an olie-koekje on it; that will be both plaster and fry to it,” answered Ulenspiegel. “But do you know how they call the folk of Louvain? You do not know it, poor friend. Well, then, I am about to tell you to keep you from whimpering. They call them de koeye-schieters, cow shooters, for they were one day silly enough to fire on cows, which they took for enemy soldiers. As for us, we fire on Spanish goats; their flesh is stinking stuff, but their skin is good to make drums withal. And the folk of Tirlemont? Do you know it? Not that, either. They carry the proud nickname of kirekers. For in their town, in the great church, on Whit Sunday, a drake flies from the rood-loft altar, and that is the image of their Holy Ghost. Put a koeke-bakke on your wound. You pick up without a word the cooking pots [132]and fricassees overturned by the stag. ’Tis kitchen courage. You relight the fire, and set up the soup pot again upon its three stakes; you are busying yourself very attentively with the cooking. Do you know why there are four wonders in Louvain? No. I will tell you why. In the first place, because the living there pass underneath the dead, for the church of Saint-Michel is built close to the gate of the town. Its graveyard is therefore above. Secondly, because the bells there are outside the towers, as is seen at the church of Saint-Jacques, where there is a great bell and a little bell; being unable to place the little one inside the bell tower, they placed it outside. Thirdly, because of the Tower-without-Nails, because the spire of the church of Saint-Gertrude is made of stone instead of being made of wood, and because men do not nail stones, except the bloody king’s heart which I would fain nail above the great gate of Brussels. But you are not listening to me. Is there no salt in the sauces? Do you know why the folk of Tirlemont call themselves warming pans, de vierpannen? Because a young prince being come in winter to sleep at the inn of the Arms of Flanders, the innkeeper did not know how to air the blankets, for he had no warming pan. He had the bed aired by his daughter, who, hearing the prince coming, made off running, and the prince asked why they had not left the warming pan in the bed. May God bring it about that Philip, shut in a box of red-hot iron, may serve as warming pan in the bed of Madame Astarte.”

“Leave me in peace,” said Lamme; “a fig for you, your vierpannen, the Tower-without-Nails, and the rest of your nonsense. Leave me to my sauces.”

“Beware,” said Ulenspiegel. “The barkings cease [133]not to reëcho; they become louder; the dogs are roaring, the bugle is sounding. Beware of the stag. You are taking flight! The bugle sounds.”

“It is the death quarry,” said the old man, “come back, Lamme, to your fricassees, the stag is dead.”

“It will be a good meal for us,” said Lamme. “You will invite me to the feast, because of the trouble I am taking for you. The sauce for the birds will be good: it crunches a little, however. That is the sand on which they fell when that big devil of a stag tore my doublet and me all together. But are you not afraid of the foresters?”

“We are too numerous,” said the old man; “they are afraid and do not disturb us. It is even the same with the catchpolls and the judges. The inhabitants of the towns love us, for we do no harm to any man. We shall live some time longer in peace, unless the Spanish army surrounds us. If that happens, old men and young men, women, girls, lads, and lasses, we will sell our lives dear, and we will kill one another rather than endure a thousand martyrdoms at the hands of the bloody duke.”

Ulenspiegel said:

“It is now no longer the time to combat the murderer by land. It is on the sea that we must ruin his power. Go to the Zealand Islands, by way of Bruges, Heyst, and Knoeke.”

“We have no money,” said they.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Here are a thousand carolus from the prince. Follow along the waterways, canals, rivers, and streams; when you see ships carrying the sign ‘J. H. S.,’ let one of you sing like a lark. The clarion of the cock [134]will answer him. And you will be in friends’ country.”

“We will do this,” said they.

Soon the hunters, followed by the dogs, appeared, pulling after them the dead stag with ropes.

Then all sate down round about the fire. There were full sixty, men, women, and children. Bread was pulled out from satchels, knives from their sheaths; the stag, cut up, stripped, disembowelled, was put on the spit with small game. And at the end of the meal Lamme was seen snoring with his head drooped on his breast and sleeping propped against a tree.

At nightfall, the Brothers of the Wood went back into huts constructed underground to sleep, and Lamme and Ulenspiegel did the same.

Armed men kept watch, guarding the camp. And Ulenspiegel heard the dry leaves protest under their feet.

The next day he departed with Lamme, while the men of the camp said:

“Blessed be thou; we will make towards the sea.”



At Harlebek, Lamme renewed his stock of olie-koekjes, ate twenty-seven and put thirty in his basket. Ulenspiegel carried his cages in his hand. Towards evening they arrived in Courtray and stopped at the inn of in de Bie, the Bee, with Gilis van den Ende, who came to his door as soon as he heard someone sing like the lark.

There it was all sugar and honey with them. The host having seen the prince’s letters, handed fifty carolus [135]to Ulenspiegel for the prince, and would take no payment for the turkey he served them, nor for the dobbel-clauwert with which he washed it down. He warned them, too, that there were at Courtray spies of the Court of Blood, for which cause he ought to well keep his tongue as well as his companion’s.

“We shall reconnoitre then,” said Ulenspiegel and Lamme.

And they went out from the inn.

The sun was setting, gilding the gables of the houses; the birds were singing under the lime trees; the goodwives gossiped on the thresholds of their doors; the children rolled and tumbled about in the dust, and Ulenspiegel and Lamme wandered haphazard through the streets.

Suddenly Lamme said:

“Martin van den Ende, asked by me if he had seen a woman like my wife—I drew him my pretty portrait,—told me that there were at the house of the woman Stevenyne, on the Bruges road, at the Rainbow, outside the town, a great number of women who gather there every evening. I am going there straightway.”

“I shall find you again presently,” said Ulenspiegel. “I wish to pay the town a visit; if I meet your wife I will presently send her to you. You know that the baes has enjoined on you to be silent, if you have any regard for your skin.”

As Ulenspiegel wandered at his will, the sun went down, and the day falling swiftly, he arrived in the Pierpot-Straetje, which is the lane of the Stone Pot. There he heard the viol played upon melodiously; drawing near he saw from afar a white shape calling him, gliding away from him and playing on the viol. And [136]it sang like a seraph a sweet slow song, stopping, turning back, still calling him and fleeing from him.

But Ulenspiegel ran swiftly; he overtook her and was about to speak to her when she laid on his mouth a hand perfumed with benjamin.

“Art thou a rustic or a nobleman?” said she.

“I am Ulenspiegel.”

“Art thou rich?”

“Enough to pay for a great pleasure, not enough to ransom my soul.”

“Hast thou no horses, that thou goest afoot?”

“I had an ass,” said Ulenspiegel, “but I left him in the stable.”

“How is it thou art alone, without a friend, in a strange city?”

“Because my friend is wandering on his own side, as I am on mine, my curious darling.”

“I am not curious,” said she. “Is he rich, your friend?”

“In fat,” said Ulenspiegel. “Will you soon have finished questioning me?”

“I have done,” said she, “now leave me.”

“Leave you?” he said; “as well bid Lamme, when he is hungry, leave a dish of ortolans. I want to eat you.”

“You have not seen me,” she said. And she opened a lantern which shone out suddenly, lighting up her face.

“You are beautiful,” said Ulenspiegel. “Ho! the golden skin, the sweet eyes, the red mouth, the darling body! All will be for me.”

“All,” she said.

She brought him to the woman Stevenyne’s, on the [137]Bruges road, at the Rainbow (in den Reghen-boogh). Ulenspiegel saw there a great number of girls wearing on their arms armlets of a colour different from that of their fustian dress.

This one had an armlet of silver cloth on a robe of cloth of gold. And all the girls looked at her jealously. Coming in she made a sign to the baesine, but Ulenspiegel never saw it. They sat down together and drank.

“Do you know,” said she, “that whoever has loved me is mine forever?”

“Lovely fragrant girl,” said Ulenspiegel, “’twould be a delicious feast to me to eat always of this meat.”

Suddenly he perceived Lamme in a corner, with a little table before him, a candle, a ham, a pot of beer, and not knowing how to rescue his ham from the two girls, who wanted perforce to eat and drink with him.

When Lamme perceived Ulenspiegel, he stood up and leaped three feet into the air, crying:

“Blessed be God, that restoreth my friend Ulenspiegel to me! Something to drink, baesine!”

Ulenspiegel, pulling out his purse, said:

“Bring to drink till this is at an end.”

And he made the carolus clink.

“Glory to God!” said Lamme, craftily taking the purse in his hands; “it is I that pay and not you; this purse is mine.”

Ulenspiegel wished to get back his purse from him by force, but Lamme held on tenaciously. As they were fighting, the one to keep it, the other to get it back, Lamme speaking disjointedly, said in low tones to Ulenspiegel:

“Listen: ... catchpolls within ... four [138]... little room with three girls ... two outside for you, for me ... would have gone out ... prevented.... The brocade girl a spy ... a spy, Stevenyne!”

While they were struggling, Ulenspiegel, listening with all his ears, cried out:

“Give back my purse, rascal!”

“You shall never get it,” said Lamme.

And they seized each other by the neck and the shoulders, rolling on the ground while Lamme gave his good advice to Ulenspiegel.

Suddenly the baes of the Bee came in followed by seven men, whom he seemed not to know. He crowed like a cock and Ulenspiegel whistled like a lark. Seeing Ulenspiegel and Lamme fighting, the baes spoke:

“Who are these two fellows?” he asked the Stevenyne.

The Stevenyne answered:

“Rogues that it would be better to separate rather than leave them here to make such an uproar before going to the gallows.”

“Let him dare to separate us,” said Ulenspiegel, “and we will make him eat the tiled floor.”

“The baes to the rescue,” said Ulenspiegel in Lamme’s ear.

Hereupon the baes, scenting some mystery, rushed into their battle, head down. Lamme threw these words into his ear.

“You the rescuer? How?”

The baes pretended to shake Ulenspiegel by the ears and said to him in a whisper:

“Seven for thee ... strong fellows, butchers ... I’m going away ... too well [139]known in town.... When I am gone, ’tis van te beven de klinkaert ... smash everything ...”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, getting up and fetching him a kick.

The baes struck him in his turn. And Ulenspiegel said to him:

“You hit thick and fast, my belly boy.”

“As hail,” said the baes, seizing Lamme’s purse lightly and giving it to Ulenspiegel.

“Rogue,” said he, “pay for me to drink now that you have been restored to your property.”

“Thou shalt drink, scandalous rascal,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“See how impudent he is,” said the Stevenyne.

“As insolent as thou art lovely, darling,” answered Ulenspiegel.

Now the Stevenyne was full sixty years old, and had a face like a medlar, but all yellowed with bile and anger. In the middle of it was a nose like an owl’s beak. Her eyes were the eyes of a flinty-hearted miser. Two long dog-tusks jutted from her fleshless mouth. And she had a great port-wine stain on her left cheek.

The girls laughed, mocking her and saying:

“Darling, darling, give him somewhat to drink”—“He will kiss you”—“Is it long since you had your first spree?”—“Take care, Ulenspiegel, she will eat you up”—“Look at her eyes; they are shining not with hate but with love”—“You might say she will bite you to death”—“Don’t be afraid”—“All amorous women are like that”—“She only wants your money”—“See what a good laughing humour she is in.” [140]

And indeed the Stevenyne was laughing and winking at Gilline, the girl in the brocade dress.

The baes drank, paid, and went. The seven butchers made faces of intelligence at the catchpolls and the Stevenyne.

One of them indicated by a gesture that he held Ulenspiegel for a ninny and that he was about to fool him to the top of his bent. He said in his ear, putting out his tongue derisively on the side of the Stevenyne who was laughing and showing her fangs:

’Tis van te beven de klinkaert” (’tis time to make the glasses clink).

Then aloud, and pointing to the catchpolls:

“Gentle reformer, we are all with thee; pay for us to drink and to eat.”

And the Stevenyne laughed with pleasure and also put out her tongue at Ulenspiegel when he turned his back to her. And Gilline of the brocade dress put out her tongue likewise.

And the girls said, whispering:

“Look at the spy who by her beauty brought to cruel torture and more cruel death more than twenty-seven of the Reformed faith; Gilline is in ecstasy thinking of the reward for her informing—the first hundred florins carolus of the victim’s estate. But she does not laugh when she thinks that she must share them with the Stevenyne.”

And all, catchpolls, butchers, and girls, put out their tongues to mock at Ulenspiegel. And Lamme sweated great drops of sweat, and he was red with anger like a cock’s comb, but he would not speak a word.

“Pay for us to drink and to eat,” said the butchers and the catchpolls. [141]

“Well, then,” said Ulenspiegel, rattling his carolus again, “give us to drink and to eat, O darling Stevenyne, to drink in ringing glasses.”

Thereupon the girls began to laugh anew and the Stevenyne to stick out her tusks.

Nevertheless, she went to the kitchens and to the cellar; she brought back ham, sausages, omelettes of black puddings, and ringing glasses, so called because they were mounted on felt and rang like a chime when they were knocked.

Then Ulenspiegel said:

“Let him that is hungry eat; let him that is thirsty drink!”

The catchpolls, the girls, the butchers, Gilline, and the Stevenyne applauded this speech with feet and hands. Then they all ranged themselves as well as they could, Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and the seven butchers at the principal table, the great table of honour, the catchpolls and the girls at two small tables. And they drank and ate with a great noise of jaws, even the two catchpolls that were outside, and whom their comrades made come in to share the feast. And ropes and chains could be seen sticking out from their satchels.

The Stevenyne then putting out her tongue and grinning said:

“No one can go without paying me.”

And she went and shut all the doors, the keys of which she put in the pockets.

Gilline, lifting her glass, said:

“The bird is in the cage, let us drink.”

Thereupon two girls called Gena and Margot said to her: [142]

“Is this another one that you are going to have put to death, wicked woman?”

“I do not know,” said Gilline, “let us drink.”

But the three girls would not drink with her.

And Gilline took her viol and sang, in French:

“To viol’s tone I sing

’Neath night or noonday skies,

A gay, mad, wanton thing

Who sell Love’s merchandise.

“Astarte traced aright

My hips in lines of flame:

Were shoulders ne’er so white

And God’s my lovely frame.

“Oh tear each purse’s sheath

And let its money glow:

Set tawny gold beneath

My milk-white feet aflow.

“Of Eve the child I seem,

Of Satan too a part;

As fine as is your dream,

Come seek it in my heart.

“My mood is cold or burning,

Or fond with careless ease,

Mad, mild, or melting turning,

My man, your whim to please.

“See every charm that cheers,

Soul, eyes of blue, for hire;

Delights and smiles and tears,

And Death, if you desire.

“To viol’s tone I sing

’Neath night or noonday skies,

A gay, mad, wanton thing

Who sell Love’s merchandise.”


As she sang her song, Gilline was so beautiful, so sweet, and so pretty that all the men, catchpolls, butchers, Lamme, and Ulenspiegel were there, speechless, moved, smiling, captivated by the spell.

All at once, bursting into laughter, Gilline said, looking at Ulenspiegel:

“That is the way birds are put in the cage.”

And the spell was broken.

Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and the butchers looked at one another.

“Now, then, will you pay me?” said the Stevenyne, “will you pay me, Messire Ulenspiegel, you that grow so fat on the flesh of preachers?”

Lamme would have spoken, but Ulenspiegel made him hold his tongue, and speaking to the Stevenyne:

“We shall not pay in advance,” said he.

“I will pay myself afterwards then out of your estate,” said the Stevenyne.

“Ghouls feed on corpses,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Aye,” said one of the catchpolls, “those two have taken the preachers’ money; more than three hundred florins carolus. That makes a fine tithe for Gilline.”

Gilline sang:

“Seek such in other spheres

Take all, my loving squire,

Pleasures, kisses, and tears,

And Death, if you desire.”

Then, laughing, she said:

“Let’s drink!”

“Let’s drink!” said the catchpolls. [144]

“In God’s name,” said the Stevenyne, “let us drink! The doors are locked, the windows have stout bars, the birds are in the cage, let us drink!”

“Let’s drink,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Let’s drink,” said Lamme.

“Let’s drink,” said the seven.

“Let’s drink,” said the catchpolls.

“Let’s drink,” said Gilline, making her viols sing. “I am beautiful; let us drink. I could take the Archangel Gabriel in the nets of my singing.”

“Bring us to drink then,” said Ulenspiegel, “wine to crown the feast, wine of the best; I would have a drop of liquid fire at every hair of our thirsty bodies.”

“Let us drink!” said Gilline; “twenty gudgeons more like you, and the pikes will sing no more.”

The Stevenyne brought wine. All were sitting, drinking and eating, the catchpolls and the girls together. The seven, seated at the table of Ulenspiegel and Lamme, threw, from their table to the girls, hams, sausages, omelettes, and bottles, which they caught in the air like carps snatching flies on the surface of a pond. And the Stevenyne laughed, sticking out her tusks and showing packets of candles, five to the pound, that hung above the bar. These were the girls’ candles. Then she said to Ulenspiegel:

“When men go to the stake, they carry a tallow candle on the way thither; would you like to have one now?”

“Drink up!” said Ulenspiegel.

“Drink up,” said the seven.

Said Gilline:

“Ulenspiegel has eyes shining like a swan about to die.” [145]

“Suppose they were given to the pigs to eat?” said the Stevenyne.

“That would be a feast of lanterns; drink up!” said Ulenspiegel.

“Would you like,” said the Stevenyne, “when you are on the scaffold, to have your tongue thrust through with a red-hot iron?”

“It would be the better of that for whistling; drink up,” answered Ulenspiegel.

“You would talk less if you were hanged,” said the Stevenyne, “and your darling might come to look at you.”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, “but I should weigh heavier, and would fall on your lovely muzzle: drink up!”

“What would you say if you were beaten with cudgels, branded on the forehead and on the shoulder?”

“I would say they had made a mistake in the meat,” replied Ulenspiegel, “and that instead of roasting the sow Stevenyne, they had scalded the young porker Ulenspiegel: drink up!”

“Since you do not like any of these,” said the Stevenyne, “you shall be taken on to the king’s ships, and there condemned to be torn asunder by four galleys.”

“Then,” said Ulenspiegel, “the sharks will have my four quarters, and you shall eat what they reject: drink up!”

“Why do you not eat one of these candles,” said she, “they would serve you in hell to light your eternal damnation.”

“I see clear enough to behold your shiny snout, O ill-scalded sow, drink up!” said Ulenspiegel.

Suddenly he struck the foot of the glass on the table, [146]imitating with his hands the noise an upholsterer makes beating rhythmically the wool of a mattress upon a frame of sticks, but very gently, and saying:

’Tis (tydt) van te beven de klinkaert” (it is time to make the clinker shiver—the glass that rings).

This is in Flanders the signal for the angry outbreak of drinkers and for the sacking of houses with the red lantern.

Ulenspiegel drank, then made the glass quiver on the table, saying:

’Tis van te beven de klinkaert.

And the seven imitated him.

All kept very still. Gilline grew pale, the Stevenyne appeared astonished. The catchpolls said:

“Are the seven on their side?”

But the butchers, winking, reassured them, at the same time continually repeating in louder and louder tones with Ulenspiegel:

’Tis van te beven de klinkaert; ’tis van te beven de klinkaert.

The Stevenyne drank to give herself courage.

Ulenspiegel then struck the table with his fist, with the rhythm and measure of upholsterers beating mattresses; the seven did as he did; glasses, jugs, bowls, quart pots, and goblets came slowly into the dance, overturning, breaking, rising on one side to fall on the other; and still there rang out more threatening, sombre, warlike, and in monotone: “’Tis van te beven de klinkaert.

“Alas!” said the Stevenyne, “they are going to smash everything here.”

And in her fear her two tusks stuck farther still out of her mouth. [147]

And the blood lit up with wrath and fury in the minds of the seven and Lamme and Ulenspiegel.

Then without stopping their monotonous threatening chant all the men at Ulenspiegel’s table took their glasses, and breaking them on the table, keeping time together, they got astride their chairs and drew their cutlasses. And they made such a din with their song that all the window-panes in the house were quaking. Then like a ring of devils they went round about the chamber and all the tables, saying continually: “’Tis van te beven de klinkaert.

And the catchpolls then rose up quaking with terror, and took out their ropes and chains. But the butchers, Ulenspiegel, and Lamme, thrusting their cutlasses back into their sheaths, got up, seized their chairs, and brandishing them like cudgels, they ran nimbly through the room hither and thither, striking right and left, sparing only the girls, smashing all the rest, furniture, windows, chests, dishes, quart pots, bowls, glasses, and flasks, beating the catchpolls without pity and always singing to the time of the sound of the upholsterer beating mattresses: “’Tis van te beven de klinkaert; “’tis van te beven de klinkaert,” while Ulenspiegel had given a blow on the face with his fist to the Stevenyne, had taken her keys from her bag, and by force made her eat her candles.

The beauteous Gilline, tearing at the doors, the shutters, the windows, and the glass panes with her nails, seemed to want to scratch her way through everything, like a terrified cat. Then, all livid, she crouched down in a corner, with haggard eyes, showing her teeth, and holding her viol as if she must needs protect it at all costs. [148]

The seven and Lamme said to the girls: “We will do you no hurt”; with their help tied up with their own chains and cords the catchpolls shivering in their shoes and not daring to resist, for they perceived that the butchers, picked out among the strongest by the baes of the Bee, would have chopped them to pieces with their cutlasses.

At every candle he made the Stevenyne eat Ulenspiegel said:

“This is for the hanging; that for the cudgelling; this other for the branding; this fourth for my pierced tongue; these two excellent and extra fat ones for the king’s ships and the quartering by four galleys; this for your den of spies; that one for your damsel in the brocade dress, and all these others just to please me.”

And the girls laughed to see the Stevenyne sneezing with anger and trying to spit out her candles. But in vain, for she had her mouth too full of them.

Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and the seven never ceased singing in time with one another: “’Tis van te beven de klinkaert.

Then Ulenspiegel stopped, making sign to them to murmur the refrain softly. They did so while he held this conversation with the girls and the catchpolls:

“If any one of you cries for help, he will be cut down immediately.”

“Cut down!” said the butchers.

“We will hold our tongues,” said the girls, “do not hurt us, Ulenspiegel.”

But Gilline, huddled in her corner, her eyes starting out of her head, her teeth out of her mouth, could not speak, and clasped her viol tightly to her. [149]

And the seven still were murmuring: “’Tis van te beven de klinkaert!” in measure.

The Stevenyne, pointing to the candles she had in her mouth, made signs that she would hold her tongue likewise. The catchpolls promised the same.

Ulenspiegel continued his discourse:

“Ye are here,” said he, “in our power; the night has fallen, we are near the Lys where you drown easily if you are thrust in. The gates of Courtrai are closed. If the night watch have heard the uproar, they will never budge, being too lazy and thinking it is simply good Flemish folk who as they drink are singing merrily to the sound of pots and flasks. Wherefore stay ye still, both men and girls, before your masters.”

Then, speaking to the seven:

“Are you going to Peteghem to find the Beggars?”

“We made ready for this at the news of thy coming.”

“From thence ye will go to the sea?”

“Aye,” said they.

“Do you know among these catchpolls one or two that might be let go to serve us?”

“Two,” said they, “Niklaes and Joos, who never hunted down the poor Reformed folk.”

“We are faithful!” said Niklaes and Joos.

Then Ulenspiegel said:

“Here are twenty florins carolus for you, twice more than you would have had if ye had taken the vile reward of the informer.”

Suddenly the five others exclaimed:

“Twenty florins! We will serve the prince for twenty florins. The king pays ill. Give each of us the half; we will tell the judge whatever you wish.”

The butchers and Lamme murmured low: [150]

’Tis van te beven de klinkaert; ’tis van te beven de klinkaert.

“So that ye may not talk too much,” said Ulenspiegel, “the seven will bring you bound as far as Peteghem, to the Beggars. Ye shall have ten florins when ye are on the sea; we shall be certain till then that the camp victual will keep you faithful to bread and soup. If ye are valiant men, ye shall have your share in the booty taken. If ye try to desert, ye shall be hanged. If ye escape, thus avoiding the rope, ye shall find the knife.”

“We serve who pays us,” said they.

’Tis van te beven de klinkaert! ’Tis van te beven de klinkaert!” said Lamme and the seven striking upon the table with shards of broken pots and glasses.

“Ye shall take with you also,” said Ulenspiegel, “Gilline, the Stevenyne, and the three damsels. If one of them tries to escape, ye shall sew her up in a sack and throw her into the river.”

“He has not killed me,” said Gilline, leaping out from her corner, and brandishing her viol in the air. And she sang:

“Of blood was all my dream

The dream so near my heart,

Of Eve the child I seem,

Of Satan, too, a part.”

The Stevenyne and the others were like to weep.

“Fear nothing, darlings,” said Ulenspiegel, “you are so soft and sweet, that everywhere they will love you, feast you, and caress you. At every war capture ye shall have your share in the booty.”

“They will give nothing to me, for I am an old woman,” wept the Stevenyne. [151]

“A sou a day, crocodile,” said Ulenspiegel, “for thou shalt be serving woman to these four beauteous damsels; thou shalt wash their petticoats, blankets, and chemises.”

“I, Lord God!” said she.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“Thou hast ruled them long, living on the earnings of their bodies and leaving them poor and hungry. Thou mayst whine and bellow, it shall be as I have said.”

Thereupon the four girls began to laugh and mock at the Stevenyne, and say to her, putting out their tongues:

“To each her turn in this world. Who would have said it of Stevenyne the miser? She shall work for us as a servant. Blessed be the lord Ulenspiegel!”

Then the three turned to Gilline:

“Thou wast her daughter, her support; thou didst share with her the fruits of thy foul spydom. Wilt thou ever dare again to strike and insult us with thy brocade dress? Thou didst scorn us because we were but fustian. Thou art clothed so richly only with the blood of victims. Let us take her dress so that she may be even like ourselves.”

“I will not have it,” said Ulenspiegel.

And Gilline, leaping on his neck, said:

“Blessed be thou that hast not killed me, and wouldst not have me ugly!”

And the girls, jealous, looked at Ulenspiegel, and said:

“He has lost his wits for her like all the men.”

Gilline sang to her viol.

The seven set out towards Peteghem, taking with them the catchpolls and the girls along by the Lys. As they went on their way they murmured: [152]

’T is van te beven de klinkaert; ’t is van te beven de klinkaert!

As the sun was rising they came to the camp, sang like the lark, and the clarion of the cock made them answer. The girls and the catchpolls were closely guarded. For all that, on the third day Gilline was found dead, her heart pierced through with a great needle. The Stevenyne was accused by the three girls and brought before the captain of the band, his dizeniers and sergeants formed into a tribunal. There, without their having to put her to the torture, she confessed that she had killed Gilline through jealousy of her beauty and rage because the damsel treated her as her servant pitilessly. And the Stevenyne was hanged, and afterwards buried in the wood.

Gilline, too, was buried, and the prayers for the dead were said above her sweet body.

Meanwhile, the two catchpolls instructed by Ulenspiegel had gone before the castellan of Courtray, for the tumult, uproar, and pillage made in the Stevenyne’s house must needs be punished by the said castellan, as the Stevenyne’s house was in the castle ward, outside the jurisdiction of the town of Courtray. After having narrated to the lord castellan what had taken place, they told him with great conviction and humble sincerity of language:

“The murderers of the preachers are in no wise Ulenspiegel and his trusty and well-beloved Lamme Goedzak, who went to the Rainbow purely for their repose and refreshment. They even have passes from the duke, and we have seen these ourselves. The real culprits are two Ghent merchants, one a lean man and the other very fat, who went away towards France, [153]after breaking everything at Stevenyne’s, taking her away with her four girls along with them for their pleasure. We had them well and duly taken prisoners, but there were in the house seven butchers, the strongest in the town, who took their side. They tied us all up and only let us go when they were far away on the French soil. And here are the marks of the ropes. The four other catchpolls are on their tracks, waiting for a reinforcement to lay hands on them.”

The castellan gave each of them two carolus and a new coat for their loyal services.

He then wrote to the Council of Flanders, to the Sheriff’s Court at Courtray, and to other courts of justice to announce to them that the real murderers had been discovered.

And he recounted to them the whole adventure in detail and at length.

Whereat the people of the Council of Flanders and the other courts of justice shuddered.

And the castellan was greatly praised for his perspicacity.

And Ulenspiegel and Lamme journeyed in peace upon the road from Peteghem to Ghent, along the Lys, wishing to arrive at Bruges, where Lamme hoped to find his wife, and at Damme, where Ulenspiegel, all a-dream, would have wished to be already, to see Nele, who lived in sadness with Katheline the madwife.



During a long while, in the country of Damme and round about, there had been committed several abominable crimes. Lasses, young men, old men, who had [154]been known to go forth carrying money in the direction of Bruges, Ghent, or some other town or village of Flanders, were found dead, naked as worms and bitten in the back of the neck by teeth so long and so sharp that they all had the bones of their necks broken.

Physicians and barber-surgeons declared that these were the teeth of a huge wolf. “Robbers,” said they, “had doubtless come up, after the wolf, and had stripped the victims.”

Despite all search, no man could ever discover who were the robbers. Soon the wolf was forgotten.

Several townsmen of note, who had proudly set forth on their way without an escort, disappeared without any one knowing what had become of them, save that at times some country fellow, going out in the morning to plough the earth, found wolf tracks in his field, while his dog, digging in the furrows with his paws, brought to light a poor dead corpse carrying the marks of the wolf’s teeth on the nape or under the ear, and oftentimes on the leg, too, and always behind. And always the neckbone and legbone were broken.

The peasant, affrighted, would go off at once to give information to the bailiff, who would come with the clerk of the court, two aldermen, and two surgeons to the place where lay the body of the murdered man. Having visited it diligently and carefully, having sometimes when the face was not eaten by worms recognized its quality, even its name and lineage, they were nevertheless always astonied that the wolf, a beast that kills for hunger, should not have carried off some part of the dead man.

And the folk of Damme were sore terrified, and no woman dared to go out by night without an escort. [155]

Now it came that several valiant soldiers were sent out to look for the wolf, with orders to hunt for it day and night in the dunes, along by the sea.

They were then near Heyst, among the great dunes. Night had come. One of them, confident in his strength, wanted to leave them to go alone on the hunt, armed with a musket. The others allowed him, certain that, valiant and armed as he was, he would kill the wolf if he dared to show himself.

Their comrade having gone, they lit a fire and played at dice while drinking brandy out of their flasks.

And from time to time they called out:

“Now, then, comrade, come back; the wolf is afraid; come and drink!”

And he made no answer.

Suddenly, hearing a great cry as of a man that is at the point of death, they ran in the direction whence the cry came, saying:

“Hold on, we are coming to the rescue!”

But they were long before they found their comrade, for some said the cry came from the valley, others that it came from the highest dune.

At length, when they had well searched dune and valley with their lanterns, they found their comrade bitten in the leg and in the arm, from behind, and his neck broken like the other victims.

Lying on his back, he was holding his sword in his clenched fist; his musket was on the sand. By his side were three severed fingers, which they carried off, and which were not his fingers. His pouch had been taken.

They took up on their shoulders their comrade’s body, his good sword, and his gallant musket, and [156]grieved and angry, they carried the corpse to the bailiff’s where the bailiff received them in the company of the clerk of the court, two aldermen, and two surgeons.

The severed fingers were examined and recognized as the fingers of an old man, who was no worker at any trade, for the fingers were long and tapering, and the nails were long as the nails of lawyers and churchmen.

Next day the bailiff, the aldermen, the clerk, the surgeons, and the soldiers went to the place where the poor slain man had been bitten, and saw that there were drops of blood upon the grass and footmarks that went as far as the sea, where they ceased.



It was at the time of the ripened grapes, in the wine month and the fourth day of it, when in the city of Brussels they throw, from the top of the tower of Saint Nicholas after high mass, bags of walnuts down to the people.

At night Nele was awakened by cries coming from the street. She looked for Katheline in the room and found her not. She ran down and opened the door, and Katheline came in saying:

“Save me! Save me! the wolf! the wolf!”

And Nele heard in the country far-off howlings. Trembling, she lighted all the lamps, wax tapers, and candles.

“What has happened, Katheline?” said she, clasping her in her arms.

Katheline sat down, with haggard eyes, and said, looking at the candles: [157]

“’Tis the sun, he driveth away evil spirits. The wolf, the wolf is howling in the countryside.”

“But,” said Nele, “why did you leave your bed where you were warm, to go and take a fever in the damp nights of September?”

And Katheline said:

“Hanske cried last night like an osprey; and I opened the door. And he said to me: ‘Take the drink of vision,’ and I drank. Hanske is goodly to look upon. Take away the fire. Then he brought me down to the canal and said to me: ‘Katheline, I will give thee back the seven hundred carolus; thou shalt restore them to Ulenspiegel the son of Claes. Here be two to buy thee a robe; thou shalt have a thousand soon.’ ‘A thousand,’ said I, ‘my beloved, I shall then be rich.’ ‘Thou shalt have them,’ said he. ‘But is there none in Damme who, woman or damsel, is now as rich as thou wilt be?’ ‘I know not,’ I answered. But I had no mind to tell their names for fear he might love them. Then he said to me: ‘Find this out and tell me their names when I come back.’

“The air was chill, the mist rolled over the meadows, the dry twigs were falling from the trees upon the roadway. And the moon was shining, and there were fires on the water of the canal. Hanske said to me: ‘It is the night of the were-wolves; all guilty souls come forth out of hell. Thou must make the sign of the cross thrice with the left hand and cry: Salt! Salt! Salt! which is the emblem of immortality, and they will do thee no hurt.’ And I said: ‘I shall do what thou desirest, Hanske, my darling.’ He kissed me, saying: ‘Thou art my wife.’ ‘Aye,’ said I. And at his gentle word a heavenly happiness glided over my [158]body like an ointment. He crowned me with roses and said to me: ‘Thou art fair.’ And I said to him: ‘Thou art fair, too, Hanske, my darling, and goodly in thy fine raiment of green velvet with gold trimmings, with thy long ostrich feather that floats from thy bonnet, and thy face pale as the fire upon the waves of the sea. And if the girls of Damme saw thee, they would all run after thee, beseeching thee for thy heart; but thou must give it only to me alone, Hanske.’ He said: ‘Endeavour to know which are the richest; their fortune will be for thee.’ Then he went away, leaving me after straitly forbidding me to follow him.

“I stayed there, chinking the three carolus in my hand, all shivering and frozen by reason of the mist, when I saw coming up from a steep bank and climbing the slope a wolf that had a green face and long reeds among his white hair. I cried out: Salt! Salt! Salt! making the sign of the cross, but he seemed to be in no dread of it. And I ran with all my might, I crying, he howling, and I heard the dry clashing of his teeth close upon me, and once so near to my shoulder that I thought that he was about to catch me. But I ran faster than he did. By great good luck, I met at the corner of the street of the Heron the night watch with his lantern. ‘The wolf! the wolf!’ I cried. ‘Be not afraid,’ said the watchman to me, ‘I will take you home, Katheline the madwife.’ And I felt that his hand, holding me, was shaking. And he was afraid like me.”

