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Title: The Adventurous Simplicissimus - being the description of the Life of a Strange vagabond named Melchior Sternfels von Fuchshaim
Author: Grimmelshausen, Hans Jacob Christoph von, 1621-1676
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventurous Simplicissimus - being the description of the Life of a Strange vagabond named Melchior Sternfels von Fuchshaim" ***

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2. Book V skips numbering between Chap. xviii. and xx.

                            THE ADVENTUROUS


                              _The first English Edition of_
                              _is limited to 1000 copies_
                              _of which this is No_. 11.

[Illustration: Facsimile title page of the first German Edition.]

                           Der Abentheursiche
                                Das ist:
                   Die Beschreibung dess Lebes eines
                   seltzamen Vaganten / genant Melchior
                   Sternfels von Fuchshaim / wo und welcher
                   gestalt Er nemlich in diese Welt kommen / was
                   er darinn gesehen / gelernet / erfahren und
                   aussgestanden / auch warumb er solche wieder
                   feywillig quittirt.

                    Überauss lustig / und männiglich
                           nutzlich zu lesen.
                              An Tag geben

                           German Schleifheim
                             von Sulsfort.

                              Monpelgart /
                     Gedruckt bey Johann Fillion /
                           Im Jahr M DC LXIX.

           Facsimile title page of the first German Edition.

                            THE ADVENTUROUS


                      OF A STRANGE VAGABOND NAMED


                          WRITTEN IN GERMAN BY

                          HANS JACOB CHRISTOPH
                           VON GRIMMELSHAUSEN

                       AND NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME
                           DONE INTO ENGLISH

                           WILLIAM HEINEMANN

                            _Copyright_ 1912

                            DR. OTTO SCHLAPP

           Lecturer in German in the University of Edinburgh,
               as a tribute to his successful endeavours
                    to promote the knowledge of the
                   German Classics in Britain, and in
                       memory of a mutual friend,
                          Robert Fitzroy Bell




_Chap. i._: Treats of Simplicissimus' rustic descent and of his
upbringing answering thereto

_Chap. ii._: Of the first step towards that dignity to which
Simplicissimus attained, to which is added the praise of shepherds and
other excellent precepts

_Chap. iii._: Treats of the sufferings of a faithful bagpipe

_Chap. iv._: How Simplicissimus' palace was stormed, plundered, and
ruinated, and in what sorry fashion the soldiers kept house there

_Chap. v._: How Simplicissimus took french leave and how he was
terrified by dead trees

_Chap. vi._: Is so short and so prayerful that Simplicissimus thereupon
swoons away

_Chap. vii._: How Simplicissimus was in a poor lodging kindly entreated

_Chap. viii._: How Simplicissimus by his noble discourse proclaimed his
excellent qualities

_Chap. ix._: How Simplicissimus was changed from a wild beast into a

_Chap. x._: In what manner he learned to read and write in the wild

_Chap. xi._: Discourseth of foods, household stuff, and other necessary
concerns, which folk must have in this earthly life

_Chap. xii._: Tells of a notable fine way, to die happy and to have
oneself buried at a small cost

_Chap. xiii._: How Simplicissimus was driven about like a straw in a

_Chap. xiv._: A quaint comedia of five peasants

_Chap. xv._: How Simplicissimus was plundered, and how he dreamed of
the peasants and how they fared in times of war

_Chap. xvi._: Of the ways and works of soldiers nowadays, and how
hardly a common soldier can get promotion

_Chap. xvii._: How it happens that, whereas in war the nobles are ever
put before the common men, yet many do attain from despised rank to
high honours

_Chap. xviii._: How Simplicissimus took his first step into the world
and that with evil luck

_Chap. xix._: How Simplicissimus was captured by Hanau and Hanau by

_Chap. xx._: In what wise he was saved from prison and torture

_Chap. xxi._: How treacherous Dame Fortune cast on Simplicissimus a
friendly glance

_Chap. xxii._: Who the hermit was by whom Simplicissimus was cherished

_Chap. xxiii._: How Simplicissimus became a page: and likewise, how the
hermit's wife was lost

_Chap. xxiv._: How Simplicissimus blamed the world and saw many idols

_Chap. xxv._: How Simplicissimus found the world all strange and the
world found him strange likewise

_Chap. xxvi._: A new and strange way for men to wish one another luck
and to welcome one another

_Chap. xxvii._: How Simplicissimus discoursed with the secretary, and
how he found a false friend

_Chap. xxviii._: How Simplicissimus got two eyes out of one calf's-head

_Chap. xxix._: How a man step by step may attain unto intoxication and
finally unawares become blind drunk

_Chap. xxx._: Still treats of naught but of drinking bouts, and how to
be rid of parsons thereat

_Chap. xxxi._: How the Lord Governor shot a very foul fox

_Chap. xxxii._: How Simplicissimus spoiled the dance


_Chap. i._: How a goose and a gander were mated

_Chap. ii._: Concerning the merits and virtues of a good bath at the
proper season

_Chap. iii._: How the other page received payment for his teaching, and
how Simplicissimus was chosen to be a fool

_Chap. iv._: Concerning the man that pays the money, and of the
military service that Simplicissimus did for the Crown of Sweden:
through which service he got the name of Simplicissimus

_Chap. v._: How Simplicissimus was by four devils brought into hell and
there treated with Spanish wine

_Chap. vi._: How Simplicissimus went up to heaven and was turned into a

_Chap. vii._: How Simplicissimus accommodated himself to the state of a
brute beast

_Chap. viii._: Discourseth of the wondrous memory of some and the
forgetfulness of others

_Chap. ix._: Crooked praise of a proper lady

_Chap. x._: Discourseth of naught but heroes and famous artists

_Chap. xi._: Of the toilsome and dangerous office of a Governor

_Chap. xii._: Of the sense and knowledge of certain unreasoning animals

_Chap. xiii._: Of various matters which whoever will know must either
read them or have them read to him

_Chap. xiv._: How Simplicissimus led the life of a nobleman, and how
the Croats robbed him of this when they stole himself

_Chap. xv._: Of Simplicissimus' life with the troopers, and what he saw
and learned among the Croats

_Chap. xvi._: How Simplicissimus found goodly spoils, and how he became
a thievish brother of the woods

_Chap. xvii._: How Simplicissimus was present at a dance of witches

_Chap. xviii._: Doth prove that no man can lay to Simplicissimus'
charge that he doth draw the long bow

_Chap. xix._: How Simplicissimus became a fool again as he had been a
fool before

_Chap. xx._: Is pretty long, and treats of playing with dice and what
hangs thereby

_Chap. xxi._: Is somewhat shorter and more entertaining than the last

_Chap. xxii._: A rascally trick to step into another man's shoes

_Chap. xxiii._: How Ulrich Herzbruder sold himself for a hundred ducats

_Chap. xxiv._: How two prophecies were fulfilled at once

_Chap. xxv._: How Simplicissimus was transformed from a boy into a girl
and fell into divers adventures of love

_Chap. xxvi._: How he was imprisoned for a traitor and enchanter

_Chap. xxvii:_ How the Provost fared in the battle of Wittstock

_Chap. xxviii._: Of a great battle wherein the conqueror is captured in
the hour of triumph

_Chap. xxix._: How a notably pious soldier fared in Paradise, and how
the huntsman filled his place

_Chap. xxx._: How the huntsman carried himself when he began to learn
the trade of war: wherefrom a young soldier may learn somewhat

_Chap. xxxi._: How the devil stole the parson's bacon and how the
huntsman caught himself


_Chap. i._: How the huntsman went too far to the left hand

_Chap. ii._: How the huntsman of Soest did rid himself of the huntsman
of Wesel

_Chap. iii._: How the Great God Jupiter was captured and how he
revealed the counsels of the gods

_Chap. iv._: Of the German hero that shall conquer the whole world and
bring peace to all nations

_Chap. v._: How he shall reconcile all religions and cast them in the
same mould

_Chap. vi._: How the embassy of the fleas fared with Jupiter

_Chap. vii._: How the huntsman again secured honour and booty

_Chap. viii._: How he found the devil in the trough, and how
Jump-i'-th'-field got fine horses

_Chap. ix._: Of an unequal combat in which the weakest wins the day and
the conqueror is captured

_Chap. x._: How the Master-General of Ordnance granted the huntsman his
life and held out hopes of great things

_Chap. xi._: Contains all manner of matters of little import and great

_Chap. xii._: How fortune unexpected bestowed on the huntsman a noble

_Chap. xiii._: Of Simplicissimus' strange fancies and castles in the
air, and how he guarded his treasure

_Chap. xiv._: How the huntsman was captured by the enemy

_Chap. xv._: On what condition the huntsman was set free

_Chap. xvi._: How Simplicissimus became a nobleman

_Chap. xvii._: How the huntsman disposed himself to pass his six
months: and also somewhat of the prophetess

_Chap. xviii._: How the huntsman went a wooing, and made a trade of it

_Chap. xix._: By what means the huntsman made friends, and how he was
moved by a sermon

_Chap. xx._: How he gave the faithful priest other fish to fry, to
cause him to forget his own hoggish life

_Chap. xxi._: How Simplicissimus all unawares was made a married man

_Chap. xxii._: How Simplicissimus held his wedding feast and how he
purposed to begin his new life

_Chap. xxiii._: How Simplicissimus came to a certain town (which he
nameth for convenience Cologne) to fetch his treasure

_Chap. xxiv._: How the huntsman caught a hare in the middle of a town


_Chap. i._: How and for what reason the huntsman was jockeyed away into

_Chap. ii._: How Simplicissimus found a better host than before

_Chap. iii._: How he became a stage player and got himself a new name

_Chap. iv._: How Simplicissimus departed secretly and how he believed
he had the Neapolitan disease

_Chap. v._: How Simplicissimus pondered on his past life, and how with
the water up to his mouth he learned to swim

_Chap. vi._: How he became a vagabond quack and a cheat

_Chap. vii._: How the doctor was fitted with a musquet under Captain

_Chap. viii._: How Simplicissimus endured a cheerless bath in the Rhine

_Chap. ix._: Wherefore clergymen should never eat hares that have been
taken in a snare

_Chap. x._: How Simplicissimus was all unexpectedly quit of his musquet

_Chap. xi._: Discourses of the Order of the Marauder Brothers

_Chap. xii._: Of a desperate fight for life in which each party doth
yet escape death

_Chap. xiii._: How Oliver conceived that he could excuse his brigand's

_Chap. xiv._: How Oliver explained Herzbruder's prophecy to his own
profit, and so came to love his worst enemy

_Chap. xv._: How Simplicissimus thought more piously when he went
a-plundering than did Oliver when he went to church

_Chap. xvi._: Of Oliver's descent, and how he behaved in his youth, and
specially at school

_Chap. xvii._: How he studied at Liège, and how he there demeaned

_Chap. xviii._: Of the homecoming and departure of this worshipful
student, and how he sought to obtain advancement in the wars

_Chap. xix._: How Simplicissimus fulfilled Herzbruder's prophecy to
Oliver before yet either knew the other

_Chap. xx._: How it doth fare with a man on whom evil fortune doth rain
cats and dogs

_Chap. xxi._: A brief example of that trade which Oliver followed,
wherein he was a master and Simplicissimus should be a prentice

_Chap. xxii._: How Oliver bit the dust and took six good men with him

_Chap. xxiii._: How Simplicissimus became a rich man and Herzbruder
fell into great misery

_Chap. xxiv._: Of the manner in which Herzbruder fell into such evil


_Chap. i._: How Simplicissimus turned palmer and went on a pilgrimage
with Herzbruder

_Chap. ii._: How Simplicissimus, being terrified of the devil, was

_Chap. iii._: How the two friends spent the winter

_Chap. iv._: In what manner Simplicissimus and Herzbruder went to the
wars again and returned thence

_Chap. v._: How Simplicissimus rode courier and in the likeness of
Mercury learned from Jove what his design was as regards war and peace

_Chap. vi._: A story of a trick that Simplicissimus played at the spa

_Chap. vii._: How Herzbruder died and how Simplicissimus again fell to
wanton courses

_Chap. viii._: How Simplicissimus found his second marriage turn out,
and how he met with his dad and learned who his parents had been

_Chap. ix._: In what manner the pains of childbirth came upon him, and
how he became a widower

_Chap. x._: Relation of certain peasants concerning the wonderful

_Chap. xi._: Of the marvellous thanksgiving of a patient, and of the
holy thoughts thereby awakened in Simplicissimus

_Chap. xii._: How Simplicissimus journeyed with the sylphs to the
centre of the earth

_Chap. xvii._: How Simplicissimus returned from the middle of the
earth, and of his strange fancies, his air-castles, his calculations;
and how he reckoned without his host

_Chap. xviii._: How Simplicissimus wasted his spring in the wrong place

_Chap. xx._: Treats of a trifling promenade from the Black Forest to
Moscow in Russia

_Chap. xxi._: How Simplicissimus further fared in Moscow

_Chap. xxii._: By what a short and merry road he came home to his dad

_Chap. xxiii._: Is very short and concerneth Simplicissimus alone

_Chap. xxiv._: Why and in what fashion Simplicissimus left the world


_Chap. xix._: How Simplicissimus and a carpenter escaped from a
shipwreck with their lives and were thereafter provided with a land of
their own

_Chap. xx._: How they hired a fair cook-maid and by God's help were rid
of her again

_Chap. xxi._: How they thereafter kept house together and how they set
to work

_Chap. xxii._: Further sequel of the above story, and how Simon Meron
left the island and this life, and how Simplicissimus remained the sole
lord of the island

_Chap. xxiii._: In which the hermit concludes his story and therewith
ends these his six books



"Continuatio," _chap. xiii._: How Simplicissimus in return for a
night's lodging, taught his host a curious art

[Illustration: Frontispiece of the First Edition from the Ducal
Library. Wolf Buettel.]


The translation here presented to the public is intended rather as a
contribution to the history, or perhaps it should be said the
sociology, of the momentous period to which the romance of
"Simplicissimus" belongs, than as a specimen of literature. Effective
though its situations are, consistent and artistic though its
composition is (up to a certain point), its interest lies chiefly in
the pictures, or rather photographs, of contemporary manners and
characters which it presents. It has been said with some truth that if
succeeding romancers had striven as perseveringly as our author to
embody the spirit and reflect the ways of the people, German fiction
might long ago have reached as high a development as the English novel.
As it is, there is little of such spirit to be discovered in the prose
romances which appeared between the time of Grimmelshausen and that of
Jean Paul Richter. But the influence of the latter was completely swept
away in the torrent of idealism by which the fictions of the idolised
Goethe and his followers were characterised, and his domestic realism
has only of late made its reappearance in disquieting and sordid forms.

It should be remembered as an apology for the stress now laid upon the
sociological side of the history of the Thirty Years War, that that
side has by historians been resolutely thrust into the background. The
most detailed and painstaking narratives of the war are either bare
records of military operations or, worse still, represent merely
meticulous and valueless unravellings of the web of intrigue with which
the pedants of the time deceived themselves into the belief that they
were very Machiavels of subtlety and resource. While the Empire was
bleeding to death, the chancelleries of half Europe were intent on the
detaching from one side or the other of a venal general, or the
patching up of some partial armistice that might afford breathing-time
to organise further mischief. It does not matter much to any one
whether Wallenstein was knave or fool, but it did matter and does
matter that the war crippled for two hundred years the finances, the
agriculture, and the enterprise of the German people, and dealt a blow
to their patriotism from the like of which few nations could have
recovered. Even the character of the civil administration was
completely altered when the struggle ended. An army of capable
bourgeois secretaries and councillors had for centuries served their
princes and their fellow subjects well. It is wonderful that throughout
the devastating wars waged by Wallenstein and Weimar, and even later on
during the organised raids of Wrangel and Königsmark, the records were
kept, the village business administered (where there was a village
left), and even revenue collected with wellnigh as much regularity as
in time of peace. These functionaries, who had worked so well, were at
the end of the war gradually dispossessed of their influence, and their
posts were taken by a swarm of young place-hunters of noble birth whom
the peace had deprived of their proper employment, and whose pride was
only equalled by their incapacity. But neither particulars nor
generalisations bearing on such subjects are to be found in the pages
of professional historians; they must be sought in the contemporary
records of the people, of which the present work affords one of the few
existing specimens, or else in the work of picturesque writers who,
laying no claim to the title of scientific investigators, yet possess
the power of selecting salient facts and deducing broad conclusions
from them. Freitag's "Bilder aus der Deutschen Vergangenheit" indicates
a wealth of material for sociological study which has as yet been but
charily used; and recent German works dealing directly with the subject
are more remarkable for elegance of production than for depth of

Such being the purpose for which this translation has been undertaken,
an Introduction to it must necessarily be concerned not so much with
the bibliography of the book or even the sources, if any, to which the
author was beholden for his material, as with his own personality and
the amount of actual fact that underlies the narrative of the
fictitious hero's adventures. In respect of the first point, we are
presented with a biography almost as shadowy and elusive as that of
Shakespeare. In many ways, indeed, the particulars of the lives of
these two which we possess are curiously alike. Both were voluminous
writers; both enjoyed considerable contemporary reputation; and in both
cases our knowledge of their actual history is confined to a few
statements by persons who lived somewhat later than themselves, and a
few formal documents and entries. In Grimmelshausen's case this
obscurity is increased by his practice of publishing under assumed
names. In the score of romances and tracts which are undoubtedly his
work, we find only two to which his real name is attached. He has nine
other pseudonyms, nearly all anagrams of the words "Christoffel von
Grimmelshausen." Of these, "German Schleifheim von Sulsfort" and
"Samuel Greifnsohn vom Hirschfelt" are the best known; the latter being
the name to which he most persistently clung, and under which
"Simplicissimus" was published, though the former appears on the
title-page as that of the "editor." Only as the signature to a kind of
advertisement at the end do we find the initials of "Hans Jacob
Christoffel von Grimmelshausen," his full name. Until the publication
of a collection of his works by Felsecker at Nuremberg in 1685, the
true authorship of most of them remained unknown. But that editor, by
his allusions in the preface, practically identified the writer as the
"Schultheiss of Renchen, near Strassburg," whom he seems to have known
personally. The reasons for anonymity were, no doubt, firstly, the fact
that "Simplicissimus"  at least dealt with the actions of men yet
alive; and secondly, with regard to the other books, the continual
references to details of the author's own life and opinions. His dread
of offending a contemporary is shown by his disguising of the name of
St. André, the commandant of Lippstadt, as N. de S. A. of L. (bk. iii.,
chap. 15).

It is unnecessary here to enter into a discussion of the authorities
from whom the meagre particulars of Grimmelshausen's life are drawn. It
may suffice for our present purpose to indicate the main events of that
life. He was born at Gelnhausen, near Hanau, about 1625--probably of a
humble family. At the age of ten he was captured by Hessian (that is,
be it remembered, anti-Imperialist) troops, and became a member of that
"unseliger Tross"--the unholy crew of horseboys, harlots, sutlers, and
hangers-on who followed the armies on both sides, and sometimes
outnumbered them three to one. In 1648, the last year of the war, the
whole Imperial army only numbered 40,000 fighting men, and the
recognised camp-followers, who were commanded and kept in order by
officers significantly named the "Provosts of the Harlots," no less
than 140,000. In the preface to one of his works called the "Satyrical
Pilgrim," Grimmelshausen speaks of himself as having been "a
musqueteer" at the age of ten--a statement which is obviously to be
taken in the same sense in which Simplicissimus tells us (bk. ii.,
chap. 4) how he "served the crown of Sweden" at a similar age as a
soldier, and drew pay for it. As a matter of fact, Grimmelshausen
probably served a musqueteer or several musqueteers, just as the "Boy"
in Henry V. serves Ancient Pistol and his comrades. From another book,
the "Everlasting Almanack," we learn that he was a soldier under the
Imperialist general Götz, lay in garrison at Offenburg, the free city
alluded to in book v., chapter 20, and also for a long time in the
famous fortress of Philippsburg, of his residence in which he tells
various anecdotes. There are traces both in "Simplicissimus" and his
other books of a wide and unusual acquaintance with many lands, German
and non-German. He knows both Westphalia and Saxony well; Bohemia also:
and certainly Switzerland. The journey to Russia may have some
foundation in fact, though the statement put into the mouth of
Simplicissimus that he has himself seen the fabulous "sheep plant" (bk.
v., chap. 22) growing in Siberia considerably detracts from his
trustworthiness here. But when he left the army, and whether he ever
attained to any reputable rank therein, is quite uncertain. If 1625 be
the correct date of his birth he would be but twenty-three years old at
the conclusion of peace.

Besides his military expeditions, it is pretty clear from his works
that he had visited Amsterdam and Paris and knew them fairly well; but
for nineteen years we have no further trace of his career, till he
suddenly appears as Schultheiss, under the Bishop of Strassburg, of
Renchen, now in the Grand Duchy of Baden, a town of which he
deliberately conceals the name exactly as he does his own, by anagrams,
calling it now Rheinec, now Cernheim. In October 1667 he appears as
holding this office and issuing an order concerning the mills of the
town, which is still in existence. His wife was Katharina Henninger,
and entries have been found of the birth of two children, a daughter
and a son, in 1669 and 1675. A curious episode in the first part of the
"Enchanted Bird's-nest," quoted hereafter, seems to indicate a grave
family disappointment. In 1676 he died, aged fifty-one only, but having
reached what may almost be called a ripe age for the battered and spent
soldier of the Thirty Years War. The entry of his death is peculiarly
full and even discursive, and tells how though he had again entered on
military service--no doubt on the occasion of the French invasion in
1674--and though his sons and daughters were living in places widely
distant from each other, they were all present at his death, in which
he was fortified by the rites of Holy Church. A final touch of
uncertainty is added by the fact that we do not even know whether
Grimmelshausen was his true name: it is more likely to be that of some
small estate which he had acquired, and of which he assumed the name
when, as we learn, he was raised to noble rank.

It is plain even from this brief outline of his life that
Grimmelshausen was emphatically a self-taught man; and it is partly to
this fact that we owe the originality of his work; for he had never
fallen under the baleful influence of the pedantry of his time. He had,
it is true, picked up a deal of out-of-the-way knowledge, which he is
willing enough to set before us to the verge of tediousness. But his
learning is very superficial; he was a poor Latinist; and it is likely
that for most of his erudition he was indebted to the translations
which were particularly plentiful during that golden period of material
prosperity in Germany which preceded the terrible war. It is clear
enough that everywhere he thought more of the content than of the
literary form of his own or any other work; and for the times his
scientific and mathematical knowledge was considerable. In the field of
romance he knows, and does not hesitate to borrow from, Boccaccio,
Bandello ("Simplicissimus," bk. iv., chaps. 4, 5), and the "Cent
Nouvelles Nouvelles," while in his minor works he shows ample
acquaintance with old German legend and also with stories like that of
King Arthur of England. Lastly, we find him commending the
"incomparable Arcadia" of Sir Philip Sidney (which he would have read
in the translation of Martin Opitz) as a model of eloquence, but
corrupting and enervating in its effect upon the manly virtues
("Simplicissimus," bk. iii., chap. 18).

Yet his own earlier works are themselves in the tedious, unreal, and
stilted style of the romances of chivalry. "The Chaste Joseph,"
"Dietrich and Amelind," and "Proximus and Limpida," though widely
different in subject, are alike in this, and show no sign of the genius
which created Simplicissimus. Yet for the first-named work--the
"Joseph"--its author cherished an unreasoning affection, and even
alludes to it in our romance as the work of the hero himself (bk. iii.,
chap. 19). But it is no discredit to Grimmelshausen's originality if we
conjecture that the translations of Spanish picaresque novels (chiefly
by the untiring Aegidius Albertini), which appeared during the first
two decades of the seventeenth century, gave him the idea--they gave
him little or nothing more--of a vagabond hero. Mateo Aleman's famous
"Guzman de Alfarache" had been succeeded by two miserably poor "Second
Parts" by different authors, and in one of these there appears a
tedious episode containing the submarine adventures of the hero under
the form of a tunny-fish, to which we may conceivably owe the equally
tedious story of Simplicissimus and the sylphs of the Mummelsee. At the
end of the original book (bk. v., chap. 24) is an unblushing copy of a
passage from a work of Antonio Quevara or Guevara, also translated by

That Grimmelshausen died a Romanist is pretty clear from the entry of
his death quoted above; nor is it likely that a Protestant could have
held the office of Schultheiss under the Bishop of Strassburg. There is
also extant a curious dialogue ascribed to Grimmelshausen in which
Simplicissimus's arguments against changing his religion are combated
and finally overthrown by a certain Bonarnicus, who effects his
complete conversion. It is far from improbable that the account of his
rescue from sinful indifference at Einsiedel which Simplicissimus gives
(bk. v., chap. 2)--of course apart from the miraculous incident of the
attack on him by the unclean spirit--roughly represents the experience
of his author. That the latter had been brought up a Protestant we
simply assume from the fact that Simplicissimus is understood to have
been so; the first indication which we have of a change in his opinions
being his exclamation of "Jesus Maria!" (bk. iii., chap. 20), which
draws upon him the suspicions of the pastor at Lippstadt. But Papist or
not, our author's superstition is unmistakable.

It was indeed a time, like all periods of intense human misery, in
which men, it might almost be said, turned in despair to the powers of
hell because they had lost all faith in those of heaven. That numbers
of the unhappy wretches who suffered in their thousands for witchcraft
during the first period of the war actually believed themselves in
direct communication with the devil is certain. The Bishop of
Würzburg's fortnightly "autos-da-fé" were only stopped when some of the
victims denounced the prelate himself as their accomplice, apparently
believing it. Grimmelshausen is ready to believe anything. His
description of the Witches' Sabbath is that of a scene which he is
firmly convinced is a possible one; and he stoutly defends by a
multitude of preposterous stories the reasonableness of such conviction
("Simplicissimus," bk. ii., chaps. 17, 18). But among soldiers the most
widely spread superstition was that concerned with invulnerability. Not
only separate individuals, but whole bodies of troops were supposed to
be "frozen," or proof, at all events, against leaden bullets. Christian
of Brunswick actually employed his ducal brother's workers in glass to
make balls of that material to be used against Tilly's troops, who were
credited with this supernatural property; and when the small fortress
of Rogäz, near Dessau, was captured by Mansfeld in 1626, the assailants
were forbidden to use their fire-arms as useless; the members of the
garrison, being wizards all, were clubbed to death with hedge-stakes or
the butt-ends of musquets. In all probability this superstition arose
mainly from observation of the very small penetrating power of the
ammunition of the time. Oliver (bk. iv., chap. 14) is merely bruised on
the forehead by a bullet fired a few paces off: and bullets then
weighed ten to the pound. It is true that he has, as it seems, been
rendered ball-proof by the wicked old Provost Marshal, whose skull
Herzbruder (bk. ii., chap. 27) caused his own servant to split with an
axe at Wittstock, when no pistol could slay him: but the peasant in
book i., chapter 14, cannot be killed by a bullet fired close to his
head, perhaps by reason of the thickness of his skull. To celebrated
persons particularly the reputation of being "gefroren" attached. Count
Adam Terzky, Wallenstein's confidant, was supposed to be so protected:
the superstition regarding Claverhouse, who could only be killed with a
silver bullet, is well known: and even as late as 1792 there was a
belief among his soldiers that Frederick William II. of Prussia was
invulnerable. Grimmelshausen's adventuress "Courage" (of whom more
hereafter) is supposed to be "sword-and bullet-proof": and towards the
end of the war "Passau Tickets," or amulets protecting against wounds,
were manufactured and sold, while a host of minor magic arts, more or
less connected with invulnerability, were believed to exist. For such
tricks the passage from the generally uninteresting "Continuatio,"
which is given as Appendix B of this book, is a kind of "locus

Another whole cycle of superstitions centres round the belief in
possible invisibility of persons. Of this we have no example in
"Simplicissimus," though the whole plot of the delightful double
romance of the "Enchanted Bird's-nest" (also fully discussed hereafter)
depends on it. On the other hand, the story of the production of the
puppies from the pockets of the colonel's guests by the wizard Provost
in book, ii., chap. 22, is narrated by a man who plainly believed such
things possible; and absolute credence is given to the powers of
prophecy possessed both by old Herzbruder (bk. ii., chaps. 23, 24) and
by the fortune-teller of Soest (bk. iii., chap. 17), who is apparently
a well-known character of the times. It is noteworthy that Herzbruder
thinks meanly of the art of palmistry.

Coming to the actual career of Simplicissimus as chronicled in the
romance which bears his name, we are at the outset confronted by some
strange chronology. The boy is born just after the battle of Höchst in
1622, and is captured by the troopers when ten years old; he is with
the hermit two years (bk. i., chap. 12) till the latter's death, and
makes his first "spring into the world" after the battle of Nördlingen
in the autumn of 1634. He is in Hanau during Ramsay's rule, and spends
there the winter of 1634-5. In the spring of 1635 (there was still ice
on the town-moat) he was captured by Croats. The following eighteen
months are occupied by his adventures as a forest-thief and as a
servant-girl, and the next certain note of time we have is that of the
battle of Wittstock, September 24, 1636. There follow the happenings at
Soest and the six months internment at Lippstadt. But at the time of
the siege of Breisach, in the winter of 1638, he has long been back
from Paris; his marriage, therefore, must have taken place before the
completion of his sixteenth year. Strange as this may appear, the story
appears to be deliberately so arranged. For it will be observed that
just before the lad's capture by the Swedes it is plainly implied (bk.
iii., chap. 11) that he has not yet arrived at the age of puberty.
Grimmelshausen intends him to be a "Wunderkind"--a youthful prodigy;
and such an explanation is far more likely than that the author is
simply careless and counting on the carelessness of his readers to
conceal the incongruity. For the continual references to the time of
year at which various events happen seem to prove that he had sketched
for himself something like a chronology of his fictitious hero's life.
And it is exceedingly difficult ever to detect him in the smallest
false note of time. The date of the banquet and dance at Hanau is
exactly fixed by the capture of Braunfels in January 1635 (bk. i.,
chap. 29): and Orb and Staden _had_ both been captured before
Simplicissimus could well have delivered his oration on the miseries of
a governor (bk. ii., chap. 12). These may seem small matters, but it
must be remembered that Grimmelshausen had no Dictionary of Dates
before him. The battle of Jankow in 1645 gives us the last exact date
to be found in the book, and Tittmann is probably right in assuming
that with that engagement the author's personal connection with the war
ceased. By the time Simplicissimus returns from his Eastern wanderings
the "German Peace" had been concluded.

At the very beginning of Simplicissimus's story he is brought in
contact with at least one historical personage--James Ramsay, the
Swedish commandant of Hanau, whose heroic defence of that town is well
known. Simplicissimus is said to be the son of his brother-in-law, one
Captain Sternfels von Fuchsheim. This man's Christian name is nowhere
given; the boy is expressly said by his foster-father (bk. v., chap.
8) to have been christened Melchior after himself, and the fictitious
character of the supposed parentage seems amply proved by the fact that
the whole name, "Melchior Sternfels von Fugshaim" (as it is often
spelt), is an exact anagram of "Christoffel von Grimmelshausen." We may
therefore pass over as unmeaning the attribution to this supposed
father of "estates in Scotland." by the pastor in book i., chapter 22,
and must probably consign to the realms of imagination the lady-mother,
Susanna Ramsay, also. That Grimmelshausen was really brought in
contact, possibly as a page, with the commandant of Hanau, seems
likely. He knows a good deal of him. But of his later career he is
quite ignorant; he even repeats as true the malignant calumny
circulated by the Jesuits of Vienna to the effect that Ramsay had gone
mad with rage at the loss of Hanau (bk. v., chap. 8). As a matter of
fact, the poor man died partly of his wounds and partly of a broken
heart. The only other historic personage in the story who can be
identified with certainty is Daniel St. André, a Hessian soldier of
fortune (bk. iii., chap. 15) of Dutch descent, and commanding at
Lippstadt for the "Crown of Sweden."

For what reason Grimmelshausen wrote the "Continuatio," a dull medley
of allegories, visions, and stories of knavery, brightened only by the
"Robinsonade" at the end, it is hard to say; probably at the urgent
request of his publisher, when the striking success of the original
work became assured. It appeared at Möpelgard (Montéliard) in the very
same year, viz. 1669, as the first known edition, or more probably
editions, of the first five books, and is sometimes quoted as a sixth
book. Two years later there were issued three more "Continuations,"
even more unworthy of their author, and laying stress chiefly on
the least estimable side of the hero's character--the roguery
by which he paid his way on his journey back from France. The
worthlessness of these sequels is the more remarkable when we consider
the excellence of the other books which make up what may be called the
Simplicissimus-cycle. These are "Trutzsimplex," "Springinsfeld," the
two parts of the "Enchanted Bird's-nest," and the "Everlasting
Almanack." They are all deserving of attention.

The first, which is also known as the "Life of the Adventuress
'Courage,'" appeared immediately after "Simplicissimus," with which
it is connected by the fact that the heroine is none other than the
light-minded lady of the Spa at Griesbach, the alleged mother of
Simplicissimus's bastard son; she is also at one time the wife or
companion of "Springinsfeld" or "Jump i' th' Field," Simplicissimus's
old servant. Her history, which is narrated with extraordinary
vivacity, covers nearly the whole period of the war, and is interwoven
with the remaining books of the cycle in a sufficiently ingenious
manner. A secretary out of employ is driven by the cold into the warm
guest-room of an inn in a provincial town. Here he finds a huge old man
armed with a cudgel "that with one blow could have administered extreme
unction to any man." This is Simplicissimus, with the famous club that
had so terrified the resin-gatherers of the Black Forest
("Simplicissimus," bk. v., chap. 17). Either the episode of the Desert
Island is left out of account altogether--possibly not yet invented--or
he has not yet started on his final journey. The latter is unlikely,
for the date is indicated as 1669 or 1670. To these two enters an old
wooden-legged fiddler who turns out to be Simplicissimus's faithful
knave, "Jump i' th' Field." Of the former hero the secretary had read;
of the latter he himself had written; for meeting, as a poor wandering
scholar, with a gang of gipsies in the Schwarzwald, he had been engaged
by their queen, an aged but still handsome woman, to write her history,
on the promise of a pretty wife and good pay. He is cheated of both,
and the gipsies disappear with their queen, who is in fact the famous
"Courage" or "Kurrasche."

The daughter of unknown parents, this heroine was living in a small
Bohemian town with an old nurse when the Imperialists, under Bucquoy,
conquered the country in 1620. She was then thirteen years old, and
thus fifteen years senior to Simplicissimus. The nurse, to protect her
chastity, disguises her as a boy, and in this garb she becomes page to
a young Rittmeister, to whom, her secret having been all but discovered
in a scuffle, she reveals her sex and becomes his mistress. The name
Courage is, for amusing but quite unmentionable reasons, given to her
in consequence of this episode. To her first lover she is actually
married on his death-bed, and now begins her career nominally as an
honourable widow, but in reality as an accomplished courtesan. She
still follows the army, for which she has an invincible love, and
being, of course, "frozen" or invulnerable, takes part in various
fights, in one of which she captures a major, who, when she in turn is
taken prisoner, revenges himself on her in the vilest fashion. He is
preparing to hand her over, according to custom ("Simplicissimus," bk.
ii., chap. 26), "to the horseboys," when she is rescued by a young
Danish nobleman, who proposes to make her his wife. The terrible story
is told with an exactness of detail, which plainly can only be the work
of the witness of similar scenes, and it is to be feared represents
only too faithfully the truth as to the treatment of women in the war.
It is remarkable, however, that few officers of high rank on either
side are accused of wanton offences against public morals. Holk and
Königsmark are the only two who are charged with publicly keeping their
mistresses; and they were the two most brutal commanders of their time.
As a rule superior officers took their wives with them ("Simplicissimus,"
bk. ii., chap. 25) even to the field of battle, and if such ladies fell
into the enemy's hands, as did many after Nördlingen, they were
treated with all possible respect.

But to return to "Courage." Her Danish lover is about to marry her when
he too dies, and after this disappointment she sinks lower and lower in
the social scale, forming temporary connections successively with a
captain, a lieutenant, a corporal and finally with a musqueteer, who is
no other than our old friend "Jump i' th' Field," for whose name she
gives us a very complete and quite untranslatable reason. With him she
journeys, as a Marketenderin or female sutler, to Italy, following the
army of Colalto and Gallas, and there, with his assistance, she plays a
variety of tricks, always knavish and often highly diverting. Grown
rich, the vivandière dismisses poor "Jump i' th' Field" with a handsome
present, and again resumes her trade of a superior courtesan in the
town from which she journeys to the Spa, where she found and beguiled
Simplicissimus. Her luck now turns; owing to a scandalous adventure
under a pear-tree--the story is a mere copy of a well-known one in the
"Hundred New Novels"--she is expelled from the town with the loss of
all her money and almost of her life--so severe in the matter of public
morals were the laws, in the midst of the general welter of wickedness
then prevailing. Her beauty lost, she becomes a petty trader in wine
and tobacco, and finally marries a gipsy chief; in which position we
find her and leave her.

This story ended, the secretary and his friends in the inn are joined
by Simplicissimus's old foster-father and mother--the "Dad" and "Mammy"
of our romance--and also by young Simplicissimus, Courage's alleged
son. She has avenged herself on her faithless lover, as she tells us in
her own history, by laying at his door the child of her maid. It is for
this reason that she entitles her narrative "Trutzsimplex," or "Spite
Simplex." Her revenge, however, for reasons plainly hinted at,
miscarries; the child is her lover's after all. The merry company of
six then divert themselves during the short winter afternoon with a
profitable exhibition of Simplicissimus's tricks in the market-place,
and the night is pleasantly spent in listening to Springinsfeld's
account of his own life and adventures.

The son of a Greek woman and an Albanian juggler, he follows in early
boyhood his father's trade. Carried away from the port of Ragusa by an
accident, he is landed in the Spanish Netherlands, and there serves
under Spinola, then with that general's army in the Rhine Palatinate,
and then in Pappenheim's cavalry. He is present at Breitenfeld and
Lützen, and while temporarily out of the service falls in with
"Courage" as above narrated. On leaving her, he sets up as an
innkeeper, and prospers, but is ruined through his own incorrigible
knavery. Serving against the Turks, he is wounded, and takes to
fiddling to support himself, marrying also a hurdy-gurdy girl of loose
character. In the course of their vagabond life there occurs the
incident which leads to the most ingenious and attractive of all the
romances of the cycle.

Sitting by a stream, they see in the water the shadow of a tree with a
lump on one of the branches: on the tree itself there is no such lump.
It is a bird's-nest, invisible itself, which makes its possessor
invisible also. The wife seizes it and at once disappears, with all
their money in her pocket. She does not, however, abandon her husband
altogether, but when he goes into the neighbouring town of Munich she
slips a handful of money into his pocket. He finds that this is a part
of the proceeds of an impudent robbery just committed in the house of a
merchant, and will have none of it, but is compelled to be witness of
numerous amusing and mischievous pranks played by his wife of which he
alone knows the secret. He goes to the wars again and loses a leg,
after which he begs his way back to Munich and finds his wife dead. She
has befooled a young baker's man into believing her to be the fairy
Melusina, and after a sanguinary chance-medley in the baker's chamber,
whither she is pursued for thefts committed for his sake, is slain by a
young halberdier of the watch sent to arrest her. Her body is burned as
that of a witch, and her slayer disappears bodily. His story thus
ended, Springinsfeld is taken home by Simplicissimus to his farm, where
he dies in the odour of sanctity.

Here begins the first part of the history of the "Enchanted
Bird's-nest." The young halberdier is an honest lad, who uses his
powers for good only, and his experiences are of exceeding interest as
giving a picture of the manners of the time viewed in their most
intimate particularities by an invisible witness. We have matrimonial
infelicities circumstantially described, as likewise the efforts
of an impoverished family of nobles to keep up appearances in their
tumble-down old castle. The halberdier prevents hideous and unspeakable
crime, captures burglars who are effecting their purpose by a device
similar to that of the "hand of glory," wreaks vengeance upon
loose-living pastors and rescues the intended victims of footpads. The
adventures follow one upon another in quick succession, but are ended
by a somewhat unnecessary fit of remorse, during which the halberdier
tears up the nest. It is, however, found, and the portion which
contains its magic properties kept, by a passer-by. This First Part
ends with a fresh appearance of Simplicissimus, who is in deep grief
over the rejection by a neighbouring nobleman of his application for a
post for his son, whom the invisible halberdier has seen and helped out
of trouble in the convent where he was studying. This scene is so
utterly unconnected with the course of the narrative that it is
conjectured to refer to some real family misfortune of Grimmelshausen,
of which he is anxious to give an explanation to the public.

The new owner of the enchanted nest is the merchant whom
Springinsfeld's wife had robbed at Munich, and the "Second Part" is
occupied with the story of his wicked misuse of his powers. His actions
are the very opposite of the halberdier's, though the contrast is not
so pointed as to become inartistic. He makes use of his supernatural
facilities to seduce his own servant, to perpetrate a peculiarly filthy
act of revenge upon his faithless wife, and finally to accomplish the
crowning deception of his whole career. He makes his way into the
family of a respectable Portuguese Jew, in the first instance with a
view to robbery; but becoming enamoured of the beautiful daughter of
the house, he employs his invisibility to practise a most blasphemous
piece of knavery. He succeeds in making the unfortunate parents believe
that the maiden is destined to be the mother of the future Messiah by
the prophet Elias. The latter part he of course plays himself, and
enjoys the society of his victim till at length a child is born, which
turns out, to the general horror, to be a girl. The motive is not new
and the story is a sordid one; but it is most artistically recounted,
and an intimate knowledge of Jewish manners and ideas is displayed. The
narrative is also diversified by an element found in none of the other
romances of the cycle--acute and farsighted political discourses and
reasonings on European affairs as likely to be affected by the war then
impending with France, which ended with the treaty of Nimwegen in 1678.

Rendered desperate by his sins, though now deeply enamoured of the
unfortunate Jewess Esther, the merchant is on the verge of surrendering
himself to the power of "black magicians" of the worst and most
diabolical kind when he escapes by betaking himself to the wars.
Possessing besides his invisibility the power of rendering himself
invulnerable, he is nevertheless wounded by a "consecrated" bullet, and
finally makes his way home in poverty and misery accompanied by a pious
monk. The nest is thrown into the Rhine and disappears for ever, and
the merchant prepares to spend the remainder of his life in prayer and

The connection of the fifth work, the "Everlasting Almanack," with
Simplicissimus is nominal only. It appeared in 1670, and is a perfect
specimen of what may be called the best class of chapbooks of that day.
It is the Whitaker's Almanack of the period. Each day has its special
saints given: there are rules of good husbandry and weather
prognostics; recipes for the house, the kitchen, and the farmyard;
together with matters adapted for the higher class of readers, such as
brief scientific notices, fragments of historical interest, narratives
of marvellous occurrences, and, of course, in the spirit of the time, a
mass of particulars as to astrology and the casting of horoscopes.
Ingenious as it all is, and not without interest from the sociological
point of view the book reminds us of Simplicissimus only by its
connection with that side of his character which we would willingly
forget, but for which Grimmelshausen seems to have cherished an
unreasoning admiration, and on which he insisted more and more in his
successive works--namely his qualities as a quack and mountebank.

As already pointed out, the interest of the central romance of
"Simplicissimus" is less literary than historic, whereas German critics
in their estimate of its value have considered the first aspect only,
and their opinions are consequently little worth recording. Gervinus
for example, looking at the book from a purely artistic point of view,
finds it wanting. Other critics have followed him blindly and with a
considerable amount of underlying ignorance to boot. The accurate
Dahlmann, for example, though he reckons the romance among his
"historical sources," speaks of it as published at Möpelgard in 1669 in
six "volumes." Plainly he had never seen a copy, but had heard of the
six books (five and the "Continuation") and mistook them for volumes.
Tittmann, one of the latest editors of the work, sums up its chief
merits when he says: "Simplicissimus and the Simplician writings are
almost our only substitute, and that a poor one, for the contemporary
memoirs in which our western neighbours are so rich."

The bibliography of the book is for our purpose not important. For a
year or two editions seem to have succeeded each other with such
rapidity that it is difficult to distinguish between them; but the only
additional value which those printed later than 1670 possess is the
questionable one of including the three worthless little sequels above
referred to. Of modern editions the best, perhaps, is that of Tittmann
(Leipzig, 1877), which has been principally used for this translation.
The annotations, however, leave much to be desired; many difficulties
are left unexplained, and there are some positive mistakes, of which a
single instance may suffice. In book v., chapter 4, we find the
expression "in prima plana," which is a sufficiently well-known
military phrase of the time and means "on the first page" (of the
muster-roll), which contained the names of the officers of a company
written separately from those of the rank and file. It is explained by
Tittmann to mean "at the first estimate," and succeeding editors have
copied this, adding as a possible alternative "in the first
engagement," or "at the first start". The editions for school and
family reading which are current in Germany are, as a rule, so
expurgated as to deprive the book of much of its interest. In this
translation it has been found necessary to omit a single episode only,
which is as childishly filthy as it is utterly uninteresting.

                                                       A. T. S. G.

                                BOOK I.


There appeareth in these days of ours (of which many do believe that
they be the last days) among the common folk, a certain disease which
causeth those who do suffer from it (so soon as they have either
scraped and higgled together so much that they can, besides a few pence
in their pocket, wear a fool's coat of the new fashion with a thousand
bits of silk ribbon upon it, or by some trick of fortune have become
known as men of parts) forthwith to give themselves out gentlemen and
nobles of ancient descent. Whereas it doth often happen that their
ancestors were day-labourers, carters, and porters, their cousins
donkey-drivers, their brothers turnkeys and catchpolls, their sisters
harlots, their mothers bawds--yea, witches even: and in a word, their
whole pedigree of thirty-two quarterings as full of dirt and stain as
ever was the sugar-bakers' guild of Prague. Yea, these new sprigs of
nobility be often themselves as black as if they had been born and bred
in Guinea.

With such foolish folk I desire not to even myself, though 'tis not
untrue that I have often fancied I must have drawn my birth from some
great lord or knight at least, as being by nature disposed to follow
the nobleman's trade had I but the means and the tools for it. 'Tis
true, moreover, without jesting, that my birth and upbringing can be
well compared to that of a prince if we overlook the one great
difference in degree. How! did not my dad (for so they call fathers in
the Spessart) have his own palace like any other, so fine as no king
could build with his own hands, but must let that alone for ever. 'Twas
painted with lime, and in place of unfruitful tiles, cold lead and red
copper, was roofed with that straw whereupon the noble corn doth grow,
and that he, my dad, might make a proper show of nobility and riches,
he had his wall round his castle built, not of stone, which men do find
upon the road or dig out of the earth in barren places, much less of
miserable baked bricks that in a brief space can be made and burned (as
other great lords be wont to do), but he did use oak, which noble and
profitable tree, being such that smoked sausage and fat ham doth grow
upon it, taketh for its full growth no less than a hundred years; and
where is the monarch that can imitate him therein? His halls, his
rooms, and his chambers did he have thoroughly blackened with smoke,
and for this reason only, that 'tis the most lasting colour in the
world, and doth take longer to reach to real perfection than an artist
will spend on his most excellent paintings. The tapestries were of the
most delicate web in the world, wove for us by her that of old did
challenge Minerva to a spinning match. His windows were dedicated to
St. Papyrius for no other reason than that that same paper doth take
longer to come to perfection, reckoning from the sowing of the hemp or
flax whereof 'tis made, than doth the finest and clearest glass of
Murano: for his trade made him apt to believe that whatever was
produced with much pains was also more valuable and more costly; and
what was most costly was best suited to nobility. Instead of pages,
lackeys, and grooms, he had sheep, goats, and swine, which often waited
upon me in the pastures till I drove them home. His armoury was well
furnished with ploughs, mattocks, axes, hoes, shovels, pitchforks, and
hayforks, with which weapons he daily exercised himself; for hoeing and
digging he made his military discipline, as did the old Romans in time
of peace. The yoking of oxen was his generalship, the piling of dung
his fortification, tilling of the land his campaigning, and the
cleaning out of stables his princely pastime and exercise. By this
means did he conquer the whole round world so far as he could reach,
and at every harvest did draw from it rich spoils. But all this I
account nothing of, and am not puffed up thereby, lest any should have
cause to jibe at me as at other newfangled nobility, for I esteem
myself no higher than was my dad, which had his abode in a right merry
land, to wit, in the Spessart, where the wolves do howl goodnight to
each other. But that I have as yet told you nought of my dad's family,
race and name is for the sake of precious brevity, especially since
there is here no question of a foundation for gentlefolks for me to
swear myself into; 'tis enough if it be known that I was born in the

Now as my dad's manner of living will be perceived to be truly noble,
so any man of sense will easily understand that my upbringing was like
and suitable thereto: and whoso thinks that is not deceived, for in my
tenth year had I already learned the rudiments of my dad's princely
exercises: yet as touching studies I might compare with the famous
Amphistides, of whom Suidas reports that he could not count higher than
five: for my dad had perchance too high a spirit, and therefore
followed the use of these days, wherein many persons of quality trouble
themselves not, as they say, with bookworms' follies, but have their
hirelings to do their ink-slinging for them. Yet was I a fine performer
on the bagpipe, whereon I could produce most dolorous strains. But as
to knowledge of things divine, none shall ever persuade me that any lad
of my age in all Christendom could there beat me, for I knew nought of
God or man, of Heaven or hell, of angel or devil, nor could discern
between good and evil. So may it be easily understood that I, with such
knowledge of theology, lived like our first parents in Paradise, which
in their innocence knew nought of sickness or death or dying, and still
less of the Resurrection. O noble life! (or, as one might better say, O
noodle's life!) in which none troubles himself about medicine. And by
this measure ye can estimate my proficiency in the study of
jurisprudence and all other arts and sciences. Yea, I was so perfected
in ignorance that I knew not that I knew nothing. So say I again, O
noble life that once I led! But my dad would not suffer me long to
enjoy such bliss, but deemed it right that as being nobly born, I
should nobly act and nobly live: and therefore began to train me up for
higher things and gave me harder lessons.


For he invested me with the highest dignity that could be found, not
only in his household, but in the whole world: namely, with the office
of a shepherd: for first he did entrust me with his swine, then his
goats, and then his whole flock of sheep, that I should keep and feed
the same, and by means of my bagpipe (of which Strabo writeth that in
Arabia its music alone doth fatten the sheep and lambs) protect them
from the wolf. Then was I like to David (save that he in place of the
bagpipe had but a harp), which was no bad beginning for me, but a good
omen that in time, if I had any manner of luck, I should become a
famous man: for from the beginning of the world high personages have
been shepherds, as we read in Holy Writ of Abel, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, and his sons: yea, of Moses also, which must first keep his
father-in-law his sheep before he was made law-giver and ruler over six
hundred thousand men in Israel.

And now may some man say these were holy and godly men, and no Spessart
peasant-lads knowing nought of God? Which I must confess: yet why
should my then innocence be laid to my charge? Yet, among the heathen
of old time you will find examples as many as among God's chosen folk.
So among the Romans were noble families that without doubt were called
Bubulci, Vituli, Vitellii, Caprae, and so forth, because they had to do
with the cattle so named, and 'tis like had even herded them. 'Tis
certain Romulus and Remus were shepherds, and Spartacus that made the
whole Roman world to tremble. What! was not Paris, King Priam's son, a
shepherd, and Anchises the Trojan prince, Aeneas's father? The
beautiful Endymion, of whom the chaste Luna was enamoured, was a
shepherd, and so too the grisly Polypheme. Yea, the gods themselves
were not ashamed of this trade: Apollo kept the kine of Admetus, King
of Thessaly; Mercurius and his son Daphnis, Pan and Proteus, were all
mighty shepherds: and therefore be they still called by our fantastic
poets the patrons of herdsmen. Mesha, King of Moab, as we do read in II
Kings, was a sheep-master; Cyrus, the great King of Persia, was not
only reared by Mithridates, a shepherd, but himself did keep sheep;
Gyges was first a herdsman, and then by the power of a ring became a
king; and Ismael Sophi, a Persian king, did in his youth likewise herd
cattle. So that Philo, the Jew, doth excellently deal with the matter
in his life of Moses when he saith the shepherd's trade is a
preparation and a beginning for the ruling of men, for as men are
trained and exercised for the wars in hunting, so should they that are
intended for government first be reared in the gentle and kindly duty
of a shepherd: all which my dad doubtless did understand: yea, to know
it doth to this hour give me no little hope of my future greatness.

But to come back to my flock. Ye must know that I knew as little of
wolves as of mine own ignorance, and therefore was my dad the more
diligent with his lessons: and "lad," says he, "have a care; let not
the sheep run far from each other, and play thy bagpipe manfully lest
the wolf come and do harm, for 'tis a four-legged knave and a thief
that eateth man and beast, and if thou beest anyways negligent he will
dust thy jacket for thee." To which I answered with like courtesy,
"Daddy, tell me how a wolf looks: for such I never saw yet." "O thou
silly blockhead," quoth he, "all thy life long wilt thou be a fool:
thou art already a great looby and yet knowest not what a four-legged
rogue a wolf is." And more lessons did he give me, and at last grew
angry and went away, as bethinking him that my thick wit could not
comprehend his nice instruction.


So I began to make such ado with my bagpipe and such noise that 'twas
enough to poison all the toads in the garden, and so methought I was
safe enough from the wolf that was ever in my mind: and remembering me
of my mammy (for so they do use to call their mothers in the Spessart
and the Vogelsberg) how she had often said the fowls would some time or
other die of my singing, I fell upon the thought to sing the more, and
so make my defence against the wolf stronger; and so I sang this which
I had learned from my mammy:

    1. O peasant race so much despised,
       How greatly art thou to be priz'd?
       Yea, none thy praises can excel,
       If men would only mark thee well.
    2. How would it with the world now stand
       Had Adam never till'd the land?
       With spade and hoe he dug the earth
       From whom our princes have their birth.
    3. Whatever earth doth bear this day
       Is under thine high rule and sway,
       And all that fruitful makes the land
       Is guided by thy master hand.
    4. The emperor whom God doth give
       Us to protect, thereby doth live:
       So doth the soldier: though his trade
       To thy great loss and harm be made.
    5. Meat for our feasts thou dost provide:
       Our wine by thee too is supplied:
       Thy plough can force the earth to give
       That bread whereby all men must live.
    6. All waste the earth and desert were
       Didst thou not ply thy calling there:
       Sad day shall that for all be found
       When peasants cease to till the ground.
    7. So hast thou right to laud and praise,
       For thou dost feed us all our days.
       Nature herself thee well doth love,
       And God thy handiwork approve.
    8. Whoever yet on earth did hear
       Of peasant that the gout did fear;
       That fell disease which rich men dread,
       Whereby is many a noble dead.
    9. From all vainglory art thou free
       (As in these days thou well mayst be),
       And lest thou shouldst through pride have loss,
       God bids thee daily bear thy cross.
   10. Yea, even the soldier's wicked will
       May work thee great advantage still:
       For lest thou shouldst to pride incline,
       "Thy goods and house," saith he, "are mine."

So far and no further could I get with my song: for in a moment was I
surrounded, sheep and all, by a troop of cuirassiers that had lost
their way in the thick wood and were brought back to their right path
by my music and my calls to my flock. "Aha," quoth I to myself, "these
be the right rogues! these be the four-legged knaves and thieves
whereof thy dad did tell thee!" For at first I took horse and man (as
did the Americans the Spanish cavalry) to be but one beast, and could
not but conceive these were the wolves; and so would sound the retreat
for these horrible centaurs and send them a-flying: but scarce had I
blown up my bellows to that end when one of them catches me by the
shoulder and swings me up so roughly upon a spare farm horse they had
stolen with other booty that I must needs fall on the other side, and
that too upon my dear bagpipe, which began so miserably to scream as it
would move all the world to pity: which availed nought, though it
spared not its last breath in the bewailing of my sad fate. To horse
again I must go, it mattered not what my bagpipe did sing or say: yet
what vexed me most was that the troopers said I had hurt my dear
bagpipe, and therefore it had made so heathenish an outcry. So away my
horse went with me at a good trot, like the "primum mobile," for my
dad's farm.

Now did strange and fantastic imaginings fill my brain; for I did
conceive, because I sat upon such a beast as I had never before seen,
that I too should be changed into an iron man. And because such a
change came not, there arose in me other foolish fantasies: for I
thought these strange creatures were but there to help me drive my
sheep home; for none strayed from the path, but all, with one accord,
made for my dad's farm. So I looked anxiously when my dad and my mammy
should come out to bid us welcome: which yet came not: for they and our
Ursula, which was my dad's only daughter, had found the back-door open
and would not wait for their guests.


Although it was not my intention to take the peace-loving reader with
these troopers to my dad's house and farm, seeing that matters will go
ill therein, yet the course of my history demands that I should leave
to kind posterity an account of what manner of cruelties were now and
again practised in this our German war: yea, and moreover testify by my
own example that such evils must often have been sent to us by the
goodness of Almighty God for our profit. For, gentle reader, who would
ever have taught me that there was a God in Heaven if these soldiers
had not destroyed my dad's house, and by such a deed driven me out
among folk who gave me all fitting instruction thereupon? Only a little
while before, I neither knew nor could fancy to myself that there were
any people on earth save only my dad, my mother and me, and the rest of
our household, nor did I know of any human habitation but that where I
daily went out and in. But soon thereafter I understood the way of
men's coming into this world, and how they must leave it again. I was
only in shape a man and in name a Christian: for the rest I was but a
beast. Yet the Almighty looked upon my innocence with a pitiful eye,
and would bring me to a knowledge both of Himself and of myself. And
although He had a thousand ways to lead me thereto, yet would He
doubtless use that one only by which my dad and my mother should be
punished: and that for an example to all others by reason of their
heathenish upbringing of me.

The first thing these troopers did was, that they stabled their horses:
thereafter each fell to his appointed task: which task was neither more
nor less than ruin and destruction. For though some began to slaughter
and to boil and to roast so that it looked as if there should be a
merry banquet forward, yet others there were who did but storm through
the house above and below stairs. Others stowed together great parcels
of cloth and apparel and all manner of household stuff, as if they
would set up a frippery market. All that they had no mind to take with
them they cut in pieces. Some thrust their swords through the hay and
straw as if they had not enough sheep and swine to slaughter: and some
shook the feathers out of the beds and in their stead stuffed in bacon
and other dried meat and provisions as if such were better and softer
to sleep upon. Others broke the stove and the windows as if they had a
never-ending summer to promise. Houseware of copper and tin they beat
flat, and packed such vessels, all bent and spoiled, in with the rest.
Bedsteads, tables, chairs, and benches they burned, though there lay
many cords of dry wood in the yard. Pots and pipkins must all go to
pieces, either because they would eat none but roast flesh, or because
their purpose was to make there but a single meal.

Our maid was so handled in the stable that she could not come out;
which is a shame to tell of. Our man they laid bound upon the ground,
thrust a gag into his mouth, and poured a pailful of filthy water into
his body: and by this, which they called a Swedish draught, they forced
him to lead a party of them to another place where they captured men
and beasts, and brought them back to our farm, in which company were my
dad, my mother, and our Ursula.

And now they began: first to take the flints out of their pistols and
in place of them to jam the peasants' thumbs in and so to torture the
poor rogues as if they had been about the burning of witches: for one
of them they had taken they thrust into the baking oven and there lit a
fire under him, although he had as yet confessed no crime: as for
another, they put a cord round his head and so twisted it tight with a
piece of wood that the blood gushed from his mouth and nose and ears.
In a word, each had his own device to torture the peasants, and each
peasant his several torture. But as it seemed to me then, my dad was
the luckiest, for he with a laughing face confessed what others must
out with in the midst of pains and miserable lamentations: and such
honour without doubt fell to him because he was the householder. For
they set him before a fire and bound him fast so that he could neither
stir hand nor foot, and smeared the soles of his feet with wet salt,
and this they made our old goat lick off, and so tickle him that he
well nigh burst his sides with laughing. And this seemed to me so merry
a thing that I must needs laugh with him for the sake of fellowship, or
because I knew no better. In the midst of such laughter he must needs
confess all that they would have of him, and indeed revealed to them a
secret treasure, which proved far richer in pearls, gold, and trinkets
than any would have looked for among peasants. Of the women, girls, and
maidservants whom they took, I have not much to say in particular, for
the soldiers would not have me see how they dealt with them. Yet this I
know, that one heard some of them scream most piteously in divers
corners of the house; and well I can judge it fared no better with my
mother and our Ursel than with the rest. Yet in the midst of all this
miserable ruin I helped to turn the spit, and in the afternoon to give
the horses drink, in which employ I encountered our maid in the stable,
who seemed to me wondrously tumbled, so that I knew her not, but with a
weak voice she called to me, "O lad, run away, or the troopers will
have thee away with them. Look to it well that thou get hence: thou
seest in what plight ..." And more she could not say.


Now did I begin to consider and to ponder upon my unhappy condition and
prospects, and to think how I might best help myself out of my plight.
For whither should I go? Here indeed my poor wits were far too slender
to devise a plan. Yet they served me so far that towards evening I ran
into the woods. But then whither was I to go further? for the ways of
the wood were as little known to me as the passage beyond Nova Zembla
through the Arctic Ocean to China. 'Tis true the pitch-dark night was
my protection: yet to my dark wits it seemed not dark enough; so I did
hide myself in a close thicket wherein I could hear both the shrieks of
the tortured peasants and the song of the nightingales; which birds
regarded not the peasants either to show compassion for them or to stop
their sweet song for their sakes: and so I laid myself, as free from
care, upon one ear, and fell asleep. But when the morning star began to
glimmer in the East I could see my poor dad's house all aflame, yet
none that sought to stop the fire: so I betook myself thither in hopes
to have some news of my dad; whereupon I was espied by five troopers,
of whom one holloaed to me, "Come hither, boy, or I will shoot thee

But I stood stock-still and open-mouthed, as knowing not what he meant
or would have; and I standing there and gaping upon them like a cat at
a new barn-door, and they, by reason of a morass between, not being
able to come at me, which vexed them mightily, one discharged his
carbine at me: at which sudden flame of fire and unexpected noise,
which the echo, repeating it many times, made more dreadful, I was so
terrified that forthwith I fell to the ground, and for terror durst not
move a finger, though the troopers went their way and doubtless left me
for dead; nor for that whole day had I spirit to rise up. But night
again overtaking me, I stood up and wandered away into the woods until
I saw afar off a dead tree that shone: and this again wrought in me a
new fear: wherefore I turned me about post-haste and ran till I saw
another such tree, from which I hurried away again, and in this manner
spent the night running from one dead tree to another. At last came
blessed daylight to my help, and bade those trees leave me untroubled
in its presence: yet was I not much the better thereby; for my heart
was full of fear and dread, my brain of foolish fancies, and my legs of
weariness, my belly of hunger, and mine eyes of sleep. So I went on and
on and knew not whither; yet the further I went the thicker grew the
wood and the greater the distance from all human kind. So now I came to
my senses, and perceived (yet without knowing it) the effect of
ignorance and want of knowledge: for if an unreasoning beast had been
in my place he would have known what to do for his sustenance better
than I. Yet I had wit enough when darkness again overtook me to creep
into a hollow tree and there take up my quarters for the night.


But hardly had I composed myself to sleep when I heard a voice that
cried aloud, "O wondrous love towards us thankless mortals! O mine only
comfort, my hope, my riches, my God!" and more of the same sort, all of
which I could not hear or understand. Yet these were surely words which
should rightly have cheered, comforted, and delighted every Christian
soul that should find itself in such a plight as did I. But O
simplicity! O ignorance! 'Twas all gibberish[1] to me, and all in an
unknown tongue out of which I could make nothing: yea, was rather
terrified by its strangeness. Yet when I heard how the hunger and
thirst of him that spake should be satisfied, my unbearable hunger did
counsel me to join myself to him as a guest. So I plucked up heart to
come out of my hollow tree and to draw nigh to the voice I had heard,
where I was ware of a tall man with long greyish hair which fell in
confusion over his shoulders: a tangled beard he had shapen like to a
Swiss cheese; his face yellow and thin yet kindly enough, and his long
gown made up of more than a thousand pieces of cloth of all sorts sewn
together one upon another. Round his neck and body he had wound a heavy
iron chain like St. William,[2] and in other ways seemed in mine eyes
so grisly and terrible that I began to shake like a wet dog. But what
made my fear greater was that he did hug to his breast a crucifix some
six spans long. So I could fancy nought else but that this old grey man
must be the Wolf of whom my dad had of late told me: and in my fear I
whipped out my bagpipe, which, as mine only treasure, I had saved from
the troopers, and blowing up the sack, tuned up and made a mighty noise
to drive away that same grisly wolf: at which sudden and unaccustomed
music in that lonely place the hermit was at first no little dismayed,
deeming, without doubt, 'twas a devil come to terrify him and so
disturb his prayers, as happened to the great St. Anthony. But
presently recovering himself, he mocked at me as his tempter in the
hollow tree, whither I had retired myself: nay, plucked up such heart
that he advanced upon me to defy the enemy of mankind.

"Aha!" says he, "thou art a proper fellow enough, to tempt saints
without God's leave": and more than that I heard not: for his approach
caused in me such fear and trembling that I lost my senses and fell
forthwith into a swoon.


After what manner I was helped to myself again I know not; only this,
that the old man had my head on his breast and my jacket open in front,
when I came to my senses. But when I saw the hermit so close to me I
raised such a hideous outcry as if he would have torn the heart out of
my body. Then said he, "My son, hold thy peace: be content: I do thee
no harm." Yet the more he comforted me and soothed me the more I cried,
"Oh, thou eatest me! Oh! thou eatest me: thou art the wolf and wilt eat
me." "Nay, nay," said he, "my son, be at peace: I eat thee not."

This contention lasted long, till at length I let myself so far be
persuaded as to go into his hut with him, wherein was poverty the
housekeeper, hunger the cook, and want clerk of the kitchen: there was
my belly cheered with herbs and a draught of water, and my mind, which
was altogether distraught, again brought to right reason by the old
man's comfortable kindness. Thereafter then I easily allowed myself to
be enticed by the charm of sweet slumber to pay my debt to nature. Now
when the hermit perceived my need of sleep he left me to occupy my
place in his hut alone: for one only could lie therein. So about
midnight I awoke again and heard him sing the song which followeth
here, which I afterwards did learn by heart.

           "Come, joy of night, O nightingale:
            Take up, take up thy cheerful tale;
            Sing sweet and loud and long.
            Come praise thine own Creator blest,
            When other birds are gone to rest,
            And now have hushed their song.

      (Chorus)   "With thy voice loud rejoice;
                  For so thou best canst shew thy love
                  To God who reigns in heaven above.

           "For though the light of day be flown,
            And we in darkness dwell alone,
            Yet can we chant and sing
            Of God his power and God his might:
            Nor darkness hinders us nor night
            Our praises so to bring.
            Echo the wanderer makes reply
            And when thou singst will still be by
            And still repeat thy strain.
            All weariness she drives afar
            And sloth to which we prisoners are,
            And mocks at slumber's chain.
            The stars that stand in heaven above,
            Do shew to God their praise and love
            And honour to Him bring;
            And owls by nature reft of song
            Yet shew with cries the whole night long
            Their love to God the king.
            Come hither then, sweet bird of night,
            For we will share no sluggard's plight
            Nor sleep away the hours;
            But, till the rosy break of day
            Chase from these woods the night away,
            God's praise shall still be ours."

Now while this song did last it seemed to me as if nightingale, owl,
and echo had of a truth joined therein, and had I ever heard the
morning star or had been able to play its melody on my bagpipe, I had
surely run out of the hut to take my trick also, so sweet did this
harmony seem to me: yet I fell asleep again and woke not till day was
far advanced, when the hermit stood before me and said, "Up, child, I
will give thee to eat and thereafter shew thee the way through the
wood, so that thou comest to where people dwell, and also before night
to the nearest village."

So I asked him, what be these things, "people" and "village"?

"What," says he, "hast never been in any village and knowest not what
people or folks be?"

"Nay," said I, "nowhere save here have I been: yet tell me what be
these things, folk and people and village."

"God save us," answered the hermit, "art thou demented or very

"Nay," said I, "I am my mammy's and dad's boy, and neither Master
Demented nor Master Cunning."

Then the hermit shewed his amazement with sighs and crossing of
himself, and says he, "'Tis well, dear child, I am determined if God
will better to instruct thee."

So then our questions and answers fell out as the ensuing chapter


Hermit. What is thy name?

Simplicissimus. My name is "Lad."

H. I can see well enough that thou art no girl: but how did thy father
and mother call thee?

S. I never had either father or mother.

H. Who gave thee then thy shirt?

S. Oho! Why, my mammy.

H. What did thy mother call thee?

S. She called me "Lad," ay, and "rogue, silly gaby, and gallowsbird."

H. Who, then, was thy mammy's husband?

S. No one.

H. With whom, then, did thy mammy sleep at night?

S. With my dad.

H. What did thy dad call thee?

S. He called me "Lad."

H. What was his name?

S. His name was Dad.

H. What did thy mammy call him?

S. Dad, and sometimes also "Master."

H. Did she never call him aught besides?

S. Yea, that did she.

H. And what then?

S. "Beast," "coarse brute," "drunken pig," and other the like, when she
would scold him.

H. Thou beest but an ignorant creature, that knowest not thy parents'
name nor thine own.

S. Oho! neither dost thou know it.

H. Canst thou say thy prayers?

S. Nay, my mammy and our Ursel did uprear the beds.

H. I ask thee not that, but whether thou knowest thy Paternoster?

S. That do I.

H. Say it then.

S. Our father which art heaven, hallowed be name, to thy kingdom come,
thy will come down on earth as it says heaven, give us debts as we give
our debtors: lead us not into no temptation, but deliver us from the
kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

H. God help us! Knowest thou naught of our Blessed Lord God?

S. Yea, yea: 'tis he that stood by our chamber-door; my mammy brought
him home from the church feast and stuck him up there.

H. O Gracious God, now for the first time do I perceive what a great
favour and benefit it is when Thou impartest knowledge of Thyself, and
how naught a man is to whom Thou givest it not! O Lord, vouchsafe to me
so to honour Thy holy name that I be worthy to be as zealous in my
thanks for this great grace as Thou hast been liberal in the granting
of it. Hark now, Simplicissimus (for I can call thee by no other name),
when thou sayest thy Paternoster, thou must say this: "Our Father which
art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name: Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done
in earth as it is in heaven: give us this day our daily bread ..."

S. Oho there! ask for cheese too!

H. Ah, dear child, keep silence and learn that thou needest more than
cheese: thou art indeed loutish, as thy mammy told thee: 'tis not the
part of lads like thee to interrupt an old man, but to be silent, to
listen, and to learn. Did I but know where thy parents dwelt, I would
fain bring thee to them, and then teach them how to bring up children.

S. I know not whither to go. Our house is burnt, and my mammy ran off
and was fetched back with our Ursula, and my dad too, and our maid was
sick and lying in the stable.

H. And who did burn the house?

S. Aha! there came iron men that sat on things as big as oxen, yet
having no horns: which same men did slaughter sheep and cows and swine,
and so I ran too, and then was the house burnt.

H. Where was thy dad then?

S. Aha! the iron men tied him up and our old goat was set to lick his
feet. So he must needs laugh, and give the iron men many silver
pennies, big and little, and fair yellow things and some that
glittered, and fine strings full of little white balls.

H. And when did this come to pass?

S. Why, even when I should have been keeping of sheep: yea, and they
would even take from me my bagpipe.

H. But when was it that thou shouldst have been keeping sheep?

S. What, canst thou not hear? Even then when the iron men came: and
then our Anna bade me run away, or the soldiers would carry me off: and
by that she meant the iron men: so I ran off and so I came hither.

H. And whither wilt thou now?

S. Truly I know not: I will stay here with thee.

H. Nay, to keep thee here is not to the purpose, either for me or thee.
Eat now; and presently I will bring thee where people are.

S. Oho! tell me now what manner of things be "people."

H. People be mankind like me and thee: thy dad, thy mammy, and your Ann
be mankind, and when there be many together then are they called
people: and now go thou and eat.

So was our discourse, in which the hermit often gazed on me with
deepest sighs: I know not whether 'twas so because he had great
compassion on my simplicity and ignorance, or from that cause, which I
learned not until some years later.


So I began to eat and ceased to prattle; all which lasted no longer
than till I had appeased mine hunger: for then the good hermit bade me
begone. Then must I seek out the most flattering words which my rough
country upbringing afforded me, and all to this end, to move the hermit
that he should keep me with him. Now though of a certainty it must have
vexed him greatly to endure my troublesome presence, yet did he resolve
to suffer me to be with him; and that more to instruct me in the
Christian religion, than because he would have my service in his
approaching old age: yet was this his greatest anxiety, lest my tender
youth should not endure for long such a hard way of living as was his.

A space of some three weeks was my year of probation: in which three
weeks St. Gertrude[3] was at war with the gardeners: so was it my lot
to be inducted into the profession of these last: and therein I carried
myself so well that the good hermit took an especial pleasure in me,
and that not so much for my work's sake (whereunto I was before well
trained) but because he saw that I myself was as ready greedily to
hearken to his instructions as the waxen, soft, and yet smooth tablet
of my mind shewed itself ready to receive such. For such reasons he was
the more zealous to bring me to the knowledge of all good things. So he
began his instruction from the fall of Lucifer: thence came he to the
Garden of Eden, and when we were thrust out thence with our first
parents, he passed through the law of Moses and taught me, by the means
of the ten commandments and their explications--of which commandments
he would say that they were a true measure to know the will of God, and
thereby to lead a life holy and well pleasing to God--to discern virtue
from vice, to do the good and to avoid the evil. At the end of all he
came to the Gospel and told me of Christ's Birth, Sufferings, Death,
and Resurrection: and then concluded all with the Judgment Day, and so
set Heaven and hell before my eyes: and this all with befitting
circumstance, yet not with superfluity of words, but as it seemed to
him I could best comprehend and understand. So when he had ended one
matter he began another, and therewithal contrived with all patience so
to shape himself to answer my questions, and so to deal with me, that
better he could not have shed the light of truth into my heart. Yet
were his life and his speech for me an everlasting preaching: and this
my mind, all wooden and dull as it was, yet by God's grace left not
fruitless. So that in three weeks did I not only understand all that a
Christian should know, but was possessed with such love for this
teaching that I could not sleep at night for thinking thereon.

I have since pondered much upon this matter and have found that
Aristotle, in his second book "Of the Soul," did put it well, whereas
he compared the soul of a man to a blank unwritten tablet, whereon one
could write what he would, and concluded that all such was decreed by
the Creator of the world, in order that such blank tablets might by
industrious impression and exercise be marked, and so be brought to
completeness and perfection. And so saith also his commentator Averroes
(upon that passage where the Philosopher saith that the Intellect is
but a possibility which can be brought into activity by naught else
than by Scientia or Knowledge: which is to say that man's understanding
is capable of all things, yet can be brought to such knowledge only by
constant exercise), and giveth this plain decision: namely, that this
knowledge or exercise is the perfecting of souls which have no power at
all in them selves. And this doth Cicero confirm in his second book of
the "Tusculan Disputations," when he compares the soul of a man without
instruction, knowledge, and exercise, to a field which, albeit fruitful
by nature, yet if no man till it or sow it will bring forth no fruit.

And all this did I prove by my own single example: for that I so soon
understood all that the pious hermit shewed to me arose from this
cause: that he found the smooth tablet of my soul quite empty and
without any imaginings before entered thereupon, which might well have
hindered the impress of others thereafter. Yet in spite of all, that
pure simplicity (in comparison with other men's ways) hath ever clung
to me: and therefore did the hermit (for neither he nor I knew my right
name) ever call me Simplicissimus. Withal I learned to pray, and when
the good hermit had resolved himself to satisfy my earnest desire to
abide with him, we built for me a hut like to his own, of wood, twigs
and earth, shaped well nigh as the musqueteer shapes his tent in camp
or, to speak more exactly, as the peasant in some places shapes his
turnip-hod, so low, in truth, that I could hardly sit upright therein;
my bed was of dried leaves and grass, and just so large as the hut
itself, so that I know not whether to call such a dwelling-place or
hole, a covered bedstead or a hut.


Now when first I saw the hermit read the Bible, I could not conceive
with whom he should speak so secretly and, as I thought, so earnestly;
for well I saw the moving of his lips, yet no man that spake with him:
and though I knew naught of reading or writing, nevertheless I marked
by his eyes that he had to do with somewhat in the said book. So I
marked where he kept it, and when he had laid it aside I crept thither
and opened it, and at the first assay lit upon the first chapter of Job
and the picture that stood at the head thereof, which was a fine
woodcut and fairly painted: so I began to ask strange questions of the
figures, and when they gave me no answer waxed impatient, and even as
the hermit came up behind me, "Ye little clowns," said I, "have ye no
mouths any longer? Could ye not even now prate away long enough with my
father (for so must I call my hermit)? I see well enough that ye are
driving away the gaffer's sheep and burning of his house: wait awhile
and I will quench your fire for ye," and with that rose up to fetch
water, for there seemed to me present need of it. Then said the hermit,
who I knew not was behind me: "Whither away, Simplicissimus?" "O
father," says I, "here be more soldiers that will drive off sheep: they
do take them from that poor man with whom thou didst talk: and here is
his house a-burning, and if I quench it not 'twill be consumed": and
with that I pointed with my finger to what I saw. "But stay," quoth the
hermit, "for these figures be not alive;" to which I, with rustic
courtesy, answered him: "What, beest thou blind? Do thou keep watch
lest that they drive the sheep away while I do seek for water." "Nay,"
quoth he again, "but they be not alive; they be made only to call up
before our eyes things that happened long ago." "How;" said I, "thou
didst even now talk with them: how then can they be not alive?" At that
the hermit must, against his will and contrary to his habit, laugh: and
"Dear child," says he, "these figures cannot talk: but what they do and
what they are, that can I see from these black lines, and that do men
call reading. And when I thus do read, thou conceivest that I speak
with the figures: but 'tis not so."

Yet I answered him: "If I be a man as thou art, so must I likewise be
able to see in these black lines what thou canst see: how then may I
understand thy words? Dear father, teach me in truth how to understand
this matter."

So said he: "'Tis well, my son, and I will teach thee so that thou
mayest speak with these figures as well as I: only 'twill need time, in
which I must have patience and thou industry."

With that he wrote me down an alphabet on birchbark, formed like print,
and when I knew the letters, I learned to spell, and thereafter to
read, and at last to write better than could the hermit himself; for I
imitated print in everything.


In that wood did I abide for about two years, until the hermit died,
and after his death somewhat longer than a half-year. And therefore it
seemeth me good to tell to the curious reader, who often desireth to
know even the smallest matters, of our doings, our ways and works, and
how we spent our life.

Now our food was vegetables of all kinds, turnips, cabbage, beans,
pease, and the like: nor did we despise beech-nuts, wild apples, pears,
and cherries: yea, and our hunger often made even acorns savoury to us;
our bread or, to say more truly, our cakes, we baked on hot ashes, and
they were made of Italian rye beaten fine. In winter we would catch
birds with springes and snares; but in spring and summer God bestowed
upon us young fledglings from their nest. Often must we make out with
snails and frogs: and so was fishing, both with net and line,
convenient to us: for close to our dwelling there flowed a brook, full
of fish and crayfish, all which did help to make our rough vegetable
diet palatable. Once on a time did we catch a young wild pig, and this
we penned in a stall, and did feed him with acorns and beech-nuts, so
fatted him and at last did eat him; for my hermit knew it could be no
sin to eat that which God hath created to such end for the whole human

Of salt we needed but little and spices not at all: for we might not
arouse our desire to drink, seeing that we had no cellar: what little
salt we wanted a good pastor furnished us who dwelt some fifteen miles
away from us, and of whom I shall yet have much to tell.

Now as concerns our household stuff, we had enough: for we had a
shovel, a pick, an axe, a hatchet, and an iron pot for cooking, which
was indeed not our own, but lent to us by the said pastor: each of us
had an old blunt knife, which same were our own possessions, and no
more: more than that needed we naught, neither dishes, plates,
spoons, nor forks: neither kettles, frying-pans, gridirons, spits,
salt-cellars, no, nor any other table and kitchen ware: for our iron
pot was our dish, our hands our forks and spoons: and if we would
drink, we could do so through a pipe from the spring or else we dipped
our mouths like Gideon's soldiers. Then for garments: of wool, of silk,
of cotton, and of linen, as for beds, table-covers, and tapestries, we
had none save what we wore upon our bodies: for we deemed it enough if
we could shield ourselves from rain and frost. At other times we kept
no rule or order in our household, save on Sundays and holy-days, at
which time we would start on our way at midnight, so that we might come
early enough to escape men's notice, to the said pastor's church, which
was a little away from the village, and there might attend service.
When we came thither we betook ourselves to the broken organ, from
which place we could see both altar and pulpit: and when I first saw
the pastor go up to the pulpit I asked my hermit what he would do in
that great tub! So, service finished, we went home as secretly as we
had come, and when we found ourselves once more at home, with weary
body and weary feet, then did we eat foul food with fair appetite: then
would the hermit spend the rest of the day in praying and in the
instructing of me in holy things.

On working days we would do that which seemed most necessary to do,
according as it happened, and as such was required by the time of year
and by our needs: now would we work in the garden: another time we
gathered together the rich mould in shady places and out of hollow
trees to improve our garden therewith in place of dung; again we would
weave baskets or fishing-nets or chop firewood, or go a-fishing, or do
aught to banish idleness. Yet among all these occupations did the good
hermit never cease to instruct me faithfully in all good things: and
meanwhile did I learn, in such a hard life, to endure hunger, thirst,
heat, cold, and great labour, and before all things to know God and how
one should serve Him best, which was the chiefest thing of all. And
indeed my faithful hermit would have me know no more, for he held it
was enough for any Christian to attain his end and aim, if he did but
constantly pray and work: so it came about that, though I was pretty
well instructed in ghostly matters, and knew my Christian belief well
enough, and could speak the German language as well as a talking
spelling-book, yet I remained the most simple lad in the world: so that
when I left the wood I was such a poor, sorry creature that no dog
would have left his bone to run after me.


So had I spent two years or thereabouts, and had scarce grown
accustomed to the hard life of a hermit, when one day my best friend on
earth took his pick, gave me the shovel, and led me by the hand,
according to his daily custom, to our garden, where we were wont to say
our prayers.

"Now Simplicissimus, dear child," said he, "inasmuch as, God be
praised, the time is at hand when I must part from this earth and must
pay the debt of nature, and leave thee behind me in this world, and
whereas I do partly foresee the future course of thy life and do know
well that thou wilt not long abide in this wilderness, therefore did I
desire to strengthen thee in the way of virtue which thou hast entered
on, and to give thee some lessons for thy instruction by means of which
thou shouldest so rule thy life that, as though by an unfailing clue,
thou mightest find thy way to eternal happiness, and so with all elect
saints mightest be found worthy for ever to behold the face of God in
that other life."

These words did drown mine eyes in tears, even as once the enemy's
device did drown the town of Villingen; in a word, they were so
terrible that I could not endure them, but said: "Beloved father, wilt
thou then leave me alone in this wild wood? Must I then ...?" And more
I could not say, for my heart's sorrow was, by reason of the
overflowing love which I bore to my true father, so grievous that I
sank at his feet as if I were dead. Yet did he raise me up and comfort
me so far as time and opportunity did allow, and would shew me mine own
error, in that he asked, would I rebel against the decree of the
Almighty? "and knowest thou not," says he, "that neither heaven nor
hell can do that? Nay, nay, my son! Why dost thou propose further to
burden my weak body, which of itself is but desirous of rest? Thinkest
thou to force me to sojourn longer in this vale of tears? Ah no, my
son, let me go, for in any case neither with lamentation and tears, nor
still less with my good will, canst thou compel me to dwell longer in
this misery when I am by God's express will called away therefrom:
instead of all this useless clamour, follow thou my last words, which
are these: the longer thou livest seek to know thyself the better, and
if thou live as long as Methuselah, yet let not such practice depart
from thy heart: for that most men do come to perdition this is the
cause--namely, that they know not what they have been and what they can
or must be." And further he exhorted me, I should at all times beware
of bad company: for the harm of that was unspeakable. Of that he gave
me an example, saying: "If thou puttest a drop of malmsey into a vessel
full of vinegar, forthwith it turns to vinegar: but if thou pour a drop
of vinegar into malmsey, that drop will disappear into the wine.
Beloved son, before all things be steadfast: for whoso endureth to the
end he shall be saved; but if it happen, contrary to my hopes, that
thou from human weakness dost fall, then by a fitting penitence raise
thyself up again."

Now this careful and pious man gave me but this brief counsel, not
because he knew no more, but because in sober truth I seemed to him, by
reason of my youth, not able to comprehend more in such a case, and
again, because few words be better to hold in remembrance than long
discourse, and if they have pith and point do work greater good when
they be pondered on than any long sermon, which a man may well
understand as spoken and yet is wont presently to forget. And these
three points: to know oneself: to avoid bad company: and to stand
steadfast; this holy man, without doubt, deemed good and necessary
because he had made trial of them in his own case and had not found
them to fail: for, coming to know himself, he eschewed not only bad
company but that of the whole world, and in that plan did persevere to
the end, on which doubtless all salvation doth depend.

So when he had thus spoken, he began with his mattock to dig his own
grave: and I helped as best I could in whatever way he bade me; yet did
I not conceive to what end all this was. Then said he: "My dear and
only true son (for besides thee I never begat creature for the honour
of our Creator), when my soul is gone to its own place, then do thy
duty to my body, and pay me the last honours: cover me up with these
same clods which we have even now dug from this pit," And thereupon he
took me in his arms and, kissing me, pressed me harder to his breast
than would seem possible for a man so weak as he appeared to be. And,
"Dear child," says he, "I commend thee to God his protection, and die
the more cheerfully because I hope He will receive thee therein." Yet
could I do naught but lament and cry, yea, did hang upon the chains
which he wore on his neck, and thought thereby to prevent him from
leaving me. But "My son," says he, "let me go, that I may see if the
grave be long enough for me." And therewith he laid aside the chains
together with his outer garment, and so entered the pit even as one
that will lie down to sleep, saying, "Almighty God, receive again the
soul that Thou hast given: Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."
Thereupon did he calmly close his lips and his eyes: while I stood
there like a stockfish, and dreamt not that his dear soul could so have
left the body: for often I had seen him in such trances: and so now, as
was my wont in such a case, I waited there for hours praying by the
grave. But when my beloved hermit arose not again, I went down into the
grave to him and began to shake, to kiss, and to caress him: but there
was no life in him, for grim and pitiless death had robbed the poor
Simplicissimus of his holy companionship. Then did I bedew or, to say
better, did embalm with my tears his lifeless body, and when I had for
a long time run up and down with miserable cries, began to heap earth
upon him, with more sighs than shovelfuls: and hardly had I covered his
face when I must go down again and uncover it afresh that I might see
it and kiss it once more. And so I went on all day till I had finished,
and in this way ended all the funeral; an "exequiae" and "ludi
gladiatorii"  wherein neither bier, coffin, pall, lights, bearers, nor
mourners were at hand, nor any clergy to sing over the dead.


Now a few days after the hermit's decease I betook myself to the pastor
above mentioned and declared to him my master's death, and therewith
besought counsel from him how I should act in such a case. And though
he much dissuaded me from living longer in the forest, yet did I boldly
tread on in my predecessor's footsteps, inasmuch as for the whole
summer I did all that a holy monk should do. But as time changeth all
things, so by degrees the grief which I felt for my hermit grew less
and less, and the sharp cold of winter without quenched the heat of my
steadfast purpose within. And the more I began to falter the lazier did
I become in my prayers, for in place of dwelling ever upon godly and
heavenly thoughts, I let myself be overcome by the desire to see the
world: and inasmuch as for this purpose I could do no good in my
forest, I determined to go again to the said pastor and ask if he again
would counsel me to leave the wood. To that end I betook myself to his
village, which when I came thither I found in flames: for a party of
troopers had but now plundered and burned it, and of the peasants
killed some, driven some away, and some had made prisoners, among whom
was the pastor himself. Ah God, how full is man's life of care and
disappointment! Scarce hath one misfortune ended and lo! we are in
another. I wonder not that the heathen philosopher Timon set up many
gallows at Athens, whereon men might string themselves up, and so with
brief pain make an end to their wretched life. These troopers were even
now ready to march, and had the pastor fastened by a rope to lead him
away. Some cried, "Shoot him down, the rogue!" Others would have money
from him. But he, lifting up his hands to heaven, begged, for the sake
of the Last Judgment, for forbearance and Christian compassion, but in
vain; for one of them rode him down and dealt him such a blow on the
head that he fell flat, and commended his soul to God. Nor did the
remainder of the captured peasants fare any better. But even when it
seemed these troopers, in their cruel tyranny, had clean lost their
wits, came such a swarm of armed peasants out of the wood, that it
seemed a wasps'-nest had been stirred. And these began to yell so
frightfully and so furiously to attack with sword and musket that all
my hair stood on end; and never had I been at such a merrymaking
before: for the peasants of the Spessart and the Vogelsberg are as
little wont as are the Hessians and men of the Sauerland and the Black
Forest to let themselves be crowed over on their own dunghill. So away
went the troopers, and not only left behind the cattle they had
captured, but threw away bag and baggage also, and so cast all their
booty to the winds lest themselves should become booty for the
peasants: yet some of them fell into their hands. This sport took from
me well-nigh all desire to see the world, for I thought, if 'tis all
like this, then is the wilderness far more pleasant. Yet would I fain
hear what the pastor had to say of it, who was, by reason of wounds and
blows received, faint, weak, and feeble. Yet he made shift to tell me
he knew not how to help or advise me, since he himself was now in a
plight in which he might well have to seek his bread by begging, and if
I should remain longer in the woods, I could hope no more for help from
him; since, as I saw with my own eyes, both his church and his
parsonage were in flames. Thereupon I betook myself sorrowfully to my
dwelling in the wood, and because on this journey I had been but little
comforted, yet on the other hand had become more full of pious
thoughts, therefore I resolved never more to leave the wilderness: and
already I pondered whether it were not possible for me to live without
salt (which the pastor had until now furnished me with) and so do
without mankind altogether.


So now that I might follow up my design and become a true anchorite, I
put on my hermit's hair-shirt which he had left me and girded me with
his chain over it: not indeed as if I needed it to mortify my unruly
flesh, but that I might be like to my fore-runner both in life and in
habit, and moreover might by such clothes be the better able to protect
myself against the rough cold of winter. But the second day after the
above-mentioned village had been plundered and burnt, as I was sitting
in my hut and praying, at the same time roasting carrots for my food
over the fire, there surrounded me forty or fifty musqueteers: and
these, though amazed at the strangeness of my person, yet ransacked my
hut, seeking what was not there to find: for nothing had I but books,
and these they threw this way and that as useless to them. But at last,
when they regarded me more closely and saw by my feathers what a poor
bird they had caught, they could easily reckon there was poor booty to
be found where I was. And much they wondered at my hard way of life,
and shewed great pity for my tender youth, specially their officer that
commanded them: for he shewed me respect, and earnestly besought me
that I would shew him and his men the way out of the wood wherein they
had long been wandering. Nor did I refuse, but led them the nearest way
to the village, even where the before-mentioned pastor had been so ill
handled; for I knew no other road.

Now before we were out of the wood, we espied some ten peasants, of
whom part were armed with musquets, while the rest were busied with
burying something. So our musqueteers ran upon them, crying, "Stay!
stay!" But they answered with a discharge of shot, and when they saw
they were outnumbered by the soldiers, away they went so quick that
none of the musqueteers, being weary, could overtake them. So then they
would dig up again what the peasants had been burying: and that was the
easier because they had left the mattocks and spades which they used
lying there. But they had made few strokes with the pick when they
heard a voice from below crying out, "O ye wanton rogues, O ye worst of
villains, think ye that Heaven will leave your heathenish cruelty and
tricks unpunished? Nay, for there live yet honest fellows by whom your
barbarity shall be paid in such wise that none of your fellow men shall
think you worth even a kick of his foot." So the soldiers looked on one
another in amazement, and knew not what to do. For some thought they
had to deal with a ghost: to me it seemed I was dreaming: but the
officer bade them dig on stoutly. And presently they came to a cask,
which they burst open, and therein found a fellow that had neither nose
nor ears, and yet still lived. He, when he was somewhat revived, and
had recognised some of the troop, told them how on the day before, as
some of his regiment were a-foraging, the peasants had caught six of
them. And of these they first of all, about an hour before, had shot
five dead at once, making them stand one behind another; and because
the bullet, having already passed through five bodies, did not reach
him, who stood sixth and last, they had cut off his nose and ears, yet
before that had forced him to render to five of them the filthiest
service in the world.[4] But when he saw himself thus degraded by these
rogues without shame or knowledge of God, he had heaped upon them the
vilest reproaches, though they were willing now to let him go. Yet in
the hope one of them would from annoyance send a ball through his head,
he called them all by their right names: yet in vain. Only this, that
when he had thus chafed them they had clapped him in the cask here
present and buried him alive, saying, since he so desired death they
would not cheat him of his amusement.

Now while the fellow thus lamented the torments he had endured, came
another party of foot-soldiers by a cross road through the wood, who
had met the abovementioned boors, caught five and shot the rest dead:
and among the prisoners were four to whom that maltreated trooper had
been forced to do that filthy service a little before. So now, when
both parties had found by their manner of hailing one another that they
were of the same army, they joined forces, and again must hear from the
trooper himself how it had fared with him and his comrades. And there
might any man tremble and quake to see how these same peasants were
handled: for some in their first fury would say, "Shoot them down," but
others said, "Nay: these wanton villains must we first properly
torment: yea, and make them to understand in their own bodies what they
have deserved as regards the person of this same trooper." And all the
time while this discussion proceeded these peasants received such
mighty blows in the ribs from the butts of their musquets that I
wondered they did not spit blood. But presently stood forth a soldier,
and said he: "You gentlemen, seeing that it is a shame to the whole
profession of arms that this rogue (and therewith he pointed to that
same unhappy trooper) have so shamefully submitted himself to the will
of five boors, it is surely our duty to wash out this spot of shame,
and compel these rogues to do the same shameful service for this
trooper which they forced him to do for them." But another said: "This
fellow is not worth having such honour done to him; for were he not a
poltroon surely he would not have done such shameful service, to the
shame of all honest soldiers, but would a thousand times sooner have
died." In a word, 'twas decided with one voice that each of the
captured peasants should do the same filthy service for ten soldiers
which their comrade had been forced to do, and each time should say,
"So do I cleanse and wash away the shame which these soldiers think
they have endured."

Thereafter they would decide how they should deal with the peasants
when they had fulfilled this cleanly task, So presently they went to
work; but the peasants were so obstinate that neither by promise of
their lives nor by any torture could they be compelled thereto. Then
one took the fifth peasant, who had not maltreated the trooper, a
little aside, and says he: "If thou wilt deny God and all His saints, I
will let thee go whither thou wilt." Thereupon the peasant made reply,
"he had in all his life taken little count of saints, and had had but
little traffic with God," and added thereto with a solemn oath, "he
knew not God and had no art nor part in His kingdom." So then the
soldier sent a ball at his head: which worked as little harm as if it
had been shot at a mountain of steel. Then he drew out his hanger and
"Beest thou still here?" says he. "I promised to let thee go whither
thou wouldst: see now, I send thee to the kingdom of hell, since thou
wilt not to heaven": and so he split his head down to the teeth. And as
he fell, "So," said the soldier, "must a man avenge himself and punish
these loose rogues both in this world and the next."

Meanwhile the other soldiers had the remaining four peasants to deal
with. These they bound, hands and feet together, over a fallen tree in
such wise that their back-sides (saving your presence) were uppermost.
Then they stript off their breeches, and took some yards of their
match-string and made knots in it, and fiddled them therewith so
mercilessly that the blood ran. So they cried out lamentably, but 'twas
but sport for the soldiers, who ceased not to saw away till skin and
flesh were clean sawn off the bones. Me they let go to my hut, for the
last-arrived party knew the way well. And so I know not how they
finished with the peasants.


Now when I came home I found that my fireplace and all my poor
furniture, together with my store of provisions, which I had grown
during the summer in my garden and had kept for the coming winter, were
all gone. "And whither now?" thought I. And then first did need teach
me heartily to pray: and I must summon all my small wits together, to
devise what I should do. But as my knowledge of the world was both
small and evil, I could come to no proper conclusion, only that 'twas
best to commend myself to God and to put my whole confidence in Him:
for otherwise I must perish. And besides all this those things which I
had heard and seen that day lay heavy on my mind: and I pondered not so
much upon my food and my sustenance as upon the enmity which there is
ever between soldiers and peasants. Yet could my foolish mind come to
no other conclusion than this--that there must of a surety be two races
of men in the world, and not one only, descended from Adam, but two,
wild and tame, like other unreasoning beasts, and therefore pursuing
one another so cruelly.

With such thoughts I fell asleep, for mere misery and cold, with a
hungry stomach. Then it seemed to me, as if in a dream, that all the
trees which stood round my dwelling suddenly changed and took on
another appearance: for on every tree-top sat a trooper, and the trunks
were garnished, in place of leaves, with all manner of folk. Of these,
some had long lances, others musquets, hangers, halberts, flags, and
some drums and fifes. Now this was merry to see, for all was neatly
distributed and each according to his rank. The roots, moreover, were
made up of folk of little worth, as mechanics and labourers, mostly,
however, peasants and the like; and these nevertheless gave its
strength to the tree and renewed the same when it was lost: yea more,
they repaired the loss of any fallen leaves from among themselves to
their own great damage: and all the time they lamented over them that
sat on the tree, and that with good reason, for the whole weight of the
tree lay upon them and pressed them so that all the money was squeezed
out of their pockets, yea, though it was behind seven locks and keys:
but if the money would not out, then did the commissaries so handle
them with rods (which thing they call military execution) that sighs
came from their heart, tears from their eyes, blood from their nails,
and the marrow from their bones. Yet among these were some whom men
call light o' heart; and these made but little ado, took all with a
shrug, and in the midst of their torment had, in place of comfort,
mockery for every turn.


So must the roots of these trees suffer and endure toil and misery in
the midst of trouble and complaint, and those upon the lower boughs in
yet greater hardship: yet were these last mostly merrier than the first
named, yea and moreover, insolent and swaggering, and for the most part
godless folk, and for the roots a heavy unbearable burden at all times.
And this was the rhyme upon them:

     "Hunger and thirst, and cold and heat, and work and woe,
        and all we meet;
      And deeds of blood and deeds of shame, all may ye put to
        the landsknecht's name."

Which rhymes were the less like to be lyingly invented in that they
answered to the facts. For gluttony and drunkenness, hunger and thirst,
wenching and dicing and playing, riot and roaring, murdering and being
murdered, slaying and being slain, torturing and being tortured,
hunting and being hunted, harrying and being harried, robbing and being
robbed, frighting and being frighted, causing trouble and suffering
trouble, beating and being beaten: in a word, hurting and harming, and
in turn being hurt and harmed--this was their whole life. And in this
career they let nothing hinder them: neither winter nor summer, snow
nor ice, heat nor cold, rain nor wind, hill nor dale, wet nor dry;
ditches, mountain-passes, ramparts and walls, fire and water, were all
the same to them. Father nor mother, sister nor brother, no, nor the
danger to their own bodies, souls, and consciences, nor even loss of
life and of heaven itself, or aught else that can be named, will ever
stand in their way, for ever they toil and moil at their own strange
work, till at last, little by little, in battles, sieges, attacks,
campaigns, yea, and in their winter quarters too (which are the
soldiers' earthly paradise, if they can but happen upon fat peasants)
they perish, they die, they rot and consume away, save but a few, who
in their old age, unless they have been right thrifty reivers and
robbers, do furnish us with the best of all beggars and vagabonds.

Next above these hard-worked folk sat old henroost-robbers, who, after
some years and much peril of their lives, had climbed up the lowest
branches and clung to them, and so far had had the luck to escape
death. Now these looked more serious, and somewhat more dignified than
the lowest, in that they were a degree higher ascended: yet above them
were some yet higher, who had yet loftier imaginings because they had
to command the very lowest. And these people did call coat-beaters,
because they were wont to dust the jackets of the poor pikemen, and to
give the musqueteers oil enough to grease their barrels with.

Just above these the trunk of the tree had an interval or stop, which
was a smooth place without branches, greased with all manner of
ointments and curious soap of disfavour, so that no man save of noble
birth could scale it, in spite of courage and skill and knowledge, God
knows how clever he might be. For 'twas polished as smooth as a marble
pillar or a steel mirror. Just over that smooth spot sat they with the
flags: and of these some were young, some pretty well in years: the
young folk their kinsmen had raised so far: the older people had either
mounted on a silver ladder which is called the Bribery Backstairs or
else on a step which Fortune, for want of a better client, had left for
them. A little further up sat higher folk, and these had also their
toil and care and annoyance: yet had they this advantage, that they
could fill their pokes with the fattest slices which they could
cut out of the roots, and that with a knife which they called
"War-contribution." And these were at their best and happiest when
there came a commissary-bird flying overhead, and shook out a whole
panfull of gold over the tree to cheer them: for of that they caught as
much as they could, and let but little or nothing at all fall to the
lowest branches: and so of these last more died of hunger than of the
enemy's attacks, from which danger those placed above seemed to be
free. Therefore was there a perpetual climbing and swarming going on on
those trees; for each would needs sit in those highest and happiest
places: yet were there some idle, worthless rascals, not worth their
commissariat-bread, who troubled themselves little about higher places,
and only did their duty. So the lowest, being ambitious, hoped for the
fall of the highest, that they might sit in their place, and if it
happened to one among ten thousand of them that he got so far, yet
would such good luck come to him only in his miserable old age when he
was more fit to sit in the chimney-corner and roast apples than to meet
the foe in the field. And if any man dealt honestly and carried himself
well, yet was he ever envied by others, and perchance by reason of some
unlucky chance of war deprived both of office and of life. And nowhere
was this more grievous than at the before-mentioned smooth place on the
tree: for there an officer who had had a good sergeant or corporal
under him must lose him, however unwillingly, because he was now made
an ensign. And for that reason they would take, in place of old
soldiers, inkslingers, footmen, overgrown pages, poor noblemen, and at
times poor relations, tramps and vagabonds. And these took the very
bread out of the mouths of those that had deserved it, and forthwith
were made Ensigns.


All this vexed a sergeant so much that he began loudly to complain:
whereupon one Nobilis answered him: "Knowst thou not that at all times
our rulers have appointed to the highest offices in time of war those
of noble birth as being fittest therefore. For greybeards defeat no
foe: were it so, one could send a flock of goats for that employ: We

     "Choose out a bull that's young and strong to lead
        and keep the herd,
        For though the veteran be good, the young must
          be preferred.
        So let the herdsman trust to him, full young though
          he appears:
        'Tis but a saw, and 'tis no law, that wisdom comes
          with years."

"Tell me," says he, "thou old cripple, is't not true that nobly born
officers be better respected by the soldiery than they that beforetime
have been but servants? And what discipline in war can ye find where no
respect is? Must not a general trust a gentleman more than a peasant
lad that had run away from his father at the plough-tail and so done
his own parents no good service? For a proper gentleman, rather than
bring reproach upon his family by treason or desertion or the like,
will sooner die with honour. And so 'tis right the gentles should have
the first place. So doth Joannes de Platea plainly lay it down that in
furnishing of offices the preference should ever be given to the
nobility, and these properly set before the commons. Such usage is to
be found in all codes of laws, and is, moreover, confirmed in Holy
Writ: for 'happy is the land whose king is of noble family,' saith
Sirach in his tenth chapter; which is a noble testimony to the
preference belonging to gentle birth. And even if one of your kidney be
a good soldier enough that can smell powder and play his part well in
every venture, yet is he not therefore capable of command of others:
which quality is natural to gentlemen, or at least customary to them
from their youth up. And so saith Seneca, 'A hero's soul hath this
property, that 'tis ever alert in search of honour: and no lofty spirit
hath pleasure in small and unworthy things.' Moreover, the nobles have
more means to furnish their inferior officers with money and to procure
recruits for their weak companies than a peasant. And so to follow the
common proverb, it were not well to put the boor above the gentleman;
yea, and the boors would soon become too high-minded if they be made
lords straightway; for men say:

    "'Where will ye find a sharper sword, than peasant
      churl that's made a lord?'

"Now had the peasants, by reason of long and respectable custom,
possessed all offices in war and elsewhere, of a surety they would have
let no gentleman into such. Yea, and besides, though ye soldiers of
Fortune, as ye call yourselves, be often willingly helped to raise
yourselves to higher ranks, yet ye are commonly so worn out that when
they try you and would find you a better place, they must hesitate to
promote you; for the heat of your youth is cooled down and your only
thought is how ye can tend and care for your sick bodies which, by
reason of much hardships, be crippled and of little use for war: yea,
and a young dog is better for hunting than an old lion."

Then answered the old sergeant, "And what fool would be a soldier, if
he might not hope by his good conduct to be promoted, and so rewarded
for faithful service? Devil take such a war as that! For so 'tis all
the same whether a man behave himself well or ill! Often did I hear our
old colonel say he wanted no soldier in his regiment that had not the
firm intention to become a general by his good conduct. And all the
world must acknowledge that 'tis those nations which promote common
soldiers, that are good soldiers too, that win victories, as may be
seen in the case of the Turks and Persians; so says the verse

    "'Thy lamp is bright: yet feed it well with oil: an
        thou dost not the flame sinks down and dies.
      So by rewards repay the soldiers toil, for service
        brave demands its pay likewise.'"

Then answered Nobilis: "If we see brave qualities and in an honest man,
we shall not overlook them: for at this very time see how many there be
who from the plough, from the needle, from shoemaking, and from
shepherding have done well by themselves, and by such bravery have
raised themselves up far above the poorer nobility to the ranks of
counts and barons. Who was the Imperialist John de Werth? Who was the
Swede Stalhans? Who were the Hessians, Little Jakob and St. André? Of
their kind there were many yet well known whom I, for brevity's sake,
forbear to mention. So is it nothing new in the present time, nor will
it be otherwise in the future, that honest men attain by war to great
honours, as happened also among the ancients. Tamburlaine became a
mighty king and the terror of the whole world, which was before but a
swineherd: Agathocles, King of Sicily, was son of a potter; Emperor
Valentinian's father was a ropemaker; Maurice the Cappadocian, a slave,
was emperor after Tiberius II.; Justin, that reigned before Justinian,
was before he was emperor a swineherd; Hugh Capet, a butcher's son, was
afterward King of France; Pizarro likewise a swineherd, which
afterwards was marquess in the West Indies, where he had to weigh out
his gold in hundredweights."

The sergeant answered: "All this sounds fair enough for my purpose: yet
well I see that the doors by which we might win to many dignities be
shut against us by the nobility. For as soon as he is crept out of his
shell, forthwith your nobleman is clapped into such a position as we
cannot venture to set our thoughts upon, howbeit we have done more than
many a noble who is now appointed a colonel. And just as among the
peasants many noble talents perish for want of means to keep a lad at
his studies, so many a brave soldier grows old under the weight of a
musquet, that more properly deserved a regiment and could have tendered
great services to his general."


I cared no longer to listen to this old ass, but grudged him not his
complaints, for often he himself had beaten poor soldiers like dogs. I
turned again to the trees whereof the whole land was full and saw how
they swayed and smote against each other: and the fellows tumbled off
them in batches. Now a crack; now a fall. One moment quick, the next
dead. In a moment one lost an arm, another a leg, the third his head.
And as I looked methought all trees I saw were but one tree, at whose
top sat the war-god Mars, and which covered with its branches all
Europe. It seemed to me this tree could have overshadowed the whole
world: but because it was blown about by envy and hate, by suspicion
and unfairness, by pride and haughtiness and avarice, and other such
fair virtues, as by bitter north winds, therefore it seemed thin and
transparent: for which reason one had writ on its trunk these rhymes:

     "The holmoak by the wind beset and brought to ruin,
      Breaks its own branches down and proves its own undoing.
      By civil war within and brothers' deadly feud
      Alls topsy-turvy turned and misery hath ensued."

By the mighty roaring of these cruel winds and the noise of the
breaking of the tree itself I was awoke from my sleep, and found myself
alone in my hut. Then did I again begin to ponder what I should do. For
to remain in the wood was impossible, since I had been so utterly
despoiled that I could not keep myself: nothing remained to me but a
few books which lay strewn about in confusion. And when with weeping
eyes I took these up to read, calling earnestly upon God that He would
lead and guide me whither I should go, I found by chance a letter which
my hermit had writ in his lifetime, and this was the content of it.
"Beloved Simplicissimus, when thou findest this letter, go forthwith
out of the forest and save thyself and the pastor from present
troubles: for he hath done me much good. God, whom thou must at all
times have before thine eyes and earnestly pray to, will bring thee to
the place which is best for thee. Only keep Him ever in thy sight and
be diligent ever to serve Him as if thou wert still in my presence in
the wood. Consider and follow without ceasing my last words, and so
mayest thou stand firm. Farewell."

I kissed this letter and the hermit's grave many thousand times, and
started on my way to seek for mankind. Yet before I could find them I
journeyed straight on for two whole days, and when night overtook me,
sought out a hollow tree for my shelter, and my food was naught but
beech-nuts which I picked up on the way: but on the third day I came to
a pretty open field near Gelnhausen, and there I enjoyed a veritable
banquet, for the whole place was full of wheatsheaves which the
peasants, being frightened away after the great battle of Nördlingen,
had for my good fortune not been able to carry off. Inside a sheaf I
set up my tent, for 'twas cruel cold, and filled my belly with the ears
of corn which I rubbed in my hands: and such a meal I had not enjoyed
for a long time.


When 'twas day I fed myself again with wheat, and thereafter betook
myself to Gelnhausen, and there I found the gates open and partly
burnt, yet half barricaded with dung. So I went in, but was ware of no
living creature there. Indeed the streets were strewn here and there
with dead, some of whom were stripped to their shirts, some stark
naked. This was a terrifying spectacle, as any man can imagine. I, in
my simplicity, could not guess what mishap had brought the place to
such a plight. But not long after I learned that the Imperialists
had surprised a few of Weimar's folk there. And hardly had I gone
two-stones'-throw into the town when I had seen enough: so I turned me
about and went across the meadows, and presently I came to a good road
which brought me to the fine fortress of Hanau. When I came to the
first sentries I tried to pass; but two musqueteers made at me, who
seized me and took me off to their guard-room.

Now must I first describe to the reader my wonderful dress at that
time, before I tell him how I fared further. For my clothing and
behaviour were altogether so strange, astonishing, and uncouth, that
the governor had my picture painted. Firstly, my hair had for two years
and a half never been cut either Greek, German, or French fashion, nor
combed nor curled nor puffed, but stood in its natural wildness with
more than a year's dust strewn on it instead of hair plunder or powder,
or whatever they call the fools' work--and that so prettily that I
looked with my pale face underneath it, like a great white owl that is
about to bite or else watching for a mouse. And because I was
accustomed at all times to go bareheaded and my hair was curly, I had
the look of wearing a Turkish turban. The rest of my garb answered to
my head-gear; for I had on my hermit's coat, if I may now call it a
coat at all, for the stuff out of which 'twas fashioned at first was
now clean gone and nothing more remaining of it but the shape, which
more than a thousand little patches of all colours, some put side by
side, some sewn upon one another with manifold stitches, still
represented. Over this decayed and yet often improved coat I wore the
hair-shirt mantle-fashion, for I needed the sleeves for breeches and
had cut them off for that purpose. But my whole body was girt about
with iron chains, most deftly disposed crosswise behind and before like
the pictures of St. William; so that all together made up a figure like
them that have once been captured by the Turks and now wander through
the land begging for their friends still in captivity. My shoes were
cut out of wood and the laces woven out of strips of lime-bark: and my
feet looked like boiled lobsters, as I had had on stockings of the
Spanish national colour or had dyed my skin with logwood. In truth I
believe if any conjurer, mountebank, or stroller had had me and had
given me out for a Samoyede or a Greenlander, he would have found many
a fool that would have wasted a kreutzer on me. Yet though any man in
his wits could easily conclude, from my thin and starved looks and my
decayed clothes, I came neither from a cook-shop nor a lady's bower,
and still less had played truant from any great lord's court,
nevertheless I was strictly examined in the guard-room, and even as the
soldiers gaped at me so was I filled with wonder at the mad apparel of
their officer to whom I must answer and give account. I knew not if it
were he or she: for he wore his hair and beard French fashion, with
long tails hanging down on each side like horse-tails, and his beard
was so miserably handled and mutilated that between mouth and nose
there were but a few hairs, and those had come off so ill that one
could scarce see them. And not less did his wide breeches leave me in
no small doubt of his sex, being such that they were as like a woman's
petticoats as a man's breeches. So I thought, if this be a man he
should have a proper beard, since the rogue is not so young as he
pretends: but if a woman, why hath the old witch so much stubble round
her mouth? Sure 'tis a woman, thought I, for no honest man would ever
let his beard be so lamentably bedevilled, seeing that even goats for
pure shamefacedness venture not a step among a strange flock when their
beards are clipped. So as I stood in doubt, knowing not of modern
fashions, at last I held he was man and woman at once. And this mannish
woman or this womanish man had me thoroughly searched, but could find
nothing on me but a little book of birch-bark wherein I had written
down my daily prayers, and had also left the letter which my pious
hermit, as I have said in the last chapter, had bequeathed me for his
farewell: that he took from me: but I, being loath to part from it,
fell down before him and clasped both his knees and, "O my good
Hermaphrodite," says I, "leave me my little prayer-book." "Thou fool,"
he answered, "who the devil told thee my name was Hermann?" And
therewith commanded two soldiers to lead me to the Governor, giving
them the book to take with them: for indeed this fop, as I at once did
note, could neither read nor write himself.

So I was led into the town, and all ran together as if a sea-monster
were on show; and according as each one regarded me so each made
something different out of me. Some deemed me a spy, others a wild man,
and some even a spirit, a spectre, or a monster, that should portend
some strange happening. Some, too, there were that counted me a mere
fool, and they had indeed come nearest to the mark had I not had the
knowledge of God our Father.


Now when I was brought before the Governor he asked me whence I came. I
said I knew not. Then said he again "Whither wilt thou?" and again I
answered, "I know not." "What the devil dost thou know, then?" says he,
"What is thy business?" I answered as before, I knew not. He asked,
"Where dost thou dwell?" and as I again answered I knew not, his
countenance was changed, I know not whether from anger or astonishment.
But inasmuch as every man is wont to suspect evil, and specially the
enemy being in the neighbourhood, having just, as above narrated,
captured Gelnhausen and therein put to shame a whole regiment of
dragoons, he agreed with them that held me for a traitor or a spy, and
ordered that I should be searched. But when he learned from the
soldiers of the watch that this was already done, and nothing more
found on me than the book there present which they delivered to him, he
read a line or two therein and asked who had given me the book. I
answered it was mine from the beginning: for I had made it and written
it. Then he asked, "Why upon birch-bark?" I answered, because the bark
of other trees was not fitted therefore. "Thou rascal," says he, "I ask
why thou didst not write on paper." "Oh!" I answered him, "we had none
in the wood." The governor asked, "Where, in what wood?" And again I
paid him in my old coin and said I did not know. Then the governor
turned to some of his officers that waited on him and said, "Either
this is an arch-rogue, or else a fool: and a fool he cannot be, that
can write so well." And as he spake, he turned over the leaves to shew
them my fine handwriting, and that so sharply that the hermit's letter
fell out: and this he had picked up, while I turned pale, for that I
held for my chiefest treasure and holy relic. That the Governor noted
and conceived yet greater suspicion of treason, specially when he had
opened and read the letter, "for," says he, "I surely know this hand
and know that it is written by an officer well known to me: yet can I
not remember by whom." Also the contents seemed to him strange and not
to be understood: for he said, "This is without doubt a concerted
language, which none other can understand save him to whom it is
imparted." Then asking me my name, when I said Simplicissimus, "Yes,
yes," says he, "thou art one of the right kidney. Away, away: put him
at once in irons, hand and foot."

So the two before-mentioned soldiers marched off with me to my bespoken
lodging, namely, the lock-up, and handed me over to the gaoler, which,
in accordance with his orders, adorned me with iron bands and chains on
hands and feet, as if I had not had enough to carry with those that I
had already bound round my body. Nor was this way of welcoming me
enough for the world, but there must come hangmen and their satellites,
with horrible instruments of torture, which made my wretched plight
truly grievous, though I could comfort myself with my innocence. "O!
God!" says I to myself, "how am I rightly served! To this end did
Simplicissimus run from the service of God into the world, that such a
misbirth of Christianity should receive the just reward which he hath
deserved for his wantonness! O, thou unhappy Simplicissimus, whither
hath thine ingratitude led thee! Lo, God hath hardly brought thee to
the knowledge of Him and into His service when thou, contrariwise, must
run off from His employ and turn thy back on Him. Couldest thou not go
on eating of acorns and beans as before, and so serving thy Creator?
Didst thou not know that thy faithful hermit and teacher had fled from
the world and chosen the wilderness? O stupid stock, thou didst leave
it in the hope to satisfy thy loose desire to see the world. And
behold, while thou thinkest to feed thine eyes, thou must in this maze
of dangers perish and be destroyed. Couldst thou not, unwise creature,
understand before this, that thy ever-blessed teacher would never have
left the world for that hard life which he led in the desert, if he had
hoped to find in the world true peace, and real rest, and eternal
salvation? O poor Simplicissimus, go thy way and receive the reward of
the idle thoughts thou hast cherished and thy presumptuous folly. Thou
hast no wrong to complain of, neither any innocence to comfort thee
with, for thou hast hastened to meet thine own torment and the death to
follow thereafter." So I bewailed myself, and besought God for
forgiveness and commended my soul to Him. In the meanwhile we drew near
to the prison, and when my need was greatest then was God's help
nearest: for as I was surrounded by the hangman's mates, and stood
there before the gaol with a great multitude of folk to wait till it
was opened and I could be thrust in, lo, my good pastor, whose village
had so lately been plundered and burned, must also see what was toward
(himself being also under arrest). So as he looked out of window and
saw me, he cried loudly, "O Simplicissimus, is it thou?"

When this I heard and saw, I could not help myself, but must lift up
both hands to him and cry, "O father, father, father." So he asked what
had I done. I answered, I knew not: they had brought me there of a
certainty because I had deserted from the forest. But when he learned
from the bystanders that they took me for a spy, he begged they would
make a stay with me till he had explained my case to the Lord Governor,
for that would be of use for my deliverance and for his, and so would
hinder the Governor from dealing wrongfully with both of us, since he
knew me better than could any man.


So 'twas allowed him to go to the Governor, and a half-hour thereafter
I was fetched out likewise and put in the servitors' room, where were
already two tailors, a shoemaker with shoes, a haberdasher with
stockings and hats, and another with all manner of apparel, so that I
might forthwith be clothed. Then took they off my coat, chains and all,
and the hair-shirt, by which the tailors could take their measure
aright: next appeared a barber with his lather and his sweet-smelling
soaps, but even as he would exercise his art upon me came another order
which did grievously terrify me: for it ran, I should put on my old
clothes again. Yet 'twas not so ill meant as I feared: for there came
presently a painter with all his colours, namely vermilion and cinnabar
for my eyelids, indigo and ultramarine for my coral lips, gamboge and
ochre and yellow lead for my white teeth, which I was licking for sheer
hunger, and lamp-black and burnt umber for my golden hair, white lead
for my terrible eyes and every kind of paint for my weather-coloured
coat: also had he a whole handful of brushes. This fellow began to gaze
upon me, to take a sketch, to lay in a background and to hang his head
on one side, the better to compare his work exactly with my figure: now
he changed the eyes, now the hair, presently the nostrils; and, in a
word, all he had not at first done aright, till at length he had
executed a model true to nature; for a model Simplicissimus was. And
not till then might the barber whisk his razor over me: who twitched my
head this way and that and spent full an hour and a half over my hair:
and thereafter trimmed it in the fashion of that day: for I had hair
enough and to spare. After that he brought me to a bathroom and
cleansed my thin, starved body from more than three or four years'
dirt. And scarce was he ended when they brought me a white shirt, shoes
and stockings, together with a ruff or collar, and hat and feather.
Likewise the breeches were finely made and trimmed with gold lace; so
all that was wanted was the cloak, and upon that the tailors were at
work with all haste. Then came the cook with a strong broth and the
maid with a cup of drink: and there sat my lord Simplicissimus like a
young count, in the best of tempers. And I ate heartily though I knew
not what they would do with me: for as yet I had never heard of the
"condemned man's supper," and therefore the partaking of this glorious
first meal was to me so pleasant and sweet that I cannot sufficiently
express, declare, and boast of it to mankind; yea, hardly do I believe
I ever tasted greater pleasure in my life than then. So when the cloak
was ready I put it on, and in this new apparel shewed such an awkward
figure that it might seem one had dressed up a hedge-stake: for the
tailors had been ordered of intent to make the clothes too big for me,
in the hope I should presently put more flesh on, which, considering
the excellence of my feeding, seemed like to happen. But my forest
dress, together with the chains and all appurtenances, were conveyed
away to the museum, there to be added to other rare objects and
antiquities, and my portrait, of life size, was set hard by.

So after his supper, his lordship myself was put to bed in such a bed
as I had never seen or heard of in my dad's house or while I dwelt with
my hermit: yet did my belly so growl and grumble the whole night
through that I could not sleep, perchance for no other reason than that
it knew not yet what was good or because it wondered at the delightful
new foods which had been given to it: but for me, I lay there quiet
until the sweet sun shone bright again (for 'twas cold) and reflected
what strange adventures I had passed through in a few days, and how God
my Father had so truly helped me and brought me into so goodly an


The same morning the Governor's chamberlain commanded me, I should go
to the before-mentioned pastor, and there learn what his lordship had
said to him in my affair. Likewise he sent an orderly to bring me to
him. Then the pastor took me into his library, and there he sat down
and bade me also sit down, and says he, "My good Simplicissimus, that
same hermit with whom thou didst dwell in the wood was not only the
Lord Governor's brother-in-law, but also his staunch supporter in war
and his chiefest friend. As it pleased the Governor to tell me, the
same from his youth up had never failed either in the bravery of an
heroical soldier nor in that godliness and piety which became the
holiest of men: which two virtues it is not usual to find united. Yet
his spiritual mind, coupled with adverse circumstances, so checked the
course of his earthly happiness that he rejected his nobility and
resigned certain fine estates in Scotland where he was born, and
despised such because all worldly affairs now seemed to him vain,
foolish, and contemptible. In a word, he hoped to exchange his earthly
eminence for a better glory to come, for his noble spirit had a disgust
at all temporal display, and all his thoughts and desires were set on
that poor miserable life wherein thou didst find him in the forest and
wherein thou didst bear him company till his death." "And in my
opinion," said the pastor, "he had been seduced thereto by his reading
of many popish books concerning the lives of the ancient eremites. Yet
will I not conceal from thee how he came into the Spessart, and, in
accord with his wish, into such a miserable hermit's life, that thou
mayest hereafter be able to tell others thereof: for the second night
after that bloody battle of Höchst was lost, he came alone and
unattended to my parsonage-house, even as I, my wife, and children were
fallen asleep, and that towards morning, for because of the noise all
over the country which both pursuers and pursued are wont to make in
such cases, we had been awake all the night before and half of this
present one. At first he knocked gently, and then sharply enough, till
he wakened me and my sleep-drunken folk: and when I at his request, and
after short exchange of words, which was on both sides full cautious,
had opened the door, I saw the cavalier dismount from his mettlesome
steed. His costly clothing was as thickly sprinkled with the blood of
his enemies as it was decked with gold and silver; and inasmuch as he
still held his drawn sword in his hand, fear and terror came upon me.
Yet when he sheathed his sword and shewed nothing but courtesy I must
wonder that so noble a gentleman should so humbly beg a poor village
pastor for shelter. And by reason of his handsome person and his noble
carriage I addressed myself to him as to the Count of Mansfield
himself: but said he, he could for this once be not only compared to
the Count of Mansfield in respect of ill fortune but even preferred
before him. Three things did he lament: first, the loss of his lady,
and her near her delivery, and then the loss of his battle; and last of
all, that he had not had the luck to die therein, as did other honest
soldiers, for the Evangelical cause. Then would I comfort him, but saw
that his noble heart needed no comfort: so I set before him what the
house afforded and bade them make for him a soldier's bed of clean
straw, for in no other would he lie though much he needed rest. The
next morning, the first thing he did was to give me his horse and his
money (of which he had with him no mean sum in gold), and did share
divers costly rings among my wife, children, and servants. This could I
not understand in him, seeing that soldiers be wont far rather to take
than to give: and therefore I had doubts whether to receive so great
presents, and gave as a pretext that I had not deserved so much from
him nor could again repay him: besides, said I, if folk saw such
riches, and specially the splendid horse, which could not be hid, in my
possession, many would conclude I had robbed or murdered him. But he
said I should live without care on that score, for he would protect me
from such danger with his own handwriting, yea, and he would desire to
carry away out of my parsonage not even his shirt, let alone his
clothes: and therewith he opened his design to become a hermit. I
fought against that with might and main, for methought such a plan
smacked of Popery, reminding him that he could serve the Gospel more
with his sword, but in vain: for he argued so long and stoutly with me
that at last I gave in and provided him with those books, pictures, and
furniture which thou didst find in his hut. Yet would he take nothing
in return for all that he had presented to me save only the coverlet of
wool, under which he had slept on the straw that night: and out of that
he had a coat made. And my wagon chains (those which he always wore)
must I exchange with him for a golden one whereon he wore his lady's
portrait, so that he kept for himself neither money nor money's worth.
Then my servant led him to the wildest part of the wood, and there
helped him to build his hut. And in what manner he there spent his
life, and with what help at times I did assist him, thou knowest as
well as I, yea, in part better.

"Now when lately the Battle of Nördlingen was lost and I, as thou
knowest, was clean stripped of all and also evilly handled, I fled
hither for safety; besides, I had here my chief possessions. And when
my ready money was about to fail me, I took three rings and the
before-mentioned chain, together with the portrait that I had from the
hermit, among which was his signet-ring, and took them to a Jew, to
turn them into money. But he, on account of their value and fine
workmanship, took them to the Governor to sell, who forthwith knew the
arms and portrait, and sent for me and asked where I had gotten such
treasures. So I told him the truth and shewed him the hermit's
handwriting or deed of gift, and narrated to him all his story; also
how he had lived and died in the wood. Such a tale he could not
believe, but put me under arrest, till he could better learn the truth;
and while he was at work sending out a party to take a survey of the
dwelling and to fetch thee hither, here I beheld thee brought to the
tower. Now seeing that the Governor hath no longer cause to doubt of my
story, and seeing that I can call to witness the place where the hermit
dwelt, and likewise thee and other living deponents, and most of all my
sexton, which so often admitted thee and him to the church before day,
and specially since the letter which he found in thy book of prayer
doth afford an excellent testimony not only of the truth, but of the
late hermit's holiness: therefore he will shew favour to me and thee
for the sake of his dear departed brother-in-law. And now hast thou
only to decide what thou wouldest he should do for thee. An thou wilt
study, he pays the cost: desirest thou to learn a trade, he will have
thee taught one: but if thou wilt stay with him he will hold thee as
his own child: for he said if even a dog came to him from his departed
brother-in-law he would cherish it." So I answered, 'twas all one to me
what the Lord Governor would do with me.


Now did the pastor keep me at his lodging till ten of the clock before
he would go with me to the Governor, to tell him of my resolve: for so
could he be his guest at dinner: for the Governor kept open house: 'tis
true Hanau was then blockaded, and with the common folk times were so
hard (especially with them that had fled for refuge to the fortress)
that some who seemed to themselves to be somewhat, were not ashamed to
pick up the frozen turnip-peelings in the streets, which the rich had
cast away. And my pastor was so lucky that he got to sit by the
Governor at the head of the table, while I waited on them with a plate
in my hand as the chamberlain taught me, to which business I was as
well fitted as an ass to play chess. Yet my pastor made good with his
tongue what the awkwardness of my person failed in. For he said I had
been reared in the wilderness, and had never dwelt among men, and
therefore must be excused, because I could not yet know how to carry
myself: yet the faithfulness I had shewn to the hermit and the hard
life I had endured with him were wonderful, and that alone deserved
that folk should not only have patience with my awkwardness but should
even put me before the finest young nobleman. Furthermore, he related
how the hermit had found all his joy in me because, as he often said, I
was so like in face to his dear lady, and that he had often marvelled
at my steadfastness and unchangeable will to remain with him, as also
at many other virtues which he praised in me. Lastly, he could not
enough declare with what earnest fervency the hermit had, just before
his death, commended me to him (the pastor) and had confessed he loved
me as his own child. This tickled my ears so much that methought I had
already received satisfaction enough for all I had endured with the

Then the Governor asked, did not his late brother-in-law know he was
commandant of Hanau. "Yea, truly," answered the pastor, "for I told him
myself: but he listened as coldly (yet with a joyful face and a gentle
smile) as he had never known any Ramsay, so that even now when I think
thereupon, I must wonder at this man's resolution and firm purpose,
that he could bring his heart to this: not only to renounce the world
but even to put out of his mind his best friend, when he had him close
at hand."

Then were the Governor's eyes full of tears, who yet had no soft
woman's heart but was a brave and heroical soldier; and says he, "Had I
known he was yet alive and where he was to be found, I would have had
him fetched even against his will, that I might repay his kindnesses:
but since Fortune hath denied me that, I will in his place cherish his
Simplicissimus." And "Ah!" says he again, "the good cavalier had cause
enough to lament his wife, great with child as she was; for in the
pursuit she was captured by a party of Imperialist troopers, and that
too in the Spessart. Which when I heard, and knew not but that my
brother-in-law was slain at Höchst, at once I sent a trumpeter to the
enemy to ask for my sister and ransom her: yet got no more thereby than
to learn the said party of troopers had been scattered in the Spessart
by a few peasants, and that in that fight my sister had again been lost
to them, so that to this hour I know not what became of her." This and
the like made up the table-talk of the Governor and the pastor
regarding my hermit and his lady-wife: which pair were the more pitied
because they had enjoyed each other's love but a year. But as to me, I
became the Governor's page, and so fine a fellow that the people,
specially the peasants when I must announce them to my master, called
me the young lord already: though indeed one seldom sees a youngster
that hath been a lord, but oftentimes lords that have been youngsters.


Now at that time I had no precious possession save only a clear
conscience and a right pious mind, and that clad and surrounded with
the purest innocence and simplicity. Of vice I knew no more than that I
had at times heard it spoken of or read of it, and if I saw any man
commit such sin then was it to me a fearful and a terrible thing, I
being so brought up and reared as to have the presence of God ever
before my eyes and most earnestly to live according to His holy will:
and inasmuch as I knew all this, I could not but compare men's ways and
works with that same will: and methought I saw naught but vileness.
Lord God! How did I wonder at the first when I considered the law and
the Gospel and the faithful warnings of Christ, and saw, on the
contrary part, the deeds of them that gave themselves out to be His
disciples and followers! In place of the straightforward dealing which
every true Christian should have, I found mere hypocrisy; and besides,
such numberless follies among all dwellers in the world that I must
needs doubt whether I saw before me Christians or not. For though I
could see well that many had a serious knowledge of God's will: yet
could I mark but little serious purpose to fulfil the same. So had I a
thousand puzzles and strange thoughts in my mind, and fell into
grievous difficulty upon that saying of Christ, which saith, "Judge
not, that ye be not judged." Nevertheless there came into my mind the
words of St. Paul in the fifth chapter of Galatians, where he saith:
"The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness," and so on: "of the which I
tell you before as I have also told you in time past, that they which
do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Then I thought:
every man doeth all these things openly: wherefore then should I not in
this matter conclude from the apostle's word that there shall be few
that are saved?

Moreover, pride and greed with their worthy accompaniments, gorging and
swilling and loose living, were a daily occupation for them of
substance: yet what did seem to me most terrible of all was this
shameful thing, that some, and specially soldiers, in whose case vice
is not wont to be severely punished, should make of both these things,
their own godlessness and God's holy will, a mere jest. For example, I
heard once an adulterer which after his deed of shame accomplished
would treat thereof, and spake these godless words: "It serves the
cowardly cuckold aright," says he, "to get a pair of horns from me: and
if I confess the truth, I did the thing more to vex the husband than to
please the wife, and so to be revenged on them."

"O pitiful revenge!" says one honest heart that stood by, "by which a
man staineth his own conscience and gaineth the shameful name of
adulterer and fornicator!"

"What! fornicator!" answered he, with a scornful laughter, "I am no
fornicator because I have given this marriage a twist: a fornicator is
he that the sixth commandment[5]  speaks of, where it forbids that any
man get into another's garden and nick the fruit before the owner." How
to prove that this was so to be understood, he forthwith explained
according to his devil's catechism the seventh commandment, wherein it
is said, "Thou shalt not steal." And of such words he used many, so
that I sighed within myself and thought, "O God-blaspheming sinner,
thou callest thyself a marriage-twister: and so then God must be a
marriage-breaker, seeing that He doth separate man and wife by death."
And out of mine overflowing zeal and anger I said to him, officer
though he was, "Thinkest thou not, thou sinnest more with these godless
words than by thine act of adultery." So he answered me, "Thou rascal,
must I give thee a buffet or two?" Yea, and I believe I had received a
handsome couple of such if the fellow had not stood in fear of my lord.
So I held my peace, and thereafter I marked it was no rare case for
single folk to cast eyes upon wedded folk and wedded folk upon such as
were unwedded.

Now while I was yet studying, under my good hermit's care, the way to
eternal life, I much wondered why God had so straitly forbidden
idolatry to his people: for I imagined, if any one had ever known the
true and eternal God, he would never again honour and pray to any
other, and so in my stupid mind I resolved that this commandment was
unnecessary and vain. But ah! Fool as I was, I knew not what I thought
I knew: for no sooner was I come into the great world, than I marked
how (in spite of this commandment) wellnigh every man had his special
idol: yet some had more than the old and new heathen themselves. Some
had their god in their money-bags, upon which they put all their trust
and confidence: many a one had his idol at court, and trusted wholly
and entirely on him: which idol was but a minion and often even such a
pitiable lickspittle as his worshipper himself; for his airy godhead
depended only on the April weather of a prince's smile: others found
their idol in popularity, and fancied, if they could but attain to that
they would themselves be demi-gods. Yet others had their gods in their
head, namely, those to whom the true God had granted a sound brain, so
that they were able to learn certain arts and sciences: for these
forgot the great Giver and looked only to the gift, in the hope that
gift would procure them all prosperity. Yea, and there were many whose
god was but their own belly, to which they daily offered sacrifice, as
once the heathen did to Bacchus and Ceres, and when that god shewed
himself unkind or when human failings shewed themselves in him, these
miserable folk then made a god of their physician, and sought for their
life's prolongation in the apothecary's shop, wherefrom they were more
often sped on their way to death. And many fools made goddesses for
themselves out of flattering harlots: these they called by all manner
of outlandish names, worshipped them day and night with many thousand
sighs, and made songs upon them which contained naught but praise of
them, together with a humble prayer they would have mercy upon their
folly and become as great fools as were their suitors.

Contrariwise were there women which had made their own beauty their
idol. For this, they thought, will give me my livelihood, let God in
heaven say what He will. And this idol was every day, in place of other
offerings, adorned and sustained with paint, ointments, waters,
powders, and the like daubs.

There too I saw some which held houses luckily situated as their gods:
for they said, so long as they had lived therein had they ever had
health and wealth: and many said these had tumbled in through their
windows. At this folly I did more especially wonder because I would
well perceive the reason why the inhabitants so prospered. I knew one
man who for some years could never sleep by reason of his trade in
tobacco; for to this he had given up his heart, mind and soul, which
should be dedicate to God alone: and to this idol he sent up night and
day a thousand sighs, for 'twas by that he made his way in life. Yet
what did happen? The fool died and vanished like his own tobacco-smoke.
Then thought I, O thou miserable man! Had but thy soul's happiness and
the honour of the true God been so dear to thee as thine idol, which
stands upon thy shop-sign in the shape of a Brazilian, with a roll of
tobacco under his arm and a pipe in his mouth, then am I sure and
certain that thou hadst won a noble crown of honour to wear in the next

Another ass had yet more pitiful idols: for when in a great company it
was being told by each how he had been fed and sustained during the
great famine and scarcity of food, this fellow said in plain German:
the snails and frogs had been his gods: for want of them he must have
died of hunger. So I asked him what then had God Himself been to him,
who had provided such insects for his sustenance. The poor creature
could answer nothing, and I wondered the more because I had never read
that either the old idolatrous Egyptians or the new American savages
ever called such vermin their gods, as did this prater.

I once went with a person of quality into his museum, wherein were fine
curiosities: but among all none pleased me better than an "Ecce Homo"
by reason of its moving portraiture, by which it stirred the spectator
at once to sympathy. By it there hung a paper picture painted in China,
whereon were Chinese idols sitting in their majesty, and some in shape
like devils. So the master of the house asked me which piece in this
gallery pleased me most. And when I pointed to the said "Ecce Homo" he
said I was wrong: for the Chinese picture was rarer and therefore of
more value: he would not lose it for a dozen such "Ecce Homos." So said
I, "Sir, is your heart like to your speech?" "Surely," said he. "Why
then," said I, "your heart's god is that one whose picture you do
confess with your mouth to be of most value." "Fool," says he, "'tis
the rarity I esteem." Whereto I replied, "Yet what can be rarer and
more worthy of wonder than that God's Son Himself suffered in the way
which this picture doth declare?"


Even as much as these and yet a greater number of idols were
worshipped, so much on the contrary was the majesty of the true God
despised: for as I never saw any desirous to keep His word and command,
so I saw contrariwise many that resisted him in all things and excelled
even the publicans in wickedness: which publicans were in the days when
Christ walked upon earth open sinners. And so saith Christ: "Love your
enemies; bless them that curse you. If ye do good only to your
brethren, what do ye that the publicans do not?" But I found not only
no one that would follow this command of Christ, but every man did the
clean opposite. "The more a man hath kindred the more a man is
hindered" was the word: and nowhere did I find more envy, hatred,
malice, quarrel, and dispute than between brothers, sisters, and other
born friends, specially if an inheritance fell to them. Moreover, the
handicraftsmen of every place hated one another, so that I could
plainly see, and must conclude, that in comparison the open sinners,
publicans and tax-gatherers, which by reason of their evil deeds were
hated by many, were far better than we Christians nowadays in exercise
of brotherly love: seeing that Christ bears testimony to them that at
least they did love one another. Then thought I, if we have no reward
because we love our enemies, how great must our punishment be if we
hate our friends! And where there should be the greatest love and good
faith, there I found the worst treachery and the strongest hatred. For
many a lord would fleece his true servants and subjects, and some
retainers would play the rogue against the best of lords. So too
between married folk I marked continual strife: many a tyrant treated
his wedded wife worse than his dog, and many a loose baggage held her
good husband but for a fool and an ass. So too, many currish lords and
masters cheated their industrious servants of their due pay and pinched
them both in food and drink: and contrariwise I saw many faithless
servitors which by theft or neglect brought their kind masters to ruin.
Tradesfolk and craftsmen did vie with each other in Jewish roguery:
exacted usury: sucked the sweat of the poor peasant's brow by all
manner of chicanery and over-reaching. On the other hand, there were
peasants so godless that if they were not thoroughly well and cruelly
fleeced, they would sneer at other folks or even their lords themselves
for their simplicity.

Once did I see a soldier give another a sore buffet; and I conceived he
that was smitten would turn the other cheek (for as yet I had been in
no quarrel), but there was I wrong, for the insulted one drew on him,
and dealt the offender a crack of the crown. So I cried at the top of
my voice, "Ah! friend, what dost thou?" "A coward must he be," says he,
"that would not avenge himself: devil take me but I will, or I care not
to live. What! he must be a knave that would let himself be so fobbed
off." And between these two antagonists the quarrel waxed greater, for
their backers on both sides, together with the bystanders, and any man
moreover that came by chance to the spot, were presently by the ears:
and there I heard men swear by God and their own souls, so lightly,
that I could not believe they held those souls for their dearest
treasure. But all this was but child's play: for they stayed not at
such children's curses but presently 'twas so: "Thunder, lightning,
hail: strike me, tear me, devil take me," and the like, and not one
thunder or lightning but a hundred thousand, "and snatch me away into
the air." Yea, and the blessed sacraments for them must have been not
seven but a hundred thousand, and there with so many "bloodies,"
"dammes," and "cursemes" that my poor hair stood on end thereat. Then
thought I of Christ's command wherein He saith, "Swear not, let your
speech be yea yea; and nay nay; for whatsoever is more is evil."

Now all this that I saw and heard I pondered in my heart: and at the
last I firmly concluded, these bullies were no Christians at all, and
therefore I sought for other company. And worst of all it did terrify
me when I heard some such swaggerers boast of their wickedness, sin,
shame, and vice. For again and again I heard them so do, yea, day by
day; and thus they would say: "'S blood, man, but we were foxed
yesterday: three times in the day was I blind drunk and three times did
vomit all." "My stars," says another, "how did we torment the rascal
peasants!" And "Hundred thousand devils!" says a third, "what sport did
we have with the women and maids!" And so on. "I cut him down as if
lightning had struck him." "I shot him--shot him so that he shewed the
whites of his eyes!" Or again: "I rode him down so cleverly, the devil
only could fetch him off," "I put such a stone in his way that he must
needs break his neck thereover."

Such and such-like heathen talk filled my ears every day: and more than
that, I did hear and see sins done in God's name, which are much to be
grieved for. Such wickedness was specially practised by the soldiers,
when they would say, "Now in God's name let us forth on a foray," viz.,
to plunder, kidnap, shoot down, cut down, assault, capture and burn,
and all the rest of their horrible works and practices. Just as the
usurers ever invoke God with their hypocritical "In God's name": and
therewithal let their devilish avarice loose to flay and to strip
honest folk. Once did I see two rogues hanged, that would break into a
house by night to steal, and even as they had placed their ladder one
would mount it saying, "In God's name, there comes the householder":
"and in the devil's name" says he also, and therewithal threw him down:
where he broke a leg and so was captured, and a few days after strung
up together with his comrade. But I, if I saw the like, must speak out,
and out would I come with some passage of Holy Writ, or in other ways
would warn the sinner: and all men therefore held me for a fool. Yea, I
was so often laughed out of countenance in return for my good intent
that at length I took a disgust at it, and preferred altogether to keep
silence, which yet for Christian love I could not keep. I would that
all men had been reared with my hermit, believing that then many would
look on the world's ways with Simplicissimus' eyes as I then beheld
them. I had not the wit to see that if there were only Simplicissimuses
in the world then there were not so many vices to behold: meanwhile
'tis certain that a man of the world, as being accustomed to all vices
and himself partaker thereof, cannot in the least understand on what a
thorny path he and his likes do walk.


Having now, as I deemed, reason to doubt whether I were among
Christians or not, I went to the pastor and told him all that I had
heard and seen, and what my thoughts were: namely, that I held these
people for mockers of Christ and His word, and no Christians at all,
with the request he would in any case help me out of my dream, that I
might know what I should count my fellow men to be. The pastor
answered: "Of a surety they be Christians, nor would I counsel thee to
call them otherwise." "O God," said I, "how can that be? for if I point
out to one or the other his sin that he committeth against God, then am
I but mocked and laughed at." "Marvel not at that," answered the
pastor; "I believe if our first pious Christians, which lived in the
time of Christ--yea, if the Apostles themselves should now rise from
the grave and come into the world, that they would put the like
question, and in the end, like thee, would be accounted of many to be
fools: yet that thou hast thus far seen and heard is but an ordinary
thing and mere child's play compared with that which elsewhere,
secretly and openly, with violence against God and man, doth happen and
is perpetrated in the world. Let not that vex thee! Thou wilt find few
Christians such as was the late Master Samuel."[6]

Now even as we spake together, some of the opposite party which had
been taken prisoner were led across the market-place, and this broke up
our discourse, for we too must go to look on the captives. Here then I
was ware of a folly whereof I could never have dreamed, and that was a
new fashion of greeting and welcoming one another: for one of our
garrison, who also had beforetime served the emperor, knew one of the
prisoners: so he goes up to him, gives him his hand, and pressed his
for sheer joy and heartiness, and says he: "Devil take thee! art still
alive, brother? 'S blood, 'tis surely the devil that brings us together
here! Strike me blind, but I believed thou wert long since hanged."
Then answered the other: "Curse me, but is it thee or not? Devil take
thee, how camest thou here? I never thought in all my born days I
should meet thee again, but thought the devil had fetched thee long
ago." And when they parted, one says to the other (in place of "God be
wi' you"). "Gallows' luck! Gallows' luck! to-morrow will we meet again,
and be nobly drunk together."

"Is not this a fine pious welcome?" said I to the pastor; "be not these
noble Christian wishes? Have not these men a godly intent for the
coming day? Who could know them for Christians or hearken to them
without amazement? If they so talk with one another for Christian love,
how will it fare if they do quarrel? Sir Pastor, if these be Christ's
flock, and thou their appointed shepherd, I counsel thee to lead them
in better pastures." "Yea," answered the pastor, "dear child, 'tis ever
so with these godless soldiers. God help us! If I said a word, I might
as well preach to the deaf; and should gain naught from it but the
perilous hatred of these godless fellows."

At that I wondered, but talked yet awhile with the pastor, and went
then to wait upon the Governor; for at times had I leave to view the
town and to visit the pastor, for my lord had wind of my simplicity,
and thought such would cease if I went about seeing this and hearing
that and being taught by others or, as folks say, being broken to


Now my lord's favour towards me increased daily, and the longer the
greater, because I looked more and more like, not only to his sister
whom the hermit had had to wife, but also to that good man himself, as
good food and idleness made me sleeker. And this favour I enjoyed in
many quarters: for whosoever had business with the governor shewed me
favour also, and especially my lord's secretary was well affected to
me; and as he must teach me my figures, he often found pastime in my
simpleness and ignorance: he was but now fresh from the University, and
therefore was cram-full of the jokes of the schools, which at times
gave him the appearance of being a button short or a button too many:
often would he convince me black was white or white black; so it came
about that at first I believed him in everything and at last in
nothing. Once on a time I blamed him for his dirty inkhorn: so he
answered 'twas the best piece of furniture in his office, for out of it
he could conjure whatever he desired; his fine ducats of gold, his fine
raiment, and, in a word, whatsoever he possessed, all that had he
fished out of his inkhorn. Then would I not believe that out of so
small and inconsiderable a thing such noble possessions were to be had:
so he answered all this came from the Spiritus Papyri (for so did
he name his inks), and the ink-horn was for this reason named an
ink-holder, because it held matters of importance. Then I asked, how
could a man bring them out since one could scarce put a couple of fingers
in. To that he answered, he had an arm in his head fit to do such
business, yea, and hoped presently to fish out a rich and handsome wife,
and if he had luck he trusted also to bring out land of his own and
servants of his own, as in earlier times would surely have happened. At
these tricks of craft I wondered, and asked if other folk knew such arts.

"Surely," says he, "all chancellors, doctors, secretaries, proctors or
advocates, commissaries, notaries, traders and merchants, and
numberless others besides, which commonly, if they do but fish
diligently in it, become rich lords thereby." Then said I, "In this
wise the peasants and other hard-working folk have no wit, in that they
eat their bread in the sweat of their brow, and do not also learn this
art." So he answered, "Some know not the worth of an art, and therefore
have no desire to learn it: some would fain learn it, but lack that arm
in their head, or some other necessary thing; some learn the wit and
have the arm, but know not the knack which the art requireth if a man
will be rich thereby: and others know all and can do all that
appertains thereto, yet they dwell on the unlucky side and have no
opportunity, like me, to exercise this art properly."

Now as we reasoned in this fashion of the ink-holder (which of a truth
reminded me of Fortunatus his purse) it happened that the book of
dignities came into my hand and therein, as it seemed to me then, I
found more follies than had ever yet come before mine eyes. "And
these," said I to the secretary, "be all Adam's children and of one
stuff, and that dust and ashes? Whence cometh, then, so great a
difference;--his Holiness, his Excellency, his Serenity! Be these not
properties of God alone? Here is one called 'Gracious' and another
'Worshipful.' And why must this word 'born' noble or 'well born' be
ever added? We know well that no men fall from heaven and none rise out
of the water and none grow out of the earth like cabbages." The
secretary must needs laugh at me, and took the trouble to explain to me
this and that title and all the words separately. Yet did I insist that
the titles did not do men right: for sure 'twas more credit to a man to
be called merciful than worshipful: so, too, if the word "noble"
signify in itself all incalculable virtues, why should it when placed
in the midst of the word "high-born," which applieth only to princes,
impair the dignity of the title. And as to the word "well-born," why
'twas a flat untruth: and that could any baron's mother testify; for if
one should ask her if he was well born she could say whether 'twas
"well" with her when she brought him into the world.

And so we talked long: yet could he not convince me. But this favour of
the secretary towards me lasted not long, for by reason of my boorish
and filthy habits I presently, after his foregoing discourse, behaved
myself so foully (yet without evil intent) in his presence that he must
bid me betake myself to the pigs as to my best comrades. Yet his
disgust would have been the easier to bear had I not fallen into yet
greater disgrace; for it fared so with me as with every honest man that
cometh to court where the wicked and envious do make common cause
against him.

For my lord had besides me a double-dyed rascal for a page, which had
already served him for two years: to him I gave my heart, for he was of
like age with myself. "And this is Jonathan," I thought, "and thou art

But he was jealous of me by reason of the great favour that my lord
shewed me, and that greater day by day: so he was concerned lest I
should step into his shoes; and therefore in secret looked upon me with
malicious and envious eyes, and sought occasion how he might put a
stumbling-block for me and by my fall prevent his own. Yet were mine
eyes as doves' eyes[7] and my intent far different from his: nay, I
confided to him all my secrets, which yet consisted in naught else than
in childish simplicity and piety. But he, innocent as I was, persuaded
me to all manner of folly, which yet I accepted for truth and honesty,
followed his counsels, and through the same (as shall not fail to be
duly treated of in its proper place) fell into grievous misfortunes.


The next day after my discourse with the secretary my master had
appointed a princely entertainment for his officers and other good
friends; for he had received the good news that his men had taken the
strong castle of Braunfels without loss of a single man: and there must
I, as at that time 'twas my duty, like any other table-server, help to
bring up dishes, pour out wine, and wait at table with a plate in my
hand. The first day there was a big fat calf's-head (of which folk are
wont to say no poor man may eat) handed to me to carry up. And because
this calf's-head was soft-boiled, therefore he must needs have his
whole eye with the appurtenance thereof hanging out; which was to me a
charming and a tempting sight, and the fresh perfume of the bacon-broth
and ginger sprinkled thereon alluring me, I felt such appetite that my
mouth did water at it. In a word, the eye smiled at once on mine eyes,
my nostrils, and my mouth, and besought me that I would incorporate it
into my hungry belly. Nor did I need long forcing, but followed my
desires; for as I went, with a spoon that I had first received on that
same day I did scoop the eye so masterly out, and sent it so swiftly
and without let or hindrance to its proper place, that none perceived
it till the dish came to table and there betrayed itself and me. For
when they would carve it up, and one of its daintiest members was
wanting, my lord at once perceived what made the carver start: and he
was not a man to endure such mockery as that any should dare to say to
him he had served up a calf's-head with one eye. So the cook must
appear at table, and they that should have brought the dishes up were
with him examined: and last of all it came out that 'twas to poor
Simplicissimus the calf's-head had last been entrusted, and that with
two eyes: how it had fared thereafter no man could say. Then my lord,
as it seemed to me with a terrible countenance, asked what I had done
with the calf's eye. So I whipt my spoon out of my pouch again and gave
the calf's-head the second turn, and shewed briefly and well what they
asked of me, for I swallowed the second eye like the first, in a wink.

"Pardieu," quoth my lord, "this trick savoureth better than ten
calves." And thereupon all the gentlemen present praised that saying
and spoke of my deed, which I had done for pure simplicity, as a
wondrous device and a presage of future boldness and fearless and swift
resolution: so that for this time, by the repeating of the very trick
for which I had deserved punishment I not only escaped that punishment,
but from a few merry jesters, flatterers, and boon companions gained
the praise of acting wisely, inasmuch as I had lodged both eyes
together, that so they might in the next world, as in this, afford help
and company to each other, to which end they were at first appointed by
nature. Yet my lord warned me to play him no more such tricks.


At this banquet (and I take it it happens likewise at others) all came
to table like Christians. Grace was said very quietly, and to all
appearance very piously. And this pious silence lasted as long as they
had to deal with the soup and the first courses, as one had been at a
Quakers' meeting. But hardly had each one said "God's blessing!" three
or four times when all was already livelier. Nor can I describe how
each one's voice grew louder and louder: I could but compare the whole
company to an orator, that beginneth softly at the first and endeth
with thunder. Then dishes were served called savouries, which, being
strongly seasoned, are appointed to be eaten before the drinking begin,
that it may go the livelier, and likewise dessert, to give a flavour to
the wine, to say nothing of all manner of French pottages and Spanish
olla podridas, which by a thousand artful preparations and unnumbered
ingredients were in such wise spiced, devilled, disguised, and seasoned
(and all to further the drinking) that they, by such added ingredients
and spices, were altogether changed in their substance and different
from what Nature had made them, so that Gnaeus Manlius[8] himself,
though he had come direct from Africa and had with him the best of
cooks, yet had not recognised them. Then thought I: "Is't not like
enough that these things should disturb the senses of any man who can
take delight in them and the drink too (whereto they be specially
appointed) and change him, or even transform him, to a beast? Who knows
if even Circe used any other means but these when she did change
Ulysses his companions into swine?" For I saw how these guests at one
time devoured the food like hogs and then swilled like sows, then
carried themselves like asses, and last of all were as sick as farmers'
dogs. The noble wines of Hochheim, of Bacharach, and of Klingenberg
they tipped into their bellies in glasses as big as buckets, which
presently shewed their effects higher up, in the head. And thereupon I
saw with wonder how all changed; for here were reputable folk, which
just before were in possession of their five senses and sitting in
peace by one another, now beginning of a sudden to act the fool and to
play the silliest tricks in the world. And the great follies which they
did commit and the huge draughts which they drank to each other became
bigger as time went on, so that it seemed as if fooleries and draughts
strove with each other which of them should be accounted the greater:
but at last this contest ended in a filthy piggishness. 'Twas not
wonderful that I understood not whence their giddiness came: inasmuch
as the effect of wine, and drunkenness itself, were until now quite
unknown to me: and this left in my roguish remembrance thereafter all
manner of merry pranks and fantastic imaginings: their strange looks I
could see; but the cause of their condition I knew not. Indeed up till
then each one had emptied the pot with a good appetite: but when now
their bellies were full 'twas as hard with them as with a waggoner,
that can fare well enough with his team over level ground, yet up the
hill can scarcely toil. But though their heads were bemused, their want
of strength was made good: in one man's case by his courage, well
soaked in wine: in another the loyal desire to drink yet one health to
his friend: in a third that German chivalry which must do his neighbour
right. But even such efforts must fail in the long run. Then would one
challenge another to pour the wine in in buckets to the health of the
princes or of dear friends or of a mistress. And at this many a one's
eyes turned in his head, and the cold sweat broke out: yet still the
drinking must go on; yea, at the last they must make a noise with
drums, fifes, and stringed instruments, and shot off the ordnance,
doubtless for this cause, because the wine must take their bellies by
assault. Then did I wonder where they could be rid of it all, for I
knew not that they would turn out the same before 'twas well warm
within them (and that with great pains) out of the very place into
which they had just before poured it to the great danger of their

At this feast was also my pastor: and because he was a man like other
men, he must retire for a while. So I followed him and "Pastor," said
I, "why do these folk behave so strangely? How comes it that they do
reel this way and that? Sure it seems to me they be no longer in their
senses; for they have all eaten and drunken themselves full, and swear
devil take them if they can drink more, and yet they cease not to
swill. Be they compelled thereto, or is it in God's despite that they
of their free will waste all things so wantonly?"

"Dear child," answered the pastor, "when the wine is in the wit is out.
This is nought compared with what is to come. To-morrow at daybreak
'twill be hardly time for them to break up; for though they have
already crammed their bellies, yet they are not yet right merry."

So I answered, "Then do not their bellies burst if they stuff them so
continually? Can, then, their souls, which are God's image, abide in
such fat hog's bodies, in which they lie, as it were, in dark cells and
verminous dungeons, imprisoned without knowledge of God? Their precious
souls, I say, how can they so let themselves be tortured? Be not their
senses, of which their souls should be served, buried as in the bowels
of unreasoning beasts?"

"Hold thou thy tongue," answered the pastor, "or thou mayest get thee a
sound thrashing: here 'tis no time to preach, or I could do it better
than thou." So when I heard this I looked on in silence further, and
saw how they wantonly spoiled food and drink, notwithstanding that the
poor Lazarus, that might have been nourished therewith, languished,
before our gates in the shape of many hundred expelled peasants of the
Wetterau, whose hunger looked out through their eyes: for in the town
there was famine.


So this gormandising went on as before, and I must wait on them as from
the beginning of the feast. My pastor was still there, and was forced
to drink as well as the rest: yet would he not do like them, but said
he cared not to drink in so beastly a fashion: so a valiant pot
companion takes him up and shews him that he, a pastor, drinks like a
beast, and he, the drunkard and others present, drink like men. "For,"
says he, "a beast drinks only so much as tastes well to him and
quenches his thirst, for he knows not what is good, nor doth he care to
drink wine at all. But 'tis the pleasure of us men to make the drink
profit us, and to suck in the noble grape-juice as our forefathers
did." "Yes, yes," says the pastor, "but for me 'tis proper to keep due
measure." "Right," says the other, "a man of honour must keep his
word": and thereupon he has a beaker filled which held a full measure,
and with that in his hand he reels back to the pastor. But he was gone
and left the tippler in the lurch with his wine-bucket.

So when they were rid of the pastor all was confusion, and 'twas for
all the world in appearance as if this feast was an agreed time and
opportunity for each to disgrace his neighbour with drunkenness, to
bring him to shame, or to play him some scurvy trick: for when one of
them was so well settled that he could neither sit, walk, nor stand,
the cry was, "Now we are quits! Thou didst brew a like draught for me:
now must thou drink the like"; and so on. But he that could last
longest and drink deepest was full of pride thereat, and seemed to
himself a fellow of no mean parts; and at the last they tumbled about,
as they had drunk henbane. 'Twas indeed a wonderful pantomime to see
how they did fool, and yet none wondered but I. One sang: one wept: one
laughed: another moaned: one cursed: another prayed: one shouted
"Courage!" another could not even speak. One was quiet and peaceable:
another would drive the devil out by swaggering: one slept and was
silent, another talked so fast that none could stand up against him.
One told stories of tender love adventures, another of his dreadful
deeds in war. Some talked of church and clergy, some of the
constitution, of politics, of the affairs of the empire and of the
world. Some ran hither and thither and could not keep still: some lay
where they were and could not stir a finger, much less stand up or
walk. Some were still eating like ploughmen, and as if they had been a
week without food, while others were vomiting up what they had eaten
that very day. In a word, their whole carriage was comical, strange and
mad: and moreover sinful and godless. At the last there arose at the
lower end of the table real quarrels, so that they flung glasses, cups,
dishes, and plates at each other's heads and fought, not with fists
only, but with chairs and legs of chairs, yea, with swords and whatever
came to hand, till some had the red blood running down their ears: but
to that my lord presently put an end.


So when order was restored, the master-drinkers took with them the
minstrels and the womenfolk, and away to another house wherein was a
great room chosen and dedicated for another sort of folly. But my lord
throws himself on his pallet-bed, for either from anger or from
over-eating he was in pain: so I let him lie where he was, to rest and
sleep, but hardly had I come to the door of the room when he must needs
whistle to me: and that he could not. Then he would call; but naught
could he say but "Simple!" So I ran back to him and found his eyes turn
in his head as with a beast that is slaughtered: and there stood I
before him like a stock-fish, neither did I know what to do. But he
pointed to the washstand and stammered out. "Bra-bra-bring me
that, thou rogue: ha-ha-ha-hand me the basin. I mu-mu-must shoot a

So with all haste I brought him the silver wash-basin, but ere I could
come to him he had a pair of cheeks like a trumpeter. Then he took me
quickly by the arm and made me so to stand that I must hold the basin
right before his mouth. Then all must out, with grievous retchings, and
such foul stuff was discharged into the said basin that I near fainted
away by reason of the unbearable stench, and specially because some
fragments spurted up into my face. And nearly did I do the same: but
when I marked how deadly pale he was, I gave that over for sheer fright
and feared only his soul would leave him with his vomit. For the cold
sweat broke out upon his forehead, and his face was like a dying man's.
But when he recovered himself he bade me fetch fresh water, that with
that he might rinse out the wine-skin into which he had made his belly.

Thereafter he bade me take away the fox: and because I knew not where I
should bestow such a precious treasure, which, besides that it was in a
silver dish, was composed of all manner of dainties that I had seen my
lord eat, I took it to the steward: to him I shewed this fine stuff and
asked what I should do with the fox. "Thou fool," says he, "go and take
it to the tanner to tan his hides therewith." So I asked where could I
find the tanner: but he perceiving my simplicity. "Nay," says he, "take
it to the doctor, that he may see from it what our lord's state of
health is." And such an April fool's journey had I surely gone, but
that the steward was affrighted at what might follow: he bade me
therefore take the filth to the kitchen, with orders that the maids
should serve it up with seasoning. And this I did in all good faith,
and was by those baggages soundly laughed at for my pains.


Just as I was free of my basin my lord was going forth: so I followed
him to a great house, where in a room I saw gentlemen and ladies,
bachelors and maidens, twisting about so quickly that everything spun
round: with such stamping and noise that I deemed they were all gone
mad, for I could not imagine what they could intend with this rage and
fury: yea, the very sight of them was so terrible, so fearful, and so
dreadful that all my hair stood on end, and I could believe nothing but
that they were all bereft of reason. And as we came nearer I was aware
that these were our guests, which had up till noon been in their right
senses. "Good God," thought I, "what do these poor folk intend to do?
Surely madness is come upon them." Yet presently I thought these might
perchance be hellish spirits, which under this disguise did make a mock
of the whole human race by such wanton capers and monkey-tricks: for I
thought, had they human souls and God's image in them, sure they would
not act so unlike to men.

When my lord came in and would enter the room, the tumult ceased, save
that there was such bowing and ducking with the heads and such
curtseying and scraping with the feet on the floor that methought they
would scrape out the foot-tracks they had trodden in their furious
madness. And by the sweat that ran down their faces, and by their
puffing and blowing, I could perceive they had struggled hard: yet did
their cheerful countenances declare that such labours had not vexed
them. Now was I fain to know what this mad behaviour might mean, and
therefore asked of my comrade and trusted confidant what such lunatic
doings might signify, or for what purpose this furious ramping and
stamping was intended. And he, as the real truth, told me that all
there present had agreed to stamp down the floor of the room. "For
how," says he, "canst thou otherwise suppose that they would so stamp
about? Hast thou not seen how they broke all the windows for pastime?
Even so will they break in this floor." "Good heavens!" quoth I, "then
must we also fall, and in falling break our legs and our necks in their
company?" "Yea," quoth my comrade, "'tis their purpose, and therefore
do they work so devilishly hard. And thou wilt see that when they do
find themselves in danger of death each one seizes upon a fair lady or
maiden, for 'tis said that to couples that fall holding one another in
this way no grievous harm is wont to happen."

Now as I believed all this tale, there fell upon me such anguish and
fear of death that I knew not where I should stand, and when the
minstrels, which I had not before seen, made themselves likewise heard,
and every man ran to his lady as soldiers run to their guns or to their
ranks when they hear the drums beat the alarm, and each man took his
partner by the hand, 'twas to me even as if I saw the floor already
a-sinking, and my neck and those of many others a-breaking. But when
they began to jump so that the whole building shook (for they played
just then a lively galop), then thought I, "Now is thy life at stake."
For I thought nought else but that the whole building would suddenly
tumble in: so in my deadly fear I seized upon a lady of high nobility
and eminent virtues with whom my lord was even then conversing. Her I
caught all unawares by the arm, like a bear, and clung to her like a
burr, but when she struggled, as not knowing what foolish fancies were
in my head, I acted as one desperate, and for sheer despair began to
scream as if they would murder me. Now did the music cease of a sudden:
the dancers and their partners stopped dancing, and the honourable lady
to whose arm I still clung deemed herself grievously insulted; for she
fancied my lord had had all this done for her annoyance, who thereupon
commanded that I should be soundly whipped and then locked up
somewhere, "for," said he, "'twas not the first trick I had played on
him that day." Yet the grooms which were to carry out his orders had
sympathy with me, and spared me the whipping and locked me up in a
goose-pen under the staircase.



S? in my goose-pen I pondered on all that I have set down in black and
white in my first part; of which, therefore, there is no need in this
place to say more. Yet can I not choose but say that even then I
doubted whether the dancers in truth were so mad to stamp the floor
down or whether I was only so led to believe. Now will I further relate
how I came again out of my goose prison. For three whole hours, namely,
till that "Praeludium Veneris"  (I should have said that seemly dance)
was ended, I must perforce sit till one came softly and fumbled with
the bolt: so I listened as quiet as any mouse, and presently the fellow
that was at the door not only opened it but whipped in himself as quick
as I would fain have whipped out, and with him by the hand he led in a
lady, even as I had seen done at the dancing. I knew not what was to
happen: but because I was now accustomed to all such strange adventures
as had happened to me, poor fool, on that one day, and had made up my
mind to bear with patience and silence whatever my fate might bring me,
I crept close to the door and with fear and trembling waited for the
end. So presently there was between these two a whispering, whereof I
could understand naught save that the one party complained of the evil
air of the place, and on the other hand the second party would console
the first.

Thereupon I heard kisses and observed strange postures, yet knew not
what this should mean, and therefore still kept still as a mouse. Yet
when a comical noise arose and the goose-pen, which was but of boards
nailed together below the staircase, began to shake and crack, and
moreover the lady seemed in trouble, I thought, surely these be two of
those mad folk which helped to stamp on the floor, and have now betaken
themselves hither to behave in like manner, and bring thee to thy

As soon as these thoughts came into my head, I seized upon the door, so
to escape death, and out I whipt with a cry of "Murder" as loud as that
which had brought me to that place. Yet had I the sense to bolt the
door behind me and make for the open house-door.

This was now the first wedding I was ever present at in my life, and
even to that I had not been invited: on the other hand, I needed to
give no wedding-gift, though the bridegroom did mark up a heavy score
against me, which I honourably discharged.

Gentle reader, I tell this story not that thou mayest laugh thereat,
but that my History may be complete, and my readers may take to heart
what honourable fruits are to be expected from this dancing. For this I
hold for certain, that in these dances many a bargain is struck up,
whereof the whole company hath cause thereafter to be shamed.


And now, when I had luckily escaped from my goose-pen, I was then first
aware of my sad plight. In my master's quarters all was sound asleep:
so dared I not address myself to the sentry that stood before the
house: and at the Mainguard assuredly they would not entertain me:
while to abide in the streets was too cold: so I knew not whither to
betake myself. Long past midnight it was when it came into my head to
seek refuge with the pastor so often spoken of before; and this thought
I followed so far as to knock at his door: and therein was so
importunate that at last the maid, with much ill will, admitted me. But
forthwith she began to chide with me; and this her master, who had by
this time wellnigh slept off his wine, heard. So he called us both to
him as he lay in his chamber: and ordered his maid, to put me to bed:
for he could well perceive that I was numbed with the cold. Yet was I
hardly warm in my bed when day began to break and the good pastor stood
by my bedside to hear how it had gone with me and how my business had
fared, for I could not rise to go to him. So I told him all, and began
with the tricks which my comrade the page had taught me, and how ill
they had turned out. Thereafter I must tell him how the guests, after
he, the pastor, had left the table, had lost their wits and (as my
comrade had told me) determined to stamp down the floor of the house:
item into what fearful terror I thereupon fell, and in what fashion I
tried to save my life: how thereafter I was shut up in a goose-pen and
what I had noted in words and works of those two which had delivered
me, and in what manner I had locked them both up in my stead.

"Simplicissimus," said the pastor, "thy case stands but lousily: thou
hadst a good opportunity; but I fear, I fear thou hast fooled it away.
Get thee quick out of bed and pack out of my house, lest I come with
thee under my lord's displeasure if thou be found here with me." So I
must away, with my wet clothes, and now for the first time must
understand how well he stands with all and sundry who doth but possess
his master's favour: yet how askance he is looked upon when that favour

Away I went to my master's lodging, wherein all were yet sound asleep
save the cook and a maid or two: these last were ordering the room
wherein the day before had been the carouse, and the first was
preparing from the remains of the feast a breakfast, or rather a
luncheon. So first I betook myself to the maids: they had to deal with
all manner of drinking-glasses and window-glass strewn up and down. In
some places all was foul with what the guests had voided both upwards
and downwards: in other places were great pools of spilt wine and beer,
so that the floor looked like a map wherein a man could trace separate
seas, islands, and continents. And in that room was the smell far worse
than in my goose-pen: and therefore I delayed not long there but betook
myself to the kitchen, and there had my clothes dried on my body before
the fire, expecting with fear and trembling what tricks fortune would
further play with me when my lord should awake. Then did I reflect upon
all the folly and senselessness of the world, and ran over in my mind
all that happened to me in the past day and night and what I had seen
and heard in that time. So when I thought thereon I did even deem the
poor and miserable life which my old hermit led a happy one, and
heartily I wished him and myself back in our old place.