“But he hath got back his courage,” said Nele. “Do you hear him now chanting in a drawling voice: ‘De clock is tien tien aen de clock’: It is ten o’ the clock, o’ the clock ten! And he springs his rattle.” [159]

“Take away the fire,” said Katheline, “my head burns. Come back, Hanske, my darling.”

And Nele looked on Katheline, and she prayed Our Lady the Virgin to take away from her head the fire of madness; and she wept over her mother.



At Belleau, on the banks of the Bruges canal, Ulenspiegel and Lamme met a horseman wearing three cock’s feathers in his felt hat and riding at full speed towards Ghent. Ulenspiegel sang like a lark and the horseman, pulling up, answered with the clarion of Chanticleer.

“Dost thou bring tidings, headlong horseman?” said Ulenspiegel.

“Great tidings,” said the horseman. “On the advice of M. de Châtillon who is in the land of France the admiral of the sea, the prince of freedom hath given commissions to equip ships of war, beyond those that are already armed at Emden and in East Frisia. The valiant men who have received these commissions are Adrien de Berghes, Sieur de Dolhain; his brother Louis of Hainaut; the Baron of Montfaucon; the Sieur Louis de Brederode; Albert d’Egmont the son of the beheaded count and no traitor like his brother; Berthel Enthens of Mentheda, the Frisian; Adrien Menningh; Hembuyse the hot and proud man of Ghent; and Jan Brock.

“The prince hath given all his having, more than fifty thousand florins.”

“I have five hundred for him,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Take them to the sea,” said the horseman. [160]

And he went off at a gallop.

“He gives all his having,” said Ulenspiegel. “We others, we give nothing but our skins.”

“Is that nothing then,” said Lamme, “and shall we never have aught talked of but sack and massacre? The orange is on the ground.”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, “on the ground, like the oak; but with the oak they build the ships of freedom!”

“For his profit,” said Lamme. “But since there is no danger now, let us buy asses again. I like to march sitting, for my part, and without having a chime of blister-bells on the soles of my feet.”

“Let us buy asses,” said Ulenspiegel; “these are beasts it is easy to sell again.”

They went to market and found there, by paying for them, two fine asses with their equipment.



As they rode on astraddle, they came to Oost-Camp, where there is a great wood the fringe of which touched the canal.

Seeking therein shade and sweet fragrance, they went into it, without seeing anything but the long forest alleys going in every direction towards Bruges, Ghent, South Flanders, and North Flanders.

Suddenly Ulenspiegel jumped down from his ass.

“Dost thou see nothing yonder?”

Lamme said:

“Aye, I see.” And trembling: “My wife, my good wife! ’Tis she, my son. Ha! I cannot walk to her. To find her thus!”

“What are you complaining of?” said Ulenspiegel. [161]

“She is beautiful thus half-naked, in this muslin tunic cut in open work that lets the fresh skin be seen. That one is too young; she is not your wife.”

“My son,” said Lamme, “it is she, my son; I know her. Carry me. I can go no more. Who would have thought it of her? To dance clad in this way like an Egyptian, shamelessly! Aye, it is she; see her shapely legs, her arms bare to the shoulder, her breasts round and golden half emerging from her muslin tunic. See how with that red flag she excites that great dog jumping up at it.”

“’Tis a dog of Egypt,” said Ulenspiegel; “the Low Countries give none of that kind.”

“Egypt ... I do not know.... But it is she. Ha! my son, I can see no more. She plucks up her breeches higher to show more of her round legs. She laughs to show her white teeth, and loudly to let the sound of her sweet voice be heard. She opens her tunic at the top and throws herself back. Ha! that swan neck amorous, those bare shoulders, those bright bold eyes! I run to her!”

And he leaped from his ass.

But Ulenspiegel, stopping him:

“This girl,” said he, “is not your wife. We are near a camp of Egyptians. Beware.... See you the smoke behind the trees? Hear you the barking of the dogs? There, here are some looking at us, ready to bite perhaps. Let us hide deeper in the brake.”

“I will not hide,” said Lamme; “this woman is mine, as Flemish as ourselves.”

“Blind and madman,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Blind, nay! I see her well, dancing, half-naked, [162]laughing and teasing this great dog. She feigns not to see us. But she does see us, I assure you. Thyl, Thyl! there is the dog hurling himself on her and throws her down to have the red flag. And she falls, uttering a plaintive cry.”

And Lamme suddenly dashed towards her, saying to her:

“My wife, my wife! where are you hurt, darling? Why do you laugh so loud? Your eyes are haggard.”

And he kissed her and caressed her and said:

“That beauty spot you had under the left breast, I see it not. Where is it? Thou art not my wife. Great God of Heaven!”

And she never stopped laughing.

Suddenly Ulenspiegel cried out:

“Guard thee, Lamme!”

And Lamme, turning about, saw before him a great blackamoor of an Egyptian, of a sour countenance, brown as peper-koek, which is ginger bread in the land of France.

Lamme picked up his pikestaff, and putting himself to his defence, he cried out:

“To the rescue, Ulenspiegel!”

Ulenspiegel was there with his good sword.

The Egyptian said to him in High German:

Gibt mi ghelt, ein Richsthaler auf tsein.” (Give me money, a ricksdaelder or ten.)

“See,” said Ulenspiegel, “the girl goes away laughing loudly and even turning round to ask to be followed.”

Gibt mi ghelt,” said the man. “Pay for your amours. We are poor folk and wish you no harm.”

Lamme gave him a carolus. [163]

“What trade dost thou follow?” said Ulenspiegel.

“All trades,” replied the Egyptian: “being master of arts in suppleness, we do miraculous and magic tricks. We play on the tambourine and dance Hungarian dances. More than one among us make cages and gridirons to roast fine carbonadoes therewith. But all, Flemings and Walloons, are feared of us and drive us forth. As we cannot live by trade, we live by marauding, that is to say, on vegetables, meat, and poultry that we must needs take from the peasant, since he will neither give nor sell them to us.”

Lamme said to him:

“Whence comes this girl, who is so like to my wife?”

“She is our chief’s daughter,” said the blackamoor.

Then speaking low like a man in fear:

“She was smitten by God with the malady of love and knows naught of woman’s modesty. As soon as she seeth a man, she entereth on gaiety and wildness, and laughs without ceasing. She saith little; she was long thought to be dumb. By night, in sadness, she stays before the fire, weeping at whiles or laughing without reason, and pointing to her belly, where, she saith, she hath a hurt. At the hour of noon, in summer, after the meal, her sharpest madness cometh upon her. Then she goeth to dance near naked on the outskirts of the camp. She will wear naught but raiment of tulle or muslin, and in winter we have great trouble to cover her with a cloak of cloth of goat’s hair.”

“But,” said Lamme, “hath she not some man friend to prevent her from abandoning herself thus to all comers?”

“She hath none,” said the man, “for travellers, coming near her and beholding her eyes distraught, [164]have more of fear than desire for her. This big man was a bold one,” said he, pointing to Lamme.

“Let him talk, my son,” said Ulenspiegel; “it is the stockvisch slandering the whale. Which of the two is the one that gives most oil?”

“You have a sharp tongue this morning,” said Lamme.

But Ulenspiegel, without listening to him, said to the Egyptian:

“What doth she when others are as bold as my friend Lamme?”

The Egyptian answered sadly:

“Then she hath pleasure and gain. Those who win her pay for their delight, and the money serves to clothe her and also for the necessities of the old men and the women.”

“She obeyeth none then?” said Lamme.

The Egyptian answered:

“Let us allow those whom God hath smitten to do as they wish. Thus he marks his will. And such is our law.”

Ulenspiegel and Lamme went away. And the Egyptian returned thence to his camp, grave and proud. And the girl, laughing wildly, danced in the clearing.



Going on their way to Bruges, Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“We have disbursed a heavy sum of money in the enlisting of soldiers, in payment to the catchpolls, the gift to the Egyptian girl, and those innumerable olie-koekjes that it pleased you to eat without ceasing rather than to sell a single one. Now notwithstanding [165]your belly-will, it is time to live more circumspectly. Give me your money. I will keep the common purse.”

“I am willing,” said Lamme. And giving it to him: “All the same, do not leave me to die of hunger,” said he, “for think on it, big and strong as I am, I must have substantial and abundant nourishment. It is well for you, a thin and wretched fellow, to live from hand to mouth, eating or not eating what you pick up, like planks that live on air and rain on the quays. But for me, whom air hollows and rain hungers, I must needs have other feasts.”

“You shall have them,” said Ulenspiegel, “feasts of virtuous Lents. The best filled paunches cannot resist them; deflating little by little, they make the heaviest light. And presently will Lamme my darling be seen sufficiently thinned down, running like a stag.”

“Alas!” said Lamme. “What henceforth will be my starveling fate? I am hungry, my son, and would fain have supper.”

Night was falling. They arrived in Bruges by the Ghent gate. They showed their passes. Having had to pay one demi-sol for themselves and two for their asses, they entered into the town; Lamme, thinking of Ulenspiegel’s word, seemed brokenhearted.

“Shall we have supper, soon?” said he.

“Aye,” replied Ulenspiegel.

They alighted in de Meermin, at the Siren, a weathercock which is fixed all in gold above the gable of the inn.

They put their asses in the stable, and Ulenspiegel ordered, for his supper and Lamme’s, bread, beer, and cheese.

The host grinned when serving this lean meal: Lamme ate with hungry teeth, looking in despair at [166]Ulenspiegel labouring with his jaws upon the too-old bread and the too-young cheese, as if they had been ortolans. And Lamme drank his small beer with no pleasure. Ulenspiegel laughed to see him so miserable. And there was also someone that laughed in the courtyard of the inn and came at whiles to show her face at the window. Ulenspiegel saw that it was a woman that hid her face. Thinking it was some sly servant he thought no more of it, and seeing Lamme pale, sad, and livid because of his thwarted belly loves, he had pity and thought of ordering for his companion an omelette of black puddings, a dish of beef and beans, or any other hot dish, when the baes came in and said, doffing his headgear:

“If messires the travellers desire a better supper, they will speak and say what they want.”

Lamme opened wide eyes and his mouth wider still and looked at Ulenspiegel with an anguished distress.

The latter replied:

“Wandering workmen are not rich men.”

“It nevertheless happens,” said the baes, “that they do not always know all their possessions.” And pointing to Lamme: “That good phiz is worth two. What would Your Lordships please to eat and to drink—an omelette with fat ham, choesels, we made some to-day, castrelins, a capon melting under the tooth, a fine grilled carbonado with a sauce of four spices, dobbel-knol of Antwerp, dobbel-cuyt of Bruges, wine of Louvain prepared after the manner of Burgundy? And nothing to pay.”

“Bring all,” said Lamme.

The table was soon laid, and Ulenspiegel took his delight to see poor Lamme who, more famished than [167]ever, precipitated himself upon the omelette, the choesels, the capon, the ham, the carbonadoes, and poured down his throat in quarts the dobbel-knol, the dobbel-cuyt and the Louvain wine prepared after the manner of Burgundy.

When he could eat no more, he puffed with comfort like a whale, and looked about him over the table to see if there was nothing left to put under his tooth. And he ate the crumbs of the castrelins.

Neither he nor Ulenspiegel had seen the pretty face look smiling through the panes, pass and repass in the courtyard. The baes having brought some wine mulled with cinnamon and Madeira sugar, they continued to drink. And they sang.

At the curfew, he asked them if they would go upstairs each to his large and goodly bedchamber. Ulenspiegel replied that a small one would suffice for them both. The baes replied:

“I have none such; ye shall each have a lord’s chamber, and nothing to pay.”

And indeed and in verity he brought them into chambers richly adorned with furniture and carpets. In Lamme’s there was a great bed.

Ulenspiegel, who had well drunk and was falling with sleep, left him to go to bed and promptly did likewise.

The next day, at the hour of noon, he entered Lamme’s chamber and saw him sleeping and snoring. Beside him was a pretty little satchel full of money. He opened it and saw it was gold carolus and silver patards.

He shook Lamme to wake him. The other came out of his sleep, rubbed his eyes and, looking round him uneasily, said: [168]

“My wife! where is my wife?”

And showing an empty place beside him in the bed.

“She was there but now,” said he.

Then leaping out of the bed, he looked everywhere again, searched in all the nooks and corners of the chamber, the alcove and the cupboards, and said, stamping his foot:

“My wife! Where is my wife?”

The baes came up at the noise.

“Rascal,” said Lamme, catching him by the throat, “where is my wife? What hast thou done with my wife?”

“Impatient tramper,” said the baes, “thy wife? What wife? Thou didst come alone. I know naught.”

“Ha! he knows naught,” said Lamme, ferreting once more in all the nooks and corners of the room. “Alas! she was there, last night, in my bed, as in the time of our good loves. Aye. Where art thou, my darling?”

And flinging the purse on the ground:

“’Tis not thy money I want, ’tis thou, thy sweet body, thy kind heart, O my beloved! O heavenly joys! Ye will come back no more. I had grown hardened not to see thee, to live without love, my sweet treasure. And lo, having come to me again, thou dost abandon me. But I will die. Ha! my wife? Where is my wife?”

And he wept with scalding tears on the ground where he had cast himself. Then all at once opening the door, he started to run throughout the whole of the inn, and into the street, in his shirt, crying:

“My wife? Where is my wife?”

But soon he came back, for the mischievous boys hooted him and threw stones at him.

And Ulenspiegel said to him, forcing him to clothe himself: [169]

“Do not be so overwhelmed; you shall see her again, since you have seen her. She loves you still, since she came back to you, since it was doubtless she that paid for the supper and for the lordly chambers, and that put on your bed this full pouch. The ashes tell me that this is not the doing of a faithless wife. Weep no more, and let us march forth for the defence of the land of our fathers.”

“Let us still remain in Bruges,” said Lamme; “I would fain run through the whole town, and I will find her.”

“You will not find her, since she is hiding from you,” said Ulenspiegel.

Lamme asked for explanations from the baes, but the other would tell him nothing.

And they went away towards Damme.

While they went on their way, Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“Why do you not tell me how you found her beside you, last night, and how she left you?”

“My son,” replied Lamme, “you know that we had feasted on meat, on beer, on wine, and that I could hardly breathe when we went off to bed. I held a wax candle in my hand, like a lord, to light me and had put down the candlestick on a chest to sleep; the door had remained ajar, the chest was close to it. Undressing, I looked on my bed with great love and desire for sleep; the wax candle suddenly went out. I heard as it were a breath and a sound of light feet in my chamber; but being more sleepy than afraid, I lay down heavily. As I was about to fall asleep, a voice—her voice, O my wife, my poor wife!—said to me: ‘Have you [170]supped well, Lamme?’ and her voice was beside me, and her face, too, and her sweet body.”



On that day Philip the king, having eaten too much pastry, was more melancholy than usual. He had played upon his living harpsichord, which was a case containing cats whose heads came out through round openings above the keys. Every time the king struck a key, the key in turn struck a cat with a dart, and the beast mewed and complained by reason of the pain.

But Philip never laughed.

Unceasingly, he sought in his mind how he could conquer the great queen, Elizabeth, and set up Mary Stuart on the throne of England. With this object he had written to the Pope who was needy and full of debts; the Pope had replied that for this enterprise he would gladly sell the holy vessels of the temples and the treasures of the Vatican.

But Philip never laughed.

Ridolfi, Queen Mary’s favourite, who hoped, by delivering her, to marry her afterwards and become king of England, came to see Philip and with him plot the murder of Elizabeth. But he was so “parlanchin,” as the king wrote, so given to talking, that his designs were openly talked about in the Antwerp Bourse; and the murder was never committed.

And Philip never laughed.

Later, in accordance with the king’s orders, the bloody duke sent two couples of assassins into England. They succeeded in getting hanged.

And Philip never laughed. [171]

And thus God brought to naught and thwarted the ambition of this vampire, who looked to remove her son from Mary Stuart and to reign in his stead, with the Pope, over England. And the murderer was irritated to see this noble country so great and powerful. He never ceased to turn his pale eyes towards it, seeking how he might crush it so as to reign thereafter over the whole world, exterminate the reformers, and especially the rich, and inherit the victim’s wealth.

But he never laughed.

And mice and field mice were brought to him in an iron box, with high sides, and open of one side; and he put the bottom of the box on a hot fire and took his pleasure in seeing and hearing the poor little beasts leaping, moaning, and dying.

But he never laughed.

Then pale and with trembling hand he went to the arms of Madame d’Eboli, to slake the fire of his lust lit by the torch of cruelty.

And he never laughed.

And Madame d’Eboli received him for fear and not for love.



The air was warm: from the quiet sea there came not a breath of wind. Scarce did the trees by the canal of Damme shiver, the grasshoppers dwelt in the meadows, while in the fields men from the churches and the abbeys came to fetch the thirteenth part of the harvest for the curés and the abbots. Out of the sky, blue, ardent, deep, the sun poured down warmth and Nature slept under his rays like a fair girl naked and swooning under her lover’s caresses. The carps were cutting [172]capers above the surface of the canal to seize the flies that buzzed like a kettle; while the swallows, with their long bodies and great wings, disputed the prey with them. From the earth rose a warm vapour, wavering and shimmering in the light. The beadle of Damme announced from the top of the tower, by means of a cracked bell sounding like a pot, that it was noon and time for the country folk working at the haymaking to go to dinner. Women cried long and loud, holding their closed hands funnel-wise, calling in their men, brothers or husbands, by name: Hans, Pieter, Joos; and one might see their red hoods above the hedges.

Far off, in the eyes of Lamme and Ulenspiegel, rose lofty, square, and massive the tower of Notre Dame, and Lamme said:

“There, my son, are thy griefs and thy love.”

But Ulenspiegel made no answer.

“Soon,” said Lamme, “shall I see my ancient home and perchance my wife.”

But Ulenspiegel made no answer.

“Man of wood,” said Lamme, “heart of stone, nothing then can affect you, neither the nearness of the places in which you spent your boyhood, nor the dear shades of poor Claes and poor Soetkin, the two martyrs. What! you are neither sad nor glad; what then hath dried up your heart in this way? Look at me, anxious, uneasy, bounding in my belly; look at me....”

Lamme looked at Ulenspiegel and saw him with head livid, pale and hanging, his lips trembling, and weeping without saying a word.

And he held his tongue.

They marched thus in silence as far as Damme, and came into it by the street of the Heron, and saw no one [173]in it, because of the heat. The dogs, with their tongues hanging out, lying on their sides, were gaping before the thresholds of the doors. Lamme and Ulenspiegel passed directly in front of the Townhall, before which Claes had been burned; the lips of Ulenspiegel trembled more, and his tears dried up. Finding himself over against the house of Claes, occupied by a coalman, he said to him as he went within:

“Dost thou know me? I am fain to rest here.”

The master coalman said:

“I know thee; thou art the son of the victim. Go wherever thou wouldst in this house.”

Ulenspiegel went into the kitchen, then into the bedchamber of Claes and Soetkin, and there he wept.

When he had come down thence, the master coalman said to him:

“Here are bread, cheese, and beer. If thou art hungry, eat; if thou art thirsty, drink.”

Ulenspiegel signed with his hand that he was neither hungry nor thirsty.

He walked thus with Lamme, who stayed astraddle on his ass, while Ulenspiegel held his by the halter.

They arrived at Katheline’s cottage, tied up their asses, and went in. It was meal time. There were on the table haricots in their pods mixed with great white beans. Katheline was eating; Nele was standing and ready to pour into Katheline’s plate a vinegar sauce she had just taken from the fire.

When Ulenspiegel came in, she was so startled that she put the pot and all the sauce in Katheline’s plate, who, nodding her head, began to hunt for the beans around the saucepot with her spoon, and striking herself on the forehead, repeated like a madwoman: [174]

“Take away the fire! My head is burning!”

The smell of the vinegar made Lamme hungry.

Ulenspiegel remained standing, looking at Nele, smiling with love through his great sadness.

And Nele, without a word, threw her arms about his neck. She, too, seemed bereft of her wits; she wept, laughed; and red with great and sweet joy, she said only: “Thyl! Thyl!” Ulenspiegel, happy, gazed at her; then she left him, went and stationed herself farther off, contemplated him with joy and from there once again sprang upon him, throwing her arms about his neck; and so several times over. He held her, very happy, unable to sever from her, until she fell upon a chair, wearied out and as though out of her senses; and she said without any shame:

“Thyl! Thyl! my beloved, and so there you are back again!”

Lamme was standing at the door; when Nele was calmed, she said, pointing to him:

“Where have I seen this big man?”

“This is my friend,” said Ulenspiegel. “He is seeking for his wife in my company.”

“I know thee,” said Nele, speaking to Lamme; “thou didst use to dwell in the street of the Heron. Thou art seeking thy wife; I saw her at Bruges, living in all piety and devoutness. Having asked her why she had so cruelly abandoned her husband, she answered me: ‘Such was the holy will of God and the order of the holy Penance, but I cannot live with him henceforth.’”

Lamme was sad at this word, and looked at the beans in vinegar. And the larks, singing, sprang aloft in the sky, and Nature in ecstasy allowed herself to be [175]caressed by the sun. And Katheline with her spoon picked out all round the pot the white beans, the green pods, and the sauce.



At this time a girl of fifteen went from Heyst to Knokke, alone, in broad daylight, through the dunes. No one had any fears for her, for it was well known that weer-wolves and evil spirits of the damned bite only by night. She was carrying in a pouch forty-eight sols in silver, of the value of four florins carolus, which her mother Toria Pieterson, who lived at Heyst, owed, out of the proceeds of a sale, to her uncle, Jan Rapen, who lived at Knokke. The girl, by name Betkin, having donned all her best finery, had gone off gaily.

That night her mother was uneasy not to see her come home; still, thinking she had slept at her uncle’s house, she reassured herself.

The next day certain fishermen, coming back from sea with a boat full of fish, hauled their boat up on the beach and unloaded their fish into carts, to sell it by auction, cart by cart, in Heyst. They climbed up the road, strewn with broken shells, and found among the dunes a young girl stripped quite naked, even of her chemise, and blood around her. Coming near, they saw in her poor broken neck the marks of long, sharp teeth. Lying on her back, her eyes were open, staring at the sky, and her mouth was open, too, as if to cry out on death!

Covering the girl’s body with an opperst-kleed, they brought it to Heyst, to the Townhall. Thither speedily assembled the aldermen and the barber-surgeon, who declared that those long teeth were never wolf’s teeth as [176]they were made by Nature, but belonged to some wicked and evil and infernal weer-wolf, and that it behoved all men to pray to God to deliver the land of Flanders.

And in all the country and especially at Damme, Heyst, and Knokke, were ordained prayers and orisons.

And the people, groaning, remained in the churches.

In the church of Heyst, where the corpse of the young girl was laid out and exposed, men and women wept, seeing her neck all bloody and torn. And the mother said in the very church:

“I will go to the weer-wolf and kill him with my teeth.”

And the women, weeping, egged her on to do this. And some said:

“Thou wilt never come back.”

And she went, with her husband and her two brothers well armed, to hunt for the wolf by beach, dune, and valley, but never found him. And her husband was obliged to take her home, for she had caught fever by reason of the night cold; and they watched beside her, mending their nets for the next fishing day.

The bailiff of Damme, bethinking himself that the weer-wolf is a beast that lives on blood and does not strip the dead, said that this one was doubtless followed by robbers wandering about the dunes seeking their evil gain. Wherefore he summoned by the sound of the church bell all and sundry, directing them to fall well armed and furnished with cudgels upon all beggars and tramping ruffians, to apprehend their persons and search them to see if they might not have in their satchels gold carolus or any portion of the victim’s raiment. And after this the able-bodied beggars and [177]tramps should be taken to the king’s galleys. And the aged and infirm should be allowed to go their ways.

But they found nothing.

Ulenspiegel went to the bailiff’s and said to him:

“I mean to slay the weer-wolf.”

“What gives thee this confidence?” asked the bailiff.

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” answered Ulenspiegel. “Grant me permission to work in the forge of the commune.”

“Thou mayst do so,” said the bailiff.

Ulenspiegel, without saying a word of his project to any man or woman in Damme, went off to the forge and there in secret he fashioned a fine and large-sized engine to trap wild beasts.

The next day, being Saturday, a day beloved of the weer-wolf, Ulenspiegel, carrying a letter from the bailiff for the curé of Heyst, and the engine under his cloak, armed also with a good crossbow and a well-sharpened cutlass, departed, saying to the folk in Damme:

“I am going to shoot sea-mews and I will make pillows for the bailiff’s wife with their down.”

Going towards Heyst, he came upon the beach, heard the boisterous sea curling and breaking in big waves, roaring like thunder, and the wind came from England whistling in the rigging of shipwrecked boats. A fisherman said to him:

“This is ruin to us, this ill wind. Last night the sea was still, but after sunrise it got up suddenly into fury. We shall not be able to go a-fishing.”

Ulenspiegel was glad, assured thus of having help during the night if there should be need.

At Heyst he went to the curé, and gave him the letter from the bailiff. The curé said to him: [178]

“Thou art bold: yet know that no man passes alone at night, by the dunes, on Saturday without being bitten and left dead on the sand. The workmen on the dykes and others go there only in bands. Night is falling. Dost thou hear the weer-wolf howling in his valley? Will he come again as he did this last night, to cry terribly in the graveyard the whole night long? God be with thee, my son, but go not thither.”

And the curé crossed himself.

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” answered Ulenspiegel.

The curé said:

“Since thou hast so stout a mind, I will help thee.”

“Master curé,” said Ulenspiegel, “you would do a great boon to me and to the poor desolated country by going to the house of Toria, the mother of the slain girl, and to her two brothers likewise to tell them that the wolf is close at hand, and that I mean to await and kill him.”

The curé said:

“If thou dost not yet know on what path thou shouldst take up thy stand, stay in that one that leads to the graveyard. It is between two hedges of broom. Two men could not walk in it side by side.”

“I will take my stand there,” said Ulenspiegel. “And do you, valiant master curé, co-worker of deliverance, order and enjoin the girl’s mother, with her husband and her brothers, to be in the church, all armed, before the curfew. If they hear me whistling like the sea-mew, it will mean that I have seen the weer-wolf. They must then sound wacharm on the bell and come to my rescue. And if there are any other brave men?...”

“There are none, my son,” replied the curé. “The [179]fishermen fear the weer-wolf more than the plague and death. But go not thither.”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“The ashes beat upon my heart.”

The curé said then:

“I shall do as thou wishest; be thou blessed. Art thou hungry or thirsty?”

“Both,” replied Ulenspiegel.

The curé gave him beer, bread, and cheese.

Ulenspiegel drank, ate, and went away.

Going along and raising his eyes, he saw his father Claes in glory, by the side of God, in the sky where the clear moon was shining, and looked at the sea and the clouds and he heard the tempestuous wind blowing out of England.

“Alas!” said he, “black clouds that pass so swift, be ye like Vengeance upon the heels of Murder. Roaring sea, sky that dost make thee black as the mouth of hell, waves with the fire foam running along the sombre water, shaking impatient, wrathful, ye animals innumerable of fire, oxen, sheep, horses, serpents that wallow upon the sea or rise up into the air, belching out a flaming rain, O sea all black, sky black with mourning, come with me to fight against the weer-wolf, the foul murderer of little girls. And thou, wind that wailest plaintively in the bents on the dunes and in the cordage of the ships, thou art the voice of the victims crying out for vengeance to God; may He be my helper in this enterprise.”

And he went down into the valley, tottering on his two natural posts as if he had had the drunkard’s wine-lees in his head and a cabbage-indigestion on his stomach. [180]

And he sang hiccuping, zigzagging, yawning, spitting, and stopping, playing at a pretence of vomiting, but in reality opening his eyes wide to study closely everything about him, when suddenly he heard a shrill howling; he stopped short, vomiting like a dog, and saw in the light of the strong shining moon the long shape of a wolf walking towards the cemetery.

Tottering again he entered on the path marked out among the broom. There, feigning to fall, he set the engine on the side whence the wolf was coming, made ready his crossbow, and moved away ten paces, standing in a drunken attitude, continually pretending to stagger about, to hiccup and vomit, but in verity stringing up his wits like a bow and keeping eyes and ears wide open.

And he saw nothing, nothing but the black clouds running like mad things over the sky and a large thick and short shape coming towards him; and he heard nothing but the wind wailing plaintively, the sea roaring like thunder, and the shell-strewn road crackling under a heavy, stumbling tread.

Feigning to want to sit down, he fell on the road like a drunkard, heavily. And he spat.

Then he heard as it were iron clicking two paces from his ear, then the noise of his engine shutting up and a man’s cry.

“The weer-wolf,” he said, “has his front paws taken in the trap. He gets up howling, shaking the engine, trying to run. But he will never escape.”

And he sped a crossbow dart into his legs.

“And now he falls, wounded,” said he.

And he whistled like a sea-mew.

Suddenly the church bell rang out the wacharm, a shrill lad’s voice cried through the village: [181]

“Awake, ye sleeping folk, the weer-wolf is caught.”

“Praise be to God!” said Ulenspiegel.

Toria, Betkin’s mother, Lansaem her husband, Josse and Michiel her brothers, came the first with their lanterns.

“He is taken?” said they.

“See him on the roadway,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Praise be to God!” said they.

And they made the sign of the cross.

“Who is that ringing?” asked Ulenspiegel.

Lansaem replied:

“My eldest boy; the youngest is running through the village knocking at the doors and crying that the wolf is taken. Praise be to thee!”

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” replied Ulenspiegel.

Suddenly the weer-wolf spake and said:

“Have pity upon me, pity, Ulenspiegel.”

“The wolf talks,” said they, crossing themselves. “He is a devil and he knows Ulenspiegel’s name already.”

“Have pity, pity,” said the voice, “bid the bell be quiet; it is ringing for the dead; pity, I am no wolf. My wrists are pierced by the engine; I am old and I bleed; pity! What is this shrill boy’s voice awaking the village? Pity!”

“I heard thy voice of old,” said Ulenspiegel, vehemently. “Thou art the fishmonger, the murderer of Claes, the vampire of the poor little young girls. Men and women, have no fear. ’Tis the demon, he through whom Soetkin died for grief and pain.”

And holding him by the neck beneath the chin with one hand, with the other he drew his cutlass.

But Toria, Betkin’s mother, stayed him in this movement. [182]

“Take him alive,” she cried.

And she plucked out his white hairs by handfuls, and tore his face with her nails.

And she howled with grief and fury.

The weer-wolf, his hands fast in the engine and stumbling about the roadway, through his keen sufferings:

“Pity,” said he, “pity! take this woman away. I will give two carolus. Break those bells! Where are those children that are calling?”

“Keep him alive!” cried Toria, “keep him alive, let him pay! The bells for the dead, the death bells for thee, murderer. By slow fire, by red-hot pincers. Keep him alive! let him pay!”

Meanwhile, Toria had picked up on the road a waffle iron with long arms. Looking closely at it in the light of the torches, she saw it deeply engraved between the two iron plates with lozenges in the Brabant fashion, but armed besides, like an iron mouth, with long sharp teeth. And when she opened it, it was like the mouth of a greyhound.

Then Toria, holding the waffle iron, opening it and shutting it and making the iron ring, seemed as though she had lost her wits for male fury, and gnashing her teeth and with hoarse rattle breath like a woman dying, bit the prisoner with this engine in the arms, the legs, everywhere, seeking most of all his neck, and with every bite saying:

“Thus he did to Betkin with the iron teeth. He pays. Dost thou bleed, murderer? God is just. The bells for the dead! Betkin is calling me to revenge. Dost thou feel the teeth? ’Tis the mouth of God.”

And she bit him without ceasing and without pity, [183]striking him with the waffle iron when she could not bite him with it. And because of her great thirst for revenge she did not kill him.

“Show compassion,” cried the prisoner. “Ulenspiegel, strike me with thy knife, I shall die quicker. Take this woman away. Break the bells for the dead; kill those calling children.”

And Toria still kept biting him, until an old man, in pity, took the waffle iron out of her hands.

But Toria then spat on the weer-wolf’s face and tore out his hairs, crying:

“Thou shalt pay, by slow fire, by burning pincers, thy eyes to my nails!”

In the meantime were come all the fishermen, rustics, and women of Heyst, at the report that the weer-wolf was a man and not a devil. Some carried lanterns and flaming torches. And all were crying out:

“Robber and murderer, where dost thou hide the gold stolen from the poor victims? Let him give all back.”

“I have none: have pity,” said the fishmonger.

And the women threw stones and sand upon him.

“He pays, he pays!” cried Toria.

“Pity,” he groaned, “I am all wet with my own blood running. Pity!”

“Thy blood?” said Toria. “There will be enough left for thee to pay with. Cover his wounds with ointment. He will pay by the slow fire, his hand cut off, with red-hot pincers. He shall pay, he shall pay!”

And she would have struck him; then out of her senses she fell upon the sand as though dead, and she was left there till she came back to herself.

Meanwhile, Ulenspiegel, taking the prisoner’s hands [184]out of the engine, saw that there were three fingers lacking on the right hand.

And he gave orders to bind him straitly and to put him in a fisherman’s hamper. Men, women, and children then departed, taking turns to carry the hamper, wending their way towards Damme to seek justice there. And they carried torches and lanterns.

And the fishmonger kept repeating without ceasing:

“Break the bells; kill the children that are calling.”

And Toria said:

“Let him pay, by slow fire, by red-hot pincers, let him pay!”

Then both held their peace. And Ulenspiegel heard no more, save the laboured breathing of Toria, the heavy steps of the men on the sand, and the sea roaring like thunder.

And sad in his heart, he looked at the clouds running like mad things in the sky, the sea where the sheep of fire were to be seen, and in the light of the torches and the lanterns the livid face of the fishmonger staring on him with cruel eyes.

And the ashes beat upon his heart.

And they marched for four hours till they came to where was the populace assembled in one mass, knowing the news already. All wishing to see the fishmonger, they followed the band of fishermen shouting, singing, dancing, and saying:

“The weer-wolf is taken! he is taken, the murderer! Blessed be Ulenspiegel! Long life to our brother Ulenspiegel! Lange leven onsen broeder Ulenspiegel.

And it was like a revolt of the people.

When they passed before the bailiff’s house, he came out at the noise and said to Ulenspiegel: [185]

“Thou art the victor; praise be to thee!”

“The ashes of Claes were beating upon my heart,” replied Ulenspiegel.

The bailiff then said:

“Thou shalt have the half of the murderer’s estate.”

“Give it to the victims,” replied Ulenspiegel.

Lamme and Nele came; Nele, laughing and weeping for gladness, kissed her friend Ulenspiegel; Lamme, jumping heavily, smote him on the stomach, saying:

“This is a brave, a trusty, a faithful one; ’tis my beloved companion; ye have none such, ye others, ye folk of the flat country.”