When my lord rose he sent his orderly to fetch me from the goose-pen:
who brought news he had found the door open and a hole cut with a knife
behind the bolt, by which means the prisoner had escaped. But before
such report came my lord understood from others that I had for a long
time been in the kitchen. Meanwhile the servants must run hither and
thither to fetch yesterday's guests to breakfast: among whom was also
the pastor, who must appear earlier than the rest because my master
would talk with him concerning me before they went to table. He asked
him first, did he account me sane or mad, and whether I was in truth so
simple or not the rather mischievous; and told him all: how unseemly I
had carried myself all the day and evening before, which was in part
taken amiss by his guests, and so regarded as if this had been done of
malice and in their despite; item, that he had caused me to be shut up
in a goose-pen to protect himself against such tricks as I might yet
further have played him; which prison I had broken and now held my
state in the kitchen like a gentleman who need no longer wait on him:
in his lifetime no such trick had ever happened to him as I had played
him in the presence of so many honourable persons: he knew not what to
do with me save to have me soundly beaten, and, since I behaved myself
so clownishly, to send me to the devil.

Meantime, while my master so complained of me, the guests assembled by
degrees; so when he had said his say the pastor answered, if the Lord
Governor would please to hearken to him with patience for a little
while, he would tell him this and that regarding Simplicissimus, from
which not only his innocence could be known, but also all unfavourable
thoughts removed from the minds of them that had taken a disgust at his

Now while they thus discoursed of me in the chamber above, that same
mad ensign whom I in mine own person had imprisoned in my place makes a
treaty with me below-stairs in the kitchen, and by threats and by a
thaler which he put in my pouch, brought me to this, that I promised
him to keep a still tongue concerning his doings.

So the tables were set, and, as on the day before, furnished with food
and with guests. There wormwood, sage wine, elecampane, quince and
lemon drinks, with hippocras, were to clear the heads and stomachs of
the drinkers; for for one and all there was the devil to pay. Their
first talk was of themselves, and that chiefly of how brave a bout of
drinking they had had yesterday: nor was there any among them that
would truly confess he had been drunk, albeit the evening before some
had called the devil to witness they could drink no more. Some indeed
confessed that they had headaches: yet others would have it 'twas only
since men had ceased to drink themselves full in the good old mode that
such aches had come in fashion. But when they were tired both of
hearing and talking of their own follies, poor Simplicissimus must bear
the brunt. And the Governor himself reminded the pastor to tell of
those merry happenings which he had promised.

So the pastor begged first that none should take offence inasmuch as he
must use words which might be accounted unbefitting his holy office.
Then he went on to tell how sorely I was plagued by nature, how I had
caused great disgust thereby to the secretary in his office, and how I
had learned, together with the art of prophecy, also certain
enchantments[9] against such mishaps, and how ill such arts had turned
out when they were tried; item, how the dancing had seemed so strange
to me, because I had never seen the like before, what an explication
thereof I had heard from my comrade, and for what reason I had seized
upon the noble lady, and thereupon had found my way into the goose-pen.
All this he enounced with such a civil and discreet way of speaking
that they were fit to split with laughing, and so completely forgave my
simplicity and ignorance that I was restored to my master's favour and
was allowed to wait at table again. But of what had happened to me in
the goose-pen and how I was delivered therefrom would he say nought,
for it seemed to him some old antediluvian images might have taken
offence at him, which believe that pastors should always look sour.
Then again my master, to make sport for his guests, asked me what had I
given to my comrade that had taught me those pretty tricks: so I said,
"Nothing at all." Then says he, "I will pay him the school fees for
thee." So he had him clapt in a winnowing basket and there soundly
trounced: even as I had been dealt with the day before, when I tried
those magical arts and found them false.

So now my master had proof enough of my simplicity, and would fain give
me the more occasion to make sport for him and his guests: he saw well
that all the minstrels availed nothing so long as the company had me to
make sport for them, for to every one it seemed that I, with my foolish
fancies, was better than a dozen lutes. So he asked me why I had cut a
hole in the door of the goose-pen. I answered, "Another may have done
it." "Who then?" says he. "Why," says I, "he that came to me." "And who
came to thee?" quoth he. "Nay," says I, "that may I tell no man." Now
my master was a man of a quick wit, and he saw well how one must go
about with me: so he turns him about and of a sudden he asks me who it
was that had forbidden me, and I of a sudden answered, "The mad

Then, when I perceived by the laughter of all that I had mightily
committed myself, and the mad ensign who sat at table also grew red as
a hot coal, I would say no more till by him it should be allowed. Yet
this was but a matter of a nod, which served my master instead of a
command, to the ensign, and forthwith I might tell all I knew. And
thereupon my master questioned me what the mad ensign had had to do
with me in the goose-pen. "Oh," says I, "he brought a young lady to me

And thereupon there arose among all that were present such laughter
that my master could hear me no longer, let alone ask me more
questions; and 'twas not needful, for if he had, that honourable young
maiden (forsooth) might have been put to shame.

Thereafter the Controller of the Household told all at table how a
little before I had come home from the ramparts and had said I knew now
where the thunder and lightning came from: for I had seen great beams
on half-waggons, which were all hollow inside: into these, men rammed
in onion-seed with an iron turnip with the tail off, and then tickled
the beams behind with a spit, whereupon there was driven out in front
smoke and thunder and hell-fire. Then they told many more such stories
of me, so that for the whole of that breakfast-time there was no other
employ but to talk of me and laugh at me. And this was the cause of a
general conclusion, to my destruction; which was that I should be
soundly befooled. For with such treatment I should in time prove a rare
jester, by whose means one could do honour to the greatest princes in
the world and cause laughter to a dying man.


But now, as they began to carouse and to make merry as they had done
the day before, the watch brings news, together with the delivery of
letters to the Governor, of a commissary that was at the gate, which
same was appointed by the war council of the Crown of Sweden to review
the garrison and survey the fortress. Such news spoiled all jesting,
and all jollity died away like the bellows of a bagpipe when the wind
is gone out. The minstrels and the guests dispersed themselves even as
tobacco-smoke, which leaves but a smell behind it: while my lord, with
the adjutant who kept the keys, betook himself, together with a
detachment from the Mainguard and many torches, to the very gates,
himself to give admittance to the Blackguts, as he called him: he
wished, he said, the devil had broke his neck in a thousand pieces ere
ever he came to the city. Yet so soon as he had let him in and welcomed
him upon the inner drawbridge it wanted but a little, or nothing at
all, but he would hold his stirrup for him to shew his devotion; yea,
the courtesy to all outward shew was between the two so great that the
Commissary must dismount and walk on foot with my lord even to his
lodging; and as they walked each would have the left-hand place.

Then thought I, "Oh, what a wondrous spirit of falsehood doth govern
all mankind, and so doth make one a fool through another's help."

So we drew near to the Mainguard, and the sentinel must call "Who goes
there?" though well he knew it was my lord: who would not answer but
would leave the honour to that other: yet when the sentinel grew more
impatient and repeated his challenge, the Commissary answered to the
last "Who goes there?" "The man who pays the money."

Now as we passed the sentry-box, and I came last of all, I heard the
before-mentioned sentry, which was a new recruit, and before that by
profession a well-to-do young farmer on the Vogelsberg, thus murmur to
himself: "Yea, and a lying customer thou art: a man, forsooth, that
pays the money? a skin-the-flint that takes the money, that art thou.
So much money hast thou wrung from me that I would to God thou wert
struck dead before thou shouldst leave this town."

So from that hour I conceived this belief that this foreign lord with
the silk doublet must be a holy man: for not only did no curse harm
him, but also even they that hated him shewed him all honour and love
and kindness: and that night was he princely entreated and made blind
drunk, and thereafter put to bed in a noble bedplace.

Next day, then, at the review of the troops everything was at sixes and
sevens. And even I, poor simple creature, was clever enough to cheat
that clever commissary (for to such offices and administrations ye may
well know they do choose no simple babes). Which same deceit I learned
in less than an hour; for the whole art consisted therein, to beat five
with the right hand and four with the left on a drum. For yet I was too
little to represent a musqueteer. So they furnished me forth to that
end with borrowed clothes (for my short page's breeches were in no wise
military to look upon) and with a borrowed drum: without doubt for this
reason, that I myself was but borrowed: and with all this I came
happily through the inspection. Thereafter, nevertheless, would no one
trust my simple mind to keep in my memory any unaccustomed name,
hearing which I should answer to it and step out of the ranks: and so
must I keep the name of Simplicius; and for a surname the Governor
himself added that of Simplicissimus, and so had me written down in the
muster-roll. And so he made me like a bastard, the first of my family;
and that although, after his own shewing, I looked so like his own
sister. So ever thereafter I bore this name and surname, until I knew
my right name: and under that name I played my part pretty well to the
profit of the Governor and small danger to the Crown of Sweden. And
this is all the service that ever I rendered to the crown of Sweden in
all my life: and the enemies of that crown can at least not lay more
than this to my charge.


Now when the Commissary had gone the abovementioned pastor bade me come
secretly to him to his lodging; and then said he, "O Simplicissimus:
for thy youth I am sorry, and thy future misery moveth me to sympathy.
Hear, my child, and know of a surety, that thy master hath determined
to deprive thee of all reason and so to make of thee a fool: yea, and
to that end hath he already commanded raiment to be made ready for
thee. So to-morrow must thou go to school: and in that school thou art
to unlearn thy reason: and in that school without doubt they will so
grievously torment thee, that, unless God help thee and other means be
used against it, without doubt thou wilt become a madman. Now, because
such is a wrong and dangerous manner of dealing; and likewise because
I, for thy hermit's piety's sake and for thine own innocence' sake,
desire to serve thee, and with true Christian love to assist thee with
counsel and all necessary help, and to give thee relief in trouble,
therefore follow thou now my teaching and take this powder, which will
in such wise strengthen thy brain and wits that thou, without danger to
thine understanding, mayst endure all things most easily. Here likewise
hast thou an ointment, with which thou must smear thy temples, thy
spine and the nape of thy neck, and also thy nostrils; and both these
things must thou use at evening-time when thou goest to bed, seeing at
no time thou wilt be safe against being fetched forth from thy bed: but
look thou that no one be ware of this my warning and the remedy that I
impart to thee; else might it go ill with me and thee. And when they
shall have thee under their accursed treatment, do thou heed not nor
believe not all of which they will strive to persuade thee, and yet so
carry thyself as if thou believest all. Say but little, lest thine
attendants mark in thy conduct that they do but thresh straw; for then
will they change the fashion of thy torments; though in truth I know
not in what manner they will go about to deal with thee. But when thou
shalt be clad in thy plumes and thy fool's coat, then come again to me
that I may further serve thee with counsel. And meanwhile will I pray
God for thee, that He may protect thine understanding and thy health of

With that he gives me the said powder and ointment, and so I betook
myself home.

Now even as the pastor had said, so it happened. In my first sleep
came four rogues disguised with frightful devils' masks into my room
and to my bed, and there they capered around like mountebanks and
twelfth-night fools. There had one a red-hot hook and another a torch
in his hands; but the other two fell upon me and dragged me out of bed
and danced around with me for a time, and then forced me to put on my
clothes: while I so pretended as if I had taken them for true and
natural devils, shrieked murder at the top of my voice, and shewed all
the effects of the greatest terror. So they told me I must go with
them: and with that they bound a napkin round my head so that I could
neither see, hear nor cry out. Then they led me by many winding ways up
and down many stairs, and at last into a cellar wherein was a great
fire burning, and when they had unbound the napkin then they began to
drink to me in Spanish wine and malmsey. And fain would they persuade
me I was dead, and what is more, in the depths of hell: for I was
careful to keep such a carriage as if I believed all that they

Then said they, "Drink lustily; for thou must for ever abide with us:
but if thou wilt not be a good fellow and take thy part, thou must
forthwith into this fire that thou seest."

These poor devils would have disguised their speech and voice: yet I
marked at once they were my lord's grooms: yet I let them not perceive
this, but laughed in my sleeve that they that would make me a fool must
themselves be my fools. So I drank my share of the Spanish wine; but
they drank more than I, for such heavenly nectar cometh rarely to such
customers; insomuch that I could swear they would be drunk sooner than
I. But when it seemed to me to be the right time I so behaved myself
with reeling this way and that, as I had seen my master's guests lately
do, and at last would drink no more, but sleep; but no: they began to
chase me all round the cellar and prick me with their prong, which all
the time they had left to lie in the fire, till it seemed as if they
themselves had gone mad, and that to make me drink more or at least not
go to sleep. And whenever, being thus baited, I fell down (and this I
often did purposely), then they seized upon me and made as if they
would cast me into the fire. So was it with me as with a hawk that is
kept from sleep[10]: and this was my great torment. 'Tis true I could
have lasted them out both in respect of drunkenness and sleep; but they
stayed not all the time altogether, but relieved one another's watch;
and so at last must I have failed. Three days and two nights did I
spend in that smoky cellar, which had no other light but that which the
fire gave out: and so my head began to hum and to feel as if 'twould
burst, so that at last I must contrive some device to rid me at once of
my torment and of my tormentors. And this did I even as does the fox
when he cannot escape the hounds, and that so well that my devils could
no longer endure to be near me. So to punish me they laid me in a sheet
and trounced me so unmercifully that all my inward parts might well
have come out, soul and all. And what they did further with me I know
not, so gone was I from my senses.


Now when I came to myself I found myself no longer in the gloomy cellar
with the devils, but in a fine room under the charge of three of the
foulest old wives that ever the earth bore: I held them at first, when
I opened my eyes a little, for real spirits of hell: but had I then
read the old heathen poets I should have deemed them to be the Furies,
or at least have taken one for Tisiphone come from hell to rob me, like
Athamas, of my wits (for well I knew I was there to be turned into a
fool). For she had a pair of eyes like two will-o'-the-wisps, and
between the same a long, thin hawk's nose whose end or point reached at
least to her lower lip: and two teeth only could I see in her mouth,
and those so perfect, long, round, and thick that each might for its
form be likened to a ring-finger, and for its colour to the gold ring
itself. In a word, there was enough to make up a mouthful of teeth, yet
ill distributed. Her face was like Spanish leather, and her grey hair
hung in a strange confusion about her head, for they had but just
fetched her from her bed. In truth it was a fearsome sight, which could
serve for nought else but as an excellent remedy against the
unreasonable lust of a salacious goat. The other two were no whit
handsomer, save that they had blunt apes' noses and had put on their
clothes somewhat more orderly. So when I had a little recovered myself,
I perceived that the one was our dish-washer and the other two wives of
two grooms. I pretended as though I could not move (and in truth I was
in no condition for dancing): whereupon these honest old beldames
stripped me stark naked and cleansed me from all filth like a young
child; yea, while the work was a-doing they shewed me great patience
and much compassion, insomuch that I nearly revealed to them how it
truly stood with me: yet I thought, "Nay, Simplicissimus, trust thou in
no old women; but consider thou hast victory enough if thou in thy
youth canst deceive three such crafty old hags, with whose help one
could catch the devil in the open field: from such beginnings thou
mayst hope in thine old age to do yet greater things."

So when they had ended with me they laid me in a splendid bed wherein I
fell asleep without rocking: but they departed and took their tubs and
other things wherewith they had washed me away with them, and my
clothes likewise. Then according to my reckoning did I sleep at one
stretch twenty-four hours: and when I awoke there stood two pretty lads
with wings before my bed, which were finely decked out with white
shirts, taffety ribbons, pearls and jewels, as also golden chains and
the like dazzling trinkets. One had a gilded trencher full of cakes,
shortbread, marchpane, and other confectionery; but the other a gilded
flagon in his hand. These two angels (for such they gave themselves out
to be) sought to persuade me I was now in heaven, for that I had
happily endured purgatory and had escaped from the devil and his dam:
so need I only ask what my heart desired, for all that I could wish was
at hand or, if not, they could presently fetch it. Now I was tormented
by thirst, and as I saw the beaker before me I desired only drink,
which was willingly handed to me. Yet was it no wine but a gentle
sleeping-draught which I drank at one pull, and with that again fell
asleep so soon as it grew warm within me.

The next day I woke once more (for else had I still been sleeping), yet
found myself no longer in bed nor in the aforesaid room, but in mine
old goose-pen. There too was hideous darkness even as in the cellar,
and besides that I had on a garment of calf-skins whereof the rough
side was turned outwards: the breeches were cut in Polish or Swabian
fashion and the doublet too shaped in a yet more foolish wise: and on
my neck was a headpiece like a monk's cowl; this was drawn down over my
head and ornamented with a fine pair of great asses' ears. Then must I
perforce laugh at mine own plight; for well I saw by the nest and the
feathers what manner of bird I was to be. And at that time I first
began to reason with myself and to reflect what I had best do. So this
I determined: to play the fool to the uttermost, as I might have the
chance now and again, and meanwhile to wait with patience how my fate
would shape itself.


Now it had been easy for me, by means of the hole which the mad ensign
had cut in the door before, to free myself. But because I must now be a
fool, I let that alone: and not only did I behave like a fool who hath
not the wit of his own motion to release himself, but did even present
myself as a hungry calf that pineth for its mother: nor was it long
before my bleating was heard of them that were appointed to watch me;
for presently there came two soldiers to the goose-pen and asked who
was in there. So I answered: "Ye fools, hear ye not that a calf is in
here." And with that they opened the pen and brought me out, and
wondered how a calf could so speak: which forced performance became
them even as well as doth the awkward attempt of a new-recruited
comedian who cannot play his part; and that so much so that I thought
often I must help them to play their jest out. So they took counsel
what they should do with me, and agreed to make me a present to the
Governor as one who would give them a larger reward if I could speak
than the butcher would pay for me. Then they questioned me how I did,
and I answered, "Sorrily enough." So they asked why, and I said, "For
this reason, that here it is the fashion to shut up honest calves in
goose-pens. Ye rogues must know that a proper ox will in due time come
of me; and so must I be brought up as becometh an honourable steer."

So after this brief discourse they had me with them across the street
to the Governor's quarters: a great crowd of boys following us, and
inasmuch as they, like myself, all bleated loud like a calf, the very
blind could have guessed by the hearing that a whole herd of calves was
being driven past: whereas by our looks we might be likened to a pack
of young fools and old.

Then was I by my two soldiers presented to the Governor, for all the
world as if they had taken me as plunder: them he rewarded with a
gratification, but to me he promised the best post that I could have
about him. So I thought of the Goldsmith's[11] apprentice and answered
thus: "Good, my lord, but none must clap me into goose-pens: for we
calves can endure no such treatment if we are to grow and to turn into
fine heads of cattle." The Governor promised me better things, and
thought himself a clever fellow to have made so presentable a fool out
of me. "But no," thought I, "wait thou, my dear master; I have endured
the trial by fire and therein have I been hardened: now will we try
which of us two can best trick the other."

Now just then a peasant that had fled into the city was driving his
cattle to drink. Which when I saw forthwith I left the Governor and ran
to the cows, bleating like a calf, even as though I would suck: but
they, when I came to them, were more terrified at me than a wolf,
albeit I wore hair of their kind; yea, they were so affrighted and
scattered so quickly from one another as if a hornet's nest had been
let loose among them in August, so that their master could not again
bring them together at the same place: which occasioned pretty sport.
And in a wink a crowd of folk ran together to see this fool's jape, and
as my lord laughed till he was fit to burst, at last he said, "Truly
one fool maketh a hundred more."

But I thought to myself, "Yea, and thou speakest this truth of thine
own self."

And as from that time forward each must call me the calf, so I for my
part had a scoffing nickname for every one: which same, according to
the opinion of all and especially of my lord, turned out most wittily;
for I christened each as his qualities demanded. In a word; many did
count me for a witless madman, while I held all for fools in their
wits. And to my thinking this is still the way of the world: for each
one is content with his own wits and esteemeth that he is of all men
the cleverest.

The said jest which I played with the peasant's cattle made a short
forenoon still shorter; for 'twas then about the winter solstice. At
dinner-time I waited as before, but besides that I played many quaint
tricks: as that when I must eat no man could force me to take man's
food or drink: for I said roundly I would have only grass, which at
that time 'twas impossible to come by. So my lord had a fresh pair of
calf-skins fetched from the butcher, and the same pulled over the heads
of two little boys: and these he set by me at table, and for a first
course set before us a dish of winter salad and bade us fall to
lustily: yea, he commanded to bring a live calf and entice him with
salt to eat the salad. So I looked on staring as if I wondered at this,
but the thing gave me occasion to play my part the better.

"Of a certainty," said they, when they saw me so unmoved, "'tis no new
thing if calves do eat flesh, fish, cheese, and butter; yea, and at
times drink themselves soundly drunk: nowadays the beasts do know what
is good. Ay, and 'tis nowadays come to that, that but little difference
is to be found between them and mankind. Wilt thou not play thy part
therein?" And to that I was the more easily persuaded in that I was
hungry, and not because I had before seen with mine own eyes how men
could be more swinish than pigs, more savage than lions, more lustful
than goats, more envious than dogs, more unruly than horses, more
stupid than asses, more mad for drink than the brutes, craftier than
foxes, greedier than wolves, sillier than apes, and more poisonous than
asps and toads; yet all alike partook of men's food, and only by their
shape were discerned from the beasts, and specially in respect of
innocence were they to be counted far below the poor calf. So I ate my
fill with my fellow calves as much as my appetite demanded: and if a
stranger had unexpectedly thus beheld me sitting at table, without
doubt he had imagined that Circe of old had risen up again to turn men
into beasts; which art my master then knew and practised. And as I took
my dinner, so was I treated at my supper, and even as my fellow guests
or parasites fed with me, so must they with me to bed, though my lord
would not permit that I should pass the night in the cow-byre. Now all
this I did to befool them that would have held me for a fool, and this
sure conclusion did I make, that the most gracious God doth lend and
impart to every man in his station to which He hath called him, so much
wit as he hath need of there to maintain himself: yea, and moreover,
that many do vainly imagine, doctors though they be or not, that they
alone be men of wit and they only fit for every trade, whereas there be
as many good fish[12] in the sea yet.


Now when I awaked next morning were both my becalfed bedfellows up and
away: so I rose up likewise, and when the adjutant came to fetch away
the keys to open the town gates, out I slipped to my pastor; and to him
I told all that had happened to me, as well in heaven as in hell. So
when he saw that it vexed my conscience that I should deceive so many
folk, and specially my master, whereas I pretended to be a fool, "why,
upon that point," says he, "thou needest not to trouble thyself: this
foolish world will be befooled; and if they have left thee thy wits, so
use thou those same wits to thine own advantage, and imagine to thyself
as if thou, like to the Ph[oe]nix, hast been newly born from folly to
understanding through fire, and so to a new human life. Yet know thou
withal thou art not yet out of the wood, but with risk of thy reason
hast slipped into this fool's cap. Yea, and these times be so out of
joint that none can know whether thou yet escape without loss of thy
life. For a man can run quickly into hell, but to get out again doth
need a deal of puffing and blowing: and thou art not yet--no, not by a
long way--man enough to escape the danger that lies before thee, as
well thou mightest suppose. So wilt thou have need of more foresight
and wit than in those days when thou knewest not what reason or
unreason was: bide thou thy time and wait on the turn of the tide."

Now was his manner of speaking different from what it had been, and
that because, I believe, he had read it in my countenance that I
fancied myself to be somewhat, since I had with such masterly deceit
and art slipped through the net. Nay, I gathered this from his face,
that he was sick and tired of me, for his looks shewed it; and indeed
what part had he in me? With that I changed my discourse also, and
busied myself to give him great thanks for the excellent remedies which
he had imparted to me for the preserving of my wits: yea, and I made
him impossible promises to repay him all that my debt to him demanded.
Now this tickled him and brought him again to a different humour,
wherein he bepraised his medicine and told me Simonides of Melos had
invented an art which Metrodorus of Skepsis had perfected, and that not
without great pains, whereby he could teach men at the repeating of a
single word to recount all that they had ever heard or read, and such a
thing, said he, "were not possible without medicines to strengthen the
head such as he had ministered to me."

"Yea," thought I, "my good master parson: yet have I read in thine own
books, when I dwelt with my hermit, a different tale of that wherein
the Skepsian's mnemonic did consist."

Yet was I crafty enough to hold my peace: for if I must speak truth,
'twas now first, when I must be counted a fool, that I became
keen-witted and more guarded in my talk. So the pastor continued, and
told me how Cyrus could call every one of his 30,000 soldiers by his
right name; how Lucius Scipio could do the like with every citizen of
Rome; and how Cineas, Pyrrhus's ambassador, on the very day after he
came to Rome could repeat in their order the names of all the senators,
and nobles. Mithridates, the King of Pontus, said he, had in his realm
men speaking twenty-two languages, to all of which he could minister
judgment in their own tongue: yea, and talk with each separately. So,
too, the learned Greek Charmides could tell a man what each would know
out of all the books in a whole library if he had but read them once
through. Lucius Seneca could say 2000 names in order if they were once
recited before him and, as Ravisius tells, could repeat 200 verses
spoken by 200 scholars from the last back to the first. So Esdras knew
the five books of Moses by heart, and could dictate the same word by
word to the scribes. Themistocles in one year did learn the Persian
Speech, and Crassus, in Asia, could talk the five separate dialects of
the Greek language, and in each administer the law to his subjects.
Julius Cæsar could at the same time read, dictate, and give audiences.
The holy Jerome knew both Hebrew, Chaldee, Greek, Persian, Median,
Arabic and Latin, and the eremite Antonius knew the whole Bible by
heart only from hearing it read. And so we know of a certain Corsican
that he could hear 6000 men's names recited and thereafter repeat them
in proper order.

"And all this I tell thee," said he further, "that thou mayest not hold
it for an impossible thing that a man's memory should be excellently
strengthened and maintained, even as it may, on the other hand, be in
many ways weakened and even altogether destroyed. For in man there is
no faculty so fleeting as that of memory: for by reason of sickness,
terror, fear, or trouble and grief, it either vanisheth away or loseth
a great part of its virtue. So do we read of a learned man at Athens
that after a stone had fallen on his head he forgot all he had ever
learned, even to his alphabet. So too another, by reason of sickness,
came to this, that he forgot his own servant's name: and Messala
Corvinus knew not his own name, though aforetime he had a good memory.
And a priest who had sucked blood from his own veins thereupon forgot
how to read and write, yet otherwise kept his memory, and when after a
year's time he had again drunken of the same blood at the same place
and the same time, could again write and read. So if a man eat bear's
brains, 'tis said he will fall into such a craze and strong delusion as
if he himself were turned into a bear; as is shewn by the example of a
Spanish nobleman who, having eaten of it, ran wild in the woods and
could believe nought else but that he was a bear. My good
Simplicissimus, had thy master but known this art, thou mightest well
have been changed into a bear like Callisto, rather than into a bull
like Jupiter."

The pastor told me much more of the same sort, gave me more of his
medicament, and instructed me as to my carriage for the time to come.
So with that I betook myself home again, and with me more than one
hundred boys, which all ran after me and again cried after me like
calves: insomuch that my master, who was now risen, ran to the window,
and when he saw so many fools all at once, was so gracious as to laugh
heartily thereat.


Now no sooner was I come into the house but I must forthwith to the
parlour, for there were noble ladies with my lord which desired much to
see and to hear his new fool. There I appeared and stood a-gaping like
a dummy: whereupon she whom I had before caught at the dance took
occasion to say she had been told this calf could speak, but now she
did plainly perceive 'twas not true. Whereto I made answer I had also
heard apes could not speak, but now could plainly hear 'twas not so.

"What;" says my lord, "opinest thou, then, that these ladies be apes?"

So I answered, "Be they not so already, yet they soon will be: for who
knoweth how things will go; Yea, I myself had never expected to become
a calf; and yet am I that same."

Then my lord would ask me whereby I could tell that these ladies should
become apes: so I answered him, "Our ape here carrieth his hinder parts
naked, but these ladies do so carry their bosom: which other maidens be
wont to cover."

"Ah, rogue," saith my lord, "thou beest but a foolish calf, and as thou
art so thou talkest: for these ladies do of purpose shew what 'tis
worth men's while to gaze upon; whereas the poor ape goeth naked for
sheer want of clothing. And now be thou quick to make good that wherein
thou hast offended: else will we so bastinado thee and so hunt thee to
thy goose-pen with dogs as men use to do with calves that know not how
to behave themselves. Yet let us hear if thou canst praise a lady as is

So I looked upon the lady from head to foot and again from foot to
head, and gazed upon her so fixedly and so lovingly as I would take her
to wife: and at last, "Sir," said I, "I see clearly where the fault
lieth; for the rascal tailor is the cause of all. The villain hath left
those parts, which should cover the neck and the breast, below in the
skirts: and therefore do these so trail behind. The botcher should have
his hand hewn off that can tailor no better than this." And "Lady,"
quoth I to her, "be rid of him, or he will shame you; and have a care
that you do deal with my dad's tailor, which same was hight Master
Powle: for he could fashion fine plaited gowns for my mammy, our Ann,
and our Ursula, and all cut even round about below. So did they never
drag in the mud like yours: nay, and ye cannot believe what fine
clothes he would make for the hussies."

So says my lord, "Were now thy father's Ann and thy father's Ursula
handsomer than these ladies;"

"Nay," said I, "my lord, that may not be: this young maiden hath hair
as yellow as sulphur, and the parting of her hair so white and smooth
as though one had cut bristle-brushes therefrom; yea, and her hair so
sweetly done up in rolls that it is like unto pipe-stems; yea, and as
if one had hanged upon each side of her head a pound of candles or a
dozen of sausages. Look you now, what a smooth, fair brow she hath! is
it not rounder than a plum-pudding and whiter than a dead man's skull
that has hung long on the gallows in wind and rain. 'Tis pity indeed
that her tender skin is so stained by puff-powder; for when people see
this who understand not such things, surely they will think this lady
had the king's evil, which is wont to produce such a scaly humour; and
this were surely pity: for look upon those sparkling eyes: they shine
as black as did the soot on my dad's chimney; for that did use to shine
so terribly when our Ann stood there before it with a wisp of straw to
warm the room as if fire were therein enough to set the world in a
blaze. Her cheeks be rosy enough, yet not so red as the red garters
with which the Swabian waggoners at Ulm did truss up their breeches.
Yet the bright red which she hath on her lips doth far surpass the
colour of those garters, and if she speak or laugh (I pray my masters
give heed thereto), then can one see in her mouth two rows of teeth, so
orderly and so sugary as if they were with one snip cut out of a white
turnip. Oh, lovely creature! I cannot believe that any one should feel
pain if thou shouldst bite him therewith! So, too, her neck is as white
as curdled milk and her bosom, which lieth beneath, of like colour. And
oh, my masters, look upon her hands and fingers: they be so slender, so
long, so slim, so supple, and so cunning as for all the world like a
gipsy's fingers, ready to thrust into any man's pockets and there go

With that there arose such a laughter that none could hear me, nor I
talk: so I took French leave and off I went: for I would be mocked by
others so long as I would, and no longer.


Thereafter followed the midday meal, whereat I again did good service:
for now had I made it my purpose to rebuke all follies and to chastise
all vanities, to which end my present condition was excellent well
fitted: for no guest was too exalted for me to reprove and upbraid his
vices, and if there were any that shewed displeasure, then was he
laughed out of countenance by the rest, or else my master would
demonstrate to him that no wise man is wont to be vexed at a fool. As
to the mad ensign, which was my worst enemy, him I put on the rack at
once. Yet the first who (at my lord's nod) did answer me reasonably was
the secretary; for when I called him a "title-forger" and asked what
title, then, had our first father Adam, "Thou talkest," answered he,
"like an unreasoning calf: for thou knowest not how after our first
parents different folk lived in the world, which by rare virtues such
as wisdom, manly deeds of arms, and invention of useful arts, did in
such wise ennoble themselves and their family that they by others were
exalted above all earthly things, yea even above the stars to be gods:
and wert thou a man, or hadst thou at least, like a man, read the
histories, thou wouldst understand the difference that lies between
men, and so wouldst thou gladly grant to each his title of honour; but
since thou art but a calf, and so neither worthy nor capable of human
honour, thou talkest of this matter like a stupid calf, and grudgest to
the noble human race that wherein it can rejoice."

So I answered: "I was once a man as much as thou, and I have read
pretty much also, and so can I judge that thou either understandest not
this business aright, or art for thine own advantage compelled to speak
otherwise than as thou knowest. For tell me, what deeds so noble and
what arts so fine have ever been devised as to be enough to give
nobility to a whole family for hundreds of years after the death of
these great heroes and craftsmen? Did not the strength of the heroes
and the wisdom and high understanding of the craftsmen die with them?
And if thou seest not this, and if the qualities of the parents do
descend to their children, then must I believe thy father was a
stockfish and thy mother a plaice."

"Oho!" answered the secretary, "if the matter is to be settled by our
reviling of each other, then can I cast in thy teeth thy father was but
a clownish peasant of the Spessart, and though in thy home and in thy
family there be many famous blockheads, yet thou hast made thyself yet
lower, seeing that thou art become an unreasoning calf."

So I answered: "Thou art right; 'tis even that that that I would
maintain; namely, that the virtues of the parents descend not always to
the children, and that therefore the children be not always worthy of
their parent's titles of honour. For me it is no shame to have become a
calf, seeing that in such case I have the honour to follow the great
king Nebuchadnezzar. Who knoweth whether it may not please God that I,
like him, may again become a man, yea, and a far greater one than my
dad? Yet do I praise those only that by their own virtues do make
themselves nobles."

"Let it be so for the sake of argument," said the secretary, "that the
children should not always inherit the titles of their parents, yet
thou must acknowledge that they are worthy of all praise which do earn
their nobility by a good conduct: and if that be so, it followeth that
we do rightly honour the children for the parents' sake, since the
apple falleth not far from the tree. And who would not honour in the
descendants of Alexander the Great, if such there were to hand, their
ancient forefather's high courage in the wars. For this man shewed in
his youth his desire for fighting, in that he wept (though not yet able
to bear arms) grieving lest his father might conquer all and leave him
nothing to subdue. Did not he before the thirtieth year of his age
overcome all the world and wish for another to conquer? Did not he in a
battle against the Indians, when he was deserted by his men, for sheer
rage sweat blood? And was he not so terrible to look upon (as though he
were all begirt with flames of fire) that even the savages must flee
before him in battle? Who would not esteem him higher and nobler than
other men, of whom Quintus Curtius tells that his breath was like
perfume and his sweat like musk and that his dead body smelt of
precious spiceries? Here could I cite the case of Julius Cæsar and
Pompeius, of whom the one, besides the victories which he won in the
civil wars, did fifty times engage in pitched battles, and defeated and
slew 1,520,000 men: while the other, besides the taking of 940 ships
from the pirates, did from the Alps to the uttermost parts of Spain
capture and subdue 376 cities and towns. Lucius Siccius, the Roman
people's tribune, was engaged in 120 pitched battles, and did eight
times conquer them that challenged him: he could shew forty-five scars
on his body, and those all in front and none behind: with nine
generals-in-chief did he enter Rome in their triumphs, which they did
clearly earn by their courage. Yea, and Manlius Capitolinus's honour in
war were no less had he not at the end of his life himself abased his
fame: for he too could shew thirty-three scars, without counting that
he once did alone save the capitol with all its treasures from the
French. What of Hercules the Strong and Theseus and the rest, whose
undying praise it is well-nigh impossible both to describe and to tell
of? Should not these be honoured in their descendants? But I will pass
over war and weapons and turn to the arts, which, though they seem to
make less noise in the world, yet do achieve great fame for the masters
of them. What skill do we find in Zeuxis, which by his ingenious brain
and skilful hand did deceive the very birds of the air; and likewise in
Apelles, who did paint a Venus so natural, so fine, so exquisite, and
in all features so nice and so delicate that all bachelors did fall in
love with her! Doth not Plutarch tell us how Archimedes did draw with
one hand and by a single rope through the midst of the marketplace at
Syracuse a great ship laden with merchants' ware as if he had but led a
packhorse by the bridle? which thing not twenty oxen, to say nothing of
two hundred calves like thee, could have effected. And should not this
honest craftsman be endowed with a title of honour fitted to his art?
This Archimedes made a mirror wherewith he could set on fire an enemy's
warship in mid-sea. And who would not praise him which first did invent
letters? Yea, who would not exalt him far above all artists who devised
the noble and, for all the world, useful art of printing? If Ceres was
accounted a goddess because she is said to have invented agriculture
and the grinding of corn, why were it not fair that others should have
their praise with titles of honour allowed them? Yet in truth it
mattereth little whether thou, thou stupid calf, canst take such things
into thy unreasoning bullock's brain or not. For 'tis with thee as with
the dog which lay in the manger and would not let the ox eat of the
hay, yet could not enjoy the same himself: thou art capable of no
honour, and for that very cause thou grudgest such to those that do
deserve it."

With all this I found myself sorely bestead, yet made answer: "These
mighty deeds were indeed highly to be praised were they not
accomplished with the destruction and damage of other men. But what
manner of praise is this which is stained with the bloodshed of so many
innocents; and what manner of nobility that which is achieved and won
by the ruin of so many thousand other folk! And as concerns the arts,
what be they save merely vanities and follies! Yea, they be as vain,
idle, and unprofitable as the title of honour which might come to any
man from these craftsmen; for they do but serve the greed, or the lust,
or the luxury, or the corruption of others, like to those vile guns
which lately I beheld on their half-waggons. Yea, and well could we
spare both printing and writing, according to the sentence and opinion
of that holy man who held that the whole wide world was book enough for
him, wherein to study the wonders of his Creator and thereupon to
recognise the almighty power of God."


Then my lord would also have his jest with me, and said: "I do well
perceive that because thou trustest not thyself to be of gentle birth,
therefore thou despisest the honourable titles of gentility." "Sir,"
answered I, "if I could at this very hour enter upon your place of
honour, yet would I not take it."

My lord laughed and said; "That I believe, for for the ox his oaten
straw is well enough: but an thou hadst a high spirit such as hearts of
gentles should have, then wouldst thou with zeal aspire to high honours
and dignities. I for my part count it no small thing that fortune
raises me above my fellows."

Then did I sigh, and "O toilsome felicity!" said I. "Sir, I assure you,
ye are the most miserable man in Hanau."

"How so; how so, calf?" said my lord. "Give me thy reasons, for such I
find not in myself."

So I answered, "If you know not and feel not that you are Governor in
Hanau, and with how many cares and uneasiness in that account burdened,
then either the devouring thirst of honour blinds you or else are you
of iron and quite insensible; ye have, 'tis true, the right to command,
and whosoever comes within your ken the same must obey you. But do they
serve ye for naught? Are ye not all men's servant? Must ye not
specially take care for each and all? See, ye are girded round with
foes, and the safeguarding of this stronghold depends on you alone.
Ever must ye be devising how to do some damage to your opposites: and
therein must ever be on your guard that your plans be not spied upon.
Must ye not often stand on guard like a common sentinel? Besides, ye
must ever be concerned that there be no failure in money, ammunition,
food and folk, and for that reason be ever holding the whole land to
contribution by continual exactions and extortions. Send ye your men
out to such an end, then is robbery, plunder, stealing, burning, and
murder their highest task. Even now of late they have plundered Orb,
captured Braunfels, and laid Staden in ashes. Thence 'tis true they
brought back booty, but ye have laid on them a grievous responsibility
before God. I grant this, that those enjoyments which accompany thine
honour do please thee well; but knowest thou who will enjoy such
treasures as doubtless thou gatherest? And granted that such riches
remain thine (whereof a man may doubt), yet must thou leave them in
this world and takest nothing with thee but the sin whereby thou hast
gained them. And even if thou hast the good luck to enjoy thy booty,
yet thou dost but spend the sweat and blood of the poor, who do now in
misery suffer want or even perish and die of hunger. How often do I see
that thy thoughts, by reason of the cares of thine office, are
distracted hither and thither, while I and other calves do sleep in
peace without any care, and if thou dost not so, it shall cost thee thy
head if aught be overlooked that should have been provided for the
preservation of thy subject people and this fortress. Look you, I am
raised above such cares! and so, knowing that I do owe the debt of
death to nature, I fear not lest an enemy should storm my stall or lest
I should have with pains to fight for life. If I die young, so am I
delivered from the toilsome life of a yoke-ox. But for thee men lay
snares in a thousand fashions: and therefore is thy life naught but a
continual care and sleeplessness; for thou must fear both friend and
foe, which be ever devising to cheat thee of thy life or thy money, or
thy reputation or thy command, or somewhat else whatever it be; even as
thou thinkest to do by others. The enemy doth attack thee openly: and
thy supposed friends do secretly envy thee thy good luck, and even as
regards thy subjects art thou in no manner of safety.

"I say naught of this, that daily thy burning desires do torment thee
and drive thee hither and thither, whilst thou plannest to gain for
thyself still greater name and fame, to rise higher in rank, to gather
greater riches, to play the enemy a trick, to surprise this or that
place; in a word, to do wellnigh everything that may vex others and
prove harmful to thine own soul and grievous to God's majesty. Yea, and
the worst is this, that thou art so spoiled by thy flatterers that thou
knowest not thyself, but art by them so captivated and drugged that
thou canst not see the dangerous way thou goest; for all that thou
doest they say is right and all thy vices are by them turned into
virtues and so proclaimed; thy cruelty is to them stern justice: and
when thou plunderest land and folk, thou art a brave soldier, say they,
and do urge thee on to others' harm, that they may keep in thy favour
and fill their purses too."

"Thou malingerer," said my lord, "who taught thee so to preach?"

"Good my lord," answered I, "say I not truly that thou art so spoiled
by thine ear-wiggers and sycophants that already thou art past help?
Whereas contrariwise other folk do soon detect thy faults and condemn
thee not only in high and mighty matters, but find enough to blame in
thee in small things which are of little account. And of this hast thou
not examples enough in the case of great men of old time? So the
Lacedaemonians railed at their own Lycurgus for walking with his head
bowed: the Romans deemed it a foul fault in Scipio that he snored so
loud in his sleep: it seemed to them an ugly fault in Pompey that he
did scratch himself but with one finger: at Cæsar they mocked for
wearing his girdle awry; and the good Cato was slandered for eating too
greedily with both jaws at once; yea, the Carthaginians spoke evil of
Hannibal for going with his breast bare and uncovered. How think ye
now, my dear master? Think ye I would change places with one that,
besides twelve or thirteen boon companions, flatterers and parasites,
hath more than one hundred, yea, 'tis like enough more than ten
thousand, both open and secret foes, slanderers, and malicious enviers?
Besides, what happiness, what pleasure, and what joy can such a head
have under whose care, protection, and guard so many men do live? Is't
not a duty laid upon thee to watch for all thy folk, to care for them,
and listen to each one's complaints and grievances? Were that not of
itself troublesome enough even though thou hadst neither foes nor
secret enemies? I can see well enough how hard 'tis for thee and yet
how many grievances thou must endure. And, good my lord, what in the
end will be thy reward? Tell me what hast thou for it all? If thou
canst not say, then suffer the Grecian Demosthenes to tell thee, who
after he had bravely and loyally furthered and defended the common weal
and rights of the Athenians, was, contrary to all law and justice,
banished the land and driven into miserable exile as an evil-doer. So
Socrates was requited with poison, and Hannibal so ill rewarded by his
countrymen that he must wander in the world as a poor wretched outlaw;
yea, the Greeks repaid Lycurgus in such fashion that he was stoned and
had an eye beaten out. Do thou, therefore, keep thy high office to
thyself, with the reward thou wilt have from it: seek not to share it
with me; for even if all go well with thee, yet hast thou naught to
carry home with thee but an ill conscience. And if thou art minded to
obey that conscience, then wilt thou be quickly deposed from thy
commands as incapable, for all the world as if thou too wert become a
stupid calf."

While I thus spake, the rest of the company looked hard upon me and
wondered much that I should be able to hold such discourse, which, as
they openly confessed, would have taxed the wits of a man of sense if
he had been forced so to speak without preparation.


So I ended my discourse thus: "Therefore," said I, "my excellent
master, will I not change with thee: for indeed I have no call to do so
since the brook affords me a healthy drink instead of thy costly wines;
and He who allowed me to be turned into a calf will also in such wise
know how to bless the fruits of the earth to my use, that they be to me
as to Nebuchadnezzar, no unfitting provision for food and sustenance:
even so hath nature provided me with a good coat of fur; while as for
thee, often thou loathest thy meat, thy wine splitteth thy head, and
soon will bring thee into one sickness or another."

Then my lord answered: "I know not what I have in thee; meseemeth thou
art for a calf far too wise: nay, I do surmise thou hast under that
calf-skin clad thyself with a rogue-skin."

With that I made as if I were angry, and said: "Do ye men think, then,
that we beasts be all fools? That may ye not imagine. I do maintain
that if older beasts could speak as well as I, that they would tell you
a very different story. If ye deem we are so stupid, then tell me who
hath taught the wild wood-pigeons, the jays, the blackbirds, and
the partridges to purge themselves with laurel-leaves, and doves,
turtle-doves, and fowls with dandelions. Who teacheth cat and dog to
eat the dewy grass when they desire to purge a full belly? Who hath
taught the tortoise to heal a bite with hemlock or the stag when he is
shot to have recourse to the dictamnus or calamint? Who taught the
weasel to use the rue when she will fight with bat or snake? Who maketh
the wild boar to know the ivy and the bear the mandrake, and saith to
them it is their medicine? Who giveth the swallow to understand that
she should heal her fledglings' dim eyes with chelidonium? Who did
instruct the snake to eat of fennel when she will cast her slough and
heal her darkened eyes? Who teacheth the stork to purge himself, the
pelican to let himself blood and the bear to get himself scarified by
bees? Nay, I might almost say, ye men have learned your arts and
sciences from us beasts. Ye eat and drink yourselves to death, and that
we beasts do never do. Lion or wolf, when he is by way of growing too
fat, then he fasteth till again he is thin, active, and healthy. And
which party dealeth most wisely herein? Yea, above and beyond all this,
consider the fowls of the air; regard the various architecture of their
cunning nests, and inasmuch as all your labours can never imitate them,
therefore ye must acknowledge they be both wiser and more ingenious
than ye men yourselves. Who telleth to our summer birds when they
should come to us for the spring and hatch their young, or for the
autumn, when they should again betake themselves from us to warmer
climes? Who teacheth them they must choose a gathering-place to that
end? Who leadeth them or sheweth them the way? Do ye men lend them,
perchance, a compass that they fall not out by the way? Nay, my good
friends, they do know the way without your help, and how long they must
spend therein, and when they must depart from this place and the other,
and therefore have no need of your compass nor your almanack. Further,
behold the industrious spider, whose web is wellnigh a miracle: look if
you find a singly knot in all her weaving. What hunter or fisher hath
taught her how to spread her net, and when she hath laid that net to
catch her prey, to set herself either in the furthest corner or else
full in the centre? Ye men do admire the raven of whom Plutarchus
writeth that he threw into a vessel that was half full of water so many
stones that the water rose until he could conveniently drink thereof.
What would ye do if ye were to dwell among the beasts and there behold
all the rest of their dealings, their doings, and their not-doings?
Then at all events would ye acknowledge 'twas plain that all beasts had
somewhat of especial natural vigour and virtue in all their desires and
instincts, as being now prudent, now strenuous, now gentle, now timid,
now fierce, for your learning and instruction. Each knoweth the other;
they discern each from other; they seek after that which is useful to
them, flee from what is harmful, avoid danger, gather together what is
necessary for their sustenance--yea, and at times do befool you men
yourselves. Therefore have many ancient philosophers seriously pondered
of such matters and have not been ashamed to question and to dispute
whether unreasoning brutes might not have understanding. But I care not
to speak further of these matters: get ye to the bees and see how they
make wax and honey, and then come again and tell me how ye think of


Thereupon various judgments were pronounced upon me by my lord's
guests. The Secretaries were of opinion I should be counted a fool
because I esteemed myself a reasoning beast, and because they that had
a tile or two slipped, and yet seemed to themselves wise, were the most
complete and comical fools of all. Others said, if 'twere possible to
drive out of me the idea that I was a calf, or one could persuade me I
was again turned into a man, I should surely be held reasonable, or at
least sane enough. But my lord himself said, "I hold him for a fool
because he telleth every man the truth so shamelessly; yet are his
speeches so ordered that they belong to no fool." (Now all this they
spake in Latin, that I might not understand.) Then he asked me, had I
studied while I was yet a man? I answered, I knew not what study was
"but, dear sir," said I further, "tell me what manner of things are
these studs with which men study? Speakest thou, perchance, of the
balls with which men bowl." Then answered he they called the "mad
ensign," "What will ye with the fellow? 'a hath a devil, 'a is
possessed? 'tis sure the devil talking through his mouth." And on that
my lord took occasion to ask me, since I had been turned into a calf,
whether I still was accustomed to pray like other men and trusted to go
to heaven. "Surely," answered I, "Yet have I my immortal human soul,
which, as thou canst easily believe, will not lightly desire to come to
hell again, specially since I fared therein so evilly once before. I am
but changed as once was Nebuchadnezzar, and in God's good time I might
well become a man again." "And I hope thou mayst," said my lord, with a
pretty deep sigh, whereupon I might easily judge that he repented him
of having allowed me to be driven mad. "But let us hear," he went on,
"how art thou wont to pray?" So I kneeled down and raised my eyes and
hands to heaven in good hermit fashion, and because my lord's
repentance which I had perceived touched my heart with exceeding
comfort, I could not refrain my tears, and so to outward appearance
prayed with deepest reverence, after the Paternoster, for all
Christendom, for my friends and my enemies, and that God would
vouchsafe to me so to live in this world that I might be worthy to
praise Him in eternal bliss. My hermit had taught me such a prayer in
devout and well-ordered words. At that some soft-hearted onlookers were
also nigh to weeping, for they had great pity for me, yea, my lord's
own eyes were full of water.

After dinner my lord sends for the pastor, and to him he told all that
I had uttered, and gave him to understand that he was concerned lest
all was not well[13] with me, and perchance the devil had a finger in
the pie, seeing that at first I had shewn myself altogether simple and
ignorant yet now could utter things to make men wonder. The pastor, who
knew my qualities better than any other, answered, that should have
been thought on before 'twas allowed to make me a fool, for "men," said
he, "were made in the image of God, and with such, and especially with
such tender youth, one must not make sport as with beasts": yet would
he never believe 'twas permitted to the evil spirit to interfere,
seeing that I had ever commended myself to God with fervent prayer. Yet
if against all likelihood such a thing were decreed and permitted, then
had men a sore account to answer for before God, inasmuch as there
would scarcely be greater sin than for one man to rob another of his
reason and thus withdraw him from the praise and service of God,
whereto he was chiefly created. "I gave ye beforehand my assurance,"
said he, "that he had wit enough, but that he could not fit himself to
the world was caused by this, that he was brought up first with his
father, a rough peasant, and then with your brother-in-law in the
wilderness, in all simplicity. Had folk had but a little patience with
him at first, he would with time have learned a better carriage; he was
but a simple, God-fearing child, such as the evil-disposed world knew
not. Yet do I not doubt he can again be brought to his right mind, if
we can but take from him this fantasy and bring him to believe no
longer that he was turned into a calf. We read of one which did firmly
believe he was changed into an earthen pot, and would beseech his
friends to put him high on a shelf lest he should be trodden on and
broken. Another did imagine he was a cock, and in his infirmity crowed
both day and night. And yet another fancied he was already dead and a
wandering spirit, and therefore would partake of no medicine nor food
nor drink, till a wise physician hired two fellows which gave
themselves out likewise to be spirits, yet hearty drinkers, who joined
themselves to him and persuaded him that nowadays spirits were wont to
eat and drink, whereby he was brought to his senses. Yea, I myself had
a sick peasant in my parish, who, when I visited him, complained to me
he had three or four barrels of water in his body; and could he be rid
of that he trusted to be well again, and begged me either to have him
ripped up, that the water might run away, or have him hung up in the
smoke to dry it up. So I spoke him fair, and persuaded him I could draw
off the water from him in another fashion; and with that I took a tap
such as we use for wine and beer-casks, bound a strip of pig's guts to
it, and the other end I fastened to the bung hole of a great puncheon,
which to that end I had had filled with water; then I pretended as if I
had stuck the tap into his belly, which he had had swathed in rags lest
it should burst. Then I let the water run out of the puncheon through
tubes; whereat the poor creature rejoiced heartily and, throwing away
his rags, was in a few days whole again. Again, one that imagined he
had all manner of horse-furniture, bits and the like, in his body, was
in this wise cured: for his physician, having given him a strong purge,
conveyed such things into the night-stool so that the fellow must needs
believe he was rid of them by the purging. So, too, they tell of one
madman that believed his nose was so long that it reached to the
ground: for him they hung a sausage to his nose, and cut it away by
little and little till they came to the real nose: who, as soon as he
felt the knife touch his flesh, cried out the nose was in its right
shape again. And our good Simplicissimus can therefore be cured even as
were these of whom I have spoken."

"All this can I believe," answered my master, "only this gives me
concern, that he was before so ignorant, and now can talk of all
matters, and that in such perfect fashion as one cannot easily find
even among persons older, more practised, and better read than he is:
for he hath told me of many properties of beasts, and described mine
own person so exactly as he had been all his life in the busy world, so
that I must needs wonder and hold his speeches wellnigh for an oracle
or a warning of God."

"Sir," answered the pastor, "this may well be true and yet natural: I
know that he is well read, seeing that he, as well as his hermit, went
through all my books which I had, and which were not few; and because
the lad hath a good memory, and is now at leisure in his mind and
forgetful of his own person, therefore he can utter what aforetime he
stored in his brain: and therefore I do cherish the firm hope that with
time he may again be brought to right reason."

In this wise the pastor left the Governor between hope and fear: and me
and my cause he defended in the best way, and gained for me days of
happiness and for himself (by the way) access to the Governor. Their
crowning resolve was this, to deal with me for a time quietly; and that
the pastor did more for his own sake than mine, for by going to and fro
and acting as if he bestirred himself for my sake and felt great care
for me, he gained the Governor's favour, who gave him office and made
him chaplain to the garrison, which in those hard times was no small
matter: neither did I grudge it him.


So from this time forward I possessed in full the favour, grace, and
love of my lord, of which I can boast with truth: nought I wanted to
complete my good fortune but that my calfskin was too much and my years
too little, though I knew it not myself. Besides, the pastor would not
yet have me brought to my senses, but it seemed to him not yet time,
neither as yet profitable for his interest. But my lord, seeing my
taste for music, had me to learn it, and hired for me an excellent
lute-player, whose art I presently well understood and in this excelled
him, that I could sing to the lute better than he. So could I serve my
lord for his pleasure, for his pastime, delight, and admiration.
Likewise all the officers shewed me their respect and goodwill, the
richest burghers sent me gratifications, and the household, like the
soldiers, wished me well because they saw how well inclined my master
was to me. One treated me here, another there; for they knew that often
jesters have more power with their masters than honest men: and to this
end were all their gifts; for some gave to me lest I should slander
them, others for that very reason--namely, that I should slander others
for their sake. In which manner I put together a pretty sum of money,
which for the most part I handed to the pastor; for I knew not yet to
what end it could be used. And as none dared look at me askance, so
from this time forward I had no jealousy, care, or trouble to encounter
with. All my thoughts I gave to my music, and to devising how I might
courteously point out to one and the other his failings. So I grew like
a pig in clover, and my strength of body increased palpably: soon could
one see that I was no longer starving my body in the wood with water
and acorns and beech-nuts and roots and herbs, but that over a good
meal I found the Rhenish wine and the Hanau double-beer to my taste,
which was indeed in those miserable times to be accounted a great
favour of God: for at that time all Germany was aflame with war and
harried by hunger and pestilence, and Hanau itself besieged by the
enemy, all which disturbed me not in the least. But after the raising
of the siege my master designed to make a present of me either to
Cardinal Richelieu or Duke Bernhard of Weimar, for besides that he
hoped to earn great thanks for the gift, he said plainly 'twas not
possible for him to bear the sight of me longer, because I presented to
him in that fool's raiment the face of his lost sister, to whom I grew
more like every day. In that the pastor opposed him, for he held that
the time was not yet come when he was to do a miracle and make me a
reasonable creature again, and therefore counselled the Governor he
should have a couple of calfskins prepared and put on two other boys,
and thereafter appoint some third person who, in the shape of a
physician, prophet or conjurer, should strip me and the said two boys
and pretend he could make beasts into men and men into beasts: in this
manner I might be restored, and without great pains might be brought to
believe I had, like others, again become a man. Which proposal when the
Governor approved, the pastor told me what he had agreed with my
master, and easily persuaded me to consent thereto. But envious Fortune
would not so easily free me of my fool's clothes nor leave me longer to
enjoy my noble life of pleasure. For while tanners and tailors were
already at work on the apparel that appertained to this comedy, I was
even then sporting with some other boys on the ice in front of the
ramparts. And there some one, I know not who, brought upon us a party
of Croats, which seized upon us all, set us upon certain riderless
farm-horses which they had just stolen, and carried us all off
together. 'Tis true they were at first in doubt whether to take me with
them or not, till at last one said in Bohemian, "Mih werne daho blasna
sebao, bowe deme ho gbabo Oberstowi" ("Take we the fool: bring we him
to our colonel"). And another answered him, "Prschis am bambo ano, mi
ho nagonie possadeime wan rosumi niemezki, won bude mit Kratock wille
sebao" ("Yes, by God, set we him on the horse. The colonel speaks
German: he will have sport with him"). So I must to horse, and must
learn how a single unlucky hour can rob one of all welfare and so
separate him from all luck and happiness that all his life he must bear
the consequences.


Though 'tis true the Hanauers raised an alarm at once, sallied forth on
horseback, and for a while detained the Croats and harassed them with
skirmishing, yet could they get from them none of their booty; for
being light troops, they escaped very cleverly, and took their way to
Büdingen, where they baited, and delivered to the burghers there the
rich Hanauers' sons to put to ransom, and there sold their stolen
horses and other wares. From thence they decamped again before it was
even fully night, let alone day again, and rode hard through the
Büdingen forest into the abbey-lands of Fulda, and seized on the way
all they could carry with them. For robbery and plunder hindered them
not in the least in their swift march: like the devil, that can do
mischief as he flies. And the same evening they arrived in the
abbey-lands of Hirschfeld, where they had their quarters, with great
store of plunder. And this was divided; but me their colonel Corpes
took as his share.

In the service of this master all appeared to me as unpleasing and
wellnigh barbarous: the dainties of Hanau had changed into coarse black
bread and stringy beef, or by good luck a bit of stolen pork: wine and
beer were now turned to water, and instead of a bed I must be content
to lie by the horses in the straw. Instead of that lute-playing which
had delighted all men, now must I at times creep under the table like
the other lads, howl like a dog, and suffer myself to be pricked with
their spurs, which was for me but a poor jest. Instead of my promenades
at Hanau, I must now ride on foraging parties, groom horses and clean
out their stalls. Now this same foraging is neither more nor less than
attacking of villages (with great pains and labour: yea, often with
danger to life and limb), and there threshing, grinding, baking,
stealing, and taking all that can be found; harrying and spoiling the
farmers, and shaming of their maids, their wives, and their daughters.
And if the poor peasants did murmur, or were bold enough to rap a
forager or two over the fingers, finding them at such work (and at that
time were many such guests in Hesse,) they were knocked on the head if
they could be caught, or if not, their houses went up in smoke to
heaven. Now my master had no wife (for campaigners of his kidney be not
wont to take ladies with them), no page, no chamberlain, no cook, but
on the other hand a whole troop of grooms and boys which waited both on
him and his horse; nor was he himself ashamed to saddle his own horse
or give him a feed: he slept ever on straw or on the bare ground, and
covered himself with a fur coat. So it came about that one could often
see great fleas or lice walk upon his clothes, of which he was not
ashamed at all, but would laugh if any one pocked one out. Short hair
he had, but a broad Switzer's beard, which served his turn well, for he
was wont to disguise himself as a peasant and so to go a-spying. Yet
though, as I have said, he kept no great household, yet was he by his
own folk and others that knew him honoured, loved, and feared. Never
were we at rest, but now here, now there: now we attacked and now we
were attacked: never for a moment were we idle in damaging the
Hessians' resources: nor on his part did Melander[14] leave us in
peace: but cut off many a trooper and sent him prisoner to Cassel.

This restless life was not to my liking, and often I did wish myself
back in Hanau, yet in vain: my greatest torment was that I could not
talk with the men, and must suffer myself to be kicked, plagued,
beaten, and driven by each and all: and the chiefest pastime that my
colonel had was that I should sing to him in German, and puff my cheeks
like the other stable-lads, which 'tis true happened but seldom, yet
then I got me such a shower of buffets that the red blood flowed, and I
soon had enough. At last I began to do somewhat of cooking, and to keep
my master's weapons clean, whereon he laid great stress: for I was as
yet useless for foraging. And this answered so well that in the end I
gained my master's favour, insomuch that he had a new fool's coat of
calfskins made for me, with much greater asses' ears than I wore
before. Now as my master's palate was not delicate, I needed the less
skill for my cookery: yet because I was too often without salt, grease
or seasoning, I wearied of this employ also, and therefore devised day
and night how I might most cleverly escape--and that the more because
'twas now springtime. So to accomplish this I undertook the work of
clearing away the guts of sheep and oxen, with heaps of which our
quarters were surrounded, so that they should no longer cause so foul a
smell: and this the colonel approved. And being busied with this, I
stayed outside altogether, and when it was dark slipped away to the
nearest wood.


Yet to all appearance my condition grew worse and worse the further I
went; yea, so grievous that I conceived I was born but for misfortune:
for I was but a few miles distant from the Croats when I was caught by
highwaymen, which, without doubt, thought they had captured in me
somewhat of value, for by reason of the dark night they could not see
my fool's coat, and forthwith bade two of their number take me to their
trysting-place in the forest. So when they had brought me thither, and
'twas still pitch-dark, one fellow would at once have money from me: to
which end he laid aside his gauntlets and his fire-arms and began to
search me, asking, "Who art thou? Hast thou money?"

Yet so soon as he was ware of my hairy clothing and the long asses'
ears on my cap, which he took for horns, and at the same time perceived
the shining sparks which the hides of beasts do commonly shew when they
are stroked in the dark, he was so terrified that he shrank into
himself. That did I presently mark: so before he could recover himself
or devise aught, I stroked down my hide with both hands to such good
purpose that it glittered as if I had been stuffed full of burning
sulphur, and then I answered him in a terrible voice, "I am the devil,
and I will break thy neck and thy fellow's too."

Which so terrified both that they fled through the thicket as swiftly
as if the fires of hell were pursuing them; yea, though they dashed
themselves against sticks and stones and trunks of trees, and yet more
often tumbled, they were up again with all speed. So they went on till
I could hear them no longer; while I laughed so loud that it echoed
through the whole forest, which, without doubt, in that dark wilderness
was horrible to hear.

Now when I would be gone I tripped over the musket; and that I took
for myself, for already I had learned from the Croats how to manage
fire-arms: then as I walked on I came upon a knapsack which, like my
coat, was made of calf-skin: that too I took up, and found that a
cartridge-pouch, well stored with powder and shot and all appurtenance,
hung below it. All this I hung on me, took the musket on my shoulder
like a soldier, and hid myself not far off in a thicket, intending to
sleep there awhile; but at daybreak came the whole crew to the spot,
searching for the musket that was lost and the knapsack: so I pricked
up mine ears like a fox and kept still as a mouse; and when they found
nothing they mocked at those two that had fled before me. "Shame," said
they, "ye craven fools: shame on your very heart that ye could so
suffer yourselves to be frighted and chased, and have your arms taken
by a single man." Yet one fellow swore the devil should take him if
'twere not the devil himself: his horns and his hairy hide he had well
perceived; and the other waxed angry and said, "It may have been the
devil or his dam, if I had but my knapsack back again." Then one of
them whom I took to be their captain answered him; and says he, "What
thinkest thou the devil should do with thy knapsack and thy musket? I
would wager my neck the rascal that ye so shamefully let go hath taken
both with him." Yet another took the contrary part, and said it might
well happen that some countrymen had since passed that way who had
found the things and taken them: and in the end all approved this, and
'twas believed by all the band they had had the devil himself in their
hands, especially because the fellow that would search me in the
darkness not only swore the same with horrid oaths, but also was able
powerfully to describe and to magnify the rough and glittering skin and
the two horns as certain signs of the devil's quality. Nay, I do
conceive that had I shewn myself again unawares the whole band would
have run. So at last, when they had sought long enough and had found
nothing, they went on their way again: but I opened the knapsack to
make my breakfast thereof, and at the first trial I brought out a pouch
in which were some 360 ducats. And that I rejoiced thereat none need
question, yet may the reader be assured that the knapsack pleased me
yet more than this fine sum of money, since I found it well stored with
provisions. And as such yellow-boys are far too sparsely strewn among
common soldiers for them to take such with them on a raid, I judge that
the fellow must have just snapped up these on that very excursion, and
quickly whipped them into his knapsack that he might not be compelled
to share them with the rest.

Thereupon I made a cheerful breakfast, and found too a merry little
spring, at which I refreshed myself and counted my fine ducats. And if
my life depended thereon, to say, in what land or place I then found
myself, I could not tell. And first I stayed in the wood as long as my
food lasted, with which I dealt right sparingly: then when my knapsack
was empty, hunger drove me to the farmers' houses. And there I crept by
night into cellar and kitchen and took what food I found and could
carry off; and this I conveyed away to the wildest part of the wood.
And so I led a hermit's life as before, save that I stole much and
therefore prayed less, and had, moreover, no fixed abode, but wandered
now here, now there. 'Twas well for me indeed that it was now the
beginning of summer, though I could kindle a fire with my musket
whenever I would.


During these my wanderings there met me once and again in the woods
different country-folk, who at all times fled from me. I know not if
the cause was that they were by reason of the war turned so timid and
were so hunted, and never left in peace in one place, or whether the
highwaymen had spread abroad in the land the adventure they had had
with me, so that all which saw me thereafter believed the evil one was
of a truth prowling about in that part. But for this reason I must
needs fear lest my provisions should fail and so I be brought to the
uttermost misery; for then must I begin again to eat roots and herbs,
to which I was no longer accustomed. As I pondered on this I heard two
men cutting of wood, which rejoiced me mightily. So I followed the
sound of the blows, and when I came in sight of the men I took a
handful of ducats out of my pouch and, creeping nearer to them, shewed
them the alluring gold and cried, "My masters, if ye will but wait for
me I will give you this handful of gold." But as soon as they saw me
and my gold, at once they took to their heels, and left their mallets
and wedges together with their bag of bread and cheese; with this I
filled my knapsack, and so betook myself back to the wood, doubting if
in my life I should ever come to the company of men again. So after
long pondering thereupon, I thought, "Who knoweth what may chance to
thee? Thou hast money, and if thou comest in safety with it to honest
folk, thou canst live on it a long while." So it came into my head to
sew it up; and to that end I made, out of my asses' ears which made the
folk so fly from me, two armlets, and companying my Hanau ducats with
those of the banditti, I packed all together into these armlets and
bound them on mine arms above the elbow. And now, as I had thus secured
my treasure, I attacked the farms again, and got from them what I
needed and what I could snap up. And though I was but simple, yet I was
sly enough never to come a second time to a place where I had stolen
anything; and therefore was I very lucky in my thefts and was never
caught pilfering.

It fell out at the end of May, as I sought to replenish my store by my
customary yet forbidden tricks, and to that end had crept into a
farmyard, that I found my way into the kitchen, but soon perceived that
there were people still awake (and here note that where dogs were I
wisely stayed away); so I set the kitchen door, which opened into the
yard, ajar, that if any danger threatened I could at once escape, and
stayed still as a mouse till I might expect the people would go to bed.
But meanwhile I took note of a crack that was in the kitchen-hatch that
led to the living-room; thither I crept to see if the folk would not
soon go to rest; but my hopes were deceived, for they had but now put
on their clothes, and in place of a light there stood a sulphurous blue
flame on a bench, by the light of which they anointed sticks, brooms,
pitchforks, chairs, and benches, and on these flew out of the window
one after another. At this I was horribly amazed, and felt great
terror; yet, as being accustomed to greater horrors, and, moreover, in
my whole life having never heard nor read of witches, I thought not
much of this, and that chiefly because 'twas all so done in such
stillness; but when all were gone I betook myself also to the
living-room, and devising what I could take with me and where to find
it, in such meditation sat me down straddle-wise upon a bench; whereon
I had hardly sat down when I and the bench together flew straight out
of the window, and left my gun and knapsack, which I had laid aside, as
pay for that magical ointment. Now my sitting down, my departure, and
my descent were all in one moment, for I came, methought, in a trice to
a great crowd of people; but it may be that from fear I took no count
how long I took for this long journey. These folk were dancing of a
wondrous dance, the like of which I saw never in my life, for they had
taken hands and formed many rings within one another, with their backs
turned to each other like the pictures of the Three Graces, so that all
faced outwards. The inmost ring was of some seven or eight persons; the
second of as many again: the third contained more than the first two
put together, and so on, so that in the outermost ring there were over
two hundred persons; and because one ring danced towards the right and
the next towards the left, I could not see how many rings they formed,
nor what was in the midst around which they danced. Yet all looked
monstrous strange, because all the heads wound in and out so comically.
My bench that brought me alighted beside the minstrels which stood
outside the rings all round the dancers, of which minstrels some had,
instead of flutes, clarinets and shawms, nothing but adders, vipers and
blind-worms, on which they blew right merrily: some had cats into whose
breech they blew and fingered on the tail; which sounded like to
bagpiper: others fiddled on horses' skulls as on the finest violins,
and others played the harp upon a cow's skeleton such as lie in the
slaughter-house yards: one was there, too, that had a bitch under his
arm, on whose tail he fiddled and fingered on the teats; and throughout
all the devils trumpeted with their noses till the whole wood resounded
therewith: and when the dance was at an end, that whole hellish crew
began to rave, to scream, to rage, to howl, to rant, to ramp, and to
roar as they were all mad and lunatic. And now can any man think into
what terror and fear I fell.

In this tumult there came to me a fellow that had under his arm a
monstrous toad, full as big as a kettledrum, whose guts were dragged
out through its breech and stuffed into its mouth, which looked so
filthy that I was fit to vomit at it. "Lookye, Simplicissimus," says
he, "I know thou beest a good lute-player: let us hear a tune from
thee." But I was so terrified (because the rogue called me by name)
that I fell flat: and with that terror I grew dumb, and fancied I lay
in an evil dream, and earnestly I prayed in my heart I might awake from
it. Now the fellow with the toad, whom I stared at all the time, went
on thrusting his nose out and in like a turkey-cock, till at last it
hit me on the breast, so that I was near choked. Then in a wink 'twas
all pitch-dark, and I so dismayed at the heart that I fell on the
ground and crossed myself a good hundred times or more.


Now since there be some, and indeed some learned folk among them, that
believe not that there be witches and sorcerers, still less that they
can fly from place to place in the air, therefore am I sure there will
be some to say that here the good Simplicissimus draws the long bow.
With such folk I cannot argue; for since brag is become no longer an
art, but nowadays wellnigh the commonest trade, I may not deny that I
could practise this if I would; for an I could not, I were the veriest
fool. But they that deny the witches' gallop to be true, let them but
think of Simon the Magician, which was by the evil spirit raised aloft
into the air, and at the prayer of St. Peter fell again to earth.
Nicolas Remigius, which was an honest, learned, and understanding man,
who in the Duchy of Lorraine caused to be burned a good many more than
a half-dozen of witches, tells us of John of Hembach, that his mother
(which same was a witch) in the sixteenth year of his age took him with
her to their assembly, that he might play to them as they danced--for
he had learned to play the fife. That to that end he mounted on a tree,
piped to them and earnestly gazed upon the dancers (and that maybe
because he marvelled so at it all). But at last, "God help us;" says
he, "whence cometh all this mad and foolish folk?" And hardly had he
said that word when down he fell from the tree, twisted his shoulder,
and called for help. But there was nobody there but himself.

When this was noised abroad, most held it for a fable, till a little
after Catherine Prévost was arrested for witchcraft, who had been at
the said dance: so she confessed all even as it had happened, save that
she knew naught of the cry that Hembach had uttered. Majolus tells us
of a servant that had been too common with his mistress, and of an
adulterer that took his paramour's ointment-boxes and smeared himself
with the same, and so both came to the witches' Sabbath. So likewise
they tell of a farm-servant that arose early to grease his waggon; but
because he had taken the wrong pot of ointment in the dark, that waggon
rose into the air and must be dragged down again. Olaus Magnus tells us
of Hading, King of Denmark; how he, being driven from his kingdom by
rebels, journeyed far over the sea through the air on the Spirit of
Odin, which had turned himself to the shape of a horse. So do we know
well enough, and too well, how wives and wenches in Bohemia will fetch
their paramours to them, on the backs of goats, by night and from a
great distance. And what Torquemada in his Hexameron relateth of his
schoolfellow may in his own words be read. So, too, Ghirlandus speaketh
of a nobleman which, when he marked that his wife anointed herself and
thereafter flew out of the house, did once on a time compel her to take
him with her to the sorcerers' assembly. And when they feasted there,
and there was no salt, he demanded such, and having with great pains
gotten it, did cry, "God be praised, here cometh the salt!" Whereupon
the lights went out and all vanished. So when now 'twas day he
understood from the shepherds in that place that he was near to the
town of Benevento in the kingdom of Naples, and therefore full five
hundred miles from his home. And therefore, though he was rich, must he
beg his way home, whither when he came he delated his wife for a witch
before the magistrate, and she was burned. How Doctor Faust, too, and
others, which were no enchanters, could journey through the air from
one place to another is from his history sufficiently known. So I
myself knew a wife and a maid (both dead at this time of writing, but
the maid's father yet alive), which maid was once greasing of her
mistress's shoes by the fire, and when she had finished one and set it
by to grease the other, lo; the greased one flew up the chimney: which
story, nevertheless, was hushed up.

All this I have set down for this reason only, that men may believe
that witches and wizards do in truth at certain seasons in their proper
bodies journey to these their assemblies, and not to make any man to
believe that I, as I have told you, went myself to such: for to me 'tis
all one whether a man believe me or not; and he that will not believe
may devise for himself another way for me to have come from the lands
of Fulda or Hirschfeld (for I know not myself whither I had wandered in
the woods) into the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, and that in so brief a
space of time.


So now I begin my history again with this: that I assure the reader
that I lay on my belly till 'twas at least broad daylight; as not
having the heart to stand up: therewithal I doubted whether the things
I have told of were a dream or not; and though I was yet in great
terror, yet was I bold enough at my waking, for I deemed I could be in
no worse place than in the wild woods; and therein I had spent the most
of my time since I was separated from my dad, and therefore was pretty
well accustomed thereto. Now it was about nine o'clock when there came
foragers, which woke me up. And now for the first time I perceived I
was in the open field. So they had me with them to certain windmills,
and when they had ground their corn there, to the camp before
Magdeburg, where I fell to the share of a colonel of a foot-regiment,
who asked me what was my story and what manner of master I had served.
So I told him all to a nicety, and because I had no name for the
Croats, I did but describe their clothing and gave examples of their
speech, and told how I escaped from them: yet of my ducats said I
nought, and what I told of my journey through the air and of the
witches' dance, that they all held to be imagination and folly, and
that especially because in the rest of my discourse I seemed to talk
wildly. Meanwhile a crowd of folk gathered round me (for one fool makes
a thousand), and among them was one that the year before had been made
prisoner at Hanau and there had taken service, yet afterwards had come
back to the Emperor's army: who, knowing me again, said at once, "Hoho!
'tis the commandant's calf of Hanau."

Thereupon the colonel questioned him further; but the fellow knew no
more save that I could play the lute well, and that I had been captured
outside the walls at Hanau by the Croats of Colonel Corpes' regiment,
and, moreover, that the said commandant had been vexed at losing me;
for I was a right clever fool. So then the colonel's wife sent to
another colonel's wife that could play well upon the lute, and
therefore always had one by her, and begged her for the loan of it:
which, when it came, she handed to me with the command that I should
play. But my view was they should first give me to eat; for an empty
stomach accorded not well with a fat one, such as the lute had. So this
was done, and when I had eaten my fill and drunk a good draught of
Zerbst beer, I let them hear what I could do both with my voice and
with the lute: and therewithal I talked gibberish, all that first came
into my head, so that I easily persuaded the folk to believe I was of
the quality that my apparel represented. Then the colonel asked me
whither I would go; and I answering 'twas all one to me, we agreed
thereupon that I should stay with him and be his page. Yet would he
know where my asses' ears had gone. "Yea," said I to myself, "an thou
knewest where they were: they would fit thee well enough." Yet was I
clever enough to say naught of their properties, for all my worldly
goods lay in them.

Now in a brief space I was well known to all both in the Emperor's and
the Elector's camp, but specially among the ladies, who would deck my
hood, my sleeves, and my short-cut ears with ribbons of all colours, so
that I verily believe that certain fops copied therefrom the fashion of
to-day. But all the money that was given me by the officers, that I
liberally gave away and spent all to the last farthing, drinking it
away with jolly companions in beer of Hamburg and Zerbst, which liquors
pleased me well: and besides this, in all places wheresoever I came
there was plenty of chance of spunging. But when my colonel procured
for me a lute of my own (for he trusted to have me ever with him), then
I could no longer rove hither and thither in the two camps, but he
appointed for me a governor who should look after me, and I to obey
him. And this was a man after mine own heart, for he was quiet,
discreet, learned, of sufficient conversation yet not too much, and
(which was the chief matter), exceeding God-fearing, well read, and
full of all arts and sciences. At night I must sleep in his tent, and
by day I might not go out of his sight: he had once been a counsellor
and minister of a prince, and indeed a rich man; but being by the
Swedes utterly ruined, his wife dead, and his only son unable to
continue his studies for want of money, and therefore serving as a
muster-roll clerk in the Saxon army, he took service with this my
colonel, and was content to serve as a lackey, to wait until the
dangerous chances of war on the banks of the Elbe should change and so
the sun of his former happiness again shine upon him.


Now because my governor was rather old than young, therefore could he
not sleep all the night through: and that was the cause that he even in
the first few weeks discovered my secret; namely, that I was no such
fool as I gave out, of which he had before observed somewhat, and had
conceived such a judgment from my face, for he was skilled in
physiognomia. Once I awoke at midnight, and having divers thoughts upon
my life and its strange adventures, rose up, and by way of gratitude
recounted all the benefits that God had done unto me, and all the
dangers from which He had rescued me: then I lay down again with deep
sighing and slept soundly till day.

All this my governor heard, yet made as if he were sound asleep; and
this happened several nights running, until he had fully convinced
himself I had more understanding than many an older man who fancied
himself to be somewhat. Yet he spake thereof nought to me in our hut,
because it had walls too thin, and because he for certain reasons would
not have it that as yet (and before he was assured of my innocence) any
one else should know this secret. Once on a time I went to take the air
outside the camp, and this he gladly allowed, because he had then the
opportunity to come to look for me, and so the occasion to speak with
me alone. So, as he wished, he found me in a lonely place, where indeed
I was giving audience to my thoughts, and says he: "Good and dear
friend, 'tis because I seek for thy welfare that I rejoice to be able
to speak with thee alone. I know thou art no fool as thou pretendest,
and that thou hast no desire to continue in this miserable and despised
state. If now thou holdest thy welfare dear and wilt trust to me as to
a man of honour, and so canst tell me plainly the condition of thy
fortunes, so will I for my part, whenever I can, be ready with word and
deed to help thee out of this fool's coat."

So thereupon I fell upon his neck, and so carried myself as he had been
a prophet to release me from my fool's cap: and sitting both down upon
the ground, I told him my whole story. Then he examined my hands, and
wondered both at the strange events which had befallen me and those
which were to come: yet would in no wise counsel me to lay aside my
fool's coat in haste, for he said that by means of palmistry he could
see that my fate threatened me with imprisonment which should bring me
danger of life and limb. So I thanked him for his good will and his
counsel, and asked of God that He would reward him for his good faith,
and of himself that he would be and ever remain my true friend and

So we rose up and came to the gaming-place, where men tilt with the
dice, and loudly they cursed with all the blood and thunder, wounds and
damnation that they could lay their tongues to. The place was wellnigh
as big as the Old Market at Cologne, spread with cloaks and furnished
with tables, and those full of gamesters: and every company had its
four-cornered thieves' bones, on which they hazarded their luck; for
share their money they must, and give it to one and take it from
another. So likewise every cloak or table had its coupier (croupier I
should have said, and might well have said[15] "cooperer"), whose
office 'twas to be judges and to see that none was cheated; they too
lent the cloaks and tables and dice, and contrived so well to get their
hire out of the winnings that they generally got the chief share: yet
it bred them no advantage, for commonly they gamed it away again, or
when it was best laid out, 'twas the sutler or the barber-surgeon that
had it--for there were many broken heads to mend.

At these fools one might well wonder, how they all thought to win,
which was impossible, even if they had played at another's[16] risk:
and though all hoped for this, yet the cry was, the more players the
more skill; for each thought on his own luck; and so it happened that
some hit and some missed, some won and some lost. Thereupon some
cursed, some roared; some cheated and others were jockeyed--whereat the
winners laughed and the losers gnashed their teeth: some sold their
clothes and all they valued most, and others again won even that money
from them: some wanted honest dice, and others, on the contrary part,
would have false ones, and brought in such secretly, which again others
threw away, broke in two, bit with their teeth, and tore the croupiers'
cloaks. Among the false dice were Dutch ones, that one must cast with a
good spin; for these had the sides, whereon the fives and sixes were,
as sharp as the back of the wooden horse on which soldiers be punished:
others were High German, to which a man must in casting give the
Bavarian swing. Some were of stag's-horn, light above and heavy below.
Others were loaded with quicksilver or lead, and others, again, with
split hairs, sponge, chaff, and charcoal: some had sharp corners,
others had them pared quite away: some were long like logs and some
broad like tortoises. All which kinds were made but for cheating: and
what they were made for, that they did, whether they were thrown with a
swing or trickled on to the board, and no coupling of them was of any
avail; to say nothing of those that had two fives or two sixes or, on
the other hand, two aces or two deuces. With these thieves' bones they
stole, filched, and plundered each other's goods, which they themselves
perchance had stolen, or at least with danger to life and limb, or
other grievous trouble and labour, had won.

So as I stood there and looked upon the gaming-place and the gamesters
in their folly, my governor asked me how the thing pleased me. Then
answered I: "That men can so grievously curse God pleases me not: but
for the rest, I leave it for what 'tis worth as a matter unknown to me,
and of which I as yet understand nought." "Know then," said my
governor, "that this is the worst and vilest place in the whole camp,
for here men seek one another's money and lose their own in doing so.
And whoso doth but set a foot here, with intent to play, hath already
broken the tenth commandment, which saith, 'Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbour's goods.'" And says he, "An thou play and win, specially by
deceit and false dice, then thou transgressest the seventh and eighth
commandments. Yea, it may well happen that thou committest murder on
him from whom thou hast won his money, as, for example, if his loss is
so great that by reason of it he come into poverty and into utter need
and recklessness, or else fall into other foul vices: nor will this
plea help thee, that thou sayest, 'I did risk mine own and won
honestly.' Thou rogue, thou camest to the gaming-place with this
intent, to grow rich through another's loss. And if thou lose, thou art
not excused with the punishment of losing thine own, but, like the rich
man in the parable, thou must answer it sorely to God that thou so
uselessly hast squandered that which He lent thee for the support of
thee and thine. Whosoever goeth to the gaming-place to play, the same
committeth himself to the danger of losing therein, not only his money,
but his body and his life also; yea, what is most terrible of all,
there can he lose his own soul. I tell thee this as news, my friend
Simplicissimus (because thou sayest gaming is unknown to thee), that
thou mayest be on thy guard against it all thy life long." So I
answered him: "Dear sir," said I, "if gaming be so terrible and
dangerous a thing, wherefore do our superiors allow it?" My governor
answered: "I will not say 'twas because our officers themselves take
part therein, but for this reason, that the soldiers will not--yea,
cannot--do without it; for whosoever hath once given himself over to
gaming, or whomsoever the habit or, rather, the devil of play hath
seized upon, the same is by little and little (whether he win or lose)
so set upon it that he can easier do without his natural sleep than
that: as we see that some will rattle the dice the whole night through
and will neglect the best of food and drink if they can but play--yea,
even if they must go home shirtless. Yet this gaming hath already been
forbidden at divers times on pain of loss of life and limb, and at the
command of headquarters hath been punished with an iron hand, through
the means of provost-marshals, hangmen, and their satellites--openly
and violently. Yet 'twas all in vain; for the gamesters betook
themselves to secret corners and behind hedges, won each other's money,
quarrelled, and brake each others' necks thereupon: so that to prevent
such murders and homicides, and specially because many would game away
their arms and horse, yea, even their poor rations of food, therefore
now 'tis not only publicly allowed, but this particular place is
appointed therefore, that the mainguard may be at hand to prevent any
harm that might happen: yet they cannot always hinder that one or the
other fall not dead on the spot. And inasmuch as this gaming is the
tormenting devil's own device, and bringeth him no small gain,
therefore hath he ordained especial gaming-devils, that prowl around in
the world and have naught else to do but to tempt men to play. To these
divers wanton companions bind themselves by certain pacts and
agreements, that the devil may suffer them to win: yet can a man among
ten thousand gamesters scarce find a rich one: nay, on the contrary
part, they are poor and needy because their winnings are lightly
esteemed, and therefore either gambled away again or wasted in vile
pleasures. Hence is derived that true yet sad saying, 'The devil never
leaveth the gamester, yet leaveth him ever poor,' for he taketh from
them goods, courage, and honour, and then quitteth them no more (except
God's infinite mercy save them) till he have made an end of their
souls. Yea, and should there be a gamester of so merry a heart by
nature and so sprightly that by no ill-luck or loss he can be brought
to despair, to recklessness, and all the accursed sins that spring
therefrom, then doth the sly and cunning fiend suffer him to win
mightily, that in the end he may, by waste and pride and gluttony and
drunkenness and loose life, bring him into his net." Thereat I crossed
myself and blessed myself to think that in a Christian army such things
should be allowed which the devil himself invented, and specially
because visibly and palpably such damage and harm for this world and
the next followed therefrom. Yet my governor said all that he had told
me was as yet nought; for he who would undertake to describe all the
harm that came from gaming would begin an impossible task. For as men
say, so soon as the hazard is thrown 'tis now in the devil's hands, so
should I fancy that with every die, as it rolled from the player's hand
upon cloak or table, there ran a little devil, to guide it and make it
shew as many points as his master's interest demanded. And further, I
should reflect that 'twas not for nought that the devil entered into
the game so heartily, but doubtless because he contrived to make fine
gains out of it himself. "And with that note thou further," says he,
"that just as there are wont to stand by the gaming-place certain
chafferers and Jews, which buy from the players at cheap rate what they
have won, as rings, apparel or jewels, or are ready to change such for
money for them to game away, so also there be devils walking to and
fro, that they may arouse and foster thoughts that may destroy the
souls in the gamesters that have ceased to play, be they winners or
losers. For the winners the devil will build terrible castles in the
air; but into them that have lost, whose spirit is already quite
distraught and therefore the more apt to receive his harmful counsels,
he instilleth, doubtless, such thoughts and designs as can but tend to
their eternal ruin. Yea, I assure thee, Simplicissimus, I am of the
mind to write a book hereupon so soon as I can come in peace to my own
again. And in that I will describe first the loss of precious time,
which is squandered to no purpose in gaming, and no less the fearful
curses with which men blaspheme God over their gaming-tables. Then will
I likewise recount the taunts with which men provoke one another, and
will adduce many fearful examples and stories which have happened in,
during, and after play: and there will I not forget the duels and
homicides that have happened by reason of gaming. Yea, I will portray
in their true colours set before men's eyes the greed, the rage, the
envy, the jealousy, the falsehood, the deceit, the covetousness, the
thievery, and, in a word all the senseless follies both of dicers and
of card-players; that they who read this book but once, may conceive
such a horror of gaming as if they had drunk sows' milk (which folk are
wont to give to gamesters without their knowledge, to cure their
madness). So will I shew to all Christendom that the dear God is more
blasphemed by a single regiment of gamesters than by a whole army with
their curses." And this project I praised, and wished him the
opportunity to carry it out.


Now my governor grew more and more kindly disposed to me, and I to him,
yet kept we our friendship very secret: 'tis true I acted still as a
fool, yet I played no bawdy tricks or buffooneries, so that my carriage
and conduct were indeed simple enough yet rather witty than witless. My
colonel, who had a mighty liking for the chase, took me with him once
when he went out to catch partridges with the draw-net, which invention
pleased me hugely. But because the dog we had was so hot that he would
spring for the birds before we could pull the strings, and so we could
catch but little, therefore I counselled the colonel to couple the
bitch with a falcon or an osprey (as men do with horses and asses when
they would have mules), that the young puppies might have wings, and so
could with them catch the birds in the air. I proposed also, since it
went right sleepily with the conquest of Magdeburg, which we then
besieged, to make ready a long rope as thick as a wine-cask, and
encompassing the whole town therewith, to harness thereto all the men
and all the cattle in the two camps, and so in one day pull the whole
city head over heels. Of such foolish quips and fantasies I devised
every day an abundance, for 'twas my trade, and none ever found my
workshop empty. And for this my master's secretary, which was an evil
customer and a hardened rogue, gave me matter enough, whereby I was
kept on the road which fools be wont to walk: for whatsoever this
mocker told me, that I not only believed myself but told it to others,
whenas I conversed with them, and the discourse turned on that subject.

So when I asked him once what our regimental chaplain was, since he was
distinguished from other folk by his apparel, "that," says he, "is
master _Dicis et non facis_, which is, being interpreted into German, a
fellow that gives wives to others and takes none himself. He is the
bitter enemy of thieves because they say not what they do, but he doth
not what he says: likewise the thieves love him not because they be
commonly hanged even then when their acquaintance with him is at its
best." So when I afterwards addressed the good priest by that name, he
was laughed at and I was held to be a rogue as well as a fool, and at
his request well basted. Further, the secretary persuaded me they had
pulled down and set on fire all the houses behind the walls of Prague,
that the sparks and ashes might sow all over the world the seeds of
evil weeds: so, too, he said that among soldiers no brave heroes and
hearty fighters ever went to heaven, but only simple creatures,
malingerers, and the like, that were content with their pay: likewise
no elegant a la mode cavaliers, and sprightly ladies, but only patient
Jobs, henpecked husbands, tedious monks, melancholy parsons, devout
women, and all manner of outcasts which in this world are good neither
to bake nor to boil, and young children. He told me too a lying story
of how hosts were called innkeepers only because in their business they
endeavoured to keep in with both God and the devil. And of war he told
me that at times golden bullets were used, and the more precious such
were, the more damage they did. "Yea," said he, "and a whole army with
artillery, ammunition, and baggage-train can be so led by a golden
chain." Further, he persuaded me that of women more than half wore
breeches, though one could not see them, and that many, though they
were no enchantresses and no goddesses as was Diana, yet could conjure
bigger horns on to their husbands' heads than ever Actaeon wore. In all
which I believed him: so great a fool was I.

On the other hand, my governor, when he was alone with me, entertained
me with far different discourse. Moreover, he brought me to know his
son, who, as before mentioned, was a muster-clerk in the Saxon army,
and was a man of far different quality to my colonel's secretary: for
which reason my colonel not only liked him well, but thought to get him
from his captain and make him his regimental secretary, on which post
his own secretary before mentioned had set his mind also. With this
muster-clerk, whose name, like his father's, was Ulrich Herzbruder, I
struck up such a friendship that we swore eternal brotherhood, in
virtue of which we would never desert each other in weal or woe, in joy
or sorrow; and because this was without his father's knowledge,
therefore we held more stoutly and stiffly to our vow. By this was it
made our chiefest care how I might be honourably freed from my fool's
coat, and how we might honestly serve one another; all which however
the old Herzbruder, whom I honoured and looked to as my father,
approved not, but said in so many words that if I was in haste to
change my estate, such change would bring me grievous imprisonment and
great danger to life and limb. And because he foretold for himself also
and his son a great disgrace close at hand, he deemed, therefore, that
he had reason to act more prudently and warily than to interfere in the
affairs of a person whose great approaching danger he could foresee:
for he was fearful he might be a sharer in my future ill luck if I
declared myself, because he had long ago found out my secret and knew
me inside and out, yet he never revealed my true condition to the
colonel. And soon after I perceived yet better that my colonel's
secretary envied my new brother desperately, as thinking he might be
raised over his head to the post of regimental secretary; for I saw how
at times he fretted, how ill will preyed upon him, and how he was
always sighing and in deep thought whenever he looked upon the old or
the young Herzbruder. Therefrom I judged he was making of calculations
how he might trip and throw him. So I told to my brother, both from my
faithful love to him and also as my certain duty, what I suspected,
that he might a little be on his guard against this Judas. But he did
but take it with a shrug, as being more than enough superior to the
secretary both with sword and pen, and besides enjoying the colonel's
great favour and grace.


'Tis commonly the custom in war to make provosts of old tried soldiers,
and so it came about that we had in our regiment such a one, and to
boot such a perfected rogue and villain that it might well be said of
him he had seen enough and more than enough. For he was a fully
qualified sorcerer, necromancer and wizard, and in his own person not
only as wound-proof as steel, but could make others wound-proof also,
yea, and conjure whole squadrons of cavalry into the field: his
countenance was exactly like what our painters and poets would have
Saturn to be, save that he had neither stilts nor scythe. And though
the poor soldier prisoners that came into his merciless hands, held
themselves the more unlucky because of this his character, and his
ever-abiding presence, yet were there folk that gladly consorted with
this spoil-sport, specially Oliver, our secretary. And the more
his envy of young Herzbruder increased--who was ever of a lively
humour--the thicker grew the intimacy between him and the provost:
whence I could easily calculate that the conjunction of Saturn and
Mercury boded no good to the honest Herzbruder. Just then my colonel's
lady was rejoiced at the coming of a young son, and the christening
feast spread in wellnigh princely fashion: at which young Herzbruder
was brought to wait at table. Which, when he of his courtesy willingly
did, he gave the longed-for opportunity to Oliver to bring into the
world the piece of roguery of which he had long been in labour. For
when all was over my colonel's great silver-gilt cup was missing; and
this loss he made the more ado about because 'twas still there after
all stranger guests had departed: 'tis true a page said he had last
seen it in Oliver's hands, but would not swear it. Upon that the
Provost was fetched to give his counsel in the matter, and 'twas said
aside to him that if he by his arts could discover the thief, they
would so carry the matter that that thief should be known to none save
the colonel: for officers of his own regiment had been present whom,
even if one of them had forgotten himself in such a matter, he would
not willingly bring to shame.

So as we all knew ourselves to be innocent, we came merrily enough into
the colonel's great tent, and there the sorcerer took charge of the
matter. At that each looked on his neighbour, and desired to know how
'twould end and whence the lost cup would reappear. And no sooner had
the rogue mumbled some words than there sprang out of each man's
breeches, sleeves, boots and pockets, and all other openings in their
clothes, one, two, three, or more young puppies. And these sniffed
round and round in the tent, and pretty beasts they were, of all manner
of colours, and each with some special ornament, so that 'twas a right
merry sight. As to me, my tight Croat breeches were so full of puppies
that I must pull them off, and because my shirt had long before rotted
away in the forest, there I must stand naked. Last of all one sprang
out of young Herzbruder's pocket, the nimblest of all, and had on
golden a collar. This one swallowed all the other puppies, though there
were so many a-sprawling in the tent that one could not put his foot
down by reason of them. And when it had destroyed all, it became
smaller and smaller and the golden collar larger, till at last it
turned into my colonel's cup.

Thereupon not only the colonel but all that were present must perforce
believe that none other but young Herzbruder could have stolen the cup:
so said the colonel to him: "Lookye, unthankful guest, have I deserved
this, with my kindnesses to thee, this theft, which I had never
believed of thee? For see: I had intended to-morrow to make thee my
secretary; but thou hast this very day deserved rather that I should
have thee hanged; and that I would forthwith have done had I not had a
care of thy honourable and ancient father. Now quick;" said he, "out of
my camp, and so long as thou livest let me not see thee more."

So poor Ulrich would defend himself: yet would none listen to him, for
his offence was plain: and when he departed, good old Herzbruder must
needs fall in a swoon; and there must all come to succour him, and the
colonel himself to comfort him, which said, "a pious father was not to
answer for this sinful son." Thus, by the help of the devil did Oliver
attain to that whereto he had long hoped to come, but could not in any
honourable fashion do so.


Now as soon as young Herzbruder's captain heard this story he took from
him his office and made a pikeman of him; from which time forward he
was so despised that any dog might bark at him, and he himself wished
for death; and his father was so vexed at the thing that he fell into a
sore sickness and looked to die. And whereas he had himself prophesied
that on the twenty-sixth day of July he should run risk of life and
limb (which day was now close at hand), therefore he begged of the
colonel that his son might come to him once more, that he might talk
with him of inheritance and declare his last will. At this meeting I
was not shut out, but made the third party in their grief. Then I saw
that the son needed no defence as far as his father was concerned, who
knew his ways and his good upbringing, and therefore was assured of his
innocence. He, as a wise, understanding, and deep-witted man, judged
easily from the circumstances that Oliver had laid this trap for his
son through the provost: but what could he do against a sorcerer, from
whom he had worse to expect if he attempted any revenge? Besides, he
looked but for death, yet could not die content because he must leave
his son in such disgrace: in which plight the son desired not to live,
but rather wished he might die before his father. And truly the grief
of these two was so piteous to behold that I from my heart must weep.
At last 'twas their common resolve to commit their cause to God in
patience, and the son was to devise ways and means to be quit of his
regiment, and seek his fortune elsewhere: but when they examined the
matter, they had no money with which he might buy himself out of the
service; and while they considered and lamented the miserable state in
which their poverty kept them fast, and cut off all hope of improving
of their present condition, I then first remembered my ducats that I
had sewn up in my ass's ears, and so asked how much money they wanted
in their need. So young Herzbruder answered, "If there came one and
brought us a hundred thalers, I could trust to be free from all my
troubles." I answered him, "Brother, if that will help thee, have a
good heart; for I can give thee a hundred ducats." "Alas, brother,"
says he, "what is this thou sayest? Beest thou in truth a fool, or so
wanton that thou makest jests upon us in our sore affliction?" "Nay,
nay," said I, "I will provide the money." So I stripped off my coat and
took one of the asses' ears from my arm, and opened it and bade him to
count out a hundred ducats and take them: the rest I kept and said,
"Herewith will I lend thy sick father if he need it."

Thereupon they both fell on my neck and kissed me, and knew not for
very joy what they did; then they would give me an acknowledgment and
therein assure me I should be the old Herzbruder's co-heir together
with his son, or that, if God should help them to their own again, they
would return me the same with interest and with great thanks: of all
which I would have nothing, but only commended myself to their
perpetual friendship. After that, young Herzbruder would have sworn to
be revenged on Oliver or to die. But his father forbade it, and
prophesied that he that should slay Oliver would meet his end at the
hands of me, Simplicissimus. "Yet," said he, "I am well assured that ye
two will never slay each other; for neither of you shall perish in
fight." Thereafter he pressed upon us that we should swear on oath to
love one another till death and stand by each other in all straits.

But young Herzbruder bought his freedom for thirty-six thalers (for
which his captain gave him an honourable discharge), and betook himself
with the rest of the money, a good opportunity offering, to Hamburg,
and there equipped himself with two horses and enlisted in the Swedish
army as a volunteer trooper, commending his father to me in the


Now none of my colonel's people shewed himself better fitted to wait on
old Herzbruder in his sickness than I: and inasmuch as the sick man was
also more than content with me, this office was entrusted to me by the
colonel's wife, who shewed him much kindness; and by reason of good
nursing, and being relieved in respect of his son, he grew better from
day to day, so that before July the twenty-sixth he was almost restored
to full health. Yet would he stay in bed and give himself out to be
sick till the said day, which he plainly dreaded, should be past.
Meanwhile all manner of officers from both armies came to visit him, to
know their future fortune, bad or good; for because he was a good
calculator and caster of horoscopes, and besides that an excellent
physiognomist and palmist, his prophecies seldom failed: yea, he named
the very day on which the Battle of Wittstock afterwards befel, since
many came to him to whom he foretold a violent death on that day.

My colonel's wife he assured she would end her lying-in in the camp,
for before her six weeks were ended Magdeburg would not be surrendered;
and to the traitorous Oliver, who was ever troublesome with his visits,
he foretold that he must die a violent death, and that I should avenge
that death, happen it when it would, and slay his murderer: for which
cause Oliver thereafter held me in high esteem. But to me myself he
described the whole course of my life to come as particularly as if it
were already ended and he had been by my side throughout; which at the
time I esteemed but lightly, yet afterwards remembered many things
which he had beforetime told me of, when they had already happened or
had turned out true: but most of all did he warn me to beware of water,
for he feared I might find my destruction therein.

When now the twenty-sixth of July came, he charged me, and also the
orderly whom the colonel at his desire had appointed him for that day,
most straitly, we should suffer no one to enter the tent: there he lay
and prayed without ceasing: but as 'twas near to afternoon there came a
lieutenant riding from the cavalry quarters and asking for the
colonel's master of the horse. So he was directed to us and forthwith
by us denied entrance: yet would he not be denied, but begged the
orderly (with promises intermixed) to admit him to see the master of
the horse, as one with whom he must that very evening talk. When that
availed not, he began to curse, to talk of blood and thunder, and to
say he had many times ridden over to see the old man and had never
found him: now that he had found him at home, should he not have the
honour of speaking a single word with him? So he dismounted, and
nothing could prevent him from unfastening the tent himself; and as he
did that I bit his hand, and got for my pains a hearty buffet. So as
soon as he saw mine old friend, "I ask his honour's pardon," says he,
"for the freedom I have taken, to speak a word with him." "Tis well,"
says Herzbruder, "wherein can I pleasure his honour?" "Only in this,"
says the lieutenant, "that I could beg of his honour that he would
condescend upon the casting of my nativity." Then the old man answered:
"I hope the honourable gentleman will forgive me that I cannot, by
reason of my sickness, do his pleasure herein: for whereas this task
needs much reckoning, my poor head cannot accomplish it; but if he will
be content to wait till to-morrow, I hope to give him full
satisfaction." "Very well," says the lieutenant, "but in the meantime
let your honour tell my fortune by my hand." "Sir," said old
Herzbruder, "that art is uncertain and deceiving; and so I beg your
worship to spare me in that matter: tomorrow I will do all that your
worship asks of me." Yet the lieutenant could not be so put off, but he
goes to the bed, holds his hand before the old man's eyes, and says he,
"Good sir, I beg but for a couple of words concerning my life's end,
with the assurance that if they be evil I will accept the saying as a
warning from God to order my life better; and so for God's sake I beg
you not to conceal the truth." Then the honest old man answered him in
a word, and says he, "'Tis well: then let the gentleman be on his
guard, lest he be hanged before an hour be past." "What, thou old
rogue," quoth the lieutenant, which was as drunk as a fly, "durst thou
hold such language to a gentleman?" and drew his sword and stabbed my
good old friend to death as he lay in his bed. The orderly and I cried
"Murder," so that all ran to arms: but the lieutenant was so speedy in
his departure that without doubt he would have escaped, but that the
Elector of Saxony with his staff at that very moment rode up, and had
him arrested. So when he understood the business he turned to Count
Hatzfeld, our general, and all he said was this: "'Twould be bad
discipline in an imperial camp that even a sick man in his bed were not
safe from murderers."

That was a sharp sentence, and enough to cost the lieutenant his life:
for forthwith our general caused him to be hanged by his precious neck
till he was dead.


From this veracious history it may be seen that all prophecies are not
to be despised, as some foolish folk despise them, that will believe
nothing. And so can any one conclude from this that it is hard for any
man to avoid his predestined end, whether his mishap be predicted to
him long before or shortly before by such prophecies as I have spoken
of. And to the question, whether 'tis necessy, or helpful, and good for
a man to have his fortune foretold and his nativity cast, I answer only
this, that old Herzbruder told me much that I often wished and still
wish he had told me nothing of at all: for the misfortunes which he
foretold I have never been able to shun, and those that still await me
do turn my hair grey, and that to no purpose, because it matters not
whether I torment myself or not: they will happen to me as did the
rest. But as to strokes of good luck that are prophesied to any man, of
them I hold that they be ever deceitful, or at least be not so fully
accomplished as the unlucky prophecies. For how did it help me that old
Herzbruder swore by all that was holy I was born and bred of noble
parents, since I knew of none but my dad and my mammy, which were but
common peasants in the Spessart? In like manner, how did it help
Wallenstein, the Duke of Friedland, that 'twas prophesied to him he
should once be crowned king with stringed music thereto? Doth not all
the world know how he was lulled to his ruin at Eger? Others may worry
their brains over such questions: but I must to my story.

So when I had lost my two Herzbruders in the manner before described, I
took a disgust at the whole camp before Magdeburg, which otherwise I
had been wont to call a town of flax and straw with earthen walls. For
now I was as tired of mine office of a fool as I had had to eat it up
with iron spoons: this only I was resolved on: to suffer no man to fool
me more, but to be rid of my jester's garb should it cost me life and
limb. And that design I carried out but scurvily, for otherwise I had
no opportunity.

For Oliver the secretary, which after the old Herzbruder's death was
appointed to be my governor, often gave me permission to ride with the
servants a-foraging: so as we came once on a time to a great village,
wherein was plunder very fit for the troopers' purpose, and as each
went to and fro into the houses to find what could be carried off, I
stole away, and searched to find some old peasant's clothing for which
I could exchange my fool's cap: yet I found not what I desired but must
be content with a woman's clothing: that I put on, seeing myself alone,
and threw mine own away into a corner, imagining now nothing else but
that I was delivered from all mine afflictions. In this dress I walked
across the street, where were certain officers' wives, and made such
mincing steps as perhaps Achilles did when his mother brought him
disguised as a maiden to consort with Lycomedes his daughter: yet was I
hardly outside the house when some foragers caught sight of me, and
taught me to run faster: for when they cried "Halt, halt;" I ran the
quicker, and before they could overtake me I came to the said officers'
ladies, and falling on my knees before them, besought them, in the name
of all womanly honour and virtue, they should protect me from those
rascals. And this my prayer not only found a good reception, but I was
hired by the wife of a captain of horse, whom I served until Magdeburg
and the fort at Werben and Havelberg and Perleberg were all taken by
our people.

The captain's wife was no baby, but yet young, and came so to dote on
my smooth face and straight limbs that at length, after long trouble
and vain circumlocutions, she gave me to understand in all too plain
German where the shoe pinched. But at that time I was far too
conscientious, and pretended I understood not, nor would I show any
outward indication by which any man might judge me to be aught but a
virtuous maiden. Now the captain and his servant lay sick in that same
hospital, so he bade his wife to have me better clothed that she might
not be put to shame by my miserable peasant's kirtle. So that she did
and more than she was bidden; for she dressed me up like a French doll,
and that did but fan the fire wherewith all three were a-burning: yea,
and it waxed so that master and man begged of me that which I could not
grant to them, and that which I refused to the lady, though with all
manner of courtesy. At last the captain determined to take an
opportunity to get by force from me that which 'twas impossible he
should have: but that his wife marked, and being in hopes to overcome
my resistance in the end, blocked all the ways and laid all manner of
obstacles in the path, so that he thought he must in the end go mad or
lunatick. Once on a time when my master and mistress were asleep, the
servant came to the carriage in which I had to sleep every night,
bemoaned his love for me with hot tears, and begged most solemnly for
grace and mercy. But I shewed myself harder than any stone, and gave
him to understand I would keep my chastity till I was married. Then he
offered me marriage a thousand times over, yet all he could get from me
was an assurance 'twas impossible for me to marry him. Whereupon he
became desperate or pretended it, and drawing his sword, set the point
at his breast and the hilt against the carriage, and acted just as if
he would stab himself. So I thought, the devil is a rogue, and
therefore spoke him fair and comforted him, saying I would next morning
give him a certain answer: with that he was content and went to bed,
but I stayed awake the longer because I reflected on my strange
condition: for I could see that in the end my trick must be discovered,
for the captain's wife became more and more importunate with her
enticements, the captain more impudent in his designs, and the servant
more desperate in his constant love: and out of such a labyrinth I
could see no escape. Yet if the lady left me in peace, the captain
tormented me, and when I had peace from both of them at night, then the
servant beset me, so that my women's clothes were worse to wear than my
fool's cap. Then indeed (but far too late) I thought of the departed
Herzbruder's prophecy and warning, and could imagine nothing else but
that I was already fast in the prison he spoke of and in danger of life
and limb. For the woman's apparel kept me imprisoned, since I could not
get out of it, and the captain would have handled me roughly if he had
once found out who I was, and had caught me at the toilet with his fair
wife. What should I do? I resolved at length the same night to reveal
myself to the servant as soon as 'twas day, for I thought, "his desires
will then cease, and if thou art free with thy ducats to him he will
help thee to man's clothes again and so out of all thy straits." Which
was all well devised enough if luck would have had it so: but that
was against me. For my friend Hans took day to begin just after
midnight, and came to get his "Yes" from me, and began to hammer on the
carriage-cover even then when I was soundest asleep, calling out a
little too loud, "Sabina, Sabina, oh my beloved, rise up and keep your
promise to me," and so waked the captain before me, who had his tent
close by the carriage. And now he saw green and yellow before his eyes,
for jealousy had already got a hold of him: yet he came not out to
disturb us, but only got up, to see how the thing would end. At last
the servant woke me with his importunities, and would force me either
to come out of the carriage to him or to let him in to me, but I
rebuked him and asked did he take me for a whore? My promise of
yesterday was on condition of marriage, without which he should have
nought to do with me. He answered I must in any case rise, for it began
to grow light, to prepare the food for the family in good time: then he
would fetch wood and water and light the fire for me. "Well," said I,
"if thou wilt do that I can sleep the longer: only go away and I will
soon follow." Yet as the fool would not give over, I got up, more to
do my work than to pleasure him, for methought his desperate madness of
yesterday had left him. I should say that I would pass pretty well for
a maid-servant in the field, for with the Croats I had learned how to
boil, bake, and wash: as for spinning, soldiers' wives do it not on a
campaign. All other women's work which I could not do, such as brushing
and braiding hair, my mistress gladly forgave me, for she knew well I
had never learned it.

But as I came out of the coach with my sleeves turned up, my Hans was
so inflamed by the sight of my white arms that he could not refrain
himself, but must kiss me; and I not greatly resisting that, the
captain, before whose eyes this took place, could bear it no longer,
but sprang with drawn sword out of the tent to give my poor lover a
thrust: but he ran off and forgot to come back; so says the captain to
me, "Thou whore in grain," says he, "I will teach thee ..." and more he
could not say for very rage, but struck at me as if he were mad. But I
beginning to cry out, he must needs stop lest he should alarm the camp:
for both armies, Saxon and Imperialist, lay close together expecting
the approach of the Swedes under Banér.


As soon as it was day my master handed me over to the horse-boys, even
as both armies were striking their tents: these were a pack of rascals,
and therefore was the baiting which I must endure the greater and more
dreadful: for they hastened with me to a thicket the better to satisfy
their bestial desires, as is the custom of these devils' children when
a woman is given over to them: and there followed them many fellows
looking on at their scurvy tricks, and among them my Hans, who let me
not out of his sight, and when he saw 'twould go ill with me would
rescue me by force, even should it cost him his head: who found backers
enough when he said I was his betrothed wife; and they, shewing pity
for him and me, were ready to help. But that the boys, who thought they
had the better right to me, and would not let such a good prize go,
would not have, and went about to repel force with force. So blows
beginning to be dealt on both sides, the crowd and the noise became
greater and greater till it seemed almost like a tournament in which
each did his best for a fair lady's sake. All this terrible hubbub drew
the Provost-general to the spot, who came even then when my clothing
had been torn from my body and 'twas plain that I was no woman: his
coming made all quiet as mice, for he was feared far more than the
devil himself; and those that had been at fisticuffs scattered. But
he briefly inquired of the matter, and whereas I hoped he would save
me, on the contrary he arrested me, because it was a strange and
suspicious thing for a man to be found in an army in women's clothes.
Accordingly, he and his men walked off with me to the regiments (which
were all afoot and ready to march), with intent to deliver me to the
Judge-Advocate-General, or Quartermaster-General: but when we were
about to pass my colonel's regiment, I was known and accosted and
furnished by my colonel with some poor clothes, and so given in custody
to our old provost, who put me in irons hand and foot.

It was mighty hard work for me so to march in fetters, and the old
curmudgeon would have properly plagued me had not the secretary Oliver
paid for me; for I would not let my ducats, which I had thus far kept,
see the light, for I should at the same time have lost them and also
have fallen into greater danger. The said Oliver informed me the same
evening why I was kept in such close custody, and the regimental
sheriff received orders at once to examine me, that my deposition might
the sooner be laid before the Judge-Advocate-General, for they counted
me not only for a spy, but also for one that could use witchcraft; for
shortly after I left my colonel certain witches were burnt who
confessed before their death that they had seen me at their General
Assembly, when they met together to dry up the Elbe, that Magdeburg
might be taken the sooner. So the points on which I was to give an
answer were these. (1) Whether I had not been a student, or at least
could read and write? (2) Why I had come to the camp at Magdeburg
disguised as a fool, whereas in the captain's service I had been as
sane as I was now? (3) Why I had disguised myself in women's apparel?
(4) Whether I had not been at the witches' dance with other sorcerers?
(5) Where I was born and who my parents were? (6) Where I had sojourned
before I came to the camp before Magdeburg? and (7) Where and to what
end I had learned women's work such as washing, baking, cooking, and
also lute-playing? Thereupon I would have told my whole story, that the
circumstances of my strange adventures might explain all; but the judge
was not curious, only weary and peevish after his long march: so he
desired only a round answer to each question; and that I answered in
the following words, out of which no one could yet learn aught that was
exact or precise--as thus: (1) I had not been a student, but could read
and write German. (2) I had been forced to wear a fool's coat because I
had no other. (3) Because I was weary of the fool's coat and could come
at no men's clothes. (4) I answered yes; but had gone against my will
and knew naught of witchcraft. (5) I was born in the Spessart and my
parents were peasants. (6) With the Governor of Hanau and with a
colonel of Croats, Corpes by name. (7) Among the Croats I had been
forced against my will to learn cooking and the like: but lute-playing
at Hanau because I had a liking thereto. So when my deposition was
written out, "How canst thou deny," says he, "and say thou hast not
studied, seeing that when thou didst pass for a fool, and the priest in
the mass said 'Domine non sum dignus,' thou didst answer in Latin that
he need not say that, for all knew it."

"Sir," said I, "others taught me that and persuaded me 'twas a prayer
that one must use at mass, when our chaplain was saying it." "Yes,
yes," said he, "I see thou art the very kind of fellow whose tongue
must be loosed by the torture." Whereat I thought, "God help thee if
thy tongue follow thy foolish head!"

Early next morning came orders from the Judge-Advocate-General to our
provost that he should keep me well in charge; for he was minded as
soon as the armies halted to examine me himself: in which case I must
without doubt to the torture, had not God ordered it otherwise. In my
bonds I thought ever of my pastor at Hanau and old Herzbruder that was
dead, how both had foretold how it would fare with me if I were rid of
my fool's coat again.


The same evening, and when we had hardly as yet pitched our tents, I
was brought to the Judge-Advocate-General, who had before him my
deposition and also writing materials; and he began to examine me more
closely. But I, on the other part, told my story even as it had
happened to me, yet was not believed, nor could the judge be sure
whether he had a fool or a hard-bitten knave before him, so pat did
question and answer fall and so strange was the whole history. He bade
me take a pen and write, to see what I could do, and moreover to see if
my handwriting was known, or if it had any marks in it that a man
could recognise. I took pen and paper as handily as one that had been
daily used to employ the same, and asked what I should write. The
Judge-Advocate-General, who was perhaps vexed because my examination
had prolonged itself far into the night, answered me thus: "What!" says
he, "write down 'Thy mother the whore.'"

Those words I did write down, and when they were read out they did but
make my case worse,[17] for the Advocate-General said he was now well
assured that I was a rogue. Then he asked the provost, had they
searched me and found any writings upon me? The provost answered him
no; for how could they search a man that had been brought to them
naked? But it availed nought! The provost must search me in the
presence of all, and as he did that diligently (O ill-luck!) there he
found my two asses' ears with the ducats in them bound round my arms.
Then said they: "What need we any further witness? This traitor hath
without doubt undertaken some great plot, for why else should any
honest man disguise himself in a fool's raiment, or a man conceal
himself in women's garments? And how could any suppose that a man would
carry on him so great a quantity of money, unless it were that he
intended to do some great deed therewith?" For said they, did he not
himself confess he had learned lute-playing under the cunningest
soldier in the world, the commandant of Hanau? "Gentlemen," says they,
"what think you he did not learn among those sharp-witted Hessians? The
shortest way is to have him to the torture and then to the stake:
seeing he hath in any case been in the company of sorcerers and
therefore deserveth no better."

How I felt at that time any man can judge for himself; for I knew I was
innocent and had strong trust in God: yet I could see my danger and
lamented the loss of my fair ducats, which the Judge-Advocate-General
had put in his own pocket. But before they could proceed to extremities
with me Banér's folk fell upon ours: at the first the two armies fought
for the best position, and then secondly for the heavy artillery, which
our people lost forthwith. Our provost kept pretty far behind the line
of battle with his helpers and his prisoners, yet were we so close to
our brigade that we could tell each man by his clothing from behind;
and when a Swedish squadron attacked ours we were in danger of our
lives as much as the fighters, for in a moment the air was so full of
singing bullets that it seemed a volley had been fired in our honour.
At that the timid ducked their heads, as they would have crept into
themselves: but they that had courage and had been present at such
sport before let the balls pass over their heads quite unconcerned. In
the fighting itself every man sought to prevent his own death with the
cutting down of the nearest that encountered him: and the terrible
noise of the guns, the rattle of the harness, the crash of the pikes,
and the cries both of the wounded and the attackers made up, together
with the trumpets, drums and fifes, a horrible music. There could one
see nought but thick smoke and dust, which seemed as it would conceal
the fearful sight of the wounded and dead: in the midst of it could be
heard the pitiful outcries of the dying and the cheers of them that
were yet full of spirit: the very horses seemed as if they were more
and more vigorous to defend their masters, so furious did they shew
themselves in the performance of that duty which they were compelled to
do. Some of them one could see falling dead under their masters, full
of wounds which they had undeservedly received for the reward of their
faithful services: others for the same cause fell upon their riders,
and thus in their death had the honour of being borne by those they had
in life been forced to bear: others, again, being rid of the valiant
burden that had guided them, fled from mankind in their fury and
madness, and sought again their first freedom in the open field. The
earth, whose custom it is to cover the dead was there itself covered
with them, and those variously distinguished: for here lay heads that
had lost their natural owners, and there bodies that lacked their
heads: some had their bowels hanging out in most ghastly and pitiful
fashion, and others had their heads cleft and their brains scattered:
there one could see how lifeless bodies were deprived of their blood
while the living were covered with the blood of others; here lay arms
shot off, on which the fingers still moved, as if they would yet be
fighting; and elsewhere rascals were in full flight that had shed no
drop of blood: there lay severed legs, which though delivered from the
burden of the body, yet were far heavier than they had been before:
there could one see crippled soldiers begging for death, and on the
contrary others beseeching quarter and the sparing of their lives. In a
word, 'twas naught but a miserable and pitiful sight. The Swedish
conquerors drove our people from their position, which they had
defended with such ill luck, and were scattered everywhere in pursuit.
At which turn of things my provost, with us his prisoners, also took to
flight, though we had deserved no enmity from the conquerors by reason
of our resistance: but while the provost was threatening of us with
death and so compelling us to go with him, young Herzbruder galloped up
with five other horsemen and saluted him with a pistol and, "Lookye,
old dog," says he, "is it the time now to breed young puppies? Now will
I pay thee for thy pains."

But the shot harmed the provost as little as if it had struck an anvil.
So "Beest thou of that kidney," said Herzbruder, "yet I will not have
come to do thee a courtesy in vain: die thou must even if thy soul were
grown into thy body." And with that he compelled a musqueteer of the
provost's own guard, if he would himself have quarter, to cut him down
with an axe. And so that provost got his reward: but I being known by
Herzbruder, he bade them free me from my fetters and bonds, set me on a
horse, and charged his servant to bring me to a place of safety.


But even then, while my rescuer's servant conveyed me out of danger,
his own master was, by reason of his greed of honour and of gain,
carried so far afield that he in his turn was taken prisoner. So when
the conquerors were dividing of the spoil and burying their dead, and
Herzbruder was a-missing, his captain received as his inheritance me
with his servant and his horses: whereby I must submit to be ranked as
a horse-boy, and in exchange for that received nought, save only these
promises: namely, that if I carried myself well and could grow a little
older, he would mount me: that is, make a trooper of me: and with that
I must be content.

But presently thereafter my captain was appointed lieutenant-colonel,
and I discharged the same office for him that David did for Saul, for
when we were in quarters I played the lute for him, and when we were on
the march I must wear his cuirass after him, which was a sore burden to
me: and although these arms were devised to protect their wearers
against the buffets of the enemy, I found it the contrary, for mine own
young which I hatched pursued me with the more security under the
protection of those same arms: under the breastplate they had their
free quarters, pastime, and playground, so that it seemed I wore the
harness not for my protection but for theirs, for I could not reach
them with my arms and could do no harm among them.[18] I busied myself
with the planning of all manner of campaigns against them, to destroy
this invincible Armada: yet had I neither time nor opportunity to
drive them out by fire, (as is done in ovens) nor by water, nor by
poison--though well I knew what quicksilver would do. Much less had I
the opportunity to be rid of them by a change of raiment or a clean
shirt, but must carry them with me, and give them my body and blood to
feed upon. And when they so tormented and bit me under the harness, I
whipped out a pistol as if I would exchange shots with them: yet did
only take out the ramrod and therewith drive them from their banquet.
At last I discovered a plan, to wind a bit of fur round the ramrod and
so make a pretty bird-lime for them: and when I could be at them under
the harness with this louse-angler, I fished them out in dozens from
their dens, and murdered them: but it availed me little.

Now it happened that my lieutenant-colonel was ordered to make an
expedition into Westphalia with a strong detachment; and if he had been
as strong in cavalry as I was in my private garrison he would have
terrified the whole world: but as 'twas not so he must needs go warily,
and for that reason also hide in the Gemmer Mark (a wood so called
between Soest and Ham). Now even then I had come to a crisis with my
friends: for they tormented me so with their excavations that I feared
they might effect a lodgment between flesh and skin. Let no man wonder
that the Brasilians do devour their lice, for mere rage and revenge,
because they so torment them. At last I could bear my torment no
longer, but when the troopers were busy--some feeding, some sleeping,
and some keeping guard--I crept a little aside under a tree to wage war
with mine enemies: to that end I took off mine armour (though others be
wont to put it on when they fight) and began such a killing and
murdering that my two swords, which were my thumbnails, dripped with
blood and hung full of dead bodies, or rather empty skins: and all such
as I could not slay I banished forthwith, and suffered them to take
their walks under that same tree.

Now whenever this encounter comes into my remembrance forthwith my skin
doth prick me everywhere, as if I were but now in the midst of the
battle. 'Tis true I doubted for a while whether I should so revenge
myself on mine own blood, and specially against such true servants that
would suffer themselves to be hanged with me--yea, and broken on the
wheel with me, and on whom, by reason of their numbers, I had often
lain softly in the open air on the hardest of earth. But I went on so
furiously in my tyrannical ways that I did not even mark how the
Imperialists were at blows with my lieutenant-colonel, till at last
they came to me, terrified my poor lice, and took me myself prisoner.
Nor had they any respect for my manhood, by the power of which I had
just before slain my thousands, and even surpassed the fame of the
tailor that killed "seven at a blow." I fell to the share of a dragoon,
and the best booty he got from me was my lieutenant-colonel's cuirass,
and that he sold at a fair price to the commandant at Soest, where he
was quartered. So he was in the course of this war my sixth master: for
I must serve him as his foot-boy.


Now unless our hostess had been content to have herself and her whole
house possessed by my army, 'twas certain she must be rid of them. And
that she did, short and sharp, for she put my rags into the oven and
burned them out as clean as an old tobacco-pipe, so that I lived again
as 'twere in a rose-garden freed from my vermin: yea, and none can
believe how good it was for me to be free from that torment wherein I
had sat for months as in an ant's nest. But in recompense for that I
had a new plague to encounter: namely, that my new master was one of
those strange soldiers that do think to get to heaven: he was contented
with his pay and never harmed a child. His whole fortune consisted in
what he could earn by standing sentry and what he could save from his
weekly pay; and that, poor as it was, he valued above all the pearls of
the Orient: each sixpence he got he sewed into his breeches, and that
he might have more of such sixpences I and his horse must starve: I
must break my teeth upon dry Pumpernickel, and nourish myself with
water, or at best with small beer, and that was a poor affair for
me--inasmuch as my throat was raw from the dry black bread and my whole
body wasted away. If I would eat I must needs steal, and even that with
such secrecy that my master could by no manner of means be brought to
book. As for him, gallows and torture, headsmen and their helpers--yea,
and surgeons too--were but superfluous. Sutlers and hawkers too must
soon have beat a retreat from him: for his thoughts were far from
eating and drinking, gaming and quarrelling: but when he was ordered
out for a convoy or an expedition of any sort where pay was, there he
would loiter and dawdle away his time. Yea, I believe truly if this
good old dragoon had not possessed these soldierly virtues of
loitering, he would never have got me: for in that case he would have
followed my lieutenant-colonel at the double. I could count on no cast
clothes from him: for he himself went in such rags as did beforetime my
hermit in the woods. His whole harness and saddle were scarce worth
three-halfpence, and his horse so staggering for hunger that neither
Swede nor Hessian needed to fear his attack.

All these fair qualities did move his captain to send him to
Paradise--which was a monastery so called--on protection-duty: not
indeed as if he were of much avail for that purpose, but that he might
grow fat and buy himself a new nag: and most of all because the nuns
had asked for a pious and conscientious and peaceable fellow for their
guard. And so he rode thither and I behind him: for he had but one
horse: and "Zounds;" says he, "Simbrecht; (for he could never frame to
pronounce my name aright) when we come to Paradise we will take our
fill." And I answered him: "Yes," said I, "the name is a good omen: God
grant it that the place be like its name!" "Yes, yes," says he, for he
understood me not, "if we can get two ohms of the good Westphalian beer
every day we shall not fare ill. Look to thyself: for I will now have a
fine new cloak made, and thou canst have the old one: 'twill make a
brave new coat for thee."

Well might he call it the old one: for I believe it could well remember
the Battle of Pavia,[19] so weatherbeaten and shabby was it: and with
the giving of it he did me but little kindness.

Paradise we found as we would have it and still better: in place of
angels we found fair maidens, who so entertained us with food and drink
that presently I came again to my former fatness: the strongest beer we
had, the best Westphalian hams and smoked sausages and savoury and
delicate meat, boiled in salt water and eaten cold. There too I learned
to spread black bread a finger thick with salt butter, and put cheese
on that so that it might slip down better: and when I could have a
knuckle of mutton garnished with garlic and a good tankard of beer
beside it, then would I refresh body and soul and forget all my past
sufferings. In a word, this Paradise pleased me as much as if it had
been the true Paradise: no other care had I except that I knew 'twould
not always last, and I must fare forth again in my rags.

But even as misfortune ever came to me in abundance when it once began
to pursue me, so now it seemed to me that good fortune would run it
hard: for when my master would send me to Soest to fetch his baggage
thence, I found on the road a pack, and in the same some ells of
scarlet cloth cut for a cloak, and red silk also for the lining. That I
took with me, and at Soest I exchanged it with a clothier for common
green woollen cloth fit for a coat and trappings, with the condition he
should make such a coat and provide me also with a new hat: and
inasmuch as I grievously needed also a new pair of shoes and a shirt, I
gave the huckster the silver buttons and the lace that belonged to the
cloak, for which he procured for me all that I wanted, and turned me
out brand-new. So I returned to Paradise to my master, who was mightily
incensed that I had not brought my findings to him: yea, he talked of
trouncings, and for a trifle, an he had not been shamed and had the
coat fitted him, would have stript it off me for to wear it himself.
But to my thinking I had done a good piece of trading.

But now must the miserly fellow be ashamed that his lad went better
clothed than he: therefore he rides to Soest, borrows money from his
captain and equips himself in the finest style, with the promise to
repay all out of his weekly protection-pay: and that he carefully did.
He had indeed himself means to pay that and more also, but was too sly
to touch his stores: for had he done that his malingering was at an
end, wherein he hoped to abide softly that winter through, and some
other naked fellow had been put in his place: but now the captain must
perforce leave him where he lay, or he would not recover his money he
had lent. Thenceforward we lived the laziest life in the world, wherein
skittles was our chief exercise: when I had groomed my dragoon's horse,
fed and given him to drink, then I played the gentleman and went

The convent was safeguarded also by our opponents the Hessians with a
musqueteer from Lippstadt: the same was by trade a furrier, and for
that reason not only a master-singer but also a first-rate fencer, and
lest he should forget his art he daily exercised himself with me in all
weapons, in which I became so expert that I was not afraid to challenge
him whenever he would. My old dragoon, in place of fencing with him,
would play at skittles, and that for no other wager but who should
drink most beer at dinner: and so whoever lost the convent paid.

This convent had its own game-preserves and therefore its own huntsman,
and inasmuch as I also was clad in green I joined myself to him, and
from him in that autumn and winter I learned all his arts, and
especially all that concerns catching of small game. For that cause,
and because also the name Simplicissimus was somewhat uncommon and for
the common folk easily forgotten or hard to pronounce, every one called
me the "little huntsman": and meanwhile I learned to know every way and
path, and that knowledge I made good use of thereafter. But when by
reason of ill weather I could not take my walks abroad in the wood,
then I read all manner of books which the bailiff of the convent lent
me. And so soon as the good nuns knew that, besides my good voice, I
could also play a little on the lute and the harpsichord, then did they
give more heed to me, and because there was added to these qualities a
prettily proportioned body and a handsome face enough, therefore they
deemed all my manners and customs, my doings and my ways, to be the
ways of nobility: and so became I all unexpectedly a much-loved
gentleman, of whom one could but wonder that he should serve so scurvy
a dragoon.

But when I had spent the winter in the midst of such pleasures, my
master was discharged: which vexed him so much (by reason of the good
living he was to lose) that he fell sick, and inasmuch as that was
aggravated by a violent fever (and likewise the old wounds that he had
got in the wars in his lifetime helped the mischief), he had but short
shrift, for in three weeks I had somewhat to bury, but this epitaph I
wrote for him:

        "Old Miserly lies here, a soldier brave and good,
      Who all his lifetime through shed ne'er a drop of blood."

By right and custom the captain could take and inherit the man's horse
and musquet and the general all else that he left: but since I was a
lively, well-set-up lad, and gave hopes that in time I should not fear
any man, it was offered me to take all, if only I would take the place
of my dead master. And that I undertook the more readily because I knew
my master had left a pretty number of ducats sewn into his old
breeches, which he had raked together in his lifetime: and when in the
process of things I must give in my name--namely, Simplicius
Simplicissimus--and the muster-clerk (which was named Cyriack) could
not write it down aright, says he, "There is no devil in hell with such
a name." Thereon I asked him quickly, "Was there one there named
Cyriack?" and clever as he thought himself, that he would not answer:
and that pleased my captain so that from thenceforward he thought well
of me.


Now the commandant in Soest needed a lad in his stables, of the kind
that I seemed to him to be, and for that reason he was not well pleased
that I had turned soldier, but would try to have me yet: to that end he
made a pretence of my youth and that I could not yet pass for a man:
and having set this forth to my master, he sends to me and says he,
"Harkye, little huntsman, thou shalt be my servant." So I asked what
would my duties be: to which he answered I should help to tend his
horses. "No, sir," quoth I, "we are not for one another: I would rather
have a master in whose service the horses should tend me: but seeing
that I can find none such, I will sooner remain a soldier." "Thy
beard," says he, "is yet too small." "No, no," said I, "I will wager I
can encounter any man of eighty years: a beard never yet killed a man,
or goats would be in high esteem." "Oho!" says he, "if thy courage be
as high as thy wit, I will let thee pass for a soldier." I answered,
"That can be tried upon the next occasion," and therewithal I gave him
to understand I would not be used as a groom. So he left me as I was,
and said the proof of the pudding was in the eating.

So now I betook myself to my old dragoon's old breeches, and having
dissected them, I recovered out of their entrails a good soldier's
horse and the best musquet I could find: and all must for me be as
bright as looking-glass. Then I bought a new suit of green clothes: for
this name of the "huntsman" suited well with my fancy: and my old suit
I gave to my lad; for 'twas too small for me. And so could I ride on
mine own account like a young nobleman, and thought no small beer of
myself. Yea, I made so bold as to deck my hat with a great plume like
an officer: and with that I raised up for myself enviers and mislikers:
and betwixt them and me were presently hot words and at last even
buffets. Yet hardly had I proved to one or two that same science which
I had learned in Paradise of the good furrier, when behold, not only
would all leave me in peace but would have my friendship moreover.
Besides all this, I was ever ready to give my service for all
expeditions on foot or on horseback: for I was a good rider and quicker
on foot than most, and when it came to dealing with the enemy I must
charge forward as for mere pleasure and ever be in the front rank. So
was I in brief time known both among friends and foes, and so famous
that both parties thought much of me, seeing that the most dangerous
attacks were entrusted to me to carry out, and to that end whole
detachments put under my command. And now I began to steal like any
Bohemian, and if I made any capture of value, I would give my officers
so rich a share thereof that 'twas allowed me to play my tricks on
forbidden ground, for whatever I did I was supported. General Count
Götz had left remaining in Westphalia three enemy's garrisons--to wit,
in Dorsten, in Lippstadt, and in Coesfeld: and all these three I
mightily plagued! for I was before their gates, now here, now there,
one day here and one day there, no less, and snapped up many a good
prize, and because I ever escaped the folk came to believe of me I
could make myself invisible and was as proof as iron or steel. So now
was I feared like the plague itself, so that thirty men of the enemy
would not be shamed to flee before me if they did but know I was in
their neighbourhood with fifteen. And at last it came to this: that
where a contribution must be levied from a place, I was the man for
that: and my plunder from that became as great as my fame. Mine
officers and comrades loved their little huntsman: the chief partisans
of the opposite side were terrified, and by fear and love I kept the
countrymen on my side: for I knew how to punish my opposers, and them
that did me the smallest service richly to repay: insomuch that I spent
wellnigh the half of my booty in paying of my spies. And for that
reason there went no reconnaissance, no convoy, no expedition out from
the adversary whose departure was not made known to me: whereupon I
laid my plans and founded my projects, and because I commonly brought
the same to good effect by the help of good luck, all were astonished:
and that chiefly at my youthful age: so that even many officers and
good soldiers of the other party much desired to see me. To this must
be added that I ever shewed myself courteous to my prisoners, so that
they often cost me more than my booty was worth, and whensoever I could
shew a courtesy to any of the adversary, and specially to any officer,
without injury to my duty and to my allegiance to my master, I
neglected it not. And by such behaviour I had surely been presently
forwarded to the rank of officer, had not my youth hindered that: for
whosoever, at the age wherein I then was, would be an ensign, must be
of noble birth: besides, my captain could not promote me; for there
were no vacancies in his own company and he would not let me go to
another: for so would he have lost in me a milch-cow and more too. So
must I be and remain a corporal. Yet this honour, which I had gained
over the heads of old soldiers, though 'twas but a small thing, yet
this and the praise which daily I received were to me as spurs to urge
me on to better things. And day and night I dreamed only of fresh plans
to make myself greater: nay, I could not sleep by reason of such
foolish phantasies. And because I saw that I wanted an opportunity to
shew the courage which I felt in me, it vexed me that I could not every
day have the chance to meet the adversary in arms and try the result.
So then I wished the Trojan war back again, or such a siege as was at
Ostende,[20] and fool as I was, I never thought that a pitcher goes to
the well till it breaks: and that also is true of a young soldier and a
foolish, when he hath but money and luck and courage: thereupon follow
haughtiness and pride: and by reason of that pride I hired, in place of
one footboy, two serving-men, whom I equipped well and horsed them
well, and so gained the envy of all the officers.


Now must I tell you a story or two of things that happened to me before
I left the dragoons: and though they are trifling, yet are they amusing
to be heard: for I undertook not only great things, but despised not
also small affairs, if only I could be assured that thereby I should
get reputation among the people.

Now my captain was ordered, with fifty odd men on foot, to Schloss
Recklinghausen, and there to carry out a certain design: and as we
thought that before the plan could be carried out we had best hide
ourselves a day or two in the woods, each took with him provision for a
week. But inasmuch as the rich convoy we waited for came not at the
appointed time, our food gave out: and we dared not to steal, for so
had we betrayed ourselves and caused our plan to come to nothing: and
so hunger pressed us sore: moreover, I had in that quarter no good
friends (as elsewhere) to bring me and my men food in secret. And
therefore must we devise other means to line our bellies if we would
not go home empty. My comrade, a journeyman Latinist who had but lately
run from school and enlisted, sighed in vain for the barley soup which
beforetime his parents had served up for his delight, and which he had
despised and left untasted: and as he thought on those meals of old, so
he remembered his school satchel, beside which he had eaten them.

"Ah, brother;" says he to me, "is't not a shame that I have not learned
arts enough to fill my belly now. Brother, I know, _re vera_, if I
could but get to the parson in that village, 'twould provide me with an
excellent convivium." So I pondered on that word awhile and considered
our condition, and because they that knew the country might not leave
the ambush (for they had surely been recognised) while those that were
unknown to the people knew of no chance to steal or buy in secret, I
founded my plan on our student and laid the thing before our captain.
And though 'twas dangerous for him also, yet was his trust in me so
great, and our plight so evil, that he consented. So I changed clothes
with another man, and with my student I shogged off to the said village
and that by a wide circuit, though it lay but half an hour from us: and
coming thither we forthwith knew the house next the church to be the
priest's abode; for 'twas built town-fashion and abutted on the wall
that surrounded the whole glebe. Now I had already taught my comrade
what he should say: for he had yet his worn-out old student's cloak on
him: but I gave myself out for a journeyman painter, as thinking I
could not well be called upon to exercise that art in the village; for
farmers do not often have their houses decorated.

The good divine was civil, and when my comrade had made him a deep
Latin reverence and told lies in great abundance to him, as how the
soldiers had plundered him on his road and robbed him of all his
journey-money, he offered him a piece of bread and butter and a draught
of beer. But I made as though I belonged not to him, and said I would
eat a snack in the inn and then call for him, that we might ere the day
was spent come somewhat further on our way together. And to the inn I
went, yet more to espy what I could fetch away that night than to
appease mine hunger, and had also the luck on the way to find a peasant
plastering up of his oven, in which he had great loaves of rye-bread,
that should sit there and bake for four-and-twenty hours. With the
innkeeper I did little business: for now I knew where bread was to be
had: yet bought a few loaves of white bread for our captain, and when I
came to the parsonage to warn my comrade to go, he had already had his
fill, and had told the priest I was a painter and was minded to journey
to Holland, there to perfect my art. So the good man bade me welcome
and begged me to go into the church with him, for he would shew me some
pieces there that needed repair. And not to spoil the play, I must
follow. So he took me through the kitchen, and as he opened the lock in
the strong oaken door that led to the churchyard, O mirum! there I saw
that the black heaven above was dark with lutes, flutes, and fiddles,
meaning the hams, smoked sausages, and sides of bacon that hung in the
chimney; at which I looked with content, for it seemed as if they
smiled at me, and I wished, but in vain, to have them for my comrades
in the wood: yet they were so obstinate as to hang where they were.
Then pondered I upon the means how I could couple them with the said
oven full of bread, yet could not easily devise such, for, as
aforesaid, the parson's yard was walled round and all windows
sufficiently guarded with iron bars. Furthermore there lay two
monstrous great dogs in the courtyard which, as I feared, would of a
surety not sleep by night if any would steal that whereon 'twas the
reward of their faithful guardianship to feed by day. So now when we
came into the church and talked of the pictures, and the priest would
hire me to mend this and that, and I sought for excuses and pleaded my
journey, says the sacristan or bellringer, "Fellow," says he, "I take
thee rather for a runaway soldier than a painter." To such rough talk I
was no longer used, yet must put up with it: still I shook my head a
little and answered him, "Fellow, give me but a brush and colours, and
in a wink I will have thee painted for the fool thou art." Whereat the
priest laughed, yet said to us both, 'twas not fitting to wrangle in so
holy a place: with that I perceived he believed us both, both me and my
student; so he gave us yet another draught and let us go. But my heart
I left behind among the smoked sausages.

Before nightfall we came to our companions, where I took my clothes and
arms again, told the captain my story, and chose out six stout fellows
to bring the bread home. At midnight we came to the village and took
the bread out of the oven: for we had a man among us that could charm
dogs; and when we were to pass by the parsonage, I found it not in my
heart to go further without bacon. In a word, I stood still and
considered deeply whether 'twere not possible to come into the priest's
kitchen, yet could find no other way but the chimney, which for this
turn must be my door. The bread and our arms we took into the
churchyard and into the bone-house, and fetched a ladder and rope from
a shed close by. Now I could go up and down chimneys as well as any
chimney-sweep (for that I had learned in my youth in the hollow trees),
so on to the roof I climbed with one other, which roof was covered with
a double ceiling and a hollow between, and therefore convenient for my
purpose. So I twisted my long hair into a bunch on my head, and lowered
myself down with an end of the rope to my beloved bacon, and fastened
one ham after another and one flitch after another to the rope which my
comrade on the roof most regularly hauled up and gave to the others to
carry to the bonehouse. But alack and well-a-day! Even as I shut my
shop and would out again a rafter broke under me, and poor
Simplicissimus tumbled down and the miserable huntsman found himself
caught as in a mouse-trap: 'tis true, my comrades on the roof let down
the rope to draw me up: but it broke before they could lift me from the
ground. And, "Now huntsman," thought I, "thou must abide a hunt in
which thy hide will be as torn as was Actaeon's," for the priest was
awakened by my fall and bade his cook forthwith to kindle a light: who
came in her nightdress into the kitchen with her gown hanging on her
shoulders and stood so near me that she almost touched me: then she
took up an ember, held the light to it, and began to blow: yet I blew
harder, which so affrighted the good creature that she let both fire
and candle fall and ran to her master. So I gained time to consider by
what means I could help myself out: yet found I none.

Now my comrades gave me to understand through the chimney they would
break the house open and have me forth: that would I not have, but bade
them to look to their arms and leave only my especial comrade on the
roof, and wait to see if I could not get away without noise and
disturbance, lest our ambush should be frustrated: but if it could not
be so, then might they do their best. Meanwhile the good priest himself
struck a light; while his cook told him a fearful spectre was in the
kitchen who had two heads (for she had seen my hair in a bunch on my
head and had mistook it for a second head). All this I heard, and
accordingly smeared my face and arms with my hands, which were full of
ashes, soot, and cinders, so vilely that without question I no longer
could be likened to an angel, as those holy maidens in Paradise had
likened me: and that same sacristan, had he but seen me, would have
granted me this, that I was a quick painter. And now I began to rattle
round in the kitchen in fearful wise, and to throw the pots and pans
about: and the kettle-ring coming to my hand, I hung it round my neck,
and the fire-hook I kept in my hand to defend myself in case of need.

All which dismayed not that good priest: for he came in procession with
his cook, who bore two wax-lights in her hands and a holy-water stoup
on her arm, he himself being vested in his surplice and stole, with the
sprinkler in one hand and a book in the other, out of which he began to
exorcise me and to ask who I was and what I did there. So as he took me
to be the devil, I thought 'twas but fair I should play the devil's
part as the Father of Lies, and so answered, "I am the Devil, and will
wring thy neck and thy cook's too." Yet he went on with his conjuring
and bade me take note I had no concern with him nor his cook; yea, and
commanded me under the most solemn adjuration that I should depart to
the place whence I had come. To which I answered with a horrible voice,
that 'twas impossible even if I would. Meanwhile my comrade on the
roof, which was an arch-rogue and knew his Latin well, had his part to
play: for when he heard what time of day 'twas in the kitchen, he
hooted like an owl, he barked like a dog, he neighed like a horse, he
bleated like a goat, he brayed like an ass, and made himself heard down
the chimney like a whole crew of cats bucking in February, and then
again like a clucking hen: for the fellow could imitate any beasts' cry
and, when he would, could howl as naturally as if a whole pack of
wolves were there. And this terrified the priest and his cook more than
anything: yet was my conscience sore to suffer myself to be abjured as
the devil; for he truly took me for such as having read or heard that
the devil loved to appear clad in green.

Now in the midst of these doubts, which troubled both parties alike, I
was aware by good luck that the key in the lock of the door that led to
the churchyard was not turned, but only the bolt shot: so I speedily
drew it back and whipped out of the door into the churchyard, where I
found my comrades standing with their musquets cocked, and left the
parson to conjure devils as long as he would. So when my comrade had
brought my hat down from the roof, and we had packed up our provands,
we went off to our fellows, having no further business in the village
save that we should have returned the borrowed ladder and rope to their

With our stolen food the whole party refreshed themselves, and all had
cause enough to laugh over my adventure: only the student could not
stomach it that I should rob the priest that had so nobly filled his
belly, yea, he swore loud and long he would fain pay him for his bacon,
had he but the means at hand; and yet ate of it as heartily as if he
were hired for the business. So we lay in our ambush two days longer
and waited for the convoy we had so long looked for; where we lost no
single man in the attack, yet captured over thirty prisoners and as
splendid booty as ever I did help to divide: and I had a double share
because I had done best: and that was three fine Friesland stallions
laden with as much merchandise as we could carry off in our haste; and
had we had time to examine the booty and to bring it to a place of
safety, each for his own part would have been rich enough: but we had
to leave more on the spot than we bore off, for we must hurry away with
all speed, taking what we could carry: and for greater safety we betook
ourselves to Rehnen, and there we baited and shared the booty: for
there lay our main body.

And there I thought again on the priest, whose bacon I had stolen: and
now may the reader think what a misguided, wanton, and overweening
spirit was mine, when it was not enough for me to have robbed and
terrified that pious man, but I must claim honour for it. To that end I
took a sapphire set in a gold ring, which I had picked up on that same
plundering expedition, and sent it from Rehnen to my priest by a sure
hand with this letter: "Reverend Sir,--Had I but in these last days had
aught in the wood to eat and so to live, I had had no cause to steal
your reverence's bacon, in which matter 'tis likely you were terrified.
I swear by all that is holy that such affright was against my will, and
so the more do I hope for forgiveness. As concerning the bacon itself,
'tis but just it should be paid for, and therefore in place of money I
send this present ring, given by those for whose behoof your goods must
needs be taken, and beg your reverence will be pleased to accept the
same: and add thereto that he will always find on all occasions an
obedient and faithful servant in him whom his sacristan took to be no
painter and who is otherwise known as 'The Huntsman.'"

But to the peasant whose oven they had emptied, the party sent out of
the general booty sixteen rix-dollars: for I had taught them that in
such wise they must bring the country-folk on their side, seeing that
such could often help a party out of great difficulties or betray such
another party and bring all to the gallows. From Rehnen we marched to
Münster and thence to Ham, and so home to Soest to our headquarters,
where I after some days received an answer from his reverence, as
follows: "Noble Huntsman,--If he from whom you stole the bacon had
known that you would appear to him in devilish guise, he had not so
often wished to behold the notorious huntsman. But even as the borrowed
meat and bread have been far too dearly paid for, so also is the fright
inflicted the easier to forgive, especially because 'twas caused
(against his will) by so famous a person, who is hereby forgiven, with
the request that he will once more visit without fear him who fears not
to conjure the devil.--Vale."

And so did I everywhere, and gained much fame: yea, and the more I
gave away and spent, the more the booty flowed in, and I conceived
that I had laid out that ring well, though 'twas worth some hundred
rix-dollars. And so ends this second book.

                                BOOK III


The gentle reader will have understood by the foregoing book how
ambitious I had become in Soest, and that I had sought and found
honour, fame, and favour in deeds which in others had deserved
punishment. And now will I tell how through my folly I let myself be
further led astray, and so lived in constant danger of life and limb;
for I was so busied to gain honour and fame that I could not sleep by
reason of it, and being full of such fancies, and lying awake many a
night to devise new plots and plans, I had many wondrous conceits. In
this wise I contrived a kind of shoes that a man could put on hind part
before, so that the heel came under his toes: and of these at mine own
cost I caused thirty different pairs to be made, and when I had given
these out to my fellows and with them went on a foray, 'twas clean
impossible to follow our tracks: for now would we wear these, and now
again our right shoes on our feet, and the others in our knapsacks. So
that if a man came to a place where I had bidden them change shoes,
'twas for all the world, by the tracks, as if two parties had met
together there and together had vanished away. But if I kept these new
invented shoes on throughout, it seemed as I had gone thither whence in
truth I had come, or had come from the place to which I now went. And
besides this, my tracks were at all times confused, as in a maze, so
that they who should pursue or seek news of me from the footprints
could never come at me. Often I was close by a party of the enemy who
were minded to seek me far away: and still more often miles away from
some thicket which they had surrounded, and were searching in hopes to
find me. And as I managed with my parties on foot, so did I also when
we were on horseback: for to me 'twas simple enough to dismount at
cross-roads and forked ways and there have the horses' shoes set on
hind part before. But the common tricks that soldiers use, being weak
in numbers, to appear from the tracks to be strong, or being strong to
appear weak, these were for me so common and I held them so cheap that
I care not to tell of them. Moreover, I devised an instrument
wherewith if 'twas calm weather I could by night hear a trumpet blow
three hours' march away, could hear a horse neigh or a dog bark at two
hours' distance, and hear men's talk at three miles; which art I kept
secret, and gained thereby great respect, for it seemed to all
incredible. Yet by day was this instrument, which I commonly kept with
a perspective-glass in my breeches pouch, not so useful, even though
'twas in a quiet and lonely place: for with it one could not choose but
hear every sound made by horses and cattle, yea, the smallest bird in
the air and the frog in the water in all the country round, and all
this could be as plainly heard as if one were in the midst of a market
among men and beasts where all do make such noise that for the crying
of one a man cannot understand another. 'Tis true I know well there are
folk who to this day will not believe this: but believe it or not, 'tis
but the truth. With this instrument I can by night know any man that
talks but so loud as his custom is, by his voice, though he be as far
from me as where with a good perspective-glass one could by day know
him by his clothes. Yet can I blame no one if he believe not what I
here write, for none of those would believe me which saw with their own
eyes how I used the said instrument, and would say to them, "I hear
cavalry, for the horses are shod," or "I hear peasants coming, for the
horses are unshod," or "I hear waggoners, but 'tis only peasants; for I
know them by their talk." "Here come musqueteers, and so many, for I
hear the rattling of their bandoliers." "There is a village near by,
for I hear the cocks crow and the dogs bark." "There goes a herd of
cattle; for I hear sheep bleat and cows low and pigs grunt"; and so
forth. Mine own comrades at first would hold this but for vain
boasting, and when they found that all I said proved true in fact, then
all must be witchcraft, and what I said must have been told to me by
the devil and his dam. And so I believe will the gentle reader also
think. Nevertheless by such means did I often escape the adversary when
he had news of me and came to capture me: and I deem that if I had
published this discovery 'twould since have become common, for it would
be of great service in war and notably in sieges. But I return to my

If I was not needed for a foray, I would go a-stealing, and then were
neither horses, cows, pigs, nor sheep safe from me that I could find
for miles round: for I had a contrivance to put boots or shoes on the
horses and cattle till I came to a frequented road, where none could
trace them: and then I would shoe the horses hind part before, or if
'twas cows and oxen I put shoes on them which to that end I had caused
to be made, and so brought them to a safe place. And the big fat
swine-gentry, which by reason of laziness care not to travel by night,
these I devised a masterly trick to bring away, however much they might
grunt and refuse. For I made a savoury brew with meal and water and
soaked a sponge in it: this I fastened to a strong cord, and let them
for whom I angled swallow that sponge full of the broth, but kept the
cord in my hand, whereupon without further parley they went contentedly
with me and paid their score with hams and sausages. And all I brought
home I faithfully shared both with the officers and my comrades: and so
I got leave to fare forth again, and when my thefts were spied upon and
betrayed, they helped me finely through. For the rest, I deemed myself
far too good to steal from poor men, or rob hen-roosts and filch such
small deer. And with all this I began by little and little to lead an
epicurish life in regard of eating and drinking: for now I had forgot
my hermit's teaching and had none to guide my youth or to whom I might
look up: for my officers shared with me and caroused with me, and they
that should have warned and chastised me rather enticed me to all
vices. By this means I became so godless and wicked that no villainy
was too great for me to compass. But at last I was secretly envied,
specially by my comrades, as having a luckier hand at thieving than any
other, and also by my officers because I cut such a figure, was lucky
in forays, and made for myself a greater name and reputation than they
themselves had. In a word, I am well assured one party or the other
would have sacrificed me had I not spent so much.


Now as I was living in this fashion, and busied with this, namely, to
have me certain devil-masks made and grisly raiment thereto
appertaining with cloven hoofs, by which means to terrify our foes, and
specially to take their goods from our friends unbeknown (for which the
affair of the bacon-stealing gave me the first hint), I had news that a
fellow was at Wesel, which was a renowned partisan, went clad in green,
and under my name practised divers rapes and robberies here and there
in the land, but chiefly among our supporters, so that well-founded
plaints against me were raised, and I must have paid for it smartly,
had I not clearly shewn that at the very time he played these and other
like tricks in my name I was elsewhere. Now this I would not pardon
him, much less suffer him longer to use my name, to plunder in my shape
and so bring me to shame. So with the knowledge of the commandant at
Soest I sent him an invitation to the open field with swords or
pistols. But as he had no heart to appear, I let it be known I would be
revenged on him, even though it were in the very quarters of the
commandant at Wesel, who had failed to punish him. Yea, I said openly
if I found him on a foray I would treat him as an enemy. And that
determined me to let my masks alone with which I had planned to do
great things, to cut my green livery in pieces, and to burn it publicly
in Soest in front of my quarters, to say nothing of all my clothing and
horse harness, which were worth well over a hundred ducats: yea, and in
my wrath I swore that the next that should call me huntsman must either
kill me or die by my hand, should it cost me my life: nor would I ever
again lead a party (for I was not bound to do so, being no officer)
till I had avenged myself on my counterfeit at Wesel. So I kept myself
to myself and did no more any exploits, save that I did my duty as
sentry wheresoever I might be ordered to go, and that I performed as
any malingerer might, and as sleepily as might well be. And this thing
became known in the neighbourhood, and the advance-parties of the enemy
became so bold and assured at this that they every day would bivouac
close to our pickets: and that at last I could endure no longer. Yet
what plagued me most of all was this: that this huntsman of Wesel went
ever on his old way, giving himself out for me and under that name
getting plunder enough and to spare.

Meanwhile, while all thought I had laid myself to sleep on a bearskin
and should not soon rise from it, I was inquiring of the ways and works
of my counterfeit at Wesel, and found that he not only imitated me in
name and clothing, but was also used to steal by night whenever he
could find a chance: so I woke up again unexpectedly and laid my plans
accordingly. Now I had by little and little trained my two servants
like watch-dogs, and they were so true to me that each at need would
have run through fire for me, for with me they had good food and drink
and gained plenty of booty. One of these I sent to mine enemy at Wesel,
to pretend that because I, that had been his master, was now begun to
live like any idler and had sworn never again to ride on a raid, he
cared not to stay longer with me, but was come to serve him, since
'twas he that had put on the huntsman's dress in his master's stead,
and carried himself like a proper soldier: and he knew, said he, all
highways and byways in the country, and could lay many a plan for him
to gain good booty. My good simple fool believed it all, and let
himself be persuaded to take the fellow into his service. So on a
certain night he went with him and his comrade to a sheepfold to fetch
away a few fat wethers: but there was I and Jump-i'-th'-field my other
servant already in waiting, and had bribed the shepherd to fasten up
his dogs and to suffer the new-comers to burrow their way into the shed
unhindered; for I would say grace for them over their mutton. So when
they had made a hole through the wall, the huntsman of Wesel would have
it that my servant should slip in first: "But," says he, "No, for there
might well be one on the watch that should deal me one on the head: I
see plainly ye know not how to go a-mousing: one must first explore";
and therewith drew his sword and hung his hat on the point, and pushing
it through the hole again and again, "So," says he, "We shall find out
if the good man be at home or not." This ended, the huntsman of Wesel
was the first to creep through. And with that Jump-i'-th'-field had him
by the arm which held his sword, and asked, would he cry for quarter?
That his fellow heard and would have run for it: but I, who knew not
which was the huntsman, and was swifter of foot than he, overtook him
in a few paces: so I asked him, "Of what party?" Says he, "Of the
emperor's." I asked, "What regiment? I am of the emperor's side: 'tis a
rogue that denies his master!" He answered, "We are of the dragoons of
Soest, and are come to fetch a couple of sheep: I hope, brother, if ye
be of the emperor's party too, ye will let us pass." I answered, "Who
are ye, then, from Soest?" Says he, "My comrade in the shed is the
huntsman." "Then are ye rogues," said I, "or why do ye plunder
your own quarters? The huntsman of Soest is no such fool as to let
himself be taken in a sheep-fold." "Nay, from Wesel I should have
said," says he: but while we thus disputed together came my servant and
Jump-i'-th'-field to us with my adversary: and, "Lookye," says I, "Is
it thus we come together, thou honourable rascal, thou? Were it not
that I respect the emperor's arms which thou hast undertaken to bear
against the enemy, I would incontinently send a ball through thy head:
till now I have been the huntsman of Soest, and thee I count for a
rogue unless thou take one of these swords here present and measurest
the other with me soldier-fashion." And with that my servant (who, like
Jump-i'-th'-field, had on horrible devil's apparel with goat's horns)
laid a couple of swords at our feet which I had brought from Soest, and
gave the huntsman of Wesel the choice, to take which he would: whereat
the poor huntsman was so dismayed that it fared with him as with me at
Hanau when I spoiled the dance: he and his comrade trembled like wet
dogs, fell on their knees, and begged for pardon. But Jump-i'-th'-field
growled out, as 'twere from the inside of a hollow pot, "Nay, ye must
fight, or I will break the neck of ye." "O honourable sir devil," says
the huntsman, "I came not here to fight: oh, deliver me from this,
master devil, and I will do what thou wilt." So as he talked thus
wildly, my servant put one sword in his hand and gave me the other: yet
he trembled so sore he could not hold it. Now the moon was bright, and
the shepherd and his men could see and hear all from out their hut: so
I called to him to come, that I might have a witness of this bargain:
but when he came, he made as though he saw not the two in devils'
disguise, and said, what cause had I to bicker so long with these two
fellows in his sheepfold: if I had aught to settle with them, I might
do it elsewhere: for our business concerned him not at all: he paid his
"Conterbission" regularly every month, and hoped, therefore, he might
live in peace with his sheep. To the two fellows he said, why did they
so suffer one man to plague them, and did not knock me on the head at
once. "Why," said I, "thou rascal, they would have stolen thy sheep."
"Then let the devil wring their necks for them," says the peasant, and
away he went. With that I would come to the fighting again: but my poor
huntsman could, for sheer terror, no longer keep his feet, so that I
pitied him: yea, he and his comrade uttered such piteous plaints that,
in a word, I forgave and pardoned him all. But Jump-i'-th'-field would
not so be satisfied, but scratched the huntsman so grievously in the
face that he looked as he had been at dinner with the cats, and with
this poor revenge I must be content. So the huntsman vanished from
Wesel, for he was sore shamed: inasmuch as his comrade declared
everywhere, and confirmed it with horrible oaths, that I had in real
truth two devils in the flesh that waited on me; and so was I more
feared, and contrariwise less loved.


Of that I was soon aware: and therefore did I do away my godless way of
life and give myself over to religion and good living. 'Tis true I
would ride on forays as before, yet now I shewed myself so courteous
and kindly towards friend and foe, that all I had to deal with deemed
it must be a different man from him they had heard of. Nay, more, I
made an end of my superfluous expense, and got together many bright
ducats and jewels which I hid here and there in hollow trees in the
country round Soest; for so the well-known fortune-teller in that town
advised me, and told me likewise I had more enemies in Soest and in
mine own regiment than outside the town and in the enemy's garrisons:
and these, said she, were all plotting against me and my money. And
when 'twas noised in this place or that, that the huntsman was off and
away, presently I was all unexpectedly at the elbow of them that so
flattered themselves, and before one village was rightly certain that I
had done mischief in another, itself found that I was close at hand:
for I was everywhere like a whirlwind, now here now there: so that I
was more talked of than ever, and others gave themselves out to be me.

Now it happened that I lay with twenty-five musquets not far from
Dorsten and waited for a convoy that should come to the town: and as
was my wont, I stood sentry myself as being near the enemy. To me there
came a man all alone, very well dressed and flourishing a cane he had
in his hand in strange wise: nor could I understand aught he said but
this, "Once for all will I punish the world, that will not render me
divine honours." From that I guessed this might be some mighty prince
that went thus disguised to find out his subjects' ways and works, and
now proposed duly to punish the same, as not having found them to his
liking. So I thought, "If this man be of the opposite party, it means a
good ransom; but if not, thou canst treat him so courteously and so
charm away his heart that he shall be profitable to thee all thy life

With that I leapt out upon him, presented my gun at him at full-cock,
and says I, "Your worship will please to walk before me into yonder
wood if he will not be treated as an enemy." So he answered very
gravely, "To such treatment my likes are not accustomed": but I pushed
him very politely along and, "Your honour," said I, "will not for once
refuse to bow to the necessities of the times." So when I had brought
him safely to my people in the wood and had set my sentries again, I
asked him who he was: to which he answered very haughtily I need not
ask that, for I knew already he was a great god. I thought he might
perhaps know me, and might be a nobleman of Soest that thus spoke to
rally me; for 'tis the custom to jeer at the people of Soest about
their great idol with the golden apron: but soon I was aware that
instead of a prince I had caught a madman, one that had studied too
much and gone mad over poetry: for when he grew a little more
acquainted with me he told me plainly he was the great god Jupiter

Now did I heartily wish I had never made this capture: but since I had
my fool, there I must needs keep him till we should depart: so, as the
time otherwise would have been tedious, I thought I would humour the
fellow and make his gifts of use to me; so I said to him, "Now,
worshipful Jove, how comes it that thy high divinity thus leaves his
heavenly throne and descends to earth? Forgive, O Jupiter, my question,
which thou mightest deem one of curiosity: for we be also akin to the
heavenly gods and nought but wood-spirits, born of fauns and nymphs, to
whom this secret shall ever remain a secret." "I swear to thee by the
Styx," answered Jupiter, "thou shouldst not know a word of the secret
wert thou not so like to my cup-bearer Ganymede, even wert thou Paris's
own son: but for his sake I communicate to thee this, that a great
outcry concerning the sins of the world is come up to me through the
clouds: upon which 'twas decided in the council of all the gods that I
could justly destroy all the world with a flood: but inasmuch as I have
always had a special favour to the human race, and moreover at all
times shew kindness rather than severity, I am now wandering around to
learn for myself the ways and works of men: and though I find all worse
than I expected, yet am I not minded to destroy all men at once and
without distinction, but to punish only those that deserve punishment
and thereafter to bend the remainder to my will."

I must needs laugh, yet checked myself, and said, "Alas, Jupiter, thy
toil and trouble will be, I fear, all in vain unless thou punish the
world with water, as before, or with fire: for if thou sendest a war,
thither run together all vile and abandoned rogues that do but torment
peaceable and pious men. An thou sendest a famine, 'tis but a godsend
for the usurers, for then is their corn most valuable: and if thou
sendest a pestilence, then the greedy and all the rest of mankind do
find their account, for then do they inherit much. So must thou destroy
the whole world root and branch, if thou wilt punish at all."


So Jupiter answered, "Thou speakest of the matter like a mere man, as
if thou didst not know that 'tis possible for us gods so to manage
things that only the wicked shall be punished and the good saved: I
will raise up a German hero that shall accomplish all with the edge of
the sword; he shall destroy all evil men and preserve and exalt the
righteous." "Yea," said I, "but such a hero must needs have soldiers,
and where soldiers are there is war, and where war is there must the
innocent suffer as well as the guilty." "Oho;" says Jupiter, "be ye
earthly gods minded like earthly men, that ye can understand so little?
For I will send such a hero that he shall have need of no soldiers and
yet shall reform the whole world; at his birth I will grant to him a
body well formed and stronger than had ever Hercules, adorned to the
full with princeliness, wisdom, and understanding: to this shall Venus
add so comely a face that he shall excel Narcissus, Adonis, and even my
Ganymede: and she shall grant to him, besides his other fine parts,
dignity, charm, and presence excelling all, and so make him beloved by
all the world, for which cause I will look more kindly upon it in the
hour of his birth. Mercury, too, shall endow him with incomparable
cleverness, and the inconstant moon shall be to him not harmful but
useful, for she shall implant in him an invincible swiftness: Pallas
Athene shall rear him on Parnassus, and Vulcan shall, under the
influence of Mars, forge for him his weapons, and specially a sword
with which he shall conquer the whole world and make an end of all the
godless, without the help of a single man as a soldier: for he shall
need no assistance. Every town shall tremble at his coming, and every
fortress otherwise unconquerable he shall have in his power in the
first quarter of an hour: in a word, he shall have the rule over the
greatest potentates of the world, and so nobly bear sway over earth and
sea that both gods and men shall rejoice thereat."

"Yea," said I, "but how can the destruction of all the godless and rule
over the whole world be accomplished without specially great power and
a strong arm? O Jupiter, I tell thee plainly I can understand these
things less than any mere mortal man." "At that," says Jupiter, "I
marvel not: for thou knowest not what power my hero's sword will have;
Vulcan shall make it of the same materials of which he doth forge my
thunderbolts, and so direct its virtues that my hero, if he do but draw
it and wave it in the air, can cut off the heads of a whole armada,
though they be hidden behind a mountain or be a whole Swiss mile
distant from him, and so the poor devils shall lie there without heads
before they know what has befallen them. And when he shall begin his
triumphal progress and shall come before a town or a fortress, then
shall he use Tamburlaine's vein, and for a sign that he is there for
peace and for the furthering of all good shall shew a white flag: then
if they come forth to him and are content, 'tis well: if not, then will
he draw his sword, and by its virtue, as before described, will hew off
the heads of all enchanters and sorceresses throughout the town, and
then raise a red flag: then if they be still obstinate, he shall
destroy all murderers, usurers, thieves, rogues, adulterers, whores,
and knaves in the said manner, and then hoist a black flag: whereupon
if those that yet remain in the town refuse to come to him and humbly
submit, then shall he destroy the whole town as a stiff-necked and
disobedient folk: yet shall he only execute them that have hindered the
others, and been the cause that the people would not submit. So shall
he go from country to country, and give each town the country that lies
around it to rule in peace, and from each town in all Germany choose
out two of the wisest and learnedest men to form his parliament, shall
reconcile the towns with each other for ever, shall do away all
villenage, and also all tolls, excises, interest, taxes, and octrois
throughout Germany, and take such order that none shall ever again hear
of forced work, watch-duties, contributions, benevolences, war-taxes,
and other burdens of the people, but that men shall live happier than
in the Elysian fields. And then," says Jupiter, "will I often assemble
all Olympus and come down to visit the Germans, to delight myself among
their vines and fig-trees: and there will I set Helicon on their
borders and establish the Muses anew thereon: Germany will I bless with
all plenty, yea, more than Arabia Felix, Mesopotamia, and the land of
Damascus: then will I forswear the Greek language, and only speak
German; and, in a word, shew myself so good a German that in the end I
shall grant to them, as once I did to the Romans, the rule over all the

"But," said I, "great Jupiter, what will princes and lords say to this,
if this future hero so violently take from them their rights and hand
them over to the towns? Will they not resist with force, or at least
protest against it before gods and men?"

"The hero," answered Jupiter, "will trouble himself little on that
score: he will divide all the great into three classes: them which have
lived wickedly and set an evil example he will punish together with the
commons, for no earthly power can withstand his sword: to the rest he
will give the choice whether to stay in the land or not. They that love
their fatherland and abide must live like the commons, but the German
people's way of living shall then be more plentiful and comfortable
than is now the life and household of a king; yea, they shall be one
and all like Fabricius, that would not share King Pyrrhus his kingdom
because he loved his country and honour and virtue too much: and so
much for the second class. But as to the third, which will still be
lords and rulers, them will he lead through Hungary and Italy into
Moldavia, Wallachia, into Macedonia, Thrace and Greece, yea, over the
Hellespont into Asia, and conquer these lands for them, give them as
helpers all them that live by war in all Germany, and make them all
kings. Then will he take Constantinople in one day, and lay the heads
of all Turks that will not be converted and become obedient before
their feet: then will he again set up the Roman Empire, and so betake
himself again to Germany, and with his lords of Parliament (whom, as I
have said, he shall choose in pairs from every city in Germany, and
name them the chiefs and fathers of his German Fatherland) build a city
in the midst of Germany that shall be far greater than Manoah[21] in
America, and richer than was Jerusalem in Solomon's time, whose walls
shall be as high as the mountains of Tirol and its ditches as broad as
the sea between Spain and Africa. And there will he build a temple
entirely of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, and in the
treasury that he shall there build will he gather together rarities
from the whole world out of the gifts that the kings in China and in
Persia, the great Mogul in the East Indies, the great Khan of Tartary,
Prester John in Africa, and the great Czar in Muscovy will send to him.
Yea, the Turkish emperor would be yet more ready to serve him if it
were not that my hero will have taken his empire from him and given it
as a fief to the Roman emperor."