But the fishermen laughed, mocking at him.



The bell called Borgstrom rang next day to summon the bailiff, aldermen, and clerks of the court to the Vierschare on the four turf benches, under the tree of justice, which was a noble lime tree. All around were the common folk. Being interrogated the fishmonger would confess nothing, even when he was shown the three fingers severed by the soldier, and missing from his right hand. He kept saying:

“I am poor and old; have compassion.”

But the common folk hooted him, saying:

“Thou art an old wolf, a child killer; do not have pity on him, judges.”

The women said:

“Look not on us with thy cold eyes; thou art a man and not a devil; we do not fear thee. Cruel beast, more coward than a cat devouring small birds in the [186]nest, thou didst kill poor little girls asking to live their pretty little lives in all honesty.”

“Let him pay by slow fire, by red-hot pincers,” cried Toria.

And in spite of the sergeants of the commune, the mothers egged on the lads to throw stones at the fishmonger. And the boys did so eagerly, hooting him every time he looked at them and crying incessantly: “Blood-zuyger, blood-sucker! Sla dood, kill, kill!”

And Toria cried without ceasing:

“Let him pay by slow fire; by red-hot pincers let him pay!”

And the populace growled.

“See,” said the women among each other, “how cold he is under the sun that shines in the sky, warming his white hairs and his face torn by Toria.”

“And he shivers with pain.”

“’Tis the justice of God.”

“And he stands there with a lamentable air.”

“See his murderer’s hands tied before him and bleeding from the wounds of the trap.”

“Let him pay, let him pay!” cried Toria.

He said, bemoaning himself:

“I am poor, let me go.”

And everyone, nay, even the judges, mocked as they listened to him. He wept feigningly, meaning to touch their hearts. And the women laughed.

The evidence being sufficient to warrant torture, he was condemned to be put on the bench until he had confessed how he killed, whence he came, where were the spoils of the victims, and the place where he had his gold hidden.

Being in the torture chamber, and shod with foot-gear [187]of new leather too small for him, and the bailiff asking him how Satan had come to suggest to him such black designs and crimes so abominable, he replied:

“Satan is myself, my natural being. Already when a small boy, but ugly to look on, unfit for all bodily exercise, I was held a ninny by everybody and often beaten. Lad nor lass had pity never. In my adolescence no women would have me, not even though I paid. Then I put on cold hatred against every being born of a woman. That was why I denounced Claes, beloved of all. And I loved but Money only, that was my darling, white or golden; to have Claes killed I found both profit and pleasure. After I must live like a wolf more than ever, and I dreamed of biting. Passing through Brabant, I saw there the waffle irons of that country and thought that one of them would be a good iron mouth for me. Why do not I have you by the neck, you evil tigers, that delight in an old man’s torment! I would bite you with greater joy than the soldier and the little girl. For her, when I saw her so sweet, sleeping on the sand in the sun, holding the little bag of money in her hands, I felt love and pity; feeling myself too old and not being able to take her, I bit her....”

The bailiff asking him where he lived, the fishmonger replied:

“At Ramskapelle, whence I go to Blanckenberghe, to Heyst, even as far as Knokke. On Sundays and feast days, I make waffles, after the fashion of those of Brabant, in all the villages with yonder machine. It is always very clean and well oiled. And this novelty of foreign parts was well received. If you [188]should please to know more, and how it was that no one could recognize me, I will tell you that by day I reddened my face with rouge and painted my hair red. As for the wolf skin you are pointing to with your cruel finger, questioning me, I will tell you, defying you, that it comes from two wolves killed by me in the woods of Raveschoot and of Maldeghen. I had but to sew the skins together to cover myself with them. I hid it in a box in the dunes of Heyst; there are also the clothes stolen by me to sell later at a fit opportunity.”

“Take him from before the fire,” said the bailiff. The tormentor obeyed.

“Where is thy gold?” said the bailiff again.

“The king shall never know,” replied the fishmonger.

“Burn him with the candles nearer him,” said the bailiff. “Put him closer to the fire.”

The tormentor obeyed and the fishmonger cried:

“I will say nothing. I have spoken too much; ye will burn me. I am no sorcerer; why do ye set me at the fire again? My feet are bleeding from the burns. I will say nothing. Why nearer now? They bleed, I tell you, they bleed; these slippers are boots of red-hot iron. My gold? Ah, well, my only friend in this world, it is ... take me away from the fire; it is in my cave at Ramskapelle, in a box ... leave it to me; grace and mercy, master judges; cursed tormentor, take the candles away.... He burns me more ... it is in a box with a false bottom wrapped in wool, so as to avoid a noise if any one shakes the box; now I have told all; take me away.”

When he was taken away from before the fire, he smiled maliciously.

The bailiff asked him why. [189]

“’Tis for comfort at being eased,” replied he.

The bailiff said to him:

“Did no one ever ask thee to let him see thy toothed waffle iron?”

The fishmonger replied:

“It was seen like any other, save that it is pierced with holes in which I was wont to screw the iron teeth at dawn I took them out; the peasants prefer my waffles to those of the other sellers; and they call them ‘Waefels met brabandsche knoopen’, ‘waffles with brabant buttons’, because when the teeth are away, the empty holes make little half spheres like buttons.”

But the bailiff:

“When didst thou bite the poor victims?”

“By day and by night. By day I used to wander about the dunes and the highways, carrying my waffle iron, keeping in hiding, and especially on Saturday, the day of the great Bruges market. If I saw some rustic pass, wandering melancholy, I left him alone, judging that his trouble was a flux of the purse; but I used to walk along by him whom I saw journeying merrily; when he did not look for it I would bite him in the neck and take his satchel. And not only in the dunes, but on all the byways and highways of the flat country.”

The bailiff then said:

“Repent and pray unto God.”

“It is the Lord God that willed I should be what I am. I did all without my will, egged on by Nature’s will. Wicked tigers, ye will punish me unjustly. But do not burn me ... I did all without my will; have pity, I am poor and old; I shall die of my wounds; do not burn me.” [190]

He was then taken to the Vierschare, under the lime tree, there to hear his sentence in the presence of all the people assembled.

And he was condemned, as a horrible murderer, robber, and blasphemer, to have his tongue pierced with a red-hot iron, his right hand cut off, and to be burned alive in a slow fire, until death ensued, before the doors of the Townhall.

And Toria cried:

“It is just; he pays!”

And the people cried:

Lang leven de Heeren van de Wet,” long life to the men of the law.

He was taken back into prison, where he was given meat and wine. And he was merry, saying that he had never till then eaten or drunk, either, but that the king, inheriting his goods, could well pay for his last meal for him.

And he laughed sourly.

The next day, at the first of dawn, while they were taking him to execution, he saw Ulenspiegel standing beside the stake, and he cried out, pointing to him with his finger:

“That one there, murderer of an old man, ought to die as well; he flung me into the canal of Damme, ten years ago, because I had denounced his father, wherein I had served His Catholic Majesty as a faithful subject.”

The bells of Notre Dame rang for the dead.

“For thee even as for me are those bells tolling,” said he to Ulenspiegel; “thou shalt be hanged, for thou hast killed.”

“The fishmonger lies,” cried all the common folk; “he lies, the murdering ruffian.” [191]

And Toria, like a madwoman, cried out, flinging a stone at him that cut his forehead:

“If he had drowned thee, thou wouldst not have lived to bite my poor girl, like a bloodsucking vampire.”

As Ulenspiegel uttered no word, Lamme said:

“Did any see him throw the fishmonger in the water?”

Ulenspiegel made no answer.

“No, no,” shouted the people; “he lied, the murderer!”

“No, I lied not,” cried the fishmonger, “he threw me in, while I implored him to forgive me, and by the same token, I got out by the help of a skiff tied up alongside the high bank. Wet through and shivering, I could scarcely get back to my poor home. I had the fever then, none looked after me, and I deemed I must die.”

“Thou liest,” said Lamme; “no man saw it.”

“No, no man saw it,” cried Toria. “To the fire with the murderer. Before he dies he wants an innocent victim; let him pay! He has lied. If thou didst do it, confess not, Ulenspiegel. There are no witnesses. Let him pay by slow fire, by red-hot pincers.”

“Didst thou commit the murder?” the bailiff asked Ulenspiegel.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“I flung the murderer, the denouncer of Claes, into the water. My father’s ashes were beating on my heart.”

“He confesseth,” said the fishmonger; “he shall die even as I. Where is the gallows, that I may see it? Where is the executioner with the sword of justice? [192]The death bells are ringing for thee, rascal, murderer of an old man.”

Ulenspiegel said:

“I threw thee into the water to kill thee; the ashes were beating on my heart.”

And among the people, the women said:

“Why confess it, Ulenspiegel? No man saw it, now thou shalt die.”

And the prisoner laughed, leaping for bitter joy, waving his arms that were tied and covered with blood-stained wrappings.

“He will die,” he said, “he will pass from earth into hell, the rope about his neck, as a ragamuffin, a robber, a rascal: he will die, God is just.”

“He shall not die,” said the bailiff. “After ten years, murder may not be punished in the soil of Flanders. Ulenspiegel committed a bad action, but through filial love: Ulenspiegel will not be prosecuted for this deed.”

“Long live the law!” cried the people. “Lang leven de Wet.

The bells of Notre Dame rang for the dead. And the prisoner gnashed his teeth, drooped his head, and wept his first tear.

And he had his hand cut off, and his tongue pierced with a hot iron, and he was burned alive by a slow fire before the doorway of the Townhall.

At the point of death he yelled:

“The king shall not have my gold; I lied.... Evil tigers, I will come back to bite you.”

And Toria cried:

“He pays, he pays! They writhe and twist, the arms and the legs that ran to murder: it smokes, the [193]murderer’s body; his white hair, hyæna’s hair, burns on his pale face. He pays! He pays!”

And the fishmonger died, howling like a wolf.

And the bells of Notre Dame tolled for the dead.

And Lamme and Ulenspiegel mounted upon their asses again.

And Nele, sad and grieving, dwelt with Katheline, who said, without ceasing:

“Take away the fire! my head is burning; come back, Hanske, my darling.” [195]


Book IV



Being at Heyst, upon the dunes, Ulenspiegel and Lamme see, coming from Ostend, from Blanckenberghe, from Knokke, many fishing boats full of armed men, adherents of the Beggars of Zealand, who wear in their headgear the silver crescent with this inscription: “Better to serve the Turk than the Pope.”

Ulenspiegel is glad; he whistles like the lark; from all sides answers the warlike clarion of the cock.

The boats, sailing or fishing and selling their fish, come to land, one after the other, at Emden. There William of Blois is detained, who is equipping a ship under commission from the Prince of Orange.

Très-Long, having been at Emden for eleven weeks, was bitterly sick of waiting. He went from his ship to land and from the land to his ship, like a bear on a chain.

Ulenspiegel and Lamme, wandering about on the quays, saw there a lord of a jovial visage, somewhat melancholy and at a loss to heave up one of the paving-stones of the quay with a pikestaff. Not succeeding in this he still bent every effort to carry out his undertaking, while a dog gnawed at a bone behind him.

Ulenspiegel came to the dog and pretended to want to rob him of his bone. The dog growls; Ulenspiegel [198]does not stop: the dog makes a great uproar of doggish wrath.

The lord, turning at the noise, said to Ulenspiegel:

“What good does it do thee to torment this beast?”

“What good does it do you, Messire, to torment this pavement?”

“It is not the same thing at all,” said the lord.

“The difference is not extreme,” replied Ulenspiegel; “if the dog sets store by his bone and wants to keep it, this pavement holds to its quay and is fain to remain on it. And it is the very least that folk like us may do, turning to busy ourselves about a dog when folk like you busy yourselves about a paving stone.”

Lamme remained behind Ulenspiegel, not daring to speak.

“Who art thou?” asked the lord.

“I am Thyl Ulenspiegel, the son of Claes, who died in the flames for his faith.”

And he whistled like the lark and the lord crowed like the cock.

“I am Admiral Très-Long,” said he; “what wouldst thou with me?”

Ulenspiegel narrated to him his adventures, and gave him five hundred carolus.

“Who is this big man?” asked Très-Long, pointing a finger at Lamme.

“My comrade and friend,” replied Ulenspiegel: “he desires, like myself, to sing on your ship, with the fine voice of a musket, the song of deliverance for the land of our fathers.”

“Ye are brave men both,” said Très-Long, “and ye shall go on my ship.” [199]

They were then in the month of February; sharp was the wind, keen the frost. After three weeks of grudging waiting Très-Long left Emden under protest. Thinking to enter the Texel, he went out from Vlie, but was forced to go in to Wieringen, where his ship was locked up in the ice.

Soon there was a merry spectacle all about: sledges and skaters all in velvet; women skating in jackets and skirts broidered with gold, pearl, scarlet, azure; lads and lasses went, came, glided, laughed, following one another in line, or two by two, in pairs, singing the song of love upon the ice, or going to eat and drink in booths decked out with flags, brandy, oranges, figs, peperkoek, schols, eggs, hot vegetables, and eete-koeken, which are pancakes and pickled vegetables, while all about them sleds and sailing sleighs made the ice cry out under their runners.

Lamme, seeking his wife, went wandering on skates like the jolly men and women, but he fell often.

Meanwhile, Ulenspiegel went to drink and to feed in a small inn on the quay where he had not to pay too dear for his daily rations; and he liked to talk with the old baesine.

One Sunday about nine he went in there asking them to give him his dinner.

“But,” said he to a pretty woman coming forward to serve him, “baesine rejuvenated, what hast thou done with thy old wrinkles? Thy mouth hath all its teeth, white and girlish, and its lips are red as cherries. Is it for me, that soft and cunning smile?”

“No, no,” said she; “but what must I give you?”

“Thyself,” said he. [200]

The woman answered:

“That would be too much for a starveling like you; would you not like other meat?”

Ulenspiegel making no reply:

“What have you done,” she said, “with that handsome, well-made, corpulent man whom I often saw with you?”

“Lamme?” said he.

“What have you done with him?” she said.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“He eats, in the booths, hard eggs, smoked eels, salt fish, zuertjes, and all that he can put under his tooth; and all to look for his wife. Why art thou not his wife, pretty one? Wouldst thou like fifty florins? Wouldst thou like a gold necklace?”

But she, crossing herself:

“I am not to buy or to take,” said she.

“Dost thou love naught?” said he.

“I love thee as my neighbour, but I love above all my Lord Christ and Madame the Virgin, who bid me live a chaste life. Hard and heavy are its duties, but God is our helper, we poor women. Yet there are some that succumb. Is thy big friend happy?”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“He is gay when he is eating, sad when fasting, and always pensive. But thou, art thou happy or sad?”

“We women,” said she, “are slaves of that that rules us!”

“The moon?” said he.

“Aye,” said she.

“I am going to tell Lamme to come to see thee.” [201]

“Do not so,” said she; “he would weep and I in likewise.”

“Didst thou ever see his wife?” asked Ulenspiegel.

Sighing, she answered:

“She sinned with him and was condemned to a cruel penance. She knows that he goeth on the sea for the triumph of heresy, and that is a hard thing for a Christian heart to think on. Defend him if he is attacked; care for him if he is wounded: his wife bade me make this request of you.”

“Lamme is my brother and my friend,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Ah!” she said, “why do ye not return to the bosom of our Mother Holy Church?”

“She devours her children,” answered Ulenspiegel.

And he went his way.

One morning in March, since the wind, that was blowing sharp and cutting, ceased not to thicken the ice, and Très-Long’s ship could not leave, the sailors and the soldiers of the vessel were holding feasting and revel on sledges and on skates.

Ulenspiegel was at the inn, and the pretty woman said to him, all woeful and as if bereft of her wits:

“Poor Lamme! poor Ulenspiegel!”

“Why do you lament?” asked he.

“Alas! Alas!” said she, “why do ye not believe in the mass. Ye would go to paradise, without a doubt, and I could save you in this life.”

Seeing her go to the door and listen attentively, Ulenspiegel said to her:

“It is not the snow falling that you are listening to?”

“No,” said she. [202]

“It is not the moaning wind that you give ear to?”

“No,” she said again.

“Nor to the merry din that our valiant sailors are making in the tavern close by?”

“Death cometh as a thief,” she said.

“Death!” said Ulenspiegel. “I do not understand thee; come inside and speak.”

“They are there,” she said.


“Who?” she answered. “The soldiers of Simonen-Bol, who are to come, in the name of the duke, to throw themselves on all of you; if you are so well treated here, it is like the bullocks that are meant for the slaughter. Ah! why,” said she all in tears, “why did I not know it save but just now.”

“Do not weep, nor cry out,” said Ulenspiegel, “and stay where you are!”

“Do not betray me,” said she.

Ulenspiegel went out from her house, ran, made his way to all the booths and taverns, whispering into the ears of the seamen and the soldiers these words: “The Spaniard is coming.”

All ran to the ship, preparing with the utmost haste all that was needed for battle, and they awaited the enemy. Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

“Seest thou yon pretty woman standing upon the quay, with her black dress embroidered with scarlet, and hiding her face under her white hood?”

“It is all one to me,” replied Lamme. “I am cold; I want to sleep.”

And he rolled his head up in his opperst-kleed. And like that he was as a man deaf. [203]

Ulenspiegel then recognized the woman and called to her from the ship:

“Dost thou wish to follow us?”

“To the grave,” said she, “but I cannot....”

“Thou wouldst do well,” said Ulenspiegel; “yet think of this: when the nightingale stays in the forest, it is happy and sings; but if it leaves the forest and risks its little wings in the wind of the great sea, it breaks them and dies.”

“I have sung in my house,” said she, “and would sing outside if I could.” Then drawing closer to the ship: “Take this ointment,” she said, “for thyself and thy friend who sleeps when he should wake....”

And she went away saying:

“Lamme! Lamme! God keep thee from harm; come back safe.”

And she uncovered her face.

“My wife, my wife!” cried Lamme.

And he would have leaped down on the ice.

“Thy faithful wife!” said she.

And she ran away swiftly.

Lamme would have leaped from off the deck down on the ice, but he was prevented by a soldier, who held him back by his opperst-kleed. He cried, wept, implored that he might be given leave to go. But the provost said to him:

“Thou shalt be hanged if thou dost leave the ship.”

Again Lamme would have cast himself on the ice, but an old Beggar held him back, saying to him:

“The floor is damp, you might get your feet wet.”

And Lamme fell on his behind, weeping and saying without ceasing: [204]

“My wife, my wife! let me go to my wife!”

“Thou shalt see her again,” said Ulenspiegel. “She loves thee, but she loves God more than thee.”

“The mad she-devil,” cried Lamme. “If she loves God more than her husband, why does she show herself to me lovely and desirable? And if she loves me, why does she leave me?”

“Dost thou see clear in a deep well?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Alas!” said Lamme, “I shall die before long.”

And he stayed upon the deck, livid and distraught.

Meanwhile, had come up the men of Simonen-Bol, with a great artillery.

They fired against the ship, which replied to them. And their cannon balls broke the ice all about it. Towards evening a warm rain fell.

The wind blowing from the west, the sea grew angry under the ice, and heaved it up in immense blocks, which were seen rising up on high, falling back again, clashing against one another, one mounting on top of another, not without peril to the ship, which when dawn broke through the clouds of night, opened out its canvas wings like a bird of freedom and sailed towards the free ocean.

There they joined up with the fleet of Messire de Lumey de la Marche, admiral of Holland and Zealand, and chief and captain-general, and as such carrying a lantern at his ship’s peak.

“Look well at him, my son,” said Ulenspiegel; “that one will never spare thee, if thou shouldst wish to leave the ship against orders. Hearest thou his voice breaking forth like thunder? See how broad and strong he is in his great stature! Look [205]at his long hands with the crooked nails! See his round eyes, eagle eyes and cold, and his long pointed beard that he means to leave to grow until he has hanged all the monks and priests to avenge the death of the two counts! See him redoubtable and cruel; he will have thee hanged high on a short rope, if thou dost continue to whine and cry always: ‘My wife!’”

“My son,” replied Lamme, “he that talks of a halter for his neighbour has already the hempen cravat on his own neck.”

“Thou thyself shalt be the first to wear it. Such is my vow as a friend,” said Ulenspiegel.

“I shall see thee on the gallows,” replied Lamme, “thrust out thy poisonous tongue a fathom out of thy mouth.”

And both were in mere jest.

On that day Très-Long’s ship took a ship from Biscay laden with mercury, gold dust, wines, and spices. And the ship was emptied of its marrow, men, and booty, as a beef bone under a lion’s teeth.

It was at this time also that the duke ordained in the Low Countries cruel and abominable imposts, obliging all the inhabitants who sold real or personal estate to pay one thousand florins in ten thousand. And this tax was a permanent one. All sellers and buyers whatsoever must pay the king the tenth part of the purchase price, and it was said among the people that if goods were sold ten times within a week the king should have all.

And thus commerce and industry took the way towards Ruin and Death.

And the Beggars took Briele, a strong seaboard [206]fortress that was christened the Orchard of Freedom.



In the first days of May, under a clear sky, with the ship sailing proudly along the sea, Ulenspiegel sang:

“The ashes beat upon my heart.

The butchers are come; they have struck

With poignard, fire, violence, the sword.

They have paid for foulest spying.

Where once were Love and Faith, mild virtues,

They have set Denunciation and Mistrust.

May the butchers be smitten,

Beat the drum of war.

“Long live the Beggar! Beat upon the drum!

Briele is taken,

Flessingue, too, the key of the Scheldt;

God is good, Camp-Veere is taken,

Where Zealand kept her artillery!

We have bullets, powder, and shot,

Iron shot and leaden shot.

God is with us, who then is against?

“Beat upon the drum of war and glory!

Long live the Beggar! Beat upon the drum!

“The sword is drawn, be our hearts high,

Firm be our arms, the sword is drawn.

Out upon the tenth tithe, the whole of ruin,

Death to the butcher, halter to the spoiler,

For a perjured king a rebel folk.

The sword is drawn for our rights,

For our houses, our wives, and our children.

The sword is drawn, beat upon the drum!


“High are our hearts, stout are our arms.

Out upon the tenth tithe, out upon the infamous pardon.

Beat upon the drum of war, beat upon the drum!”

“Aye, good fellows and friends,” said Ulenspiegel; “aye, they have set up at Antwerp, before the Townhall, a dazzling scaffold covered with red cloth; the duke is seated upon it like a king upon his throne in the midst of liverymen and soldiers. Meaning to smile benevolently, he makes a sour grimace. Beat upon the war drum!

“He hath accorded a pardon, make silence, his gilded cuirass shines in the sun; the grand provost is on horseback beside the dais; lo here cometh the herald with his kettle-drums; he reads; it is a pardon for all those that have not sinned; the others will be punished cruelly.

“Oyez, good fellows, he reads the edict that orders, on penalty as for rebellion, the payment of the tenth and twentieth deniers.”

And Ulenspiegel sang:

“O Duke! hearest thou the voice of the people,

The strong dull clamour? Tis the sea that rises

In the hour of the mighty surges.

Enough of gold, enough of blood.

Enough of ruins. Beat upon the drum!

The sword is drawn. Beat upon the drum of woe!

“It is the nails tearing the bleeding wound,

Robbery after murder. Must thou then

Mix all our gold with our blood for your drink?

We moved in ways of duty, faithful and true

To the King’s Majesty. His Majesty is perjured,

We are free of our oaths. Beat upon the drum of war.


“Duke of Alba, bloody duke,

See these booths, these shops shut fast,

See these brewers, bakers, grocers,

Refusing to sell so as not to pay.

Who then salutes thee when thou art passing?

No man. Feelest thou, like a steaming plague

Hate and Scorn enwrap thee round?

“The fair land of Flanders,

The gay country of Brabant,

Are sad as graveyards.

There where of old, in freedom’s days,

Sang the viols, squealed the fifes,

There are silence now and death.

Beat upon the drum of war.

“Instead of jolly faces

Of drinkers, and singing lovers

There are pallid faces now

Of men that wait, resigned,

The stroke of the sword of injustice.

Beat upon the drum of war.

“No man now hears in the taverns

The jolly clink of pots,

Nor the clear voices of girls

Singing in bands about the streets.

And Brabant and Flanders, lands of mirth,

Are become the lands of tears.

Beat upon the drum of woe.

“Land of our fathers, sufferer beloved,

Stoop not your brow to the murderer’s foot,

Toilsome bees, rush in your swarms,

Upon the hornets from Spain.

Corpses of women and girls buried alive,

Cry out to Christ: ‘Vengeance!’


“Wander in the fields by night, poor souls,

Cry unto God! The arm quivers to strike,

The sword is drawn, Duke; we will tear out thy entrails

And flog thy face with them.

Beat upon the drum. The sword is drawn.

Beat upon the drum. Long live the Beggar!”

And all the seamen and the soldiers of Ulenspiegel’s ship and of the other ships sang likewise:

“The sword is drawn, long live the Beggar!”

And their voices growled like a thunder of deliverance.



The world was in January, the cruel month that freezes the calf in the cow’s belly. It had snowed, and frozen over and above. The lads were taking with birdlime sparrows seeking some poor food on the hardened snow, and carried off this game into their cottages. Against the gray clear sky stood out motionless the skeletons of the trees, whose branches were covered with snowy cushions that covered also the cottages and the coping of walls on which were seen the prints of the paws of cats, which, like the boys, were hunting sparrows over the snow. At a distance the meadows were hidden over by this marvellous fleece, keeping the earth warm against the bitter cold of winter. The smoke of houses and cottages rose up black into the sky, and there was no noise heard of any kind.

And Katheline and Nele were alone in their house; and Katheline, nodding her head, said:

“Hans, my heart turns to thee. Thou must give [210]back the seven hundred carolus to Ulenspiegel, the son of Soetkin. If thou art poor, come none the less that I may see thy shining face. Take away the fire, my head burns. Alas! where are thy snow-cold kisses? Where is thy icy body, Hans, my beloved?”

And she kept at the window. Suddenly there passed, running at full speed, a voet-looper, a courier carrying bells at his belt, and calling out:

“Here cometh the bailiff, the high bailiff of Damme!”

And he went thus as far as the Townhall, so as to assemble there the burgomasters and the sheriffs.

Then in the thick silence Nele heard two clarions sound. All the people of Damme came to their doors, believing it was His Majesty the king who announced himself by such flourishes.

And Katheline also went to the door with Nele. From afar they saw resplendent horsemen riding in a band, and before them, also on horseback, a personage covered in an opperst-kleed of black velvet laced with fine gold, and boots of yellow calfskin furred with marten. And they recognized the high bailiff.

Behind him there rode young lords, who, notwithstanding the ordinance of his late Imperial Majesty, wore on their velvet accoutrements embroideries, trimmings, bands, edgings, of gold, of silver, and of silk. And their opperst-kleederen, under their outer garments, were edged with fur like those of the bailiff. They rode gaily along, shaking in the wind the long ostrich feathers that adorned their bonnets, gold buttoned and gold laced.

And they seemed to be all of them good friends and companions of the grand bailiff, and notably a lord of sharp visage clad in green velvet trimmed with gold [211]lace, and a cloak of black velvet like his bonnet adorned with long plumes. And he had a nose shaped like a vulture’s beak, a thin mouth, red hair, a pale face, and haughty carriage.

While the troop of these lords was passing in front of Katheline’s house suddenly she darted to the bridle of the pale lord’s horse, and beside herself with joy, she cried out:

“Hans! my beloved, I knew it; thou art back. Thou art goodly thus in velvet and all in gold like a sun upon the snow! Dost thou bring me the seven hundred carolus? Shall I hear thee once more crying like the sea-eagle?”

The high bailiff stopped the troop of gentlemen, and the pale lord said:

“What doth this beggar want with me?”

But Katheline, still keeping hold of the horse by the bridle:

“Do not go away again,” said she, “I have wept so much for thee. Sweet nights, my beloved, kisses of snow—body of ice. The child is here!”

And she pointed him to Nele who was looking at him in anger, for he had raised his whip to Katheline: but Katheline, weeping:

“Ah!” said she, “dost thou not remember at all? Have pity on thy handmaiden. Take her with thee wherever thou wilt. Take away the fire, Hans; pity!”

“Begone!” said he.

And he drove his horse on so hard that Katheline, loosing the bridle, fell; and the horse stepped on her and gave her a bloody wound in the forehead.

The bailiff then said to the pale lord:

“Messire, do you know this woman?” [212]

“I do not know her at all,” said he, “doubtless it is some mad creature.”

But Nele, having raised Katheline from the ground:

“If this woman is mad, I am not, Monseigneur, and I pray that I may die here of this snow that I eat”—and she took up snow in her fingers—“if this man has not known my mother, if he did not borrow all her money, if he did not kill Claes’s dog in order to take from the wall of the well at our house seven hundred carolus belonging to the poor dead man.”

“Hans, my darling,” wept Katheline, bleeding, and on her knees, “Hans, my beloved, give me the kiss of peace: see the blood flowing: my soul has made the hole and would fain come forth: I shall die presently: leave me not.” Then in a whisper: “Long ago thou didst slay thy comrade for jealousy, along by the dyke.” And she stretched out her finger in the direction of Dudzeele. “Thou didst love me well in those days.”

And she caught the gentleman’s knee and embraced it, and she took his boot and kissed it.

“What is this slain man?” asked the high bailiff.

“I do not know, Monseigneur,” said he. “We have nothing to do with the talk of this beggarwoman; let us forward.”

The populace was assembling around them; the townsmen great and small, artisans and rustics, taking Katheline’s part, cried out:

“Justice, Monseigneur Bailiff, justice.”

And the bailiff said to Nele:

“What is this slain man? Speak in accordance with God and the truth.”

Nele spoke and said, pointing to the pale gentleman: [213]

“This man came every Saturday to the keet to see my mother and to take her money: he killed a friend of his, Hilbert by name, in the field of Servaes van der Vichte, not for love, as this innocent distracted woman thinks, but to have for himself alone the seven hundred carolus.”

And Nele told of Katheline’s loves and what she heard when she was hidden by night behind the dyke that ran through the field of Servaes van der Vichte.

“Nele is bad,” said Katheline; “she speaks hardly of Hans, her father.”

“I swear,” said Nele, “that he used to cry like a sea-eagle to announce his presence.”

“Thou liest,” said the gentleman.

“Oh, no!” said Nele, “and monseigneur the bailiff and all these noble lords here present see it well: thou art pale not for cold, but with fear. Whence comes it that thy face no longer shines: thou hast then lost thy magic compound wherewith thou wast wont to rub it that it might appear bright, like the waves in summer when it thunders? But sorcerer accursed, thou shalt be burned before the doors of the Townhall. ’Tis thou that didst cause Soetkin’s death, thou that didst reduce her orphan son to want; thou, a man of noble rank, doubtless, and who wast wont to come to us burgesses to bring my mother money once only and to take money from her all the other times.”

“Hans,” said Katheline, “thou wilt bring me again to the Sabbath and wilt rub me again with ointment; do not listen to Nele, she is bad: thou seest the blood, the soul has made the hole and would come forth: I shall die soon and I shall go into limbo where it burneth not.” [214]

“Hold thy tongue, mad witch, I know thee not,” said the gentleman, “and know not what thou wouldst say.”

“And yet,” said Nele, “it was thou that camest with a companion and wouldst have given him to me for a husband: thou knowest that I would have none of him; what did he do, thy friend Hilbert, what did he do with his eyes after I had sunk my nails into them?”

“Nele is bad,” said Katheline, “do not believe her, Hans, my darling: she is angry against Hilbert who would have taken her by force, but Hilbert cannot do it now; the worms have eaten him: and Hilbert was ugly. Hans, my darling, thou alone art goodly; Nele is bad.”

Upon this the bailiff said:

“Women, go in peace.”

But Katheline would by no means leave the place where her friend was. And they must needs bring her to her house by force.

And all the people there assembled cried out:

“Justice, Monseigneur, justice!”

The constables of the commune having come up at the noise, the bailiff bade them remain, and he said to the lords and gentlemen:

“Messeigneurs and Messires, notwithstanding all privileges protecting the illustrious order of nobility in the country of Flanders I must needs, upon the accusations and especially upon that of witchcraft, laid against Messire Joos Damman, have his person apprehended until he be judged according to the laws and ordinances of the Empire. Give me your sword, Messire Joos.” [215]

“Monseigneur Bailiff,” said Joos Damman, with the utmost hauteur and pride of nobility, “in apprehending my person you are transgressing the law of Flanders, for you are not yourself a judge. Now you are aware that it is permitted to arrest without a warrant from a judge only false coiners, robbers on public roads and highways; fire-raisers, ravishers of women; gendarmes deserting their captain; enchanters making use of poison to poison water springs; monks or nuns that have renounced their vows and banished men. And now, Messires and Messeigneurs, defend me!”

Some would have obeyed, but the bailiff said to them:

“Messeigneurs and Messires, as representing here our king, count, and overlord, to whom is reserved the decision of difficult cases, I command and order you, upon pain of being proclaimed rebels, to return your swords to their scabbards.”

The gentlemen having obeyed, and Messire Joos Damman still hesitating, the people cried out:

“Justice, Monseigneur, justice; let him give up his sword.”

He did so then against his will, and dismounting from his horse, he was brought by two constables to the prison of the commune.

All the same, he was not shut up in the cellars, but in a barred chamber, where he had, for payment, a good fire, a good bed, and good food, the half of which the gaoler took.



On the next day the bailiff, the two clerks of the court, two aldermen, and a barber-surgeon went by Dudzeele to see if they might find in the field of Servaes [216]van der Vichte the body of a man along by the dyke running through the field.

Nele had said to Katheline: “Hans, thy darling, asks for the severed hand of Hilbert: this evening he will cry like the sea-eagle; he will come into the cottage, and will bring thee the seven hundred florins carolus.”

Katheline had replied: “I will cut it off.” And indeed, she took a knife and went forth accompanied by Nele and followed by the officers of justice.

She walked swiftly and proudly beside Nele, whose pretty face the keen air made all rosy and glowing.

The officers of justice, old and coughing, followed her, frozen with cold; and they were all like black shadows on the white plain; and Nele carried a spade.

When they arrived in the field of Servaes van der Vichte and on the dyke, Katheline, walking up to the middle of it, said, pointing to the meadow on her right hand: “Hans, thou didst not know that I was hidden there, shivering at the noise of the swords. And Hilbert cried out: ‘This iron is cold.’ Hilbert was ugly; Hans is goodly. Thou shalt have his hand; leave me alone.”

Then she went down on the left hand, knelt in the snow and cried three times into the air to call the spirit.