Then I asked my friend Jupiter what in such case would become of the
Christian kings. So he answered, "Those of England, Sweden, and Denmark
(because they are of German race and descent), and those of Spain,
France, and Portugal (because the Germans of old conquered and ruled in
those lands), shall receive their crowns, kingdoms, and incorporated
lands in fee as fiefs of the German nation, and then will there be, as
in Augustus's time, a perpetual peace between all nations."


Now Jump-i'-th'-field, who also listened to us, had wellnigh enraged
Jupiter and spoiled the whole affair; for said he, "Yea, yea; and then
'twill be in Germany as in fairyland, where it rains muscatels and
nought else, and where twopenny pies grow in the night like mushrooms:
and I too shall have to eat with both cheeks full at once like a
thresher, and drink myself blind with Malvoisie." "Yea, truly," said
Jupiter, "and that the more because I will curse thee with the undying
hunger of Erysichthon, for methinks thou art one of them that do deride
my majesty," and to me said he, "I deemed I was among wood-spirits
only: but meseems I have chanced upon a Momus or a Zoilus, the most
envious creatures in the world. Is one to reveal to such traitors the
decrees of heaven and so to cast pearls before swine?" So I saw plainly
he would not willingly brook laughter, and therefore kept down mine own
as best I could, and "Most gracious Jupiter," said I, "thou wilt not,
by reason of a rude forest-god's indiscretion, conceal from thy
Ganymede how things are further to happen in Germany." "No, no," said
he, "but I command this mocker, who is like to Theon, to bridle his
evil tongue in future, lest I turn him to a stone as Mercury did
Battus. But do thou confess to me thou art truly my Ganymede, and that
my jealous Juno hath driven thee from heaven in my absence." So I
promised to tell him all when I should have heard what I desired to
know. Thereupon, "Dear Ganymede," says he, "for deny not that thou art
he--in those days shall gold-making be as common in Germany as is
pot-making now, and every horse-boy shall carry the philosophers' stone
about with him." "Yea," said I, "but how can Germany be so long in
peace with all these different religions? Will not the opposing clergy
urge on their flocks and so hatch another war?" "No, no," says Jupiter,
"my hero will know how to meet that difficulty cleverly, and before all
things to unite all Christian religions in the world." "O wonderful,"
said I, "that were indeed a great work! How could it come about?" "I
will with all my heart reveal it to thee," answered Jupiter, "for after
my hero hath made peace for all mankind he will address all the heads
of the Christian world both spiritual and temporal, in a most moving
speech, and so excellently impress upon them their hitherto most
pernicious divisions in belief, that of themselves they will desire a
general reconciliation and give over to him the accomplishment of such
according to his own great wisdom. Then will he gather together the
most skilful, most learned, and most pious theologians of all religions
and appoint for them a place, as did once Ptolemy for the seventy-two
translators, in a cheerful and yet quiet spot, where one can consider
weighty matters undisturbed, and there provide them all with meat and
drink and all necessaries, and command them so soon as possible, and
yet with the ripest and most careful consideration, first to lay aside
the strifes that there be between their religions, and next to set down
in writing and with full clearness the right, true, holy Christian
religion in accordance with Holy Writ; and with most ancient tradition,
the recognised sense of the Fathers. At which time Pluto will sorely
scratch his head as fearing the lessening of his kingdom: yea, and will
devise all manner of plans and tricks to foist in an 'and,' and if not
to stop the whole thing, yet at least to postpone it _sine die_, that
is for ever. So will he hint to each theologian of his interest, his
order, his peaceful life, his wife and child, and his privileges, and
aught else that might sway his inclinations. But my brave hero also
will not be idle: he will so long as this council shall last have all
the bells in Christendom rung, and so call all Christian people to pray
without ceasing to the Almighty, and to ask for the sending of the
Spirit of Truth. And if he shall see that one or another doth allow
himself to be tempted by Pluto, then will he plague the whole assembly
with hunger as in a Roman conclave, and if they yet delay to complete
so holy a work, then will he preach them all a sermon through the
gallows, or shew them his wonderful sword, and so first with kindness,
but at last with severity and threats, bring them to come to the
business in hand, and no longer as before to befool the world with
their stiff-necked false doctrines. So when unity is arrived at, then
will he proclaim a great festival and declare to the whole world this
purified religion; and whosoever opposes it, him will he torment with
pitch and sulphur or smear that heretic with box-grease and present him
to Pluto as a New Year's gift. And now, dear Ganymede, thou knowest all
thou didst desire to know: and now tell me in turn the reason why thou
hast left heaven, where thou hast poured me so many a draught of


Now methought 'twas possible this fellow might be no such fool as he
pretended, but might be serving me as I had served others in Hanau to
escape from us the better: so I determined to put him in a passion, for
in such plight it is easiest to know a real madman; and says I, "The
reason I am come down from heaven is that I missed thee there, and so
took Daedalus's wings and flew down to earth to seek thee. But when I
came to ask for thee I found thee in all places but of ill repute; for
Zoilus and Momus have throughout the world so slandered thee and all
the other gods, and decried ye as wanton and stinking, that ye have
lost all credit with mankind. Thyself, say they, beest a lousy,
adulterous caperer after woman-kind; how canst thou then, punish the
world for such vices? Vulcan they say is but a poltroon that let pass
Mars's adultery without proper revenge; and how can that halting
cuckold forge any weapons of note? Venus, too, is for her unchastity
the most infamous baggage in the world: and how can she endow another
with grace and favour? Mars they say is but a murderer and a robber;
Apollo a shameless lecher; Mercury an idle chatterer, thief and pander;
Priapus filth; Hercules a brainsick ruffian; and, in a word, the whole
crew of the gods so ill famed that they should of right be lodged
nowhere but in Augeas's stable, which even without them stinks in the
nostrils of all the world."

"Aha;" says Jupiter, "and who would wonder if I laid aside my
graciousness and punished these wretched slanderers and blasphemous
liars with thunder and lightning? How thinkest thou, my true and
beloved Ganymede, shall I curse these chatterers with eternal thirst
like Tantalus, or hang them up with that loose talker Daphitas on Mount
Thorax, or grind them with Anaxarchus in a mortar, or set them in
Phalaris's red-hot bull of Agrigent? Nay, nay, Ganymede: all these
plagues and punishments together are too little: I will fill Pandora's
box anew and empty it upon the rogues' heads: then Nemesis shall wake
the furies and send them at their heels, and Hercules shall borrow
Cerberus from Pluto and hunt those wicked knaves with him like wolves,
and when I have in this wise chased and tormented them enough, then
will I bind them fast with Hesiod and Homer to a pillar in hell and
there have them chastised for ever without pity by the Furies."

Now while Jupiter thus spake he began to make a hunt for the fleas he
had upon him: for these, as one might perceive, did plague him sore.
And as he did so he cried, "Away with ye, ye little tormentors; I swear
to ye by Styx ye shall never have that, that ye so earnestly desire."
So I asked him what he meant by such words. He answered, the nation of
the fleas, as soon as they learned he was come on earth, had sent their
ambassadors to compliment him: and there had complained to him that,
though he had assigned to them the dogs' coats as a dwelling, yet on
account of certain properties common to women, some poor souls went
astray and trespassed on the ladies' furs; and such poor wandering
creatures were by the women evil entreated, caught, and not only
murdered, but first so miserably martyred and crushed between their
fingers that it might move the heart of a stone. "Yea," said Jupiter
further, "they did present their case to me so movingly and piteously
that I must needs have sympathy with them and so promised them help,
yet on condition I should first hear the women: to that they objected
that if 'twas allowed to the women to plead their cause and to oppose
them, they knew well they with their poisonous tongues would either
impose upon my goodness and loving-kindness, and outcry the fleas
themselves, or by their sweet words and their beauty would befool me
and lead me astray to a wrong judgment. But if I must allow the women
to hunt, catch, and with the hunters' privilege to slay them in their
preserves, then their petition was that they might in future be
executed in honourable wise, and either cut down with a pole-axe like
oxen or snared like game, and no longer to be so scandalously crushed
between the fingers and so broken on the wheel, by which means their
own limbs were made instruments of torture." "Gentlemen," said I, "ye
must be greatly tormented when they thus tyrannise over ye." "Yea,
truly," said they, "they be so envious of us. Is it right? Can they not
suffer us in their territories? for many of them so cleanse their
lap-dogs with brushes, combs, soap and lye, and other like things, that
we are compelled to leave our fatherland and to seek other dwellings."
Thereupon I allowed them to lodge with me and to make my person feel
their presence, their ways and works, that I might judge accordingly:
and then the rascally crew began so to plague me that, as ye have seen,
I must again be rid of them. I will give them a privilege, but only
this, that the women may squeeze them and crush them as much as they
will: and if I catch any so pestilent a customer I will deal with him
no better.


Now might we not laugh as heartily as we would, both because we
must keep quiet and because this good fool liked it not: wherefore
Jump-i'-th'-field came nigh to burst. And just then our look-out man
that we had posted in a tree called to us that he saw somewhat
coming afar off. So I climbed the tree myself, and saw through my
perspective-glass it must be the carriers for whom we lay in wait: they
had no one on foot, but some thirty odd troopers for escort, and so I
might easily judge they would not go through the wood wherein we lay,
but would do their best to keep the open, and there we should have no
advantage over them, though there was even there an awkward piece of
road that led through the clearing some six hundred paces from us, and
three hundred paces from the end of the wood or hill. Now it vexed me
to have lain there so long for nought, or at best to have captured only
a fool; and so I quickly laid me another plan and that turned out well.
For from our place of ambush there ran a brook in a cleft of the
ground, which it was easy to ride along, down to the level country: the
mouth of this I occupied with twenty men, took my post with them, and
bade Jump-i'-th'-field stay in the place where we had been posted to
advantage, and ordered each one of my fellows, when the escort should
come, that each should aim at his man, and commanded also that some
should shoot and some should hold their fire for a reserve. Some old
veterans perceived what I intended and how I guessed that the escort
would come that way, as having no cause for caution, and because
certainly no peasant had been in such a place for a hundred years. But
others that believed I could bewitch (for at that time I was in great
reputation on that account) thought I would conjure the enemy into our
hands. Yet here I needed no devil's arts, only my Jump-i'-th'-field;
for even as the escort, riding pretty close together, was just about to
pass by us, he began at my order to bellow most horribly like an ox,
and to neigh like a horse; till the whole wood echoed therewith and any
man would have sworn there were horses and cattle there. So when the
escort heard that they thought to gain booty and to snap up somewhat,
which yet was hard to find in such a country so laid waste. So
altogether they rode so hard and disorderly into our ambush as if each
would be the first to get the hardest blow, and this made them ride so
close that in the first salute we gave them thirteen saddles were
emptied, and some that fell were crushed under the horses' hoofs. Then
came Jump-i'-th'-field leaping down the ravine and crying, "Huntsman
here!" At this the fellows were yet more terrified and so dismayed that
they would ride neither backward, forward nor sideways, but leapt down
and tried to escape on foot. Yet I had them all seventeen prisoners
with the lieutenant that had commanded them, and then attacked the
waggons, where I unharnessed four-and-twenty horses, and yet got only a
few bales of silk and holland: for I dared not spare the time to
plunder the dead, far less to search the waggons well, for the
waggoners were up and away on the horses as soon as the action began,
and so might I be betrayed at Dorsten, and caught again on the way
back. So when we had packed up our plunder comes Jupiter from the wood
and cried to us, "Would his Ganymede desert him?" I answered him, yes,
if he would not grant the fleas the privilege they demanded. "Sooner,"
says he, "would I see them all lying in hell-fires." At that I must
needs laugh, and because in any case I had horses to spare I had him
set on one: yet as he could ride no better than a tailor, I must have
him bound upon his horse: and then he told us our skirmish had reminded
him of that of the Lapithae and the centaurs at Pirithous' wedding. So
when all was over and we galloping away with our prisoners as if we
were pursued, the lieutenant we had captured began to consider what a
fault he had committed, as having delivered so bold a troop of riders
into the hand of the enemy and given over thirteen brave fellows to be
butchered, and so, being desperate, he refused the quarter I had given
him, and would fain have compelled me to have him shot; for he thought
that not only would this mistake turn to his great shame, and he be
answerable, but also would hinder his advancement, even if it came not
to this, that he must pay for his error with his head. So I talked with
him and shewed him that with many a good soldier inconstant fortune had
played her tricks; yet had I never seen any one that therefore had been
driven desperate, and that so to act were a sign of faintheartedness:
for brave soldiers were ever devising how to make up for losses
sustained; nor should he ever bring me to break my plighted word or to
commit so shameful a deed against all righteousness and against the
custom and tradition of honourable soldiers. When he saw I would not do
it he began to revile me in the hope to move me to anger, and said I
had not fought with him honestly and openly, but like a rogue and a
footpad, and had stolen the lives of his soldiers like a thief: and at
this his own fellows that we had captured were mightily afraid, and
mine so wroth that they would have riddled him like a sieve if I had
allowed it; and I had enough to do to prevent it. Yet I was in no wise
moved at his talk, but called both friend and foe to witness of what
happened, and had him bound and guarded as a madman, but promised him
so soon as we came to our camp, and if my officers permitted, to equip
him with mine own horses and weapons, of which he should have the
choice, and prove to him in open field, with sword and pistol, that
'twas allowed in war to use craft against the adversary: and asked him
why he had not stayed with the waggons, which he was ordered to do; or,
if he must needs see what was in the wood, why he had not made a proper
reconnaissance, which had been better for him than now to begin to play
fool's tricks to which no one would take heed. Herein both friend and
foe approved me right, and said that among a hundred partisans they had
never met one that would not for such words of reviling have not only
shot the lieutenant dead, but would have sent all the prisoners to the
grave after him.

So next morning I brought my prisoners and plunder safely to Soest, and
gained more honour and fame from this foray than ever before: for each
one said, "This will prove another young John de Werth[22]"; which
tickled me greatly. Yet would not the commandant permit me to exchange
shots or to fight with the lieutenant: for he said I had twice overcome
him. And the more my triumphs thus increased the more grew the envy of
those that in any case would have grudged me my luck.


Now I could by no means be rid of my Jupiter: for the commandant would
have none of him, as a pigeon not worth the plucking, but said he made
me a free gift of him. So now I had a fool of mine own and needed to
buy none, though a year before I must needs allow others to treat me as
such. So wondrous is fortune and so changeable the times! Even now had
the lice troubled me, and now had I the very god of fleas in my power;
half a year before was I serving a miserable dragoon as page, and now I
had command of two servants that called me master; and so I reflected
at times that nothing is so certain in this world as its uncertainty.
And so must I fear if ever Fortune should let loose her hornets upon me
it would altogether overwhelm my present happiness.

Now just then Count von der Wahl, as colonel in command of the
Westphalian circle, was collecting troops from all the garrisons to
make a cavalry expedition through the bishopric of Münster towards the
Vecht, Meppen, Lingen and such places, but specially to drive off two
companies of Hessian troopers in the bishopric of Paderborn that lay
two miles from the city and had there done our people much damage. So
was I ordered out with our dragoons, and when a few troops had been
collected at Ham we beat up the quarters of the said troopers, which
were but an ill-protected village, till the rest of our people came.
They tried to escape, but we drove them back into their nest, and
offered them to let them go without horse or weapons but with the
clothes on their backs; to this they would not agree, but would defend
themselves with their carbines like musqueteers. So it came to that,
that in the same night I must try what luck I had in storming, for the
dragoons led the way; and my luck was so good that I, together with
Jump-i'-th'-field, was among the first to come into the town, and that
without hurt, and we soon cleared the streets; for all that bore arms
were cut down, and the citizens had no stomach for fighting; so we
entered the houses. Then said Jump-i'-th'-field, we should choose a
house before which a big heap of dung stood, for in such the rich
curmudgeons were wont to dwell, with whom commonly officers were
billeted: on such a one we seized, and there Jump-i'-th'-field would
first visit the stable and I the house, on the condition each should
share with the other whatever he could lay hands on. So then each lit
his torch, and I called to the master of the house but had no answer,
for all had hid themselves, but came upon a room wherein was nought but
an empty bed and a covered kneading-trough. This I knocked open in
hopes to find somewhat valuable, but as I raised the cover a coal-black
thing rose up against me which I took for Lucifer himself. Nay, I can
swear I was never in my life so terrified as I was then, when I so
unawares beheld this black devil. "May all the powers of hell take
thee," I cried in my fear, and raised my hatchet wherewith I had broke
open the trough, yet had not the heart to split the creature's skull:
so down he knelt, raised his hands to me, and says he, "O massa, I beg
by de good God, gib me my life." With that I first knew 'twas no devil,
for he spake of God and begged for his life; so I bade him get out of
his trough: and that he did as naked as God made him. Then I cut a
piece of my torch off for him to light me, the which he did obediently,
and brought me to a little room wherein I found the master of the
house, who, together with his people, was looking on at this merry
sight, and begged with trembling for mercy. And that he easily came by,
for in any case we might not harm the burghers, and besides he handed
me over the baggage of the Hessian captain, among which was a fairly
well-furnished, locked portmanteau, telling me the said captain and all
his people, save one servant and the negro now present, were gone to
their posts to defend themselves. Meanwhile Jump-i'-th'-field had made
prize of the said servant and six fine saddle-horses in the stable:
these we brought into the house, barred the doors, and bade the negro
to put on his clothes; and told the burgher what story he should tell
to his captain. But when the gate was opened and the posts occupied,
and our general of ordnance, Count von der Wahl, was admitted, he
lodged his staff in the very house where we were. So in dark night
we must needs seek other quarters; and these we found with our
comrades who had come in with the storming-parties: with them we made
merry and spent the rest of the night in eating and drinking, when
Jump-i'-th'-field and I had divided our booty. For my share I received
the negro and the two best horses, of which one was a Spanish one, on
which any soldier might meet his enemy, and with this thereafter I made
no small show; but out of the portmanteau I got divers costly rings,
and in a golden case set with rubies the Prince of Orange's portrait
(for all the rest I left to Jump-i'-th'-field), so that the whole, if I
had desired to give it away, would with the horses have stood me in 200
ducats: since for the negro, that was the poorest part of my booty, the
Master-General of Ordnance to whom I presented him gave me two dozen

Thence we marched quickly to the Ems, yet accomplished but little: and
as it happened that we came near Recklinghausen, I took leave, together
with Jump-i'-th'-field, to speak with my pastor from whom I had stolen
the bacon. With him I made merry and told him the negro had made me
feel the same terror which he and his cook had felt, and presented him,
moreover, with a fine striking watch for a friendly remembrance, which
I had had out of the captain's portmanteau: and so did I take care to
make friends in all places of them that would otherwise have had cause
to hate me.


But with my good fortune my pride so increased that in the end it could
bring me nothing but a fall. For as we were encamped some half-hour
from Rehnen, I had leave to go into the town with my dear comrade,
there to have those arms furbished up which we had just received. And
as it was our intent to be right merry with each other, we turned in to
the best inn, and had minstrels sent for, to play our wine and beer
down our throat. So we fell to drinking and roaring; and no sport was
wanting, which could make the money fly: nay, I invited also lads from
other regiments to be my guests, and so carried myself as a young
prince who has command of land and folk and great sums to spend by the
year. And thus we fared better than was pleasing to a company of
troopers who sat there also at table, but with no such mad tricks as
we. So, being angry, they began to jest upon us, "How comes it," said
they to one another, "that these prop-hoppers[23]" (for they took us
for musqueteers, seeing that no animal in the world is more like a
musqueteer than is a dragoon, and if a dragoon fall from his horse he
rises up a musqueteer) "can make such a show with their halfpence?"
"Yonder lad," answered another, "is surely some straw-squire whose
mother hath sent him the milk-pence, and those he now spends upon his
comrades, that some time they may pull him out of the mud or through a
ditch." With which words they aimed at me, for they took me for a young
nobleman. Of such talk the maid that waited brought me private news:
yet since I heard it not myself, I could do no more than fill a great
beer-glass with wine and let it go round to the health of all good
musqueteers, and at every round made such a hubbub that none could hear
himself speak. And this vexed them yet more, so that they said aloud,
"What in the devil's name have these prop-hoppers for an easy life of
it!" Whereupon Jump-i-'th'-field answered, "And what matters that to
the bootblacks?" This passed well enough; for he looked so big and held
so fierce and threatening a carriage that no one cared to give him the
rub. Yet he must again fall foul of them, and this time of a fellow of
some consideration, who answered, "Ay, and if these loiterers could not
so swagger here on their own dung-hill (for he thought we lay there in
garrison, because our clothes seemed not so weather-beaten as those of
the poor musqueteers who must lie day and night in open field), where
could they show themselves? Who knows not that any of them in the
battlefield is as surely the booty of the troopers as is the pigeon of
the hawk?" But I answered him, "It is our business to take cities
and fortresses, whereas ye troopers, if ye come but to the poorest
rat's-nest of a town, can there drive no dog out of his den. Why may we
not then have your good leave to make merry in that which is more ours
than yours?" The trooper answered, "Him who is master in the field the
fortresses must follow after: and that we troopers are masters in the
field is proved by this: that I for myself not only fear not three such
babes as thee, musquet and all, but could stick a couple such in my
hat-band, and then ask the third where there were more to be found. And
if I now sat by thee," said he with scorn, "I would bestow on my young
squire a couple of buffets to prove the truth of this."

"Yea," said I, "and though I have as good a pair of pistols as thou,
notwithstanding I am no trooper, but only a bastard between such and
the musqueteers, yet, look you, even a child hath heart enough to shew
himself alone in open field against such a bully on horseback as thou
art, and against all thine armoury."

"Aha; thou swaggerer," said the fellow, "I hold thee for a rascal if
thou make not good thy words forthwith as becomes an honourable

So I threw him my glove and, "See then," said I, "if I get this not
from thee in fair field with my musquet only and on foot, so hast thou
right and good leave to hold and to reproach me for such a one as thy
presumption has even now named me."

Then we paid the reckoning and the trooper made ready his carbine and
pistols, and I my musquet: and as he rode away with his comrades to the
place agreed upon he told my comrade Jump-i'-th'-field he might order
my grave. So he answered him he had better give it in charge to one of
his own fellows that he might order such for him. Yet thereafter he
rebuked me for my presumption, and said plainly he feared I should now
play my last tune. But I did but laugh, for I had long since devised a
plan how to encounter the best mounted of troopers, if ever such an one
should attack me in the open field, though armed only with my musquet
and on foot. So when we came to the place where this beggar's dance
should be, I had my musquet already loaded with two balls, and put in
fresh priming and smeared the cover of the pan with tallow as careful
musqueteers be wont to do, to guard the touch-hole and powder in the
pan from damp in rainy weather.

Before we engaged, our comrades on both sides agreed that we should
fight in open field, and to that end that we should start, one from the
East, the other from the West, in a fenced plot; and thereafter each
should do his best against the other as a soldier would do in face of
the enemy; and that no one should help either party before or during or
after the fight, either to succour his comrade, or to avenge his death
or hurt. So when they had thus engaged themselves with word and hand, I
and my opposite gave each other our hand upon this, that each would
forgive the other his death. In all which most unreasonable folly that
ever a man of sense could entertain, each hoped to gain for his arm of
the service the advantage, for all the world as if the entire honour
and reputation of one or the other, depended upon the outcome of our
devilish undertaking.

Now as I entered the stricken field at my appointed end with my match
alight at both ends, and saw my adversary before my eyes, I made as if
I shook out the old priming as I walked. Yet I did not so, but spread
priming powder only on the cover of the pan, blew up my match, and
passed my two fingers over the pan, as is the custom, and before I
could see the white of the eyes of my opposite, who kept me well in
sight, I took aim, and set fire to the false priming powder on the
cover of the pan. Then the enemy, believing that my musquet had missed
fire and that the touch-hole was stopped, rode straight down upon me
pistol in hand, and all too anxious to pay me there and then for my
presumption, but before he was aware I had the pan open and shut again,
and gave him such a welcome that ball and fall came together.

Then I returned to my fellows, who received me with embraces; but his
comrades, freeing his foot from the stirrup, dealt with him and
with us as honest fellows, for they returned me my glove with all
praise. But even when I deemed my reputation to be at its height, came
five-and-twenty musqueteers from Rehnen, who laid me and my comrades by
the heels. Then presently I was clapped in chains and sent to
headquarters, for all duels were forbidden on pain of death.


Now as our General of Ordnance was wont to keep strict discipline, I
looked to lose my head: yet had I hopes to escape, because I had at so
early an age ever carried myself well against the enemy, and gained
great name and fame for courage. Yet was this hope uncertain because,
by reason of such things happening daily, 'twas necessary to make an
example. Our men had but just beat up a dangerous nest of rats, and
demanded a surrender, yet had received a denial; for the enemy knew we
had no heavy artillery. For that reason Count von der Wahl appeared
with all our force before the said place, demanded a surrender once
more by a trumpeter, and threatened to storm the town. Yet all he got
thereby was the writing that here followeth:

"High and well-born Count, &c.,--From your Excellency's letter to me I
understand what you suggest to me in the name of his Imperial Roman
Majesty. Now your Excellency, with his great understanding, must be
well aware how improper, nay unjustifiable, it were for a soldier to
surrender a place like this to the adversary without especial
necessity. For which reason your Excellency will not, I hope, blame me
if I wait till his means of attack are sufficient. But if your
Excellency have occasion to employ my small powers in any services but
those touching my allegiance, I shall ever be,

            "Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

                                                           "N. N."

Thereupon was much discussion in our camp about this place; for to
leave it alone was not to be thought on: to storm it without a breach
would have cost much blood, and 'twould have been uncertain even then
whether we should succeed or not: and if we had to fetch our heavy
pieces and all their equipment from Münster and Ham, 'twould cost much
time, trouble, and expense. So while great and small were hard at work
a-reasoning, it came into my head that I should use this opportunity to
get free: so I set all my wits to work, and reflected how one might
cheat the enemy, seeing 'twas only the cannon that were wanted. And
pretty soon I had devised a trick and let my lieutenant-colonel know I
had plans by which the place could be secured without trouble and
expense, if only I could be pardoned and set free. Yet some old and
tried soldiers laughed and said, "Drowning men catch at straws; and
this good fellow thinks to talk himself out of gaol."

But the lieutenant-colonel himself, with others that knew me, listened
to my words as to an article of belief; wherefore he went himself to
the Master-General of the Ordnance and laid before him my plan, with
the recital, moreover, of many things that he could tell of me: and
inasmuch as the Count had already heard of the Huntsman, he had me
brought before him and for so long loosed from my bonds. He was set at
table when I came, and my lieutenant-colonel told him how the spring
before, having stood my first hour as sentry under St. James's Gate at
Soest, a heavy rain with thunder and wind had suddenly come on, and
when, each running from the fields and the gardens into the town, there
was great press of foot and horse, I had had the wit to call out the
guard, because in such a tumult a town was easiest to take. "At last,"
said the lieutenant-colonel further, "came an old woman dripping wet,
and said even as she passed by the huntsman, 'Yea, I have felt this
storm in my back for a fortnight.' So the huntsman, hearing this and
having a rod in his hand, smote her with it over the shoulder, and says
he, 'Thou old witch, couldst thou not let it loose before; must thou
wait till I stood sentry?' And when his officer rebuked him he
answered, 'She is rightly served: the old carrion crow had heard a
month ago how all were crying out for rain: why did she not let honest
folk have it before? It had been better for the barley and hops.'"

At this the general, though he was in general a stern man, laughed
heartily; but I thought, "If the colonel tell him of such fools'
tricks, surely he will not have failed to speak of my other devices."
So I was brought in, and when the general asked what was my plan I
answered, "Gracious sir, although my fault and your Excellency's order
and prohibition do both deny me my life, yet my most humble loyalty,
which is due from me towards his Imperial Majesty, my most gracious
Lord, even to the death, bids me so far as lies in my weak power yet do
the enemy a damage, and further the interests and arms of his Majesty."
So the general cut me short, and says he, "Didst thou not lately give
me the negro?" "Yea, gracious sir," said I. Then said he, "Well, thy
zeal and loyalty might perhaps serve to spare thy life: but what plan
hast thou to bring the enemy out of this place without great loss in
time and men?" So I answered, "Since the town cannot resist heavy
artillery, my humble opinion is that the enemy would soon come to terms
if he did but really believe we had such pieces." "That," said the
general, "a fool could have told me; but who will persuade them so to
believe?" Then I answered, "Thine own eyes; I have examined their
Mainguard with a perspective-glass, and it can be easily deceived; if
we did but set a few baulks of timber, shaped like water-pipes, on
waggons, and haul them into the field with many horses, they will
certainly believe they are heavy pieces, specially if your Excellency
will order works to be thrown up about the field as if to plant cannon
there." "My dear little friend," answered the Count, "they be not
children in the town: they will not believe this pantomime, but will
require to hear thy guns; and if the trick fail," says he to the
officers that stood around, "we shall be mocked of all the world." But
I answered, "Gracious sir, an I can but have a pair of double musquets
and a pretty large cask, I will make them to hear great guns: only
beyond the sound there can be no further effect: but if against all
expectation naught but mockery ensue, then shall I, the inventor, that
must in any case die, take with me that mockery and purge it away with
my life."

Yet the general liked it not, but my colonel persuaded him to it; for
he said I was in such cases so lucky that he doubted not this trick
would succeed: so the Count ordered him to settle the matter as he
thought it could best be done, and said to him in jest that the honour
he should gain thereby should be reckoned to him alone.

So three such baulks were brought to hand, and before each were
harnessed four-and-twenty horses, though two had been sufficient: and
these towards evening we brought up in full sight of the foe: and
meanwhile I had gotten me three double musquets and a great cask from a
mansion near at hand, and set all in order as I would have it: and by
night this was added to our fool's artillery. The double musquets I
charged twice over and had them discharged through the said cask, of
which the bottom had been knocked out, as if it was three trial shots
being fired. Which sounded so thunderously that any man had sworn they
were great serpents or demi-culverins. Our general must needs laugh at
such trickery, and again offered the enemy terms, with the addition
that if they did not agree that same evening it would not go so easily
with them the next day. Thereupon hostages were exchanged and terms
arranged, and the same night one gate of the town put into our hands,
and this was well indeed for me: for the Count not only granted me my
life that by his order I had forfeited, but set me free the same night
and commanded the lieutenant-colonel in my presence to appoint me to
the first ensigncy that should fall vacant: which was not to his taste
(for he had cousins and kinsmen many in waiting) that I should be
promoted before them.


On this expedition nothing more of note happened to me: but when I came
again to Soest I found the Hessians from Lippstadt had captured my
servant that I had left to guard my baggage, together with one horse
that was at pasture. From my servant the enemy learned of my ways and
works, and therefore held me higher than before, as having been
persuaded by common report I was but a sorcerer. He told them,
moreover, he had been one of the devils that had so dismayed the
Huntsman of Wesel in the sheep-fold: which when the said huntsman heard
of, he was so shamed that he took to his heels again and fled from
Lippstadt to the Hollanders. But it was my greatest good fortune that
this servant of mine was taken, as will be seen in the sequel.

Now I began to behave myself somewhat more reputably than before, as
having such fine hopes of presently being made ensign: so by degrees I
joined company with officers and young noblemen that were eager for
that office which I imagined I should soon get: for this reason these
were my worst enemies, and yet gave themselves out to be my best
friends: even the lieutenant-colonel was no longer so good to me; for
he had orders to promote me before his own kindred. My captain was my
enemy because I made a better show in horses, clothing, and arms than
he, and no longer spent so much on the old miser as before. He had
rather have seen my head hewn off than an ensigncy promised me: for he
had thought to inherit my fine horses. In like manner my lieutenant
hated me for a single word that I had lately without thought let slip:
which came about thus: we two were on the last expedition ordered to a
lonely post as vedettes: and as the turn to watch fell to me (which
must be done lying down, besides that it was a pitch-dark night), the
lieutenant comes to me creeping on his belly like a snake, and says he,
"Sentry, dost thou mark aught?" So I answered, "Yea, Herr Lieutenant."
And "What? what?" says he. I answered, "I mark that your honour is
afeared." And from thenceforward I had no more favour with him.
Wherever the danger was greatest thither was I sent first of all; yea,
he sought in all places and at all times to dust my jacket before I
became ensign, and so could not defend myself. Nor were the sergeants
less my enemies, because I was preferred to them all. And as to the
privates, they too began to fail in their love and friendship to me,
because it seemed I despised them, inasmuch as I no longer consorted
specially with them but, as aforesaid, with greater Jacks, which loved
me none the more.

But the worst was that no man told me how each was minded towards me,
and so I could not perceive it, for many a one talked with me in
friendliest wise that had sooner seen me dead. So I lived like a blind
man in all security and became ever haughtier: and though I knew it
vexed this one and that if I made a greater show than noblemen and
officers of rank, yet I held not back. I feared not to wear a collar of
sixty rix-dollars, red-scarlet hose, and white satin sleeves, trimmed
all over with gold, which was at that time the dress of the highest
officers: and therefore an eyesore to all. Yet was I a terrible
young fool so to play the lord: for had I dealt otherwise and bestowed
the money I so uselessly did hang upon my body in proper ways, I
should have soon gained my ensigncy and also not have made so many
enemies. Yet I stopped not here, but decked out my best horse, which
Jump-i'-th'-field had gotten from the Hessian captain, with saddle,
bridle, and arms in such fashion that when I was mounted one might well
have taken me for another St. George. And nothing grieved me more than
to know I was no nobleman, and so could not clothe my servant and my
horse-boys in my livery. Yet, I thought, all things have their
beginning; if thou hast a coat-of-arms then canst thou have thine own
livery; and when thou art an ensign, thou must have a signet-ring,
though thou art no nobleman. I was not long pregnant with these
thoughts, but had a coat-of-arms devised for me by a herald, which was
three red masks in a white field, and for a crest, a bust of a young
jester in a calfskin with a pair of hare's ears, adorned with little
balls in front: for I thought this suited best with my name, being
called Simplicissimus. And so would I have the fool to remind me in my
future high estate what manner of fellow I had been in Hanau, lest I
should become too proud, for already I thought no small things of
myself. And so was I properly the first of my name and race and
escutcheon, and if any had jeered at me thereupon, I had without doubt
presented him a sword or a pair of pistols. And though I had yet no
thoughts of womenkind, yet all the same I went with the young nobles
when they visited young ladies, of whom there were many in the town, to
let myself be seen and to make a show with my fine hair, clothes, and
plumes. I must confess that for the sake of my figure I was preferred
before all, yet must I all the same hear how the spoilt baggages
compared me with a fair and well-cut statue in which, beside its
beauty, was neither strength nor sap; for that was all they desired in
me: and except the lute-playing there was nothing I could do or perform
to please them: for of love as yet I knew nothing. But when they that
knew how to pay their court would gibe at me for my wooden behaviour
and awkwardness, to make themselves more beloved and to show off their
ready speech, then would I answer, 'twas enough for me if I could still
find my pleasure in a bright sword or a good musquet, and the ladies
held me right: and this angered the gentlemen so that they secretly
swore to have my life, though there was none that had heart enough to
challenge me or give me cause enough to challenge one of them, for
which a couple of buffets or any insulting word had been sufficient;
and I gave every chance for this by my loose talk, from which the
ladies argued I must be a lad of mettle, and said openly my figure and
my noble heart could plead better with any lady than all the
compliments that Cupid ever devised: and that made the rest angrier
than ever.


Had two fine horses that were at that time all the joy I had in the
world. Every day I rode them in the riding-school or else for
amusement, if I had naught else to do; not indeed that the horses had
anything to learn, but I did it that people might see that the fine
creatures belonged to me. And when I went pranking down a street, or
rather the horse prancing under me, and the stupid multitude looking on
and saying, "Look, 'tis the huntsman! See what a fine horse! Ah, what a
handsome plume!" or "Zounds! what a fine fellow is this!" I pricked up
mine ears and was as pleased as if the Queen of Sheba had likened me to
Solomon in all his glory. Yet, fool that I was, I heard not what
perhaps at that time wise folk thought of me or mine enviers said of
me: these last doubtless wished I might break my neck, since they could
not do it for me: and others assuredly thought that if all men had
their own I could not practise such foolish swaggering. In a word, the
wisest must have held me without doubt for a young Colin Clout, whose
pride would certainly not last long, because it stood upon a bad
foundation and must be supported only by uncertain plunder. And if I
must confess the truth, I must grant that these last judged not amiss,
though then I understood it not, for 'twas this and only this with me:
that I would have made his shirt warm for any man or adversary that had
to deal with me, so that I might well have passed for a simple, good
soldier though I was but a child. But 'twas this cause made me so great
a man, that nowadays the veriest horse-boy can shoot the greatest hero
in the world; and had not gunpowder been invented I must have put my
pride in my pocket.

Now 'twas my custom in these rides to examine all ways and paths, all
ditches, marshes, thickets, hills and streams, make myself acquainted
with them and fix them in my memory, so that if one ever had occasion
to skirmish with the enemy I might employ the advantage of the place
both for defence and offence. To this end I rode once not far from the
town by an old ruin where formerly a house had stood. At the first
sight I thought this were a fit place to lay an ambush or to retreat
to, specially for us dragoons if we should be outnumbered and chased by
cavalry. So I rode into the courtyard, whose walls were pretty well
ruined, to see if at a pinch one could take refuge there on horseback
and how one could defend it on foot. But when to this end I would view
all exactly and sought to ride by the cellar, the walls of which were
still standing, I could neither with kindness nor force bring my horse,
which commonly feared nought, to go where I would. I spurred him till I
was vexed, but it availed not: so I dismounted and led him by the
bridle down the ruined steps which he had shied at, so that I should
know how to act another time: but he backed as much as he could; yet at
length with gentle words and strokings I had him down, and while I
patted and caressed him I found that he was sweating with fear, and
ever staring into one corner of the cellar, into which he would by no
means go, and in which I could see naught at which the most skittish
beast could shy. But as I stood there full of wonder and looked upon my
horse all a-tremble with fear, there came on me also such a terror that
'twas even as if I was dragged upwards by the hair and a bucket of cold
water poured down my back; yet could I see nothing; but the horse acted
more and more strangely, till I could fancy nothing else but that I was
perhaps bewitched, horse and all, and should come by my end in that
same cellar. So I would fain go back, but the horse would not follow,
and thereat I grew more dismayed and so confused that in truth I knew
not what I did. At last I took a pistol in my hand, and tied the horse
to a strong elder-tree that grew in the cellar, intending to go forth
and find people near by that could help to fetch the horse out; but as
I was about this it came into my head that perchance some treasure lay
hid in this old ruin, which was therefore haunted. To this conceit I
gave heed, and looked round more exactly. And just in the place to
which my horse refused to go I was ware of a part of the wall, unlike
the rest both in colour and masonry, and about the bigness of a common
chamber-shutter. But when I would approach 'twas with me as before,
namely, that my hair stood on end; and this strengthened my belief that
a treasure must there be hid.

Ten times, nay a hundred times, sooner would I have exchanged shots
with an enemy than have found myself in such a terror. I was plagued
and knew not by what: for I heard and saw naught. So I took the other
pistol from the holster as meaning with it to go off and leave the
horse, yet could I not again mount the steps, for as it seemed to me a
strong draught of wind kept me back; and now I felt my flesh creep
indeed. At last it came into my mind to fire the pistols that the
peasants that worked in the fields close by might run to the spot and
help me with word and deed. And this I did because I neither knew nor
could think of any other means to escape from this evil place of
wonders: and I was so enraged, or rather so desperate (for I knew not
myself how 'twas with me), that as I fired I aimed my pistols at the
very place wherein I believed the cause of my plight lay, and with both
balls I hit the before-mentioned piece of the wall so hard that they
made a hole wherein a man could set both his fists. Now no sooner had I
fired than my horse neighed and pricked up his ears, which heartily
rejoiced me: I knew not whether 'twas because the goblin or spectre
had vanished or because the poor beast was roused by the noise of
fire-arms, but 'tis certain I plucked up heart again and went without
hindrance or fear to the hole, which I had just opened by the shot; and
there I began to break down the wall completely, and found of silver,
gold, and jewels so rich a treasure as would have kept me in comfort to
this day, if I had but known how to keep it and dispose of it well.
There were six dozen old French silver table-tankards, a great gold
cup, some double tankards, four silver and one golden salt-cellar, one
old French golden chain, and divers diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and
sapphires set in rings and in other jewellery; also a whole casquet
full of pearls, but all spoiled or discoloured, and then in a mouldy
leather bag eighty of the oldest Joachim dollars of fine silver,
likewise 893 gold pieces with the French arms and an eagle, a coin
which none could recognise, because, as folks said, no one could read
the inscription. This money, with the rings and jewels, I strapped into
my breeches-pockets, my boots and my holsters, and because I had no bag
with me, since I had but ridden forth for pleasure, I cut the housing
from my saddle, and into it I packed the silver vessels (for 'twas
lined, and would serve me well as a sack), hung the golden chain round
my neck, mounted my horse joyfully, and rode towards my quarters. But
as I came out of the courtyard I was aware of two peasants, that would
have run as soon as they saw me: yet having six feet and level country
I easily overtook them, and asked why they would have fled and were so
terribly afeared. So they said they had thought I was the ghost that
dwelt in that deserted court, and if any came too near to him was wont
to mishandle them miserably. Then as I asked further of his ways, they
told me that for fear of this monster 'twas often many years that no
one came near that place, save some stranger that had lost his way and
came thither by chance. The story went, they said, that an iron trough
full of money lay within guarded by a black dog, and also a maiden that
had a curse upon her; and to follow the old story they had themselves
heard from their grandsires, there should come into the land a stranger
nobleman that knew neither his father nor mother, and should rescue the
maiden, and open the trough with a key of fire, and carry off the
hidden gold. And of such foolish fables they told me many more; but
because they are but ill to hear, I here cut them short for briefness.
Thereafter I did ask them what they too had been about, since at other
times they dared not go into the ruin. They answered they had heard a
shot and a loud cry; and had run up to see what was to do. But when I
told them 'twas I that shot in the hope that people would come into the
ruin, because I too was pretty much afeared, but knew nought of any
cry, they answered, "There might be shots enough heard in that castle
before any of our neighbourhood would come thither; for in truth 'tis
so ghostly beset that we had not believed my lord if he had said he had
been therein, an we had not ourselves seen him ride out thence." So
then they would know many things of me, especially what manner of place
it was within and whether I had not seen the damsel and the black dog
sitting on the iron trough, so that if I had desired to brag I could
have put strange fancies into their heads: but I said not the least
word, not even that I had gotten the costly treasure, but rode away to
my quarters and looked upon my find, which mightily delighted me.


Now they that know the worth of money, and therefore take it for their
god, have no little reason on their side; for if there be a man in the
world that hath experienced its powers and wellnigh divine virtues,
that man am I. For I know how a man fares that hath a fair provision
thereof; yet have I never yet known how he should feel that had never a
farthing in his pouch. Yea, I could even take upon me to prove that
this same money possesses all virtues and powers more than any precious
stones; for it can drive away all melancholia like the diamond: it
causeth love and inclination to study, like the emerald (for so comes
it that commonly students have more money than poor folk's children):
it taketh away fear and maketh man joyful and happy like unto the ruby:
'tis often an hindrance to sleep, like the garnet: on the other hand,
it hath great power to produce repose of mind and so sleep, like the
jacinth: it strengtheneth the heart and maketh a man jolly and
companionable, lively and kind, like the sapphire and amethyst: it
driveth away bad dreams, giveth joy, sharpeneth the understanding, and
if one have a plaint against another it gaineth him the victory, like
the sardius (and in especial if the judge's palm be first well oiled
therewith): it quencheth unchaste desire, for by means of gold one can
possess fair women: and in a word, 'tis not to be exprest what gold can
do, as I have before set forth in my book intituled "Black and White,"
if any man know how rightly to use and employ this information. As to
mine own money that I had then brought together, both with robbery and
the finding of this treasure, it had a special power of its own: for
first of all it made me prouder than I was before, so much so that it
vexed me to the heart that I must still be called "Simplicissimus"
only. It spoiled my sleep like the amethyst: for many a night I lay
awake and did speculate how I could put it out to advantage and get
more to put to it. Yea, and it made me a most perfect reckoner, for I
must calculate what mine uncoined silver and gold might be worth, and
adding this to that which I had borrowed here and there, and which yet
was in my purse, I found without the precious stones a fine overplus.
Yet did my money prove to me its inborn roguery and evil inclination to
temptation, inasmuch as it did fully expound to me the proverb "He that
hath much will ever have more," and made me so miserly that any man
might well have hated me. From my money I got many foolish plans and
strange fancies in my brain, and yet could follow out no conceit of all
that I devised. At one time I thought I would leave the wars and betake
myself somewhither and spend my days in fatness a-looking out of the
window; but quickly I did repent me of that, and in especial because I
considered what a free life I now led and what hopes I had to become a
great Jack. And then my thought was this, "Up and away, Simplicissimus,
and get thyself made a nobleman and raise thine own company of dragoons
for the emperor at thine own cost: and presently thou art a perfected
young lord that with the times can rise yet higher." Yet as soon as I
reflected that this my greatness could be made small by any unlucky
engagement, or be ended by a peace that should bring the war soon to a
finish, I could not find this plan to my taste. So then I began to wish
I had my full age as a man: for hadst thou that, said I to myself, thou
couldst take a rich young wife, and so buy thee a nobleman's estate
somewhere and lead a peaceful life. There would I betake myself to the
rearing of cattle and enjoy my sufficiency to the full: yet as I knew I
was too young for this, I must let that plan go by the board also.

Such and the like conceits had I many, till at last I resolved to give
over my best effects to some man of substance in some safe town to
keep, and to wait how fortune would further deal with me. Now at that
time I had my Jupiter still with me: for indeed I could not be rid of
him: and at times the man could talk most reasonably and for weeks
together would be sane and sober: but above all things he held me dear
for my goodness to him; and seeing me in deep thought he says to me,
"Dear son, give away your blood-money; gold, silver, and all." "And
why?" said I, "dear Jupiter?" "Oh," says he, "to get you friends and be
rid of your useless cares." To which I answered, "I would fain have
more of such." Then says he, "Get more: but in such fashion will ye
never in your life have more friends nor more peace: leave it to old
misers to be greedy, but do ye so behave as becomes a fine young lad:
for ye shall sooner lack good friends than good money."

So I pondered on the matter, and found that Jupiter reasoned well of
the case: yet greed had such hold on me that I could not resolve to
give away aught. Yet I did at last present to the commandant a pair of
silver-gilt double tankards and to my captain a couple of silver
salt-cellars, by which I achieved nothing more than to make their
mouths water for the rest: for these were rare pieces of antiquity. My
true comrade Jump-i'-th'-field I rewarded with twelve rix-dollars; who
in return advised me I should either make away with my riches or else
expect to fall into misfortune by their means: for, said he, it liked
the officers not that a common soldier should have more money than
they: and he himself had known this: that one comrade should secretly
murder another for the sake of money: till now, said he, I had been
able to keep secret what I had gotten in booty, for all believed I had
spent it on clothes, horses, and arms: but now I could conceal nought
nor make folks believe I had no secret store of money: for each one
made out the treasure I had found to be greater than it was: and yet I
spent not so much as before. Nor could he help but hear what rumours
went about among the men: and were he in my place he would let wars be
wars: would settle himself in safety somewhere, and let our Lord God
rule the world as He will. But I answered, "Harkye, brother, how
can I throw to the winds my hopes of an ensigncy?" "Yea, yea," says
Jump-i'-th'-field, "but devil take me if thou ever get thine ensigncy.
The others that wait for it would help to break thy neck a thousand
times over if they saw that such a post was vacant and thou to have it.
Teach me not how to know salmon from trout, for my father was a
fisherman! And be not angry with me, brother, for I have seen how it
fares in war longer than thou. Seest thou not how many a sergeant
grows grey with his spontoon that deserved to have a company before
many others. Thinkest thou they are not fellows that have some
right to hope? And indeed they have more right to such promotion than
thou, as thou thyself must confess." Nor could I answer aught, for
Jump-i'-th'-field did but speak the truth from an honest German heart,
and flattered me not: yet must I bite my lip in secret: for I thought
at that time mighty well of myself. Yet I weighed this speech and that
of my Jupiter full carefully, and considered that I had no single
natural-born friend that would help me in straits or would revenge my
death open or secret. And I myself could see plain enough how it stood
with me: yet neither my desire of honour nor of money would leave me:
and still less my hope to become great, to leave the wars, and to be in
peace; nay, rather I held to my first plan; and when a chance offered
for Cologne, whither I, with some hundred dragoons, was ordered to
convoy certain carriers and waggons of merchandise from Münster, I
packed up my treasure, took it with me, and gave it in charge to one of
the first merchants of that city to be drawn out on production of an
exact list of the things. Now it was seventy-four marks of uncoined
silver, fifteen marks of gold, eighty Joachim dollars, and in a sealed
casquet divers rings and jewels, which, with gold and precious stones,
weighed eight and a half pounds in all, together with 893 ancient
golden coins that were worth each a gold gulden and a half. With me I
took my Jupiter, as he desired it, and had kinsfolk of repute in
Cologne: to whom he boasted of the good turns I had done him and caused
me to be received of them with great honour. Yet did he never cease to
counsel me that I should bestow my money better and buy myself friends
that would be of more service to me than money in my purse.


So on the journey home I pondered much how I should carry myself in
future, so that I might get the favour of all: for Jump-i'-th'-field
had put a troublesome flea in my ear, and had made me to believe I was
envied of all: and in truth 'twas no otherwise. And now came into my
mind what the famous prophetess of Soest had once said,[24] and so I
burdened myself with yet greater cares. Yet with these thoughts did I
sharpen my wit, and perceived that a man that should live without cares
would be dull as any beast. Then I considered for what reason one and
the other might hate me, and how I might deal with each to have his
goodwill again, yet most of all must I wonder how men could be so false
and yet give me nought but good words whereas they loved me not. For
that cause I determined to deal as others did, and to say what would
please each, yea, to approach every man with respect though I felt it
not: for most of all I felt 'twas mine own pride had burdened me with
the most enemies. Therefore I held it needful to shew myself humble
again, though I was not, and to consort again with common folk, but to
approach my betters hat in hand and to refrain from all finery in dress
till my rank should be bettered. From the merchant in Cologne I had
drawn 100 dollars, to repay the same with interest when he should
return my treasure: these hundred dollars I was minded to spend on the
way for the behoof of the escort, as now perceiving that greed makes no
friends, and therefore was resolved on this very journey to alter my
ways and make a new beginning. Yet did I reckon without mine host; for
as we would pass through the duchy of Berg there waited for us in a
post of vantage eighty musqueteers and fifty troopers, even when I was
ordered forward with four others and a corporal to ride in front and to
spy out the road. So the enemy kept quiet when we came into the ambush
and let us pass, lest if they had attacked us the convoy should be
warned before they came into the pass where they were: but after us
they sent a cornet and eight troopers that kept us in sight till their
people had attacked our escort itself, and we turned round to protect
the waggons: at which they rode down upon us and asked, would we have
quarter. Now for my part I was well mounted: for I had my best horse
under me: yet would I not run, but rode up a little hillock to see if
honour was to be had by fighting. Yet I was presently aware, by the
noise of the volley that our people received, what o'clock it was, and
so disposed myself to flight. But the cornet had thought of all, and
already cut off our retreat, and as I was preparing to cut my way
through he once again offered me quarter, for he thought me an officer.
So I considered that to make sure of one's life is better than an
uncertain hazard, and therefore asked, would he keep his promise of
quarter as an honest soldier: he answered, "Yes, honestly." So I
presented him my sword and rendered myself up a prisoner. At once he
asked me of what condition I was: for he took me for a nobleman and
therefore an officer. But when I answered him, I was called the
Huntsman of Soest, "Then art thou lucky," says he, "that thou didst not
fall into our hands a month ago: for then could I have given thee no
quarter, since then thou wast commonly held among our people for a
declared sorcerer."

This cornet was a fine young cavalier and not more than two years older
than I, and was mightily proud to have the honour of taking the famous
huntsman: therefore he observed the promised quarter very honourably
and in Dutch fashion, which is to take from their Spanish prisoners of
war nothing that they carry under their belt: nay, he did not even have
me searched; but I had wit enough to take the money out of my pockets
and present it to him when they came to a division of spoils; and also
I told the cornet secretly to look to it that he got as his share my
horse, saddle, and harness, for he would find thirty ducats in the
saddle, and the horse had hardly his equal anywhere. And for this cause
the cornet was as much my friend as if I had been his own brother: for
at once he mounted my horse and set me on his own. But of the escort no
more than six were dead, and thirteen prisoners, of whom eight were
wounded: the rest fled and had not heart enough to retake the booty
from the enemy in fair field, the which they could have done, as being
all mounted men against infantry.

Now when the plunder and the prisoners had been shared, the Swedes and
Hessians (for they were from different garrisons) separated the same
evening. But the cornet kept me and the corporal, together with three
other dragoons, as his share because he had captured us: and so were we
brought to a fortress which lay but a few miles from our own
garrison.[25] And inasmuch as I had raised plenty of smoke in that town
before, my name was there well known and I myself more feared than
loved. So when we had the place in sight the cornet sent a trooper in
advance to announce his coming to the commandant, and to tell him how
he had fared and who the prisoners were, whereat there was a concourse
in the town that was not to be described, for each would fain see the
huntsman. One said this of me, and another that; and the sight was for
all the world as if some great potentate had made his entry. But we
prisoners were brought straight to the commandant, who was much amazed
at my youth; and asked, had I never served on the Swedish side, and of
what country I was: and when I told him the truth he would know if I
had no desire to serve again on their side. I answered him that in
other respects 'twas to me indifferent: but that I had sworn an oath to
the emperor and therefore methought 'twas my duty to keep such.
Thereupon he ordered us to be taken to the prize-master, but allowed
the cornet, at his request, to treat us as his guests, because I had
before so treated mine own prisoners and among them his own brother. So
when evening was come there was a gathering both of soldiers of fortune
and cavaliers of birth at the cornet's quarters, who sent for me and
the corporal: and there was I, to speak the truth, extraordinary
courteously entreated by them. I made merry as if I had lost nothing,
and carried myself as confidently and open-hearted as I had been no
prisoner in the hands of my enemy but among my best friends. Yet I
shewed myself as modest as might be; for I could well imagine that my
behaviour would be noted to the commandant, which was so, as I
afterwards learned.

Next day we prisoners, one after another, were brought before the
regimental judge-advocate-general, who examined us, the corporal first,
and me second. But as soon as I entered the room he was filled with
wonder at my youth, and to cast it in my teeth, "My child," says he,
"what have the Swedes done to thee that thou shouldst fight against

Now this angered me: for I had seen as young soldiers among them as I
was: so I answered, "The Swedes had robbed me of my coral and bells and
my baby's rattle, and I would have them back." And as I thus paid him
back in his own coin, the officers that sat by him were shamed,
insomuch that one of them began to say to him in Latin he should treat
me seriously, for he could hear that it was no child that he had before
him. In that I was ware that his name was Eusebius; for the officer so
addressed him. So presently when he had asked my name, and I had told
him, "There is no devil in hell," says he, "that is called
Simplicissimus." "Nay," answered I, "and 'tis like there is none named
Eusebius." And so I paid him back like our old muster-clerk Cyriack;
yet this pleased not the officers, who bade me remember I was their
prisoner, and was not brought there to pass jests. At this reproof I
blushed not, but answered: inasmuch as they held me prisoner like a
soldier, and would not let me run away like a child, I had taken care
that they should not make sport with me as with a child: as I had been
questioned, so had I answered and hoped I had done no wrong therein. So
they asked me of my country and my family, but especially if I had
never served on the Swedish side: item, how it was with the garrison of
Soest: how strong it was, and all the rest. To all which I answered
quick and short and well, and in respect of Soest and its garrison as
much as I could confidently state: yet I might well keep silence
concerning my life as a jester, for of this I was ashamed.


Meanwhile 'twas known at Soest how it had fared with the convoy, how I
and the corporal had been captured and whither we had been taken; and
therefore next day came a drummer to fetch us back: whereupon the
corporal and the three others were delivered up, together with a letter
to the following purport (for the commandant sent it to me to read):

"Monsieur, etc.,--By the bearer, your tambour, your message hath been
delivered: and in answer thereto I restore herewith, in return for
ransom received, the corporal and the three other prisoners: but as
concerns Simplicissimus, called the Huntsman, the same cannot be
allowed to return, as having once served on this side. But if I can
serve your honour in any matters short of those touching my allegiance,
you have in me a willing servant, and as such I remain,

           "Your honour's obedient servant,

           "[DANIEL] DE S[AINT] A[NDRÉ]."[26]

Now this letter did not half please me, yet I must return thanks to him
for suffering me to see it. But when I asked to speak with the
commandant I received answer he would himself send for me as soon as he
had despatched the drummer, which should be done next morning: till
then I must be patient.

So when I had waited the appointed time, the commandant sent for me,
and that just at dinner-time, and then for the first time the honour
fell to me of sitting at table with him. And so long as the meal lasted
he drank to my health and said no word, great or small, of the business
he had with me; nor was it my part to begin. But the meal now ended and
I being somewhat fuddled, says he, "My friend the Huntsman, ye will
have understood from my letter under what pretext I have kept ye here:
and indeed I intend no wrong or anything contrary to reason and the
usage of war, for yourself have confessed to me and the judge-advocate
that you once served on our side in the main army, and therefore must
resolve yourself to take service under my command. And in time, if ye
behave yourself well, I will so advance you as ye could never have
hoped for among the Imperials, otherwise ye must not take it ill if I
send you to that lieutenant-colonel from whom the dragoons before
captured you." To which I answered, "Worshipful colonel" (for at that
time 'twas not the usage that soldiers of fortune were entitled "your
honour" even though they were colonels), "I hope, since I am bound by
oath neither to the crown of Sweden nor its confederates, and still
less to that lieutenant-colonel, that I am therefore not bound to take
service with the Swedes and so to break the oath which I swore to the
emperor, and therefore beg the worshipful colonel with all humility to
be good enough to relieve me from such a proposal." "How?" says the
colonel, "do ye despise the Swedish service? I would have you to know
ye are my prisoner, and sooner than let you go to Soest to do the enemy
service I will bring you to another trial, or let you rot in prison."
And so, said he, I might lay my account.

Truly at these words I was afeared, yet would not yet give in, but
answered, God would protect me both from such despiteful treatment and
from perjury: for the rest, I persisted in my humble hope that the
colonel would, according to his known reputation, deal with me as with
a soldier. "Yea," said he, "I know well how I could treat ye if I would
be strict; but be ye better advised, lest I find cause to shew you
other countenance." And with that I was led back to the prison.

And now can any man easily guess that I slept not much that night, but
had all manner of thoughts: and next morning came certain officers with
the cornet that had taken me, under colour of passing the time, but in
truth to tell me that the colonel was minded to have me tried as a
sorcerer if I would not otherwise be content. So would they have
terrified me, and found out what my powers were: yet as I had the
comfort of a good conscience, I took all coolly and said but little, as
seeing well that the colonel cared for nothing but this: that he would
fain have me no more at Soest. And well might he suppose that if he
once let me go I should not leave that place, where I hoped for
promotion, and moreover had two fine horses there and other things of
price. Next day he had me brought to him again and asked, had I
resolved otherwise. So I answered, "Colonel, to this I am determined,
that I will sooner die than be perjured. Yet if the worshipful colonel
will set me free and be pleased not to call upon me to do any warlike
service, then will I promise him with heart, mouth, and hand to bear
and use no arms against the Swedes and Hessians for the space of six

To that he agreed at once, gave me his hand upon it, and forgave me my
ransom; further, he commanded his secretary to draw up an agreement to
that effect in duplicate, which we both subscribed, wherein he promised
me protection and all freedom so long as I should remain in the
fortress entrusted to him. On the other hand, I bound myself to the two
points above named, videlicet: that I, so long as I should sojourn in
the said fortress, would neither undertake anything to the hurt of the
garrison and its commander, nor would conceal aught that was intended
to their prejudice and damage, but would much more further their
profit and benefit, and prevent any damage to them to the best of my
ability--yea, that if the place were attacked I should and would help
to defend it.

Thereupon he kept me to dine with him again, and shewed me more honour
than I could in all my lifetime have looked for from the Imperials: and
so by little and little he won me over, till I would not have returned
to Soest even if he had let me go thither and had accounted me free
from my promise.


When a thing is to be, all things shape themselves to that end. Now did
I conceive that fortune had taken me to husband, or at least bound
herself so close to me that the most contrary happenings must turn out
to my profit: as when I learned at the commandant's table that my
servant with my two fine horses had come from Soest. But I knew not
(what at last I found) that tricky Fortune hath the sirens' art, who do
shew themselves kindest to those to whom they wish most harm, and so
doth raise a man the higher but for this end: to cast him down the
deeper. Now this servant, which I had before captured from the Swedes,
was beyond measure true to me, who had done him great kindnesses. He
therefore had saddled my two horses and rode out a good way from Soest
to meet the drummer that should bring me back, that not only I might
not have to walk so far, but also that I might not have to return to
Soest naked or in rags: for he conceived I had been stripped. So when
he met the drummer and the rest of the prisoners there he had my best
clothing in a pack. But when he saw me not, but understood I was kept
back to take service with the adversary, he set spurs to his horse and
says he, "Adieu, tambours, and you too. Corporal: where my master is
there will I be also," so he escaped and came to me at the very time
when the commandant had set me free and was shewing me such great
honour: who thereupon bestowed my horses in an inn till I could find
for myself a lodging to my liking, and called me fortunate by reason of
my servant's faith, yet wondered that I, as a common dragoon, and so
young to boot, should possess such fine horses and be so well equipped;
nay, when I had taken leave and would go to my inn he praised one horse
so loudly that I marked well he would fain have bought him from me. Yet
because from modesty he ventured not to make a bid, I said if I might
beg for the honour of his keeping the horse it was at his service. But
he refused roundly, more because I was fairly tipsy, and he would not
have the reproach of talking a present out of a drunken man, who might
thereafter repent of it, than because he would not fain have had that
noble horse.

That night I did consider how I would order my life in time to come;
and did decide to remain for the six months even where I was, and so in
peace to spend the winter which was now at hand, for which I knew I had
money enough for my purposes, without breaking into my treasure at
Cologne. "In so long a time," thought I, "thou wilt be full grown and
come to thy full strength, and so canst thou next spring take the field
with more boldness among the emperor's troops."

Early next morning I reviewed my saddle, which was far better lined
than the one I had presented to the cornet: and later on I had my horse
led to the colonel's quarters and told him: as I had determined to
spend the six months in which 'twas forbidden me to fight, peaceably
and under the colonel's protection, here, my horses were of no use to
me, which yet 'twere pity should be spoiled, and therefore begged him
that he would consent to grant this charger here present a place among
his own horses, and accept the same from me as a mark of grateful
acknowledgment of favours received, and that without scruple. The
colonel returned me thanks with great civility and very courteous
offers of service, and the same afternoon sent me by his steward one
fat ox alive, two fat pigs, a hogshead of wine, two hogsheads of beer,
twelve cords of firewood; all which he caused to be brought to me in
front of my new lodging, which I had even now hired for half a year,
and sent a message: that as he saw I was to live with him, and could
easily conceive that I was at first ill-provided with victual, he had
therefore sent me for household use a draught of wine and a joint of
meat, together with the fuel to cook the same: with this in addition,
that whereinsoever he could help me he would not fail. For which I
returned thanks as civilly as I could: presented the steward with two
ducats, and begged him to commend me to his master.

So when I saw I had gained such credit with the colonel for my
liberality, I thought to earn praise also among the common folk, that
none should take me for a mere malingerer: to that end I had my servant
called before me in presence of my landlord, and "Friend Nicolas," said
I, "thou hast shewn me more faithfulness than any master can expect
from his servant; but now, when I know not how to make it up to thee,
as having no master and no leave to fight, wherefrom I might gain booty
enough to reward thee as I would fain do, and in respect also of the
peaceful life which I do intend henceforth to live, and therefore do
need no servitor, I herewith give thee as thy pay the other horse, with
saddle, harness and pistols, with the request that thou wouldst be
content for the present to seek another master. And if I hereafter can
serve thee in any way, do thou not fail to ask me." With that he kissed
my hands and for tears could not speak, but would by no means have the
horse, but held it better I should turn it into money to use for my
maintenance. Yet at last I persuaded him to take it, after I had
promised to take him again into my service so soon as I should need a
man. At this parting my landlord was so moved that his eyes also filled
with tears: and as my servant exalted me among the soldiers for this
action, so did my landlord among the citizens.

As to the commandant, he held me for so determined a fellow that he
would have ventured to build upon my word, since I did not only truly
keep the oath I had sworn to the emperor, but in order to keep that
other promise, which I had made to himself, with great strictness had
rid myself of my fine horses, my arms, and my most faithful servant.


I do think there is no man in the world that hath not a bee in his
bonnet, for we be all men of one mould and by mine own fruits I can
mark how others' ripen. Oh coxcomb! say you; if thou beest a fool,
thinkest thou others must be too? Nay, that were to say too much: but
this I maintain, that one man can hide his folly better than another.
Nor is a man a fool because he hath foolish fantasies, for in youth we
do all have the like: and he that lets those fantasies run loose is
held to be a fool because others keep the fool concealed, and others do
but shew the half of him. They that keep such whims under altogether be
but peevish fellows, but they that now and then allow them (as time
affords an opportunity) to shew their ears and put their heads out of
window to get air lest they be choked, these I hold for the best and
wisest men. Mine own fantasies I let forth only too far, as seeing
myself so free and well provided with money; so that I took me a lad
whom I clothed as a nobleman's page, and that in the most fantastic
colours, to wit, light brown bordered with yellow, which must be my
livery, for so I fancied it: and he must wait upon me as if I were a
nobleman and not until just before a common dragoon; yea, and half a
year before a poor horse-boy.

Now this, the first folly I committed in this town, though 'twas pretty
gross, yet was remarked by none, much less blamed. But why? The world
is so full of such fooleries that none marks them now, nor laughs at
them, nor wonders at them, for all are used to them. And so was I held
for a wise and good soldier, and not for a fool only fit for baby's
shoes. Then I bargained with my landlord for the feeding of my page and
myself, and gave him, as payment on account, what the commandant had
presented to me, as far as concerns food and fuel: but for the drink my
page must keep the key, for I was very willing to give of such to all
that visited me. And since I was neither citizen nor soldier, and
therefore had no equals that were bound to keep me company, I consorted
with both sides, and therefore daily found comrades enough; and these I
sent not away dry. Among the citizens I had most friendship with the
organist, for music I loved and, without bragging, had an excellent
voice which I had no mind to let rust: this man taught me how to
compose, and to play better upon that instrument, as also upon the
harp: on the lute I was already a master; so I got me one of mine own
and daily diverted myself with it. And when I was tired of music I
would send for that furrier that had instructed me in the use of all
arms in Paradise, and with him exercised myself to be yet more perfect.
Also I obtained leave from the commandant that one of his artillerymen
should instruct me in gunnery and something of artillery-practice for a
proper reward. For the rest, I kept myself quiet and retired, so that
people wondered, seeing how I, that had been used to plunder and
bloodshed, now sat always over my books like a student.

But my host was the commandant's spy and my keeper, for well I noted
that he reported to him all my ways and works; but that suited me well
enough, for of warfare I had never a thought, and if there was talk of
it I behaved myself as I had never been a soldier, and was only there
to perform my daily exercises, of which I but now made mention. 'Tis
true I wished my six months at an end: yet could no man guess which
side I would then serve. As often as I waited on the colonel he would
have me to dine with him: and then at times the converse was so
arranged that my intention might be known therefrom: but ever I
answered so discreetly that none could know what I did mean. So once
when he said to me, "How is't with ye, Huntsman? Will ye not yet turn
Swede? An ensign of mine is dead yesterday," I made answer, "Worshipful
colonel, seeing that it is but decent for a woman not to marry at once
again after her husband's death, should I not also wait my six months?"
In such fashion I escaped every time, and gained the colonel's good
will more and more; so much so that he allowed me to take my walks both
inside and outside the fortress: yea, at last I might hunt the hares,
partridges, and birds, which was not permitted to his own soldiers.
Likewise did I fish in the Lippe, and was so lucky at that, that it
seemed as if I could conjure both fish and crayfish out of the water.
For this I caused to be made a rough hunting-suit only, in which I
crept by night into the territory of Soest and collected my hidden
treasures from here and there, and brought them to the said fortress,
and so behaved as if I would for ever dwell among the Swedes.

By the same way came the prophetess of Soest to me and said, "Lookye,
my son, did I not counsel thee well before that thou shouldst hide thy
money outside the town of Soest? I do assure thee 'tis thy greater good
luck to have been captured: for hadst thou returned to Soest, certain
fellows that had sworn thy death, because thou wast preferred to them
among the women, would have murdered thee in thy hunting." So I asked,
"How could any be jealous of me, that meddled with women not at all?"
"Oh," says she, "of that opinion that thou art now, wilt thou not long
remain: or the women will drive thee out of the country with mockery
and shame. Thou hast ever laughed at me when I foretold thee aught:
wouldest thou once more refuse to believe me if I told thee more? Dost
thou not find in the place where thou art better friends than in Soest?
I do swear to thee they hold thee only too dear, and that such
exceeding love will turn to thy harm, if thou submit not to it." So I
answered her, if she truly knew so much as she gave out, she should
reveal to me how it stood with my parents and whether I should ever in
my life come to them again: she should not be so dark in her sayings,
but out with it in good German. Thereupon she said I might ask after my
parents when my foster-father should meet me unawares, and lead my
wet-nurse's daughter by a string: with that she laughed loud, and at
the end said, she had of her own accord told to me more than to others
that had begged it of her.

But as I began to jest upon her she quickly took herself away, after I
had presented her with a few thalers; for I had more silver coin than I
could easily carry, having at that time a pretty sum of money and many
rings and jewels of great price: for before this, whenever I heard of
precious stones among the soldiers, or found such on expeditions or
elsewhere, I bought them, and that for less than half the money they
were worth. Such treasures did always cry aloud to me to let them be
seen in public: and I did willingly obey, for being of a pretty proud
temper, I made a show with my wealth and feared not to let mine host
see it, who made it out to others as greater than it was. And they did
wonder whence I had gathered it all together, it being well known that
I had made deposit at Cologne of the treasure I had found, for the
cornet had read the merchant's receipt when he took me prisoner.


My intent to learn artillery practice and fencing in these six months
was good, and that I knew: yet 'twas not enough to protect me from
idleness, which is the root of many evils, and especially ill for me
because I had no one to command me. 'Tis true I sat industriously over
books of all sorts, from which I learned much good: but a few came into
my hands which were as good for me as grass for a sick dog. The
incomparable "Arcadia," from which I sought to learn eloquence, was the
first book that led me aside from good stories to books of love and
from true history to romances of chivalry. Such sort of books I
collected wherever I could, and when I found one I ceased not till I
had read it through, though I should sit day and night over it. But
these taught me, instead of eloquence, to practise lechery. Yet was
such desire at no time so violent and strong that one could, with
Seneca, call it a divine frenzy or, as it is described in Thomas
Thomai's "Forest Garden," a serious sickness. For where I took a fancy
there I had what I desired easily and without great trouble: and so had
I no cause to complain as other wooers and lechers have had, which are
chock full of fantastic thoughts, troubles, desires, secret pangs,
anger, jealousy, revenge, madness, tears, bragging, threats and
numberless other follies, and for sheer impatience wish for death. For
I had money and was not too careful of it, and besides I had a fine
voice, which daily I exercised with all manner of instruments. Instead
of shewing my bodily skill in the dance, which I did never love, I did
display it in fencing, engaging with my furrier: moreover, I had a fine
smooth face, and did practise myself in a certain gracious amiableness,
so that the women, even those that I did not greatly seek after, did of
themselves run after me, and that more than I desired.

About this time came Martinmas: then with us Germans begins the eating
and swilling, and that feast is full conscientiously observed till
Shrovetide: so was I invited to different houses, both among the
officers and burghers, to help eat the Martinmas goose. So 'twas that
on such occasions I made acquaintance with the ladies. For my lute and
my songs made all to look my way, and when they so looked, then was I
ready to add such charming looks and actions to my new love-songs
(which I did myself compose) that many a fair maid was befooled, and
ere she knew it was in love with me. Yet lest I should be held for a
curmudgeon I gave likewise two banquets, one for the officers and one
for the chief citizens, by which means I gained me favour of both
parties and an entry to their houses; for I spared no expense in my
entertainment. But all this was but for the sake of the sweet maids,
and though I did not at once find what I sought with each and everyone
(for some there were that could deny me), yet I went often to these
also, that so they might bring them that did shew me more favour than
becomes modest maidens into no suspicion, but might believe that I
visited these last also only for the sake of conversation. And so
separately I persuaded each one to believe this of the others, and to
think she was the only one that enjoyed my love. Just six I had that
loved me well and I them in return: yet none possessed my heart or me
alone: in one 'twas but the black eyes that pleased me; in another the
golden hair; in a third a winning sweetness; and in the others was also
somewhat that the rest had not. But if I, besides these, also visited
others, 'twas either for the cause I mentioned or because their
acquaintance was new and strange to me, and in any case I refused and
despised nothing, as not purposing always to remain in the same place.
My page, which was an arch-rogue, had enough to do with carrying of
love-letters back and forth, and knew how to keep his mouth shut and my
loose ways so secret from one and the other that nought was discovered:
in reward for which he had from the baggages many presents, which yet
cost me most, seeing that I spent a little fortune on them, and could
well say, "What is won with the drum is lost with the fife." All the
same, I kept my affairs so secret that not one man in a hundred would
have taken me for a rake, save only the priest, from whom I borrowed
not so many good books as formerly.


When Fortune will cast a man down, she raiseth him first to the
heights, and the good God doth faithfully warn every man before his
fall. Such a warning had I, but would have none of it. For I was
stiffly persuaded of this, that my fortune was so firmly founded that
no mishap could cast me down, because all, and specially the commandant
himself, wished me well; those that he valued I won over by all manner
of respect: his trusted servants I brought over to my side by presents,
and with them perhaps more than with mine equals I did drink
"Brotherhood"  and swore to them everlasting faith and friendship: so,
too, the common citizens and soldiers loved me because I had a friendly
word for all. "What a kindly man," said they often, "is the huntsman;
He will talk with a child in the street, and hath a quarrel with no
man!" If I had shot a hare or a few partridges I would send them to the
kitchen of those whose friendship I sought, and also invited myself as
a guest; at which time I would always have a sup of wine (which was in
that place very dear) brought thither also: yea, I would so contrive it
that the whole cost would fall upon me. And when at such banquets I
fell in converse with any, I had praise for all save myself, and
managed so to feign humility as I had never known pride. So because I
thus gained the favour of all, and all thought much of me, I never
conceived that any misfortune could encounter me, especially since my
purse was still pretty well filled. Often I went to the oldest priest
of the town, who lent me many books from his library: and when I
brought one back then would he discourse of all manner of matters with
me, for we became so familiar together that one could easily bear with
the other. So when not only the Martinmas goose and the feast of
pudding-broth were gone and over, but also the Christmas holidays, I
presented to him for the New Year a bottle of Strassburg Branntwein,
the which he, after Westphalian use, liked to sip with sugar-candy, and
thereafter came to visit him, even as he was a-reading my "Joseph the
Chaste," which my host without my knowledge had lent him. I did blush
that my work should fall into the hands of so learned a man, especially
because men hold that one is best known by what he writes. But he would
have me to sit by him and praised my invention, yet blamed me that I
had lingered so long over the love-story of Zuleika (which was
Potiphar's wife). "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh," said he moreover, "and if my friend had not known how it
fares with a wooer's heart he could never so well have treated of this
woman's passion or in so lively fashion pictured it."

I answered that what I had written was not mine own invention but
extracted from other books to give me some practice in writing. "Yes,
yes," says he, "of course I am pleased to believe it: yet may you be
sure I know more of your honour than he conceives." At these words I
was dismayed and thought, "Hath a little bird told thee?" But he,
seeing how I changed colour, went on to say, "Ye are lively and young,
idle and handsome. Ye do live a careless life, and as I hear in all
luxury: therefore do I beseech you in the Lord and exhort you to
consider in what an evil case you stand: beware of the beast with the
long hair, if you have any care for your happiness and health. Ye may
perhaps say, 'How concerneth it the priest what I do or not?' ('Rightly
guessed,' said I to myself) or, 'What right hath he to command me?'
'Tis true I have but the care of souls: but, sir, be assured that your
temporal good, as that of my benefactor, is for mere Christian love as
precious as if ye were mine own son. 'Tis ever a pity, and never can ye
answer such a charge before your heavenly Father if ye do bury the
talent He hath entrusted to you and leave to go to ruin that noble
understanding which I do perceive in this your writing. My faithful and
fatherly advice would be, ye should employ your youth and your means,
which ye now do waste in such purposeless wise, to study, that some day
ye may be helpful to God and man and yourself; and let war alone, in
which, as I do hear, ye have so great a delight; and before ye get a
shrewd knock and find the truth of that saying, 'Young soldiers make
old beggars.'" This predication I listened to with great impatience,
for I was not used to hear the like: yet I shewed not how I felt, lest
I should forfeit my reputation for politeness, but thanked him much for
his straightforwardness and promised him to reflect upon his advice:
yet thought I within myself, what did it concern the priest how I
ordered my life; for just then I was at the height of my good fortune,
and I could not do without those pleasures of dalliance I had once
enjoyed. So is it ever with such warnings, when youth is unaccustomed
to bit and bridle, and gallops hard away to meet destruction.


Yet was I not so drowned in lust nor so dull as not to take care to
keep all men's affection so long as I was minded to sojourn in that
fortress, that is, till winter was over. And I knew well what trouble
it might breed for a man if he should earn the ill will of the clergy,
they being folk that in all nations, no matter of what religion they
be, enjoy great credit; so I put on my considering cap, and the very
next day I betook myself hot-foot to the said pastor, and told him in
fine words such a heap of lies, how I had resolved to follow his
advice, that he, as I could see from his carriage, was heartily
rejoiced thereat.

"Yea," said I, "up till this time, yea and in Soest also, there was
wanting for me nothing but such an angelic counsellor as I have found
in your reverence. Were but the winter over, or at least the weather
better, so that I could travel hence!" And thereafter I begged him to
assist me with his advice as to which University I should attend. To
that he answered, himself had studied in Leyden, but he would counsel
to go to Geneva, for by my speech I must be from the High Germany.
"Jesus Maria!" said I, "Geneva is farther from my home than Leyden."
"Can I believe mine ears?" says he, "'tis plain your honour is a
Papist! Great Heavens, how am I deceived!" "How so, Pastor?" said I,
"must I be a Papist because I will not to Geneva?" "Nay," says he, "but
ye do call upon the name of Mary!" "How," said I, "is't not well for a
Christian to name the mother of his Redeemer?" "True," says he, "yet
would I counsel your honour and beg of him as earnestly as I can to
give honour to God only and further to tell me plainly to what religion
he belongs, for I doubt much if he be Evangelical (though I have seen
him every Sunday in my church), inasmuch as at this last Christmastide
he came not to the table of the Lord neither here nor in the Lutheran
church." "Nay," said I, "but your reverence knows well that I am a
Christian: were I not, I had not been so oft at the preaching: but for
the rest, I must confess that I follow neither Peter nor Paul, but do
believe simply all that the twelve articles of the Christian faith do
contain: nor will I bind myself to either party till one or the other
shall bring me by sufficient proofs to believe that he, rather than the
other, doth possess the one true religion of salvation." Thereupon,
"Now," says he, "do I truly, and that for the first time, understand
that ye have a true soldier's spirit, to risk your life here, there and
everywhere, since ye can so live from day to day without religion or
worship and can so risk your hope of eternal salvation! Great heaven,"
says he, "how can a mortal man, that must hereafter be damned or saved,
so defy all? Your honour," says he, "was brought up in Hanau: hath he
learned there no better Christianity than this? Tell me, why do ye not
follow in the footsteps of your parents in the pure religion of Christ,
or why will ye not betake yourself to this our belief, of which the
foundations be so plain both in Holy Writ and nature that neither
Papist nor Lutheran[27] can ever upset them."

"Your reverence," I answered, "so say all of their own religion: yet
which am I to believe? Think ye 'tis so light a matter for me to
entrust my soul's salvation to any one party that doth revile the other
two and accuse them of false doctrine? I pray you to consider, with
impartial eyes, what Conrad Vetter and Johannes Nas have written
against Luther, and also Luther against the Pope, but most of all what
Spangenberg hath written against Francis of Assisi, which for hundreds
of years hath been held for a holy and God-like man, and all this in
print. To which party shall I betake myself when each says of the other
that 'tis unclean, unclean? Doth your reverence think I am wrong if I
stay awhile till I have got me more understanding and know black from
white? Would any man counsel me to plunge in like a fly into hot soup?
Nay, nay, your reverence cannot upon his conscience do that! Without
question one religion must be right and the other two wrong: and if I
should betake myself to one without ripe reflection I might choose the
wrong as easily as the right, and so repent of my choice for all
eternity. I will sooner keep off the roads altogether than take the
wrong one: besides, there be yet other religions besides these here in
Europe, as those of the Armenians, the Abyssinians, the Greeks, the
Georgians, and so forth, and whichsoever I do choose, then must I with
my fellow believers deny all the rest. But if your reverence will but
play the part of Ananias for me and open mine eyes, I will with
thankfulness follow him and take up that religion to which he belongs."

Thereupon, "Your honour," says he, "is in a great error: but I pray God
to enlighten him and help him forth of the slough; to which end I will
hereafter so prove to him the truth of our Confession that the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it." I answered I would await such with
great anxiety: yet in my heart I thought, "If thou trouble me no more
anent my lecheries, I will be content with thy belief."

And so can the reader judge what a godless, wicked rogue I then was:
for I did but give the good pastor fruitless trouble, that he might
leave me undisturbed in my vicious life, and thinks I, "Before thou art
ready with thy proofs I shall belike be where the pepper[28] grows."


Now over against my lodging there dwelt a lieutenant-colonel on
half-pay, and the same had a very fair daughter of noble carriage,
whose acquaintance I had long desired to make. And though at the first
she seemed not such an one as I could love and no other and cleave to
her for ever, yet I took many a walk for her sake, and wasted many a
loving look; who yet was so carefully guarded against me that never
once could I come to speak with her as I would have wished, neither
might boldly accost her: for I had no acquaintance with her parents,
and indeed they seemed far too high placed for a lad of such low
descent as I deemed myself to be. At the most I could approach her in
the going in and out of church, and then would I take opportunity to
draw near and with great passion would heave out a couple of sighs,
wherein I was a master, though all from a feigned heart. All which she,
on the other hand, received so coldly that I must well believe she was
not to be fooled like any small burgher's daughter: and the more I
thought how hard 'twould be for me to compass her love, the hotter grew
my desire for her.

But the lucky star which first brought me to her was even that one
which the scholars wear at a certain season, in everlasting remembrance
of how the three wise men were by such a star led to Bethlehem, and I
took it for a good omen that such a star led me to her dwelling also.
For her father sending for me, "Monsieur," says he, "that position of
neutrality which you do hold between citizens and soldiers is the cause
why I have invited you hither: for I have need of an impartial witness
in a matter which I have to settle between two parties." With that I
thought he had some wondrous great undertaking in hand, for papers and
pens lay on the table: so I tendered him my services for all honourable
ends, adding thereto that I should hold it for a great honour indeed if
I were fortunate enough to do him service to his liking. Yet was the
business nothing more than this (as is the usage in many places), to
set up a kingdom, being as 'twas the Eve of the Three Kings: and my
part was to see that all was well and truly performed and the offices
distributed by lot without respect of persons. And for this weighty
concern (at which his secretary also was present) my colonel must have
wine and confectionery served, for he was a doughty drinker and 'twas
already past the time for supper. So then must the secretary write, and
I read out the names, and the young lady draw the lots while her
parents looked on: and how it all happened I know not, but so I made my
first acquaintance in that house: and they complaining greatly how
tedious were the winter nights, gave me to understand I should, to make
them pass more easily, often visit them of evenings, for otherwise they
had no great pastime: which was indeed the very thing I had of long
time desired.