Nele then gave her the spade, upon which Katheline made the sign of the cross thrice; then she traced upon the ice the shape of a coffin and three crosses reversed, one on the side of the east, one on the side of the west, and one on the south; and she said: “Three, it is Mars beside Saturn, and three is discovery under Venus, the bright star.” She traced after, about the coffin, a great circle, saying: “Begone, evil demon that [217]guardest corpses.” Then falling on her knees in prayer: “Devil friend, Hilbert,” said she, “Hans, my master and lord, bids me come here and cut off thy hand and bring it to him. I owe him obedience: make not the earth-fire to leap out against me, because I disturb thy noble burying place: and forgive me in the name of God and of the Saints.”

Then she broke the ice, following the outline of the coffin: she came to the damp sword, then to the sandy soil, and monseigneur the bailiff, his officers, Nele, and Katheline beheld the body of a young man, chalk-white by reason of the soil. He was clad in a doublet of gray cloth with a cloak of the same; his sword was laid by his side. At his belt he had a chain purse, and a big poignard planted under his heart; and there was blood upon the cloth of the doublet; and that blood had flowed under his back. And the man was young.

Katheline cut off his hand and put it in her pouch. And the bailiff let her do what she would, then bade her to strip the body of all its insignia and clothing. Katheline having asked if Hans had thus commanded, the bailiff replied that he did nothing save by his orders; and Katheline then did what he wished.

When the body was stripped, it was seen to be dry as wood, but not decayed: and the bailiff and the officers of the commune departed, having covered it again with sand: and the constables carried the cloth.

Passing the front of the prison of the commune, the bailiff said to Katheline that Hans was awaiting her there; she went in joyously.

Nele wanted to prevent her, and Katheline always replied: “I would see Hans, my lord.”

And Nele wept on the threshold, knowing that [218]Katheline was arrested as a witch for the conjurations and figures she had made upon the snow.

And in Damme men said there could be no pardon for her.

And Katheline was put in the western cellar of the prison.



The next day, the wind blowing from Brabant, the snow melted and the meadows were flooded.

And the bell called borgstorm called the judges to the tribunal of the Vierschare, under the penthouse, because of the dampness of the turf.

And the populace surrounded the tribunal.

Joos Damman, being interrogated, confessed that he had killed his friend Hilbert in single combat with the sword. When they said to him: “He was smitten with a poignard,” Joos Damman replied: “I struck him on the ground because he died not quick enough. I confess this murder of my own will, being under the protection of the laws of Flanders which forbid the prosecution, after ten years, of a manslayer.”

The bailiff, addressing him:

“Art thou not a sorcerer?” said he.

“No,” replied Damman.

“Prove this,” said the bailiff.

“I will prove it at the proper time and place,” said Joos Damman, “but it pleaseth me not to do so as now.”

The bailiff then questioned Katheline; she never listened to him, and gazing at Hans:

“Thou art my green lord, lovely as the sun. Take away the fire, my darling!” [219]

Nele, then speaking for Katheline, said:

“She can confess naught but what ye know already, Monseigneur and Messieurs; she is no witch, and only bereft of her wits.”

The bailiff then spoke and said:

“A sorcerer is one that, by diabolical means wittingly employed, endeavours to attain somewhat. Now, these twain, man and woman, are sorcerers by intent and deed: he, in having given the ointment for the sabbath, and in having made his face bright like Lucifer in order to obtain money and the satisfying of lewdness; she, in having submitted herself to him, taking him for a devil, and for having given herself up to his desires: the one being the worker of witchcraft, the other his manifest accomplice. There can therefore be no pity, and I must say this, for I perceive the aldermen and the populace over-indulgent in the case of the woman. She has not, it is true, killed or robbed, nor bewitched either beasts or mankind, nor healed any sick by remedies extraordinary, but only by known simples, as an honest and Christian physician; but she would have given up her daughter to the devil, and if this maid had not in her youth resisted with frank and valiant courage she would have yielded to Hilbert and would have become a sorceress like the other. Accordingly, I put it to the members of this tribunal if they are not of the opinion to put both these two to the torture?”

The aldermen made no answer, showing sufficiently that this was not their desire with regard to Katheline.

The bailiff then said, continuing his discourse:

“I am, like yourselves, touched with pity and compassion for her, but this sorceress, bereft of her wits, [220]so obedient to the devil, might she not, had her lewd co-defendant so bidden her, have been capable of cutting off her daughter’s head with a sickle, even as Catherine Daru, in the country of France, did to her two daughters at the invitation of the devil? Might she not, if her black husband had so bidden her, have put animals to death; turned the butter in the churn by throwing sugar in it; been present in the body at all the worship and homage to the devil, dance, abominations, and copulations of sorcerers? Might she not have eaten human flesh, killed children to make pasties of them and sell them, as did a pastry cook in Paris; cut off the thighs of hanged men and carry them away to bite into them raw and thus commit infamous robbery and sacrilege? And I ask of the tribunal that in order to discover whether Katheline and Joos Damman have not committed other crimes than those already known and called into account, they be both put to the torture. Joos Damman refusing to confess anything further than the murder, and Katheline not having told everything, the laws of the empire enjoin upon us to proceed as I indicate.”

And the aldermen gave sentence of torture for the Friday which was the day after the morrow.

And Nele cried: “Grace, Messeigneurs!” and the people cried with her. But it was in vain.

And Katheline, looking at Joos Damman, said:

“I have Hilbert’s hand; come and take it to-night, my beloved.”

And they were taken back to the prison.

There by order of the tribunal, the gaoler was ordered to assign two guardians to each of them, to beat them every time they would have slept; but the two guardians [221]of Katheline left her to sleep all night, and those of Joos Damman beat him cruelly every time he closed his eyes or even nodded his head.

They were hungry all day on Wednesday, the same night and all Thursday until night, when they were given food and drink, meat salted and saltpetred, and water salted and saltpetred likewise. That was the beginning of their torment. And in the morning they brought them, crying out for thirst, into the torture chamber.

There they were set face to face with one another, and bound each upon a bench covered with knotted ropes which made them suffer grievously.

And they were each forced to drink a glass of water, full of salt and saltpetre.

Joos Damman beginning to sleep upon his bench, the constables struck him.

And Katheline said:

“Do not strike him, sirs; you break his poor body. He only committed one crime, for love, when he killed Hilbert. I am athirst, and thou, too, Hans my beloved. Give him to drink first. Water! Water! my body burns. Spare him, I will die soon in his place. A drink!”

Joos said to her:

“Ugly witch, die and burst like a bitch. Throw her in the fire, Messieurs the Judges. I am athirst!”

The clerks took down all he said.

The bailiff then said to him:

“Hast thou nothing to confess?”

“I have nothing more to say,” replied Damman; “you know all.”

“Since he persists,” said the bailiff, “in his denials, [222]he shall remain on these benches and on these cords until he makes a fresh and full confession, and he shall be athirst, and he shall be kept from sleeping.”

“I will stay here,” said Joos Damman, “and I will take my pleasure in seeing that witch suffer on this bench. How do you find the marriage bed, my love?”

And Katheline replied, groaning:

“Cold arms and hot heart, Hans, my beloved. I am athirst; my head burns!”

“And thou, woman,” said the bailiff, “hast thou naught to say?”

“I hear,” said she, “the chariot of death and the dry noise of bones. I thirst! And he taketh me to a great river where there is water, water fresh and clear; but this water it is fire. Hans, my dear, deliver me from these cords. Yea, I am in purgatory and I see on high Monseigneur Jesus in his paradise and Madame Virgin so full of compassion. O our dear Lady, give me one drop of water: do not eat those lovely fruits all alone.”

“This woman is smitten with cruel madness,” said one of the aldermen. “She must be taken from the bench of torment.”

“She is no more mad than I,” said Joos Damman; “it is mere play and acting.” And in a threatening voice: “I shall see thee in the fire,” he said to Katheline, “thou playest the madwoman so well.”

And grinding his teeth, he laughed at his cruel lie.

“I thirst,” said Katheline; “have pity, I thirst. Hans, my beloved, give me to drink. How white thy face is! Let me come to him, Messieurs the Judges.” And opening her mouth wide: “Yea, yea, they are now [223]putting fire in my breast, and the devils fasten me on this cruel bed. Hans, take thy sword and slay them, thou so mighty. Water, to drink, to drink!”

“Perish, witch,” said Joos Damman; “they ought to thrust a choke-pear into her mouth to keep her from setting herself up thus, a low creature like her, against me, a man of rank.”

At this word one of the aldermen, an enemy of the nobility, replied:

“Messire Bailiff, it is contrary to the laws and customs of the empire to put a choke-pear into the mouth of any that are being interrogated, for they are here to tell the truth, and for us to judge them from what they say. That is permitted only when the accused being condemned might, upon the scaffold, speak to the people, and in this way move them, and stir up popular feelings.”

“I thirst,” said Katheline, “give me to drink, Hans, my darling.”

“Ah!” said he, “thou dost suffer, accursed witch, sole cause of all the torments I am enduring; but in this torture chamber thou shalt undergo the pain of the candles, the strappado, the wooden splinters under the nails of thy feet and hands. They will make thee ride naked astride a coffin whose back will be sharp as a blade, and thou shalt confess that thou art not mad, but a foul witch to whom Satan hath given it in charge to work evil upon noble men. A drink!”

“Hans, my beloved,” said Katheline, “be not wroth with thy handmaiden! I suffer a thousand pangs for thee, my lord. Spare him, Messieurs the Judges. Give him a full goblet to drink, and keep but one drop for me. Hans, is it not yet the hour of the sea-eagle?” [224]

The bailiff then said to Joos Damman:

“When thou didst kill Hilbert, what was the motive of this combat?”

“It was,” said Joos, “for a girl at Heyst we both wished to have.”

“A girl at Heyst!” cried Katheline, trying at all costs to rise up from her bench; “thou art deceiving me for another, traitor devil. Didst thou know that I was listening to thee behind the dyke when thou saidst that thou wouldst fain have all the money, which was Claes’s money? Without doubt it was to go and spend it with her in liquorishness and revelling! Alas! and I that would have given him my blood if he could have made gold of it! And all for another! Be accursed!”

But suddenly, weeping and trying to turn round on her bench of torture:

“Nay, Hans, say that thou wilt still love thy poor handmaid, and I shall scratch the earth with my fingers and find thee a treasure; aye, there is such; and I will go with the hazel twig that bends this way and that where there are metals; and I will find it and bring it back to thee; kiss me, darling, and thou shalt be rich; and we shall eat meat, and we shall drink beer every day; aye, aye, all these folk also drink beer; fresh, foaming beer. Oh! sirs, give me but one single drop; I am in the fire; Hans, I know well where there are hazel trees, but we must wait for the spring time.”

“Hold thy tongue, witch,” said Joos Damman; “I know thee not. Thou hast taken Hilbert for me: it was he that came to see thee. And in thy wicked mind thou didst call him Hans. Know that I am not called Hans, but Joos: we were of the same height, [225]Hilbert and I. I do not know thee; it was Hilbert, without doubt, that stole the seven hundred florins carolus; give me to drink; my father will pay a hundred florins for a little goblet of water; but I know not this woman.”

“Monseigneur and Messires,” exclaimed Katheline, “he saith he knows me not, but I know him well, I, and know that he hath upon his back a mole, brown, and of the size of a bean. Ah! thou didst love a girl at Heyst! Doth a good lover blush for his lover? Hans, am I not still fair?”

“Fair!” said he, “thou hast a face like a medlar and a body like a century of faggots: see the trash that would be loved by noble men! Give me to drink!”

“Thou didst not speak so, Hans, my sweet lord,” said she, “when I was sixteen years younger than I am now.” Then, beating her head and her breast: “’Tis the fire that is there,” said she, “and dries up my heart and withers my face. Do not reproach me with it; dost thou remember when we ate salt meat to drink better, so thou saidst? Now the salt is in us, my beloved, and monseigneur the bailiff is drinking Romagna wine. We do not want wine: give us water. It runs among the grass, the streamlet that makes the clear spring; the good water, it is cold. Nay, it burns. It is water of hell.” And Katheline wept, and she said: “I have done ill to no one, and the whole world casteth me into the fire. Give me to drink; men give water to straying dogs. I am a Christian woman. Give me to drink. I have done no ill to any. Give me to drink.”

An alderman then spoke and said:

“This witch is mad only in what concerns the fire [226]she saith burns her head, but she is nowise mad upon other matters, since she helped us with a clear head to discover the remains of the dead man. If the mole is there upon the body of Joos Damman, that sign sufficeth to establish his identity with the devil Hans, for whom Katheline was out of her wits; tormentor, let us see the mark.”

The tormentor, uncovering Damman’s neck and shoulder, showed the mole, brown and hairy.

“Ah!” said Katheline, “how white is thy skin! One would say a girl’s shoulders; thou art goodly, Hans, my beloved: give me to drink!”

The tormentor then thrust a long needle into the mole. But it did not bleed.

And the aldermen said one to the other:

“This man is a devil, and he must have killed Joos Damman and taken his shape the more securely to deceive the poor world.”

And the bailiff and the aldermen fell into fear.

“He is a devil and there is witchcraft in it.”

And Joos Damman said:

“Ye know there is no witchcraft, and that there are such fleshy excrescences that can be pricked without bleeding. If Hilbert hath taken this witch’s money, for it is she that confesseth to have lain with the devil, he could well have done so by the good and free will of this foul hag. And was thus, being a man of rank, paid for his caresses even as bona robas are every day. Are there not in the world, the same as girls, gay fellows that make women pay for their strength and comeliness?”

The aldermen said one to another:

“See you his diabolical assurance? His hairy wart [227]hath not bled: being an assassin, a devil, and a magician, he would fain pass simply for a duellist, throwing his other crimes on to the devil his friend, whose body he has killed, but not his spirit.... And consider how pale his face is.”—“Thus appear all the devils, red in hell, and pale on earth, for they have none of the fire of life that giveth ruddiness to the countenance, and they are ashes within.”—“We must put him in the fire that he may be red and that he may burn.”

Then said Katheline:

“Yea, he is a devil, but a kind devil, a sweet devil. And Monseigneur Saint Jacques, his patron, has given him licence to come out of hell. He prays Monseigneur Jesus for him every day. He will have but seven thousand years of purgatory: Madame Virgin wishes it, but Monsieur Satan is against it. None the less Madame does what she has a mind to. Will he go against her? If ye consider well, ye shall see he hath kept naught of his estate and condition as a devil, save the cold body, and also the face luminous as are the waves of the sea in August when it is like to thunder.”

And Joos Damman said:

“Hold thy tongue, witch, thou wilt burn me.” Then speaking to the bailiff and the aldermen: “Look at me, I am no devil; I have flesh and bones, blood and water. I drink and eat, digest and void like yourselves; my skin is like yours, my foot likewise; tormentor, take my boots off, for I cannot budge with my feet bound.”

The tormentor did so, not without fear.

“Look,” said Joos, showing his white feet: “are [228]those cloven feet, devil’s feet? As for my paleness, is there none of you that is pale like me? I see more than three among you. But the sinner is not I, but verily this ugly witch, and her daughter, the evil accuser. Whence did she have the money she lent to Hilbert; whence came those florins that she gave him? Was it not the devil that paid her to accuse and bring death to men of noble birth and guiltless? It is those twain that should be asked who killed the dog in the yard, who dug the hole and went off leaving it empty, doubtless to hide the stolen treasure in another place. Soetkin the widow had placed no trust in me, for she never knew me, but in them, and saw them every day. It is they that stole the Emperor’s property.”

The clerk wrote, and the bailiff said to Katheline:

“Woman, hast thou naught to say for thy defence?”

Katheline, looking upon Joos Damman, said most amorously:

“It is the hour of the sea-eagle. I have Hilbert’s hand, Hans, my beloved. They say that thou wilt give me back the seven hundred carolus. Take away the fire! Take away the fire!” cried she after that. “Give me to drink! to drink! my head burns. God and the angels are eating apples in the sky.”

And she lost consciousness.

“Loosen her from the bench of torment,” said the bailiff.

The tormentor and his assistants obeyed. And she was seen staggering and with feet swollen out, for the tormentor had pulled the cords too tight.

“Give her to drink,” said the bailiff.

Cold water was given her, and she swallowed it [229]greedily, holding the goblet in her teeth as a dog does with a bone and not willing to let it go. Then they gave her more water, and she would have gone to take it to Joos Damman, but the tormentor took the goblet out of her hands. And she fell sleeping like a lump of lead.

Joos Damman cried out furiously:

“I, too, I thirst and am sleepy. Why do you give her to drink? Why do you leave her to sleep?”

“She is weak, a woman, and out of her wits,” replied the bailiff.

“Her madness is a game,” said Joos Damman, “she is a witch. I want to drink, I want to sleep!”

And he shut his eyes, but the tormentor’s knechts struck him on the face.

“Give me a knife,” he shouted, “till I cut these clowns to pieces: I am a man of rank, and I have never been struck in the face. Water, let me sleep, I am innocent. It was not I that took the seven hundred carolus, it was Hilbert. Give me to drink! I never committed sorceries or incantations. I am innocent. Let me go. Give me to drink!”

The bailiff then:

“How,” he asked, “hast thou spent thy time since thou didst leave Katheline?”

“I know not Katheline; I have never left her,” said he. “Ye question me on matters foreign to the case. I need not answer you. Give me to drink; let me sleep. I tell you it was Hilbert that did all.”

“Untie him,” said the bailiff. “Take him back to his prison. But let him thirst and have no sleep until he hath confessed his sorceries and incantations.”

And that was a cruel torture to Damman. He cried [230]out in his cell: “Give me to drink! Give me to drink!” so loud that the people heard him, but without any pity. And when his guardians struck him in the face as he was falling with sleep, he was like a tiger and cried:

“I am a man of rank and will kill you, ye clowns. I will go to the king, our head. Give me to drink.” But he confessed nothing, and they left him alone.



They were then in May, the lime tree of justice was green; green, too, were the turf seats upon which the judges placed themselves; Nele was called as witness. On this day sentence was to be pronounced.

And the people, men, women, townsfolk, and artisans were all round about in the field; and the sun shone bright.

Katheline and Joos Damman were brought before the tribunal; and Damman appeared paler than ever by reason of the torture of the thirst and the nights spent without sleep.

Katheline, who could not maintain herself on her shaking legs, said, pointing to the sun:

“Take away the fire; my head burns!”

And she looked on Joos Damman with tender love.

And he looked at her with hate and contempt.

And the lords and gentlemen his friends, having been summoned to Damme, were all present as witnesses before the tribunal.

Then the bailiff spake and said:

“Nele, the girl who defends her mother Katheline with such great and courageous affection, found in the [231]pocket stitched in her mother’s jacket, a jacket for feast days, a note signed ‘Joos Damman.’ Among the belongings taken from the corpse of Hilbert Ryvish I found in the dead man’s satchel another letter addressed to him by the said Joos Damman, the defendant here present before you. I have kept both these letters in my custody, in order that at the appropriate moment, which is the present, you might judge of this man’s obstinacy and acquit or condemn him in accordance with law and justice. Here is the parchment found in the satchel; I have never touched it, and know not whether it is legible or not.”

The judges were then in great perplexity.

The bailiff endeavoured to undo the parchment ball; but it was in vain, and Joos Damman laughed.

An alderman said:

“Let us put the ball in water, and then before the fire. If there is in it any secret of adhesion, the fire and the water will melt it.”

The water was brought; the executioner lit a great fire of wood in the field; the smoke rose up blue into the clear sky through the verdurous branches of the lime tree of justice.

“Do not put the letter in the basin,” said an alderman “for if it is written with sal ammoniac dissolved in water, you will efface the characters.”

“Nay,” said the surgeon, who was there, “the characters will not be effaced; the water will soften only the point that keeps the magic ball from opening up.”

The parchment was dipped in the water and being softened, was unfolded.

“Now,” said the surgeon, “put it before the fire.”

“Aye, aye,” said Nele, “put the paper before the [232]fire; master surgeon is on the road to the truth, for the murderer grows pale and trembles in his limbs.”

Thereupon, Messire Joos Damman said:

“I neither grew pale nor trembled, thou little common harpy that art fain of the death of a man of rank; thou shalt never succeed; this parchment must needs be rotten, after sixteen years’ sojourning in the earth.”

“The parchment is not decayed,” said the sheriff, “for the satchel was lined with silk; silk is not consumed in the earth, and the worms have not gone through the parchment.”

The parchment was put in front of the fire.

“Monseigneur Bailiff, Monseigneur Bailiff,” said Nele, “there is the ink appearing before the fire; give orders that the writing be read.”

As the surgeon was about to read it, Messire Joos Damman would have stretched out his arms to seize the parchment; but Nele flung herself upon his arm quick as the wind and said:

“Thou shalt not touch it, for thereon is written thy death or the death of Katheline. If now thy heart bleeds, murderer, there are fifteen years through which ours have been bleeding; fifteen years that Katheline suffers; fifteen years she had her brain in her head burned by thee; fifteen years that Soetkin is dead by consequence of the torture; fifteen years that we are needy, ragged, and live in abject want, but proudly. Read the paper, read the paper! The judges are God upon earth, for they are Justice; read the paper!”

“Read the paper!” cried the men and women, weeping. “Nele is a brave lass! read the paper! Katheline is no witch!” [233]

And the clerk read:

“To Hilbert, son of Willem Ryvish, Esquire, Joos Damman, greeting.

“Blessed friend, lose thy money no more in gambling dens, at dice, and other follies. I will tell thee how it can be won for very certain. Let us make us devils, handsome devils, beloved of women and of girls. Let us take the fair and rich, let us leave the ugly and poor; let them pay for their pleasure. I made, at this trade, in six months five thousand rixdaeldars in the country of Germany. Women will give their petticoat and chemise to their man when they love him; flee from the miserly ones with pinched up nose that take time to pay for their pleasures. For thy own affair, and to appear goodly and a true devil, an incubus, if they accept thee for the night, announce thy coming by crying like a night bird. And to make thee a veritable devil’s face, of a terrifying devil, rub thy visage with phosphorus, which is luminous in spots when it is damp. Its odour is disagreeable, but they will believe that it is the odour of hell. Slay what is in thy way, man, woman, or beast.

“We shall soon go together to the house of Katheline, a fine good-natured wench; her daughter Nele, a child of my own, if Katheline was faithful to me, is comely and pretty; thou wilt take her easily; I give her to thee, for I care but little for these bastards that cannot for certain be recognized as one’s own offspring. Her mother gave me already more than twenty-three carolus, all she possessed. But she hath a treasure hidden, which is, unless I be a fool, the inheritance of Claes, the heretic burned at Damme: seven hundred florins carolus liable to confiscation, but the good King Philip, who had so many of his subjects burned to inherit after them, could never lay his claw on this sweet treasure. It will weigh [234]more in my pouch than in his. Katheline will tell me where it is; we shall divide. Only thou must leave me the greater part for the discovery.

“As for the women, being our gentle handmaids and slaves in love, we shall take them to the land of Germany. There we shall teach them to become female demons and succubae, drawing the love of all the rich burgesses and men of birth; there we shall live, they and we, upon love paid for with good rixdaeldars, velvets, silk, gold, pearls, and jewels; we shall thus be rich without fatigue, and, unknown to the succubae devils, beloved by the most lovely, always exacting payment besides. All women are fools and ninnies for the man that can light the fire of love that God set beneath their girdles. Katheline and Nele will be more so than others, and believing us to be devils, will obey us in all things: thou, do thou keep thy forename, but never give the name of thy father, Ryvish. If the judge seizes the women, we shall depart without their knowing us or being able to denounce us. To the rescue, my trusty comrade. Fortune smiles on the young, as was wont to say his late Sainted Majesty Charles the Fifth, past master in affairs of love and of war.”

And the clerk, making an end of reading, said:

“Such is this letter, and it is signed, ‘Joos Damman, esquire’.”

And the people shouted:

“To the death with the murderer! To the death with the sorcerer! To the fire the turner of women’s wits! To the gallows with the robber!”

The bailiff said then:

“People, keep silence, that in all freedom we may judge this man.”

And speaking to the aldermen: [235]

“I will,” said he, “read to you the second letter, found by Nele in the pocket of Katheline’s festal jacket; it is conceived as follows:

“Darling Witch, here is the recipe of a compound sent me by the very wife of Lucifer: by the help of this compound thou wilt be able to transport thyself to the sun, the moon, and the stars, converse with the elemental spirits that carry the prayers of men unto God, and to traverse all the towns and burgs and rivers and fields of the whole universe. Thou art to bruise together in equal quantities: stramonium, sleep-solanum, henbane, opium, the fresh tips of hemp, belladonna, and datura.

“If thou wilt, we shall go this night to the sabbath of the spirits: but thou must love me better and not be miserly again like the other night, when thou didst refuse me ten florins, saying thou didst not have them. I know that thou dost hide a treasure and wilt not tell me of it. Dost thou love me no longer, my sweetheart?”

“Thy cold devil,


“To the death with the sorcerer!” cried the people.

The bailiff said:

“We must compare the two writings.”

This being done, they were adjudged to be similar. The bailiff then said to the lords and gentlemen there present:

“Do ye recognize this man for Messire Joos Damman, son of the alderman of La Keure of Ghent?”

“Aye,” said they.

“Did ye know,” said he, “Messire Hilbert, son of Willem Ryvish, Esquire?” [236]

One of the gentlemen, who was called Van der Zickelen, spoke and said:

“I am from Ghent; my house is in St. Michael’s Place; I know Willem Ryvish, Esquire, sheriff of La Keure of Ghent. He lost, fifteen years past, a son of twenty-three years of age, debauched, a gamester, an idler; but everyone forgave it him because of his youth. Since that time no man has had news of him. I ask to see the sword, the poignard, and the satchel of the dead man.”

Having them before him, he said:

“The sword and the poignard carry on the pommel of the hilt the arms of the Ryvishes, which are three silver fish on an azure field. I see the same arms reproduced on a gold shield between the meshes of his pouch. What is that other poignard?”

The bailiff speaking:

“It is that poignard,” said he, “which was found planted in the body of Hilbert Ryvish, the son of Willem.”

“I recognize on it,” said the lord, “the arms of the Dammans; the tower gules on a silver field. So keep me God and all his saints.”

The other gentlemen also said:

“We recognize the aforesaid arms for those of Ryvish and of Damman. So keep us God and all his saints.”

Then the bailiff said:

“From the evidence heard and read by the tribunal of aldermen, Messire Joos Damman is the sorcerer, a murderer, a seducer of women, a robber of the king’s goods, and as such guilty of the crime of treason human and divine.”

“You say so, Messire Bailiff,” rejoined Joos, “but [237]you will not condemn me, lacking sufficient proofs: I am not nor ever was a sorcerer; I did but play at the game of being a devil. As for my shining face, you have the recipe for it and that for the unguent, the which, while containing henbane, is merely soporific. When this woman, a real witch, used it, she fell in a trance, and thought she went to the sabbath and there danced in the ring with her face to the outside of the circle, and adored a devil with the shape of a goat, set upon an altar.

“The dance being over, she thought she went and kissed him under the tail, as sorcerers do, to give herself up thereafter with me, her friend, to strange copulations pleasing to her perverted mind. If I had, as she says, cold arms and cool body, it was a mark of youth, not of sorcery. In the works of love coolness doth not endure. But Katheline would fain believe what she desired, and take me for a devil notwithstanding that I am a man of flesh and bone, in everything as yourselves that look at me. She alone is guilty: taking me for a demon and receiving me in her bed, she sinned both in intention and deed against God and the Holy Spirit. It is therefore she, and not I, that committed the crime of sorcery; it is she that is to be made to pass through the fire, as a furious and malignant witch that seeks to make herself pass for a madwoman, in order to hide her cunning.”

But Nele:

“Do ye hear him,” said she, “the murderer? He hath, like a girl for sale, with the armlet on her arm, made a trade and merchandise of love. Do ye hear him? He means, to save himself, to have her burned that gave him all.” [238]

“Nele is bad,” said Katheline, “do not listen to her, Hans, my beloved.”

“Nay,” said Nele, “nay, thou art no man: thou art a cowardly cruel devil.” And taking Katheline in her arms: “Messieurs Judges,” exclaimed she, “listen not to this pale evil one: he hath but one wish, to see my mother burn, she that did no other crime but to be smitten by God with madness, and to believe the phantoms of her dreams real. She hath already suffered much in her body and in her mind. Do not put her to death, Messieurs the Judges. Leave the innocent to live out her sad life in peace.”

And Katheline said: “Nele is bad; thou must not believe her, Hans my lord.”

And among the common folk the women were weeping and the men said: “Pardon for Katheline.”

The bailiff and the aldermen gave their sentence on Joos Damman, upon a confession which he made after being tortured afresh: he was condemned to be degraded from his noble estate and burned alive in a slow fire until death ensued, and suffered the penalty the next day before the doors of the Townhall, still saying: “Put the witch to death; she alone is guilty! Cursed be God! my father will slay the judges.”

And he rendered up the ghost.

And the people said: “See him cursing and a blasphemer: he dies like a dog.”

Next day the bailiff and the aldermen gave their sentence upon Katheline, who was condemned to undergo the trial by water in the Bruges Canal. Floating, she should be burned as a witch; going to the bottom and dying, she should be regarded as dying [239]like a Christian, and as such should be interred in the garden of the church, which is the graveyard.

The day after, Katheline, holding a wax taper in her hand, barefooted and clad in a chemise of black linen, was brought to the bank of the canal, all along by the trees, in grand procession. Before her marched, singing the prayers for the dead, the dean of Notre Dame, his vicars, the beadle carrying the cross; and behind, the bailiffs of Damme, the aldermen, the clerks and recorders, the constables of the commune, the provost, the executioner and his two assistants. Upon the banks there was a great crowd of women weeping and men growling, in pity for Katheline, who walked as a lamb suffering herself to be led she knew not whither, and always saying: “Take away the fire, my head burns! Hans, where art thou?”

In the midst of the women Nele cried: “I want to be thrown in with her.” But the women did not suffer her to come near to Katheline.

A sharp wind blew from the sea; from the gray sky a fine hail was falling into the water of the canal; a bark was there, which the executioner and his men seized in the name of His Majesty the king. At their command, Katheline went into it; the executioner was seen, standing in it, and at the signal of the provost lifting his wand of justice, he cast Katheline into the canal: she struggled, but not for long, and went to the bottom, having cried out: “Hans! Hans! help!”

And the people said: “This woman is no witch.”

Men plunged into the canal and pulled Katheline out from it, unconscious and rigid as a corpse. Then she was brought into a tavern and placed before a great fire; Nele took off her clothes and her wet linen, to give [240]her others; when she came back to herself, she said, trembling and chattering her teeth:

“Hans, give me a woollen cloak.”

And Katheline could not get back her warmth. And she died on the third day. And she was interred in the garden of the church.

And Nele, orphaned, departed to the land of Holland, to Rosa van Auweghen.



Upon the hulls of Zealand, on boyers, on croustèves, away goes Thyl Claes Ulenspiegel.

The free sea wafts the valiant flyboats on which are eight, ten or twenty guns all of iron: they belch forth death and massacre on the traitor Spaniards.

He is an expert gunner, Thyl Ulenspiegel, son of Claes, lo how he aims straight and true, and pierces like a wall of butter the carcases of the butchers.

In his hat he wears the silver crescent, with this legend: “Liever den Turc als den Paus”: “Rather to serve the Turk than the Pope.”

The sailors that see him climb up upon their ships, agile as a cat, supple as a squirrel, singing some song or other, with some gay jest in his mouth, would ask him curiously:

“Whence is it, little man, that thou hast so young a mien, for they say thou wert born long ago at Damme?”

“I am no body, but a spirit,” said he, “and Nele, my sweetheart, is like me. Spirit of Flanders, love of Flanders, we shall never die.”

“And yet,” said they, “when thou art cut, thou dost bleed.” [241]

“Ye see but the appearance of it,” answered Ulenspiegel, “it is wine and not blood.”

“We will broach thy belly, then!”

“I would be the only one to drain it,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Thou art mocking us.”

“He that beats the case will hear the drum,” answered Ulenspiegel.

And the embroidered banners of the Roman Catholic processions floated from the masts of the ships. And clad in velvet, in brocade, in silk, in cloth of gold and of silver, such as abbots wear at solemn masses, bearing mitre and crozier, drinking the monks’ wine, the Beggars kept guard on their ships.

And it was a strange sight to behold appearing from out of these rich vestments those coarse hands that held arquebus or arbalest, halberd or pike, and all men of hard physiognomy, girt about with pistols and cutlasses gleaming in the sun, and drinking from golden chalices the abbots’ wine that had become the wine of liberty.

And they sang and they shouted: “Long live the Beggar!” and thus they scoured the ocean and the Scheldt.



At this time the Beggars, among whom were Lamme and Ulenspiegel, took Gorcum. And they were commanded by Captain Marin: this Marin, who had been a workman on the dykes, disported himself with great haughtiness and sufficiency, and signed with Gaspard Turc, the defender of Gorcum, a capitulation whereby Turc, the monks, burgesses, and soldiers shut up in the [242]citadel were to come forth freely, bullet in mouth, musket on shoulder, with all that they could carry, save that the goods of the Church should be left to the assailants.

But Captain Marin, upon an order from Messire de Lumey, held the nineteen monks as prisoners, and let the soldiers and the citizens go free.

And Ulenspiegel said:

“The word of a soldier should be a word of gold. Why doth he fail of his?”

An ancient Beggar made answer to Ulenspiegel:

“The monks are sons of Satan, the leprosy of nations, the shame of countries. Since the coming of the Duke of Alba, these fellows lifted up their noses high in Gorcum. There is among them one, the priest Nicolas, prouder than a peacock and fiercer than a tiger. Every time he passed in the street with his pyx in which was his host made with dog’s fat, he would look with eyes full of fury at the houses from which the women did not come and kneel, and would denounce to the judge all that did not bend the knee before his idol of dough and gilded brass. The other monks imitated him. That was the cause of many great oppressions, burnings, and cruel punishments in the town of Gorcum. Captain Marin does well to keep prisoner the monks who would else go off with their likes into villages, burgs, towns, and townlets, to preach against us, stirring up the populace and causing the poor reformers to be burned. Mastiffs are put on the chain until they die: to the chain with the monks; to the chain with the bloed-honden, the duke’s blood-hounds; to the cage with the butchers. Long live the Beggar!”

“But,” said Ulenspiegel, “Monseigneur d’Orange, [243]our prince of liberty, wills that we should respect, among those who surrender, the property of individuals and freedom of conscience.”

The ancient Beggars replied:

“The admiral wills it not for the monks: he is master; he took Briele. To the cage with the monks!”

“Word of a soldier, word of gold! why does he fail of it?” answered Ulenspiegel. “The monks kept in prison suffer a thousand insults.”

“The ashes beat no longer upon thy heart,” said they: “a hundred thousand families, in consequence of the edicts, have taken over yonder, to the north-west, to the land of England, the trades, the industry, the wealth of our country; bemoan then those that wrought our ruin! Under the Emperor Charles the Fifth, Butcher the First, under this one, the king of Blood, Butcher the Second, one hundred and eighteen thousand persons have perished by execution. Who carried the taper of the obsequies in murder and in tears? Monks and soldiers of Spain. Dost thou not hear the souls of the dead lamenting?”

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” said Ulenspiegel. “Word of a soldier, ’tis word of gold.”

“Who then,” said they, “would by excommunication have put the country under the ban of all nations? Who would have armed against us, had it been possible, earth and sky, God and the devil, and their serried ranks of saints, both male and female? Who made the sacred host bleed with the blood of an ox, who made wooden statues weep? Who had the De Profundis sung in the land of our fathers, if not this accursed clergy, these hordes of lazy monks, in order that they might keep their riches, their influence over idol [244]worshippers, and reign over the poor country by ruin, blood, and fire. To the cage with the wolves that rush upon men on earth; to the cage with the hyænas! Long live the Beggar!”

“Word of a soldier, word of gold,” said Ulenspiegel.

The next day a message came from Messire de Lumey, with orders to transfer from Gorcum to Briele, where the admiral was, the nineteen monks that were prisoners.

“They will be hanged,” said Captain Marin to Ulenspiegel.

“Not while I am alive,” replied he.

“My son,” said Lamme, “speak not thus to Messire de Lumey. He is fierce, and will hang thee with them without mercy.”

“I shall speak according to the truth,” replied Ulenspiegel; “word of a soldier, word of gold.”

“If thou canst save them,” said Marin, “take their boat to Briele. Take with thee Rochus the pilot and thy friend Lamme if thou wilt.”

“I do wish it,” answered Ulenspiegel.

The boat was moored at the Green quay; the nineteen monks entered into it; Rochus the timid was set at the helm; Ulenspiegel and Lamme, well armed, took their place at the prow of the ship. Certain rascal troopers that had come among the Beggars for pillage were beside the monks, who were hungry. Ulenspiegel gave them drink and food. “That one is going to turn traitor!” said the rascal troopers. The nineteen monks, seated amidships, were all gaping and shivering, though it was July, and the sun was bright and hot, and a gentle breeze filled out the sails of the ship as she glided massive and bulging over the green waves. [245]

Father Nicolas then spake and said to the pilot:

“Rochus, are we being brought to the Gallows Field?”

Then turning towards Gorcum: “O town of Gorcum!” said he, standing and stretching out his hand, “town of Gorcum! how many woes hast thou to suffer: thou shalt be accursed among cities, for thou hast grown within thy walls the grain of heresy! O town of Gorcum! And the angel of the Lord shall watch no longer at thy gates. He will have no more care of thy virgins’ modesty, the courage of thy men, the fortune of thy merchants! O town of Gorcum! thou art accursed, unfortunate!”

“Accursed, accursed,” answered Ulenspiegel, “accursed as the comb that hath passed through and taken away the Spanish lice, accursed as the dog breaking his chain, as the proud horse shaking a cruel rider from off his back! Accursed thyself, booby preacher, who findest ill that the rod should be broken, were it an iron rod upon the tyrants’ back!”

The monk held his tongue, and lowering his eyes, appeared steeped in holy hate.

The rascal soldiers that had come among the Beggars for the sake of pillage were close by the monks, who soon were hungry. Ulenspiegel asked biscuit and herrings for them; the ship master answered:

“Let them be thrown into the Meuse, they can have fresh herring to eat then.”

Ulenspiegel then gave the monks all the bread and sausage he had for himself and for Lamme. The ship-master and the rascal Beggars said one to another:

“This one is a traitor, he is feeding the monks; we must denounce him.” [246]

At Dordrecht the ship stopped in the Harbour at the Bloemen-Key, the Flower quay; men, women, lads, and lasses ran up in crowds to see the monks, and said to one another pointing at them with a finger or threatening them with their fist:

“Look at those clowns, manufacturers of Bons Dieux that bring men’s bodies to the stake and their souls to the fire everlasting; look at the fat tigers and big-bellied jackals.”

The monks hung their heads and dared not speak. Ulenspiegel saw them trembling once more.

“We are hungry again,” said they, “compassionate soldier.”

But the ship master:

“What is always drinking? Dry sand. Who eats without ceasing? The monk.”

Ulenspiegel went up the town to find bread for them, ham, and a great jug of beer.

“Eat and drink,” said he; “ye are our prisoners, but I shall save you if I can. Word of a soldier, word of gold.”

“Why dost thou give them that? They will never pay you,” said the rascal Beggars; and talking among themselves they whispered these words in each other’s ears: “He has promised to save them; let us keep good watch upon him.”

At dawn they came to Briele. The gates having been opened to them, a voet-looper, a courier, went to inform Messire de Lumey of their coming.

As soon as he had the news, he came on horseback, having just put on his clothes, and accompanied by some horsemen and foot-soldiers, with their weapons. [247]

And Ulenspiegel could see once more the fierce admiral clad like a proud lord living in opulence.

“Hail and greeting,” said he, “Messires the monks. Lift up your hands. Where is the blood of Messieurs d’Egmont and de Hoorn? Ye show me clean white paws; ’tis well for you.”

A monk called Leonard answered:

“Do with us as thou wilt. We are monks; no one will claim us.”

“He hath well said,” said Ulenspiegel; “for the monk having broken with the world, which is father and mother, brother and sister, spouse and lover, finds at the hour of God no soul that claims him. And yet, Your Excellency, I will do so. Captain Marin, when he signed the capitulation of Gorcum, agreed that these monks should be free as all those that were taken in the citadel, and who came out from it. And yet they were held prisoner without cause; I hear it said they shall be hanged. Monseigneur, I address myself humbly to you, speaking to you on their behalf, for I know that the word of a soldier is word of gold.”

“Who art thou?” asked Messire de Lumey.

“Monseigneur,” answered Ulenspiegel, “Fleming am I from the goodly land of Flanders, clown, nobleman, all at once, and through the world in this wise I go wandering, praising things good and lovely, and mocking folly without stint. And I will praise you if you keep to the promise made by the captain: word of a soldier, word of gold.”

But the rascally Beggars that were upon the ship:

“Monseigneur,” said they, “that fellow is a traitor: he hath promised to save them; he hath given them bread, ham, sausages, and beer, and to us nothing.” [248]

Messire de Lumey said then to Ulenspiegel:

“Fleming gadabout and monk feeder, thou shalt be hanged with them.”

“I have no fear,” answered Ulenspiegel, “word of a soldier, word of gold.”

“Thou carriest thy comb high,” said de Lumey.

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” said Ulenspiegel.

The monks were brought into a barn, and Ulenspiegel with them: there they would fain have converted him by theological disputations; but he fell asleep listening to them.

Messire de Lumey being at table, full of wine and meat, a messenger arrived from Gorcum, from Captain Marin, with a copy of letters from the Silent, Prince of Orange, “commanding all governors of cities and other places to hold the ecclesiastics in like safeguard, safety, and privilege as the rest of the people.”

The messenger asked to be brought before de Lumey to give the copy of the letters into his own hands.

“Where is the original?” de Lumey asked him.

“With my master,” said the messenger.

“And the clown sends me the copy!” said de Lumey. “Where is thy passport?”

“Here it is, Monseigneur,” said the messenger.

Messire de Lumey read it in a loud voice:

“Monseigneur and master Marin Brandt enjoins upon the ministers, governors, and officers of the republic that they suffer to pass safely,” etc.

De Lumey, striking his fist on the table and tearing up the passport:

“God’s blood!” said he, “what is he meddling with, this Marin, this trash, who had not, before the taking of Briele, the backbone of a red herring to put between [249]his teeth? He dubs himself monseigneur and master, and sends me his order. He enjoins and ordains! Tell thy master that since he is so much captain and monseigneur, and so much bidding and forbidding, the monks shall be hanged high and short at once, and thou with them if thou dost not take thyself off.”

And fetching him a kick, he sent him out of the chamber.

“Give me to drink,” he cried. “Have you seen the insolence of this Marin? I could spit out my breakfast with rage. Let them hang the monks immediately in their barn, and bring me their Flemish conductor, after he has seen their execution. We shall see if he will dare to tell me I have done wrong. God’s blood! what are these jugs and glasses wanted here for still?”

And he broke with a great crashing the cups and dishes, and no man dared speak to him. The servants would have picked up the pieces; he did not allow them, and drinking out of the flasks immoderately, he became more and more angry, striding about and crushing the bits and trampling on them furiously.

Ulenspiegel was brought before him.

“Well!” said he, “dost thou bring tidings of thy friends the monks?”

“They are hanged,” said Ulenspiegel; “and a cowardly executioner, killing them for hire, opened the belly and sides of one of them after death, like a disembowelled pig, to sell the fat to an apothecary. Word of a soldier is no longer word of gold.”

De Lumey, trampling among the broken crockery:

“Thou bravest me,” said he, “four-foot rascal, but [250]thou, too, shalt be hanged, not in a barn, but ignominiously on the open square, in the eyes of everybody.”

“Shame upon you,” said Ulenspiegel, “shame upon us: word of a soldier no longer word of gold.”

“Wilt thou hold thy tongue, mule!” said Messire de Lumey.

“Shame upon thee,” said Ulenspiegel; “word of a soldier is no more word of gold. Punish rather the rascally vendors of human fat.”

Then Messire de Lumey, rushing on him, raised his hand to strike him.

“Strike,” said Ulenspiegel; “I am thy prisoner, but I have no fear of thee; word of a soldier is no more word of gold.”

Messire de Lumey then drew his sword and would certainly have slain Ulenspiegel if Messire de Tres-Long, holding back his arm, had not said:

“Have pity! he is brave and valiant; he hath committed no crime!”

De Lumey, then controlling himself:

“Let him ask pardon,” said he.

But Ulenspiegel, remaining upright:

“I will not,” said he.

“Let him say at least that I was not wrong,” cried de Lumey, becoming furious.

Ulenspiegel made answer:

“I do not lick the boots of lords: word of a soldier is no more word of gold.”

“Let them erect the gallows,” said de Lumey, “and let them bring him to it; that will be a hempen word for him.”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel, “and I shall cry out in [251]the presence of all the people: ‘Word of a soldier is no more word of gold!’”

The gallows was set up on the great marketplace. The news ran swiftly about the town that they were about to hang Ulenspiegel, the valiant Beggar. And the people were moved with pity and compassion. And they ran together in a crowd to the great market; Messire de Lumey came thither also on horseback, wishing himself to give the signal for the execution.

He looked with no mildness upon Ulenspiegel on the ladder, arrayed for death, in his shirt, his arms tied to his body, his hands folded, the rope about his neck, and the executioner ready to do his work.

Tres-Long said to him:

“Monseigneur, pardon him; he is no traitor, and no one ever saw a man hanged because he was sincere and merciful.”

And the men and women of the people, hearing Tres-Long speak, cried: “Pity, Monseigneur, grace and pity for Ulenspiegel.”

“That mule-headed fellow braved me,” said de Lumey: “let him repent and say I did right.”

“Wilt thou repent and say that he did right?” said Tres-Long to Ulenspiegel.

“Word of a soldier is no more word of gold,” replied Ulenspiegel.

“Put on the rope,” said de Lumey.

The executioner was about to obey; a young girl, all clad in white and garlanded with flowers, ran up the stairs of the scaffold, leaped on Ulenspiegel’s neck, and said:

“This man is mine; I take him for my husband.”

And the people applauded and the women cried out: [252]

“Long live, long live the girl who is Ulenspiegel’s saviour!”

“What is this?” asked Messire de Lumey.

Tres-Long answered:

“After the use and custom of the town, it is by right and law that a young maiden and unmarried woman can save a man from the rope by taking him for husband at the foot of the gallows.”

“God is with him,” said de Lumey; “untie him.”

Then riding up to the scaffold, he saw the girl prevented from cutting Ulenspiegel’s ropes and the executioner seeking to oppose her efforts and saying:

“If you cut them, who will pay for them?”

But the girl paid no heed to him.

Seeing her so light, so loving, and so subtle, he was touched.

“Who art thou?” said he.

“I am Nele, his betrothed,” said she, “and I come from Flanders to seek him.”

“Thou didst well,” said de Lumey in a naughty voice.

And he went away.

Tres-Long then coming up:

“Little Fleming,” said he, “once thou art married wilt thou be a soldier still in our ships?”

“Aye, Messire,” answered Ulenspiegel.

“And thou, girl, what wilt thou do without thy man?” Nele answered:

“If you are willing, Messire, I will be fifer in his ship.”

“I am willing,” said Tres-Long.

And he gave her two florins for the wedding feast.

And Lamme, weeping and laughing with pleasure, said: [253]

“Here are three florins more: we shall eat it all; I am paying. Let us go to the Golden Comb. He is not dead, my friend. Long live the Beggar!”

And the people applauded, and they went off to the Golden Comb, where a great feast was ordered: and Lamme threw deniers to the people out of the windows.

And Ulenspiegel said to Nele:

“Darling beloved, there thou art then beside me! Hurrah! She is here, flesh, heart, and soul, my sweet friend. Oh! the sweet eyes and lovely red lips whence there came never aught but kind words! She saved my life, the dear beloved! Thou shalt play the fife of deliverance on our ships. Dost thou remember ... but no.... Ours is the present hour full of gladness, and mine thy face sweet as June flowers. I am in paradise. But,” said he, “thou art weeping....”

“They have killed her,” said she.

And she told him the tale of mourning.

And, looking on one another, they wept with love and grief.

And at the feast they drank and ate, and Lamme looked on them woefully, saying:

“Alas! my wife, where art thou?”

And the priest came and married Nele and Ulenspiegel.

And the morning sun found them one beside the other in their bridal bed.

And Nele lay with her head on Ulenspiegel’s shoulder. And when she awoke in the sunshine, he said:

“Fresh face and sweet heart, we shall be the avengers of Flanders.”

She, kissing him on the mouth: [254]

“Wild head and stout arms,” said she, “God will bless the fife and the sword.”

“I will make thee a soldier’s garb.”

“At once?” said she.

“At once,” replied Ulenspiegel; “but who said that strawberries are good in the morning? Thy mouth is far better.”



Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and Nele had, like their friends and comrades, taken from the convents the wealth gotten from the people by the help of processions, feigned miracles, and other Roman mummeries. This was against the orders of the Silent, the prince of liberty, but the money helped with the charges of the war. Lamme Goedzak, not content with providing himself with money, looted from out the convents hams, sausages, flasks of beer and wine, and came back from them joyously carrying across his breast a baldric of fowls, geese, turkeys, capons, hens and pullets, and leading behind him on a rope certain monastical calves and pigs. And this by right of war, said he.

Rejoicing in each prize, he fetched it to the ship that there might be revel and feast, but lamented all the same that the master cook was so ignorant in the science of sauces and fricassees.

Now on that day the Beggars, having looked victoriously upon the cup, said to Ulenspiegel:

“Thou hast thy nose always in the wind to smell out news of terra firma; thou knowest all the adventures of the war: sing them to us. And Lamme shall beat the drum the while and the pretty little fifer shall squeal to the measure of thy song.” [255]

And Ulenspiegel said:

“One bright cool day in May, Ludwig of Nassau, thinking to enter into Mons, finds not his footmen nor his horse. A few trusty men held a gate open and a drawbridge down, that he might have the town. But the citizens seized the gate and the drawbridge. Where are the soldiers of Count Louis? The citizens are about to hoist up the bridge. Count Louis winds his horn.”

And Ulenspiegel sang:

“Where are thy footmen and thy horse?

They are in the woods, treading all down:

Dry twigs, and lily of the valley in bloom.

Master Sun makes all shine,

Their ruddy warrior faces,

The polished rumps of their horses;

Count Ludwig winds his horn:

They hear it. Softly beat the drum.

“Full trot, bridle loose!

Speed of the lightning, speed of the cloud:

Water spout of clinking iron;

They fly, the heavy horsemen!

Haste! haste! to the rescue!

The bridge rises.... Send the spur

Into the chargers’ bloody flanks.

The bridge rises: The town is lost!

“They are before it. Is it too late?

Ride like the wind! Bridle loose!

Guitoy de Chaumont on his Spanish steed

Leaps on the bridge that falls again.

The town is won! Do ye hear

Along the paven streets of Mons

Speed of the lightning, speed of the cloud,

Waterspout of clinking iron!


“Hurrah for Chaumont and his Spanish steed!

Sound the clarion of joy, beat upon the drum:

’Tis the hay month, fragrant are the meadows;

The lark mounts up, singing in the sky:

Long live the bird of freedom!

Beat upon the drum of glory.

Hurrah for Chaumont and the Spanish steed.

Hey there. Drink up there.

The town is won!... Long live the Beggar!”

And the Beggars sang on the ships: “Christ look down upon thy soldiers. Furbish our weapons, Lord. Long live the Beggar!”

And Nele, smiling, made the fife squeal amain, and Lamme beat the drum, and aloft, towards the sky, God’s temple, there were raised golden cups and hymns of liberty. And the waves, like sirens, bright and cool about the ships, murmured in harmony.



One day in the month of August, a hot and heavy day, Lamme was plunged in melancholy. His jolly drum was dumb and sleeping, and he had thrust the drumsticks into the mouth of his satchel. Ulenspiegel and Nele, smiling with amorous delight, were warming themselves in the sun: the look-out men stationed in the tops were whistling or singing, searching over the wide ocean if they could not see some prey on the horizon. Très-Long kept questioning them; they still replied: “Niets,” nothing.

And Lamme, pale and broken down, sighed piteously. And Nele said to him:

“Whence cometh it, Lamme, that thou art so woebegone?” [257]

And Ulenspiegel said to him:

“Thou art growing thin, my son.”

“Aye,” said Lamme, “I am woebegone and thin. My heart loses its gaiety and my jolly face its freshness. Aye, laugh at me, ye that have found one another again through a thousand perils. Mock you at poor Lamme, who lives a widower, being married, while she,” said he, pointing to Nele, “must needs tear her man away from the kisses of the rope, his last lover. She did well, God be praised; but let her not laugh at me. Aye, thou must not laugh at poor Lamme, Nele, my dear. My wife laughs enough for ten. Alas, ye females, ye are cruel towards others’ woes. Aye, I have a grieved heart, stricken with the sword of desertion, and nothing will ever comfort it, if not she.”

“Or some fricassee,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Aye,” said Lamme, “where is the meat in this miserable ship? On the king’s vessels, they have meat four times a week, if there be no fast, and fish three times. As for the fish, God destroy me if this tow—I mean their flesh—does anything but kindle my blood for nothing, my poor blood that will go to water before long. They have beer, cheese, soup, and good drink. Aye! they have everything for the comfort of their stomachs: biscuit, rye bread, beer, butter, smoked meat, yea, all, dried fish, cheese, mustard seed, salt, beans, peas, barley, vinegar, oil, tallow, wood, and coal. We, we have just been forbidden to take the cattle of any so-ever, be he citizen, abbot, or gentleman. We eat herrings and drink small beer. Alas! I have nothing left now: neither love of women, nor good wine, nor dobbele-bruinbier, nor good food. Where are our joys here?” [258]

“I will tell thee, Lamme,” answered Ulenspiegel. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth: at Paris, on Saint Bartholomew’s night, they killed ten thousand free hearts in Paris city alone; the king himself shot at his folk. Awake, Fleming; seize the axe without mercy: there are our joys; smite the Spaniard and Roman enemy wherever thou shalt find him. Let be thy eatables. They have taken the dead or living victims to their rivers, and by full cartloads, and have flung them in the water. Dead or alive, dost thou hear, Lamme? The Seine ran red for nine days, and the ravens settled down in clouds upon the town. At La Charité, at Rouen, Toulouse, Lyons, Bordeaux, Bourges, Meaux, terrible was the massacre. Seest thou the troops of dogs satiate with eating, lying beside the bodies? Their teeth are tired. The flight of the ravens is heavy, so laden are their stomachs with the flesh of the victims. Hearest thou, Lamme, the voice of their spirits crying vengeance and pity? Awake, Fleming! Thou dost speak of thy wife. I do not believe her unfaithful, but bereft of her wits, and she loveth thee still, poor friend of mine: she was not among those court ladies who on the very night of the massacre stripped the bodies with their fine hands to see how great or how small were their carnal members. And they laughed, these ladies great in lewdness. Rejoice, my son, notwithstanding thy fish and thy small beer. If the after taste of the herring is insipid, more insipid still is the smell of this foulness. Those that slew took their meals, and with ill-washen hands carved fat geese to offer the wings, legs, and rump to the charming Paris damozels. They had but lately felt other meat, cold meat.” [259]

“I will complain no more, my son,” said Lamme, rising up: “the herring is ortolan; malvoisie is small beer to free hearts.”

And Ulenspiegel said:

“Long Live the Beggar! Let us not weep, brothers.

In ruins and blood

“Flowers the rose of liberty.

If God is with us, who shall be against?

“When the hyæna triumphs,

Comes the lion’s turn,

With one stroke of his paw he flings him, disbowelled, on the ground.

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Long live the Beggar!”

And the Beggars on the ship sang:

“The Duke keeps the same fate for us.

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth,

Wound for wound. Long live the Beggar!”



On a black night the tempest growled in the depths of the clouds. Ulenspiegel was on the deck of the ship with Nele, and said:

“All our lights are out. We are foxes, watching by night for the passing of the Spanish poultry, which is to say their two and twenty assabres, rich ships with lanterns burning, that will be to them stars of ill fortune. And we shall rush upon them.”

Nele said:

“This night is a witches’ night. This sky is black [260]as the mouth of hell; these lightnings gleam like the smile of Satan; the distant thunderstorm is growling dully; the sea-mews pass, uttering loud cries; the sea rolls its phosphorescent waves like silver serpents. Thyl, my beloved, come into the world of the spirits. Take the powder of vision.”

“Shall I see the Seven, my darling?”

And they took the powder of vision.

And Nele shut Ulenspiegel’s eyes, and Ulenspiegel shut Nele’s eyes. And they beheld a cruel spectacle.

Heaven, earth, sea were full of men, of women, of children, toiling, wandering, journeying, or dreaming. The sea cradled them; the earth carried them. And they swarmed like eels in a basket.

Seven men and women were in the middle of the firmament, seated upon thrones, their brows girt with a brilliant star, but they were so shadowy that Nele and Ulenspiegel could see only their stars with any distinctness.

The sea rose up to the sky, tumbling in its foam the innumerable multitude of ships whose masts and rigging clashed together, interlocked, broke one another, crushed each other, following the tempestuous moving of the waves. Then one ship appeared in the midst of all the others. Its bottom was of flaming iron. Its keel was made of steel shaped and sharpened like a knife. The water cried out, groaning, when it went through. Death was upon the stern of the ship, seated, grinning, holding his scythe in one hand and in the other a whip which he smote upon seven personages. One was a man woebegone, thin, haughty, silent. He held in one hand a sceptre and in the other a sword. Beside him, mounted upon a goat, there [261]was a ruddy girl, with bared breast, her robe open, and a sprightly eye. She was stretched out lasciviously beside an old Jew picking up bits of rubbish and a big bloated fellow that fell down every time she set him on his feet, while a thin and angry woman beat them both. The big man never avenged himself nor did his red-faced she-companion. A monk in their midst was eating sausages. A woman lying on the earth, was crawling like a serpent among the others. She bit the old Jew because of his old rubbish, the bloated man because he was too comfortable, the red woman for the dewy brightness of her eyes, the monk for his sausage, and the thin man because of his sceptre. And soon all of them fell a-fighting.

When they passed, the battle was horrible on the sea, in the sky, and on the earth. It rained blood. The ships were broken with blows of axes, arquebuses, and cannon shot. The shattered fragments flew into the air in the midst of the powder smoke. On the earth armies clashed together like walls of bronze. Towns, villages, harvests burned amid cries and tears: tall spires, stone lace-work, held up their proud silhouettes in the midst of the fire, then fell down with a crash like oak trees laid low. Black horsemen, numerous and close arrayed as bands of ants, sword in hand, pistol in hand, were smiting men, women, children. Some made holes in the ice and buried old men alive in them; others cut off women’s breasts and sprinkled pepper on the place; others hanged children in the fireplaces. Those who were tired of killing violated some girl or some woman; drank, played dice, and tossing over piles of gold, the fruit of pillage, dabbled their red fingers in it. [262]

The Seven, crowned with stars, cried: “Pity for the poor world!”

And the phantoms grinned with laughter. And their voices were as the voices of a thousand sea-eagles crying together. And Death brandished his scythe.

“Dost thou hear them?” said Ulenspiegel; “they are the birds of prey of poor mankind. They live on small birds, which are the simple and the good.”

The Seven, crowned with stars, cried: “Love, justice, compassion!”

And the Seven phantoms laughed loudly. And their voices were like the voices of a thousand sea-eagles crying all together. And Death struck them with his whip.

And the ship passed over the sea, cutting in two boats, vessels, men, women, children. On the sea reëchoed the plaints of the victims crying: “Pity!”

And the red ship passed over them all, while the phantoms, laughing, cried like sea-eagles.

And Death, laughing loud, drank the water that was full of blood.

And the ship having disappeared in the mist, the battle ceased, and the Seven crowned with stars vanished away.

And Ulenspiegel and Nele saw nothing now save the black sky, the surging sea, the dark clouds coming forward on the phosphorescent sea, and close at hand, red stars.

These were the lanterns of the two and twenty assabres. The sea and the thunder were growling dully and faintly.

And Ulenspiegel rang the bell for the wacharm softly, and cried: “The Spaniard, the Spaniard! He is [263]sailing for Flessingue!” And the cry was repeated throughout the whole fleet.

And Ulenspiegel said to Nele:

“A gray hue is spreading over the sky and over the sea. The lanterns burn now but feebly; the dawn lifts, the wind is freshening, the waves throw their spume over the decks of the ships; a thick rain is falling and speedily ceases; the sun rises radiant, gilding the crest of the waves: it is thy smile, Nele, fresh as the morning, sweet as the sun’s ray.”

The two and twenty assabres pass: on the ships of the Beggars the drums are beating, the fifes are squealing: de Lumey cries: “In the Prince’s name, to the chase!” Ewout Pietersen Wort, sub-admiral, cries: “In the name of Monseigneur d’Orange and the admiral, to the chase!” On all the ships, the Johannah, the Swan, Anne-Mie, the Beggar, the Compromise, the d’Egmont, the de Hoorn, on the Willem de Zwyger (the William the Silent,) all the captains cry: “In the name of Monseigneur d’Orange and the admiral!”

“To the chase! Long live the Beggar!” cry the soldiers and sailors. Très-Long’s houlque, on which are Lamme and Ulenspiegel, and called Briele, followed closely by the Johannah, the Swan, and the Beggar, take four assabres. The Beggars fling everything Spanish into the sea, make the inhabitants of the Low Countries prisoners, empty the ships like eggshells, and leave them to float without masts or sails in the roadstead. Then they pursue the other eighteen. The wind blows violently; coming from Antwerp, the sides of the swift ships bend over in the water of the river beneath the weight of the sails swollen like a monk’s cheeks in the wind that comes [264]from kitchens; the assabres go swiftly; the Beggars pursue them into the very roadstead of Meddleburg under the fire from the forts. There a bloody battle joins: the Beggars carrying axes rush on the decks of the ships, soon strewn with lopped-off arms and legs, that have to be thrown into the waves after the combat ends. The forts fire on them: they take no heed, and to the shout of “Long live the Beggar!” take from out the assabres powder, artillery, bullets, and corn; burn the boats when they have emptied them; and make off to Flessingue, leaving them smoking and flaming in the roadsteads.

From there they will send squadrons to pierce the dykes of Zealand and Holland, to help in the construction of fresh ships, and notably of flyboats of one hundred and forty tons carrying up to twenty cannon of cast iron.



On the ships it is snowing. The air is all white as far as eye can see, and the snow falls without ceasing, falls softly upon the black water where it melts.

On the earth it is snowing: all white are the roadways, all white the black silhouettes of the trees bereft of their leaves. No sound but the distant bells of Haarlem striking the hour, and the gay chime sending its muffled notes through the thick air.

Bells, ring not; bells, play not your sweet and simple airs: Don Frederic draws near, the dukeling of blood. He is marching upon thee, followed by thirty-five companies of Spaniards, thy mortal foes, Haarlem, O thou city of liberty; twenty-two companies of Walloons, eighteen companies of Germans, eight hundred horse, [265]a powerful artillery, all follow in his train. Hearest thou the clang of this murderous iron on the wagons? Falconets, culverins, big-mouthed mortars, all that is for thee, Haarlem. Bells, ring not; chimes, fling not your gladsome notes into the air thickened with snow.

“Bells, we the bells, shall ring; I, the chime, I shall sing, flinging my bold notes into the air thick with snow. Haarlem is the town of hardy hearts, of brave women. Undaunted she sees, from her topmost towers, the black masses of the butchers undulating like troops of ants: Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and a hundred sea Beggars are within her walls. Their fleet is cruising in the lake.”

“Let them come!” say the inhabitants; “we are but citizens, fishermen, sailors, and women.

“The son of the Duke of Alba wanteth, he declares, no other keys to come into our house than his cannon. Let him open, if he can, these weak gates; he will find men behind them. Ring out, bells; chimes, launch your glad notes into the air thick with snow.

“We have but weak walls and old-fashioned ditches. Fourteen guns belch out their balls of forty-six pound on the Cruys-poort. Put men where stones are lacking. Night comes, every man toileth, it is as though the cannon had never been there. On the Cruys-poort they have hurled six hundred and eighty shot; on St. John’s Gate six hundred and seventy-five. These keys do not open, for there, behind, rises a new rampart. Ring out, bells; chimes, hurl into the thick air your merry notes.

“The cannon beat, beat, beat ever on the walls; the stones fly, the walls crumble. Wide enough is the breech to let a company pass in abreast. The assault! ‘Kill! Kill!’ they cry. They mount, they are ten [266]thousand; suffer them to pass the moats with their bridges, with their ladders. Our cannon are ready. Lo, there the flag of those that are to die. Salute them, cannon of liberty! They salute: chain shot, balls of flaming tar flying and hissing, pierce, cut, kindle, blind the assailing masses that fall back and flee in disorder. Fifteen hundred dead lie in the ditch. Ring out, bells; and ye, chimes, fling into the thickened air your merry notes.

“Come back to the assault! They dare not. They fall to shooting and sapping. We, too, we know the arts of the mine. Beneath them, beneath them light the train; run, we shall see a goodly sight. Four hundred Spaniards blown into the air. This is not the road of eternal fires. Oh! the goodly dance to the silver sound of our bells, to the merry music of our chimes!

“They never suspect that the prince is watching over us; that every day there come to us by ways well guarded sledges of corn and gunpowder; the corn for us, the powder for them. Where are their six hundred Germans that we slew and drowned in the Haarlem Wood? Where are the eleven ensigns we have taken from them, the six pieces of artillery, and the fifty oxen? We had one girdle of walls; now we have two. Even the women fight, and Kennan leads their valiant band. Come, butchers, march down our streets; the children will hamstring you with their little knives. Ring out, bells; and ye, chimes, fling into the thickened air your merry notes!

“But fortune is not with us. The Beggars’ fleet is beaten in the lake. They are beaten, the troops Orange had sent to our help. It freezes, it freezes bitterly. No more help now. Then for five months, [267]a thousand against ten thousand, we hold out. Now we must needs come to terms with the butchers. Will he listen to any terms, this bloody dukeling who hath sworn our destruction? Let us send out all our soldiers with their arms: they will pierce the enemy bands. But the women are at the gates, fearing lest they be left to guard the town alone. Bells, ring out no more; chimes, fling no more into the air your merry notes.

“Here is June; the hay is fragrant, the corn grows golden in the sun, the birds are singing: we have been hungry for five months; the town is in mourning; we shall all go forth from Haarlem, the musketeers at the head to open up the way, the women, the children, the magistrates behind, guarded by the infantry that watches at the breech. A letter, a letter from the dukeling of blood! Is it death he announces? Nay, it is life to all that are in the town. O unlooked-for clemency; O lie, mayhap! Wilt thou still sing, O merry chime? They are entering the town.”

Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and Nele had donned the costume of the German soldiers shut up with them, to the number of six hundred, in the cloister of the Augustines.

“We shall die to-day,” said Ulenspiegel in a low tone to Lamme.

And he clasped to his breast the dainty form of Nele all shivering with fear.

“Alas! my wife, I shall never see her more,” said Lamme. “But perhaps our costume as German soldiers will save our lives?”

Ulenspiegel nodded his head to show he believed in no hope of grace.

“I hear no noise of pillage,” said Lamme. [268]

Ulenspiegel replied:

“By the terms, the townsfolk redeemed their lives, and the town from pillage, for the sum of two hundred and forty thousand florins. They must pay one hundred thousand florins down in twelve days, and the rest three months after. The women have been ordered to retire into the churches. They are about to begin the massacre, beyond a doubt. Dost thou hear them nailing up the scaffolds and erecting the gallows?”

“Ah! we are to die!” said Nele; “I am hungry.”

“Aye,” said Lamme low to Ulenspiegel, “the dukeling of blood has said that being famished we shall be more docile when we are brought out to die.”

“I am so hungry!” said Nele.

That night soldiers came and distributed bread enough for six men.

“Three hundred Walloon soldiers have been hanged in the marketplace,” said they. “It will soon be your turn. There was always a matrimony between the Beggars and the Gallows.”

The next night they came again with their bread for six men.

“Four high burgesses,” said they, “have been beheaded. Two hundred and forty-nine soldiers have been bound together two by two and cast into the sea. The crabs will be fat this year. You do not look well, you folk, since the seventh of July that saw you come here. They are gluttons and drunkards, these dwellers in the Low Countries; we Spaniards, we have enough with two figs for our supper.”

“That is why, then,” replied Ulenspiegel, “you must needs, everywhere in the townsfolks’ houses, have four meals of meats, poultry, creams, wines, and preserves; [269]that ye must have milk to wash the bodies of your mustachos and wine to bathe your horses’ feet?”

On the eighteenth of July, Nele said:

“My feet are wet; what is this?”

“Blood,” said Ulenspiegel.

At night the soldiers came again with their bread for six.

“Where the rope is no longer enough,” said they, “the sword does the work. Three hundred soldiers and twenty-seven burghers who tried to flee out of the town are now walking about the streets of hell with their heads in their hands.”

The next day the blood came again into the cloister; the soldiers came not to bring the bread, but merely to contemplate the prisoners, saying:

“The five hundred Walloons, Englishmen, and Scotsmen that were beheaded yesterday looked better. These are hungry, no doubt, but who then should die of hunger if not the Beggar!”

And indeed, they were like phantoms, all pale, haggard, broken, trembling with cold ague.

On the sixteenth of August, at five in the evening, the soldiers came in laughing and gave them bread, cheese, and beer. Lamme said:

“It is the feast of death.”

At ten o’clock four companies came; the captains had the doors of the cloister opened, ordering the prisoners to march four abreast behind fifes and drums, to the place where they would be told to halt. Certain streets were red, and they marched towards the Gallows Field.