So from that time forward (though for a while I must be on my good
behaviour with the damsel) I began to play a new part, dancing on the
limed twig and nibbling at the fool's bait till both the maid and her
parents must needs believe I had swallowed the hook, though as yet I
had not (by a long score) any serious intent. I spent all my day in
arraying myself for the night (as witches use to do): and the morrow in
poring over books of love, composing from them amorous letters to my
mistress, as if I dwelt a hundred leagues off or saw her but once in
many years: so at last I was become a familiar of the house, and my
suit not frowned upon by her parents: nay, 'twas even proposed I should
teach the daughter to play the lute. So there I had free entrance, not
only by night but by day also, so that I could now alter my tune and no
longer sing

           "On the bat's back do I fly after sunset merrily,"

but did write a pretty enough ditty, in the which I lauded my good
fortune which had granted me, after so many happy evenings, so many
joyous days also wherein I could feast mine eyes on the charms of my
beloved and be refreshed thereby: yet in the same song did bemoan my
hard fate that made my nights so miserable and granted me not that I
should spend the night, like the day, in sweet enjoyment: which, though
it seemed somewhat bold, I sang to my love with adoring sighs and an
enchanting melody, wherein the lute also bore its part and with me
besought the maid that she would lend her aid to make my nights as
happy as my days. To all which I had but a cold response: for 'twas a
prudent maid and could at will give me a fitting answer to all my
feigned transports, though I might devise them never so wisely. Yet was
I shy of saying aught of matrimony: and if such were touched on in
conversation, then would I make my speech brief and comprest. Of that
my damsel's married sister took note, and therefore barred all access
for me to my mistress, so that we might not be so often together as
before: for she perceived her sister was deep in love with me, and that
the business would not in such fashion end well.

There is no need to recount all the follies of my courtship, seeing
that the books of love are full of such. It shall suffice for the
gentle reader to know that at last I was bold to kiss my mistress, and
thereafter to engage in other dalliance: which much desired advances I
pursued with all manner of incitements, till at length I was admitted
by her at night and laid myself by her side as naturally as if I were
her own. And here, as every man knoweth what on such a merry tide is
wont to happen, the reader may well suppose that I dealt dishonourably
with the maiden. But no; for all my purpose was defeated, and I found
such resistance as I had never thought to find in any woman: for her
intent was only for honourable marriage, and though I promised all that
and with the most solemn oaths, yet would she grant me nothing before
wedlock but only this, to lie by her: and there at length, (quite worn
out with disgust,) I fell asleep. But presently thereafter was I rudely
awoke: for at four o'clock of the morning there stood my colonel before
my bed, a pistol in one hand and a torch in the other, and "Croat," he
cries to his servant, that stood by him also with a drawn sword,
"Croat, go fetch the parson as quick as may be!" But I awaking and
seeing in what danger I lay, "Alas," thought I, "make thy peace with
God before this man make an end of thee!" And 'twas all green and
yellow before mine eyes, and I knew not whether I should open them or

"Thou lewd fellow!" says he to me, "must I find thee thus shaming of
mine house? Should I do thee wrong if I break the neck of thee and of
this baggage that hath been thine whore? Ah, thou beast, how can I
refrain myself that I tear not thy heart from thy body and hew it in
pieces and cast it for the dogs to eat?" And with that he gnashed with
his teeth and rolled his eyes like a wild beast, I knowing not what to
say and my bedfellow able to do naught but weep: yet at last I came to
myself somewhat, and would have pleaded our innocence; but he bid me
hold my peace, and now began upon fresh matter, to wit, how he had
trusted me as a very different man and how I had repaid his trust with
the worst treachery in the world: and thereafter came in his lady wife
and began another brand-new sermon, till I would sooner have lain in a
hedge of thorns: nay, I believe she had not stayed her speech for two
hours or more had not the Croat returned with the parson.

Now before he came I tried once or twice to arise: but the colonel,
with a fierce aspect, bade me lie still: and so I was taught how little
courage a fellow hath that is caught on an ill errand, and how it fares
with the heart of a thief that hath broken a house and is captured yet
having stolen nothing. For I remember the good old days when, if such a
colonel and two such Croats had fallen foul of me, I had made shift to
put all three to flight: but now there I lay like any malingerer and
had not the heart to use my tongue, let alone my fists.

"See, master parson," quoth my colonel, "the fair sight to which I must
perforce invite you, to be a witness of my shame"--and hardly had he
said the word in his accustomed tone when he began again to yell
hundred devils and thousand curses, till I could understand nothing of
what he said save of breaking of necks and washing of hands in blood;
for he foamed at the mouth like a wild boar and demeaned himself as if
in truth he would take leave of his senses: I thinking every moment,
"Now will he send a ball through thy head." Yet the good parson did his
best to hinder him from any rash deed whereof he might repent him
afterwards: for "How now; Master Colonel," says he, "how now! Give your
own sound reason room to act, and bethink you of the old saying that to
what is done and cannot be undone it behoves to give the handsomest
name: for this fine young couple (which can hardly be matched in the
land) be not the first, nor will be the last, to be overcome by the
invincible power of love. The fault which they have committed (for a
fault we must needs call it) may by themselves be easily repaired. I
cannot indeed approve this way of matching: yet have these young folks
deserved neither gallows nor wheel, nor hath the Herr Colonel any shame
to expect if he will but keep secret and forgive this fault, which
otherwise no man hath knowledge of, and so give his consent to their
marriage and allow such marriage to be confirmed by public ceremony in

"What?" says the colonel, "am I, instead of punishing them, to come to
them cap in hand and make them my compliments? Sooner would I when the
day comes have them trussed up together and drowned in the Lippe; nay,
ye shall wed them here and that at once, for to this end I had ye
fetcht: else will I wring the necks of both like hens."

But as to me, my thought was, "What wilt thou do? Wilt thou eat thy
leek or die? At least 'tis such a maid as thou needest not to be shamed
of: and when thou thinkest of thine own lowly descent, say, art thou
worthy to sit where she puts off her shoes?" Yet loud and long I swore
and asseverated we had wrought no dishonour with one another, but got
only for answer, we should have so behaved that none could suspect evil
of us, whereas by our way of dealing we could quiet no man's doubts. So
were we married by the said clergyman, sitting up in bed, and the
ceremony over, were forced to rise and to leave the house. But I, who
had now recovered myself and felt a sword by my side, must crack my
joke: and "Papa-in-law," says I, "I know not why ye should carry
yourself thus scurvily: when other young folk be wedded their next of
kin do bring them to their bed-chamber, but your worship after my
wedding doth cast me forth, not only from my bed but from the house:
and in place of such congratulation as he should give me on my
marriage, doth grudge me even the sight of my good brother-in-law's
face and my service to him. Verily if this fashion hold, there will be
few friendships bred by weddings in this world."


The people at my lodging were all astonished when I brought the young
maid home with me, and yet more when they saw how unconcernedly she
went to bed with me. For though this trick which had been played me
stirred up great perplexity in my mind, yet was I not so foolish as to
put my bride to shame. And so even while I had my dear in mine arms I
had a thousand conceits in my head, how I should begin and end my
behaviour in this matter. Now thought I, "Thou art rightly served": and
yet again I considered that I had met with the greatest disgrace in the
world, which I could not in honour pass over without due revenge. But
when I remembered me that such revenge must harm my father-in-law and
also my gentle and innocent bride, then all my plans were naught. At
one time I was so sore ashamed that I planned to shut myself up and let
no man see me again, and again I reflected that that would be to commit
the chief and greatest folly. At the last I concluded that I would
before all things win my father-in-law's friendship again, and would so
carry myself to all others as if nothing had happened untoward, and as
if I had made all things ready for my wedding. For, said I to myself,
"Seeing that this business hath had a strange beginning, thou must give
it a like end: for should folk know thou wast trapped in thy marriage
and wedded like a poor maiden to a rich old cripple, mockery only will
be thy portion."

Being full of such thoughts, I rose betimes, though I had rather have
lain longer. And first of all I sent to my brother-in-law who had
married my wife's sister, and told him in a word how near akin to him I
now was, and besought him to suffer his good wife to come and help to
prepare somewhat wherewith I might entertain people at my wedding, and
if he would be so good as to plead with our father and mother-in-law on
my behalf, I would in the meantime busy myself to invite such guests as
would promote a peace between me and him. The which he took upon him to
do, and I betook myself to the commandant, to whom I told in merry
fashion how quaint a device my father-in-law and I had hatched for
making up of a match, which device was so swift of operation that I had
in a single hour accomplished the betrothal, the wedding, and the
bedding. But inasmuch as my father-in-law had grudged me the morning
draught, I was minded instead thereof to bid certain honourable guests
to the wedding-supper, to which also I respectfully begged to invite

The commandant was fit to burst with laughter at my comical story, and
because I saw him in merry mood I made yet more free, giving as my
excuse that I could not well be reasonable at such a time, seeing that
bridegrooms for full four weeks before and after their wedding were
never in their sober senses: but whereas they could play the fool
without attracting note and in their four weeks by degrees return to
their senses, I had had the whole business of matrimony thrust upon me
in a wink, and so must play my tricks all at once, so as thereafter to
enact the sober married man more reasonably. Then he demanded me what
of the dowry, and how much of the rhino my father-in-law had given for
the wedding-feast--for of that, said he, the old curmudgeon had plenty.
So I answered him that our marriage settlement consisted but in one
clause--viz., that his daughter and I should never come in his sight
again. But forasmuch as there was neither notary nor witness present I
hoped the clause might be revoked, and that the more so because all
marriages should tend to the furthering of good fellowship. So with
such merry quips, which no one at such a time would have looked for
from me, I obtained that the commandant and my father-in-law, whom he
undertook to persuade, would appear at my wedding-supper. He sent
likewise a cask of wine and a buck to my kitchen: and I made
preparation as if I were to entertain princes, and indeed brought
together a noble company, which did not only make merry with one
another, but in the face of all men did so reconcile my father and
mother-in-law with me that they gave me more blessing that night than
cursing the night before. And so 'twas noised all over the town that
our wedding had been of intent so arranged, lest any ill-natured folk
should play some jest upon us. And me this speedy settlement of things
suited full well. For had I come to be married with my banns called
beforehand, as is the usage, 'twas much to be feared there would have
been some baggages that would have given a world of trouble by way of
hindrance: for I had among the burghers' daughters a round half-dozen
that knew me only too well.

The next day my father-in-law treated my wedding-guests, but not so
well as I by far, being miserly. And then I must first say what
profession I was minded to follow, and how I would maintain my
household: wherein I was first aware that I had now lost my noble
freedom and must live henceforth under orders. Yet I carried myself
obediently and was beforehand in asking my dear father-in-law, as a
prudent gentleman, for his advice, to digest and to follow it: which
speech the commandant approved and said, "This being a brisk young
soldier, it were great folly that in the present wars he should think
to follow any but the soldier's trade: for 'tis far better to stable
one's horse in another man's stall than to feed another's nag in one's
own. And so far as I am concerned, I promise him a company whenever he

For this my father-in-law and I returned thanks, and I refused no more,
but shewed the commandant the merchant's receipt, which had my treasure
in keeping at Cologne. "And this," said I, "I must first fetch away
before I take service with the Swedes: for should they learn that I
served their enemies, they of Cologne would laugh me to scorn and keep
my treasure, which is not of such a kind as one can easily find by the
roadside." This they approved, and so 'twas concluded promised and
resolved between us three I should within a few days betake myself to
Cologne, possess myself of my treasure, and so return to the fortress
and there take command of my company. Furthermore a day was named on
which a company should be made over to my father-in-law, together with
the commission of lieutenant-colonel in the commandant's regiment. For
Count Götz lying in Westphalia with many Imperial troops and his
headquarters at Dortmund, my commandant looked to be besieged next
spring, and so was seeking to enlist good soldiers. Yet was this care
of his in vain: for the said Count Götz was, by reason of the defeat of
John de Werth in the Breisgau, forced to leave Westphalia that same
spring and take the field against the Duke of Weimar on the Rhine.


Things do happen in different fashions. To one man ill luck cometh by
degrees and slowly: another it doth fall upon in a heap. So hardly had
I spent a week in the wedded state with my dear wife, when I took leave
of her and her friends in my huntsman's dress with my gun upon my
shoulder; and because all the roads were well known to me, I came
luckily to my journey's end without danger threatening. Nay, I was seen
of no man till I came to the turnpike in Deutz that lieth opposite
Cologne on this side the Rhine. But I saw many, and specially a peasant
in the land of Berg, that reminded me much of my dad in the Spessart;
and his son was still more like the old Simplicissimus. For the lad was
herding swine as I was passing by: and the swine, scenting me, began to
grunt and the lad to curse: "Thunder and lightning strike them and the
devil fly away with them too!" That the maidservant heard, and cried to
the lad not to curse or she would tell his father. The boy answered,
she might kiss ... and burn her mother too: But the peasant hearing it,
runs out of the house with a whip and cries out, "Wait, thou anointed
rascal, I will teach thee to curse; strike thee blind and the devil
take thy carcase": and with that he caught him by the collar, whipped
him like a dancing bear, and at every stroke, "Thou wicked boy," says
he, "I'll teach thee to curse, devil take thee, I'll kiss ... for thee;
I'll teach thee to talk of burning thy mother." Which manner of
correction did remind me naturally of me and my dad, and yet had I not
such decency and piety as to thank God for bringing me out of such
darkness and ignorance, and into greater knowledge and understanding.
And how then could I expect that the good fortune which daily rained
upon me should endure?

So when I came to Cologne I took up my abode with my Jupiter, which was
just then in his right mind. But when I told him wherefore I had come,
he told me at once that he feared I should but thresh straw; for the
merchant to whom I had given my money to keep it had become bankrupt
and had fled: 'tis true my property had been officially sealed up and
the merchant himself cited to appear; but 'twas greatly doubted if he
would return, because he had taken with him all of value that could
easily be carried; and before the case could be settled much water
might flow under the bridges. How pleasing this news was to me any man
can easily judge. I swore like a trooper, but what availed that? I did
not get my property back so, and had no hope of ever doing so: besides,
I had taken with me no more than ten thalers for the journey, and so
could not stay so long as the matter required. Moreover, 'twas
dangerous for me to tarry there; for I had reason to fear that, as now
being attached to an enemy's garrison, I might be found out, and so not
only lose my goods but fall into a still worse plight. Yet for me to
return with the matter unsettled, leave my property wilfully behind,
and have naught to show but the way back instead of the way thither,
seemed to me also unwise. At last I determined I would stay in Cologne
till the case was settled, and let my wife know the reason of my delay:
so I betook myself to an advocate, which was a notary, and told him my
case, begging him to help me with counsel and action, for a proper
reward; and if he hastened on the matter I would make him a good
present besides the fixed fees. And as he hoped to get plenty out of me
he received me willingly and undertook to board and lodge me: and
thereupon next day he went with me to the officers whose business it is
to settle bankrupts' affairs, and handed in a certified copy of the
merchant's acknowledgment, and produced the original: to which the
answer was, we must be patient till the full examination of the matter,
inasmuch as the things of which the acknowledgment spoke were not all
to be found.

So now I prepared myself for another long time of idleness, in which I
wished to see somewhat of life in great cities. My host was, as I have
said, a notary and advocate: besides which he had half a dozen lodgers,
and kept always eight horses in his stable which he used to hire out to
travellers: moreover he had both a German and an Italian groom, that
could be used either for driving or riding and also tended the horses,
so that with this threefold, or rather three-and-a-half-fold trade he
not only earned a good living but also doubtless put by a good deal:
for because no Jews be allowed in that town he found it easier to make
money in all manner of ways. I did learn much in the time I was with
him, and especially to know all sicknesses of all men, which is the
chiefest art of the doctor of medicine. For they say if the doctor do
but know the disease, then is the patient already half cured. Now 'twas
my host that furnished the reason why I understood this science, for I
began with him, and thereafter to examine the condition of other
persons. And many a one I knew to be sick to death that knew not of his
own sickness at all and that was held by his neighbours--yea, and by
the doctors too--to be a hale and hearty man. So did I find people that
were sick with evil temper, and when this disease attacked them their
visages were changed like those of devils, they roared like lions,
scratched like cats, laid about them like bears, bit like dogs, and to
shew themselves even worse than savage animals they would throw about
everything that they could get into their hands, like madmen. 'Tis said
this disease ariseth from the gall; but I do rather believe its origin
is in this, that a fool hath a fool's pride: so if thou hear an angry
man rage, especially about a small matter, be thou bold to believe that
man hath more pride than sense. From this disease followeth endless
mischance both for the patient and for others: for the patient, palsy,
gout, and early death (and perhaps an eternal death also). Yet can we
with a good conscience refuse to call such men patients, be they never
so dangerously ill, for patience is what they most do lack. Some, too,
I saw quite sick with envy, of whom 'tis said that they eat their own
hearts out, because they do ever walk so pale and sad. And this disease
do I hold to be the most dangerous, as coming directly from the devil
himself, though yet it spring from mere good fortune which the sick
man's enemy doth enjoy: and he that can quite cure such an one may
wellnigh boast that he hath converted a lost sinner to the Christian
belief, for this disease can infect no true Christians, which have a
jealousy only of sin and vice. The gaming passion I hold likewise for a
disease, not only because the name doth imply as much, but specially
because they that are infected therewith are mad after the thing as if
poisoned: it hath its rise from idleness and not from greed, as some do
judge; and if thou take away from a man the chances of lust and
idleness, that sickness will of itself depart. Likewise I found that
gluttony is a disease: and that it cometh from habit and not from
overmuch wealth. Poverty is indeed a good protective against it, but
'tis not thereby cured, for I saw beggars that revelled and rich misers
that starved. It doth bring its own remedy on its back with it, and
that is called Want, if not of money yet of bodily health, so much so
that these patients commonly must of themselves be healed when it comes
to this, that either from poverty or from disease they can devour no
more. As to pride, I took it for a kind of madness, having its rise in
ignorance: for if a man do but know himself and remember whence he is
and whither he goeth, 'tis clean impossible that he can go on in his
foolish pride. When I do see a peacock or a turkey-cock strut and
gobble, I must needs laugh like a fool that these unreasoning beasts
can so cleverly mock at poor man in this his great malady: yet have I
never been able to find a special remedy against it: for they that are
sick of it are without humility, as little to be cured as other madmen.
Yea, I deemed, too, that immoderate laughter must be a disease, for
Philemon died of it and Democritus was till his end sick of it. And so
nowadays do our women say they could laugh till they died. 'Tis said it
hath its origin in the liver: but I do believe it cometh from
immoderate folly, for much laughter is no sign of a reasonable man: nor
is it needful to present a remedy for it, since 'tis not only a merry
madness but often doth leave a man before he can well enjoy it. Nor
less did I remark how curiosity is but a disease and one born in the
female sex: 'tis little to outside view yet in truth most dangerous,
seeing that we all must pay for our first mother's curiosity. Of the
rest, as sloth, revenge, jealousy, presumption, the passions of love,
and the like, I will for this turn say naught, since 'twas never my
intent to write of such, but will return to mine host, which indeed
gave me the hint to reflect upon such-like failings, seeing that he
himself was utterly ruled and possessed by greed.


The fellow had, as I have said, all manner of trades by which he
scraped together money: he fed with his guests and not his guests with
him, and he could have plentifully fed all his household with the money
they brought him in, if the skinflint had so used it: but he fed us
Swabian fashion and kept a mighty deal back. At the first I ate not
with his guests but with his children and household, because I had
little money with me: there were but little morsels, that were like
Spanish fasting-food for my stomach, so long accustomed to the hearty
Westphalian diet. No single good joint of meat did we ever get but only
what had been carried away a week before from the students' table,
pretty well hacked at by them, and now, by reason of age, as grey as
Methuselah. Over this the hostess, who must do the cooking herself (for
he would pay for no maid to help her), poured a black, sour kind of
gravy and bedevilled it with pepper. Yet though the bones were sucked
so dry that one could have made chessmen of them, yet were they not yet
done with, but were put into a vessel kept for the purpose, and when
our miser had a sufficient quantity, they must be chopped up fine and
all the fat that remained boiled out of them. I know not whether this
was used for seasoning soup or greasing shoes. But on fast-days, of
which there happened more than enough, and which were all religiously
observed (for therein was our host full of scruples), we had the run of
our teeth on stinking herrings, salt cod, rotten stockfish, and other
decayed marine creatures: for he bought all with regard to cheapness
only, and grudged not the trouble to go himself to the fish-market and
to pick up what the fishmongers themselves were about to throw away.
Our bread was commonly black and stale, our drink a thin, sour beer
which wellnigh burst my belly, and yet must pass as fine old October.
Besides all this, I learned from his German servant that in summer-time
'twas yet worse: for then the bread was mouldy, the meal full of
maggots, and the best dishes were then a couple of radishes at dinner
and a handful of salad at supper. So I asked him why did he stay with
the old miser. He answered he was mostly travelling, and therefore must
count more on the drink-money of travellers than on that mouldy old
Jew, who he said would not even trust his wife and children with the
cellar-key, for he grudged them even a drop of wine, and, in a word,
was such a curmudgeon that his like would be hard to find; what I had
seen up till now, said he, was nothing: if I did but stay there for a
while I should perceive that he was not ashamed to skin a flea for its
fat. Once, said he, the old fellow had brought home six pounds of tripe
or chitterlings and put it in his larder: but to the great delight of
his children the grating chanced to be open: so they tied a tablespoon
to a stick and fished all the chitterlings out, which they then ate up
half-cooked, in great haste, and gave out 'twas the cat had done it.
That the old coal-counter would not believe, but caught the cat and
weighed her, and found that, skin, hair and all, she weighed not so
much as his chitterlings.

Now as the fellow was so shameless a cheat, I desired no longer to eat
at his private table but at that of the before-mentioned students,
however much it might cost: and there 'twas certainly more royal fare;
yet it availed me little, for all the dishes that were set before us
were but half-cooked, which profited our host in two ways--first in
fuel, which he thus saved, and secondly, because it spoiled our
appetite: yea, methought he counted every mouthful we ate and scratched
his head for vexation if ever we made a good meal. His wine, too, was
well watered and not of a kind to aid digestion: and the cheese which
was served at the end of every meal was hard as stone, and the Dutch
butter so salt that none could eat more than half an ounce of it at
breakfast; as for the fruit, it had to be carried to and fro till it
was ripe and fit to eat; and if any of us grumbled thereat, he would
begin a terrible abusing of his wife loud enough for us to hear: but
secretly gave her orders to go on in the same old way.

Once on a time one of his clients brought him a hare for a present:
this did I see hang in his larder, and did think for once we might have
game to our dinner: but the German servant said to me we need not lick
our lips over that, for his master had so contracted with the boarders
that he need not serve them such dainties; I should go to the Old
Market in the afternoon and there see if the thing were not there for
sale. So I cut a bit out of the hare's ear, and as we sat at our midday
meal and the host was not there, I told them how our skinflint had a
hare for sale, of which I was minded to cheat him, if one of them would
follow me; for so should we not only have some pastime, but would get
the hare too. Every one of them consented; for they had long desired to
play our host a trick of which he could not complain. So that afternoon
we betook ourselves to the place which I had learned of from the
servant, where our host was wont to stand if he gave a tradesman aught
for sale, to watch what the buyer paid, lest he should be cheated of a
farthing. There we found him in talk with some of the nobles. Now I had
engaged a fellow to go to the higgler that should sell the hare and to
say, "Friend, that hare is mine, and I claim it as stolen property:
last night 'twas snatched out of my window, and if thou give it not up
willingly, 'tis at thy risk and the risk of the costs in court." The
huckster answered he must first inquire of the matter: for there stood
the gentleman of repute that had given him the hare to sell; and he
could surely not have stolen it. So as they disputed, they gathered a
crowd round them; which when our miser was ware of and saw which way
the cat jumped, he gave a wink to the higgler to let the hare go, for
by reason of all his boarders he feared yet greater shame. But the
fellow I had hired contrived very cleverly to shew every one present
the piece of the ear and to fit it into the slit, so that all said he
was right and voted him the hare. Meanwhile I drew near with my
company, as if we had come by chance, and stood by the fellow that had
the hare and began to bargain with him, and when we were agreed I
presented the hare to mine host with the request he would have it
served up at our table: but the fellow I had engaged with I paid,
instead of money for the hare, the price of a couple of cans of beer.
So our skinflint must accept the hare, though with no good will, and
dared not say a word, at which we had cause enough to laugh: and had I
meant to stay longer in his house, I would have shewn him a few more
such tricks.



If you sharpen a razor too much you will notch the edge, and if you
overbend the bow, at last 'twill break. The trick I played on my host
with the hare was not enough for me, but I devised others to punish his
insatiable greed. So did I teach the boarders to water the salted
butter and so to get rid of the overplus salt; yea, and to grate the
hard cheese like the Parmesans and moisten it with wine, all which
things were to the miser like stabs in his heart. Nay, by my conjuring
tricks at table I drew the water out of the wine, and made a song in
which I compared the skinflint to a sow, from which there was no good
to be looked for till the butcher had her dead upon the trestles. And
so I myself furnished the reason why he paid me, and that well, with
the trick ye shall now hear: for 'twas not my business to play such
pranks in his house.

The two young nobles that were his boarders received a letter of
exchange, and the command to go into France and there to learn the
language, just at a time when our host's German groom was on his
travels and elsewhere, and to the Italian, said he, he dared not trust
his horses to him to take into France, for he knew little of him and
feared he might forget to come back, and so should he lose his horses:
and therefore he begged of me to do him the greatest service in the
world and to accompany those two noblemen with his horses as far as
Paris, for in any case my suit could not be argued before four weeks
were over; and he for his part would, if I would give him full powers,
so faithfully further my interests as if I were there in person
present. The young noblemen besought me also to the same end, and mine
own desire to see France counselled me thereto: for now could I do this
without special expense, and otherwise must spend those four weeks in
idleness and spend money too. So I took to the road with my two
noblemen, riding as their postilion; and on the way there happened to
me nothing of note. But when we came to Paris and there put up at the
house of our host's correspondent, where also the young noblemen had
their letter of exchange honoured, the very next day not only was I
with the horses arrested, but a fellow that gave out that my host owed
him a sum of money seized upon the beasts, with the leave of the
commissary of the Quartier, and sold them. The Lord only doth know what
I said to all this: but there I sat like a graven image and could not
help myself, far less devise how I could return along a road so long
and at that time so dangerous. The two noblemen shewed me great
sympathy, and therefore honourably gave me a larger gratification: nor
would they have me leave them before I should find either a good master
or a good opportunity to return to Germany. So they hired them a
lodging, and for some days I stayed with them to wait upon one of them,
which by reason of the long journey, as being unused thereto, was
indisposed. And as I shewed myself so polite to him he gave to me all
the clothing he put off: for he would be clad in the newest mode. Their
counsel was, I should stay a couple of years in Paris, and learn the
language: for what I had to fetch from Cologne would not run away. So
as I halted between two opinions and knew not what to do, the doctor
which came every day to cure my sick nobleman heard me once play on the
lute and sing a German ditty to it, which pleased him so that he
offered me a good salary, together with board at his own table, if I
would live with him and teach his two sons: for he knew better than I
how my affairs stood and that I should not refuse a good master. Thus
were we soon agreed, for, both the noblemen furthered the business all
they could, and greatly recommended me: yet would I not engage myself
save from one quarter of a year to the next.

The doctor spoke German as well as I did and Italian like his mother
tongue: and therefore I was the more pleased to take service with him:
and as I sat at my last meal with my noblemen, he was there too, and
there all manner of sad fancies came into my head: for I thought of my
newly wedded wife, the ensigncy promised me, and my treasure at
Cologne, all which I let myself so easily be persuaded to leave: and as
we came to speak of our former host I had a whim, and said I over the
table, "Who knoweth whether, perhaps, our host have not of intention
trepanned me hither that he may claim and keep my property at Cologne?"
The doctor answered it might very well be so, especial if he deemed me
a fellow of no family. "Nay," said one of the nobles, "if our friend
was sent here to the end he should stay here, 'twas done because he so
plagued the host on account of his avarice." "Nay," said the sick man,
"I believe there is another reason: for as I stood of late in my
chamber I heard the host talk loud with his Italian man; so I listened
to hear what 'twas all about, and at last from the servant's broken
German I understood that the huntsman had accused him to the man's wife
of not tending the horses well: all which the jealous knave, by reason
of the man's imperfect speech, understood wrongly and in a
dishonourable way, and therefore told the Italian he need but wait, for
the huntsman should presently be gone." Since then, too, he had looked
askance upon his wife and grumbled at her more than before, which I had
myself remarked in the fool. Then said the doctor, "From whatever cause
'twas done, I am content that matters have so turned out that he must
remain here. But be not dismayed; I will at the first good opportunity
help you back to Germany. Only write ye to the man at Cologne to have a
care of the money, or he will be called sharply to account. And this
also doth raise suspicion in me that 'tis a plot--namely, that he that
gave himself out for the creditor is a very good friend both of your
host and of his correspondent here, and I do believe the bond, on which
he seized and sold the horses, was brought here by yourself."


So Monsieur Canard (for so was my new master called) offered to help me
in word and deed, that I might not lose my property at Cologne; for he
saw how much it troubled me. So as soon as he had me to his house, he
begged I would tell him exactly how my affairs stood, that he might
understand and so devise how I might best be helped. Thereupon I
thought 'twould avail me little if I revealed mine own poor birth, and
so gave out I was a poor German nobleman that had neither father nor
mother, but only some kinsfolk in a fortress wherein was a Swedish
garrison; all which, said I, I had perforce concealed from my host at
Cologne and my two noblemen, as being all of the emperor's party, that
they might not confiscate my money as the enemy's property. My
intention it was, said I, to write to the commandant of the said
fortress, in whose regiment I had been promised an ensigncy, and not
only inform him in what fashion I had been deluded hither but also to
beg him to have the goodness to take possession of my property, and in
the meantime, until I could find opportunity to return to my regiment,
to put it at the disposition of my friends. This plan the good Canard
thought good, and promised me to forward the letters to their proper
place though it were in Mexico or even in China. Accordingly I prepared
letters to my wife, to my father-in-law, and to the colonel S(aint)
A(ndré), commandant in Lippstadt, to whom I addressed the whole packet,
and enclosed the two others. The contents were: that I would present
myself again as speedily as might be, if only I could get the means to
perform so long a journey, and begged both my father-in-law and the
colonel to do their best to endeavour to recover my property by
military process before the grass was grown over it, and gave them a
full list of the amounts in gold, silver, and jewels. All these letters
I drew up in duplicate: and one copy Monsieur Canard took charge of:
the other copy I did entrust to the post, that if one copy should go
astray, the other at least might arrive safely.

So now was I at ease in my mind again, and was the more able to teach
my master's two sons, which were brought up like young princes: for
because Monsieur Canard was rich, therefore was he beyond all measure
proud, and must make a display; the which disease he had taken from the
great men, with whom he daily had to do, and aped their ways. His house
was like a prince's court, of which it wanted nothing save that none
ever called him "gracious sir," and his conceit was so great that he
would treat a marquis, when such came to visit him, as no better than
himself. He was ready to help poor folk, and would take no small fees,
but forgave them the money that his name might be more renowned. And
because I was ever desirous of knowledge, and because I knew that he
made much show of my person when I followed him with his other servants
on a visit to some great man, I would help him in his laboratory in the
preparation of his medicines. Thus was I become well acquainted with
him, and that the more because it ever pleased him to speak the German
tongue: so once on a time I said to him, why did he not write himself
down as "of" his nobleman's residence which he had newly bought near
Paris for 20,000 crowns, and why he would make simple doctors of his
sons and would have them to study so hard. Were it not better, since he
himself had a title of nobility, to buy them offices, as did other
chevaliers, and so bring them entirely into the class of nobles? "Nay,"
he answered, "if I visit a prince, to me 'tis said, 'Master doctor, be
seated,' but to a nobleman, 'Wait thy turn!'" So said I, "But doth the
doctor not know that a physician hath three faces--the first, an
angel's, when the sick man sees him first; the second, God's own, when
he can help the sick; and the third, the devil's own, when a man is
healed and can be rid of him? And so this honour of which ye speak doth
but last so long as the sick man is plagued in his belly: but when 'tis
over and the grumbling past there hath the honour an end, and 'Master
Doctor,' quoth'a, 'there is the door!' And so the nobleman hath more
honour in standing than the doctor in sitting, namely, because he
waiteth ever on his own prince and hath the honour never to leave his
side. Did ye not of late Master Doctor, take of a prince's excrement
into your mouth to try the taste? Now I do say, I would sooner stand
and wait for ten years than meddle with another man's dung, yea, even
though I was bidden to be seated on beds of roses." To that he
answered, "That I need not to have done, but did it willingly, that the
prince might see how desperate anxious I was to understand his
condition, and so my fee might be greater: and why should I not meddle
with another's dirt, that payeth me perhaps a hundred pistoles for it,
and I pay him naught that must eat filth of another kind at my bidding?
Ye talk of the thing like a German: and were ye not a German I had
said, ye talk like a fool."

With that saying I was content, for I saw he would presently be angry,
and to bring him again into a good humour I begged him he would forgive
my simplicity and began to talk of pleasanter matters.


Now as Monsieur Canard had more game to throw away than many have to
eat, which yet have their own preserves, and thus more meat was sent to
him by way of present than he and all his people could eat, so had he
also daily many parasites, so that it seemed as if he kept open house.
And once on a time there visited him the king's Master of the
Ceremonies and other high personages, for whom he prepared a princely
collation, as knowing well whom he needed to keep as his friends,
namely, those that were ever about the king or stood well with him: and
to shew them his great goodwill and give them every pleasure, he begged
that I would, to honour him and to please the high personages present,
let them hear a German song sung to the lute. This I did willingly,
being in the mood (for commonly musicians be whimsical people), and so
busied myself to play my best, and did so please the company that the
Master of the Ceremonies said 'twas great pity I could not speak
French: for so could he commend me greatly to the king and queen. But
my master, that feared lest I might be taken from his service, answered
him, I was of noble birth and thought not to sojourn long in France,
and so could hardly be used as a common musician. Thereupon the Master
of the Ceremonies said he had never in his life found united in one
person such rare beauty, so fine a voice, and such admirable skill upon
the lute: and presently, said he, a comedy was to be played before the
king at the Louvre: and could he but have my services, he hoped to get
great honour thereby. This Monsieur Canard did interpret to me: and I
answered, if they would but tell me what person I was to represent and
what manner of songs I was to sing, I could learn both tune and words
by heart and sing them to my lute, even if they were in the French
tongue: for perhaps my understanding might be as good as that of a
schoolboy such as they commonly use for such parts, though these must
first learn both words and actions by heart.

So when the Master of the Ceremonies saw me so willing, he would have
me promise to come to him next day in the Louvre to try if I was fit
for the part: and at the time appointed I was there. The tunes of the
songs I had to sing I could play at once perfectly upon the lute; for I
had the notes before me: and thereafter I received the French words, to
learn them by heart and likewise to pronounce them, all which were
interpreted for me in German, that I might use the actions fitted to
the songs. All this was easy enough to me, and I was ready before any
could have expected it, and that so perfectly (as Monsieur Canard
declared) that ninety-nine out of a hundred that heard me sing would
have sworn I was a born Frenchman. And when we came together for the
first rehearsal, I did behave myself so plaintively with my songs,
tunes, and actions that all believed I had often played the part of
Orpheus, which I must then represent, and shew myself vexed for the
loss of my Eurydice. And in all my life I have never had so pleasant a
day as that on which our comedy was played. Monsieur Canard gave me
somewhat to make my voice clearer: but when he tried to improve my
beauty with oleum talci and to powder my curly hair that shone so black
he found he did but spoil all. So now was I crowned with a wreath of
laurel and clad in an antique sea-green robe in which all could see my
neck, the upper part of my breast, my arms above the elbow and my
knees, all bare and naked. About it was wrapped a flesh-coloured cloak
of taffety that was more like a flag than a cloak: and in this attire I
languished over my Eurydice, called on Venus for help in a pretty song,
and at last led off my bride: in all which action I did play my part
excellently, and gazed upon my love with sighs and speaking eyes. But
when I had lost my Eurydice, then did I put on a dress of black
throughout, made like the other, from out of which my white skin shone
like snow. In this did I lament my lost wife, and did conjure up the
case so piteously that in the midst of my sad tunes and melodies the
tears would burst forth and my weeping choked the passage of my song:
yet did I play my part right well till I came before Pluto and
Proserpina in hell. To them I represented in a most moving song their
own love that they bore to each other, and begged them to judge thereby
with what great grief I and my Eurydice must have parted, and prayed
with the most piteous actions (and all the time I sang to my lute) they
would give her leave to return to me: and when they had said me "Yes,"
I took my leave with a joyful song to them, and was clever enough so to
change my face, my actions, and my voice to a joyful tune that all that
saw me were astonished. But when I again lost my Eurydice all
unexpectedly I did fancy to myself the greatest danger wherein a man
could find himself, and thereupon became so pale as if I would faint
away: for inasmuch as I was then alone upon the stage and all
spectators looked on me, I played my part the more carefully and got
therefrom the praise of having acted the best. Thereafter I set me on a
rock and began to deplore the loss of my bride with piteous words and a
most mournful melody, and to summon all creatures to weep with me: upon
that, all manner of wild beasts and tame, mountains, trees, and the
like flocked round me, so that in truth it seemed as if 'twere all so
done in unnatural fashion by enchantment. Nor did I make any mistake at
all till the end: but then when I had renounced the company of all
women, had been murdered by the Bacchantes and cast into the water
(which had been so prepared that one could see only my head, for the
rest of my body was beneath the stage in perfect safety), where the
dragon was to devour me, and the fellow that was inside the dragon to
work it could not see my head and so did let the dragon's head wag
about close to mine, this seemed to me so laughable that I could not
choose but make a wry face, which the ladies that looked hard upon me
failed not to perceive.

From this comedy I earned, besides the high praise that all gave me,
not only an excellent reward, but I got me yet another nickname, for
thenceforth the French would call me naught but "Beau Alman." And as
'twas then carnival-time, many such plays and ballets were represented,
in all which I was employed: but at last I found I was envied by others
because I mightily attracted the spectators, and in especial the women,
to turn their eyes on me: so I made an end of it, and that particularly
because I received much offence on one occasion, when, as I fought with
Achelous for Dejanira, as Hercules, and almost naked, I was so grossly
treated as is not usual in a stage-play.

By this means I became known to many high personages, and it seemed as
if fortune would again shine upon me: for 'twas even offered me to
enter the king's service, of which many a great Jack hath not the
chance: yet I refused: but much time I spent with ladies of quality
that would have me sing and play to them, for both my person and my
playing pleased them. Nor will I deny that I gave myself up to the
temptations of the Frenchwomen, that entertained me secretly and
rewarded me with many gifts for my services, till in the end I was
wearied of so vile and shameful a trade, and determined so to play the
fool no longer.

NOTE.--The fourth and fifth chapters of the original edition are
devoted to a prolix and tedious account of an adventure--if adventure
it may be called--of the kind hinted at in the last sentence of the
third chapter. It is absolutely without connection with
Simplicissimus's career as an actor in the war; has no interest as a
picture of manners; and finally, can be read much better in Bandello,
from whose much livelier story (vol. iv., novel 25, of the complete
editions) it is copied. It is therefore omitted here.


By this my occupation I gathered together so many gratifications both
in money and in things of worth that I was troubled for their safety,
and I wondered no longer that women do betake themselves to the stews
and do make a trade of this same beastly and lewd pursuit; since it is
so profitable. But now I did begin to take this matter to heart, not
indeed for any fear of God or prick of conscience, but because I
dreaded that I might be caught in some such trick and paid according to
my deserts. So now I planned to come back to Germany, and that the more
so because the commandant at Lippstadt had written to me he had caught
certain merchants of Cologne, whom he would not let go out of his hands
till my goods were first delivered to him: item, that he still kept for
me the ensigncy he had promised, and would expect me to take it up
before the spring: for if I came not then he must bestow it upon
another. And with his letter my wife sent me one also full of all
loving assurances of her hope to have me back. (Had she but known how I
had lived she had surely sent me a greeting of another sort.)

Now could I well conceive 'twould be hard to have my congé from
Monsieur Canard, and so did I determine to depart secretly so soon as I
could find opportunity: which (to my great misfortune) I found. For as
I met on a time certain officers of the Duke of Weimar's army, I gave
them to understand I was an ensign of the regiment of colonel S(aint)
A(ndré) and had been a long time in Paris on mine own affairs, yet now
was resolved to return to my regiment, and so begged they would take me
as their travelling-companion on their journey back. So they told me
the day of their departure and were right willing to take me with them:
thereupon I bought me a nag and made my provision for the journey as
secretly as I could, got together my money (which was in all some 500
doubloons, all which I had earned from those shameless women), and
without asking leave of Monsieur Canard went off with them; yet did I
write to him, and did date the letter from Maestricht; so as he might
think I was gone to Cologne: in this I took leave of him, with the
excuse that I could stay no longer when my business at home required my

But two nights out from Paris 'twas with me as with one that hath the
erysipelas, and my head did so ache that next morning I could not rise:
and that in a poor village where I could have no doctor and, what was
worse, none to wait upon me: for the officers rode on their way next
morning and left me there, sick to death, as one that concerned them
not: yet did they commend me and my horse to the host at their
departure and left a message for the mayor of the place that he should
have respect to me as an officer that served the king. So there I lay
for a couple of days and knew naught of myself, but babbled like a
fool. Then they fetched the priest to me: but he could get nothing
reasonable from me: and since he saw he could not heal my soul he
thought on means to help my body as far as might be, to which end he
had me bled and a sudorific given me, and had me put into a warm bed to
sweat. This served me so well that the same night I did know where I
was and whence I had come and that I was sick. Next morning came the
said priest to me again and found me desperate: for not only had my
money all been stolen, but I did believe I had (saving your presence)
the French disease: for I had deserved this more than my pistoles, and
I was spotted over my whole body like a leopard: nor could I either
walk or stand, or sit or lie: and now was my patience at an end: for
though I could not well believe 'twas God had given me the gold I had
lost, yet was I now so reckless that I saw 'twas the devil had stolen
it from me! Yea, and I behaved as if I were quite desperate, so that
the good priest had much ado to comfort me, seeing that the shoe
pinched me in two places.

"My friend," says he, "behave yourself like a reasonable man, even if
ye cannot embrace your cross like a good Christian. What do ye? Will ye
with your money also lose your life and, what is more, your hopes of
eternal salvation?" So I answered I cared not for the money; if I could
but be rid of this accursed sickness or were at least in a place where
I could be cured. "Ye must have patience," answered the priest, "as
must the poor children of whom there lie in this place over fifty sick
of this disease." So when I heard that children also were sick of it, I
was straightway cheered, for I could not well suppose that such would
catch that filthy disease: so I reached for my valise to see what might
still be there: but save my linen there was naught there but a casket
with a lady's portrait, set round with rubies, that one at Paris had
presented to me. The portrait I took out and gave the rest to the
priest with the request he would turn it into money in the next town,
so that I might have somewhat to live upon. Of which the end was that I
got scarce the third part of its worth, and since that lasted not long
my nag must go too: all which barely kept me till the pock-holes began
to dry and I to get better.


Wherewithal a man sinneth, therewith is he wont to be punished. This
smallpox did so handle me that thenceforward I needed not to fear the
women. I got such holes in my face that I looked like a barn-floor
whereon they have threshed peas: yea, I became so foul of aspect that
my fine curls in which so many women had been tangled were shamed of me
and left their home: in place of which I got others that were so like a
hog's bristles that I must needs wear a wig, and even as outwardly no
beauty remained to me, so also my sweet voice departed--for I had had
my throat full of sores. Mine eyes, that heretofore none ever found to
lack the fire of love enough to kindle any heart, were now as red and
watery as those of any old wife of eighty years that hath the spleen.
And above all I was in a foreign land, knew neither dog nor man that
would treat me fairly, was ignorant of their language, and had no money

So now I first began to reflect, and to lament the noble opportunities
which had aforetime been granted to me for the furthering of my
fortunes, which yet I had so wantonly let go by. I looked back and
marked how my extraordinary luck in war and my treasure-trove had been
naught but a cause and preparation for my ill fortune, which had never
been able to cast me so far down had it not by a false countenance
first raised me so high. Yea, I found that the good things that had
happened to me, and which I had accounted truly good, had been truly
bad, and had brought me to the depth of misery. Now was there no longer
a hermit to deal so faithfully with me, no Colonel Ramsay to rescue me
in my need, no priest to give me good advice; and, in a word, no one
man that would do me a good turn: but when my money was gone I was told
to be off and find a place elsewhere, and might, like the prodigal son,
be glad to herd with the swine. So now first I bethought me of that
priest's good advice, that counselled I should employ my youth and my
wealth for study: but 'twas too late to shut the stable-door now that
the horse was stolen. O swift and miserable change! Four weeks ago I
was a fellow to move princes to wonder, to charm women, and that made
the people believe me a masterpiece of nature, yea an angel, but now so
wretched that the very dogs did bark at me. I bethought me a thousand
times what I must do: for the host turned me from the door so soon as I
could pay no more. Gladly would I have enlisted, but no recruiting
officer would take me as a soldier, for I looked like a scarecrow: work
could I not, for I was still too weak, and besides used to no
handicraft. Nothing did comfort me more than that 'twas now summer
coming, and I could at a pinch lodge behind any hedge, for none would
suffer me in any house. I had my fine apparel still, that I had had
made for my journey, besides a valise full of costly linen that none
would buy from me as fearing I might saddle him also with the disease.
This I set on my shoulder, my sword in my hand and the road under my
feet, which led me to a little town that even possessed an apothecary's
shop. Into this I went, and bade him make me an ointment to do away the
pock-marks on my face, and because I had no money I gave him a fine
soft shirt; for he was not so nice as the other fools that would take
no clothes of me. For, I thought, if thou art but rid of these vile
spots, 'twill soon better thy case for thee.

Yea, and I took the more heart because the apothecary assured me that
in a week one would see little except the deep scars that the sores
had eaten in my face. 'Twas market-day there, and there too was a
tooth-drawer that earned much money, in return for which he was always
ready with his ribald jests for the crowd. "O fool," says I to myself,
"why dost thou not also set up such a trade? Beest thou so long with
Monsieur Canard, and hast not learned enough to deceive a simple
peasant and get thy victuals? Then must thou be a poor creature


Now at that time was I as hungry as a hunter: for my belly was not to
be appeased; and yet I had naught in my poke save a single golden ring
with a diamond that was worth some twenty crowns. This I sold for
twelve: and because I could plainly see these would last but for a time
if I could earn nothing besides, I determined to turn doctor. So I
bought me the materials for an electuary and made it up: likewise out
of herbs, roots, butter, and aromatic oils a green salve for all
wounds, wherewith one might have cured a galled horse: also out of
calamine, gravel, crab's-eyes, emery, and pumice-stone a powder to make
the teeth white: furthermore a blue tincture out of lye, copper, sal
ammoniac and camphor, to cure scurvy, toothache, and eye-ache. Likewise
I got me a number of little boxes of tin and wood to put my wares in;
and to make a reputable show I had me a bill composed and printed in
French, on which could be read for what purpose each of these remedies
was fitted. And in three days I was ended with my task, and had scarce
spent three crowns on my drugs and gallipots when I left the town. So I
packed all up and determined to walk from one village to another as far
as Alsace and to dispose of my wares on the way, and thereafter, if
opportunity offered, to get to the Rhine at Strassburg to betake myself
with the traders to Cologne, and from there to make my way to my wife.
Which design was good, but the plan failed altogether.

Now the first time I took my stand before a church with my wares and
offered them my gain was small indeed, for I was far too shamefaced,
and neither would my talk nor my bragging patter run well: and from
that I saw at once I must go another way to work if I would gain money.
So I went with my trumpery into the inn, and at dinner I learned from
the host that in the afternoon all manner of folk would come together
under the lime-tree before his house. And there he said I might sell
something, if only my wares were good: but there were so many rogues in
the land that people were mightily chary of their money unless they had
real proof before their eyes that the medicine was truly good.

So when I found where the shoe pinched I got me a half-wineglass full
of strong Strassburg Branntwein, and caught a kind of toad called
Reling or Möhmlein, that in spring and summer sits in dirty pools and
croaks, gold colour or nearly salmon colour with black spots on its
belly, most hateful to see. Such an one I put in a wineglass with water
and set it by my wares on a table under the lime-tree. And when the
people began to gather together and stood round me, some thought I
would, with the tongs that I had borrowed from the hostess, pull out
teeth. But I began thus: "My masters and goot frients (for I could
still speak but little French), I be no tooths-cracker, only I haf goot
watter for ze eye, zat make all ze running go way from ze red eye."
"Yea," says one, "that can one see by thine own eyes, that be like to
two will-o'-the-wisps." "And zat is true," says I, "but if I had not ze
watter sure I were quite blint: besides, I sell not ze watter. Ze
elegtuary and ze powder for ze white tooths and ze wound-salve, zese
will I sell, but ze watter I gif avay mit dem! For I be no quack nor no
cheater: I do sell mine elegtuary: and when I haf tried it, if it
blease you not you needs not to puy it."

So I bade one of them that stood by to choose any one of my boxes of
electuary, out of which I made a pill as large as a pea, and put it
into my Branntwein, which the people took for water, and there pounded
it up and then picked up the toad with the tongs out of the water-glass
and said, "See, my goot frients, if this fenomous worm do drink mine
elegtuary wizout dying, so is ze ting no goot, and zenn puy it not."
With that I put the poor toad, that had been born in water and could
bear no other element or liquor, into the Branntwein, and held it
covered in with a paper so that he could not leap out: which began to
struggle and to wriggle, yea, to do worse than if I had thrown him upon
red-hot coals, for the Branntwein was much too strong for him: and
after a short time he died and stretched out his four legs. At that the
peasants opened their mouths and their purses too when they saw so
plain a proof with their own eyes: for now they believed there could be
no better electuary on earth than mine, and I had enough to do to wrap
up the stuff in the printed papers and take money for it.

For some of them did buy three, four, five, six times so much, that
they might at need be provided with so sure an antidote against poison:
yea, they bought also for their friends and kinsfolk that dwelt in
other places, so that from this foolery (though 'twas no market-day) I
gained by the evening ten crowns, and still kept more than the half of
my wares. The same night I betook myself to another village, as fearing
lest some peasant should be so curious as to put a toad in water to try
the virtue of my electuary, and if it should fail my back should suffer
for it.

But to shew the excellence of my antidote in another way, I made me, of
meal, saffron, and galls, a yellow arsenic, and of meal and vitriol a
sublimate of mercury; and when I would show the effect of it I had
ready two like glasses of fresh water on the table, whereof one was
pretty strongly mixed with aqua fortis: into this I stirred a little of
my electuary and dropped in as much of my two poisons as was needed:
then was one water, that had no electuary (but also no aqua fortis) in
it, as black as ink, while the other, by reason of the aqua fortis,
remained as it was. "Aha," said they all, "see, that is truly a
marvellous electuary for so little money!" And then when I poured both
together again the whole was clear once more: at that the good peasants
dragged out their purses and bought of me: which not only helped my
hungry belly, but also I could take horse again, earned much money on
the way, and so came safely to the German border.

And so, my dear country-folks, put not your faith in quacks: or ye will
be deceived by them, since they seek not your health but your wealth.


Now as I passed through Lorraine, my wares gave out, and because I must
avoid garrison-towns I had no chance to get more: so must I devise
another plan till I could make electuary again. So I bought me two
measures of Branntwein and coloured it with saffron, and sold it in
half-ounce glasses to the people as a gold water of great price, good
against fever, and so my two measures brought me in thirty gulden. But
my little glasses running short, and I hearing of a glass-maker that
dwelt in the county of Fleckenstein, I betook myself thither to equip
myself afresh, but seeking for by-paths was by chance caught by a
picket from Philippsburg that was quartered in the castle of
Wagelnburg, and so lost all that I had wrung out of the people by my
cheats on the journey; and because the peasant that went with me to
shew the way told the fellows I was a doctor, as a doctor I must
willy-nilly be taken to Philippsburg. There was I examined and spared
not to say who I was in truth; which they believed not, but would make
more of me than I could well be: for I should and must remain a doctor.
Then must I swear I belonged to the Emperor's dragoons in Soest and
declare on my oath all that had happened to me from then to now and
what I now intended. "But," said they, "the Emperor had need of
soldiers as much at Philippsburg as at Soest: and so would they give me
entertainment, till I had good opportunity to come to my regiment: but
if this plan was not to my taste, I might content myself to remain in
prison and be treated as a doctor till I should be released; for as a
doctor I had been taken."

So I came down from a horse to a donkey, and must become a musqueteer
against my will: which vexed me mightily, for want was master there,
and the rations terrible small: I say not to no purpose "terrible" for
I was terrified every morning when I received mine: for I knew I must
make that suffice for the whole day which I could have made away with
at a meal without trouble. And to tell truth 'tis a poor creature, a
musqueteer, that must so pass his life in a garrison, and make dry
bread suffice him--yea, and not half enough of that: for he is naught
else than a prisoner that prolongs his miserable life with the bread
and water of tribulation: nay, a prisoner hath the better lot, for he
needs neither to watch, nor to go the rounds, nor stand sentry, but
lies at rest and has as much hope as any such poor garrison-soldier in
time at length to get out of his prison. 'Tis true there were some that
bettered their condition, and that in divers ways, but none that
pleased me and seemed to me a reputable way to gain my food. For some
in this miserable plight took to themselves wives (yea, the most vile
women at need) for no other cause than to be kept by the said women's
work, either with sewing, washing and spinning, or with selling of old
clothes and higgling, or even with stealing: there was a she-ensign
among the women that drew her pay as a corporal: another was a midwife,
and so earned many a good meal for herself and her husband: another
could starch and wash: others laundered for the unmarried soldiers and
officers shirts, stockings, sleeping-breeches and I know not what else,
from which they had each her special name. Others did sell tobacco and
provide pipes for the fellows that had need of them: others dealt in
Branntwein: another was a seamstress, and could do all manner of
embroidery and cut patterns to earn money: another gained a livelihood
from the fields only; in winter she gathered snails, in spring
salad-herbs, in summer she took birds'-nests, and in autumn she would
gather fruit of all kinds: a few carried wood for sale like asses, and
others traded with this and that. Yet to gain my support in such a way
was not for me: for I had a wife already. Other fellows did gain a
livelihood by play, for at that they were better than sharpers and
could get their simple comrades' money from them with false dice: but
such a profession I loathed. Others toiled like beasts of burden at the
ramparts; but for that I was too lazy: and some knew and could practise
a trade, but I, poor creature, had learned none such: 'tis true if any
had had need of a musician I could have filled the place well, but that
land of hunger was content with drums and fifes. Some stood sentry for
others and night and day came never off duty, but I would sooner starve
than so torment my body: some got them booty by expeditions: but I was
not even trusted to go outside the gates: others could go a-mousing
better than any cat, but such a trade I hated worse than the plague. In
a word, wherever I turned, I could hit on no way to fill my belly. Yet
what vexed me most of all was this, that I must needs endure all manner
of gibes when my comrades said, "What, thou a doctor, and hast no art
but to starve?"

At length did hunger force me to inveigle a few fine carp out of the
town ditch up to me on the wall: but as soon as the colonel was ware of
it I must ride the torture-horse for it, and was forbidden on pain of
death to exercise that art further. At the last others' misfortune
proved my good luck. For having cured a few patients of jaundice and
two of fever (all which must have had a particular belief in me), it
was allowed me to go out of the fortress on the pretence of collecting
roots and herbs for my medicines: instead of which I did set snares for
hares and had the luck to catch two the first night: these I brought to
the colonel, and so got not only a thaler as a present, but also leave
to go out and catch hares whensoever I was not on duty. Now because the
country was waste and no man there to catch the beasts, which had
therefore mightily multiplied, there came grist to my mill again,
insomuch that it seemed as if it rained hares, or as if I could charm
them into my snares. So when the officers saw they could trust me I was
allowed to go out on plundering parties: and there I began again my
life as at Soest, save that I might no longer lead and command such
parties as heretofore in Westphalia; for for that 'twas needful to know
all highways and byways and to be well acquainted with the Rhine


Yet must I tell you of a couple of adventures before I say how I was
again freed from my musquet, and one in truth of great danger to life
and limb, the other only of danger to the soul, wherein I did
obstinately persist: for I will conceal my vices no more than my
virtues, in order that not only may my story be complete, but also that
the untravelled reader may learn what strange blades there be in this

As I said at the end of the last chapter, I might now go out with
foraging-parties, which in garrison towns is not granted to every loose
customer, but only to good soldiers. So once on a time nineteen of us
together went up to the Rhine to lie in wait for a ship of Basel that
was given out to carry secretly officers and goods of the Duke of
Weimar's army. So above Ottenheim we got us a fishing-boat wherein to
cross over and post ourselves on an eyot that lay handy to compel all
ships that drew near to come to land, to which end ten of us were
safely ferried over by the fisherman. But when one of us that could at
other times row well was fetching over the remaining nine, of whom I
was one, the skiff suddenly capsized and in a twinkling we lay together
in the Rhine. I cared not much for the others, but thought of myself.
But though I strained to the utmost and used all the arts of a good
swimmer, yet the stream played with me as with a ball, tossing me
about, sometimes over, sometimes under. I fought so manfully that I
often came up to get breath: but had it been colder, I had never been
able to hold out so long and to escape with my life. Often did I try to
win to the bank, but the eddies hindered me, tossing me from one side
to another: and though 'twas but a short time before I came opposite
Goldscheur, it seemed to me so long that I despaired of my life. But
when I had passed that village and had made sure I must pass under the
Strassburg Rhine-bridge dead or alive, I was ware of a great tree whose
branches stretched into the river not far from me. To this the stream
flowed straight and strong: for which cause I put forth all the
strength I had left to get to the tree, wherein I was most lucky, so
that by the help both of the water and my own pains I found myself
astride upon the biggest branch, which at first I had taken for a tree:
which same was yet so beaten by waves and whirlpools that it kept
bobbing up and down without ceasing, and so shook up my belly that I
wellnigh spewed up lungs and liver. Hardly could I keep my hold, for
all things danced strangely before my eyes. And fain would I have
slipped into the water again, yet found I was not man enough to endure
even the hundredth part of such labour as I had so far accomplished. So
must I stick there and hope for an uncertain deliverance, which God
must send me if I was to get off alive. But in this respect my
conscience gave me but cold comfort, bidding me remember that I had so
wantonly rejected such gracious help a year or two before; yet did I
hope for the best, and began to pray as piously as I had been reared in
a cloister, determining to live more cleanly in future; yea, and made
divers vows. Thus did I renounce the soldier's life and forswore
plundering for ever, did throw my cartridge-box and knapsack from me,
and naught would suffice me but to become a hermit again and do penance
for my sins, and be thankful to God's mercy for my hoped-for
deliverance till the end of my days, and when I had spent two or three
hours upon the branch between hope and fear there came down the Rhine
that very ship for which I was to help lie in wait. So I lifted up my
voice piteously and screamed for help in the name of God and the last
Judgment, and because they must needs pass close to me, and therefore
the more clearly see my wretched plight, all in the ship were moved to
pity, so that they put to land to devise how best to help me. And
because, by reason of the many eddies that were all round me (being
caused by the roots and branches of the tree), it was not possible to
swim out to me without risk of life nor to come to me with any vessel,
small or great, my helping needed much thought: and how I fared in mind
meanwhile is easy to guess. At last they sent two fellows into the
river above me with a boat, that let a rope float down to me and kept
one end of it themselves. The other end I with great trouble did
secure, and bound it round my body as well as I could, so that I was
drawn up by it into the boat like a fish on a line and so brought into
the ship.

So now when I had in this fashion escaped death, I had done well to
fall on my knees on the bank and thank God's goodness for my
deliverance, and moreover then begin to amend my life as I had vowed
and promised in my deadly need. But far from it. For when they asked me
who I was and how I had come into this peril I began so to lie to the
people that it might have made the heavens turn black: for I thought,
if thou sayst thou wast minded to help plunder them, they will cast
thee into the Rhine again. So I gave myself out for a banished
organist, and said that as I would to Strassburg to seek a place as
schoolmaster or the like on the upper Rhine, a party had captured me
and stripped me and thrown me into the Rhine, which brought me to that
same tree. And as I contrived to trick out these my lies finely, and
also strengthened them with oaths, I was believed, and all kindness
shewn me in the matter of food and drink to refresh me, of which I had
great need indeed.

At the custom-house at Strassburg most did land, and I with them,
giving them all thanks; and among them I was ware of a young merchant
whose face and gait and actions gave me to understand that I had seen
him before: yet could I not remember where, but perceived by his speech
that 'twas that very same cornet that had once made me prisoner: and
now could I not conceive how from so fine a young soldier he had been
turned into a merchant, specially since he was a gentleman born. Yea,
my curiosity to know if my eyes and ears deceived me or not urged me to
go to him and say, "Monsieur Schönstein, is it you or not?" to which he
answered, "I am no Herr von Schönstein but a simple trader." "And I
too," says I, "was never a huntsman of Soest but an organist, or rather
a land-tramping beggar." And "O brother!" he answered, "what the devil
trade art thou of? whither art thou bound?" "Brother," said I, "if thou
beest chosen by heaven to help preserve my life, as hath now happened
for the second time, then 'tis certain that my destiny requires that I
should not be far from thee."

Then did we embrace as two true friends, that had aforetime promised to
love one another to the death. I must to his quarters and tell him all
that had befallen me since I had left Lippstadt for Cologne to fetch my
treasure, nor did I conceal from him how I had intended to lay wait for
their ship with a party, and how we had fared therein. And he on his
part confided to me how he had been sent by the Hessian General Staff
to Duke Bernhard of Weimar on business of the greatest import
concerning the conduct of the war: to bring reports and to confer with
him on future plans and campaigns, all which he had accomplished and
was now on his way back in the disguise of a merchant, as I could see.
By the way also he told me that my bride at his departure was expecting
child-bed, and had been well entreated by her parents and kinsfolk, and
furthermore that the colonel still kept the ensigncy for me. Yet he
jested at me by reason of my pock-marked face, and would have it that
neither my wife nor the other women of Lippstadt would take me for the
Huntsman. So we agreed I should lodge with him and on this opportunity
return to Lippstadt which was what I most desired. And because I had
naught but rags upon me he lent me some trifle in money, wherewith I
equipped myself like to an apprentice-lad.

But as 'tis said, "What will be, must be," that I now found true: for
as we sailed down the river and the ship was examined at Rheinhausen,
the Philippsburgers knew me again, seized me and carried me off to
Philippsburg, where I had to play the musqueteer as before: all which
angered my friend the cornet as much as myself: for now must we
separate: and he could not much take my part, for he had enough to do
to get through himself.


Now hath the gentle reader heard in what danger of life I put myself.
But as concerns the danger of my soul 'tis to be understood that as a
musqueteer I became a right desperate fellow, that cared naught for God
and his word. No wickedness was for me too great: and all the
goodnesses and loving kindnesses that I had ever received from God
quite forgotten: and so I cared neither for this world nor the next but
lived like a beast. None would have believed that I had been brought up
with a pious hermit: seldom I went to church and never to confess: and
because I cared so little for my own soul's health, therefore I
troubled my fellow men yet more. Where I could cheat a man I failed not
to do it, yea I prided myself upon it, so that none came off scot-free
from his dealings with me. From this I often got me a whipping, and
still more often the torture-horse; yea, I was often threatened with
the strappado and the gibbet: but naught availed: I went on in my
godless career till it seemed I would play the desperado and run
post-haste to hell. And though I did no deed evil enough to forfeit my
life, yet was I so reckless that, save for sorcerers and sodomites, no
worse man could be found.

Of this our regiment's chaplain was ware, and being a right zealous
saver of souls, at Eastertide he sent for me to know why I had not been
at Confession and Holy Communion. But I treated his many faithful
warnings as I had done those of the good pastor at Lippstadt, so that
the good man could make naught of me. So when it seemed as if Christ
and His Baptism were lost in me, at the end says he, "O miserable man:
I had believed that thou didst err through ignorance: now know I that
thou goest on in thy sins from pure wickedness and of malice
aforethought. Who, thinkest thou, can feel compassion for thy poor soul
and its damnation? For my part, I protest before God and the world that
I am free of guilt as to that damnation; for I have done, and would
have gone on to do without wearying, all that was necessary to further
thy salvation. But henceforward 'twill not be my duty to do more than
to provide that thy body, when thy poor soul shall leave it in such a
desperate state, shall be conveyed to no dedicated place there to be
buried with other departed pious Christians, but to the carrion-pit
with the carcases of dead beasts, or to that place where are bestowed
other God-forgotten and desperate men." Yet this severe threatening
bore as little fruit as the earlier warnings, and that for this reason
only, that I was shamed to confess. O fool that I was! For often I
would tell of my knaves' tricks in great company and would lie to make
them seem the greater; yet now, when I should be converted and confess
my sins to a single man, and him standing in God's place, to receive
absolution, then was I as a stock or a stone. I say the truth: I was
stockish; and stockish I remained: for I answered, "I do serve the
Emperor as a soldier: and if I die as a soldier, 'twill be no wonder if
I, like other soldiers (which cannot always be buried in holy ground,
but must be content to lie anywhere on the field in ditches or in the
maw of wolf and raven), must make shift outside the churchyard."

And so I left the priest, which for his holy zeal for souls had no more
return from me than that once I refused him a hare, which he urgently
begged from me, on the pretence that since it had hanged itself in a
noose and so taken its own life, therefore as a self-murderer it might
not be buried in a holy place.


So were things no better with me, but the longer the worse. Once did
the colonel say to me he would discharge me for a rogue, since I would
do no good. But because I knew he meant it not, I said 'twas easy
enough, if only he would dismiss the hangman too, to bear me company.
So he let it pass, for well could he conceive that I should hold it for
no punishment but for a favour if he would let me go: and against my
will I must remain a musqueteer and starve till the summer. But the
nearer Count von Götz came with his army, the nearer came also my
deliverance: for when that general had his headquarters at Bruchsal, my
friend Herzbruder, that I had so faithfully helped with my money in the
camp before Magdeburg, was sent by the staff on certain business to our
fortress, where all shewed him great honour. I was even then sentry
before the colonel's quarters, and though he wore a coat of black
velvet, yet I knew him at first sight, yet had not the heart to speak
to him at once, as fearing lest, after the way of the world, he should
be ashamed of me or would not know me, for by his clothes he was now of
high rank and I but a lousy musqueteer. But so soon as I was relieved I
asked of his servants his name and rank, to be assured that I did not
address another in his place, and yet I had not the courage to speak to
him, but wrote this billet to him and caused it to be handed to him in
the morning by his chamberlain.

"Monsieur, etc.,--If it should please my worshipful master by his high
influence to deliver one whom he once by his bravery saved from bonds
and fetters on the field of Wittstock, from the most miserable
condition in the world, into which he hath been tossed like a ball by
unkind fortune, 'twould cost him little pains and he would for ever
oblige one, in any case his faithful servant but now the most wretched
and deserted of men.--S. SIMPLICISSIMUS."

No sooner had he read this than he had me to him and "Fellow
countryman," says he, "where is the man that gave thee this?" "Sir," I
answered, "he is a captive in this fortress." "Well," says he, "now go
to him and say I would deliver him an he had the halter round his
neck." "Sir," said I, "'twill not need so much trouble, for I am poor
Simplicissimus himself, come not only to give thanks for his rescue at
Wittstock, but also to beg to be freed from the musquet which I have
been forced against my will to carry." But he suffered me not to make
an end, but by embracing me shewed me how ready he was to help me: in a
word, he did all that one faithful friend can do for another; and
before he asked me how I came into the fortress and to such a service,
he sent his servant to the Jew to buy me a horse and clothing. And
meanwhile I told him how it had fared with me since his father had died
before Magdeburg, and when he heard I was the Huntsman of Soest (whose
many famous exploits he had heard of) he lamented that he had not known
such before, for so could he well have helped me to a company. So when
the Jew came with a whole burden of soldiers' clothes, he chose out the
best for me, bade me clothe myself, and so took me with him to the
colonel. And to him, "Sir," says he, "I have in your garrison found
this good fellow here present, to whom I am so much bounden that I
cannot leave him in this low estate even if his good qualities deserved
no better: and therefore I beg the colonel to do me this favour, and
either to give him a better place or to allow me to take him with me
and to further his promotion in the army, for which perhaps the colonel
has no great opportunity here." At that the colonel crossed himself for
sheer wonder to hear any man praise me; and says he, "Your honour will
forgive me if I say it is his part to try whether I am willing to serve
him so far as his deserts do require: and so far as that goes, let him
demand aught else that lies in my power and he shall understand my
willingness by my actions. But as to this fellow, he is, according to
his own showing, no soldier of mine, but belongs to a regiment of
dragoons, and is besides so pestilent a companion that since he hath
been here he hath given more work to my provost than a whole company,
so that I must needs believe no water will ever drown him." So he ended
with a laugh and wished me luck.

But for Herzbruder this was not enough but he further begged the
colonel not to refuse to invite me to his table, which favour he also
obtained: and this he did to the end that he might tell the colonel in
my presence what he only knew of me by hearsay in Westphalia from the
Count von der Wahl and the commandant of Soest, all which actions he so
praised that all must hold me for a good soldier. And I too carried
myself so modestly that the colonel and his people that had known me
before could but believe that with my new clothes I had become a new
man. Moreover, when the colonel would know how I had gotten the name of
doctor, I told them the whole story of my journey from Paris to
Philippsburg and how many peasants I had cheated to fill my belly: at
which they laughed heartily. And in the end I confessed openly it had
been my intention so to vex and weary him, the colonel, with all manner
of tricks, that he must at last turn me out of the garrison, if he
would live at peace from all the complaints that I caused him.
Thereupon he told of many rogueries I had committed while in the
garrison, for example, how I had boiled up beans, poured grease over
them, and sold the whole for pure grease; also sand for salt, filling
the sacks with sand below and salt above; and again, how I had made a
fool of one here and another there, and had made a jest of every man,
so that during the whole meal they spoke only of me. Yet had I not had
such a friend at court these same acts would have been held deserving
of severe punishment. And so I drew my conclusion how 'twould go at
court if a rogue should gain a prince's favour.

Our meal ended, we found the Jew had no horse which would serve
Herzbruder for me: but as he stood in such esteem that the colonel
could hardly afford to lose his good word, therefore he presented us
with one from his own stable, saddle and bridle and all, on which my
lord Simplicissimus was set and with his friend Herzbruder rode
joyfully forth from the fortress. And some of my comrades did cry,
"Good luck, brother, good luck," but others from envy, "The longer the
halter the greater the luck."


Now on the way Herzbruder agreed with me that I should give myself out
for his cousin that I might receive greater respect: and he for his
part would get me a horse and a servant and send me to the regiment of
Neuneck, wherein I could serve as a volunteer till an officer's place
should fall vacant in the army, to which he could help me. And so in a
wink I became a fellow that looked like a good soldier: but in that
summer I did no great deeds, save that I helped to steal a few cattle
here and there in the Black Forest and made myself well acquainted with
the Breisgau and Alsace. For the rest, I had scant luck, for when my
servant and his horse had been captured by the Weimar troops at
Kenzingen I must needs work the other harder, and in the end so ride
him to death that I was fain to join the order of the "Merode-brüder."
My friend Herzbruder indeed would willingly have equipped me again: but
seeing that I had so soon got rid of the first two horses, he held
back, and thought to let me kick my heels till I had learned more
foresight: nor did I desire it, for I found in my new companions so
pleasant a society that till winter quarters should come I wished for
no better employ.

Now must I tell you somewhat of these Merode brothers, for without
doubt there be some, and specially those that be ignorant of war, that
know not who these people be. And so have I never found any writer that
hath included in his work an account of their manners, customs, rights,
and privileges: besides which 'tis well worth while that not only the
generals of these days but also the peasants should know what this
brotherhood is. And first as concerns their name, I do hope 'twill be
no disgrace to that honourable cavalier in whose service they got that
name, or I could not so openly tack it on to any man. For I once saw a
kind of shoe that had in place of eyelet-holes twisted cords, that a
man might more easily stamp through the mud: and these were called
Mansfeld's shoes because his troops first devised them. Yet should any
call Count Mansfeld himself "Cobbler" on that account, I would count
him for a fool. And so must you understand this name, that will last as
long as Germans do make war: and this was the beginning of it: when
this gentleman (Merode) first brought a newly raised regiment to the
army his recruits proved as weak and crazy in body as the Bretons,[29]
so that they could not endure the marching and other fatigues to which
a soldier must submit in the field, for which reason their brigade soon
became so weak that it could hardly protect the colours, and wherever
you found one or more sick and lame in the market-place or in houses,
and behind fences and hedges, and asked, "Of what regiment?" the answer
was wellnigh always "Of Merode."

Hence it arose that at length all that, whether sick or sound, wounded
or not, were found straggling off the line of march or else did not
have their quarters in the field with their own regiment, were called
"Merode-brothers," just as before they were known as "swine-catchers"
and "bee-taylors": for they be like to the drones in the beehives which
when they have lost their sting can work no more nor make honey, but
only eat. If a trooper lose his horse or a musqueteer his health, or
his wife and child fall ill and must stay behind, at once you have a
pair and a half of Merode-brothers, a crew that can be compared with
none but gipsies, for not only do they straggle round the army in
front, in the flanks, in the middle, as it pleases them, but also they
be like the gipsies in manners and customs. For you can see them
huddled together (like partridges in winter) behind the hedges in the
shade or, if the season require it, in the sun, or else lying round a
fire smoking tobacco and idling, while the good soldier meanwhile must
endure with the colours heat, thirst, hunger, and all manner of misery.
Here again goes a pack of them pilfering alongside the line of march,
while many a poor soldier is ready to sink under the weight of his
arms. They plunder all they can find before, behind, and beside the
army: and what they cannot consume that they spoil, so that the
regiments, when they come to their quarters or into camp, do often find
not even a good draught of water; and when they are strictly forced to
stay with the baggage-train, you will often find this greater in number
than the army itself. And though they do march together and lodge
together, fight and make common cause, yet have they no captain to
order them, no Feldwebel nor sergeant to dust their jackets, no
corporal to rouse them up, no drummer to summon them to picket or
bivouac duty, and, in a word, no one to bring them into the line of
battle like an adjutant nor to assign them their lodgings like a
quartermaster, but they live like noblemen. Howbeit whenever a
commissariat-officer comes, they are the first to claim their share,
undeserved though it be. Yet are the Provost-marshal and his fellows
their greatest plague, being such as at times, when they play their
tricks too scurvily, do set iron bracelets on their hands and feet, or
even adorn them with a hempen collar and hang them up by their precious
necks. They keep no watch, they dig no trenches, they serve on no
forlorn hope, and they will never fight in line of battle, yet they be
well nourished and fed. But what damage the general, the peasant, and
the whole army, in which many such companions are to be found, do
suffer, is not to be described. The basest of horse-boys, that doth
naught but forage, is worth to the general more than one thousand such,
that do make a trade of such foraging and lie at ease without excuse
upon their bear-skins,[30] till they be taken off by the adversary or
be rapped over the fingers when they do meddle with the peasants. So is
the army weakened and the enemy strengthened: and even if a scurvy
rogue of this kind (I mean not the poor sick man, but the riders
without horses that for sheer neglect do let their horses perish, and
betake themselves to the brotherhood to save their skins) do so pass
the summer, yet all the use one can have of him is to equip him again
for the winter at great cost that he may have somewhat to lose in the
next campaign. 'Twere well to couple such together like greyhounds and
teach them to make war in garrison towns, or even make them toil in
chains in the galleys, if they will not serve on foot in the field till
they can get a horse again. I say naught here of the many villages
that, by chance or by malice, have been burned down by them; how many
of their own comrades they entice away, plunder, rob, and even murder,
nor how many a spy can be concealed among them if he know but enough to
give the name of a regiment and a company in the army. To this
honourable brotherhood I now must belong, and so remained till the day
before the Battle of Wittenweier, at which time our headquarters were
at Schüttern: for going then with my comrades into the county of
Geroldseck to steal cows and oxen I was taken prisoner by the troops of
Weimar, that knew far better how to treat us, for they made us take
musquets and distributed us in different regiments: and so I came into
Hattstein's regiment.


Now could I well understand I was born but for misfortune, for some
weeks before the engagement happened I heard some lower officers of
Götz's army that talked of our war: and says one, "Without a battle
will this summer not pass: and if we win, in the next winter we shall
surely take Freiburg and the Forest-towns: but if we earn a defeat we
shall earn winter quarters too." Upon this prophecy I laid my plans and
said to myself, "Now rejoice thee, Simplicissimus, for next spring thou
wilt drink good wine of the Lake and the Neckar and wilt enjoy all that
the troops of Weimar can win." Yet therein I was mightily deceived, for
being now of those troops myself, I was predestinated to help lay siege
to Breisach, for that siege was fully set afoot presently after the
Battle of Wittenweier, and there must I, like other musqueteers, watch
and dig trenches day and night, and gained naught thereby save that I
learnt how to assail a fortress by approaches, to which matter I had
paid but scant attention in the camp before Magdeburg. For the rest, I
was but lousily provided for, for two or three must lodge together, our
purses were empty, and so were wine, beer, and meat a rarity. Apples,
with half as much bread as I could eat, were my finest dainties. And
'twas hard for me to bear this when I reflected on the fleshpots of
Egypt, that is, on the Westphalian hams and sausages of Lippstadt. Yet
did I think but little on my wife, and when I did so I did but plague
myself with the thought that she might be untrue to me. At last was I
so impatient that I declared to my captain how my affairs stood and
wrote by the post to Lippstadt, and so heard from Colonel Saint André
and my father-in-law that they had, by letters to the Duke of Weimar,
secured that my captain should let me go with a pass.

So about a week or four days before Christmas I marched away with a
good musquet on my shoulder from the camp down through the Breisgau,
being minded at this same Christmas-tide to receive at Strassburg
twenty thalers sent to me by my brother-in-law, and then to betake
myself down the Rhine with the traders, since now there were no
Emperor's garrisons on the road. But when I was now past Endingen and
came to a lonely house, a shot was fired at me so close that the ball
grazed the rim of my hat, and forthwith there sprang out upon me a
strong, broad-shouldered fellow, crying to me to lay down my gun. So I
answered, "By God, my friend, not to please thee," and therewith cocked
my piece. Thereupon he whipped out a monstrous thing that was more like
to a headsman's sword than a rapier, and rushed upon me: and now that I
saw his true intent I pulled the trigger and hit him so fair on the
forehead that he reeled, and at last fell. So to take my advantage of
this I quickly wrested his sword out of his hand and would have run him
through with it, but it would not pierce him; and then suddenly he
sprang to his feet and seized me by the hair and I him, but his sword I
had thrown away. So upon that we began such a serious game together as
plainly shewed the bitter rage of each against the other, and yet could
neither be the other's master: now was I on top, and now he, and for a
moment both on our feet, which lasted not long, for each would have the
other's life. But as the blood gushed out in streams from my nose and
mouth I spat it into mine enemy's face, since he so greatly desired it:
and that served me well, for it hindered him from seeing. And so we
hauled each other about in the snow for more than an hour, till we were
so weary that to all appearance the weakness of one could not, with
fists alone, have overcome the weariness of the other; nor could either
have compassed the death of the other of his own strength and without
weapon. Yet the art of wrestling, wherein I had often exercised myself
at Lippstadt, now served me well, or I had doubtless paid the penalty:
for my enemy was stronger than I, and moreover proof against steel. So
when we had wearied us wellnigh to death says he at last, "Brother,
hold, I cry you mercy."

So says I, "Nay, thou hadst best have let me pass at the first." "And
what profit hast thou if I die?" quoth he. "Yea," said I, "and what
profit hadst thou had if thou hadst shot me dead, seeing that I have
not a penny in my pocket?" On that he begged my pardon, and I granted
it, and suffered him to stand up after he had sworn to me solemnly that
he would not only keep the peace but would be my faithful friend and
servant. Yet had I neither believed nor trusted him had I then known of
the villainies he had already wrought. But when we were on our feet we
shook hands upon this, that what had happened should be forgotten, and
each wondered that he had found his master in the other; for he
supposed that I was clad in the same rogue's hide as himself: and that
I suffered him to believe, lest when he had gotten his gun again he
should once more attack me. He had from my bullet a great bruise on his
forehead, and I too had lost much blood. Yet both were sorest about our
necks, which were so twisted that neither could hold his head upright.

But as it drew towards evening, and my adversary told me that till I
came to the Kinzig I should meet neither dog nor cat, still less a man,
whereas he had in a lonely hut not far from the road a good piece of
meat and a draught of the best, I let myself be persuaded and went with
him, he protesting with sighs all the way how it grieved him to have
done me a hurt.


A determined soldier whose business it is to hold his life cheap and to
adventure it easily, is but a stupid creature. Out of a thousand
fellows you could hardly have found one that would have gone as a guest
to an unknown place with one that had even now tried to murder him. On
the way I asked him which army he was of. So he said, he served no
prince but was his own master, and asked of what party I was. I
answered I had served the Duke of Weimar but had now my discharge, and
was minded to betake myself home. Then he asked my name, and when I
said "Simplicius" he turned him round (for I made him walk before me
because I trusted him not) and looked me straight in the face. "Is not
thy name also Simplicissimus?" quoth he. "Yea," says I, "he is a rogue
that denies his own name: and who art thou?" "Why, brother," he
answered, "I am Oliver, whom thou wilt surely remember before
Magdeburg." With that he cast away his gun and fell on his knees to beg
for my pardon that he had meant to do me an ill turn, saying he could
well conceive he could have no better friend in the world than he would
find in me, since according to old Herzbruder's prophecy I was so
bravely to avenge his death. And I for my part did wonder at so strange
a meeting, but he said, "This is nothing new: mountain and valley can
never meet, but what is truly strange is this, that I from a secretary
have become a footpad and thou from a fool a brave soldier. Be ye sure,
brother, that if there were ten thousand like us, we could relieve
Breisach to-morrow and in the end make ourselves masters of the whole

With such talk we came at nightfall to a little remote labourer's
cottage: and though such boasting pleased me not, yet I said "Yea,"
chiefly because his rogue's temper was well known to me, and though I
trusted him not at all, yet went I with him into the said house, in
which a peasant was even then lighting a fire: to him said Oliver,
"Hast thou aught ready cooked?" "Nay," said the peasant, "but I have
still the cold leg of veal that I brought from Waldkirch." "Well then,"
said Oliver, "go bring it here and likewise the little cask of wine."
So when the peasant was gone, "Brother," said I (for so I called him to
be safer with him) "thou hast a willing host." "Oh, devil thank the
rogue," says he, "I do keep his wife and child for him and also he doth
earn good booty for himself; for I do leave for him all the clothes
that I capture, for him to turn to his own profit." So I asked where he
kept his wife and child; to which Oliver answered, he had them in
safety in Freiburg, where he visited them twice a week, and brought him
from thence his food, as well as powder and shot. And further he told
me he had long practised this freebooter's trade, and that it profited
him more than to serve any lord: nor did he think to give it up till he
had properly filled his purse. "Brother," says I, "thou livest in a
dangerous estate, and if thou art caught in such a villainy, how
thinkest thou 'twould fare with thee?" "Aha," says he, "I perceive thou
art still the old Simplicissimus: I know well that he that would win
must stake somewhat: but remember that their lordships[31] of Nuremberg
hang no man till they catch him." So I answered, "Yea, but put the
case, brother, that thou art not caught, which is yet but unlikely,
since the pitcher that goes often to the well must break at last, yet
is such a life as thou leadest the most shameful in the world, so that
I scarce can believe thou canst desire to die in it."

"What?" says he, "the most shameful? My brave Simplicissimus, I assure
thee that robbery is the most noble exercise that one in these days can
find in the world. Tell me how many kingdoms and principalities be
there that have not been stolen by violence and so taken. Or is it ever
counted for evil of a king or a prince in the whole world that he
enjoys the revenues of his lands, which commonly have been gained by
his forefathers with violence and conquest? Yea, what could be named
more noble than the trade that I now follow? I well perceive that thou
wouldst fain preach me a sermon showing how many have been hanged,
drawn, and quartered for murder and robbery: but that I know already,
for so the laws do command: yet wilt thou see none but poor and
miserable thieves so put to death, as they indeed deserve for
undertaking this noble craft, which is reserved for men of high parts
and capacity. But when hast thou ever seen a person of quality punished
by justice for that he has oppressed his people too much? Yea, and more
than that, when is the usurer punished, that yet doth pursue this noble
trade in secret, and that too under the cloak of Christian love? Why,
then, should I be punishable, I that practise it openly without
concealment or hypocrisy? My good Simplicissimus, thou hast never read
thy Machiavel. I am a man of honest mood, and do follow this manner of
life openly and without shame. I do fight and do adventure my life upon
it like the heroes of old, and do know that such trades, and likewise
he that follows them, stand ever in peril: but since I do adventure my
life thereupon, it doth follow without contradiction that 'tis but just
and fair I should be allowed to follow my trade."