Here and there shallow pools of blood defiled the meadows; there was blood all about the walls. The [270]ravens came in clouds on every hand; the sun hid in a bed of mists; the sky was still clear, and in its depths awoke the shy stars. Suddenly they heard lamentable howlings.

The soldiers said:

“They that are crying there are the Beggars of the Fuycke Fort, without the town; they are being left to die of hunger.”

“We, too,” said Nele, “we are going to die.” And she wept.

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Ah!” said Lamme in Flemish—for the soldiers of the escort understood not that proud speech—“Ah!” said Lamme, “if I could catch that duke of blood and make him eat, until his skin burst, each and all ropes, gallows, torture benches, wooden horses, weights, and boots; if I could make him drink the blood he has shed, if there came out of his torn skin and opened bowels splinters of wood and pieces of iron, and still he did not give up the ghost, I would tear out his heart from his breast and make him eat it raw and poisoned. Then for certain would he fall from life to death into the sulphur pit, where may the devil make him eat it and eat it again without ceasing. And thus through all long eternity.”

“Amen,” said Ulenspiegel and Nele.

“But dost thou see naught?” said she.

“Nay,” said he.

“I see in the west,” she said, “five men and two women seated in a circle. One is clad in purple and wears a crown of gold. He seems the chief over the rest, all ragged and tattered. I see from the east another band of seven coming: one commands them [271]also who is clad in purple, without a crown. And they come against those of the west. And they fight against them in the clouds, but I see nothing more now.”

“The Seven,” said Ulenspiegel.

“I hear,” said Nele, “near by us in the foliage, a voice like a breath of wind saying:

“By war and fire

By pikes and swords


In death and blood

Ruins and tears.


“Others than we shall deliver the land of Flanders,” replied Ulenspiegel. “Night grows black, the soldiers are lighting torches. We are near the Gallows Field. O sweet beloved, why didst thou follow me? Dost thou hear nothing more, Nele?”

“Aye,” said she, “a noise of arms among the corn. And there, above that ridge, surmounting the way in which we are entering, seest thou the red light of the torches gleam upon steel? I see sparks of fire gleaming upon the matches of arquebuses. Are our guardians asleep, or are they blind? Dost thou hear that clap of thunder? Seest thou the Spaniards fall pierced with bullets? Hearest thou ‘Long live the Beggar!’? They climb the path running, musket in hand; they come down with axes all along the slope. Long live the Beggar!”

“Long live the Beggar!” cry Lamme and Ulenspiegel.

“Lo,” said Nele, “here are soldiers that give us arms. Take, Lamme, take, my beloved. Long live the Beggar!” [272]

“Long live the Beggar!” cry the whole troop of prisoners.

“The arquebuses cease not from firing,” said Nele, “they fall like flies, lit up as they are by the light of the torches. Long live the Beggars!”

“Long live the Beggar!” cry the band of rescuers.

“Long live the Beggar!” cry Ulenspiegel and the prisoners. “The Spaniards are in a ring of fire. Kill! kill! There is not one left on his feet. Kill! no pity, war without mercy. And now let us be off and run to Enckhuyse. Who hath the butchers’ clothes of cloth and silk? Who hath their weapons?”

“All! all!” they cry. “Long live the Beggar!”

And indeed, they went off for Enckhuyse by boat, and there the Germans delivered with them remained to guard the town.

And Lamme, Nele, and Ulenspiegel found their ships again. And lo once more they are singing upon the free sea: “Long live the Beggar!”

And they cruise in the roadstead of Flessingue.



There once again was Lamme joyous. He was always ready to go on shore, hunting oxen, sheep, and fowl like hares, stags, and ortolans.

And he was not alone in this nourishing hunting. Good was it then to see the huntsmen return, Lamme at their head, dragging the big beasts by the horns, driving the small cattle before them, directing flocks of geese with long wands, and carrying slung from their boathooks hens, pullets, and capons in spite of their struggling. [273]

Then it was revel and feasting on the ships. And Lamme would say: “The fragrance of the sauces mounts up to the very sky, there delighting their worships the angels, which say: ‘’Tis the best part of the meat’.”

While they were cruising there came a fleet of merchantmen from Lisbon, whose commander knew not that Flessingue had fallen into the hands of the Beggars. It is ordered to cast anchor; it is hemmed round. Long live the Beggar! Drums and fifes sound the signal for boarding; the merchants have guns, pikes, hatchets, arquebuses.

Musket balls and cannon balls rain from the ships of the Beggars. Their musketeers, entrenched round about the main mast in their wooden forts, fire with deadly aim, without any danger. The merchants fall like flies.

“To the rescue!” said Ulenspiegel to Lamme and to Nele, “to the rescue! Here be spices, knicknacks, precious dainties, sugar, nutmegs, cloves, ginger, reals, ducats, moutons d’or all bright and shining. There are more than five hundred thousand pieces in coin. The Spaniard will pay the cost of the war. Drink ho! Let us sing the Beggars’ Mass, which is battle!”

And Ulenspiegel and Lamme rushed everywhere like lions. Nele played the fife, sheltered in the wooden castle. The whole of the fleet was taken.

The dead were counted and these were a thousand on the side of the Spaniards, three hundred on the side of the Beggars: among them was the master cook of the fly boat La Briele.

Ulenspiegel asked to be allowed to speak before [274]Très-Long and the sailors: this Très-Long granted with a good will. And he said to them as follows:

“Master captain and ye comrades, we have but now inherited much spices, and here is Lamme, the good belly, who findeth that the poor dead man there, God have him in joy, was in no wise a doctor great enough in fricassees. Let us name him in the place of the dead. And he will prepare you divine stews and paradisaic soups.”

“We will,” said Très-Long and the others; “Lamme shall be the master cook of the ship. He shall bear the great wooden ladle to skim the froth off his sauces.”

“Messire Captain, comrades and friends,” said Lamme, “ye behold me weeping with joy, for I deserve not so great honour. Nevertheless, since ye deign to call upon my worthlessness, I accept the noble functions of master of arts in fricassees upon the stout fly boat La Briele, but with a humble prayer to you that ye invest me with the supreme command of the kitchen work, in such fashion that your master cook—the which will be myself—may by right law and might be empowered to prevent anyonesoever from coming and eating another’s share.”

Très-Long and the others cried out:

“Long live Lamme! thou shalt have right, law, and might.”

“But,” said he, “I have another prayer to make before you in all humility: I am a fat man, big and strong; deep is my paunch, deep my stomach; my poor wife—may God restore her to me—always gave me two portions instead of one: accord me this same favour.”

Très-Long, Ulenspiegel, and the sailors said: [275]

“Thou shalt have the two portions, Lamme.”

And Lamme, suddenly fallen melancholy, said:

“My wife, my sweet darling! if anything can console me for thy absence, it will be to bring again to mind in my duties thy heavenly cooking in our sweet home.”

“You must take the oath, my son,” said Ulenspiegel. “Let the great wooden ladle and the great copper caldron be brought hither.”

“I swear,” quoth Lamme, “by God, may he be here my helper, I swear fidelity to Monseigneur the Prince of Orange, called the Silent, governing the provinces of Holland and Zealand for the king; fidelity to Messire de Lumey, the admiral commanding our gallant fleet, and to Messire Très-Long, vice-admiral and captain of the good ship La Briele; I swear to dress at my poor best, according to the use and wont of the great cooks of old, which have left behind them noble books with cuts upon the great art of cookery, what flesh and fowl Fortune shall accord to us; I swear to feed the said Messire Très-Long, our captain, his second in command, which is my friend, Ulenspiegel, and all you, master mariner, pilot, boatswain, companions, soldiers, gunners, captain’s page, chirurgeon, trumpeteer, sailors, and all others. If the roast is too underdone, the fowl unbrowned; if the soup sends up an insipid fragrance, inimical to all good digestion; if the steam of the sauces doth not entice you all to rush into the kitchen—always with my good will; if I make you not all sprightly and well favoured, I will resign my noble functions, judging myself unfit longer to occupy the throne of the kitchen. So may God help me in this life and in the next.” [276]

“Long live the master cook,” said they, “the king of the kitchen, the emperor of fricassees. He shall have three portions instead of two on Sundays.”

And Lamme became master cook of the ship La Briele. And while the succulent soups were simmering in the saucepans, he stood at the door of the galley, proudly holding his great wooden ladle like a sceptre.

And he had his treble rations on Sundays.

When the Beggars came to grips with the enemy, he would stay preferably in his sauce laboratory but would come out every now and then to run up on the deck and fire a few rounds. Then he would hurry down again at once to keep an eye to his sauces.

Thus being trusty cook and valiant soldier, he was well beloved of all.

But no one must penetrate the sanctuary of his galley. For then he was even like a devil and with his wooden ladle he smote them pitilessly hip and thigh.

And thenceforth he was called Lamme the Lion.



On the ocean, on the Scheldt, in sunshine, in rain, in snow, in hail, winter and summer, glided the ships of the Beggars to and fro.

All sails out like mantling swans, swans of white freedom.

White for freedom, blue for great heart, orange for the prince, ’tis the standard of the proud ships.

All sails set! all sails set, the stout ships; the billows beat upon them, the waves besprinkle them with foam.

They pass, they run, they fly along the river, their sails in the water, swift as clouds in the north wind, [277]the proud ships of the Beggars. Hear you their prows cleaving the wave? God of freemen! Long live the Beggar!

Hulks, flyboats, boyers, croustèves, swift as a wind big with tempest, like the cloud that bears the thunderbolt. Long live the Beggar!

Boyers and croustèves, flat-bottomed boats, slide along the river. The waters groan as they are cloven through, when the ships go straight on face forwards with the deadly mouth of their long culverin on the point of the bows. Long live the Beggar!

All sail out! all sail out, the gallant ships, the waves toss them, sprinkle them with foam.

Night and day, through rain, hail, and snow, they go on their way! Christ smileth on them in cloud, in sun, in starshine. Long live the Beggar.



The king of blood learned the news of their victories. Death was already gnawing at the murderer and his body was full of worms. He would walk about the corridors of Valladolid, sullen and savage, dragging heavily his swollen feet and leaden legs. He never sang, the cruel tyrant; when the day came, he never laughed, and when the sun lighted up his empire like a smile from God he felt no joy in his heart.

But Ulenspiegel, Lamme, and Nele sang like birds, risking their hide, that is to say Lamme and Ulenspiegel, their white skin, to wit Nele, living from day to day, and finding more joy in one death fire quenched by the Beggars than the dark king had in the burning of a town. [278]

At this time, too, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, broke from his rank as admiral Messire de Lumey de la Marck, by reason of his great cruelties. He appointed Messire Bouwen Ewoutsen Worst in his stead. He took measures also to pay for the grain taken by the Beggars from the peasants, to restore the forced contributions levied upon them, and to grant the Roman Catholics, like all others, the free exercise of their religion, without either persecution or insult.



On the ships of the Beggars, under the dazzling sky, over the shining waves, squealed the fifes; droned bagpipes, gurgled flasks, chimed glasses, and shone the steel of weapons and armour.

“Ho!” said Ulenspiegel, “let us beat the drum of glory, let us beat the drum of joy. Long live the Beggar! Spain is conquered; the ghoul is beaten down. Ours is the sea, Briele is taken. Ours the coast as far as Nieuport, beyond Ostende and Blanckenberghe, the islands of Zealand, the mouths of the Scheldt, the mouths of the Meuse, the Rhine mouths as far as Helder. Ours are Texel, Vlieland, Ter-Schelling, Ameland, Rottum, Borkum. Long live the Beggar!

“Ours are Delft, and Dordrecht. ’Tis a trail of powder. God holdeth the linstock. The murderers abandon Rotterdam. Free conscience, like a lion with teeth and claws of justice, seizes the county of Zutphen, the towns of Deutecom, Doesburg, Goor, Oldenzeel, and on the Welnuire, Hattem, Elburg, and Harderwyck. Long live the Beggar!

“’Tis lightning, ’tis a thunder bolt: Campen, Zwol, [279]Hassel, Sheenwyck fall into our hands with Oudewater, Gouda, Leyden. Long live the Beggar!

“Ours are Bueren, Enckhuyse! Not yet have we Amsterdam, Schoonhoven, or Middelburg. But all cometh in time to patient blades. Long live the Beggar!

“Drink we the wine of Spain. Drink from the chalices whence they drank the blood of the victims. We shall go by way of the Zuyderzee, by rivers, streams, canals; we have North Holland, South Holland, and Zealand; we shall take East and West Frisia; La Briele shall be the refuge for our ships, the nest of the hens that hatch out liberty. Long live the Beggar!

“Hearken in Flanders, our beloved land, how there bursts forth the cry of avenging. Armour is polishing, the swords are a-whetting. All are astir, athrill like the strings of a harp in the warm breeze, the breath souls that cometh from grave pits, from torture fires, from the bleeding corpses of the victims. All, Hainaut, Brabant, Luxembourg, Namur, Liége the free city, all! Blood sprouts and springs up. The harvest is ripe for the sickle. Long live the Beggar.

“Ours the Noord-Zee, the wide North Sea. Ours are good guns, proud ships, the bold band of redoubted seamen: rogues, robbers, soldier-priests, gentlemen, townsfolk, and artisans fleeing persecution. Ours to all of us joined together for the work of freedom! Long live the Beggar!

“Philip, king of blood, where art thou? D’Alba, where art thou? Thou dost cry out and curse and blaspheme, thou with the holy hat, the Holy Father’s gift. Beat the drums of joy. Long live the Beggar! Drink all!

“The wine flows into the golden cups. Drain it [280]with glee. Priestly robes on the backs of rough men are flooded with the red liquor; banners, ecclesiastic and Roman, wave in the wind. Eternal music! To you, fifes squealing, bagpipes droning, drums beating, peals of glory. Long live the Beggar!”



The world was then in the wolf month, which is the month of December. A thin sharp rain was falling like needles upon the sea. The Beggars were cruising in the Zuyderzee. Messire the Admiral summoned by trumpet the captains of houlques and flyboats on board his ship, and with them Ulenspiegel.

“Now,” said the Admiral, addressing himself first of all to Ulenspiegel, “the Prince is minded to recognize thy good devoirs and trusty services, and names thee as captain of the ship La Briele. Herewith I hand thee the commission engrossed upon parchment.”

“All thanks to you, Messire Admiral,” replied Ulenspiegel: “I shall be captain with all my little power, and thus captaining I have great hope, if God help me, to uncaptain Spain from the lands of Flanders and Holland: I mean from the Zuid and the Noord-Neerlande.”

“That is well,” said the admiral. “And now,” he added, speaking to them all, “I will tell you that the folk of Catholic Amsterdam are going to besiege Enckhuyse. They have not yet come out from the Y canal; let us cruise about in front that they may stay inside there and fall on each and all of their ships that may show their tyrannical carcases in the Zuyderzee.”

They made answer: [281]

“We will knock holes in them. Long live the Beggar!”

Ulenspiegel, returned to his ship, called his soldiers and his sailors together on the deck, and told them what the admiral had decided.

They replied:

“We have wings, the which are our sails; skates, which are the keels of our ships; and giant hands, which are the grapples for boarding. Long live the Beggar!”

The fleet set forth and cruised in front of Amsterdam a sea league away, in such a sort that none could enter or come out against their will.

On the fifth day the rain ceased; the wind blew sharper in the clear sky; the Amsterdam folk made no stir.

Suddenly Ulenspiegel saw Lamme come up on deck, driving before him with great blows of his wooden ladle the ship’s truxman, a young man skilful in the French and Flemish tongues, but more skilful still in the science of the teeth.

“Good-for-naught,” said Lamme, beating him, “didst thou deem thou couldst scatheless eat my fricassees before their due time? Go up to the masthead and see if aught budges on the ships of Amsterdam. Doing this thou wilt do well.”

But the truxman answered:

“What will you give me?”

“Dost thou think,” said Lamme, “to be paid without doing the work? Thieves’ spawn, if thou dost not climb, I shall have thee flogged. And thy French shall not save thee.”

“’Tis a beauteous tongue,” said the truxman, “a tongue for love and war.”

And he climbed the mast. [282]

“Well! lazybones?” asked Lamme.

The truxman answered:

“I see naught in the town nor on the ships.” And descending:

“Now pay me,” said he.

“Keep what thou hast stolen,” replied Lamme; “but such gains are no profit; thou wilt doubtless vomit it up.”

The truxman, climbing again to the masthead, cried out suddenly:

“Lamme! Lamme! there is a thief going into the galley.”

“I have the key in my pouch,” rejoined Lamme.

Ulenspiegel then, taking Lamme apart, said to him:

“My son, this great tranquillity of Amsterdam affrights me. They have some hidden project.”

“I thought of that,” said Lamme. “The water is freezing in the jugs in the cupboard; the fowl are like wood; hoar frost whitens the sausages; the butter is a stone, the oil is all white, the salt is dry as sand in the sun.”

“’Tis a frost at hand,” said Ulenspiegel. “They will come in great numbers to attack us with artillery.”

Going on board the admiral’s ship, he told his fear to the admiral, who answered him:

“The wind blows from England: there will be snow, but it will not freeze: go back to your ship.”

And Ulenspiegel went away.

That night heavy snow fell; but soon, the wind blowing out of Norway, the sea froze and was like a floor. The admiral beheld the sight.

Then fearing lest the Amsterdam folk might come over the ice to burn the ships, he bade the soldiers [283]make ready their skates, in case they might have to fight around and away from the ships, and the gunners of the iron guns and the brass to pile up heaps of cannon-balls by the gun carriages, to load the pieces, and to keep the portfires always well lighted.

But the Amsterdam folk never came.

And so it was for seven days.

Towards evening on the eighth day Ulenspiegel gave orders that a good feast should be served to the sailors and men at arms, to make them a cuirass against the sharp wind that was blowing.

But Lamme said:

“There is nothing at all left now but biscuit and small beer.”

“Long live the Beggar!” said they. “’Twill be Lenten revelry until the hour of battle.”

“Which will not strike soon,” said Lamme. “The Amsterdammers will come to burn us our ships, but not on this night. First they must needs assemble themselves together around fires, and there drink many a measure of wine mulled with Madeira sugar—may God give us thereof—then having talked till midnight with patience, logic, and full stoups, they will decide that there are grounds for coming to a decision to-morrow as to whether they shall attack or not attack next week. To-morrow, again drinking wine mulled with Madeira sugar—may God give you thereof—they will decide anew with calm, patience, and full stoups, that they must assemble together another day, to the end that they may know if the ice can or cannot bear a great band of men. And they will have it proved and essayed by men of learning, who will lay down their conclusions upon parchment. Having [284]received which, they will know that the ice is half an ell in thickness, and that it is solid enough to bear some hundreds of men with field guns and artillery. Then assembling themselves together once more to deliberate with calm, patience, and many stoups of mulled wine, they will debate whether, by reason of the treasure seized by us from the men of Lisbon, it is more suitable to assault or to burn our ships. And being thus perplexed, but temporizers, they will none the less decide that they must capture and not burn our ships, notwithstanding the great wrong and hurt they would do us by that.”

“You say well,” replied Ulenspiegel; “but see you not those fires kindle up within the town, and folk bearing lanterns running busily about there?”

“’Tis because they are cold,” said Lamme.

And he added, sighing:

“Everything is eaten. No more beef, pork, nor poultry; no more wine, alas! nor good dobbel-bier, nothing but biscuit and small beer. Let who loves me follow me!”

“Whither goest thou?” said Ulenspiegel. “No man may go from the ship.”

“My son,” said Lamme, “thou art captain and master as now. I will never go from the ship if thou dost forbid it. Yet deign to consider that we ate the last of our sausage on the day before yesterday: and that in this stern weather the fire of the kitchen is the sun of good companions. Who would not fain smell here the odour of sauces; sniff up the fragrant bouquet of the divine drink made of those joyous blossoms that are gaiety, laughter, and good will to every man? And so, captain and trusty friend, I dare say this: I devour [285]my very soul, since I eat naught, I who, though loving but repose, never slaying by my will, save it were a tender goose, a fat chicken, a succulent turkey, follow thee amid fatigue and battles. See from here the lights in that rich farm well furnished of big and little cattle. Knowest thou who it is that dwelleth there? It is the boatman of Frisia, that betrayed Messire Dandelot and furthermore brought to Enckhuyse, while it was still in D’Alba’s hand, eighteen poor lords our friends, the which, of his doing, were beheaded on the Horse Market at Brussels. This traitor, who hath to name Slosse, got from the duke two thousand florins for his treachery. With the price of that blood, a very Judas, he purchased the farm thou seest there, and his great cattle and the fields around about, which bearing fruit and increasing, I mean land and herds, make him rich as now.”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“The ashes beat upon my heart. Thou makest the hour of God to strike.”

“And,” said Lamme, “the hour of food in like wise. Give me twenty lads, valiant soldiers and sailors; I will go and seek out the traitor.”

“I will be their leader,” said Ulenspiegel. “Who loves justice let him follow me. Not all of you, dear friends and trusty; there must be twenty only, else who would keep the ship? Draw lots by the dice. Ye are twenty, come. The dice speak well. Put your skates on your feet and glide towards the star of Venus burning bright above the treachour’s farm.

“Guiding yourselves by the clear beam, come, ye twenty, skating and sliding, axe on shoulder. [286]

“The wind whistles and drives white whirls of snow before it on the ice. Come, brave men!

“Ye sing not, nor speak; ye go straight on, in silence, towards the star; your skates make the ice complain.

“He that falls picks himself up at once. We touch the shore; no human shape on the white snow, not a bird in the icy air. Take off the skates from your feet.

“Here we are on land; here are the meadows; put on your skates again. We are round about the farm, holding our breath.”

Ulenspiegel knocks on the door; dogs bark. He knocks again, a window opens and the baes says, sticking out his head:

“Who art thou?”

He sees but Ulenspiegel only: the others are concealed behind the keet, which is the washhouse.

Ulenspiegel makes answer:

“Messire de Boussu bids thee betake thee to him at Amsterdam upon the instant.”

“Where is thy safe-conduct?” said the man, coming down and opening the door to him.

“Here,” replied Ulenspiegel, showing him the twenty Beggars who hurl themselves behind him into the opening.

Ulenspiegel then says to him:

“Thou art Slosse, the traitor boatman that brought into an ambuscade Messires Dandelot, de Battenberg, and other lords. Where is the price of their blood?”

The farmer replies, trembling:

“Ye are the Beggars; grant me a pardon; I knew not what I did. I have no money here within; I will give all I have.” [287]

Lamme said:

“It is black dark; give us candles of tallow or of wax.”

The baes replies:

“The tallow candles are hanging there.”

A candle being lit, said one of the Beggars, in the hearthplace:

“It is cold; let us kindle a fire. Here are proper faggots.”

And he pointed out upon a shelf flower pots in which withered and dried plants might be seen.

He took one by the stalk and shaking it with the pot, the pot fell, scattering over the ground ducats, florins, and reals.

“There is the treasure,” said he, pointing to the other flower pots.

In very deed, having emptied them, they found ten thousand florins.

Seeing which, the baes cried out and wept.

The farm servants, both men and maids, came to the cries, in shirts and smocks. The men wishing to avenge their master, were bound. Soon the shamefaced women, and especially the younger, hid behind the men.

Then Lamme went forward and said:

“Traitor farmer, where are the keys of the cellar, the stables, the cowshed, and the sheep-pens?”

“Infamous pillagers,” said the baes, “ye shall be hanged until ye are dead.”

Ulenspiegel replied:

“It is the hour of God; give up the keys!”

“God will avenge me,” said the baes, handing them over to him. [288]

Having emptied the farm, the Beggars departed skating towards the ships, those light dwelling places of freedom.

“Master cook am I,” said Lamme, guiding them; “Master cook am I. Push along the gallant sledges laden with wines and beer; drive on before you, by their horns, or by anything, horses, oxen, swine, sheep, and flocks singing their native songs. The pigeons coo in the baskets; the capons, stuffed with crumb, are astonied in their wooden cages wherein they cannot budge. I am master cook. The ice cries out beneath the steel of the skates. We are at the ships. To-morrow there will be kitchen music. Let down the pulleys; put girths on the horses, cows, and oxen. ’Tis a noble sight to see them thus pendent by their bellies; to-morrow we shall be hanging by the tongue to fat fricassees. The crane hoists them up into the ship. These be carbonadoes. Throw me them pell mell into the hold, hens, geese, ducks, capons. Who will wring their necks? The master cook. The door is locked, I have the key in my satchel. Praised be God in the kitchen! Long live the Beggar!”

Then Ulenspiegel went on board the admiral’s ship taking with him Dierick Slosse and the other prisoners, moaning and weeping for terror of the rope.

Messire Worst came at the noise: perceiving Ulenspiegel—his companions lit up by the red glare of the torches:

“What would you of us?” said he.

Ulenspiegel replied:

“This night we took, in his farm, the traitor Dierick Slosse, that brought the eighteen into an ambuscade. This is the man. The others are innocent menservants [289]and maidservants. Then handing him a satchel:

“These florins,” said he, “were flourishing in flower pots in the traitor’s house: there are ten thousand.”

Messire Worst said to them:

“Ye did ill to leave your ship; but because of your good success pardon shall be granted to you. Welcome be the prisoners and the satchel of florins, and ye, gallant men, to whom I assign, after the laws and customs of the sea, a third of the prize: the second will be for the fleet, and another third for Monseigneur d’Orange; string me up the traitor incontinent.”

The Beggars having obeyed, they opened afterward a hole in the ice and threw the body of Dierick Slosse into it.

Messire Worst then said:

“Has grass sprung up around the ships that I hear hens cackling, sheep bleating, cows and oxen lowing?”

“These are the prisoners of our teeth,” answered Ulenspiegel; “they will pay ransom of fricassees. Messire Admiral shall have the choicest.”

“As for these folk, the knaves and the maidservants, among whom are sprightly and pretty women, I will fetch them back aboard my ship.”

Having done so, he addressed them as follows:

“Goodfellows and goodwives, ye are here upon the best ship in the world. Here we pass our time in jollity, feast, and revel without end. If it please you to depart herefrom, pay ransom; if it please you to stay here, ye shall live like us, toiling hard and eating well. As for these dear women, I accord them, with the admiral’s sanction, full freedom of their persons, giving them to know that it is all one to me whether they are fain to keep to their lovers that came upon the ship with [290]them or to make their choice of some stout Beggar here present in order to bear him conjugal company.”

But the fair women were all faithful to their lovers, save only one, who, smiling and looking upon Lamme, asked him if he would have her.

“All thanks, dear one,” said he, “but I am otherwise bound.”

“He is married, poor fellow,” said the Beggars, seeing the girl vexed.

But she, turning her back on Lamme, chose another who like him had a good round belly and a good round face.

That day and the following days there were great revels and feastings on board with wines, fowl, and meats. And Ulenspiegel said:

“Long live the Beggar! Blow, sharp wintry winds, we will warm the air with our hot breath. Our heart is afire for freedom of conscience; our stomachs on fire for the enemy’s meats. Drink we wine, the milk of men. Long live the Beggar!”

Nele, too, drank from a great golden tankard, and ruddy in the breath of the wind, played the shrill fife. And for all the cold, the Beggars ate and drank rejoicing on the deck.



Suddenly the whole fleet perceived upon the bank a black troop among which torches shone and the gleaming of arms; then the torches were put out, and a great darkness reigned.

The admiral’s orders being sent round, the alarm was given on the ships, and all fires were quenched; [291]sailors and soldiers lay flat on the decks, armed with axes. The gallant gunners, linstock in hand, watched by the guns loaded with bags of bullets and with chain shot. As soon as the admiral and the captains should call out “A hundred paces!”—which denoted the enemy’s distance, they were to fire from the bows, the poop, or the broadside, according to their position in the ice.

And Messire Worst’s voice was heard saying:

“Death to whoever speaks aloud!”

And the captains said after him:

“Death to whoever speaks aloud!”

The night was moonless, filled with stars.

“Dost thou hear?” said Ulenspiegel to Lamme, in a voice like a whispering ghost. “Hearest thou the voices of the Amsterdammers, and the steel of their skates ringing over the ice? They come swiftly. We can hear them speak. They are saying ‘The lazy Beggars are asleep. Ours is the Lisbon treasure!’ They are lighting torches. Seest thou their ladders for the assault, their ugly faces, and the long line of their band deployed for the attack? There are a thousand of them, and more.”

“A hundred paces!” cried Messire Worst.

“A hundred paces!” cried the captains all.

And there was a great noise like thunder, and lamentable outcries upon the ice.

“Eighty guns are thundering all together!” said Ulenspiegel. “They are fleeing! Seest thou the torches vanishing away?”

“Pursue them!” said Admiral Worst.

“Pursue them!” said the captains.

But the pursuit did not last long, the fugitives having [292]a start of a hundred paces, and the legs of frightened hares.

And on the men that were crying out and dying on the ice were found gold, jewels, and ropes for the Beggars.

And after this victory the Beggars said one to another: “Als God met ons is, wie tegen ons zal zijn. If God is with us, who shall be against us? Long live the Beggar!”

Now on the morning of the third day thereafter Messire Worst was uneasy, and looked for a fresh attack. Lamme leaped upon the deck and said to Ulenspiegel:

“Fetch me to this admiral that would not listen to you when you prophesied a frost.”

“Go without any fetching you?” said Ulenspiegel.

Lamme departed, first locking the door of his galley. The admiral was on deck, straining his eyes to see if he did not perceive some movement from the city.

Lamme came up to him.

“Monseigneur Admiral,” said he, “may a humble master cook give you a rede?”

“Speak, my son,” said the admiral.

“Monseigneur,” said Lamme, “the water is thawing in the jugs; the fowl grow soft again; the sausage is laying aside its mildew of hoar frost; the butter becomes unctuous, the oil liquid; the salt is weeping. It will rain before long, and we shall be saved, Monseigneur.”

“Who art thou?” asked Messire Worst.

“I am Lamme Goedzak,” he replied, “the master cook of the ship La Briele. And if all those great savants that boast themselves astronomers read in the stars as true as I read in my sauces, they could tell us [293]that to-night there will be a thaw with a great hubbub of storm and hail: but the thaw will not last.”

And Lamme went back to Ulenspiegel, to whom he said, towards noon:

“I am a prophet already; the sky grows black, the wind breathes stormily: a warm rain is falling; already there is a foot of water upon the ice.”

At night he cried, rejoicing:

“The North Sea is swollen: ’tis the hour of the flood tide; the high waves rolling into the Zuyderzee break up the ice, which splinters in great fragments and leaps up on the ships; it flashes sparkles of light; here comes the hail. The admiral bids us to withdraw from before Amsterdam, and that with as much water as our greatest ship can draw. Here we are in the harbour of Enckhuyse. The sea is freezing afresh. I am a fine prophet, and it is a miracle from God.”

And Ulenspiegel said:

“Drink we to Him, and blessings on Him.”

And the winter passed, and summer came.



In mid-August, when hens, fed full with grain, remain deaf to the call of the cock trumpeting his loves, Ulenspiegel said to his sailors and soldiers:

“The duke of blood, being at Utrecht, dares there to issue a blessed edict, promising among other gracious gifts, hunger, death, ruin to the inhabitants of the Low Countries who might be unwilling to submit. Everything that still remains whole, saith he, shall be exterminate, and His Majesty the king will people the country with strangers. Bite, duke, bite! The file [294]breaketh the viper’s tooth; we are files. Long live the Beggar!

“Alba, blood maketh thee drunk! Deemest thou that we would fear thy threats or believe in thy clemency? Thy famous regiments whose praises thou didst sing throughout the whole world, thy Invincibles, thy Tels Quels, thy Immortals, remained seven months bombarding Haarlem, a feeble city defended by mere citizens; like mortal common men they danced in air the dance of the bursting mines. Mere citizens besmeared them with tar; in the end they were glorious victors, slaughtering the disarmed. Hearest thou, murderer, the hour of God that striketh now?

“Haarlem hath lost her splendid defenders, her stones sweat blood. She hath lost and expended in her siege twelve hundred and eighty thousand florins. The bishop is reinstated there; with light hand and joyful countenance he blesses the churches; Don Frederick is present at these consecrations; the bishop washes for him those hands that in God’s eyes are red and he communicates in two kinds, which is not permitted to the poor common herd. And the bells ring out and the chime flings into the air its calm, harmonious notes; it is like the singing of angels over a cemetery. An eye for an eye! A tooth for a tooth! Long live the Beggar!”



The Beggars were then at Flushing, where Nele caught fever. Forced to leave the ship, she was lodged at the house of one Peeters, of the Reformed faith, at Turven-Key.

Ulenspiegel, deeply grieving, was yet rejoiced, thinking [295]that in this bed where she would doubtless be healed the Spanish bullets could not reach her.

And with Lamme he was always beside her, tending her well and loving her better. And there they used to talk together.

“Friend and true comrade,” said Ulenspiegel one day, “dost thou not know the news?”

“Nay, my son,” said Lamme.

“Seest thou the flyboat that but late came to join our fleet, and knowest thou who it is upon it that twangs the viol every day?”

“Through the late colds,” said Lamme, “I am as one deaf in both ears. Why dost thou laugh, my son?”

But Ulenspiegel, continuing:

“Once,” he said, “I heard her sing a Flemish lied and found her voice was sweet.”

“Alas,” said Lamme, “she, too, sang and played upon the viol.”

“Dost thou know the other news?” went on Ulenspiegel.

“I know naught of it, my son,” said Lamme.

Ulenspiegel made answer:

“We have our orders to drop down the Scheldt with our ships as far as Antwerp, to find there the enemy ships to take or burn. As for the men, no quarter. What thinkest thou of this, big paunch?”

“Alas!” said Lamme, “shall we never hear aught else in this distressful land save burnings, hangings, drownings, and other ways of exterminating poor men? When then will blessed peace come, that we can in quiet roast partridges, fricassee chickens, and make the puddings sing in the pan among the eggs? I like the black ones best; the white are too rich.” [296]

“This sweet time will come,” replied Ulenspiegel, “when in the orchards of Flanders we see on apple, plum, pear trees and cherry trees, a Spaniard hanged on every bough.”

“Ah!” said Lamme, “if only I could find my wife again, my so dear, so sweet, beloved soft darling faithful wife! For know it well, my son, cuckold I was not nor shall ever be; she was too sober and calm in her ways for that; she eschewed the company of other men; if she loved fair and fine array, it was but for woman’s need. I was her cook, her kitchenman, her scullion, I am glad to say it, why am I it not once more? but I was her master as well and her husband.”

“Let us end this talk,” said Ulenspiegel. “Hearest thou the admiral calling: ‘Up anchors!’ and captains after him calling the same? We must needs weigh soon.”

“Why dost thou go so quickly?” said Nele to Ulenspiegel.

“We are going to the ships,” said he.

“Without me?” she said.

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Dost thou not think,” said she, “how lying here I shall be distressed for thee?”

“Dearest,” said Ulenspiegel, “my skin is made of iron.”

“Thou art mocking,” said she. “I see nothing on thee but thy doublet, which is cloth, not iron; beneath it is thy body, made of bone and flesh, like my own. If they wound thee, who will heal thee? Art thou to die all alone in the midst of the fighters? I shall go with thee.”

“Alas!” said he, “if the lances, balls, swords, axes, [297]maces, sparing me, fall on thy dear body, what shall I do—I, good for naught without thee in this vile world?”

But Nele said:

“I would fain follow thee; there will be no peril; I will hide in the wooden forts where the arquebusiers are.”

“If thou dost go, I stay, and they will hold thy friend Ulenspiegel traitor and coward; but listen to my lay:

“My hair is steel, as casque set there;

An armour forged by Nature’s hand

My skin the first is buff well tanned,

And steel the second skin I wear.

“In vain to catch me in his snare

Death, grinning monster, takes his stand;

My skin the first is buff well tanned,

And steel the second skin I wear.

“My standards ‘Live’ as motto bear,

Live ever in a sunshine land:

My skin the first is buff well tanned,

And steel the second skin I wear.”

And he went off singing, not without having kissed the shaking mouth and the lovely eyes of Nele sunk in fever, smiling and weeping all together.

The Beggars are at Antwerp; they take the ships of Alba even in the very harbour. Entering the city, in broad day, they set free certain prisoners, and make others prisoner to bring ransom. By force they make the citizens rise, and some they constrain to follow them, on pain of death, without uttering a word.

Ulenspiegel said to Lamme: [298]

“The admiral’s son is detained at the Écoutête’s: we must deliver him.”

Going into the house of the Écoutête, they see the son they sought in the company of a big monk with a noble belly, who was preaching wrathfully to him, fain to make him return to the bosom of our Mother Holy Church. But the lad would by no means consent thereto. He departed with Ulenspiegel. Meanwhile Lamme, seizing the monk by the cowl, made him walk before him in the streets of Antwerp, saying:

“Thou art worth a hundred florins ransom: pack up and march on. Why dost thou hang back? Hast thou lead in thy sandals? March, bag of lard, victual press, soup belly!”

“I march, Master Beggar, I march; but saving the respect due to your arquebuse, you are as big in the belly as myself, a paunchy, vasty fellow.”

Then Lamme, pushing him on:

“Dost thou dare indeed, foul monk,” said he, “to liken thy cloistral, useless, lazy grease to my Fleming fat honourably sustained and fed by toils, fatigues, and battles? Run, or I shall make thee go like a dog, and that with the spur at the end of my boot-sole.”

But the monk could not run, and he was all out of breath, and Lamme the same. And so they came to the ship.



Having taken Rammekens, Gertruydenberg, Alckmaer, the Beggars came back to Flushing.

Nele, now hale and cured, was waiting for Ulenspiegel at the harbour. [299]

“Thyl,” said she, “my love, Thyl, art thou not wounded?”

Ulenspiegel sang:

“My standards ‘Live’ as motto bear,

Live ever in a sunshine land;

My skin the first is buff well tanned

My second skin is forged of steel.”

“Alas!” said Lamme, dragging a leg, “the bullets, grenades, chain shot rain around him; he feels but the wind of them. Thou art without doubt a spirit, Ulenspiegel, and thou, too, Nele, for I behold thee ever brisk and young.”

“Why dost thou drag thy leg?” asked Nele of Lamme.

“I am no spirit and never will be,” said he. “And so I took an axe stroke in the thigh—how round and white my wife’s was!—see, I am bleeding. Alas! why have I her not here to tend me!”

But Nele, angry, replied:

“What need hast thou of a wife forsworn?”

“Say naught ill of her,” replied Lamme.

“Here,” said Nele, “here is balsam; I was keeping it for Ulenspiegel; put it upon the wound.”

Lamme, having dressed his wound, was joyous, for the balsam put an end to the keen anguish; and they went up again to the ship all three.

Seeing the monk who was walking to and fro there with his hands bound:

“Who is that one?” she said. “I have seen him already and I think I know him.” [300]

“He is worth a hundred florins ransom,” replied Lamme.



That day aboard the fleet there was a feast. In spite of the sharp December wind, despite the rain, despite the snow, all the Beggars of the fleet were on the decks of the ships. The silver crescents gleamed lurid upon the bonnets of Zealand.

And Ulenspiegel sang:

“Leyden is delivered: the bloody duke leaves the Low Countries:

Ring out, ye bells reëchoing: Chimes, fling your songs into the air: Clink, ye glasses and bottles, clink.

“When the mastiff slinks away from blows,

His tail between his legs,

With bloodshot eye

He turns upon the cudgels.

“And his torn jaw

Shivers and pants

He has gone, the bloody duke;

Clink bottle and glass. Long live the Beggar!

“Fain would he bite himself,

The cudgels broke his teeth.

Hanging his puff-jowled head

He thinks of the days of murder and lust.

He is gone, the bloody duke:

Then beat upon the drum of glory,

Then beat upon the drum of war!

Long live the Beggar!


“He cries to the devil: ‘I will sell thee

My doggish soul for one hour of might.’

‘Thy soul it is no more to me,’

Said the devil, ‘than a herring is.’

The teeth meet no longer now.

They must avoid hard morsels.

He hath gone, the bloody duke:

Long live the Beggar!

“The little street dogs, crooklegged, one-eyed, full of mange,

That live or die on rubbish heaps.

Heave up their leg one by one

On him that killed for love of slaughter.—

Long live the Beggar.

“He loved not women, nor friends,

Nor gayness, nor sun, nor his master,

Nothing but Death, his betrothed,

Who broke his legs

As prelude to the betrothal,

For she loves not men hale and whole;

Beat upon the drum of joy,

Long live the Beggar!

“And the little street dogs, crooklegged,

Limping, one-eyed, full of mange,

Heave their leg up once again

In a hot and salty fashion.

And with them greyhounds and mastiffs,

Dogs of Hungary, of Brabant,

Of Namur and Luxembourg,

Long live the Beggar!

“And, miserably, with foaming mouth,

He goes to die beside his master,

Who fetches him a sounding kick,

For not biting enough. [302]

“In hell he weddeth Death.

She calleth him ‘My Duke’;

He calleth her ‘My Inquisition.’

Long live the Beggar!

“Ring out ye bells reëchoing:

Chimes, fling your songs into the air;

Clink, glasses and bottles, clink:

Long live the Beggar!”


Book V



The monk that Lamme captured, perceiving that the Beggars did not desire to have him dead, but paying ransom, began to lift up his nose on board the ship:

“See,” quoth he, marching and wagging his head furiously, “see in what a gulf of vile, black, and foul abominations I have fallen in setting foot on this wooden tub. Were I not here, I whom the Lord anointed....”

“With dog’s grease?” asked the Beggars.

“Dogs yourselves,” replied the monk, continuing his discourse, “aye, mangy dogs, strays, defiled, starveling, that have fled out of the rich pathway of our Mother the Holy Roman Church to enter upon the parched highway of your tattered Reformed Church. Aye! if I were not here in your wooden shoe, your tub, long since would the Lord have swallowed it up in the deepest gulfs of the sea, with you, your accursed arms, your devils’ cannon, your singing captain, your blasphemous crescents, aye! down to the very deeps of the unfathomable bottom of Satan’s kingdom, where ye will not burn, nay, but where ye shall freeze, shall shiver, shall die of cold throughout all long eternity. Yea! the God of heaven will thus quench the fire of your impious hate against our sweet Mother the Holy Roman Church, against messieurs the saints, messeigneurs [306]the bishops and the blessed edicts that were so mildly and so ripely devised. Aye! and I should see you from the peak of paradise, purple as beetroots or white as turnips so cold ye should be. ’T sy! ’t sy! ’t sy! So, so, so, so be it.”

The sailors, soldiers, and cabin boys jeered at him, and shot dried peas at him through peashooters. And he covered his face with his hands against this artillery.



The duke of blood having quitted the country, Messires de Medina-Coeli and De Requesens governed it with less cruelty. Then the States General ruled them in the name of the king.

Meanwhile, the folk of Zealand and of Holland, most lucky by reason of the sea and their dykes, which are natural ramparts and fortresses to them, opened free temples to the God of free men; and the murderous Papists might sing their hymns beside them; and Monseigneur the Silent of Orange refrained from founding a royal dynasty of stadtholders.

The Belgian country was ravaged by the Walloons who were dissatisfied by the peace of Ghent, which, men said, was to quench all hatreds. And these Walloons, Pater-noster knechter, wearing upon their necks big black rosaries, of which there were found two thousand at Spienne in Hainaut, stealing oxen and horses by twelve hundred, two thousand at a time, choosing out the best, carrying off women and girls by field and by marsh; eating and never paying, these Walloons used to burn within their farmsteads the [307]armed peasants that tried to prevent the fruit of their hard toil from being carried away.

And the common folk would say to one another: “Don Juan is soon to come with his Spaniards, and his Great Highness will come with his Frenchmen, not Huguenots but Papists: and the Silent, desiring to rule in peace over Holland, Zealand, Gueldre, Utrecht, Overyssel, cedes in a secret treaty the lands of Belgium, for Monsieur d’Anjou to make himself a king therein.”

Some of the commonalty were still confident. “The States,” said they, “have twenty thousand well-armed men, with plenty of cannon and good cavalry. They will repel all foreign soldiery.”

But the thoughtful ones said: “The States have twenty thousand men on paper, but not in the field; they lack cavalry and let their horses be stolen within a league of their camps by the Pater-noster knechten. They have no artillery, for while needing it at home, they decided to send one hundred cannon with powder and shot to Don Sebastian of Portugal; and no man knoweth whither has gone the two million crowns we have paid on four occasions by way of taxes and contributions; the citizens of Ghent and Brussels are arming, Ghent for the Reformation, and Brussels even as Ghent; at Brussels the women play the tambourine while their men toil at the ramparts. And Ghent the Bold is sending to Brussels the Gay powder and cannon, the which she lacketh for her defence against the Malcontents and the Spaniards.”

And man by man in the towns and the flat country, in ’t plat landt, sees that trust cannot be placed either in the lords or in many another. “And we citizens and common folk are sore at heart for that giving our money [308]and ready to give our blood, we see that nothing goes forward for the good of the country of our sires. And the Belgian land is cowed and angered, having no trusty chiefs to give it the chance of battle and to give it victory, through great effort of arms all ready against the foes of liberty.”

And the thoughtful folk said among themselves:

“In the Peace of Ghent, the lords of Holland and of Belgium swore the abolishment of hate, mutual help between the Belgian Estates and the Estates of the Netherlands; declared the edicts null and void, the confiscations cancelled, peace between the two religions; promised to raze each and every column, trophy, inscription, and effigy set up by the Duke of Alba to our dishonour. But in the hearts of the chiefs the hatreds are still afoot; the nobles and the clergy foment division between the States of the Union; they receive money to pay soldiers, they keep it for their own gluttony; fifteen thousand law suits for the recovery of confiscated property are suspended; the Lutherans and Romans unite against the Calvinists; lawful heirs cannot succeed in driving the despoilers from out their inheritance; the duke’s statue is on the ground, but the image of the Inquisition is enshrined within their hearts.”

And the poor commonalty and the woeful burgesses waited ever for the valiant and trusty chief that would lead them to battle for freedom.

And they said among themselves: “Where are the illustrious signatories to the Compromise, all united, so they said, for the good of the country? Why did these two-faced men make such a ‘holy alliance,’ if they were to break it at once? Why meet together with so much commotion, rouse the king’s wrath, to [309]dissolve like cowards and traitors after? Five hundred as they were, great lords and low lords banded like brothers, they saved us from the fury of Spain; but they sacrificed the welfare of the land of Belgium to their own profit, even as did d’Egmont and de Hoorn.

“Alas!” said they, “see Don Juan come now, handsome and ambitious, the enemy of Philip, but more the enemy of his country. He is coming for the Pope and for himself. Nobles and clergy are traitors.”

And they began a semblance of war. Upon the walls along the main streets and the little streets of Ghent and Brussels, nay even upon the masts of the Beggars’ ships, were then to be seen posted up the names of traitors, army chiefs, and commanders of fortresses: the names of the Count of Liederkerke, who did not defend his castle against Don Juan; of the provost of Liége, who would have sold the city to Don Juan; of Messieurs d’Aerschot, de Mansfeldt, de Berlaymont, de Rassenghien; the name, of the Council of State, of Georges de Lalaing, governor of Frisia, that of the army leader the seigneur de Rossignol, an emissary of Don Juan, the go-between for murder between Philip and Jaureguy, the clumsy assassin of the Prince of Orange; the name of the Archbishop of Cambrai, who would have given the Spaniards entry into the town; the names of the Jesuits of Antwerp, offering three casks of gold to the States—that was two million florins—not to demolish the castle and to hold it for Don Juan; of the Bishop of Liége; of Roman preachers defaming and abusing the patriots; of the Bishop of Utrecht, whom the citizens sent elsewhere to pasture on the grass of treachery; the orders of begging friars, which intrigued and plotted at Ghent in favour of Don [310]Juan. The folk of Bois-le-Duc nailed on the pillory the name of Peter the Carmelite, who helped by their bishop and his clergy, undertook to hand over the town to Don Juan.

At Douai they did not indeed hang the rector of the university in effigy, a man no less Spaniardized; but upon the ships of the Beggars were seen on the breast of mannikins hanging by their necks the names of monks, abbots, and prelates, of eighteen hundred rich women and girls of the nunnery of Malines who with their money sustained, gilded, and beplumed the country’s butchers.

And on these mannikins, the pillories of traitors, were to be read the names of the Marquis d’Harrault, the commander of the fortress of Philippeville, wasting and squandering munitions of war and food uselessly in order to give up the place to the enemy under pretence of a lack of provisions; the name of Belver, who surrendered Lembourg, when the town might have held out another eight months; that of the President of the Council of Flanders; of the magistrate of Bruges, of the magistrate of Malines, holding their towns for Don Juan, of the members of the Exchequer Council of Guelderland, closed by reason of treachery; of those of the Council of Brabant, of the Chancellery of the Duchy; of the Privy Council and the Council of Finance; of the Grand Bailiff and the Burgomaster of Menin; and of the ill neighbours of Artois, who gave passage without let to two thousand Frenchmen bent upon pillage.

“Alas!” said the city folk among themselves, “here is the Duke of Anjou with a footing in our country: he would fain be king among us; did ye behold him [311]entering into Mons, a little man, with fat hips, big nose, a yellow phiz, a fleering mouth? ’Tis a great prince, loving loves out of the common; he is called, that he may have in his name woman’s grace and man’s force, Monseigneur monsieur Sa Grande Altesse d’Anjou.”

Ulenspiegel was pensive. And he sang:

“Blue are the skies, the clear bright skies;

Cover the banners all in crêpe,

With crêpe the handle of the sword;

Hide every gem;

Turn the mirrors over;

I sing the song of Death,

The traitors’ song.

“They have set foot upon the belly

And on the bosom of the proud lands

Of Brabant, Flanders, Hainault,

Antwerp, Artois, Luxembourg.

Nobles and clergy are traitors;

The bait of reward allures them.

I sing the traitors’ song.

“When the foe sacks everywhere,

When the Spaniard enters Antwerp,

Abbés, prelates, and army chiefs

Go through the streets of the town,

Clad in silk, bedecked with gold,

Their faces shining with good wine,

Displaying thus their infamy.

“And through them, the Inquisition

Will wake again in high triumph,

And new Titelmans

Will arrest the deaf and dumb

For heresy.

I sing the traitors’ song.


“Signatories to the Compromise.

Coward signatories,

Be your names all accursed!

Where are ye in the hour of war?

Ye march like corbies

In the Spaniards’ train.

Beat upon the drum of woe.

“Land of Belgium, future years

Will condemn thee for that thou,

All in arms, didst let thyself be pillaged.

Future, hasten not;

See the traitors labouring:

There are twenty, a thousand,

Filling every post,

The great give them to the little.

“They have plotted and agreed

That they might fetter all defence,

With discord and sloth,

Their treacherous devices.

Cover the mirrors with crêpe

And the hilts of the swords.

’Tis the traitors’ song.

“They declare rebels

All Spaniards and malcontents;

Forbid to help them

With bread or shelter,

With lead or powder.

If any are taken to be hanged,

To be hanged,

They release them at once.

“‘Up!’ say the men of Brussels,

‘Up!’ say the men of Ghent

And the Belgian commons, [313]

Poor men, they mean to crush you

Between the king

And the Pope who launches

The crusade against Flanders.

“They come, the hirelings,

At the smell of blood;

Bands of dogs,

Of serpents and hyænas.

They hunger, they are athirst.

Poor land of our sires,

Ripe for ruin and death.

“’Tis not Don Juan

That makes ready the task

For Farnèse, the Pope’s minion.

But those thou didst load

With gold and distinctions,

Who confessed thy women

Thy girls and thy children!

“They have flung thee to ground

And the Spaniard holds

The knife at thy throat;

They jeer at thee,

Feasting at Brussels

The coming of Orange.

“When on the canal were seen

So many fireworks

Exploding their joy,

So many triumphing boats,

Paintings, tapestries,

They were playing, O Belgium,

The old tale of Joseph

Sold by his brothers.”




Seeing that he was allowed to say what he pleased, the monk lifted up his nose on board the ship; and the sailors and soldiers, to make him the more ready and eager to preach, slandered Madame the Virgin, Messieurs the Saints, and the pious practices of the Holy Roman Church.

Then, becoming enraged, he vomited out a flood of abuse against them.

“Aye!” he cried, “aye, here am I then in the den of the Beggars! Yea, these are indeed those accursed devourers of the land! Yea. And they say that the Inquisitor, that holy man, has burned too many of them! Nay: there is still some of the filthy vermin left. Aye, on these goodly and gallant ships of our Lord the King, once so clean and well scoured, now can be seen the vermin of the Beggars, aye, the stinking vermin. Aye, they are vermin, foul, stinking, infamous vermin, the singing captain, the cook with his belly filled with impiety, and all of them with their blasphemous crescents. When the king will have his ships scoured with the suds of artillery, it will need more than a hundred thousand florins’ worth of powder and cannon shot to clear away this filthy, beastly stinking infection. Aye, ye were all born in Madame Lucifer’s alcove, condemned to dwell with Satanas between walls of vermin, under curtains of vermin, on mattresses of vermin. Yea, and there it was that in their infamous loves they begat and conceived the Beggars. Aye, and I spit upon you.”

At this word the Beggars said to him:

“Why do we keep here this idle rascal, who is good [315]for nothing but to spew up insults? Let us hang him rather.”

And they set about doing it.

The monk, seeing the rope ready, the ladder propped against the mast, and that they were about to bind his hands, said woefully:

“Have pity upon me, Messieurs the Beggars, it is the demon of anger that speaks in my heart and not your humble captive, a poor monk that hath but one only neck in this world: gracious lords, have mercy: shut my mouth if ye will with a choke-pear; ’tis a bitter fruit, but hang me not.”

But they, without giving heed, and despite his furious struggles, were dragging him towards the ladder. He cried then so shrill and loud that Lamme said to Ulenspiegel, who was with him and tending him in the cook’s galley:

“My son! my son! they have stolen a pig from the stable, and they are making off. Oh, the robbers! if I could but rise!”

Ulenspiegel went up and saw nothing but the monk. And he, catching sight of Ulenspiegel, fell upon his knees, with his hands outstretched to him.

“Messire Captain,” said he, “captain of the valiant Beggars, redoubtable on land and on sea, your soldiers are fain to hang me because I have transgressed with my tongue: ’tis an unjust punishment, Messire Captain, for so must all advocates, procurators, preachers, and women, be given a hempen collar, and the world would be unpeopled; Messire, save me from the rope. I shall pray for you; you will never be damned: grant me pardon. The devil of prating carried me away and made me speak without ceasing: ’tis a mighty misfortune. [316]My poor bile soured then and made me say a thousand things I never think. Grace, Messire Captain, and you, Messieurs, intercede for me.”

Suddenly Lamme appeared on the deck in his shirt and said:

“Captain and friends, ’twas not the pig but the monk that was squealing; I am overjoyed. Ulenspiegel, my son, I have conceived a high design with regard to His Paternity; give him his life, but leave him not at liberty, else will he do some ill trick upon the ship: rather have a cage built for him on the deck, a strait cage well opened and airy, where he can do no more than sit down and sleep; such a one as they make for capons; let me feed him, and let him be hanged if he does not eat as much as I will.”

“Let him be hanged if he will not eat,” said Ulenspiegel and the Beggars.

“What dost thou mean to do with me, big man?” said the monk.

“Thou shalt see,” replied Lamme.

And Ulenspiegel did as Lamme wished, and the monk was put in a cage, and all could contemplate him at their leisure.

Lamme had gone down into his galley; Ulenspiegel followed and heard him disputing with Nele:

“I will not lie down,” he was saying, “no, I will not lie down to have others groping and fumbling with my sauces; no, I will not stay in my bed, like a calf!”

“Do not be angry, Lamme,” said Nele, “or your wound will reopen and you will die.”

“Well,” said he, “I will die: I am tired of living without my wife. Is it not enough for me to have lost her, without your trying furthermore to prevent [317]me, me the master cook of this place, from myself keeping watch over the soup? Know ye not that there is a health inherent in the steam of sauces and fricassees? They even nourish my spirit and armour me against misfortunes.”

“Lamme,” said Nele, “thou must needs hearken to our counsel and let thyself be healed by us.”

“I am fain to let myself be healed,” said Lamme: “but rather than another should enter here, some ignorant good-for-naught, a frowsy, ulcerous, blear-eyed, dropping nosed fellow, and come to king it as master cook in my place, and paddle with his filthy fingers in my sauces, I would rather kill him with my wooden ladle, which would be iron for that task.”

“All the same,” said Ulenspiegel, “thou must have an assistant; thou art sick....”

“An assistant for me,” said Lamme, “for me, an assistant! Art thou then stuffed with naught but ingratitude, as a sausage is full of minced meat? An assistant, my son, and ’tis thou that dost say so to me, thy friend, who have nourished thee so long time and so succulently! Now will my wound reopen. False friend, who then would dress thy food like me? What would ye do, ye two, if I were not there to give thee, chief-captain, and thee, Nele, some dainty stew or other?”

“We will work ourselves in the galley,” said Ulenspiegel.

“Cooking,” said Lamme: “thou art good to eat of it, to smell it, to sniff it up, but to perform it, no: poor friend and chief-captain, saving your respect, I could make thee eat leather wallets cut up into ribbons, and thou wouldst take it for toughish tripe: [318]leave me, my son, to be still the master cook of here, else I shall dry up, like a lathstick.”

“Remain master cook then,” said Ulenspiegel; “if thou dost not heal, I will shut up the galley and we shall eat naught save biscuits.”

“Ah! my son,” said Lamme, weeping for joy, “thou art good and kind as Notre Dame herself.”



And in any case he appeared to be healing.

Every Saturday the Beggars saw him measuring the monk’s waist girth with a long leather thong.

The first Saturday he said:

“Four feet.”

And measuring himself, he said:

“Four feet and a half.”

And he seemed melancholy.

But, speaking of the monk, on the eighth Saturday he was full of joy and said:

“Four feet and three quarters.”

And the monk, angry, when he took his measure, would say to him:

“What do you want with me, big man?”

But Lamme would put out his tongue at him without a word.

And seven times a day, the sailors and soldiers saw him come with a new dish, saying to the monk:

“Here be rich beans in Flemish butter: didst thou eat the like in thy monastery? Thou hast a goodly phiz; there is no starving on this ship. Dost thou not feel cushions of fat coming on thy back? Before long thou wilt have no need of a mattress to lie on.” [319]

At the monk’s second meal:

“Here,” he would say, “there are koeke-bakken after the Brussels fashion; the French folk call them crêpes, for they wear crapes on their kerchiefs for a sign of mourning: these are not black, but fair of hue and golden browned in the oven: seest thou the butter streaming off them? So shall it be with thy belly.”

“I have no hunger,” the monk would say.

“Thou must needs eat,” was Lamme’s answer. “Dost thou deem that these are pancakes of buckwheat? ’tis pure wheat, my father, father in grease, fine flour of the wheat, my father with the four chins: already I see the fifth one coming, and my heart rejoices. Eat.”

“Leave me in peace, big man,” said the monk.

Lamme, becoming wrathful, would reply:

“I am the lord and disposer of thy life: dost thou prefer the rope to a good bowl of pea soup with sippets, such as I am about to fetch thee presently?”

And coming with the bowl:

“Pea soup,” quoth Lamme, “loves to be eaten in company: and therefore I have just added thereto knoedels of Germany, goodly dumplings of Corinth flour, cast all alive into boiling water: they are heavy, but make plenteous fat. Eat all thou canst; the more thou dost eat the greater my joy: do not feign disgust; breathe not so hard as if thou hadst over much: eat. Is it not better to eat than to be hanged? Let’s see thy thigh! it thickens also; two feet seven inches round about. Where is the ham that measureth as much?”

An hour after he came back to the monk:

“Come,” said he, “here are nine pigeons: they have been slaughtered for thee, these innocent beasts that [320]wont to fly unfearing above the ships: disdain them not; I have put into their bellies a ball of butter, breadcrumbs, grated nutmeg, cloves pounded in a brass mortar shining like thy skin: Master Sun rejoices to be able to admire himself in a face as bright as thine, by reason of the grease, the good grease I have made for thee.”

At the fifth meal he would fetch him a waterzoey.

“What thinkest thou,” quoth he, “of this hodgepodge of fish? The sea carries thee and feedeth thee: she could do no more for the King’s Majesty. Aye, aye, I can see the fifth chin visibly a-coming a little more on the left side than on the right side: we must fatten up this side that is neglected, for God saith to us: ‘Be just to each.’ Where would justice be, if not in an equitable distributing of grease? I will bring thee for thy sixth repast mussels, those oysters of the poor, such as they never served thee in thy convent: ignorant folk boil them and eat them so; but that is but the prologue to the fricassee; they must next be stripped of their shells, and their gentle bodies put in a pan, then stewed delicately with celery, nutmeg, and cloves, and bind the sauce with beer and flour, and serve them with buttered toast. I have done them in this fashion for thee. Why do children owe so great a gratitude to their fathers and mothers? Because they have given them shelter and love, but beyond all things, food: thou oughtest then to love me as thy father and thy mother, and even as to them thou owest me the gratitude of thy stomach: roll not against me then such savage eyes.

“Presently I shall bring thee a soup of beer and flour, well sweetened with cinnamon a-plenty. Knowest [321]thou for why? That thy fat may become translucent and shiver upon thy skin: such it is seen when thou movest. Now here is the curfew ringing: sleep in peace, taking no thought for the morrow, certain to find thy succulent repasts once more, and thy friend Lamme to give them thee without fail.”

“Begone and leave me to pray to God,” said the monk.

“Pray,” said Lamme, “pray with the cheerful music of snoring: beer and sleep will make grease for thee, goodly grease. For my part, I am glad of it.”

And Lamme went off to put himself in bed.

And the sailors and soldiers would say to him:

“Why, then, do you feed so richly this monk that wishes thee no good?”

“Let me alone,” said Lamme, “I am accomplishing a mighty work.”



December was come, the month of long dark nights. Ulenspiegel sang:

“Monseigneur Sa Grande Altesse

Takes off his mask,

Eager to reign over the Belgian land.

The Estates Spaniardized

But not Angevined

Deal with the taxes.

Beat upon the drum

Of Anjou’s thwarting.

“They have within their power

Domains, excise, and funds,

Making of magistrates

And offices as well. [322]

He hateth the Reformed

Monsieur Sa Grande Altesse,

An atheist in France

Oh! Anjou’s thwarting.

“For he would fain be king

By the sword and by force,

King absolute in all.

This Monseigneur, this Grande Altesse;

Fain would he foully seize

Many fair towns, yea, Antwerp, too;

Signorkes and pagaders rise early,

Oh! Anjou’s thwarting!

“’Tis not upon thee, France,

That this folk rushes, mad with rage;

These deadly weaponed blows

Fall not upon thy noble body;

And they are not thy offspring

Whose corpses in great heaps

Choke the Kip-Dorp Gate.

Oh! the thwarting of Anjou!

“No, these are no sons of thine

The people fling from the ramparts.

’Tis the High Highness of Anjou,

The passive libertine Anjou,

Living, France, on thy very blood,

And eager to drink ours;

But ’twixt the cup and lip....

Oh! the thwarting of Anjou.

“Monsieur Sa Grande Altesse.

In a defenceless town

Cried, ‘Kill! kill! Long live the Mass!’

With his handsome minions,

With eyes wherein gleams

The shameful fire, impudent, restless,

Lust without love.

Oh! the thwarting of Anjou!


“’Tis they that are smitten, not thee, poor folk,

On whom they weigh with tax,

Salt tax, poll tax, deflowering,

Contemning thee, making thee give

Thy corn, thy horses, thy wains,

Thou that art a father to them.

Oh! the thwarting of Anjou!

“Thou that art a mother to them,

Suckling the misbehaviour

Of these parricides that sully

Thy name abroad, France, that dost feast

On the savours of their glory

When they add by savage feast.

Oh! the thwarting of Anjou!

“A floret to thy soldier crown,

A province to thy territory.

Give the stupid cock ‘Lust and battle’

Thy foot on the neck.

People of France, people of men,

The foot that treads them down!

And all the peoples will love thee

For the thwarting of Anjou.”



In May, when the peasant women of Flanders by night throw backwards slowly over their heads three black beans to keep them from sickness and death, Lamme’s wound opened again: he had a high fever and asked to be laid on the deck of the ship, over against the monk’s cage.

Ulenspiegel was very willing; but for fear lest his friend might fall into the sea in a fever fit, he had him strongly fastened down upon his bed. [324]

In his interludes of reason, Lamme incessantly enjoined on them not to forget the monk: and he thrust out his tongue at him.

And the monk said:

“Thou dost insult me, big man.”

“Nay,” replied Lamme, “I am fattening thee.”

The wind blew soft, the sun shone warm; Lamme in his fever was securely tied on his bed, so that in his witless spasms of leaping he might not jump over the side of the ship; and deeming himself still in his galley, he said:

“This fire is bright to-day. Soon it will rain ortolans. Wife, spread snares in our orchard. Thou art lovely thus, with thy sleeves rolled up to the elbow. Thy arm is white, I would fain bite it, bite with my lips that are teeth of live velvet. Whose is this lovely flesh, whose those lovely breasts showing beneath thy white jacket of fine linen? Mine, my sweet treasure. Who will make the fricassee of cock’s comb and chickens’ rumps? Not too much nutmeg, it brings on fever. White sauce, thyme, and laurel: where are the yolks of eggs?”

Then making a sign for Ulenspiegel to bring his ear close to his mouth, he said to him in a low voice:

“Presently it will rain venison; I shall keep thee four ortolans more than the others. Thou art the captain; betray me not.”

Then hearing the sea beat softly on the ship’s side:

“The soup is boiling, my son; the soup is boiling, but how slow is this fire to heat up!”

As soon as he recovered his wits, he said, speaking of the monk:

“Where is he? doth he grow in grease?” [325]

Seeing him then, he put out his tongue at him and said:

“The great work is being accomplished; I am content.”

One day he asked to have the great scales set up on the deck, and to be set in it, he on one pan, the monk on the other: scarcely was the monk in place than Lamme soared like an arrow in the air, and rejoicing, he said, looking at him:

“He weighs it down! he weighs it down! I am a weightless spirit beside him: I will fly in the air like a bird. I have my idea: take him away that I may come down; now put on the weights. Put him back. What does he weigh? Three hundred and fourteen pounds. And I? Two hundred and twenty.”



The night of the day after this, when the dawn was rising gray, Ulenspiegel was awakened by Lamme crying:

“Ulenspiegel! Ulenspiegel! help, rescue, keep her from going away. Cut the cords! cut the cords!”

Ulenspiegel came up on the deck and said:

“Why dost thou call out? I see naught.”

“’Tis she,” replied Lamme, “she, my wife, there, in that skiff rounding that flyboat; aye, that flyboat whence there came the sound of singing and the viol strings.”

Nele had come up on deck.

“Cut the cords, my dear,” said Lamme. “Seest thou not that my wound is cured, her soft hand hath healed it; she, aye, she. Dost thou see her standing [326]up in the skiff? Dost thou hear? she is singing still. Come, my beloved, come; flee not from thy poor Lamme, who was so lonely in the world without thee.”

Nele took his hand, touched his face.

“He hath the fever still,” she said.

“Cut the cords,” said Lamme; “give me a skiff! I am alive, I am happy, I am healed!”

Ulenspiegel cut the cords: Lamme, leaping from his bed in breeches of white linen, without a doublet, set to work himself to lower away the skiff.

“See him,” said Nele to Ulenspiegel: “his hands tremble with impatience as they work.”

The skiff ready, Ulenspiegel, Nele, and Lamme went down into it with an oarsman, and set off towards the flyboat anchored far off in the harbour.

“See the goodly flyboat,” said Lamme, helping the oarsman.

On the fresh morning sky, coloured like crystal gilded by the rays of the young sun, the flyboat showed up her hull and her elegant masts.

While Lamme rowed:

“Tell us now how didst find her again,” asked Ulenspiegel.

Lamme replied, speaking in jerks:

“I was sleeping, already much better. All at once a dull noise. A piece of wood struck the ship. A skiff. A sailor hurries up at the noise: ‘Who goes there?’ A soft voice, her voice, my son, her voice, her sweet voice: ‘Friends.’ Then a deeper voice: ‘Long live the Beggar: the commander of the flyboat Johannah to speak with Lamme Goedzak.’ The sailor drops the ladder. The moon was shining. I see a man’s shape coming up on to the deck: strong hips, round knees, wide pelvis; I [327]say to myself: ‘a pretended man’: I feel as it might be a rose opening and touching my cheek: her mouth, my son, and I hear her saying to me, she—dost thou follow?—herself, covering me with kisses and with tears: ’twas liquid perfumed fire falling on my body: ‘I know I am sinning; but I love thee, my husband! I have sworn before God: I am breaking my oath, my man, my poor man! I have come often without daring to come nigh thee; the sailor at last allowed me: I dressed thy wound, thou knewest me not; but I have healed thee; be not wroth, my man! I have followed thee, but I am afraid; he is upon this ship, let me go; if he saw me he would curse me and I should burn in the everlasting fire!’ She kissed me again, weeping and happy, and went away in spite of me, despite my tears: thou hadst bound me hand and foot, my son, but now....”

And saying this he bent mightily to his oars: ’twas like the taut string of a bow that launches the arrow forthright.

As they approached the flyboat, Lamme said:

“There she is, upon the deck, playing the viol, my darling wife with her hair of golden brown, with the brown eyes, the cheeks still fresh and young, the bare round arms, the white hands. Leap onward, skiff, over the sea!”