To that I answered, "Whether robbery and theft be allowed to thee or
not, yet do I know that this is against the order of nature, that will
not have it so that any man should do to another what he would not have
done to himself. And this is wrong, too, as against the laws of this
world, which ordain that thieves shall be hanged and robbers beheaded
and murderers broken on the wheel: and lastly, 'tis also against the
laws of God, which is the chiefest point of all: for He doth leave no
sin unpunished." "Yea," said Oliver, "'tis as I said: thou art still
the same old Simplicissimus that hath not yet studied his Machiavel:
but if I could but set up a monarchy in this fashion, then would I fain
see who would preach to me against it."

And so had we disputed longer: but then came the peasant with meat and
drink, and so we sat together and appeased our hunger, of which I at
least had much need.


Our food was white bread and a cold leg of veal. And moreover we had a
good sup of wine and a warm room. "Aha! Simplicissimus," said Oliver,
"'tis better here than in the trenches before Breisach." "True," said
I, "if one could enjoy such a life with safety and a good conscience."
At that he laughed loud, and says he, "Yea, are the poor devils in the
trenches safer than we, that must every moment expect a sally of the
garrison? My good Simplicissimus, I do plainly see that, though thou
hast cast aside thy fool's cap, thou hast kept thy fool's head, that
cannot understand what is good and what is bad. And if thou wert any
but that same Simplicissimus that after Herzbruder's prophecy must
avenge my death, I would make thee to confess that I do lead a nobler
life than any baron." With that I did think, "How will it go now? Thou
must devise another manner of speech, or this barbarous creature with
the help of his peasant may well make an end of thee." So says I, "Who
did ever hear at any time that the scholar should know more than the
master? And so, brother, if thou hast so happy a life as thou dost
pretend, give me a share in thy good luck, for of good luck I have
great need."

To which Oliver answered, "Brother, be thou assured that I love thee as
mine own self, and that the affront I put upon thee to-day doth pain me
more than the bullet wherewith thou didst wound my forehead, when thou
didst so defend thyself as should any proper man of courage. Therefore
why should I deny thee anything? If it please thee, stay thou here with
me: I will provide for thee as for myself. Or if thou hast no desire to
stay with me, then will I give thee a good purse of money and go with
thee whithersoever thou wilt. And that thou mayest believe that these
words do come from my heart, I will tell thee the reason wherefore I do
hold thee in such esteem: thou dost know how rightly old Herzbruder did
hit it off with his prophecies: and look you, that same did so prophesy
to me when we lay before Magdeburg, saying, 'Oliver, look upon our fool
as thou wilt, yet will he astonish thee by his courage, and play thee
the worst tricks thou hast ever known, for which thou shalt give him
good cause at a time when ye know not one another. Yet will he not only
spare thy life when it is in his hands, but after a long time he will
come to the place where thou art to be slain: and there will he avenge
thy death.' And for the sake of this prophecy, my dear Simplicissimus,
am I ready to share with thee the very heart in my breast. For already
is a part of that prophecy fulfilled, seeing that I gave thee good
reason to shoot me in the head like a valiant soldier and to take my
sword from me (which no other hath ever done) and to grant me my life,
when I lay under thee and was choking in blood: and so I doubt not that
the rest of the prophecy which concerns my life shall be fulfilled. And
from this matter of the revenge I must conclude, brother, that thou art
my true friend, for an thou wert not, thou wouldest not take upon thee
to avenge me. And now thou hast the innermost thoughts of my heart: so
now do thou tell me what thou art minded to do." Upon that I thought,
"The devil trust thee, for I do not: if I take money from thee for the
journey I may well be the first whom thou slayest: and if I stay with
thee I must expect some time to be hanged with thee." So I determined I
would befool him, tarrying with him till I could find opportunity to be
quit of him: and so I said if he would suffer me I would stay with him
a day or a week to see if I could accustom myself to his manner of
life: and if it pleased me he should find in me a true friend and a
good soldier: and if it pleased me not, we could at any time part in
peace. And on that he drank to my health, yet I trusted him not, and
feigned to be drunken before I was so, to see if he would be at me when
I could not defend myself.

Meanwhile the fleas did mightily plague me, whereof I had brought good
store from Breisach; for when it grew warm they were no longer content
to remain in my rags but walked abroad to take their pleasure. Of that
Oliver was aware, and asked me had I lice? To which I answered, "Yea,
indeed, and more than I can hope to have ducats in my life." "Say not
so," said Oliver, "for if thou wilt abide with me thou canst earn more
ducats than thou hast lice now." I answered, "'Tis as impossible as
that I can be quit of my lice." "Yea," says he, "but both are
possible": and with that he commanded the peasant to fetch me a suit
that lay in a hollow tree near the house; which was a grey hat, a cape
of elk-skin, a pair of scarlet breeches, and a grey coat: and shoes and
stockings would he give me next day. So as I saw him so generous I
trusted him somewhat better than before, and went to bed content.


So the next morning, as day began to break, says Oliver, "Up,
Simplicissimus; we will fare forth in God's name to see what we can
come by." "Good Lord," thought I, "must I then in thy holy name go
a-thieving?" I that aforetime when I left my good hermit could not hear
without marvelling when one man said to another, "Come, brother, we
will in God's name take off a cup of wine together"? for that I counted
a double sin, that a man should be drunken, and drunken in God's name.
"My heavenly Father," thought I, "how am I changed since then! My
faithful Lord, what will at last become of me if I turn not? Oh! check
thou my course, that will assuredly bring me to hell if I repent not."

So speaking and so thinking did I follow Oliver to a village wherein
was no living creature: and there to have a better view we did go up
into the church steeple: there had he in hiding the shoes and stockings
that he had promised me the night before, and moreover two loaves of
bread, some pieces of dried meat, and a barrel half full of wine, which
would have easily afforded him provision for a week. So while I was
putting on what he gave me he told me here was the place where he was
wont to wait when he hoped for good booty, to which end he had so well
provisioned himself, and, in a word, told me he had several such
places, provided with meat and drink, so that if he could not find a
friend at home in one place he might catch him elsewhere. For this must
I praise his prudence, yet gave him to understand that 'twas not well
so to misuse a place that was dedicated to God's service. "What," says
he, "misuse? The churches themselves if they could speak would confess
that what I do in them is naught in comparison with the sins that have
aforetime been committed in them. How many a man and how many a woman,
thinkst thou, have come into this church since it was built, on
pretence of serving God, but truly only to shew their new clothes,
their fine figure, and all their bravery! Here cometh one into church
like a peacock and putteth himself so before the altar as he would pray
the very feet off the saints' images! And there standeth another in a
corner to sigh like the publican in the temple, which sighs be yet only
for his mistress on whose face he feedeth his eyes, yea, for whose sake
he is come thither. Another cometh to the church with a packet of
papers like one that gathereth contributions for a fire, yet more to
put his debtors in mind than to pray: and an he had not known those
debtors would be in the church he had sat at home over his ledgers.
Yea, it doth happen often that when our masters will give notice of
aught to a parish, it must be done of a Sunday in the church, for which
reason many a farmer doth fear the church more than any poor sinner
doth fear the judge and jury. And thinkest thou not there be many
buried in churches that have deserved sword, gallows, fire, and wheel?
Many a man could not have brought his lecherous intent to a good end
had not the church helped him. Is a bargain to be driven or a loan to
be granted, 'tis done at the church door. Many a usurer there is that
can spare no time in the week to reckon up his rogueries, that can sit
in church of a Sunday and devise how to practise fresh villainies. Yea,
here they sit during mass and sermon to argue and talk as if the Church
were built for such purpose only: and there be matters talked of that
in private houses none would speak about. Some do sit and snore as if
they had hired the place to sleep in: and some do naught but gossip of
others and do whisper, 'How well did the pastor touch up this one or
that one in his sermon!' and others do give heed to the discourse but
for this reason only! not to be bettered by it, but that they may carp
at and blame their minister if he do but stumble once at a word (as
they understand the matter). And here will I say naught of the stories
I have read of amorous intercourse that hath its beginning and end in a
church; for I could not now remember all I could tell thee of that. Yet
canst thou see how men do not only defile churches with their vices
while they live but do fill them with their vanity and folly after they
be dead. Go thou now into a church, and there by the gravestones and
epitaphs thou wilt see how they that the worms have long ago devoured
do yet boast themselves: look thou up and there wilt thou see more
shields and helmets, and swords and banners, and boots and spurs than
in many an armoury: so that 'tis no wonder that in this war the
peasants have fought for their own in churches as if 'twere in
fortresses. And why, then, should it not be allowed to me--to me, I
say, as a soldier--to ply my trade in a church, whereas aforetime
two holy fathers did for the mere sake of precedence cause such a
blood-bath in a church[32] that 'twas more like to a slaughter-house
than a holy place? Yea, I would not so act if any did come here to do
God's service; for I am but of the lay people: yet they, that were
clergymen, respected not the high majesty of the emperor himself. And
why should it be forbidden to me to earn my living by the church when
so many do so earn it? And is it just that so many a rich man can for a
fee be buried in the church to bear witness of his own pride and his
friends' pride, while yet the poor man (that may have been as good a
Christian as he and perchance a better), that can pay naught, must be
buried in a corner without? 'Tis as a man looks upon it: had I but
known that thou wouldst scruple so to lay wait in a church I had
devised another answer for thee: but in the meanwhile have thou
patience till I can persuade thee to a better mind."

Now would I fain have answered Oliver that they were but lewd fellows
that did dishonour the churches as did he, and that they would yet have
their reward. Yet as I trusted him not, and had already once quarrelled
with him, I let it pass. Thereafter he asked me to tell him how it had
fared with me since we parted before Wittstock, and moreover why I had
had the jester's clothes on when I came into the camp before Magdeburg.
Yet as my throat did mightily pain me, I did excuse myself and prayed
him he would tell me the story of his life, that perchance might have
strange happenings in it. To that did he agree, and began in this
manner to tell me of his wicked life.


"My father," said Oliver, was born not far from Aachen town of poor
parents, for which reason he must in his youth take service with a rich
trader that dealt in copper wares: and there did he carry himself so
well that his master had him taught to write, read, and reckon, and set
him over his whole household as did Potiphar Joseph. And that was well
for both parties, for the merchant's wealth grew more and more through
my father's zeal and prudence, and my father became prouder and prouder
through his prosperity, so that he grew ashamed of his parents and
despised them, of which they complained, yet to no purpose. So when he
was five-and-twenty years of age, then died the merchant, and left an
aged widow and one daughter, which last had played the fool and was not
barren: but her child soon followed his grandfather. Thereupon my
father, when he saw her at once fatherless and childless but not
moneyless, cared not at all that she could wear no maiden's garland
again, but began to pay her court, the which her mother well allowed,
not only because her daughter might so recover her reputation but also
because my father possessed all knowledge of the business and in
especial could well wield the Jews' Spear.[33] And so by this marriage
was my father in a moment a rich man and I his son and heir, whom for
his wealth's sake he caused to be tenderly brought up: so was I kept in
clothes like a young nobleman, in food like a baron, and in attendance
like a count, for all which I had more to thank copper and calamine
than silver and gold.

"So before I reached my seventh year I had given good proof of what I
was to be, for the nettle that is to be stings early: no roguery was
too bad for me, and where I could play any man a trick I failed not to
do so, for neither father nor mother punished me for it. I tramped with
young rascals like myself through thick and thin in the streets and was
already bold enough to fight boys stronger than myself: and did I get
beat, my foolish parents would say, 'How now? Is a great fellow like
that to beat a mere child?' But if I won (for I would scratch and bite
and throw stones), then said they, 'Our little Oliver will turn out a
fine fellow.' And with that my indolence grew: for praying I was yet
too young: and if I did curse like a trooper, 'twas said I knew not
what I said. So I became worse and worse till I was sent to school: and
there I did carry out what other wicked lads do mostly think of, yet
dare not practise. And if I spoiled or tore my books, my mother would
buy me others lest my miserly father should be wroth. My schoolmaster
did I plague most, for he might not deal with me hardly, receiving many
presents from my parents, whose foolish love to me was well known to
him. In summer would I catch crickets and bring them secretly into the
schoolroom, where they did play a merry tune. In winter would I steal
snuff and scatter it in that place where 'tis the custom to whip the
boys. And so if any stiff-necked scholar should struggle my powder
would fly about and cause an agreeable pastime: for then must all
sneeze together.

"So now I deemed myself too great a man for small roguery, but all my
striving was for higher things. Often would I steal from one and put
what I had stolen in another's pouch to earn him stripes, and with
these tricks was I so sly that I was scarce ever caught. And of the
wars we waged (wherein I was commonly colonel) and the blows I
received--for I had ever a scratched face and a head full of bruises--I
need not to speak: for every man doth know how boys do behave: and so
from what I have said canst thou easily guess how in other respects I
spent my youth."


"Now the more my father's riches increased, the more flatterers and
parasites he had round him, all which did praise my fine capacities for
study, but said no word of all my other faults or at least would excuse
them, seeing well that any that did not so could never stand well with
my father and mother. And so had they more pleasure in their son than
ever had a tomtit that has reared a young cuckoo. So they hired for me
a special tutor, and sent me with him to Liège, more to learn foreign
tongues than to study: for I was to be no theologian, but a trader. He,
moreover, had his orders not to be hard with me, lest that should breed
in me a fearful and servile spirit. He was to allow me freely to
consort with the students, lest I might become shamefaced, and must
remember that 'twas to make, not a monk, but a man of the world of me,
one that should know the difference between black and white.

"But my said tutor needed no such instruction, being of himself given
to all manner of knaveries. And how could he forbid me such or rebuke
me for my little faults when he himself committed greater? To wine and
women was he by nature most inclined, but I to wrestling and fighting:
so did I prowl about the streets at night with him and his likes and
learned of him in brief space more lechery than Latin. But as to my
studies, therein I could rely on a good memory and a keen wit, and was
therefore the more careless, but for the rest I was sunk in all manner
of vice, roguery, and wantonness: and already was my conscience so wide
that one could have driven a waggon and horses through it. I heeded
nothing if I could but read Berni or Burchiello or Aretine during the
sermon in church: nor did I hear any part of the service with greater
joy than when 'twas said 'Ite missa est.'

"All which time I thought no little of myself but carried me right
foppishly: every day was for me a feast-day, and because I behaved
myself as a man of estate, and spent not only the great sums that
my father sent me for my needs, but also my mother's plentiful
pocket-money, therefore the women began to pay us court, but specially
to my tutor. From these baggages I learned to wench and to game: how to
quarrel, to wrestle, and to fight I knew well before, and my tutor in
no wise forbade my debaucheries, since he himself was glad to take part
in them. So for a year and a half did this monstrous fine life endure,
till my father did hear of it from one that was his factor in Liège,
with whom indeed we had at first lodged: this man received orders to
keep a sharper eye upon us, to dismiss my tutor at once, to shorten my
tether, and to examine into my expense more carefully. Which vexed us
both mightily: and though he, my tutor, had now his congé, yet did we
hold together, one way or the other, both by day and night: yet since
we could no longer spend money as before, we did join ourselves to a
rogue that robbed folks of their cloaks at night; yea, or did drown
them in the Meuse: and what we in this fashion earned with desperate
peril of our lives, that we squandered with our whores, and let all
studies go their way.

"So one night as we, after our custom, were prowling by night, to
plunder students of their cloaks, we were overcome, my tutor run
through the body, and I, with five others that were right rascals,
caught and laid by the heels: and next day we being examined and I
naming my father's factor, that was a man much respected, the same was
sent for, questioned concerning me, and I on his surety set free, yet
so that I must remain in his house in arrest till further order taken.
Meanwhile was my tutor buried, the other five punished as rogues,
robbers and murderers, and my father informed of my case: upon which he
came himself with all haste to Liège, settled my business with money,
preached me a sharp sermon, and shewed me what trouble and unhappiness
I had caused him, yea, and told me it seemed as my mother would go
desperate by reason of my ill conduct: and further threatened me, in
case I did not behave better, he would disinherit me and send me
packing to the devil. So I promised amendment and rode home with him:
and so ended my studies."


"But when my father had me safely home, he found I was in very truth
spoiled. I had proved no worshipful dominie as he had hoped, but a
quarreller and a braggart, that imagined he knew everything. So hardly
was I warm at home when he said to me, 'Hearken, Oliver, I do see thine
asses' ears a-growing fast: thou beest a useless cumberer of the
ground, a rogue that will never be worth aught: to learn a trade art
thou too old: to serve a lord thou art too insolent, and to understand
and follow my profession thou art but useless. Alas, what have I
accomplished with all the cost that I have spent on thee? For I did
hope to have my joy in thee and to make of thee a man: and now must I
buy thee out of the hangman's hand. Oh fie, for shame! 'Twere best I
should set thee in a treadmill and let thee eat the bread of affliction
till some better luck arise for thee, when thou shalt have purged thee
of thine iniquities.'

"Now when I must day by day hear such lectures, at the last was I out
of all patience, and told my father roundly I was not guilty of all,
but he and my tutor, that led me astray: and had he no joy of me, so
was he rightly served, that had given his parents no joy of him, but
had let them come to beggary and starvation. On that he reached for a
stick and would have paid me for my plain speaking, swearing loud and
long he would have me to the House of Correction at Amsterdam. So away
I went, and the same night betook me to his newly bought farm, watched
my opportunity, and rode off to Cologne on the best horse I could find
in his stables.

"This horse did I sell, and forthwith lit upon even such a crew of
rogues and thieves as I had left at Liège. So at play they did know me
for what I was and I them, for both did know so much. Straightway I was
made one of their brotherhood, and was their helper in their nightly
excursions. Yet when presently one of our band was caught in the Old
Market as he would relieve a lady of quality of her heavy purse, and
specially when I had seen him stand an hour in the pillory with an iron
collar on, and, further, had seen one of his ears cut off and himself
well whipped, that trade pleased me no more, but I enlisted as a
soldier: for just then the colonel with whom we served before Magdeburg
was a-recruiting. Meanwhile had my father learned where I was, and so
did write to his factor he should inquire concerning me: which befell
even then when I had drawn my first pay: and that the factor told my
father, which gave orders that he should buy me out, cost it what it
might: but when I heard that, I had fear of the House of Correction,
and so would not be bought out. Through this was my colonel aware I was
a rich merchant's son, and so fixed his price so high that my father
left me as I was, intending to let me kick my heels awhile in the wars
and so perchance come to a better mind.

"'Twas not long before it happened that my colonel's writer died, in
whose place he employed me, as thou knowest. And thereupon I began to
have high thoughts, in hope to rise from one rank to another, and so in
the end to become a general. From our secretary I did learn how to
carry myself, and my intent to grow to a great man caused me to behave
myself as a man of honour and repute, and no longer, as of old time, to
play rogues' tricks. Yet had I no luck till our secretary died, and
then methought, 'Thou must see to it that thou hast his place.' And all
I could I spent: for when my mother heard I had begun to do well she
ever sent me moneys. Yet because young Herzbruder was beloved by our
colonel and was preferred to me, I purposed to have him out of the way,
specially because I was sure the colonel would give him the secretary's
place. And at the delaying of the promotion which I so much desired I
was so impatient that I had me made bullet proof by our Provost, so to
fight with Herzbruder and settle matters by the sword: yet could I not
civilly come at him. Yea, and our Provost warned me from my purpose and
said, 'Even if thou makest him a sacrifice, yet will it do thee more
harm than good, for thou wilt but have murdered the colonel's

"Yet did he advise me I should steal somewhat in Herzbruder's presence
and give it to him: for so could he bring it about that he should lose
the colonel's favour. To that I agreed, and stole the parcel-gilt cup
at the colonel's christening-feast and gave it to the Provost, by means
of which he rid me of young Herzbruder, as thou wilt surely remember,
even then when he, by his sorcery, filled thy pockets with puppies."


All was green and yellow before mine eyes when I must so hear from
Oliver's own mouth how he had gone about with my best friend, and yet I
could take no revenge: mine inclination thereto I must needs pocket up
lest he should mark it: and so begged he should tell me how it had
further fared with him before the battle at Wittstock. "Why, in that
encounter," said Oliver, "I carried myself like no quill-driver that is
set upon his inkstand, but like a good soldier, being well mounted and
bullet-proof, and moreover being counted in no squadron: for so could I
show my proper valour, as one that doth mean to rise higher by his
sword or to die. So did I fly around our brigade like a whirlwind, both
to exercise myself and to shew our men I was more fit for arms than for
the pen. Yet all availed nothing, for the Swedes' luck prevailed, and I
must share the ill-fortune of our folk and must accept that quarter
which a little before I would have given to no man.

"So was I with the other prisoners put into a foot regiment, which same
was presently sent away to Pomerania on furlough: where, since there
were many raw recruits, and I had shown a very notable courage, I was
promoted corporal. Yet I was minded to make no long stay there, but as
soon as might be to return to the emperor's service, to which party I
was ever most affected, and that although doubtless my advancement had
been far quicker among the Swedes. And my escape I brought to pass
thus. I was sent out with seven musqueteers to a neighbouring post to
demand the contribution, which was in arrears: and so having got
together some eight hundred gulden or more, I shewed my fellows the
gold and caused their eyes to lust after it, so much so that we agreed
to divide the same and so make our escape. This being settled, I did
persuade three of them to help me to shoot the other four dead, and
such being accomplished we divided the money, namely, 200 gulden to
each: and with that we marched off to Westphalia. Yet on the way did I
persuade one of the three to help me to knock the other two on the
head; and then when we two were to divide the spoil I did make an end
with the last man, and so came by good luck safely with the money to
Wesel, where I took up my quarters and made merry with my money.

"But when this was now nearly spent, and I still had my love of fine
living, then did I hear of a certain young soldier of Soest and what
fine booty he had gained, and what a name he had earned: and so was I
heartened up to follow in his footsteps. And as they called him, by
reason of his green clothing, the Huntsman, so did I have such green
raiment made for myself, and under his name did so plunder and steal in
his and our own quarters, and that with every circumstance of wanton
mischief, that it came near to this, that foraging parties should be
forbidden on both sides. He ('tis true) stayed at home, but when I
still went on a-mousing in his name all I could, then did that same
huntsman for that same reason challenge me. But the devil might fight
with him: for, as 'twas told me, he had ever the devil in his jacket:
and that devil had soon made an end of my wound-proof. Yet could I not
escape his craft, for with the help of a servant of his did he beguile
me with my comrade into a sheep-fold, and there would force me, in the
presence of two living devils that were his seconders by his side, to
fight with him by moonlight. Which when I refused, they did compel me
to the most contemptible actions in the world, and that my comrade soon
spread abroad: of which I was so shamed that I up and away to Lippstadt
and there took service with the Hessians: yet there I remained not
long, where none could trust me, but tramped away further to the Dutch.
And there did I find, 'tis true, more punctual payment, but too slow a
war for my humour: for there were we kept in like monks and must live
as chastely as nuns.

"So since I could no more shew my face among either Imperials, Swedes
or Hessians, had I been willing wantonly to run the risk, as having
deserted from all three, and since I could now no longer stay with the
Hollanders, having violently deflowered a maiden, which act seemed
likely presently to bring about its results, I thought to take refuge
with the Spaniards, in the hope to escape home from them and to see how
my parents fared. Yet as I set about that plan I missed my points of
the compass so foully that I fell among the Bavarians, with whom I
marched among the Merodians, from Westphalia as far as the Breisgau,
and earned me a living by dicing and stealing. When I had aught I spent
my day on the gaming-ground and my night among the sutlers: had I
naught, I stole what I could, and often in a day two or three horses,
both from pasture and from stables, sold them, and gamed away what I
got, and then at night I would burrow under the soldiers' tents and
steal away their purses from under their very heads. Were we on the
march I would keep a watchful eye on the portmantles that the women did
carry behind them; these would I cut away. And so I kept myself alive
till the battle before Wittenweier, wherein I was made prisoner, once
more thrust into a foot-regiment, and so made one of Weimar's soldiers.
But the camp before Breisach liked me not, so I left it early and went
off to forage for myself, as thou seest I do. And be thou well assured,
brother, that already I have laid low many a proud fellow and have
earned a noble stock of money: nor am I minded to cease till I see I
can get no more. And now it doth come to thy turn to tell me of thy
life and fortunes."


Now when Oliver had ended his discourse, I could not enough admire the
Providence of God. Now could I understand how the good God had not
alone protected me like a father from this monster in Westphalia, but
had, moreover, so brought it about that he should go in fear of me. Now
could I see what a trick I had played on him, to which the old
Herzbruder's prophecy did apply, yet which he himself expounded, as may
be seen in the fourteenth chapter, in another way, and that to my great
profit. For had this beast but known I was the Huntsman of Soest he had
surely made me drink of the same cup I served to him before at the
sheep-fold. I considered, moreover, how wisely and darkly Herzbruder
had delivered his predictions, and thought in myself that, though his
prophecies were wont commonly to turn out true, yet 'twould go hard and
must happen strangely if I was to revenge the death of one that had
deserved the wheel and the gallows: I found it also good for my health
that I had not first told him of my life, for so had I told him the way
how I before had disgraced him. And as I thought thereupon, I did mark
in Oliver's face certain scratches that he had not at Magdeburg, and so
did conceive that these scars were the tokens of Jump-i'-th'-field,
when at that former time he, in the likeness of a devil, did thus
scrabble his face, and so asked him whence he had those signs, adding
thereto that, though he had told me his whole life, yet I must gather
that he had left out the best part, since he had not yet told me who
had so marked him.

"Ah, brother," answered he, "were I to tell all my tricks and rogueries
the time would be too long both for you and me: yet to shew thee that I
conceal from thee none of my adventures I will tell thee the truth of
this, though methinks 'tis but a sorry story for me.

"I am fully assured that from my mother's womb I was predestined to a
scratched face, for in my very childhood I was so treated by my
schoolfellows when I wrangled with them: and so likewise one of those
devils that waited on the Huntsman of Soest handled me so roughly that
six weeks long one could see the marks of his claws in my face: but the
scars thou seest in my face had another beginning, to wit this. When I
lay in winter quarters with the Swedes in Pomerania, and had a fair
mistress by me, mine host must leave his bed, for us to lie there: but
his cat that had been used to sleep therein would come every night and
plague us, as one that could not so easily spare her wonted bed-place
as her master and mistress had done: this did vex my wench (that could
at no time abide a cat) so sore that she did swear loudly she would
shew me no more favour till I had made an end of this cat. So being
desirous to have her society yet, I devised how not only to please her
but so to avenge myself of the cat as to have sport therein. With that
I packed the beast in a bag, took my host's two great watch-dogs (which
at any time had no love for cats, but were familiar with me), and the
cat in the sack, to a broad and pleasant meadow, and there thought to
have my jest, for I deemed, since there was no tree hard by for the cat
to escape to, that the dogs would chase her up and down for a while on
the plain like a hare, and so would afford me fine pastime. But zounds;
it turned out for me not only dogs' luck, as people say, but cats' luck
(which sort of luck few can have known or 'twould assuredly long ago
have been made a proverb of), since the cat, when I did open the bag,
seeing only an open field and on it her two fierce enemies, and nothing
high whereto she could escape, would not so easily take the field and
so be torn to pieces, but betook herself to mine own head as finding no
higher place, and as I sought to keep her away my hat fell off: so the
more I tried to pull her down, the deeper she stuck in her claws so as
to hold fast. Such a combat the dogs could not endure to see, but
joined the sport themselves, and jumped up with open jaws in front,
behind, and on either side of me to come at the cat, which yet would
not leave my head, but maintained her place by fastening of her claws
both in my face and my head, as best she could. And if she missed to
give the dogs a pat with her glove of thorns, be sure she missed not
me: yet because she did sometimes strike the dogs on the nose,
therefore they busied themselves to bring her down with their claws,
and in so doing dealt me many a shrewd scratch in the face: yea, and if
I with both hands strove to tear the cat from her place, then would she
bite and scratch me to the best of her ability. And thus was I, both by
the dogs and the cat at once so attacked, so mauled, and so terribly
handled that I scarce looked like a man at all, and, what was worst of
all, I must run the risk that if they so snapped at the cat they might
by chance catch me by the ear or nose and bite it off. My collar and
jerkin were so bloody that they were like to a smith's travise on St.
Stephen's Day, when the horses are let blood; nor could I devise any
means to save myself from this torment, but at last must cast myself on
the ground that the dogs might so seize the cat, unless I was willing
to allow my poll to continue to be their battle-ground: 'tis true the
dogs did then kill the cat, but I had by no means so noble sport from
this as I had hoped, but only mockery and such a face as now thou seest
before thee. At which I was so enraged that I shot both dogs dead, and
did so bastinado my mistress that had given me cause for this fool's
trick that she ran away from me, doubtless because she could no longer
love so horrible a mask."


Fain would I have laughed at this story of Oliver's, yet must show
compassion only: and even as I began to tell him my history we saw a
coach come up the road with two outriders. On that we came down from
the church-tower and posted ourselves in a house that stood by the
wayside and was very convenient for the waylaying of passengers. I must
keep my loaded piece in reserve, but Oliver with one shot brought down
at once one rider and his horse before they were ware of us: upon which
the other forthwith fled: and while I, with my piece cocked, made the
coachman halt and descend, Oliver leapt upon him and with his broad
sword did cleave his head to the teeth, yea, and would thereafter have
butchered the lady and the children that sat in the carriage and
already looked more like dead folk than live ones: but I roundly said,
that I would not have, but told him if he would do such a deed he must
first slay me.

"Ah," says he, "thou foolish Simplicissimus, I had never believed thou
wert so wicked a fellow as thou dost seem." "But brother," said I,
"what hast thou against these innocents? an they were men that could
defend themselves 'twere another story." "How," he answered: "cook your
eggs and there will be no chickens hatched. I know these young
cockatrices well: their father the major is a proper skinflint, and the
worst jacket-duster in the world."

And with such words he would have gone on to slay them: yet I
restrained him so long that in the end I softened him: and 'twas a
major's wife, her maids, and three fair children, for whom it grieved
me much: these we shut up in a cellar that they might not too soon
betray us, in which they had nothing to eat but fruit and turnips till
they might chance to be released by some one: thereafter we plundered
the coach, and rode off with seven fine horses into the wood where it
was thickest.

So when we had tied them up and I had looked round me a little I was
ware of a fellow that stood stock-still by a tree not far off: him I
pointed out to Oliver and said 'twere well to be on our guard. "Why,
thou fool," said he, "'tis a Jew that I did tie up there: but the rogue
is long ago frozen and dead." So he goes up to him and chucks him under
the chin, and says he, "Aha; thou dog, thou didst bring me many a fair
ducat": and as he so shook his chin there rolled out of his mouth a few
doubloons that the poor rogue had rescued even in the hour of death. At
that Oliver put his hand in his mouth and brought out twelve doubloons
and a ruby of great price, and says he, "This booty have I to thank
thee for, Simplicissimus"; and with that gave me the ruby, took the
gold himself, and went off to fetch the peasant, bidding me in the
meanwhile to stay by the horses and beware lest the dead Jew should
bite me, whereby he meant I had no such courage as himself.

But he being gone to fetch his peasant, I had heavy thoughts, and did
consider in what a dangerous state I now lived. And first I thought I
would mount one of the horses and escape: yet did I fear lest Oliver
should catch me in the act and shoot me; for I had my suspicion that he
did but try my good faith for this once, and so stood near by to watch
me. Again I thought to run away on foot, but then must fear, even if I
should give Oliver the slip, that I should not escape from the peasants
of the Black Forest, which were then famous for the knocking of
soldiers on the head. "And suppose," said I, "thou takest all the
horses with thee, so that Oliver shall have no means to pursue thee,
yet if thou be caught by the troops of Weimar, thou wilt as a convicted
murderer be broken on the wheel." In a word, I could devise no safe
means for my flight, and chiefly because I was there in a desolate
forest where I knew neither highway nor by-way: and besides all that my
conscience was now awake and did torment me, because I had stopped the
coach and had been the cause that the driver had so miserably lost his
life, and both the ladies with the innocent children had been laid fast
in the cellar, wherein perchance, like this Jew, they must perish and
die. Then again I would comfort me on the score of mine innocence, as
being compelled against my will: yet there contrariwise my conscience
answered me, I had long before deserved for my rogueries to fall into
the hands of justice in the company of this arch-murderer, and so
receive my due reward, and perhaps, methought, just Heaven had so
provided that I should even so be brought to book. At the last I began
to hope for better things and besought God's goodness to help me forth
from this plight, and being in so pious a mood I said to myself, "Thou
fool, thou art neither imprisoned nor fettered: the whole wide world
stands open before thee: hast thou not horses enough to take to flight?
or, if thou wilt not ride, yet are thy feet swift enough to save thee."

But as I thus plagued and tormented myself and yet could come to no
plan, came Oliver back with our peasant, which guided us with the
horses to another farm, where we did bait and, taking turn by turn, did
each get two hours' sleep. After midnight we rode on, and about noon
came to the uttermost boundary of the Switzers, where Oliver was well
known, and had us nobly entertained: and while we made merry the host
sends for a couple of Jews, that bought the horses from us at half
their price. And all was so plainly and clearly settled that there was
little need of parley. For the Jews' chief question was, were the
horses from the emperor's side or the Swedes': and thereupon hearing
they were from Weimar's army, "Then," said they, "must we ride them not
to Basel but into Swabia to the Bavarians." At which close acquaintance
and familiarity I must needs wonder.

So we feasted like princes, and heartily did I enjoy the good
forest-trout and the savoury crayfish. And when 'twas evening we took
to the road again, loading our peasant with baked meats and other
victual like a pack-horse: with all which we came the next day to a
lonesome farm, where we were friendly welcomed and entertained, and by
reason of ill weather stayed two days: thereafter through woods and
by-ways we came to that very hut whither Oliver did take me when first
he had me to his companion.


So as we sat down to refresh our bodies and to rest, Oliver sent the
peasant out to buy food and also powder and shot. He being gone, he
takes off his coat and says he, "Brother, I can no longer carry this
devils' money about with me alone": and with that unbound a pair of
bags like sausages that he wore on his naked body, threw them on the
table, and went on, "Of these thou must take care till I come to my
holidays and we both have enough, for the accursed stuff hath worked
sores upon my body, so that I can no longer carry it." I answered,
"Brother, hadst thou as little as I, 'twould not gall thee." But he cut
me short. "How," says he, "what is mine is also thine; and what we do
further win shall be fairly-shared." So I took up the two sausages and
found they were indeed mighty heavy, being gold pieces only. Then I
told him 'twas all ill-packed, and an he would, I would so sew the
money in that it should not vex him half so much in the carrying. And
when he agreed to this he had me with him to a hollow tree wherein he
had scissors, needles, and thread: and there I made for him and me a
pair of knapsacks out of a pair of breeches, and many a fine red penny
I sewed therein. So having put the same on under our shirts, 'twas as
if we had golden armour behind and before, by means of which we were
become, if not proof against bullets, yet against swords. Then did I
wonder why he kept no silver coin: to which he answered he had more
than a thousand thalers lying in a tree from which he allowed the
peasant to buy victuals, and never asked for a reckoning, as not
greatly valuing such trash.

This done and the money packed, away we went to our hut, and there
cooked our food and warmed ourselves by the stove all night. And
thither at one o'clock of the day, when we did least expect it, came
six musqueteers with a corporal to our hut with their pieces ready and
their matches burning, who burst in the door and cried to us to
surrender. But Oliver (that, like me, had ever his loaded piece lying
by him and his sharp sword also, and then sat behind the table,
and I by the stove behind the door) answered them with a couple of
musquet-balls, wherewith he brought two to the ground, while I with a
like shot slew one and wounded the fourth. Then Oliver whipped out his
terrible sword (that could cut hairs asunder and might well be compared
to Caliburn, the sword of King Arthur of England) and therewith he
clove the fifth man from the shoulder to the belly, so that his bowels
gushed out and he himself fell down beside them in gruesome fashion.
And meanwhile I knocked the sixth man on the head with the butt-end of
my piece, so that he fell lifeless: but Oliver got even such a blow
from the seventh, and that with such force that his brains flew out,
and I in turn dealt him that did that such a crack that he must needs
join his comrades on the dead muster-roll. So when the one that I had
shot at and wounded was ware of such cuffs and saw that I made for him
with the butt of my piece also, he threw away his gun and began to run
as if the devil was at his heels. Yet all this fight lasted no longer
than one could say a paternoster, in which brief space seven brave
soldiers did bite the dust.

Now when I thus found myself master of the field, I examined Oliver to
see if he had a breath left in him, but finding him quite dead,
methought 'twas folly to leave so much money on a corpse that could not
need it, and so I stripped him of his golden fleece that I had made but
yesterday and hung it round my neck with the other. And having broken
mine own gun, I took Oliver's musquet and sharp battle-sword to myself,
wherewith I provided me against all chances, and so away I went and
that by the road by which I knew our peasant must return: and sitting
down by the wayside I waited for him and further considered what I
should now do.


Now I sat but half an hour in thought when there comes to me our
peasant puffing like a bear, and, running with all his might, was not
ware of me till I had him fast: and "Why so fast?" says I, "what news?"
"Quick," he answered, "away with ye! for here cometh a corporal with
six musqueteers that are to seize you and Oliver and bring you to
Liechteneck dead or alive: they took me and would have it I should lead
them to you: yet am I luckily escaped and come hither to warn ye."

"O villain," thought I, "thou hast betrayed us to get Oliver's money
that lieth in the tree." Yet of this I let him mark nothing (for I
would have him to shew me the way), but told him both Oliver and they
that should take him were dead: which when he would not believe, I was
good enough to go with him that he might see the miserable sight of the
seven bodies, and says I, "The seventh of them that should take us I
let go: and would to God I could bring these to life again, for I would
not fail to do it."

At that the peasant was amazed with fear and asked, "What plan have ye
now?" "Why," quoth I, "the plan is already resolved on: for I give thee
the choice of three things: either lead me by safe by-ways through the
wood to Villingen, or shew me Oliver's money that lieth in the tree, or
die here and keep these dead men company: an thou bringest me to
Villingen thou hast Oliver's money for thyself alone: if thou wilt shew
it me I will share it with thee: but if thou wilt do neither, I shoot
thee dead and go my way."

Then would he fain have made off, but feared the musquet, and so fell
on his knees and offered to guide me through the wood. So we started in
haste and walked the whole of that day and the next night, which was by
great good luck a very bright one, without food or drink or rest of any
kind, till towards daybreak we saw the town of Villingen lie before us,
and there I let my peasant go. And what supported us in this long
journey was: for the peasant the fear of death and for me the desire to
escape, myself and my money; yea, I do wellnigh believe that gold
lendeth a man strength: for though I carried a heavy enough load of it
yet I felt no especial weariness.

I held it for a lucky omen that even as I came to the gates of
Villingen they were being opened, where the officer of the watch
examined me; and hearing that I gave myself out to be a volunteer
trooper of that regiment to which Herzbruder had appointed me when he
released me from my musquet at Philippsburg, and also said that I had
escaped from Weimar's camp before Breisach, by whose men I had been
captured at Wittenweier and made to serve among them, and that I now
desired to come to my regiment among the Bavarians, he gave me in
charge to a musqueteer, who led me to the commandant. The same was yet
asleep, for he had spent half the night awake about his affairs, so
that I must wait a full hour and a half before his quarters, and
because the folk just then came from early mass I had a crowd of
citizens and soldiers around me that would all know how matters stood
before Breisach: at which clamour the commandant awoke and without
further delay had me brought to him.

Then began he to examine me, and I said even as I did at the gate.
Whereupon he asked me of certain particularities of the siege and so
forth, and at that I confessed all; namely, how I had spent some few
days with a fellow that had also escaped, and with him had attacked and
plundered a coach, with intent to get so much booty from Weimar's
people that we could get us horses, and so properly equipped could come
to our regiments again; but yesterday we had been attacked unawares by
a corporal and six other fellows that would have taken us, whereby my
comrade had been left dead on the field with six of the enemy, while
the seventh as well as I had escaped: but he to his own party. But of
the rest, namely, how I would have come to my wife at Lippstadt, and
how I had two such well-stuffed breast and back-plates, of that I said
no word, and made no scruple to conceal it, for what did it concern
him? Nor did he ask me of it at all, but much more was amazed and would
hardly believe that Oliver and I had killed six men and put the seventh
to flight, even though my comrade had paid with his life. So as we
talked there was occasion to speak of Oliver's wonderful sword that I
had by my side: which pleased him so well that if I would part civilly
from him and get a pass I must hand it over to him in return for
another that he gave me. And in truth it was a fine and beautiful
blade, with a perpetual calendar engraved thereupon, nor shall any
persuade me 'twas not forged by Vulcan _in hora Martis_, and altogether
so prepared as is told of that sword in the Heldenbuch, by which all
other swords are cleft asunder and the most courageous and lion-hearted
foes are put to flight like fearful hares. So when he had dismissed me
and commanded to give me a pass I went the nearest way to an inn, and
knew not whether I should first eat or sleep: for I needed both. Yet
would I sooner appease my belly, and so commanded meat and drink, and
considered how I should lay my plans to come in safety to my wife at
Lippstadt with my money; for I was as little minded to go to my
regiment as to break my neck.

But while I so speculated and mused of one and another cunning device,
there limped into the room a fellow with a stick in his hand, his head
bound up, one arm in a sling, and clothes so poor that I would have
given him not a penny for them: and so soon as the drawer was ware of
him he would have cast him forth, for he smelt vilely and was so full
of lice that a man could have garrisoned the whole Swabian[34] heath
with them. Yet he prayed he might but be allowed to warm himself, which
yet was not granted. But I taking pity on him and interceding for him,
with difficulty he was let to come to the stove: and there he looked
upon me, as I thought, with a curious longing and a great attention to
my drinking, and uttered many sighs. So when the drawer went to fetch
me a dish of meat, he came to me at my table and held out an earthen
penny-pot, so that I might well understand what he would have: so I
took the can and filled up his little pot for him before he asked. But
"O friend," says he, "for Herzbruder's sake give me somewhat to eat
also." Which when he said it cut me to the heart; for well I saw it was
Herzbruder himself. Then had I nearly swooned to see him in so evil a
plight, yet I recovered myself and fell upon his neck and set him by
me, where the tears did gush from our eyes: his for joy and mine for


Now by reason of the suddenness of this our meeting we could neither
eat nor drink, but only ask one of the other how it had fared with each
since we had last met. Yet as the host and the drawer went ever in and
out, we could have no private discourse: and the host marvelling that I
could suffer so lousy a companion by me, I told him that in time of war
such was the custom among good soldiers that were comrades: and when I
understood further how Herzbruder had till now been in the Spital, and
there had been supported by alms, and his wounds but sorrily bound up,
I hired of the host a separate chamber, put Herzbruder to bed, and sent
for the best surgeon I could find, besides a tailor and a sempstress to
clothe him and to rid him of his lice: and having in my purse those
same doubloons that Oliver had fetched out of the dead Jew's mouth, I
cast them on the table, and says I to Herzbruder, in the host's
hearing, "See, brother; there is my money: that will I spend on thee
and consume with thee."

So with that the host entertained us nobly: but to the surgeon I showed
the ruby that had belonged to the said Jew, and was worth some 20
thalers, and told him that as I purposed to spend such small moneys as
I had for our food and for the clothing of my comrade, therefore I
would give him that ring if he would quickly and thoroughly cure my
said comrade, with which he was content, and bestowed his best care
upon that cure. And so I tended Herzbruder like my second self, and
caused a modest suit of grey cloth to be made for him. But first I went
to the commandant for my pass, and told him how I had met a comrade
sorely wounded: for him I would wait till he was sound, for were I to
leave him behind me I could not answer for it to my regiment: which
intention the commandant approved and allowed me to stay as long as I
listed, with the further offer that when my comrade could follow me he
would provide us both with sufficient passes.

Then, coming back to Herzbruder and sitting by his bed alone, I begged
him he would freely tell me how he had come into so evil a plight: for
I thought he might perchance have been driven from his former place for
weighty reasons or for some fault, and so degraded and brought to his
present evil case. But "Brother," said he, "thou knowest that I was the
Count of Götz his factotum and dearest intimate friend: on t'other hand
thou knowest well how evil an end this last campaign hath come to under
his generalship and command, wherein we not only lost the Battle of
Wittenweier, but did also fail to raise the siege of Breisach. Seeing,
then, that on this account all manner of rumours be afloat, and that
most unfair ones, and in especial now that the said count is cited to
Vienna to justify himself, therefore for fear and shame I do willingly
live in this humble plight, and often do wish either to die in this
misery or at least so long to lie concealed till the said Count shall
have proved his innocence: for so far as I know he was at all times
true to the Roman emperor: and that in this set year he hath had no
good luck is, in my opinion, more to be ascribed to the Providence of
God (who giveth victory to whom He will) than to the Count his

"Now when we were to relieve Breisach and I saw that on our side all was
done so sleepily, I armed mine own self and marched forth with the rest
upon the bridge of boats as if I in person were to finish the business;
which was neither my profession nor my duty: yet I did it for an
example to others, because we had accomplished so little that summer
then past. But luck or ill-luck would so have it that I, being among
the first to sally forth, was also among the first to look the enemy in
the face upon the bridge, where was a sharp encounter, and as I had
been foremost in attack, so when we gave way before the furious charge
of the French I was the last to retreat, and so fell into the enemy's
hands: and there did I receive a bullet in the right arm and another in
the leg, so that I could neither run nor hold a sword: and as the
straitness of the place and the desperateness of the action allowed no
talk of giving or taking of quarter, I got me a crack on the head which
brought me to the ground, and there, being finely clad, I was by some
stripped and in the confusion thrown into the Rhine for dead: in which
sore strait I called to God for help and left myself to His good
pleasure; and while I offered up my prayers I found His help at hand:
for the Rhine did cast me up on land where I did staunch my wounds with
moss: and though in so doing I was nigh frozen, yet I found in me a
special strength to creep from thence (for God helped me) so that I,
though miserably wounded, came to certain Merode-brothers[35] and
soldiers' wives, that one and all had compassion on me though they knew
me not: yet all already despaired of the relief of that fortress; and
that did hurt me more than all my wounds: but they refreshed and
clothed me by their fire, and before I could even bandage up my wounds
I must behold how our people prepared for a shameful retreat and gave
up our cause as lost: which caused me dreadful pain: and for that
reason I resolved to make myself known to none, and so not to make
myself a mark for mockery: wherefore I joined myself to certain wounded
men of our army that had their own surgeon with them: to him I gave a
golden cross that I still had about my neck, for which he bound up my
wounds so as to last till now. And in such poor plight, my good
Simplicissimus, have I made shift so far, and am minded to reveal to no
man who I am till I see how the Count of Götz his affair will turn out.
And now that I see thy goodness and faith, it breedeth in me great
comfort that the good God hath not forsaken me: for this very morning,
when I came from early mass and saw thee stand before the commandant's
quarters, I did fancy that God had sent thee to me in shape of an angel
to help me in my need."

So I did comfort him as best I could, and secretly told him I had yet
more money than those doubloons that he had seen; and that all was at
his service. Therewith I also told him of Oliver's end, and how I had
perforce avenged his death, which so enlivened his spirits that it also
helped his body, in such wise that every day he grew better of his



Now Herzbruder being wholly restored and healed of his wounds, he told
me in secret he had in his greatest need made a vow to go on a
pilgrimage to Einsiedeln. And since in any case he was now so near to
Switzerland, he would perform the same though he must beg his way
thither. This was pleasant hearing for me: so I offered him my money
and my company, yea, and would buy a couple of nags to do the journey
upon, not indeed for the reason that religion urged me thereto, but
rather to see the Confederates' country as the one land wherein sacred
peace yet flourished. So I rejoiced much to have the opportunity to
serve Herzbruder on such a journey, seeing that I loved him almost more
than myself. Yet he refused both my help and my company with the excuse
that his pilgrimage must be performed on foot and with peas in his
shoes: and should I be in his company not only should I hinder him in
his pious thoughts, but should also bring on myself great discomfort by
reason of his slow going. All which he said to be rid of me, because he
did scruple on so holy a journey to spend money that had been gained by
robbery and murder: besides, he would not put me to too great expense,
and said openly that I had already done more for him than I owed him or
he could hope to repay: upon which we fell into a friendly dispute,
which same was so pleasant a quarrel that I have never heard the like,
for we talked of nothing but this, that each one said he had not yet
done for his fellow so much as one friend should for another, nay, was
yet far from making up for the benefits he had received. Yet all this
would not move him to take me for a companion, till I perceived that he
had a disgust both at Oliver's money and mine own godless life:
therefore I made shift with a lie and persuaded him that my intent to
reform my life did move me to go to Einsiedeln: and should he hinder me
from so good a work, and I thereupon should die, he should hardly
answer for it: by which I persuaded him to suffer me to visit that holy
place with him, especially since I (though 'twas all lies) made an
appearance of great penitence for my wicked life, and moreover did
persuade him I had laid on myself a penance to go to Einsiedeln on peas
even as he. But this quarrel was scarce over ere we fell into another,
for Herzbruder was too full of scruples: and hardly would he suffer me
to use the commandant's pass, because 'twas made out for me to go to my

"How now!" said he, "is it not our intent to better our lives and to go
to Einsiedeln? And now see, in heaven's name wilt thou make a beginning
with deceit and blind men's eyes with falsehood? 'He that denieth Me
before the world him will I deny before My heavenly Father,' saith
Christ. What faint-hearted cowards be we! If all Christ's martyrs and
confessors had done the same there would be few saints in heaven. Let
us go in God's name and under His protection whither our holy intent
and desires lead us, and let God contrive for us the rest: for so will
He bring us in safety where our souls shall find peace." But when I set
before him how man should not tempt God, but suit himself to the times,
and use such means as could not be done without, and specially because
to go on pilgrimage was an unwonted thing for the Soldatesca, so that
if we revealed our purpose we should be accounted rather deserters than
pilgrims, which might bring us great trouble and danger: and chiefly
how the holy apostle St. Paul, to whom we could not compare ourselves,
had wonderfully suited himself to the times and needs of this world, at
the last he consented that I should get a pass to go to my regiment.
With this we passed out of the town at the shutting of the gates, with
a trusty guide, as we would go to Rotweil; but turned off short by a
by-way and came the same night over the Switzers' boundary and next
morning to a village, where we equipped ourselves with long black
cloaks, pilgrims' staves, and rosaries, and sent our guide home with a
good wage.

And here in comparison with other German lands the country seemed to me
as strange as if I had been in Brazil or China. I saw how the people
did trade and traffic in peace, how the stalls were full of cattle and
the farmyards crowded with fowls, geese, and ducks, the roads were used
in safety by travellers, and the inns were full of people making merry.
There was no fear of an enemy, no dread of plundering, and no terror of
losing goods and life and limb; each man lived under his own vine and
fig-tree, and that moreover (in comparison with other German lands) in
joy and delight, so that I held this land for an earthly Paradise,
though by nature it seemed rough as might be. So it came about that all
along the road I did but gape at this and that, whereas Herzbruder was
praying on his rosary, for which I earned many a reproof from him; for
he would have it I should pray without ceasing, to which I could not
accustom myself.

But at Zurich he found me out and told me the truth as tartly as might
be. For having rested the night at Schaffhausen, where the peas did
mightily gall my feet, and I fearing to walk upon them next day, I had
them boiled and put into my shoes again, and so came happily to Zurich,
while he found himself in sorry plight, and said to me, "Brother, thou
hast great favour of God, that notwithstanding the peas in thy shoes
thou canst walk so well." "Yea," said I, "dear Herzbruder: but I did
boil them, or I had not been able so far to walk upon them."

"God-a-mercy!" says he, "what hast done? Thou hadst better have put
them out of thy shoes if thou didst but act a mockery with them. I fear
me lest God punish thee and me alike. Take it not evil of me, brother,
if I of brotherly love do tell thee in plain German what I have at
heart, namely this, that I fear, unless thou dealest otherwise with
God, thine eternal salvation standeth in jeopardy: I do assure thee, I
love no man more than thee, yet I deny not that if thou betterest not
thyself I must scruple to bear such love to thee further." At which I
was struck so dumb with fear that I could not at all recover myself,
but freely confessed to him I had put the peas in my shoes not for
piety but to please him, that he might take me with him on his journey.
"Ah, brother," quoth he, "I see thou art far from the way of salvation,
peas or no peas: God give thee a better mind; for without such cannot
our friendship endure."

From that time forward I followed him sorrowfully as one going to the
gallows; for my conscience began to smite me; and as I reflected on all
manner of things, all the tricks I had played in my life did pass
before mine eyes: and first I lamented that my lost innocence, that I
had brought out from the forest and in the world had in so many ways
forfeited; and what increased my trouble was this, that Herzbruder
spake now but little with me, and looked not upon me save with sighs,
so that it seemed to me as he were certain of my damnation and lamented


In such fashion we came even to Einsiedeln, and so into the church even
as the priest was casting out an evil spirit: which was to me a new and
strange sight, wherefore I left Herzbruder to kneel and pray as much as
he listed and went off from curiosity to see such a spectacle. But
hardly had I drawn nigh when the evil spirit cried out of the poor man,
"Oho! rascal, doth ill-luck send thee hither? I did think to find thee
with Oliver in our hellish abode when I should return, and now I see
thou art to be found here. Thou adulterous, murderous whoremonger,
canst thou think to escape us? O ye priests, have naught to do with
him: he is a worse hypocrite and liar than I: he doth but mock and make
a jest of God and religion." Thereupon the exorcist commanded the
spirit to be silent, for none would believe him as being an arch-liar.

"Yes, yes," he answered, "ask this runagate monk's companion and he can
well tell you that this atheist is not afraid to boil the peas upon
which he vowed to travel hither." Upon which I knew not whether I stood
on my head or my heels, hearing all this and all men staring upon me:
but the priest rebuked the spirit and bade him be silent: yet would not
that day cast him out. In the meanwhile came Herzbruder, even as I
looked for very terror more like a dead than a live man, and between
hope and fear knew not what to be at. So he comforted me as best he
could, assuring the bystanders, and especially the good fathers, that
in my life I had never been a monk, but certainly a soldier that
perhaps might have done more evil than good: and added, the devil was a
liar and had made the story of the peas much worse than it really was.
Yet was I so confounded in spirit that 'twas with me even as if I
already felt the pains of hell, so that the priests had much ado to
comfort me: yea, they bade me go to confession and communion, but the
spirit cried again out of the man possessed, "Yes, yes: he will make a
fine confession, that knoweth not even what confession is: and indeed
what would ye have of him? for he is of a heretic mind and belongeth to
us: yea, his parents were more of Anabaptists than Calvinists...." But
at that the exorcist again commanded the spirit to hold his peace and
said to him, "So will it grieve thee the more if this poor lost sheep
be snatched out of thy jaws and gathered into the fold of Christ": at
which the spirit began to roar so fearfully that 'twas terrible to
hear: yet in that grisly song I found my greatest comfort; for I
thought if I could not again enjoy God's favour the devil would not
take it so ill.

Now although I was then in no wise prepared for confession, and though
in my lifetime it had never come into my thoughts, but I had always for
mere shame feared it as the devil fears holy water, yet at that moment
I felt in me such repentance for my sins and such a desire to do
penance and to lead a better life that forthwith I asked for a
confessor; at which sudden conversion and amendment of life Herzbruder
rejoiced greatly; for he had perceived and well knew that so far I had
belonged to no religion. Thereafter I openly professed myself of the
Catholic Church, went to confession and to mass after absolution
received, with all which I felt so light and easy at my heart that 'tis
not to be expressed: and what is most marvellous is this, that the
devil in the possessed man henceforward left me in peace, whereas
before my confession and absolution he cast up against me certain
knaveries I had committed, with such particularities as he had been
ordained for naught else but to point out my sins: yet the hearers
believed him not, as being a liar, especially since my honourable
pilgrim's dress shewed me in another light.

In this gracious place we abode fourteen days, and there I thanked God
for my conversion, and marked the miracles that were there done: all
which did incite me to some shew of piety and godliness. Yet did the
same last but as long as it might: for even as my conversion took its
beginning, not from love of God but from dread and fear of damnation,
so did I by degrees become lukewarm and slothful, because I little by
little forgot the terror that the Evil One had struck into me. So when
we had sufficiently viewed the relics of the saints, the vestments, and
other remarkable things of the abbey, we betook ourselves to Baden,
there to spend the winter.


There did I hire a cheerful parlour and a chamber for us, such as the
visitors to the baths do commonly use to have, especially in summer:
which be mostly rich Switzers that do resort here more to pass the time
and make a show than to take baths for any disease. So also I bargained
for our food, and Herzbruder, seeing how princely I began, counselled
me frugality, and reminded me of the long hard winter that we had yet
to pass, for he dreamt not that my money would hold out so long; and I
should need all I had, he said, for the spring when we should depart:
for much money was soon spent if one ever took from it and never added
to it: 'twas blown away like smoke and was certain never to return,
etc. At such loyal counsel I could no longer conceal from Herzbruder
how rich my treasury was, and how I was minded to spend it for the good
of both of us, since its extraction and growth were so unholy that I
could not think to buy lands with it; and even if I were not minded to
spend it so as to maintain so my best friend on earth, yet it were but
right that he, Herzbruder, should enjoy Oliver's money in revenge for
the insult he had before received from him before Magdeburg. And when I
knew myself to be in all safety, I drew off my two shoulder-bags,
divided the ducats and pistoles, and said to Herzbruder he might
dispose of this money at will, and spend and disburse it as he would,
so that it might best profit us both.

When he saw, besides the greatness of my faith in him, how much the
money was, with which I, without him, could have been a pretty rich
man, "Brother," says he, "since I have known thee thou hast done naught
but shew thy constant love and truth to meward. But tell me, how
thinkest thou that I can ever repay thee? I speak not of the money, for
this perchance might in time be repaid, but of thy love and faith, and
especially of the exceeding trust thou hast in me, which is not to be
estimated. In a word, brother, thy noble soul doth make me thy slave,
and the favour thou shewest me is more easy to admire than to repay. O
honest Simplicissimus, into whose mind it never entereth (even in these
godless days in which the world is full of knavery) to think how poor,
needy Herzbruder might with this fair stock of money make off and in
his place leave thee in want! Of a surety, brother, this proof of true
friendship bindeth me more to thee than if a rich lord should give me
thousands. Only I beg thee, my brother, remain master guardian and
steward of thine own money. For me 'tis enough that thou art my

To this I answered, "What strange discourses be these, my honoured
Herzbruder? Ye give me to understand ye are much bounden to me, and yet
will ye not see to it that I spend not my money vainly and to your
damage and mine!" And so we disputed with one another childishly
enough, because each was drunken with love of the other: thus was
Herzbruder made at once my steward, my treasurer, my servant, and my
master: and in our time of leisure he told me of his life and by what
means he was known and promoted by Count Götz, whereupon I told him how
I had fared since his father (of pious memory) died: for until then we
had never had so much time. But when he heard I had a young wife in
Lippstadt, he did reprove me that I had not repaired to her rather than
with him to Switzerland, for that had been more fitting, and was my
duty moreover: and when I would excuse myself, that I could not find it
in my heart to leave him, my best friend, in misery, he persuaded me to
write to my wife and tell her of my condition, with the promise to
visit her as soon as might be: to that I did add excuses for my long
absence, namely, all manner of contrarious happenings, though greatly I
had desired to be with her long ere now.

Meanwhile Herzbruder, learning from the public prints that it stood
well with General Count Götz, and that in particular he would succeed
in his vindication before his Imperial Majesty, would be set free, and
even again receive command of an army, sent an account of how he stood
to that general at Vienna, and wrote also to the Bavarian army on the
score of his baggage that he had there: yea, and began to hope his
fortunes would again flourish. Upon which we concluded to part in the
spring, he going to the said count, and I to my wife at Lippstadt: yet
not to pass the winter in idleness we did learn from an engineer to
make more fortifications on paper than the kings of France and Spain
together could build: so too I made acquaintance with certain
alchymists that, because they saw I had money at my back, would teach
me to make gold, an I would but bear the expense of it: yea, and I do
believe they had persuaded me thereto had not Herzbruder given them
their congé, saying that he that possessed such an art would not need
to go about like a beggar, nor to ask others for money.

But though Herzbruder did receive from Vienna a gracious answer from
the said count and fine promises, I heard no single word from
Lippstadt, though on several post-days I did write in duplicate. Which
put me in ill humour and was the cause that that spring I went not to
Westphalia, but obtained from Herzbruder that he should take me with
him to Vienna and let me share in his hoped-for good fortune. So with
my money we equipped ourselves like two cavaliers, both in clothing,
horses, servants, and arms, and travelled by Constance to Ulm, where we
embarked upon the Danube, and from thence in eight days came safely to


Things be strangely ordered in this changeful world; 'Tis said he that
should know all things would soon be rich: but I say he that always
could seize his opportunity would soon be great and powerful. For many
a skinflint or cheese-parer (both which honourable titles are given to
misers) gets rich enough by knowing and using some knack of gain: yet
is he not therefore great, but is and remaineth always of less
estimation than when he was poor: but he that can make himself great
and powerful, him riches follow after close. So did luck, that is wont
to give power and riches, look on me favourably for once, and gave me
when I had been some eight days in Vienna opportunity in hand to mount
upon the rungs of fame without hindrance: yet I did it not. And why? I
hold 'twas because my fate had willed for me another road, namely, that
along which my foolishness did lead me.

For the Count von der Wahl, under whose command I had before made
myself famous in Westphalia, was even then in Vienna when I came
thither with Herzbruder: which last was at a banquet when divers
Imperialist councillors of war were present with the Count of Götz and
others, where the talk was of all manner of strange fellows, soldiers
of different qualities, and famous partisans: and there was mention
made of the huntsman of Soest, and such famous exploits of him told
that some wondered at the youth of the fellow and lamented that the
crafty Hessian colonel Saint André had hung a weight round his neck so
that he must either lay aside the sword or serve under Swedish colours:
for the said Count von der Wahl had found out all the trick which the
same colonel had played me at Lippstadt. Herzbruder, that was there
present and would fain have forwarded my interest, asked for indulgence
and leave to speak, and said he knew that huntsman of Soest better than
any man in the world, which was not only a good soldier that feared not
the smell of powder, but also a good rider, a perfected fencer, an
excellent professor of musquetry and artillery, and besides all this
one that would yield place to no engineer in the world: that he had
left not only his wife (that had been so shamefully imposed upon him),
but all that he had at Lippstadt, and again sought the emperor's
service, and so had in the last campaign served under the Count of
Götz, and being then taken by the troops of Weimar and desiring to
return to the Imperialists, had with his comrade slain a corporal and
six musqueteers that had pursued them and would bring them back, and
had earned rich booty thereby, and so had come with him to Vienna with
intent to offer his service once more against his Imperial Majesty's
enemies, provided only he could have such terms as suited him: for as a
common soldier he would serve no more.

By this time the worshipful company were so flustered with good liquor
that they must satisfy their curiosity to see the huntsman: to which
end Herzbruder was sent to fetch me in a coach: who on the way
instructed me how I should carry myself among these persons of quality,
since my fortune in time to come depended on this. So when I came to
them, at first I answered all questions very short and sententiously,
so that they began to admire me as one who said nothing that had not a
prudent meaning: in a word, I so presented myself that I pleased all,
besides this, that I had from Count von Wahl the reputation of a good
soldier. But with all this I got drunk, and well can I believe that in
that condition I proved to all how little I had been at court. And this
was the end of it all: that a colonel of foot promised me a company in
his regiment, which I refused not: for I thought, "To be a captain is
indeed no trifle." Yet Herzbruder next day rebuked me for my folly, and
said, had I but held out longer I had risen to high rank.

So was I presented to a company as their captain, which company,
although with me 'twas in respect of officers fully staffed, yet
counted no more than seven privates that could stand sentry. Besides,
my under-officers were such old cripples that I must needs scratch my
head when I looked upon them. And so it came about that in the next
engagement, which happened not long after, I was with them miserably
beaten: in which affair Count von Götz lost his life and Herzbruder his
testicles, which were shot away: and I had my share in the leg though
'twas but a trifling wound. Whereupon we betook ourselves to Vienna,
there to be cured, and also because we had there left all our property.
But besides these wounds, which were soon healed, there appeared in
Herzbruder other evil symptoms which the doctors could not at first
recognise, for he was paralysed in all his extremities like a choleric
person whom his gall doth plague, to which complexion he was no more
given than to anger. Nevertheless he was counselled to take the waters,
and to that end the Griesbach in the Black Forest was commended to him.
And so doth fortune suddenly change. For Herzbruder just before had
been minded to marry a young lady of quality, and to that end to get
him made a Freiherr and me a nobleman: but now must he make other
plans; for having lost that by which he had meant to propagate his
family, and being, moreover, threatened with a tedious sickness ensuing
upon that loss, in which he would have need of good friends, he made
his will, and appointed me heir of all his property, the more so
because he saw how for his sake I cast my fortune to the winds and gave
up my command, that I might bear him company to the Spa and there wait
on him till he should recover his health.


So as soon as Herzbruder could ride we despatched our money (for now we
had but one purse in common) by way of banker's draft to Basel,
equipped ourselves with horses and servants, and made our way up the
Danube to Ulm and thence to the Spa before mentioned, for now 'twas May
and pleasant travelling. There did we hire a lodging: but I rid to
Strassburg, not only to receive in part our money which we had conveyed
thither by way of Basel, but also to inquire for the medicos of
experience that should prescribe for Herzbruder recipes and the manner
of his taking the baths. These came to me, and were of opinion that
Herzbruder had indeed been poisoned, yet was the poison not strong
enough to kill him offhand, and therefore it had made its way into his
limbs, from whence it must be evacuated by drugs, antidotes and
sweating-baths, which cure would last some eight weeks or so. At that
Herzbruder remembered at once when and by whom that poison had been
given him; namely, by them that would have had his place in the army:
and when he further learned from the physicians that his cure needed no
spa, then was he assured the field-surgeon had by his enemies been
bribed to send him so far away: yet did he resolve to complete his cure
there at the spa, for 'twas not only a healthy air but also there was
cheerful company among the bathing-guests.

This time would I not waste: for I had a desire to see my wife once
more: and since Herzbruder needed me not greatly, I did open to him my
project, which he did praise, and advised me I should visit her, giving
me also certain trinkets of price which I should on his behalf present
to her, and therewith beg her pardon for that he had been the cause why
I had not before sought her out. With that I rode to Strassburg, and
not only provided myself with moneys but inquired also how I might
prosecute my journey in the safest way: whereupon I found 'twas not to
be accomplished by a horseman riding alone; for the roads were made
unsafe by the parties sent out from so many garrisons of the two
contending armies. So I got me a pass for a post-rider of Strassburg,
and drew up certain letters to my wife, her sisters, and her parents,
as I would send him with them to Lippstadt: yet feigned to be of a
different mind, took back the pass from the messenger, sent back my
horse and servant, and disguised myself in a red and white livery: in
that I journeyed by ship to Cologne, which was at that time neutral
between the two parties.

And first I must go to visit my Jupiter, that had aforetime appointed
me his Ganymede, to ask how it fared with the property I had left
there: but him I found quite brain-sick again and full of anger against
the human race. "O Mercury," says he, as soon as he saw me, "what news
from Münster? Do men conceive they can make peace without my good will?
Nay, never! they did have peace. Why kept they it not? Was not vice
everywhere triumphant when they provoked me to send them war? And how
have they deserved that I should give them peace again? Have they since
been converted? Are they not become worse, and do they not run into war
as to a festival? Or have they perchance repented them by reason of the
famine that I sent among them, whereof so many thousands died of
hunger? Or hath the grievous pestilence terrified them to better their
ways, whereby so many millions were cut off? Nay, nay, Mercurius, they
that remain, that did see these dreadful sufferings with their own
eyes, have not only not repented, but be grown worse than ever they
were. And if they have not been turned by so many sore plagues, nor
have ceased to live in godless wise in the midst of such trial and
tribulation, what will they do if I should grant them again the
delights of golden peace? Then must I fear lest, as once did the
giants, so they now should try to storm my heaven. But such overweening
I will check in good time and leave them to perish in their war." But I
knowing how one must go about with this god if one would make him hear
reason, "Oh, great god," says I, "all the world doth sigh for peace and
promise great amendment: why wilt thou then continue to refuse them
such?" "Yea," answered Jupiter, "doubtless they sigh: yet not for my
sake but their own: not that each may praise God under his own vine and
fig-tree, but that they may enjoy the fruit thereof in peace and
delight. Of late I asked of a scurvy tailor, should I give him peace?
He gave me answer, 'twas the same to him, that must ply his needle as
well in peace as in war: and the like answer I got from a brazier,
which said if he could get no bells to found in peace time, yet in time
of war he had enough to do with cannon and mortars. So likewise, a
smith replied to me and said, 'Though I have no ploughs and hay-carts
to mend in war-time, yet have I so many war-horses and army waggons to
deal with that I can well afford to do without peace.' Lookye then,
dear Mercurius, why should I grant them peace? True there be some that
do desire it, yet only as I say, for their belly's sake and their
pleasure: contrariwise there be others that will still have war, not
because 'tis my will, but because 'tis for their profit. And just as
the masons and carpenters desire peace, to earn money by the building
again of ruined houses, so others that be not sure of earning a living
by their handicraft in time of peace do hope for the continuing of war,
wherein they can steal."

Now when I found my Jupiter so to go about with these matters, I could
well conceive that he, with so confused a mind, could give me little
account of mine own, and so I made not my business known to him, but
took the bull by the horns, and away by by-paths well known to me, to
Lippstadt, where I inquired for my father-in-law as I were a messenger
from foreign parts, and learned at once that he, with his wife, had
quitted this world six months before, and secondly, that my dear wife,
having been delivered of a man-child, that was now with her sister, had
in like manner straightway, after her lying-in, quitted this mortal
scene. Upon that I delivered to my brother-in-law the writings which I
had before addressed to my father-in-law, to my wife, and to him, my
wife's brother. Who would have entertained me himself, to learn from
me, as from a messenger, how it fared with Simplicissimus and of what
rank he was now. In the end mine own sister-in-law did at length
converse with me, I telling of myself all the good I knew; for my
pock-pitted face had so marred and changed me that no man could know me
more, save Herr von Schönstein: and he, as my true friend, did hold his
tongue. But I telling her at length how Herr Simplicissimus had many
fine horses and servants and rode abroad in a black-velvet coat all
trimmed with gold, "Yea," said she, "I did ever believe he was of no
such low descent as he gave himself out to be: the commandant of this
place did ever persuade my late parents, with great assurances, that
they had made a good match with him for my sister, which had ever been
a virtuous maiden: yet of all that I myself could never look for a good
ending. Nevertheless did he content himself and resolve to take upon
him either Swedish or Hessian service in the garrison here: and to that
end would he fetch hither his goods that he had left at Cologne: which
turned out ill, and he himself was by clean roguery spirited away into
France, leaving my sister, that had had him to husband but for four
weeks, yea, and a half-dozen of citizens' daughters likewise, with
child by him; all which one after another, and my sister last of all,
were brought to bed of boys. So since my father and mother were dead,
and I and my husband without hope of children, we did adopt my sister's
child to be the heir of all our property, and with the help of the
commandant here did get possession of his father's money at Cologne;
which same might be reckoned at three thousand gulden; and so the young
lad when he shall come of age shall have no cause to count himself
among the paupers. Yea, I and my husband do love the child so much that
we would not yield him up to his own father though he came in person to
fetch him away: moreover, he is the comeliest of all his half-brothers,
and so like to his father as he had been cut out on his very pattern:
and I know if my brother-in-law did but hear what a fair son he hath he
would not delay to come hither were it but to see the little

The like talk my sister-in-law held, by which I might well perceive her
love to my child, which now ran about in his first breeches, and
rejoiced mine heart: and with that I brought out the trinkets that
Herzbruder had given me to present on his behalf to my wife: which,
said I, Master Simplicissimus had given me to deliver to his wife for a
salutation: who being dead, I accounted it fair to leave the same for
his child: all which my brother-in-law and his wife received with joy,
and were convinced thereby that I had no want of means, but must indeed
be a fellow of a different sort from that which they had fancied me to
be. So now I pressed for leave to be gone, and having obtained such, I
begged in the name of Simplicissimus to kiss Simplicissimus the
younger, that I might tell the same to his father for a token. And this
being done with the goodwill of my sister-in-law, my nose and the
child's began at once and together to bleed, till I thought my heart
would break: yet did I hide my feelings, and that none might have time
to mark the cause of this sympathy, I took myself off at once, and
after fourteen days of much trouble and danger came again to the spa in
beggar's garb: for on the way I had been plundered and stripped.


So being returned, I found Herzbruder rather worse than better, though
the doctors and apothecaries had plucked him cleaner than any pigeon:
nay, more: he seemed to me now to be childish, nor could he walk
straight. I did hearten him up as best I could, but his was an ill
plight; himself perceiving well by his loss of strength that he could
not last long; and his chief comfort was this, that I should be by his
side when he should close his eyes. Contrariwise I was merry, and
sought my pleasure where I thought to find it: though in such wise that
Herzbruder lacked none of my care. Yet because I knew myself now for a
widower, the fine weather and my young blood enticed me to wantonness,
whereunto I did fully give myself over; for the fear that had possessed
me at Einsiedeln I had now quite forgot. Now there was at the spa a
fair lady[36] that gave herself out to be a person of quality, yet was
to my thinking more "mobilis" than "nobilis": to this man-trap did I
pay my constant court as to one that seemed a bona roba, and in brief
space of time did obtain not only free entry to her but also all such
favours as I could desire. Yet had I from the first a disgust at her
lightness, and so did devise how I might in all courtesy be rid of her:
for methought she had her eye more on my purse than on me for a
bridegroom: yea, and did persecute me with hot and wanton glances and
the like tokens of her burning love wheresoever I might be, till I must
be shamed both for her sake and mine own.

At that time there was at the baths a rich Switzer of quality: from
whom was stolen not only his money, but his wife's jewellery, which was
of gold, silver, pearls, and precious stones. And since 'tis as
grievous to lose such things as 'tis hard to get them, therefore the
said Switzer would move heaven and earth to come by them again, and did
even send for the famous devil-driver of the Goatskin,[37] which
did so plague the thief by his charms that he must needs restore the
stolen goods to their proper place: for which the wizard earned ten

With this enchanter I had fain conversed: but, as I then conceived, it
could not be, without lessening of my dignity (for at that time I
thought no small beer of myself). So I did engage my servant to be
drunk with him that same night (having learned he was a toper of the
first quality) to see if by such means I could have his acquaintance:
for so many strange things were told to me of him that I could not
believe till I had heard them from himself. To that end did I disguise
myself as a strolling quack, and sat down by him at table to see if he
could guess or the devil could tell him who I was: yet could I mark no
such knowledge in him, but he would drink and drink, taking me for that
which my raiment proclaimed me, yea, and drank some few glasses to my
health, yet shewed more respect to my knave than to me. For to him he
told in all confidence that if he that had robbed the Switzer had
thrown but the smallest part thereof into running water and so shared
the booty with the devil, it had been impossible either to name the
thief or to get back the goods.

To all these silly conceits I listened, and wondered how the father of
deceits and lies can by so small a thing bring men into his clutches. I
could easily conceive that this was a clause in our enchanter's
indenture with the devil, and perceive how such a trick could not help
the thief if only another exorcist were fetched in to detect the theft,
in whose compact this condition was not to be found: and so charged my
knave, that could steal better than any gipsy, to make the man drunk
and then steal his ten rix-dollars, and presently thereafter to cast a
couple of batzen into the river Rench. This he did with all diligence,
and when the witch-doctor next morning missed his money, he betook
himself to a thicket by the bank of the Rench, doubtless to confer with
his familiar spirit: by whom he was so ill-handled that he came off
with a face all bruised and scratched; whereat I felt such pity for the
poor old rogue that I gave him back his money and sent him a message
that, since he now could see what a traitorous, evil spirit the devil
was, he might renounce his service and company, and turn to God again:
which warning brought me but little profit, for presently my two fair
horses sickened and died by witchcraft; and what else could I expect?
for I lived like Epicurus in his stye and never did commend my goods to
God's care: why, therefore, should the wizard not be able to revenge
himself on me?


With the spa I was the more pleased the longer I stayed, for not only
did the guests increase daily, but the place and the manner of life
also delighted me hugely. I joined acquaintance with the merriest that
resorted thither and did begin to learn courtesy and compliment,
wherewith I had till then troubled myself but little: and so was
counted as of the nobility, my people calling me ever "noble captain";
for no mere soldier of fortune did ever gain so high a post at that age
at which I still was. So with these rich fops I made, and they with me,
not acquaintance only but sworn friendship; and pastime, play, eating,
and drinking were all my work and care, which robbed me of many a fair
ducat without my much perceiving or marking of it: for my purse was yet
fairly heavy with Oliver's legacy.

Meanwhile things went from bad to worse with Herzbruder, till at last
he must pay the debt of nature, all doctors and physicians now
deserting him on whom they had fattened so long. So he confirmed once
more his last will and testament and made me heir of all he had to
receive from his late father's property. And in return I gave him a
noble funeral and sent his servants on their way with mourning and
money withal.

Yet his disease heartily vexed me, and especially because he had been
poisoned: and though I could not change that, yet it changed me: for
now I eschewed all company and sought only for solitude to give a
hearing to my sad thoughts: to which end I would hide myself in some
thicket and there would muse, not only upon what a friend I had lost,
but also how I should never in my life find such another one. At times
I would lay all manner of plans for my future life and yet could
resolve on none: now I thought I would to the wars again: and then
bethought me how even the poorest peasant in this land was better off
than any colonel: for into those mountains came never a foraging party.
Yea, I could well fancy what an army would find to do there in ravaging
of the country, seeing that all the farmhouses were well kept, as if in
peace-time, and all the stalls full of cattle, while in many a village
of Germany in the plains neither dog nor cat could be found. So as I
delighted myself with hearing of the sweet song of birds, and did
fancifully conceive how the nightingale should by her dulcet song
silence all other birds and force them to listen either from shame or
to steal somewhat of her pleasant strains, there came to the opposite
bank of the stream a beauty, that did move me more, because she wore
but the habit of a peasant girl, than could any fine demoiselle have
done; which took a basket from her head wherein she had a pack of fresh
butter, to sell at the spa: this did she cool in the water that it
might not melt by reason of the great heat, and meanwhile, sitting down
upon the grass, did throw aside her kerchief and her peasant hat and
wipe the sweat from her face, so that I could exactly observe her and
feed my curious eyes upon her: and truly methought I had never seen a
fairer form in my life: for the mould of her figure seemed perfect and
without blemish, her arms and hands white as snow, her face fresh and
sweet, but her black eyes full of fire and amorous looks. So as she was
packing of her butter up again I cried across to her, "Ah, maiden, 'tis
true ye have cooled your butter in the water with your fair hands, yet
with your bright eyes have ye set my heart afire." But she no sooner
saw and heard me but away she ran as if she were pursued, without
answering me a word, and so left me possessed with all the follies
wherewith fantastic lovers are wont to be tormented.

But my desire to be further illumined by this sun left me not in peace
in the solitude I had chosen, but caused me to care no more for the
song of the nightingale than for the howl of a wolf: therefore I made
my way to the spa, and did send my page in front to accost the pretty
butter-seller and to bargain with her till I should come: so he did his
best, and I, when I came, did mine also: but found a heart of stone,
and such coldness as I had never thought to find in any peasant-girl,
which made me yet more in love, especially since I, that had been much
a scholar in such schools, might well judge by such a carriage she
would not easily be befooled.

And now should I have had either a great enemy or a great friend:
either an enemy to think of and devise evil against, and so to forget
my fool's love, or a friend that should give me other counsel and warn
me from the folly I proposed. But alas! I had naught but my money,
which did but dazzle me, and my blind desires which led me astray, I
giving them the rein, and mine own impudence, that ruined me and
brought me to disaster. Fool that I was, I should have judged by our
clothes, as by an evil omen, that her love would work me woe. For I
having lost Herzbruder and the girl her parents, we were both dressed
in mourning clothes when we first met: and so what joy could our love
portend? In a word, I was properly caught in a fool's snare, and
therefore as blind and without reason as the boy Cupid himself: and
because I had no hope otherwise to satisfy my bestial desires, I did
determine to marry her.

"For how!" thought I, "thou beest by descent but a peasant's brat and
wilt never in thy life keep thy castle: and this fair champaign is a
noble land, that throughout this grisly war hath, in comparison with
other parts, maintained itself in peace and prosperity: besides, thou
hast gold enough to buy thee even the best farm in this countryside:
and now shalt thou marry with this honest peasant-girl and get thee a
lord's reputation among the country-folk. And where couldst find a
cheerfuller dwelling-place than near the spa, where thou canst, by
reason of the coming and going of the guests, see a new world every six
weeks, and so conceive how the great world doth change from one age to

Such and a thousand like plans I made, till at length I sought my
sweetheart in marriage and (yet not without pains) did obtain her


So I made fine preparation for the wedding: for all seemed rose-colour
to me. Not only did I buy up the whole farm whereon my bride had been
born, but began also a fine new building besides, as if I would rather
keep court than keep house: and before the wedding was over I had
already more than thirty head of cattle on the farm; for so many could
it maintain all the year round: in a word, I had the best of everything
and such fine household plenishing as only folly like mine could
devise. But soon I must whistle to a different tune, for I found my
bride too knowing; and now, all too late, was I ware of the cause why
she had been so loath to take me: and what vexed me most was that I
could tell to no man my silly plight. I knew well enough that 'twas
reasonable I must pay the piper; yet the knowledge made me not more
patient, still less better in life; nay, rather I thought to betray the
traitress, and so began to go a-grazing where I could find pasture:
which kept me rather in good company at the spa than at home, and for a
year at least I left my housekeeping to take care of itself. And for
her part my wife was as slovenly as I: an ox that I had had slaughtered
for household use she salted in baskets like pork, and when she was to
prepare a sucking-pig for me she tried to pluck it like a fowl: yea,
she would cook crayfish with a roasting-jack and trout on a spit: from
which examples a man may judge what manner of housewife I found her:
and withal she would drink freely of the good wine and share it with
her good friends: and that was a sign of my coming disasters.

Now it fell out that as I was walking down the valley with some fops of
the spa to visit a company at the lower baths, there met us an old
peasant with a goat on a string, that he wished to sell, and because
methought I had seen him before, I asked whence he came with his goat.
At which he doffed his cap and "Your worship," says he, "that I may not
tell you." "How," said I, "surely thou hast not stolen the beast?"
"Nay," answered the peasant, "but I bring him from a village there in
the valley, the which I may not mention to your worship in the presence
of a goat"[38] which caused my company to laugh, and because I changed
colour they deemed I was vexed or ashamed that the peasant did answer
me so neatly. Yet my thoughts were otherwise, for by the great wart
that this peasant had, like an unicorn, in the middle of his forehead,
I was assured 'twas my dad from the Spessart, and so would first play
the conjurer before I would make myself known and delight him with so
fine a son as my clothes shewed me to be. So I said to him, "Good
father, is not your home in the Spessart?" "Yes, your worship," says
he. "Then," said I, "did ye not some eighteen year agone have
your house and farm plundered and burnt by the troopers?" "Yea,
God-a-mercy," quoth the peasant, "yet 'tis not so long ago": but I
asked him further, "Did ye not, then, have two children, a grown
daughter and a young lad that kept your sheep?" "Nay, your worship,"
says my dad, "the daughter was my child but not the boy: yet would I
bring him up as mine own." And by that I understood I was no son of
this rough yokel: and that in part rejoiced me yet again troubled me,
for I thought now I must be some bastard or foundling, and therefore
asked my dad how he had come by the said boy or what reason he had had
to rear him as his own. "Ah," says he, "I had strange luck with him: by
war I got him and by war I lost him."

But now being afeared lest some fact should come to light that would
disgrace my birth, I turned the discourse upon the goat again and asked
if he had sold it to the hostess for cooking, which would seem strange
to me as knowing that her guests used not to eat old goat's flesh. But
"Nay, your worship," quoth the peasant, "the hostess hath goats enow
and will pay naught for such: I do bring her for the countess that is
at the spa to bathe. For Doctor Busybody hath ordered certain herbs for
this goat to eat: and the milk that she gives therefrom the doctor
taketh to make a medicine for the countess, that is to drink the milk
and so be cured: for they say the countess hath no stomach, and if the
goat help her 'twill do more than the doctor and all his sawbones
together." While he thus talked I considered how I might have further
speech with him, and so offered him for the goat a dollar more than the
doctor or the countess would give: to which he readily agreed (for
small gain will easily turn folk), yet on condition he should first
tell the countess that I had bid a thaler more: and if she would give
as much she should have the preference: if not, he would bring me the
goat and would in the evening let me know how the business stood. With
that my dad went his way and I, with my company, ours: yet could I and
would I not stay longer with them, but turned me back and went where I
found my dad again: who still had his goat, for others would not give
him so much as I: which, for so rich people, did amaze me, yet made me
not more niggardly: for I took him to my new-bought farm and paid him
for his goat, and when I had him half-foxed I asked of him whence came
the lad to him of whom we spoke to-day. "Ah, your worship," says he,
"the Mansfeld war brought him to me and the Nördlingen battle took him
away again." "And that," quoth I, "must be a merry story," and so I
begged him, since we had naught else to talk of, to tell it me to pass
the time.