The captain of the flyboat, seeing the skiff coming up and Lamme rowing like a demon, had a ladder dropped from the deck. When Lamme was by it, he leapt from the skiff on to the ladder at the risk of tumbling into the sea, thrusting the skiff three fathoms behind him and more; and climbing like a cat up to the deck, ran to his wife, who swooning with joy, kissed and embraced him, saying: [328]

“Lamme! come not to take me: I have sworn to God, but I love thee. Ah! dear husband!”

Nele cried out:

“It is Calleken Huybrechts, the pretty Calleken.”

“’Tis I,” said she, “but alas! the hour of noon has gone by for my beauty.”

And she seemed wretched.

“What hast thou done?” said Lamme: “what became of thee? Why didst thou leave me? Why wilt thou leave me now?”

“Listen,” said she, “and be not wroth; I will tell thee: knowing that all monks are men of God I confided in one of them: his name was Broer Cornelis Adriaensen.”

Hearing which Lamme:

“What!” said he, “that wicked hypocrite who had a sewer mouth, full of filth and dirt, and spoke of naught but spilling the blood of the Reformed; what! that praiser of the Inquisition and the edicts! Ah, it was a blackguardly good-for-naught rascal!”

Calleken said:

“Do not insult the man of God.”

“The man of God!” said Lamme, “I know him; ’twas a man of filth and foulness. Wretched fate! my beautiful Calleken fallen into the hands of this lascivious monk! Come not near me, I will kill thee: and I that loved her so much! my poor deceived heart that was all her own! What dost thou come hither for? Why didst thou tend me? thou shouldst have left me to die. Begone, thou; I would see thee no more, begone, or I fling thee in the sea. My knife!...”

She, embracing him:

“Lamme,” said she, “my husband, weep not: I am [329]not what thou deemest: I have not belonged to this monk.”

“Thou liest,” said Lamme, weeping and grinding his teeth both at the same time. “Ah! I was never jealous, and now I am. Sad passion, anger, and love, the need to slay and embrace. Begone, thou! no, stay! I was so good to her! Murder is master in me. My knife! Oh! this burns, devours, gnaws; thou laughest at me....

She embraced him weeping, gentle and submissive.

“Aye,” said he, “I am a fool in my anger: aye, thou didst guard my honour, that honour a man is mad enough to hang on a woman’s skirts. So it was for that thou wast wont to pick out thy sweetest smiles to ask me leave to go to the sermon with thy she-friends.”

“Let me speak,” said the woman, embracing him. “May I die on the instant if I deceive thee!”

“Die, then,” said Lamme, “for thou art going to lie.”

“Listen to me,” said she.

“Speak or speak not,” said he, “’tis all one to me.”

“Broer Adriaensen,” she said, “passed for a good preacher; I went to hear him: he set the ecclesiastic and celibate estate above all others as being more proper to win paradise for the faithful. His eloquence was great and fiery: several wives of good repute, of whom I was one, and in especial a goodly number of widow women and girls, had their minds troubled by it. The estate of celibacy being so perfect, he enjoined upon us to dwell therein: we swore thenceforward no longer to be spouses....”

“Save to him, no doubt,” said Lamme, weeping.

“Be silent,” said she, angry. [330]

“Go to,” said he, “finish: thou hast fetched me a bitter blow; I shall never be whole of it.”

“Yea,” said she, “my man, when I shall be always with thee.”

And she would fain have embraced and kissed him, but he repulsed her.

“The widows,” said she, “swore between his hands never to marry again.”

And Lamme listened to her, lost in his jealous musing.

Calleken, shamefaced, went on:

“He desired,” she said, “to have no penitents save young and beauteous wives or maids: the others he sent back to their own curés. He established an order of devotees, making us all swear to have no other confessors but himself only: I swore it; my companions, more initiate than I, asked me if I was fain to be instructed in the Holy Discipline and the Holy Penance: I wished it. There was at Bruges, at the Stone Cutters’ Quay, by the convent of the Franciscan friars, a house dwelt in by a woman called Calle de Najage, who gave girls instruction and lodging, for a gold carolus by the month: Broer Cornelis could enter her house without being seen to leave his cloister. It was to this house I went, into a little chamber where he was alone: there he ordered me to tell him all my natural and carnal inclinations: at first I dared not; but in the end I gave way, wept, and told him all.”

“Alas!” wept Lamme, “and this swine monk thus received thy sweet confession.”

“He still told me, and this is true, my husband, that above earthly modesty is a celestial modesty, through which we make unto God the sacrifice of our earthly [331]shames, and that thus we avow to our confessors all our secret desires, and are then worthy to receive the Holy Discipline and the Holy Penance.

“In the end he made me strip naked before him, to receive upon my body, which had sinned, the too-light chastisement of my faults. One day he made me unclothe myself; I fainted when I must let my body linen fall: he revived me with salts and flasks.—‘’Tis well for this time, daughter,’ said he, ‘come back in two days’ time and bring a rod.’ That went on for long without ever ... I swear it before God and all his saints ... my man ... understand me ... look at me ... see if I lie: I remained pure and faithful ... I loved thee.”

“Poor sweet body,” said Lamme, “O stain upon thy marriage robe!”

“Lamme,” said she, “he spoke in the name of God and of our Holy Mother Church; was I not to listen to him? I loved thee always, but I had sworn to the Virgin, by dreadful oaths, to deny myself to thee: yet I was weak, weak to thee. Dost thou recall the hostelry of Bruges? I was at the house of Calle de Najage thou didst pass by upon thine ass with Ulenspiegel. I followed thee; I had a goodly sum of money; I spent nothing ever for myself. I saw thee an hungered: my heart pulled towards thee, I had pity and love.”

“Where is he now?” asked Ulenspiegel.

Calleken replied:

“After an inquiry ordered by the magistrate and an investigation of evil men, Broer Andriaensen must needs leave Bruges, and took refuge in Antwerp. They told me on the flyboat that my man had made him prisoner.” [332]

“What!” said Lamme, “this monk I am fattening is....”

“He,” answered Calleken, hiding her face.

“A hatchet! a hatchet!” said Lamme, “let me kill him, let me auction his fat, the lascivious he-goat! Quick, let us back to the ship. The skiff! where is the skiff?”

Nele said to him:

“’Tis a foul cruelty to kill or to wound a prisoner.”

“Thou lookest on me with a cruel eye; wouldst thou prevent me?” said he.

“Aye,” said she.

“Well, then,” said Lamme, “I will do him no hurt: let me only fetch him out from his cage. The skiff! where is the skiff?”

They climbed down into it speedily; Lamme made haste to row, weeping the while.

“Thou art sad, husband?” said Calleken to him.

“Nay,” said he, “I am glad: doubtless thou wilt never leave me again?”

“Never!” said she.

“Thou wast pure and faithful, thou sayest; but, sweet, my darling, beloved Calleken, I lived but to find thee, and lo, now, thanks to this monk, there will be poison in all our happiness, poison of jealousy ... as soon as I am sad or but only tired, I shall see thee naked, submitting thy lovely body to that infamous flagellation. The spring time of our loves was mine, but the summer was for him; the autumn will be gray, soon will come the winter to bury my faithful love.”

“Thou art weeping?” said she.

“Aye,” quoth he, “what is past can never come again.” [333]

Then Nele said:

“If Calleken was faithful, she ought to leave thee alone for thy ill words.”

“He knoweth not how I love him,” said Calleken.

“Dost thou say true?” cried Lamme; “come, darling; come, my wife; there is no longer gray autumn nor winter that diggeth graves.”

And he seemed cheerful, and they came to the ship.

Ulenspiegel gave Lamme the keys of the cage, and he opened it; he tried to pull the monk out on the deck by the ear, but he could not; he tried to fetch him out sideways, he could not do that, either.

“We must break all; the capon is fattened,” said he.

The monk then came forth, rolling about big daunted eyes, holding his paunch with both hands, and fell down on his seat because of a great wave that passed beneath the ship.

And Lamme, speaking to the monk:

“Wilt thou still say, ‘big man’? Thou art bigger than I. Who made thee seven meals a day? I. Whence cometh it, bawler, that now thou art quieter, milder towards the poor Beggars?”

And continuing further:

“If thou dost stay another year encaged, thou wilt not be able to come out again: thy cheeks quiver like pork jelly when thou dost move: thou criest no longer already; soon thou wilt not be able to breathe.”

“Hold thy peace, big man,” said the monk.

“Big man,” said Lamme, becoming furious; “I am Lamme Goedzak, thou art Broer Dikzak, Vetzak, Leugenzak, Slokkenzak, Wulpszak, the friar big sack, grease sack, lying sack, cram sack, lust sack: thou hast [334]four fingers deep of fat under thy skin, thy eyes can be seen no longer: Ulenspiegel and I would both lodge comfortably within the cathedral of thy belly! Thou didst call me big man; wilt thou have a mirror to study thy Bellyness? ’Tis I that fed thee, thou monument of flesh and bone. I have sworn that thou wouldst spit grease, sweat grease, and leave behind thee spots of grease like a candle melting in the sun. They say that apoplexy cometh with the seventh chin; thou hast five and a half by now.”

Then to the Beggars:

“Look at this lecher! ’tis Broer Cornelis Adriaensen Rascalsen, of Bruges: there he preached the new modesty. His grease is his punishment; his grease is my work. Hear now, all ye sailors and soldiers: I am about to leave you, to leave thee, thee, Ulenspiegel, to leave thee, too, thee, little Nele, to go to Flushing where I have property, to live there with my poor wife that I have found again. Of yore ye took an oath to grant me all that I might ask of you....”

“On the word of the Beggars,” said they.

“Then,” said Lamme, “look on this lecher, this Broer Adriaensen Rascalsen of Bruges; I swore to make him die of fatness like a hog; construct a wider cage, force him to take twelve meals a day instead of seven; give him a rich and sugared diet: he is like an ox already; see that he be like an elephant, and ye will soon see him fill the cage.”

“We shall fatten him,” said they.

“And now,” went on Lamme, speaking to the monk, “I bid thee also adieu, rascal, thee whom I cause to be fed monkishly instead of having thee hanged: grow in grease and in apoplexy.” [335]

Then taking his wife Calleken in his arms:

“Look, growl or bellow, I take her from thee; thou shalt whip her never more.”

But the monk, falling in a fury and speaking to Calleken:

“Thou art going away then, carnal woman, to the bed of lust! Aye, thou goest without pity for the poor martyr for the word of God, that taught thee the holy, sweet, celestial discipline. Be accursed! May no priest give thee absolution; may earth be burning underneath thy feet; may sugar be salt to thee; may beef be as dead dog to thee; may thy bread be ashes; may the sun be ice to thee, and the snow hell fire; may thy child-bearing be accursed; may thy children be detestable; may they have the bodies of apes, pigs’ heads greater than their bellies; mayst thou suffer, weep, moan in this world and in the other, in the hell that awaits thee, the hell of sulphur and bitumen kindled for females such as thou art. Thou didst refuse my fatherly love: be thrice accursed by the Blessed Trinity, seven times accursed by the candlesticks of the Ark; may confession be to thee damnation; may the Host to thee be mortal poison, and may every paving stone in the church rise up to crush thee and say to thee: ‘This woman is the fornicator, this woman is accursed, this woman is damned’.”

And Lamme, rejoicing, jumping for joy, said:

“She was faithful; he said it, the monk: hurrah for Calleken!”

But she, weeping and trembling:

“Remove it,” she said, “my man, remove this curse from over me. I see hell! Remove the curse!”

“Take off the curse,” said Lamme. [336]

“I will not, big man,” rejoined the monk.

And the woman remained all pale and swooning, and on her knees with hands folded she besought Broer Adriaensen.

And Lamme said to the monk:

“Take off thy curse, else thou shalt hang, and if the rope breaks because of thy weight, thou shalt be hanged again and again until death ensues.”

“Hanged and hanged again,” said the Beggars.

“Then,” said the monk to Calleken, “go, wanton, go with this big man; go, I lift my curse from thee, but God and all the saints will have their eyes upon thee; go with this big man, go.”

And he held his peace, sweating and puffing.

Suddenly Lamme cried out:

“He puffs, he puffs! I see the sixth chin; at the seventh ’tis apoplexy! And now,” said he to the Beggars:

“I commend you to God, thou Ulenspiegel; to God, you all my good friends, to God, thou Nele; to God the holy inspirer of liberty: I can do no more for her cause.”

Then having given all and taken from all the kiss of parting, he said to his wife Calleken:

“Come, it is the hour for lawful loves.”

While the boat was slipping over the water, carrying off Lamme and his beloved, he in the stern, soldiers, sailors, and cabin boys all called out, waving their caps: “Adieu, brother; adieu, Lamme; adieu, brother, brother and friend.”

And Nele said to Ulenspiegel, taking a tear from out the corner of his eye with her dainty finger:

“Thou art sad, my beloved?”

“He was a good fellow,” said he. [337]

“Ah!” said she, “this war will never end; shall we be forced to live forever in blood and in tears?”

“Let us seek out the Seven,” said Ulenspiegel: “it draws nigh, the hour of deliverance.”

Following Lamme’s behest, the Beggars fattened the monk in his cage. When he was set at liberty, in consideration of ransom, he weighed three hundred and seventeen pounds and five ounces, Flemish weight.

And he died prior of his convent.



At this time the States General assembled at The Hague to pass judgment upon Philip, King of Spain, Count of Flanders, of Holland, etc., according to the charters and privileges consented to by him.

And the clerk of the court spake as follows:

“It is to all men of common knowledge that a prince of any land so ever is established by God as sovereign and chief of his subjects that he may defend them and preserve them from all wrong, oppression, and violence, even as a shepherd is ordained for the defence and keeping of his sheep. It is in like manner known that subjects are not created by God for the use of the prince, to be obedient unto him in whatsoever he commandeth, be it seemly or unseemly, just or unjust, nor to serve in the manner of slaves. But the prince is a prince for his subjects, without which he could not be, to govern them in accordance with right and reason, to maintain and love them as a father doth his children, as a shepherd doth his sheep, hazarding his life to defend them; if he doth not so, he must needs be held for no prince but a tyrant. Philip the king hath launched upon [338]us, by calling up of soldiers, by bulls of crusade and of excommunication, four armies of foreigners. What shall be his punishment, by virtue of the laws and customs of the country?”

“Let him be deposed,” replied the States.

“Philip hath played false to his oaths: he hath forgot the services we rendered him, the victories we aided him to win. Seeing that we were rich, he left us to be pillaged and put to ransom by the Council of Spain.”

“Let him be deposed as ungrateful and a robber,” replied the States.

“Philip,” the clerk went on, “placed in the most powerful cities of these countries new bishops, endowing and presenting them with the goods of the greatest abbeys; and by the help of these men he introduced the Spanish Inquisition.”

“Let him be deposed as a murderer, the squanderer of others’ wealth,” replied the States.

“The nobles of these countries, seeing this tyranny, presented in the year 1566 a request wherein they entreated the sovereign to moderate the rigour of his edicts and in especial those which concerned the Inquisition: he consistently refused this.”

“Let him be deposed as a tiger abandoned and obstinate in his cruelty,” replied the States.

The clerk continued:

“Philip is strongly suspected of having, through the intermediary of his Council of Spain, secretly inspired the image-breakings and the sacking of churches, in order to be able, under the pretext of suppressing crime and disorder, to send foreign armies to march against us.”

“Let him be deposed as an instrument of death,” replied the States. [339]

“At Antwerp Philip caused the inhabitants to be massacred, ruined the Flemish merchants and the foreign merchants. He and his Council of Spain gave a certain Rhoda, a notorious scoundrel, the right by secret instructions to declare himself the head of the pillagers, to harvest the booty, to employ his name, the name of Philip the king, to counterfeit his seals and counterseals, and to comport himself at his governor and his lieutenant. The royal letters, which were intercepted and are in our hands, prove this to be the fact. All took place with his consent and after deliberation in the Council of Spain. Read his letters; therein he praises the feat of Antwerp, acknowledges that he hath received a signal service, promises to reward it, enjoins Rhoda and the other Spaniards to continue to walk in this path of glory.”

“Let him be deposed as a robber, pillager, and murderer,” replied the States.

“We ask for nothing more than the maintenance of our privileges, a sincere and assured peace, a moderate freedom, especially with regard to religion which principally concerns God and man’s own conscience: we had nothing from Philip but deceitful treaties serving to sow discord between the provinces, to subdue them one after another and to treat them in the same way as the Indies, by pillage, confiscation, executions, and the Inquisition.”

“Let him be deposed as an assassin premeditating the murder of a country,” replied the States.

“He made the country bleed through the Duke of Alba and his catchpolls, through Medina-Coeli, Requesens, the traitors of the Councils of State and of the provinces; he enjoined a vigorous and bloody severity [340]upon Don Juan and Alexander Farnèse, Prince of Parma (as may be seen by his intercepted letters); he set the ban of the empire upon Monseigneur d’Orange, paid the hire of three assassins before paying a fourth; erected castles and fortresses among us; had men burned alive, women and girls buried alive; inherited their goods, strangled Montigny, de Berghes, and other lords, despite his kingly word; killed his son Carlos; poisoned the Prince of Ascoly, whom he made espouse Doña Eufrasia, with child by himself, in order to enrich with his estates the bastard that was to come; launched an edict against us that declared us all traitors, that had forfeited our bodies and our wealth, and committed the crime unheard of in a Christian land, of confounding innocent and guilty.”

“By all laws, rights, and privileges, let him be deposed,” replied the States.

And the king’s seals were broken.

And the sun shown on land and sea, gilding the ripened ears, mellowing the grape, casting pearls on every wave, the adornment of the bride of the Netherlands, Liberty.

Then the Prince of Orange, being at Delft, was stricken down by a fourth assassin, with three bullets in his breast. And he died, following his motto: “Calm amid the wild waves.”

His enemies said of him that to thwart King Philip, and not hoping to rule over the Southern Low Countries, which were Catholic, he had offered them by a secret treaty to Monseigneur Monsieur Sa Grande Altesse of Anjou. But Anjou was not born to beget the babe Belgium upon Liberty, who loveth not perverse amours. [341]

And Ulenspiegel left the fleet with Nele.

And the fatherland Belgium groaned beneath the yoke, fast bound by traitors.



They were then in the month of the ripened grain; the air was heavy, the wind was warm: the reapers, both men and women, could gather in at their ease in the fields, under the free sky, upon a free soil, the corn they had sown.

Frisia, Drenthe, Overyssel, Guelderland, North Brabant, North and South Holland, Walcheren, North and South Beveland; Duiveland and Schouwen that make up Zealand; all the shores of the North Sea from Knokke to Helder; the islands of Texel, Vieland, Ameland, Schiermonk-Oog, were, from the western Scheldt to the eastern Ems, about to be freed from the Spanish yoke; Maurice, the son of the Silent, was continuing the war.

Ulenspiegel and Nele, having their youth, their strength, and their beauty, for the love and the spirit of Flanders grow never old, were living snugly in the tower of Neere, waiting till, after many hard trials, they could come and breathe the air of freedom upon Belgium the fatherland.

Ulenspiegel had asked to be appointed commandant and warden of the tower, saying that having an eagle’s eyes and a hare’s ears, he could see if the Spaniard would not attempt to show himself once more in the delivered countries, and that in that case he would sound wacharm, which is the alarm in the speech of Flanders.

The magistrate did as Ulenspiegel wished: because [342]of his good service he was given a florin a day, two quarts of beer, beans, cheese, biscuit, and three pounds of beef every week.

Thus Ulenspiegel and Nele lived very well by themselves two: seeing from afar, with rejoicing, the free isles of Zealand: near at hand, woods, castles, fortresses, and the armed ships of the Beggars guarding the coasts.

At night they often climbed up on the tower, and there, sitting on the platform, they talked of hard battles and goodly loves past and to come. Thence they beheld the sea, which in this time of heat surged and broke upon the shore in luminous waves, casting them upon the islands like phantoms of fire. And Nele was affrighted to see the jack o’lanterns in the polders, for, said she, they are the souls of the poor dead. And all these places had been battle-fields. The will o’ the wisps swept out from the polders, ran along the dykes, then came back into the polders as though they had no mind to abandon the bodies whence they had issued.

One night Nele said to Ulenspiegel:

“See how thick they are in Duiveland and how high they fly: ’tis by the isle of birds I see the most. Wilt thou come thither, Thyl? We shall take the balsam that discloseth things hid from the eyes of mortals.”

Ulenspiegel answered her:

“If it is the same balsam that wafted me to that great sabbath, I trow in it no more than a hollow dream.”

“Thou must not,” said Nele, “deny the potency of charms. Come, Ulenspiegel.”

“I shall come.” [343]

The next day he asked the magistrate that a clear-sighted and trusty soldier should take his place, to guard the tower and keep watch over the country.

And with Nele he went his way to the isle of birds.

Going across fields and dykes, they beheld little green lush islets, between which ran the sea water; and upon the slopes of green sward that came down to the very dunes an immense concourse of plovers, of sea mews and sea swallows, that stayed motionless and made the islets all white with their bodies; overhead circled and flew thousands of the same. The ground was full of nests: Ulenspiegel, stooping to pick up an egg upon the way, saw a sea mew come flitting to him, uttering a cry. At his appeal there came more than a hundred others, crying with grief and fear, hovering above Ulenspiegel and over the neighbour nests, but they did not venture to come close to him.

“Ulenspiegel,” said Nele, “these birds beg grace for their eggs.”

Then falling a-tremble, she said:

“I am afeared; there is the sun setting; the sky is white, the stars awaken; ’tis the spirits’ hour. See these red exhalations, gliding along the earth; Thyl, my beloved, what monster of hell is thus opening his fiery mouth in the mist? See from the side of Philip’s land, where the butcher king twice for his cruel ambition slaughtered so many poor men, see the dancing will-o’-the-wisps: ’tis the night when the souls of poor folk slain in battle quit the cold limbo of purgatory to come and be warmed again in the soft air of the earth: ’tis the hour when thou mayst ask aught of Christ, who is the God of good magicians.”

“The ashes beat upon my heart,” said Ulenspiegel. [344]“If Christ could show me these Seven whose ashes cast to the wind were to make Flanders and the whole world happy!”

“Man of little faith,” said Nele, “thou wilt see them by virtue of the balsam.”

“Perchance,” said Ulenspiegel, pointing to Sirius with a finger, “if some spirit descends from the cold star.”

At his movement a will-o’-the-wisp flitting about him perched on his finger, and the more he sought to be rid of it, the tighter it clung.

Nele trying to set Ulenspiegel free, she, too, had her will-o’-the-wisp on the tip of her hand.

Ulenspiegel, striking at his, said:

“Answer! art thou the spirit of a Beggar or of a Spaniard? If thou be the soul of a Beggar, depart into paradise; if the soul of a Spaniard, return into hell whence thou comest.”

Nele said to him:

“Do not insult souls, were they even the souls of butchers.”

And making the will-o’-the-wisp dance on her finger tip:

“Wisp,” said she, “dear wisp, what tidings dost thou bring us from the country of souls? What are they employed in over there? Do they eat and drink, since they have no mouths? for thou hast none, darling wisp! or do they indeed take human shape only in the blessed paradise?”

“Canst thou,” said Ulenspiegel, “waste time in this fashion conversing with this wretched flame that hath neither ears to hear thee with nor mouth to answer thee withal?” [345]

But without heeding him:

“Wisp,” said Nele, “reply by dancing, for I will ask thee three times: once in the name of God, once in the name of Madame the Virgin, and once in the name of the elemental spirits that are messengers ’twixt God and man.”

And she did so, and the wisp danced three times.

Then Nele said to Ulenspiegel:

“Take off thy clothes; I shall do the same: here is the silver box in which is the balsam of vision.”

“’Tis all one to me,” said Ulenspiegel.

Then being unclad and anointed with the balsam of vision, they lay down beside each other naked on the grass.

The sea mews were plaining; the thunder was growling dull in the cloud where the lightning gleamed; the moon scarce displayed between two clouds the golden horns of her crescent; the will-o’-the-wisps on Ulenspiegel and Nele betook themselves off to dance with the others in the meadow.

Suddenly Ulenspiegel and Nele were caught up in the mighty hand of a giant who threw them into the air like children’s balloons, caught them again, rolled them one upon the other and kneaded them between his hands, threw them into the water pools between the hills and pulled them out again full of seaweed. Then carrying them thus through space, he sang with a voice that woke all the sea mews underneath with affright:

“That vermin, crawling, biting,

With squinting glances tries

To read the sacred writing

We hide from all men’s eyes.


“Read, flea, the secret rare;

Read, louse, the sacred term

That heaven, earth and air

With seven nails hold firm.”

And in very deed, Ulenspiegel and Nele saw upon the sward, in the air and in the sky, seven tablets of shining brass fastened thereto by seven flaming nails.

Upon the tablets there was written:

Amid the dung May saps arise;

If Seven’s ill, yet Seven’s well;

The diamond came from coal, they tell;

From foolish teachers, pupils wise—

If Seven’s ill, yet Seven’s well.

And the giant walked on followed by all the will-o’-the-wisps, which said, chirping and singing like grasshoppers:

“Look well at him, ’tis their Grand Master.

The Pope of popes and Lord of lords,

Can change great Cæsar to a pastor:

Look well at him, he’s made of boards.”

Suddenly his features changed; he seemed thinner, sadder, taller. In one hand he held a sceptre and a sword in the other. And his name was Pride.

And casting Nele and Ulenspiegel down upon the ground he said:

“I am God.”

Then close by him, riding on a goat, there appeared a ruddy girl, with bared bosom, her robe open, and a [347]lively sparkling eye: her name was Lust; came then an old Jewess picking up the shells of sea mews’ eggs: she had Avarice to name; and a greedy, gluttonous monk, devouring chitterlings, stuffing sausages, and champing his jaws continually like the sow upon which he was mounted: this was Gluttony; next came Idleness dragging her legs, pallid and puffy, with dulled eyes, and Anger driving her before her with strokes of a goad. Idleness, woebegone, was bemoaning herself, and all in tears fell down upon her knees; then came lean Envy, with a viper’s head and pike’s teeth, biting Idleness because she was too much at her ease, Anger because she was too vivacious, Gluttony because he was too well stuffed, Lust because she was too red, Avarice for the eggshells, Pride because he had a purple robe and a crown. And all around danced the will-o’-the-wisps.

And speaking with the voices of men, of women, of girls and plaintive children, they said, moaning and groaning:

“Pride, father of ambition, Anger, spring of cruelty, ye slew us on the battle-field, in prisons and with torments, to keep your sceptres and your crowns! Envy, thou didst destroy in the bud many high and useful ideas; we are the souls of persecuted inventors: Avarice, thou didst coin into gold the blood of the poor common folk; we are the souls of thy victims; Lust, thou mate and sister of murder, that didst give birth to Nero, to Messalina, to Philip King of Spain, thou dost buy virtue and pay for corruption; we are the souls of the dead: Idleness and Gluttony, ye befoul the world, ye must be swept from out of it; we are the souls of the dead.” [348]

And a voice was heard saying:

“Amid the dung May saps arise;

If Seven’s ill, yet Seven’s well;

For foolish teachers, pupils wise;

To win the coal and ashes, too,

What is the wandering louse to do?”

And the will-o’-the-wisps said:

“The fire, ’tis we, vengeance for the bygone tears, the woes of the people; vengeance for the lords that hunted human game upon their lands; vengeance for the fruitless battles, the blood spilt in prisons, men burned and women and girls buried alive; vengeance for the fettered and bleeding past. The fire, ’tis we: we are the souls of the dead.”

At these words the Seven were changed to wooden statues, while keeping every point of their former shape.

And a voice said:

“Ulenspiegel, burn the wood.”

And Ulenspiegel turning towards the will-o’-the-wisps:

“Ye that are fire,” said he, “perform your office.”

And the will-o’-the-wisps in a crowd surrounded the Seven, which burned and were reduced to ashes.

And a river of blood ran down.

And from out the ashes rose up seven other shapes; the first said:

“Pride was I named; I am called Noble Spirit.” The others spake in the same fashion, and Ulenspiegel and Nele saw from Avarice come forth Economy; from Anger, Vivacity; from Gluttony, Appetite; from Envy, Emulation; and from Idleness, the Reverie of poets and [349]sages. And Lust upon her goat was transformed to a beautiful woman whose name was Love.

And the will-o’-the-wisps danced about them in a happy round.

Then Ulenspiegel and Nele heard a thousand voices of concealed men and women, sonorous and laughing voices that sang with a sound as of castanets:

“When over land and sea shall reign

In form transfigured all these seven,

Men, boldly raise your heads to heaven;

The Golden Age has come again.”

And Ulenspiegel said: “The spirits mock us.”

And a mighty hand seized Nele by the arm and hurled her into space.

And the spirits chanted:

“When the north

Shall kiss the west,

Ruin shall end:

The girdle seek.”

“Alas!” said Ulenspiegel: “north, west, and girdle. Ye speak obscurely, ye Spirits.”

And they sang, laughing:

“North, ’tis the Netherland:

Belgium is the west;

Girdle is alliance

Girdle is friendship.”

“Ye are nowise fools, Messieurs the Spirits,” said Ulenspiegel. [350]

And they sang once more, grinning:

“The girdle, poor man

Between Netherlands and Belgium

Will be good friendship

And fair alliance.

Met raedt

En daedt;

Met doodt

En bloodt.

“Alliance of counsel

And of deeds,

Of death

And blood

“If need were,

Were there no Scheldt,

Poor man, no Scheldt.”

“Alas!” said Ulenspiegel, “such then is our life of anguish: men’s tears and the laughter of destiny.”

“Alliance of counsel

And of death,

Were there no Scheldt.”

replied the spirits, grinning.

And a mighty hand seized Ulenspiegel and hurled him into space.



Nele, as she fell, rubbed her eyes and saw naught save the sun rising amid gilded mists, the tips of the blades of grass all golden also and the sunrays yellowing the plumage of the sea mews that slept, but soon awakened. [351]

Then Nele looked on herself, perceived that she was naked, and clothed herself in haste; then she beheld Ulenspiegel naked also and covered him over; thinking him asleep, she shook him, but he moved no more than a man dead; she was taken with terror. “Have I,” she said to herself, “have I slain my beloved with this balsam of vision? I will die, too! Ah! Thyl, awaken! He is marble cold.”

Ulenspiegel did not awake. Two nights and a day passed by, and Nele, fevered with anguish, watched by Ulenspiegel her beloved.

It was the beginning of the second day, and Nele heard the sound of a bell, and saw approaching a peasant carrying a shovel: behind him, wax taper in hand, walked a burgomaster and two aldermen, the curé of Stavenisse, and a beadle holding a sunshade over him.

They were going, they said, to administer the holy sacrament of extreme unction to the valiant Jacobsen who was a Beggar by constraint and fear, but who, now the danger was past, returned into the bosom of the Holy Roman Church to die.

Presently they found themselves face to face with Nele weeping, and perceived the body of Ulenspiegel stretched out upon the turf, covered with his clothes. Nele went upon her knees.

“Daughter,” said the burgomaster, “what makest thou by this dead man?”

Not daring to lift her eyes she replied:

“I pray for my friend here fallen as though smitten by lightning: I am all alone now and I am fain to die, too.”

The curé then puffing with pleasure: [352]

“Ulenspiegel the Beggar is dead,” he said, “God be praised! Peasant, make haste and dig a grave; strip off his clothes before he be buried.”

“Nay,” said Nele, standing straight up, “they are not to be taken from him, he would be cold in the earth.”

“Dig the grave,” said the curé to the peasant who carried the shovel.

“I consent,” said Nele, all in tears; “there are no worms in sand that is full of chalk, and he will remain whole and goodly, my beloved.”

And all distraught, she bent over Ulenspiegel’s body, and kissed him with tears and sobbing.

The burgomaster, the aldermen, and the peasant were filled with pity, but the curé ceased not to repeat, rejoicing: “The great Beggar is dead, God be praised!”

Then the peasant digged the grave and placed Ulenspiegel therein and covered him with sand.

And the curé said the prayers for the dead above the grave: all kneeled down around it; suddenly there was a great upheaving under the soil and Ulenspiegel, sneezing and shaking the sand out of his hair, seized the curé by the throat:

“Inquisitor!” said he, “thou dost thrust me into the earth alive in my sleep. Where is Nele? hast thou buried her, too? Who art thou?”

The curé cried out:

“The great Beggar returneth into this world. Lord God! receive my soul!”

And he took to flight like a stag before the hounds.

Nele came to Ulenspiegel.

“Kiss me, my darling,” said he.

Then he looked round him again; the two peasants [353]had fled like the curé, and had flung down shovel and chair and sunshade to run the better; the burgomaster and the aldermen, holding their ears with fright, were whimpering on the turf.

Ulenspiegel went up to them, and shaking them:

“Can any bury,” said he, “Ulenspiegel the spirit and Nele the heart of Mother Flanders? She, too, may sleep, but not die. No! Come, Nele.”

And he went forth with her, singing his sixth song, but no man knoweth where he sang the last one of all.




Printed in Great Britain by
Richard Clay & Sons, Limited

Table of Contents



This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

This eBook is produced by the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Volume one is available from Project Gutenberg as etext 38247.

Scans are available from the Internet Archive (Volume I: 1, 2; Volume II: 1, 2).

Till Eulenspiegel is a legendary medieval figure in Germany and the Low Countries. Well known for his practical jokes and pranks that circulate in stories and printed in chap-books since the 15th century.

Charles the Coster transplanted this figure to the 16th century and gave him a role in the war of independence of the Netherlands against Spain. Although some of the pranks have survived, this is a completely different story. By some this work is considered the Belgian national epic. Curiously, even though it deals mainly with Flanders, this work was originally written in French.

An abbreviated translation of this work by Geoffrey Whitworth is available under the title The Legend of the Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the land of Flanders.

An excellent Dutch translation is also available from Project Gutenberg.

Related Library of Congress catalog page: 22009000.

Related Open Library catalog page (for source): OL7083222M.

Related Open Library catalog page (for work): OL1274405W.

Related WorldCat catalog page: 647646543.


Revision History

External References

This Project Gutenberg eBook contains external references. These links may not work for you.


The following corrections have been applied to the text:

Page Source Correction
8 trommel trommele
60 dumfounded dumbfounded
79 Blauwe-Torren Blauwe-Toren
81, 113 [Not in source] ,
85 [Not in source] to
109, 221 [Not in source] .
121, 292 [Deleted]
177 . :
189 peasant sprefer peasants prefer
208 Vengeanc Vengeance
242 thirteen nineteen
246 AttDordrecht At Dordrecht
340 alll aws all laws

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Legend of Ulenspiegel, Vol. II (of
2), by Charles de Coster


***** This file should be named 40004-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at for Project
Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously
made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation information page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at 809
North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887.  Email
contact links and up to date contact information can be found at the
Foundation's web site and official page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For forty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.