With that he began, and says he, "When Mansfeld[39] lost the battle at
Höchst, his people were scattered abroad as not knowing whither to
flee: of whom many came into the Spessart, seeking woods wherein to
hide them: but though they had escaped death on the plains they found
it in the hills: for since both parties thought it their right to
plunder and murder one another on our lands, we peasants would have a
finger in their pie too. So 'twas but seldom that a farmer would go
into his woods without a musquet, for we could not bide at home with
our hoes and ploughs. And in this wild business did I light upon a fair
young lady mounted on a goodly horse, in a savage and lonesome wood,
yet not far from my farm: and just before, I had heard shots fired: and
at first I took her for a man, for she rode like such: yet when I saw
her raise hands and eyes to heaven and in a pitiful voice, though in a
strange tongue, cry aloud to God, I lowered my gun, with which I would
have fired upon her, and uncocked it; for her cries and actions did
well assure me 'twas a woman, and one in trouble withal. So we drew
near to each other, and when she saw me, 'Ah,' says she, 'if ye be a
Christian and an honest man, I pray you for God and His mercy, yea, and
for that Last Judgment before which we must all give account of our
deeds and misdeeds, to bring me to some married woman that with God's
help may deliver me of my burden!' Which words, as being of such
import, together with the gentle speech and the troubled, yet fair and
kind face of the poor lady, did compel me to such pity that I took her
horse by the bridle and led her over bush and brier to the thickest
part of the wood whither I had brought my wife, my child, my people,
and my cattle for refuge: and there within half an hour was she
delivered of that young boy of whom we did discourse to-day."

With that my dad finished his story and his glass: for I was no niggard
of my wine for him: and when he had emptied it I asked him how it fared
thereafter with the lady: to which he answered thus: "When she was
delivered she begged me to be godfather, and to bring the child to
baptism as soon as might be, and told me her own and her husband's name
that they might be written in the book of Christenings: and then did
she open her wallet wherein she had full costly trinkets, and of these
gave so many to me, to my wife and child, my maid-servant and to
another woman that was by, that we might well be content with her: but
even while she did this, and told us of her husband, she died under our
hands, having first commended the child to us. But since the tumult in
the land was then so great that none could abide in his own house, we
had much trouble to come by a clergyman that should baptize the child
and attend the funeral. Yet both being done, 'twas commanded me by our
burgomaster and our priest that I should rear the child till 'twas
grown, and for my trouble and cost should keep all the lady's property
save a few rosaries and precious stones and jewellery, which I should
keep for the child. So my wife did nourish the babe with goat's milk,
and we loved the lad, and did think when he should be grown up to give
him our daughter to wife: but after the battle at Nördlingen did I lose
both boy and girl and all that I possessed."

"Now," says I to my dad, "ye have told me a pretty tale enough and yet
forgot the best part: for ye have not told me the name of the lady or
her husband or the child." "Your honour," he answered, "I thought not
ye desired to know it: but the lady's name was Susanna Ramsay: her
husband was Captain Sternfels, of Fuchsheim, and because my name was
Melchior did I have the child baptized Melchior Sternfels, of
Fuchsheim, and so inscribed in the book."

Now from that I knew clearly that I was the true-born son of my hermit
and of Governor Ramsay's sister; but alas! far too late, for my parents
were both dead, and of my uncle Ramsay could I learn nothing save that
the Hanauers had rid themselves of him and his Swedish garrison,
whereat he had gone crazy for rage and vexation. But I treated my
godfather well with wine, and next day had his wife fetcht likewise:
yet when I declared myself to them, would they not believe it, till I
did shew them a black and hairy mole I had upon my breast.


Not long after this I did take my godfather with me, and ride into the
Spessart to get certain news and certificate of my descent and noble
birth; which I gat without difficulty from the book of baptisms and my
godfather's witness: and presently thereafter visited the priest that
had dwelt at Hanau and had taken care of me: which gave me a writing to
declare where my late father had died, and that I had abode with him to
his death and thereafter for a long time with Master Ramsay, the
commandant at Hanau, under the name of Simplicissimus: yea, I had an
instrument containing my whole history drawn up by a notary out of the
mouth of witnesses; for I thought, "Who knoweth when thou wilt have
need of it?" And this journey did cost me 400 thalers, for on my return
I was captured by a party, dismounted, and plundered so that I and my
dad or godfather came off naked and hardly with our lives.

Meanwhile things went ill at home: for as soon as my wife knew her
husband was a nobleman she not only did play the great lady, but did
neglect all housekeeping; which I bore in silence because she was big
with child: moreover, misfortune came on my cattle and robbed me of my
chiefest and best: all which 'twould have been possible to endure, but
O Gemini! misfortunes came not singly: for even then while my wife was
delivered, the maid was brought to bed likewise: and the child she bore
was indeed like to me, but that which my wife had was so like to the
farm-servant as it had been cut on the pattern of his face. Nay, more!
for the lady of whom I writ above did in the same night cause one to be
laid at my door with notice in writing that I was the father: and so
did I get a family of three at once, and could not but expect that
others would creep out of every corner, which caused me not a few grey
hairs. But so will it fare with whoever doth follow his own bestial
lusts in such a godless and wicked way of life as I had led.

And now what to do! I must have the baptism and be soundly punished by
the magistrate: and the government being then Swedish, and I an old
soldier of the emperor, the score was the heavier to pay: all which was
but the preface to my complete ruination the second time. And although
all these manifold disasters did greatly trouble me, yet my wife
contrariwise took all lightly; yea, did mock at me day and night about
the fine treasure that had been laid at my door and for which I had
paid so dearly: yet had she but known how 'twas with me and the maid
she would have plagued me yet worse: but that good creature was so
complacent as to let herself be persuaded with as much money as I
should other ways have been fined for her sake, to swear her child to a
fop that had at times visited me the year before and had been at the
wedding, but whom otherwise she knew not. Yet must she go a-packing,
for my wife did suspect what I thought of her and the farm-servant, yet
dared not hint thereat: for else had I proved to her that I could not
at once be with her and with the maid. Yet all the while I was
tormented with the thought that I must rear a child for my servant, and
mine own sons should not be my heirs, and yet must I hold my peace and
be glad that none else knew of it: and with such thoughts did I daily
torment myself, while my wife revelled every hour in wine; for since
our marriage she had so used herself to the bottle that 'twas seldom
away from her mouth, and she herself scarce went to bed any night but
half-drunk: by which means she robbed her child of its nourishment and
so inflamed her inward parts that soon after they fell out, and so made
me a widower the second time, which went so my heart that I wellnigh
laughed myself into a sickness.


So now did I find myself restored to mine ancient freedom, but
with a purse pretty well emptied of gold, and yet a great household
overburdened with cattle and servants. Therefore I took my
foster-father Melchior to be as my father, and my foster-mother, his
wife, to be my mother, and young bastard Simplicissimus that had been
laid at my door I made my heir, and handed over to these two old people
house and farm, together with all my property save a few yellow-boys
and jewels that I had saved and kept hidden to meet extreme need: for
now had I conceived such a loathing for the company and society of all
women that I had determined, having fared so ill with them, never to
marry again. So this old couple, which in matters rustic could hardly
meet their likes for skill, presently arranged my housekeeping in
different fashion. For they got rid of such cattle and servants as were
of no use, and in their place had for the farm such as would bring
profit. So my old dad and my mammy bade me be of good cheer, and
promised if I would let them manage all to keep me ever a good horse in
the stable and myself so well furnished that I could now and then drink
my measure of wine with any honest companion. And presently I was ware
of what manner of people now managed my estate: for my foster-father
with the labourers tilled the ground, and bargained for cattle and
wood and resin sharper than any Jew, while his wife gave herself to
cattle-breeding and contrived to save the milk-penny and keep it better
than ten such wives as I had had. In such wise my farmyard was in short
space furnished with all needful implements and cattle small and great,
so that soon 'twas esteemed one of the best in that country-side: and I
meanwhile took my walks abroad and gave myself up to contemplations,
for when I saw how my foster-mother earned more by her bees alone, in
wax and honey, than my wife had gained from cattle, swine, and all the
rest together, I could well conceive that in other matters she would
not be caught napping.

Now it happened on a time that I took my walk in the spa, more for the
sake of a draught of fresh water than, according to my former usage, to
make acquaintance with the fops: for I had begun to imitate the
thriftiness of my parents, who counselled me I should not much consort
with folk that so wantonly wasted their own and their father's goods.
Yet I joined myself to a company of men of moderate rank who even then
were in discourse concerning a strange matter, namely, of the
Mummelsee, which said they was bottomless, and which was situate on one
of the highest mountains near by: and they had sent for several old
peasants and would have them to tell all that one and the other had
heard of this wondrous lake, to whose stories I hearkened with great
delight, though I held them all to be as vain fables as be some of
Plinius's tales.

For one said if any man should tie up an odd number of things such as
peas or pebbles, or what not, in a kerchief, and let it down into the
water, presently the number would be even. And if one should drop in an
even number, at once it became odd. Others, and indeed the most part,
declared, and confirmed what they said by examples, that if a man
should throw in one or more stones, however fair the skies might be
till then, at once there would arise a terrible storm with fearful
rain, hail and hurricane. From that they came to all manner of strange
histories that had happened there, and what wondrous appearances of
earth- and water-spirits had there been seen and how they had talked
with mankind. One told how on a time, as certain herdsmen were keeping
cattle by the lake, there arose a brown ox out of the water that mixed
with the other cattle, but there followed him a little mannikin to
drive him back into the lake; who would not obey till the little man
had sworn that if he did not come back he should suffer all the ills of
human kind. At which words ox and man again sank into the lake. Another
said it happened at a time when the lake was frozen over that a
peasant, with his oxen and sundry trunks of trees, such as we hew
planks out of, passed over the lake without harm; but when his dog
would follow him the ice broke, and so the poor beast fell in and was
never seen again. And yet another swore 'twas solemn truth that a
huntsman following in the track of game was passing by the lake, and
there saw a water-spirit sitting with a whole lapful of coined money
and playing therewith; at whom when he would have shot, the spirit sank
into the water, and cried, "Hadst thou but prayed me to help thee in
thy trade, I would have made thee and thine rich for life."

Such and the like tales, which seemed to me all as fables with which we
do amuse our children, did I hearken to, and never deemed it possible
that there could be such a bottomless lake upon a high mountain. But
there were other peasants, and those old and credible men, that
affirmed that within their own and their father's memory high and
princely persons had journeyed to behold the said lake, and that a
reigning Duke of Würtemberg had caused a raft to be made, and had put
out into the lake thereupon to sound its depth: but that after the
measures had already let down nine thread-cables (which is a measure of
length better understanded of the peasants' wives of the Black Forest
than of me or any other geometer) with a sinking-lead, and yet had
found no bottom, the raft, contrary to the nature of wood, began to
sink, so that they that were upon it must perforce give up their
purpose and make all haste to land, and so to this day can be seen the
fragments of the raft on the shore of the lake, with the arms of
Würtemberg and other matters carved upon the wood for a memorial of
this history. Others called many witnesses to prove that a certain
archduke of Austria had desired to drain the lake, but was by many
dissuaded and at the petition of the people of the land the plan given
up, for fear lest the whole country might be drowned and destroyed.
Furthermore, the said noble princes had caused barrels full of trout to
be put into the lake; all which in less than an hour died before their
eyes and floated away through the outlet of the lake, notwithstanding
that the stream that flows under the mountain on which the lake lies
and through the valley that takes its name therefrom produces by nature
such fish, and that the outlet of the lake is into the said stream.


These last did so affirm what they said that I now began almost
entirely to believe them, and they did so move my curiosity that I
determined to visit this wondrous lake. But of those that with me had
listened to the whole story one judged one way and another another,
from which sufficiently appeared their different and contradictory ways
of thinking. For my part I said the German name Mummelsee[40]
sufficiently declared that there was about the thing, as about a
masquerade, some disguise, so that none might fathom either its nature
or its depth, which had never yet been discovered, though such high
personages had attempted it. And with that I betook me to the same
place where a year before I had seen my departed wife for the first
time and drank in the sweet poison of love. And there I laid myself
down on the green grass in the shade, yet took no heed as I had done
before to what the nightingales did sing, but rather pondered on the
changes I had suffered since then. I represented to myself how in that
very place I had begun to be in place of a free man a slave of love,
and how since then I had become from an officer a peasant, from a rich
peasant a poor nobleman, from a Simplicissimus a Melchior, from a
widower a husband, from a husband a cuckold, and from a cuckold a
widower again; moreover, from a peasant's brat I had proved to be the
son of a good soldier, and yet again the son of my old dad. Then again
I reflected how fate had robbed me of my Herzbruder, and in his place
had provided me with two old married folk. I thought of the godly life
and decease of my father; the piteous death of my mother; and, further,
of the manifold changes which I had undergone in my lifetime, till I
could no longer refrain myself from tears. And even while I reflected
how much good money I in my lifetime had possessed and squandered away,
and began to lament therefore, there came two good soakers or
winebibbers on whom the gout had fastened in their limbs, whereby they
were crippled and needed both the baths and to drink the waters: these
set themselves down by me, for 'twas a fair place to rest, and each
bewailed to the other his sad case as thinking that they were alone. So
said the one, "My doctor hath sent me here either as one of whose
healing he despaired or else as one that with others might help him to
repay my host here for the keg of butter he sent him: I would I had
either never seen him in my life or else that he had at the first sent
me to the spa, for so should I either have more money than now or else
be sounder, for the waters suit my case right well." And "Ah" says the
other, "I thank my God that He hath given me no more money to spare
than what I have, for had my doctor known that I had more behind he had
never counselled me to come to the spa; but I must have shared all
between him and his apothecaries, that for this cause do oil his palms
year by year--yea, even though I should have died and perished in the
meanwhile. These greedy fellows send not men like us to so healthful a
place till they be well assured they can help us no more, or else find
us pigeons they can pluck no longer: and if the truth must be
confessed, he that once deals with them, and of whom they know that he
has money, must pay them only to this end, that they keep him sick."
And much more evil had these two to say of their doctors, but I care
not to tell it all: otherwise might the gentlemen of that profession
take it amiss and some time or other give me a dose that should purge
my soul out of my body. Nay, I do but mention it for this cause,
because this second patient, in giving thanks to God that He had given
him no more wealth, so comforted me that I banished clean out of my
mind all vexations and heavy thoughts that had assailed me on the score
of money: and I did resolve to strive no more for honour nor gold nor
for aught else that the world loveth. Yea, I determined to be a
philosopher and to devote myself to a godly life, and in especial to
lament mine own impenitence and to endeavour myself, like my dear
departed father, to ascend to the highest degree of piety.


Now this desire to visit the Mummelsee increased with me when I learned
from my foster-father that he had been there and knew the way thither;
but when he heard that I likewise would go, "And what will ye gain,"
says he, "by going thither? My son with his old dad will see naught
else but the picture of a pond lying in the midst of a great wood, and
when he hath paid for his present taste with sore distaste, he will
have naught but repentance and weary feet (for a man can hardly come to
the place by riding) and the way back instead of the way thither. Nor
should ever any man have had me to go thither had I not been forced to
flee there when Doctor Daniel (by which he meant Duc d'Anguin[41])
marched with his troops down through the country to Philippsburg." Yet
my curiosity would not be turned aside by his dissuasion, but I got me
a fellow that should guide me thither; so my father, seeing my fixed
intent, said, since the oat-crop was gathered in, and there was neither
hoeing nor reaping to be done on the farm, he would even go with me and
shew the way. For he loved me so that he would fain not let me out of
his sight, and since all the people of the country believed I was his
true-born son, he was proud of me; and so behaved to me and to all
others as a poor man might well do in respect of a son whom good
fortune, without his own help and assistance, had turned into a fine

So together we set off over hill and dale and came to the Mummelsee;
and that before we had gone six hours, for my dad was as lively as a
cricket and as good a traveller as any young man. And there we consumed
what meat and drink we had brought with us, for the long journey and
the high mountain on which the lake lieth had made us both hungry and
thirsty. So having refreshed ourselves I did inspect the lake, and
found lying in it certain hewn timbers which my dad and I took to be
the remains of the Würtemberg raft: and I by geometry took or estimated
the length and breadth of the water (for 'twas far too wearisome to go
round the lake and measure it by paces or feet), and entered the
dimensions, by means of the scale of reduction, in my tablets. And
having done this, the sky being completely clear and the air windless
and calm, I must needs try what truth was in the legend that a storm
would arise if any should throw a stone into the lake; having already
found those stories I had heard, how the lake would suffer no trout to
live in it, to be true, by reason of the mineral taste of the waters.
So to make trial of this, I walked along the lake to the left, where
the water, which elsewhere is as clear as a crystal, doth begin, by
reason of the monstrous depth, to shew as black as coal, and therefore
is so dreadful of appearance that the mere look of it doth terrify.
And there I began to cast in stones as great as I could carry; my
foster-father or dad not only refusing to help me, but warning and
begging me to give over, as much as in him lay: but I went busily on
with my work, and such stones as by reason of their size and weight I
could not carry, I rolled down till I had cast more than thirty such
into the lake. Then began the sky to be covered with black clouds, in
which terrible thundering was heard, so that my dad, which stood on the
other side of the lake by the outlet, lamenting over my work, cried out
to me that I should escape, lest we be caught by the rain and the
dreadful storm, or even a worse mishap chance to us. But in despite of
all I answered him, "Father, I will stay and await the end even though
it rained pitchforks." "Yea, yea," answered he, "ye act like all madcap
boys, that care not if the world perish."

But I, while I listened to his scolding, turned not mine eyes away from
the depths of the lake, expecting to see certain bladders or bubbles
rising up from the bottom, as is wont to happen when stones are thrown
into deep water whether still or running. Yet saw I naught of the kind,
but was ware of certain creatures floating far down in the depths,
which in form reminded me of frogs, and flitted about like sparks from
a mounting rocket which in the air doth work its full effect: and as
they came nearer and nearer to me they seemed to grow larger and more
like to the human form: at which at first great wonder took hold of me,
and at last, when I saw them hard by me, a great fear and trembling.
"Ah," said I then to myself in my terror and wonder, and yet so loud
that my dad, that stood beyond the lake, could hear me, though the
noise of the thunder was dreadful, "how great are the wondrous works of
the Creator! yea, even in the womb of the earth and the depths of the
waters!" And scarce had I said these words when one of these sylphs
appeared upon the waters and answered me, "Aha, and thou dost
acknowledge that before thou hast seen aught thereof: what wouldst say
if thou wert for once in the Centrum Terrae and beheldest our dwelling
which thy curiosity hath disturbed?"

Meanwhile there rose up here and there more of such water-spirits, like
diving birds, all looking upon me and bringing up again the stones I
had cast in, which amazed me much. And the first and chiefest among
them, whose raiment shone like pure gold and silver, cast to me a
shining stone of the bigness of a pigeon's egg and green and
transparent as an emerald, with these words: "Take thou this trinket,
that thou mayst have somewhat to report of us and of our lake." But
scarce had I picked it up and pocketed it when it seemed to me the air
would choke or drown me, so that I could not stand upright but rolled
about like a ball of yarn, and at last fell into the lake. Yet no
sooner was I in the water than I recovered, and through the virtue of
the stone I had upon me could breathe in water instead of air: yea,
I could with small effort float in the lake as well as could the
water-spirits, yea, and with them descended into the depths; which
reminded me of nothing so much as of a flock of birds that so descend
in circles from the upper air to light upon the ground.

But my dad having beheld this marvel in part (namely, so much of it as
was done above the water), made off from the lake and home again as if
his head were on fire. And there he told the whole history; but
especially how the water-spirits had brought back those stones that I
had cast into the lake, in the midst of the thunderstorm, and had laid
them where they came from, but in exchange had taken me down with them.
So some believed him but most accounted it a fable. Others conceived
that I had, like another Empedocles of Agrigentum (which cast himself
into Mount Aetna that all might think, since he was nowhere to be
found, that he was taken up to heaven), drowned myself in the lake, and
charged my father to spread such tales about me to gain for me an
immortal name: for, said they, it had long been marked by my
melancholic humour that I was half-desperate.

Others would fain have believed, had they not known my strength of
body, that my adopted father had himself murdered me to be rid of me
(being a miserly old man) and so be master alone on my farm: so that at
this time naught else but the Mummelsee and me and my departure and my
foster-father could be talked of or discoursed on either at the spa or
in the countryside.

_Chaps. xiii.-xvi._ contain merely a farrago of nonsense conveyed in
conversations with the prince of the Mummelsee, who explains to
Simplicissimus the construction of the "earth's crust" and the nature
of sylphs, and in turn is treated by him to an account of earthly
affairs, on which he makes the usual commonplace satirical remarks (see
the Introduction).


Meanwhile the time drew near that I should return home; therefore the
king bade me declare my wishes, whereby I understood he was minded to
do me a favour. So I said, no greater kindness could be shewn me than
to cause a real medicinal spring to rise on my farm. "And is that all?"
answered the king, "I had thought thou wouldst have taken with thee
some of these great emeralds from the American Sea and have asked to
bear them with thee back to earth. Now do I see that there is no greed
among you Christians." Therewith he handed to me a stone of strange and
glittering colours, and said, "Put this in thy pouch, and wheresoever
thou layest in on the ground, there will it begin to seek the Centre of
the Earth again, and to pass through the most fitting mineralia, till
it come back to us, and for our part we will send thee a noble mineral
spring, that shall work thee such good and profit as thou hast deserved
of us by thy declaration of the truth." So thereupon the prince of the
Mummelsee took me again under his charge, and passed with me through
the road and the lake by which we had come. And this way back seemed to
me far longer than the way thither, so that I reckoned it at three
thousand five hundred German-Swiss miles well measured; but doubtless
the cause that the time seemed so long to me was that I had no speech
of my escort, save that I learned from them they were from three to
five hundred years old and lived all this time without the least

For the rest, I was in fancy so rich with my spring that all my wits
and all my thoughts were busied with this, to wit, where I should plant
it and how turn it to profit. And first I had my plans for the fine
buildings that I must set up that the bathing-guests might be properly
accommodated, and I for my part might gain great hire for lodgings.
Then I devised already by what bribes I could persuade the doctors to
prefer my new miraculous spa to all the others, yea, even to that of
Schwalbach, and so procure for me a crowd of rich patients: in my
fantasy I even levelled whole mountains lest they that came and went
should find the way wearisome to travel: already I hired sharp-witted
drawers, sparing cooks, careful chambermaids, watchful grooms, spruce
intendants of the baths and springs, and already I thought of a place
where in the midst of the wild mountains by my farm I might plant a
fine level pleasure-garden, and there rear all manner of rare plants,
that the bathing-guests and their wives that came from foreign parts
might walk therein, where the sick might be cheered and the sound might
be amused and exercised with all manner of sports and pastimes. Then
must the doctors, for a reward, write me a noble treatise on my spring
and set down on paper its healing qualities; and this I would have
printed with a fine plate wherein my farm should be depicted and a
ground plan thereof given; by reading which any absent patient might at
once believe and hope himself in health again. Then would I have all my
children fetched from Lippstadt, to have them taught all that was
needful to know of my new watering-place; for 'twas my intent to
scarify my guests' purses well though not their backs. With such rich
fancies and overweening castles in the air I came again into the upper
world, for this oft-mentioned prince brought me again to land from his
Mummelsee with dry clothes; and there I must forthwith cast from me the
talisman that he had at first given me when he fetched me away; else
had I either been choked in the air or must have plunged my head under
the water again, such was the effect of the said stone. Which being
done, and he having taken it to him again, we commended each other to
the protection of the most High, as men that should never meet again;
so he with his people dived under and sank into his depths; but I with
my stone which the king had given me went thence as full of joy as if I
had fetched the golden fleece home from Colchis.

But alas! my joy, of which I vainly hoped for the everlasting
continuance, endured not long, for hardly was I gone from that lake of
wonders when I began to go astray in that rhonstrous wood, for I had
not marked from what direction my dad had brought me to the lake. Yet I
went some way on before I was aware of my mistake, ever making
calculations how I could plant that noble spring on my farm, and build
round it, and earn for myself a peaceful revenue as proprietor thereof.
In this way I unawares strayed further and further from the place
whither I desired to come and, worst of all, I found it not out till
the sun was sinking and I was helpless. For there I stood in the midst
of a wilderness like Simple Simon, without food or arms, of which I
might well have need during the night that was coming on. Yet I found
comfort in my stone that I had brought with me from the very bowels of
the earth. "Patience, patience!" said I to myself: "this will again
repay thee for all sufferings undergone. All good things take time, and
fine rewards be not won without great toil and labour: else would every
fool need but to wipe his beard to get possession at will of even such
a noble spring as thou hast in thy poke."

And having spoken thus I got with my new resolve new strength, so that
I went forward with a bolder gait than heretofore, although night now
overtook me. The full moon indeed shone on me brightly, but the tall
fir-trees kept the light from me more than the deep sea had done that
very day; yet I made my way on, till about midnight I was ware of a
fire afar off, to which I straightway walked, and saw from a distance
that there were certain woodmen about it, resin-gatherers; and though
such folk be not at all times to be trusted yet my necessity compelled
me and my own courage urged me on to speak to them. So I came quietly
behind them and said, "Good night or good day or good morrow or good
even, gentlemen: for tell me what hour it is that I may know how to
greet ye." With that the whole six stood or sat there all a-tremble
with fear and knew not what to answer me. For I, being of great stature
and just at that time, by reason of mourning for my late wife, being in
black raiment; and in especial having a terrible cudgel in mine hand,
on which I leaned like a wild man of the woods, my figure seemed to
them dreadful. "How," says I, "will none answer me?" Yet they stayed
yet a good while in amazement, till at last one came to himself well
enough to ask, "Who be the gentleman?" By that I heard they must be of
the Swabian nation; which men esteem as simple-minded yet with little
cause: so I said I was a travelling scholar, but newly come from the
Venusberg, where I had learned a heap of wondrous arts. "Oho," quoth
the eldest woodman, "Praise God; for now do I believe that I shall live
to see peace again, because the wandering scholars are on their travels


In this wise we came to converse with one another, and I found so much
courtesy among them that they invited me to sit down and offered me a
piece of black bread and thin cow's milk cheese, both of which I did
thankfully accept. At last they became so familiar with me that they
hinted I should, as a travelling scholar, tell their fortunes: and I,
knowing somewhat of physiognomies and palmistry, began to tell to one
after the other such stuff as I deemed would content them, that I might
not lose credit with them; for in spite of all I was not at my ease
among these wild woodmen. Then would they learn curious arts from me:
but I fobbed them off with promises for the next day, and desired they
would suffer me to rest a little. And having so played the gipsy for
them. I laid myself down a little apart, more to listen and to perceive
how they were minded than as having any great desire to sleep (though
my appetite thereto was not lacking); and the more I snored the more
wakeful they appeared. So they put their heads together and began to
dispute one against another who I might be: they held that I could be
no soldier because I wore black clothing, nor no townsman-blade, that
could so suddenly appear far from all men's dwellings in the Muckenloch
(for so was the wood called) at so unwonted a time. At the last they
resolved I must be a journeyman Latinist[42] that had lost his way, or,
as I myself had declared, a travelling scholar, because I could so
excellently tell fortunes. "Yea," says another, "yet he knew not all
for that reason: 'tis some wandering soldier, maybe, that hath so
disguised himself to spy out our cattle and the secret ways of the
wood. Aha! if we knew that we would so put him to sleep that he should
forget ever to wake again." But another quickly took him up, that held
the contrary and would have me to be somewhat else. Meanwhile I lay
there and pricked up my ears and thought, "If these clodhoppers set
upon me, two or three of them will need to bite the dust before they
make an end of me." But while they took counsel and I tormented myself
with fears, of a sudden I found myself lying in a pool of water. O
horrors! now was Troy lost and all my splendid plans gone to naught,
for by the smell I perceived 'twas mine own mineral spring. With that,
for very rage and despite, I fell into such a frenzy that I wellnigh
had fallen on those six peasants and fought them all. "Ye godless
rogues," says I to them, and therewith sprang up with my terrible
cudgel, "by this spring that welleth forth where I have lain ye well
may see who I am; it were small wonder if I should so trounce ye all
that the devil should fetch ye, because ye have dared to cherish such
evil thoughts in your hearts," and thereto I added looks so threatening
and terrible that all were afraid of me. Yet presently I came to myself
and perceived what folly I committed. "Nay," thought I, "'tis better to
lose the spring than one's life, and that thou canst easily forfeit if
thou attack these clowns." So I gave them fair words again, and before
they could recollect themselves: "Arise," said I, "and taste of this
noble spring which ye and all other woodmen and resin-gatherers will
henceforth be able to enjoy in this wilderness through my help."

Now this my discourse they understood not, but looked one upon another
like live stockfish till they saw me very soberly take the first
draught out of my hat. Then one by one they arose from beside their
fire, and looked upon this miracle and tasted the water; but instead of
being grateful to me as they should have been, they began to curse and
said they would I had chanced on some other spot with my spring: for if
their lord came to know of it, then must the whole district of
Dornstett do forced-work to make a road thither, which would bring
great hardship upon them. "But," says I, "on the contrary, ye will all
have your profit therefrom: for ye can turn your fowls, your eggs, your
butter, and your cattle and the rest more easily into money." "Nay,
nay," said they, "the lord will put in an innkeeper that will take all
the profit alone: and we must be his poor fools to keep road and path
in trim for him, and earn no thanks thereby."

But at last they disagreed: for two were for keeping the spring and
four demanded of me that I should take it away; which, had it been in
my power, I had willingly done whether it pleased them or teased them.
So as day began to break, and I had no more to do there, but must
rather take heed lest we came together by the ears, I said that unless
they were minded that all the cows in that valley should give red milk
as long as the spring flowed they must presently shew me the way to
Seebach; with which they were content, and to that end sent two of them
with me; for one had feared to go with me alone.

So I departed thence, and though the whole land there was barren and
bore nothing but pine-cones, yet would I with a curse have made it yet
poorer, for there I had lost all my hopes; yet went I silently enough
with my guides till I came to the top of the hill, where I could a
little trace my way by the lie of the country. And there I said to
them, "Now, my masters, ye can turn your new spring to fine profit if
ye go forthwith and tell your lords of its coming up; for that will
bring ye a rich reward, seeing that the prince will surely build about
it for the glory and gain of the country, and for the promotion of his
own interest will have it made known to all the world." "Yea," said
they, "fools should we be in truth so to bind rods for our own backs;
we had rather the devil would take thee and thy spring too: thou hast
heard enough to know why we desire it not." "Ah, miscreants!" quoth I,
"should I not call ye disloyal rogues that depart so far from the ways
of your pious forefathers, which were so true to their prince that he
could boast that he might venture to lay his head upon the knees of any
of his subjects and there sleep in safety. But ye blackcaps, to 'scape
a trifling task for which ye would in time be recompensed and of which
all your posterity would reap a rich reward, ye be so dishonest as to
refuse to make known this healing spring, which were both to the profit
of your worshipful prince and also to the welfare and health of many a
sick man. What would it cost ye though each should do a few days'
forced work to that end?" "How," said they, "we would rather kill thee
that thy spring might remain unknown." "Ye night-birds," says I, "there
must be more of ye for that," and therewith heaved up my cudgel and
chased them to all the devils, and thereafter went my way down hill
westwards and southwards, and so came after much toil and tumble about
sunset to my farm, and found it true indeed what my dad had prophesied
to me, namely, that I should get naught from this pilgrimage save weary
legs and the way back for the way thither.

_Chap. xix._ is an uninteresting excursus on certain communities of
Anabaptists in Hungary.


The same autumn there drew near to us French, Swedish, and Hessian
troops to refresh themselves among us and to keep the Free City in the
neighbourhood (which was built by an English king,[43] and called after
his name) blockaded, for which cause every man gathered together his
cattle and the best of his goods and fled into the woods among the
mountains. I too did as my neighbours did and left my house pretty well
empty, wherein a Swedish colonel on half-pay was lodged. The same found
still remaining in my cabinet certain books, for in my haste I could
not bring all away; and among others certain mathematical and
geometrical essays, and also some on fortification, wherewith our
engineers be principally busied, and therefore at once concluded that
his quarters could belong to no common peasant, and so began to inquire
of my character and to court my acquaintance, till by courteous offers
and threats intermingled he wrought me to it that I should visit him at
mine own farm, where he treated me very civilly and restrained his
people, that they should do my goods no unnecessary damage or hurt. And
by such friendly treatment he brought it about that I told him of all
my business, and in especial of my family and descent. Thereat he
wondered that I in the midst of war could so dwell among peasants, and
look on while another tied his horse to my manger, whereas I with more
honour could tie mine own horse to another's: I should, said he, gird
on the sword again and not allow my gift which God had bestowed on me
to perish by the fireside, and behind the plough; for he knew, if I
would enter the Swedish service, my capacity and my knowledge of war
would soon raise me to high rank. This I treated but coldly, and told
him advancement was ever far off if a man had no friends to take him by
the hand; whereto he replied that my good qualities would soon procure
me both friends and advancement; nay, more: he doubted not that I
should find kinsmen at the Swedish headquarters, and those of some
account, for there there were many Scottish noblemen and men of rank.
Further, said he, a regiment had been promised to him himself by
Torstensohn; which promise if it were kept (of which he doubted not)
then would he at once make me his lieutenant-colonel. With such and the
like words he made my mouth to water, and inasmuch as there were now
but scanty hopes of peace, and for me to suffer further billeting of
troops did but mean utter ruin, therefore I resolved to serve again,
and promised the colonel to go with him if only he would keep his word
and give me the post of lieutenant-colonel in the regiment he was to

And so the die was cast; and I sent for my dad or foster-father, which
was still with my cattle at Bairischbrunn;[44] and to him and his wife
I devised my farm as their own property; yet on condition that after
his death my bastard Simplicissimus that had been laid at my door
should inherit it with all appurtenances, since there were no heirs
born in wedlock. Thereafter I fetched my horse and all the gold and
trinkets I still had, and having settled all my affairs and taken order
for the education of my said by-blow of a son, on a sudden the blockade
I spoke of was raised, so that before we looked for it we must decamp
and join the main army.

Under the colonel I served as a steward, and maintained him with his
servants and horses and all his household by theft and robbery, which
is called in soldiers' language foraging. But as to the promises of
Torstensohn, of which he had talked so big at my farm, they were not so
great by a good deal as he had given out, but as it seemed to me he was
rather looked at askance. "Aha," says he to me, "some malicious dog
hath slandered me at headquarters. Yet I shall not need to wait long":
but when he suspected that I should not endure to tarry longer with him
he forged letters as if he had to raise a fresh regiment in Livonia
where his home was, and persuaded me to embark with him at Wismar and
to sail thither. And there too we found naught, for not only had he no
regiment to raise, but was besides a nobleman as poor as a church
mouse: and what he had came from his wife. Yet though I had now been
twice deceived and had suffered myself to be enticed so far afield, yet
I took the bait the third time; for he shewed me writings he had
received from Moscow, in which, as he professed, high commands in the
army were offered him, for so he interpreted the said letters to me and
boasted loudly of good and punctual pay: and seeing that he started off
with wife and child, I thought, surely he is on no wild-goose chase.

And so with high hopes I took the road with him, for otherwise I saw no
means or opportunity to get back to Germany. But as soon as we came
over the Russian frontier, and sundry discharged German soldiers met
us, I began to be alarmed and said to my colonel, "What the devil do we
here? We leave the country where war is, and where there is peace and
soldiers be of no account and disbanded, thither we come." Yet still he
gave me fair words and said I should leave it to him; he knew better
what he was about than these fellows that were of no account.

But when we came in safety to the city of Moscow, I saw at once the
game was up. 'Tis true my colonel conferred daily with great men, but
far more with bishops than boyars, which seemed to me not so much grand
as far too monkish, and aroused in me all manner of fancies and
reflections, though I could not conceive what he aimed at: but in the
end he revealed to me that war was over and that his conscience urged
him on to embrace the Greek religion; and that his sincere advice to me
was, inasmuch as otherwise he could help me no more as he had promised,
to follow his example: for his Majesty the Czar had already good
accounts of my person and my great capabilities: and would be
graciously pleased, if I would agree to the conditions, to endow me as
a knight with a fine estate and many serfs; which most gracious offer
was not to be rejected, since for any man it was better to have in so
great a monarch rather a gracious lord than an offended prince. At this
I was much confounded, and knew not what to answer, for had I had the
colonel in another place I would have answered him rather by deeds than
words: but now I must play my cards otherwise, and consider the place
where I was, and where I was like to a prisoner; and therefore was
silent a long time before I could resolve upon an answer. At length I
said to him I had indeed come with the purpose to serve the Czar's
Majesty as a soldier, to which he, the colonel, had persuaded me; and
if my services in war were not needed I could not help it; far less
could I lay it to the charge of the Czar that I had for his sake
undertaken so long a journey in vain, for he had not written to me to
come. But that his Majesty condescended so graciously to dispense his
royal favour to me would be a thing for me rather to boast of before
all the world than most humbly to accept it and to earn it, since I
could not just now determine to alter my religion, and only wished I
were dwelling again in my farm in the Black Forest and so causing no
man concern or inconveniency. To which he replied, "Your honour may do
as he pleases: only I had conceived that if God and good luck favoured
him, he would do well to be thankful to both; but if he will accept no
help and refuses to live like a prince, at least I hope he will believe
that I have spared no pains to help him to the best of my ability."
Thereupon he made me a deep reverence, went his way, and left me in the
lurch, not allowing me even to give him my company to the door.

So as I sat there all perplexed and reviewed my present condition I
heard two Russian carriages before our lodging, and looking out of the
window saw my good master colonel with his sons enter the one and his
wife with her daughters the other. Which were the Czar's carriages and
his livery, and divers priests there also which waited upon this
honourable family and shewed them all kindness and good will.


From this time I was watched, not openly indeed, but secretly, by
certain soldiers of the Strelitz guard, and that without my knowledge;
and my colonel and his family never once came in my sight, so that I
knew not what was become of him: and all this, as may easily be
thought, brought in my head strange conceits and many grey hairs also.
There I made the acquaintance of the Germans that dwell in Moscow, some
as traders, some as mechanics, and to them lamented my plight and how I
had been deceived by guile; who gave me comfort and direction how I,
with a fair opportunity, might return to Germany. But so soon as they
got wind of it that the Czar had determined to keep me in the land and
would force me to it, they all became dumb towards me, yea, avoided my
company, and 'twas hard for me even to find a shelter for my head. For
I had already devoured my horse, saddle and trappings and all, and was
now doling out one to-day and to-morrow another of the ducats which I
had wisely sewn into my clothes. At last I began to turn into money my
rings and trinkets, in the hope to keep myself so until I could find a
fair occasion to get back to Germany. Meanwhile a quarter of a year was
gone, after which the said colonel, with all his household, was
baptized again and provided with a fine nobleman's estate and many

At that time there went out a decree that both among natives and
foreigners no idlers should be allowed (and that with heavy penalties)
as those that took the bread out of the mouth of the workers, and all
strangers that would not work must quit the country in a month and the
town in four-and-twenty hours. With that some fifty of us joined
together with intent to make our way, with God's help, through Podolia
to Germany; yet were we not two hours gone from the town when we were
caught up by certain Russian troopers, on the pretence that his Majesty
was greatly displeased that we had impudently dared to band together in
such great numbers, and to traverse his land at pleasure without
passports, saying further that his Majesty would not be going beyond
his rights in sending us all to Siberia for our insolent conduct. On
the way back I learned how my business stood: for the commander of the
troop told me plainly, the Czar would not let me forth of the country:
and his sincere advice was that I should obey his Majesty's most
gracious will and join their religion, and (as the colonel had done)
not despise a fine estate; assuring me also that if I refused this and
would not live among them as a lord I must needs stay as a servant
against my will: nor must his Majesty be blamed that he would not allow
to depart from his country a man so skilful as the before-mentioned
colonel had reported me to be. Then did I disparage mine own worth, and
said the honourable colonel must surely have ascribed to me more arts,
virtues, and knowledge than I possessed: 'twas true indeed I had come
into the land to serve his Majesty the Czar and the worshipful Russian
people, even at the risk of my life, against their enemies: but to
change my religion, to that I could not resolve me: yet so far as I
could in any wise serve his Majesty without burdening my conscience, I
would not fail to do my utmost endeavour.

Then was I set apart from the rest and lodged with a merchant, where I
was openly watched, yet daily provisioned from the court with rich food
and costly liquors, and also daily had visitors that talked with me and
now and again would invite me as a guest. In especial there was one to
whose charge I had without doubt been chiefly commended, a crafty man,
that entertained me daily with friendly talk; for now could I speak
Russian pretty well. So he discoursed with me oftentimes of all manner
of mechanic arts, as well as of engines of war and others, and of
fortification and artillery practice. At last, after much beating about
the bush to find out whether I would give in to his master's wishes,
when he found there was no hope of my changing even in the least point,
he begged that I would for the honour of the great Czar impart and
communicate to their nation somewhat of my science: for his Majesty
would requite my complaisance with high and royal favours. To which I
answered, my desires had ever been to that end, most dutifully to serve
the Czar, seeing that for this purpose I had come into his country,
albeit I perceived that I was kept like a prisoner. But he replied,
"Nay, nay, sir, ye be no prisoner, but his Majesty doth hold ye so dear
that he cannot resolve to part with your person." So says I, "Wherefore
then am I guarded?" "Because," he answered, "his Majesty feareth lest
any harm should happen to ye."

So now understanding my proposals, he said the Czar was graciously
pleased to consider of digging for saltpetre in his own country and
making of powder there; but because there was no one in the land that
could deal with the matter, I should do him an acceptable service if I
would undertake the work: to that end I should be provided with men and
means enough ready to hand, and he in his own person would most
sincerely beg of me not to reject such a gracious proposal, seeing that
they were already well assured that I had a full knowledge of such
matters. To which I answered, "Sir, I say as I said before: if I can
serve his Majesty in anything, provided only he will be graciously
content to leave me undisturbed in my religion, I will not fail to do
my best." Whereat the Russian, which was one of their chief magnates,
was heartily glad and pledged me in drink deeper than ever a German.

Next day there came from the Czar two great nobles with an interpreter
to make a final agreement with me, and presented me on behalf of the
Czar with a costly Russian robe: and a few days after I began to seek
for saltpetre and to instruct the Russians that had been assigned to me
how to separate it from the earth and refine it; and at the same time I
drew up a plan of a powder-mill, and taught others to burn charcoal, so
that in brief space we had ready a goodly amount both of musquet and
ordnance powder; for I had people enough, besides mine own servants
that were to wait on me, or, to speak more truly, to keep watch and
ward over me.

I being thus well started, there comes to me the before-mentioned
colonel in Russian clothes and nobly escorted by many servants; without
doubt by such a show of glory to persuade me to go over to that
religion. But I knew well that the clothes came from the Czar his
wardrobe, and were but lent him to make my mouth water: for 'tis the
commonest of customs at the Russian court: and that the reader may
understand how 'tis managed, I will give him an instance of mine own
self. For once was I busied with taking order at the powder-mills
(which I caused to be built on the river outside Moscow) as to what
task one and the other of the people assigned to me should perform that
day and the next, when of a sudden there was an alarm that the Tartars,
100,000 horse strong, were but four miles away plundering the country
and advancing continually: so must I and my people needs betake
ourselves to the palace, to be equipped out of the Czar's armoury and
stables. And I for my part, in place of a cuirass, was clad in a
quilted silk breastplate that would stop any arrow, but could not keep
out any bullet: moreover boots and spurs and a princely head-dress with
a heron plume, and a sabre that would split a hair, mounted with pure
gold and studded with precious stones, were given to me, and of the
Czar's horses such an one was put between my legs as I had never seen
the like of in my life, far less ridden; so I and my horses blazed with
gold, silver, pearls and precious stones. I had a steel mace hanging by
me that shone like a mirror, and was so well made and heavy that I had
easily beaten to death any that I dealt a blow with it, so that the
Czar himself could not ride into battle better equipped: and there
followed me a white standard with a double eagle to which the people
flocked from all sides and corners, so that before two hours were over
we were forty thousand strong and after four hours nigh sixty thousand,
with whom we marched against the Tartars; and every quarter of an hour
I had my orders from the Czar; which yet were but this, that I should
this day approve myself a soldier, having given myself out for one,
that his Majesty might as such esteem and recognise me. So every moment
our troop was increased with great and small soldiers and officers; yet
in all this haste could I discover none that should command the whole
body, or array the battle. It needs not that I should tell all, for my
story is not much concerned with this encounter. I will but say this
only, that we came suddenly upon the Tartars in a valley or deep dip in
the land, encumbered with tired horses and much booty, and least of all
expecting us; whom we attacked on all sides with such fury that at the
very onset we scattered them. There at the first attack I called to my
followers in the Russian speech, "Come now, let each do as I do!" and
that they all shouted to one another, while I with a loose rein charged
at the enemy, and of the first I met, which was a Mirza or prince's
son, I cleft the head in twain, so that his brains were left hanging on
my steel mace. This heroical example did the Russians follow, so that
the Tartars might not withstand their attack, but turned to a general
flight, while I dealt like a madman, or rather like one that from
desperation seeketh death and cannot find it, for I smote down all that
came before me, Tartar and Russian alike; and they that were commanded
by the Czar to watch me followed me so hard that I had ever my back
guarded. There was the air so full of arrows as it had been swarms of
bees, of which my share was one in the arm; for I had turned back my
sleeve that so with less hindrance I might use my sword and came to
cleave and batter; and until I received the wound my heart did laugh
within me at such bloodshed; but when I saw mine own blood flow, that
laughter was turned into a mad fury.

So when these savage foes had been put to flight, it was commanded me
by divers nobles in the name of the Czar that I should carry to their
emperor the news how the Tartars had been defeated: and at their
bidding I rode back with some hundred horsemen at my heels, with whom I
rode through the town to the Czar's palace, and was by all men received
with triumph and gratulation; but so soon as I had made my report of
the battle (albeit the Czar had already news of all that happened) I
must again doff my princely apparel, which was again stored away in the
Czar his wardrobe, though both it and the horse trappings were
bespattered and befouled all over with blood and so almost entirely
ruinated; whereas I had thought, since I had borne myself so knightly
in the encounter, the clothes should at least have been left me,
together with the horse, for a reward. But from this I could well judge
how 'twas managed with the Russian robe of state of which my colonel
made use; for 'tis all but lent finery which, like all else in Russia,
pertaineth to the Czar alone.


Now as long as my wound was a-healing 'tis true I was treated like a
prince; for I walked abroad at all times clad in a furred gown of cloth
of gold lined with sables, though the wound was neither mortal nor
dangerous, and in all the days of my life I have never tasted such rich
foods as then; but this was all the reward I had for my labours, save
the praise which the Czar favoured me with, and this too was spoiled
for me by the envy of certain nobles. So now, being completely sound
again, was I sent down the Volga in a ship to Astrachan, to set up a
powder-mill there as in Moscow, for 'twas not possible for the Czar to
furnish these frontier fortresses from Moscow with fresh and good
powder, which must needs be carried by water and that with great risk.
And this service I willingly undertook, for I had promises that the
Czar, after the accomplishment of such business, would send me back to
Holland, and that with a good reward in money proportionable to my
services. But alas! when we think we stand safest and most certain in
the hopes and conceits we have formed, there comes a wind unawares, and
in a wink blows away all the flimsy stuff whereon we had founded our
hopes so long.

Yet the Governor of Astrachan treated me like the Czar himself, and in
brief space I had all on a good footing; his old ammunition which was
quite spoiled and ruined and could do no harm to any, I refounded (as a
tinker makes new tin spoons out of old ones), which was then a thing
unheard of among the Russians; by reason of which and other arts of
mine some held me to be a sorcerer, others a new saint or prophet, and
others, again, for a second Empedocles or Gorgias Leontinus. But being
hard at work and busied at night in a powder-mill outside the
fortifications, I was in thievish wise captured and carried off by a
horde of Tartars, which took me with others so far into their country
that I not only could see the herb Borametz or sheep-plant growing but
did even eat thereof: which is a most strange vegetable; for it is like
a sheep to look upon, its wool can be spun and woven like natural
sheep's wool, and its flesh is so like to mutton that even the wolves
do love to eat thereof. But they that had captivated me did barter me
away for certain wares of China to the Tartars of Nuichi, which again
presented me as a rare gift to the King of Corea, with whom they had
but then made a truce. And there was I highly valued, for there could
none be found like me in the handling of sword and rapier; and there I
taught the king how, with his piece over his shoulder and his back
turned to the target, he could yet hit the bull's-eye; in reward for
which at my humble petition he gave me my liberty again, and let me go
by way of Japonia to the Portuguese of Macao, which made but small
count of me. So I went about among them like a sheep that has strayed
from the flock, till at last in marvellous fashion. I was captured by
Turkish corsairs, and by them, after they had dragged me about with
them for a full year among strange foreign nations that do inhabit the
isles of the East Indies, sold to certain merchants of Alexandria in
Egypt. These carried me with their wares to Constantinople, and because
the Turkish emperor was just then fitting out galleys against the
Venetians and needed rowers, therefore must many Turkish merchants part
with their Christian slaves (yet for ready payment), among whom I was
one, as being a strong young fellow. And now must I learn to row; which
heavy task nevertheless endured not more than two months: for our
galley was in the Levant right valiantly overcome by the Venetians, and
I with all my companions freed from the power of the Turks: and the
said galley being brought to Venice with rich booty and divers Turkish
prisoners of high degree, I was set at liberty, as wishing to go to
Rome and on pilgrimage to Loretto, to view those places and to thank
God for my deliverance. To which end I easily obtained a passport, and
moreover from several honourable persons, especially Germans,
reasonable help in money, so that now I could provide me with a
pilgrim's staff and enter on my journey.

So I betook me by the nearest way to Rome, where I fared right well,
for both from great and small I got me much alms; and tarrying there
nigh six weeks, I took my way with other pilgrims, of whom some
Germans, and especially certain Switzers, to Loretto: from whence I
came over the Saint Gotthard Pass back through Switzerland to my dad,
which had kept my farm for me; and nothing remarkable did I bring home
save a beard which I had grown in foreign parts.

Now had I been absent three years and some months, during which time I
had fared over the most distant seas and seen all manner of peoples,
but had commonly received from them more evil than good; of which a
whole book might be writ. And in the meanwhile the Westphalian treaty
had been concluded, so that I could now live with my dad in peace and
quiet: and him I left to manage and to keep house, but for myself I sat
down to my books, which were now both my work and my delight.


Once did I read how the oracle of Apollo gave as answer to the Roman
deputies, when they asked what they must do to rule their subjects in
peace, this only, "Nosce teipsum," which signifieth, "Let each man know
himself." This caused me to reflect upon the past and demand of myself
an account of the life I had led, for I had naught else to do. So said
I to myself: "Thy life hath been no life but a death, thy days a
toilsome shadow, thy years a troublous dream, thy pleasures grievous
sins, thy youth a fantasy, and thy happiness an alchemist's treasure
that is gone by the chimney and vanished ere thou canst perceive it.
Through many dangers thou hast followed the wars, and in the same
encountered much good and ill luck: hast been now high, now low: now
great, now small: now rich, now poor: now merry, now sorry: now loved,
now hated: now honoured, now despised: but now, poor soul, what hast
thou gained from thy long pilgrimage? This hast thou gained: I am poor
in goods, my heart is burdened with cares, for all good purposes I am
idle, lazy, and spoilt; and, worst of all, my conscience is heavy and
vexed: but thou, my soul, art overwhelmed with sin and grievously
defiled; the body is weary, the understanding bemused; thine innocence
is gone, the best years of youth are past, the precious time lost:
naught is there that gives me pleasure, and withal I am an enemy to
myself. But when I came, after my sainted father's death, into the
great world, then was I simple-minded and pure, upright and honest,
truthful, humble, modest, temperate, chaste, shame-faced, pious and
religious, but soon became malicious, false, treacherous, proud,
restless, and above all altogether godless, all which vices I did learn
without a teacher. Mine honour have I guarded not for its own sake, but
for mine own exaltation. I took note of time not to employ it well for
mine own soul's welfare, but for the profit of my body. My life have I
often put in jeopardy, and yet I have never busied myself to better it
that I might die blest and comforted; for I looked only to the present
and to my temporal profit, and never once thought on the future, much
less remembered that I must some time give an account before the face
of God Almighty."

With such thoughts I tormented myself daily; and just then there came
into my hands certain writings of the Franciscan friar Quevara, of
which I must here set down some; for they were of such power as fully
to disgust me with the world.


The first part of the chapter is a fair translation, extending to many
pages, of Quevara's somewhat trite reflections on the vanity of a
worldly life. It is taken from Albertini's translation of a book called
"Of the burden and annoyance of a courtier's life." 8vo. Amberg, 1599.
The only part of the chapter which concerns the story is as follows.

All these words I pondered carefully and with continual thought, and
they so pierced my heart that I left the world again and became a
hermit. Fain would I have dwelt by my spring in the Muckenloch, but the
peasants that dwelt near would not suffer it, though it had been for me
a wilderness to my taste; for they feared I should reveal the spring
and so move their lord to force them to make highways and byways
thither, especially now that peace was secured. So I betook myself to
another wilderness and began again my old life in the Spessart; but
whether I shall, like my father of blessed memory, persevere therein to
the end, I know not. God grant us all His grace that we may all alike
obtain from Him what doth concern us most, namely, a happy




The success of "Simplicissimus" induced Grimmelshausen to publish a
"Continuatio" or sequel, which certainly does not seem to have been
contemplated when he wrote the last chapter of the original work. It,
as well as three lesser "continuations" which were published later, is
entirely unworthy of the author, though all four seem to be genuine
products of his pen. It is a string of allegories, ghost stories,
fables, and monotonous chronicles of adventure, not redeemed from
dulness by occasional gross filth. For one reason only it deserves our
attention; viz., the curious anticipation of the story of Robinson
Crusoe which is contained in chapters xix. to xxii. A subjoined
"relation" of Jean Cornelissen of Harlem gives an account of his
finding Simplicissimus and leaving him on his island well provided with
necessaries: but this narrative is so overloaded with childish stories
of the castaway's miraculous powers and performances that an abstract
of it only is here given at the end.

From the middle of chapter xix. to the end of chapter xxiii. is fully



So taking ship and coming from the Sinus Arabicus or Red Sea into the
ocean, and having a fair wind, we held our course to pass by the Cape
of Good Hope, and sailed for some weeks so happily that way that we
could have desired no other weather: but when we deemed that we were
now over against the isle of Madagascar there suddenly arose such a
hurricane that we had scarce time to take in sail. And the storm
increasing, we must needs cut down the mast and leave the ship to the
mercy of the waves, which carried us up, as it were, to the clouds, and
in a trice plunged us down again to the depths; all which lasted a full
half-hour and taught us all to pray most piously. At length were we
cast upon a sunken reef with such force that the ship with a terrible
crack broke all in pieces, at which there arose a lamentable and
piteous outcry. Then was the sea in a moment strown with chests, bales,
and fragments of the ship, and then one could hear and see the unlucky
folk, here and there, some on and some under the waves, clinging to
anything that in such need came first within their grasp, and with
dismal cries lamenting their ruin and commending of their souls to God.
But I, with the ship's carpenter, lay upon a great timber of the vessel
which had certain cross-pieces yet fast to it, to which we clung and
spake to one another. And little by little the dreadful wind abated;
the raging waves of the angry sea grew calmer and less; yet on the
other hand there followed pitch-dark night with terrible rain, till it
seemed as if we should be drowned from above in the midst of the sea.
And this endured till midnight, by which time we had been in sore
straits; but then was the sky clear again, so that we could see the
stars, by which we perceived that the wind drove us more and more from
the coast of Africa towards the open sea and the unknown land of
Australia, which troubled us both greatly. Now towards daybreak it grew
dark again, so that we could not see each other though we lay close at
hand: and in this darkness and piteous plight we drove ever onward,
till of a sudden we were aware that we were aground and stuck fast. So
the carpenter, which had an axe hanging to his girdle, tried with it
the depth of the water and found it on the one side of us not a foot
deep, which heartily rejoiced us and gave us sure hope that God had in
some way helped us to land, as we perceived by a sweet odour that we
smelt as soon as we came to ourselves a little. Yet because 'twas dark
and we both wearied out, and in especial looked presently for daylight,
we had not courage enough to commit ourselves to the sea and make for
land, notwithstanding we already thought to hear at a distance the song
of divers birds, which indeed was so. But as soon as the blessed
daylight shewed itself in the east, we saw through the dusk a small
island overgrown with bushes lying close before us; whereupon we betook
ourselves to the water on that side, which grew shallower and shallower
till at length, with great joy, we came to dry land. So there we fell
on our knees and kissed the ground, and thanked God above for His
fatherly care in bringing of us to land; and in such fashion did I come
to my island. As yet could we not know whether we were in an inhabited
or an uninhabited land and whether on the mainland or an island: but
this we marked at once, that it must be a right fertile soil; for all
was overgrown thick with shrubs and trees like a hemp-field, so that we
could hardly come through it. But when it was now broad day, and we had
made our way through the shrubs some quarter of an hour's march from
the shore, we could not only find no trace of human dwelling, but
moreover lighted here and there upon many strange birds that had no
fear of us, but suffered us to take them with our hands, from all which
we might judge we were on an uninhabited island, yet most fruitful.
There did we find citrons, pomegranates, and cocoanuts, with which
fruits we refreshed ourselves right well; and when the sun rose we came
to a plain covered with palm-trees, from which palm wine is made; the
which was but too pleasing to my comrade, who loved the same more than
was good for him. So there we set ourselves down in the sun to dry our
clothes, which we stripped off and to that end hung them on the trees,
but for our own parts walked about in our shirts: and my carpenter
cutting a palm-tree with his axe, found it was full of wine: yet had we
no vessel to catch it in, and for our hats, we had lost them both in
the shipwreck.

So the kindly sun having dried our clothes again, we put them on and
climbed up the high, rocky mountain that lieth on the right hand
towards the north between this plain and the sea, and looking about us
found that we were on no mainland but on this island, which in circuit
exceeded not an hour and a half's journey. And because we could see
neither near nor far off any land but only sea and sky, we were both
troubled, and lost all hope ever to see mankind again; yet contrariwise
it did comfort us that the goodness of God had brought us to this land
both safe and most fruitful, and not to a place that belike would prove
barren or inhabited of man-eaters. So we began to consider of our way
to act; and because we must live even as prisoners on this island with
one another we did swear perpetual fidelity each to each.

Now on the said mountain there not only sat and flew many birds of
divers kinds, but it was so full of nests with eggs that we could not
sufficiently marvel thereat. Of these eggs we did eat some and took
still more with us down the hill, on which we found the spring of sweet
water which flows into the sea towards the east with such force that it
might well turn a small mill-wheel; at which we rejoiced anew and
resolved to set up our abode beside the said spring. Yet for our new
housekeeping we had no other furniture but an axe, a spoon, three
knives, a prong or fork, and a pair of scissors: and nothing more. 'Tis
true my comrade had some thirty ducats about him, but these we had
gladly bartered for a tinder-box had we known where to buy one: for
they were of no use to us at all; yea, less than my powder-horn, which
was still full of priming; this did I dry, for it was all like a
soft cake, in the sun, scattered some upon a stone, covered it with
easy-burning stuff such as the moss and cotton which the cocoanut-trees
furnished in plenty, and then drawing a knife sharply through the
powder, kindled it, which rejoiced us as much as our rescue from the
sea: and had we but had salt and bread and vessels to hold our drink
we had esteemed ourselves the luckiest fellows in the world, though
four-and-twenty hours before we might have been counted among the most
miserable; so good and faithful and merciful is God, to whom be glory
for ever and ever, Amen.

Then we caught some birds forthwith, of which whole flocks flew about
us, plucked, washed, and stuck them on a wooden spit, and so I began to
turn the roast, while my comrade fetched me wood and prepared a shelter
that, if it should come on to rain again, might protect us from the
same, for these Indian rains in the parts towards Africa are wont to be
very unhealthy; but our lack of salt we supplied with lemon-juice to
give a flavour to our food.


This was the first meal of which we partook upon our island; and having
ended it, we had naught else to do but gather dry wood to keep up our
fire. We would fain have explored the whole island at once, but by
reason of the fatigue we had passed through, sleep so overpowered us
that we must needs lie down to rest and sleep till broad daylight. And
finding it so, we walked down the brook or glade as far as its mouth
where it flows into the sea, and saw with amazement how a great
multitude of fish of the size of middling salmon or large carp swam up
the little river into the fresh water, so that it seemed as a great
herd of swine were driven violently in; and finding also certain
bananas and sweet potatoes, which be excellent fruits, we said to each
other we had surely found the Land of Cocaigne or Monkeys' Paradise,
(though no four-footed beast there) if we had but company to help us to
enjoy both the fruitfulness of this noble island and also the plenty of
birds and fishes on it: yet could we find no single sign that ever men
had been there.

But as we began to take counsel how we should further order our
housekeeping and whence we might have vessels wherein both to cook and
to catch the juice from the palms and let it ferment in its own
fashion, that we might have the full enjoyment of it, and as we walked
on the shore in talk of this, we saw far out at sea something that
tossed about, which we at a distance could not make out, though it
seemed bigger than it really was. For when it came near and was driven
ashore on the coast of the island it proved to be a woman, half-dead,
lying on a chest, and with both hands fast clasped to the handles of
it. Her for Christian charity we drew to dry land; and dreaming her to
be a Christian woman of Abyssinia both by her clothing and certain
marks she had on her face, we were the more busy to bring her to, to
which end (yet with all honesty, as becomes them that deal with modest
women in such a case) we set her on her head till a good deal of water
had run out of her, and albeit we had no cordial to revive her more
than our citron-juice, yet we ceased not to press under her nose that
spirituous liquor which is found at the very end of the lemon-peel and
to shake and move her about, till at last she began to stir of herself
and to speak in Portuguese: which as soon as my comrade heard, and as a
lively colour began to shew itself in her face, he said to me, "This
Abyssinian was once on our ship as maid to a Portuguese lady of
quality; for I knew them both well: they dwelt at Macao and were
purposed to sail with us to the Isle of Annabon." And she, so soon as
she heard him speak, shewed herself right glad, and called him by name,
and told us not only of her whole journey, but how she was rejoiced
both that he and she were still alive, as also that they had as old
acquaintances met on dry land and out of all danger. At that my
carpenter asked what manner of wares might be in the chest. To which
she answered they were certain parcels of Chinese apparel with firearms
and weapons, besides divers vessels of porcelain both small and great,
that should have been sent by her master to a great prince in Portugal.
At which news we rejoiced greatly, seeing that these were the things
which we most needed. Then did she beg of us that we would shew her
kindness and keep her with us: for she would gladly serve us in
cooking, washing, and other duties of a maid and obey us as a slave, if
we would but keep her under our protection and suffer her to partake
with us of the sustenance which fortune and nature provided in that

So with great toil and trouble we dragged the chest to that place which
we had chosen for our dwelling; where we did open it, and found therein
things so fitted to our needs that we could have desired nothing better
for our then condition and for the use of our household. These goods we
unpacked and dried them in the sun, in which business our new maid
shewed herself diligent and serviceable; and thereafter we began to
slay, boil, and roast birds, and while my carpenter went to fetch
palm-wine I climbed up the mountain to gather eggs for us, meaning to
boil them hard and to use them in place of good bread. And as I went I
considered with hearty gratitude the great gifts and goodness of God,
that had with such fatherly kindness caused His Providence to watch
over us and gave us the promise of further help. There did I fall upon
my face, and stretching out my arms and lifting up my heart to God I
prayed thus: "O heavenly Father of all mercies, now do I find indeed
that Thou art more ready to give than we to ask; yea, dearest Lord,
Thou hast with the fulness of Thy divine riches supplied us more
quickly and more plentifully than we poor creatures ever thought to ask
of Thee at all. O faithful Father, may it please Thy infinite
compassion to grant to us that we may never use these Thy gifts and
favours otherwise than as is agreeable to thy Holy will and pleasure,
and as may tend to the honour of Thy great and unspeakable Name, that
we, with all the Elect, may ever praise, honour, and glorify Thee here
on earth and hereafter in heaven for ever and for evermore." And with
these and the like words, which flowed from the very depth of my soul,
with hearty and true faith, I went on till I had gathered all the eggs
we needed, and with them came back to our hut even as our supper stood
excellently well served upon the chest we had that day fished out of
the sea with our cook-maid, and which my comrade had made use of for a

Now while I was absent seeking for eggs, my comrade, which was a lad of
some twenty odd years, I being now over forty, had struck a bargain
with our maid that should be both for his ruin and mine; for finding
themselves alone in my absence, and talking together of old times and
also of the fruitfulness and great delight of this blessed, yea more
than fortunate isle, they had grown so familiar that they had begun to
speak of a match between them, of which the pretended Abyssinian would
not hear, unless 'twere agreed that my comrade the carpenter should
make himself master of the island and rid them of me; for, said she, it
were impossible for them to dwell in peace in wedlock so long as an
unmarried man lived by them.

"For bethink thyself," says she, "how would not suspicion and jealousy
plague thee, if thou wert my husband, and yet the old fellow talking
with me day by day, even if he should never think to make a cuckold of
thee! Nay, but I know a better plan: if I be to be married on this
island, that well can feed a thousand or more persons to increase the
human race, then let the old fellow marry me; for were it so 'twere but
a year to count on, or perhaps twelve or at most fourteen, in which
time he and I might breed a daughter and marry her to thee, who would
not then be of the age that the old man is now; and in the meantime ye
might cherish the certain hope that the one should be the other's
father-in-law and the other his son-in-law, and so do away all evil
suspicions and deliver me from all dangers which otherwise I might
encounter with. Doubtless 'tis true that a young woman like me would
sooner wed with a young man than an old: yet must we suit ourselves to
the circumstance as our present plight doth require, to provide that I
and she that may be born of me shall be in safety."

By this discourse, which lasted much longer and was more fully set
forth than I have here described, and also by the beauty of the
pretended Abyssinian (which in the light of the fire did shine more
perfect than ever in my comrade's eyes) and by her lively actions, my
good carpenter was so captivated and befooled that he was not ashamed
to say he would sooner throw the old man (meaning me) into the sea and
send the whole island to the devil than deliver over to him so fair a
lady: and thereupon was the bargain I spoke of concluded between them,
namely, that he should slay me with his axe from behind or in my sleep;
for he was afeared of my great strength of body, as well as of my
staff, which he had himself fashioned for me as strong as a weaver's

So this compact being made, she shewed my comrade close to our dwelling
a kind of fine potter's earth, of which she promised to make fine
earthen vessels after the manner of the Indian women on the Guinea
coast, and laid all manner of plans how she would maintain herself
and her family on this island, rear them and provide for them a
peaceful and sufficient livelihood, yea even to the hundredth
generation: and could not boast enough of what profit she could make of
the cocoanut-trees and the cotton which the same do bear or produce,
out of which she would provide herself and all her children's children
with clothing.

But I, poor wretch, came knowing no word of this foul business, and sat
down to enjoy what was yet before me, saying moreover, according to the
worshipful Christian usage, the Benedicite; yet no sooner had I made
the sign of the Cross over the meats and over my companions at table
and asked God's blessing, when our cookmaid vanished away with the
chest and all that had been in it, and left behind her such an horrible
stench that my comrade fainted clean away because of it.


Now as soon as he was recovered and come to his senses, he knelt down
before me and folded his hands, and for a full quarter of an hour
continually said nothing but "Oh, my father! O my brother! O my father!
O my brother!" and then began with the repeating of these words to weep
so bitterly that for very sobbing he could utter no word that could be
understood, until I conceived that by reason of the fear and the stench
he had lost his reason. But when he would not cease this behaviour and
continually besought my forgiveness, I answered him, "Dear friend, what
have I to forgive thee that hast never harmed me in thy life? Do but
tell me how I can help thee." "Nay," says he, "I seek for pardon; for I
have sinned against God and thee and myself": and therewith began again
his former lamentations, and went on so long that at last I said I knew
no evil of him, and if he had done any such that weighed upon his
conscience, I would not only from my heart forgive and condone anything
that concerned myself, but also, so far as he might have sinned against
God, would with him beseech the divine mercy for pardon. At which words
he embraced my knees and kissed them, and looked upon me so sorrowfully
that I was as one dumb, and could not conceive or guess what ailed the
lad; but when I had taken him to my arms and embraced him, begging him
to tell me what troubled him and how I could help him, he confessed to
me in every particular his discourse with the pretended Abyssinian, and
the resolve he had formed in respect of me in despite of God and of
Nature and of Christian love and of the laws of true friendship which
we had solemnly sworn one to another: and this he did with such words
and behaviour that from it his sincere repentance and contrite heart
might easily be guessed and presumed.

So I comforted him as well as I could, and said: God had peradventure
sent us this as a warning, that we might in time to come be better
aware of the devil's snares and temptations and live in the constant
fear of God: that he had of a surety cause enough to pray God heartily
for forgiveness for his evil intent, yet even greater cause to thank
Him for His goodness and mercy, seeing that He had in such fatherly
wise plucked him forth from wicked Satan's traps and snares and so
saved him from destruction now and eternally: and that we must perforce
here walk more circumspectly than if we dwelt in the midst of the world
among other men; for should one or the other or both fall into
temptation, there would be none at hand to help us but God Himself,
whom we must therefore the more diligently keep before our eyes and
without ceasing pray for His help and assistance.

By talk of such things he was, 'tis true, somewhat cheered, yet would
not be altogether content, but humbly besought me to lay upon him a
penance for his sin. So to raise up his prostrate spirit as far as
might be, I said that he being a carpenter, and having yet his axe by
him, should in the same place where we, as well as our hellish
cookmaid, had come to land, set up a cross on the shore; whereby he
would not only perform a penance well pleasing to God, but also bring
it to pass that in time to come the evil spirit, who doth ever fear the
sign of Holy Cross, would not again so easily attack our island. He
answered, "Not only a cross on the shore but two also on the mountain
will I make ready and set up, if only, my father, I may again possess
thy grace and favour and be assured of God's forgiveness." In which
fervour he went away straightway and ceased not to toil till he had
made ready three crosses, whereof we set up one on the sea-shore and
the other two apart on the highest top of the hill, with the
inscription that followeth:

"To the honour of God Almighty and in despite of the enemy of mankind,
Simon Meron, of Lisbon in Portugal, with counsel and help of his
faithful friend Simplicius Simplicissimus, a High German, did fashion
and here set up this token of our Saviour's sufferings, for Jesus
Christ His sake."

Thenceforward we began to live somewhat more religiously than before;
and in order to our reverencing and keeping of the Sabbath, I every
day, in place of an almanack, cut a notch in a post and on Sundays a
cross; and then would we sit together and talk of holy and godly
things; and this fashion must I use because I had not yet invented
anything to serve me in the stead of ink and paper, by means of which I
might set down somewhat in writing to keep count of our life.

And now to end this chapter I must make mention of a strange adventure
that did greatly terrify and distress us on the evening after our cook
her vanishing; for the first night we perceived it not, because sleep
overpowered us at once by reason of fatigue and great weariness. And
this was it. We having still before our eyes the thousand snares by
which the accursed devil would have wrought our ruin in the form of the
Abyssinian, could not sleep, but passed the time in watching, and
indeed for the most part in prayer; and so soon as it became a little
dark we saw floating around us in the air an innumerable quantity of
lights, which gave forth such a bright glow that we could discern the
fruit on the trees from the leaves: this we deemed to be another
invention of the enemy to torment us, and therefore kept still and
quiet, but in the end found 'twas but a kind of firefly or glow-worm,
as we call them in Germany, which are generated by a particular kind of
rotten wood that is found in this island, and shine so bright that one
can well use them in place of a lighted candle; for I have written this
book for the most part thus: and if they were as common in Europe,
Asia, and Africa as they be here, the candle-sellers would do a poor


And now seeing we must perforce remain where we were, we began to order
our housekeeping accordingly. So my comrade made out of a black wood
that is almost like to iron mattocks and shovels for us both, with the
help of which we first dug holes for the three crosses before
mentioned, and secondly drew the sea-water into trenches, where, as I
had seen at Alexandria in Egypt, it turned into salt; and thirdly we
began to make us a cheerful garden; for we deemed that idleness would
be for us the beginning of destruction; fourthly, we dug another
channel for the brook, into which we could at pleasure turn it off, and
so leave the old river-bed dry, and take out as many fish and crayfish
as we would with hands and feet dry: fifthly, we found near the said
brook a most beautiful potter's clay; and though we had neither lathe
nor wheel and, most of all, no borer or other instruments so as to make
anything of the kind and so mould for ourselves vessels, and though we
had never learned the craft, yet we devised a plan by which we got what
we wanted; for having kneaded and prepared the clay as it should be, we
made rolls of it of the thickness and length of English tobacco-pipes,
and these we stuck one upon another like a snail's shell and formed out
of such whatever vessels we would, both great and small, pots and
dishes, for cooking and drinking: and when our first baking of these
prospered, we had no longer reason to complain of lack of anything;
'tis true we had no bread; but yet plenty of dried fish which we used
in its stead. And in time our scheme for getting salt turned out well,
so that now we had nothing to complain of but lived like the folk in
the golden age of the world: and little by little we learned how with
eggs, dried fish, and lemon peel, which two last we ground to a soft
meal between two stones, and birds' fat, which we got from the birds
called boobies and noddies, to bake savoury cakes in place of bread:
likewise did my comrade devise how to draw off the palm-wine very
cleverly into great pots and let it stand for a few days till it
fermented; and then would he drink of it till he reeled, and this at
last he came to do every day, and God knoweth how I dissuaded him
therefrom. For he said if 'twas allowed to stand longer 'twould turn to
vinegar; in which there was some truth; yet I answered him, he should
not at one time draw so much but only enough for our needs; to which he
replied that 'twas a sin to despise the gifts of God, and that the
palm-trees must have a vein opened at proper times lest they should be
choked with their own blood: and so must I give a loose rein to his
appetites unless I would be told that I grudged him that of which we
had plenty.

And so, as I have said, we lived like the first men in the golden age,
when a bountiful heaven produced for them all good things from the
earth without labour on their part; but even as in this world there is
no life so sweet and happy that is not at times made bitter by the gall
of suffering, so happened it with us: for the richer we grew daily in
larder and cellar, the more threadbare did our clothes from day to day
become, till at last they rotted on our bodies. And 'twas well for us
indeed that we thus far had had no winter; no, not the slightest
cold; although by this time, when we began to go naked, we had by my
notch-calendar spent more than a year and a half on the island, but all
the year round 'twas such weather as is wont to be in Europe in May and
June, save that about August and a little before it used to rain mighty
hard and there were great thunderstorms: moreover from one solstice to
another the days did not vary in length more than an hour and a
quarter. But although we were alone upon the island, yet would we not
go naked like brute beasts, but clothed as became honest Christians of
Europe: and had we but had four-footed beasts it had been easy to help
ourselves by using their hides for clothing; for lack of which we
skinned the birds we took, such as boobies and penguins, and made
clothes of this; yet because for want of the needful tools and other
material for the purpose we could not dress them so as to last, they
became stiff and uneasy and fell away in pieces from our bodies before
we were ware of it. 'Tis true the cocoanut-trees bore cotton enough for
us, yet could we neither weave nor spin: but my comrade, that had been
some years in India, shewed me on the leaves at the very tip a thing
like a sharp thorn; which if it be broken off and drawn along the stem
of the leaf, as we do with the bean-pods called Faseoli to strip them
of their rind, there will remain hanging on the said pointed thorn a
string as long as the stem or the leaf is, so that one can use the same
for needle and thread too; and this provided me with opportunity to
make for us breeches of those leaves and sew them together with the
threads of their own growing.

But while we thus lived together, and had so improved our condition
that we had no longer any cause to trouble for overwork, waste, want,
or calamity, my comrade went on daily tippling at his palm-wine as he
had begun, and now had made a habit of it, till at last he so inflamed
his lungs and liver that, before I was rightly ware of it, he by his
untimely death left me and the island and palm-wine and all. Him did I
bury as well as I was able; and as I pondered upon the uncertainty of
human life and other the like matters, I wrote for him this epitaph
that followeth:

     "That I am buried here and not in ocean deep.
   Nor in the flames of hell (from which may God us keep!)
   The cause was this: three things did for my soul contend:
   The first the raging sea: the next the infernal fiend.
   These two did I escape by God His help and grace:
   The third was wine of palms, which brought me to this place."

So I became lord of the whole island and began again a hermit's life,
for which I had now not only opportunity more than enough but also a
fixed desire and purpose thereto. 'Tis true I made all use of the good
things and gifts of this place, with hearty thanks to God, whose
goodness and might alone had so richly provided for me, but withal I
was careful not to misuse this superfluity. And often did I wish that I
had Christian men with me that elsewhere must suffer poverty and need,
to profit with me by the gifts that God had given: but because I knew
that for His Almighty power 'twas more than possible, if it were but
His divine will, to bring thither more folk in easier and more
miraculous fashion than I had been brought, it often gave me cause
humbly to thank Him for His divine Providence in that He had in such
fatherly wise cared for me more than many thousands of other men, and
set me in a place so full of content and peace.


Now had my comrade hardly been a week dead when I marked that my abode
was haunted. "Yea, yea," I thought, "Simplicissimus, thou art now
alone, and so 'twas to be expected that the evil one should endeavour
to torment thee. Didst not look that that malicious spirit would make
thy life hard for thee? Yet why take count of him, when thou hast God
to thy friend? Thou needest but somewhat wherein to exercise thyself;
else wilt thou come to thy ruin from mere idleness and superfluity; for
besides him thou hast no enemy but thine own self and the plenty and
pleasaunce of this island; therefore make thy resolve to strive against
him who in his own conceit is the strongest of all. For be he overcome
by God his help, then shouldst thou, if God will, by His grace remain
master of thyself."

And with these thoughts I went my way for a day or two, and they made
of me a better and a piouser man; for I did prepare myself for that
encounter which without doubt I must endure with the evil spirit; yet
herein did I for this time deceive myself; for as on a certain evening
I perceived a somewhat that could be heard, I went out of my hut, which
stood close beneath a spur of that mountain, beneath which was the
spring of that sweet water that floweth through the island into the
sea; and there saw I my comrade that scrabbled with his fingers in a
cleft of the rock. Then may ye easily understand that I was afeared;
yet quickly I plucked up heart and commended myself to God's protection
with the sign of Holy Cross, and thought, "this thing must be; 'twere
better to-day than to-morrow."

With that I went up to the spirit and used to him such words as be
customary in such a case. And then forthwith I understood that 'twas my
deceased comrade, which in his lifetime had there concealed his ducats,
as thinking that if, sooner or later, a ship should come to the island,
he would recover them and take them away with him; yea, and he gave me
to know that he had trusted more in this handful of money, whereby he
hoped again to come to his home, than on God; for which cause he must
now do penance by such unrest after his death, and moreover against his
will be a cause of uneasiness to myself. So at his desire I took forth
the money, yet held it as less than naught, as will the sooner be
believed because I had nothing on which to employ it. And this was now
the first affright that I had after I was left alone; yet afterwards
was plagued by spirits of other sorts than this one; whereof I will say
no more, but this only, that by God's help and grace I attained to
this, that I found no single enemy more, save only mine own thoughts,
which were oft troubled enough; for these go not scot-free before God,
as men do vainly talk, but in His good time a reckoning must be paid
for these also.

So that these might the less stain my soul with sins, I busied myself
not only in the avoiding of that which profited naught, but did impose
on myself a bodily task the which to perform with my customary prayer;
for as man is born for work like the bird for flying, so on the other
hand doth idleness inflict her sicknesses both on soul and body, and in
the end, when we be least ware of it, eternal ruin. For this cause I
planted me a garden, of which indeed I had less need than the waggon
hath of a fifth wheel, seeing that the whole island might well be
called one lovely pleasure-garden; so was my work of no other avail but
that I brought this and that into completer order, albeit to many the
natural disorder of the plants as they grew mingled together might
appear more pleasing, and again that, as aforesaid, I shunned idleness.
O how oft did I wish, when I had wearied out my body and must give it
rest, that I had godly books wherein to comfort, to delight, and to
edify myself! But such I could not come by. Yet as I had once read of a
holy man that he said the whole wide world was to him one great book;
wherein to recognise the wondrous works of God and to be cheered to
praise Him, so I thought to follow him therein, howbeit I was, so to
speak, no longer in the world. For that little island must be my whole
world, and in the same, every thing, yea, every tree, an incitement to
godliness and a reminder of such thoughts as a good Christian should
have. Thus, did I see a prickly plant, forthwith I thought on Christ
his crown of thorns; saw I an apple or a pomegranate, then I reflected
on the fall of our first parents and mourned therefore; when I did draw
palm-wine from a tree, I fancied to myself how mercifully my Redeemer
had shed His blood for me on the tree of the Holy Cross; when I looked
on sea or on mountain, then I remembered this or that miracle which our
Saviour had wrought in such places; and when I found one or more stones
that were convenient for casting, I had before mine eyes the picture of
the Jews that would have stoned Christ; and when I walked in my garden
I thought on the prayer of agony in Mount Olivet, or on the grave of
Christ, and how after His Resurrection He appeared to Mary Magdalene in
the garden. Such thoughts were my daily occupation; never did I eat but
that I thought on the Last Supper, and never cooked my food without the
fire reminding me of the eternal pains of hell.

At last I found that with Brazil-juice, of which there be several sorts
on this island, when mixed with lemon-juice, 'twas easy to write on a
kind of large palm-leaves; which rejoiced me greatly; for now could I
devise and write out prayers in order; yea, in the end, considering
with hearty repentance my whole life and my knavish tricks that I had
committed from my youth up, and how the merciful God, despite all such
gross sins, had not only thus far preserved me from everlasting
damnation, but had given me time and opportunity to better myself and
to be converted, to beg His forgiveness and to thank Him for His
mercies, I did write down all that had befallen me in this book made of
the afore-mentioned palm-leaves, and laid them together with my
comrade's ducats in this place, to the end that if at any time folk
should come hither, they might find such, and therefrom learn who it
was that before inhabited this island. And whoso shall find this and
read it, be it to-day or to-morrow, either before or after my death,
him I beg that if he meet therein with words which be not becoming, for
one that would do better, to speak, much less to write, he will not be
angered thereat, but will consider that the telling of light actions
and stories demands words fitting thereto; and even as the houseleek
cannot easily be soaked by any rain, that so a true and devout spirit
cannot forthwith be infected, poisoned, and corrupted by any discourse,
though it seem as wanton as you will. The honourably minded Christian
reader will rather wonder, and praise the divine mercy, when he shall
find that so knavish a companion as I have been yet hath had such grace
of God as to resign the world and to live in such a condition that
therein he hopeth to come to eternal glory and to attain to everlasting
blessedness by the sufferings of his Redeemer, through a pious



Attached to chap. xxiii. is the "Relation of Jean Cornelissen of
Harlem, a Dutch sea-captain, to his good friend German Schleifheim von
Sulsfort concerning Simplicissimus."

Its contents are as follows:

On a voyage from the Moluccas to the Cape of Good Hope Cornelissen is
separated by stress of weather from the fleet with which he had sailed.
Having many of his crew sick, and no fresh water, he is delighted to
discover Simplicissimus' isle. His men go ashore and find the hermit's
dwelling, which, as the captain only afterwards learn they plunder, and
generally behave brutally. Cornelissen finds the crosses and many pious
inscriptions on trees, which prove to him that the unknown is a good
Christian though probably a Papist. The crew track Simplicissimus to a
vast cavern, on entering which their lights are miraculously
extinguished. There is an earthquake, and the seamen who had taken part
in the plundering of the hermit's dwelling are smitten with madness.
Cornelissen, with the chaplain and officers, determines to find
Simplicissimus at any cost. They penetrate the cave, but their lights
also go out, and Simplicissimus addresses them from the darkness and
remonstrates with them for their interference. The chaplain apologises,
and asks how the madmen may be cured: he is told that they are to
swallow the kernels of certain plums they had eaten. They offer to take
him back to Europe, but he refuses. After making a bargain with them to
secure his being left in peace, Simplicissimus shews himself surrounded
with his glow-worms. He leads them out of the cave and shews them his
ruined hut, and tells how his ducats and his book had been stolen. The
madmen are brought to their senses again. Simplicissimus recovers his
book, which he entrusts to Cornelissen, but again refuses to return to
sinful Europe. They rebuild his hut for him, provide him with plenty of
tools, a burning-glass, cotton clothing, and a pair of rabbits for
breeding purposes: and so, their sick being all recovered, sail away
and leave him there.

[A reference to the "Introduction" will show that this island adventure
could have had no place in the Simplician cycle of romances; unless we
suppose, which is highly improbable, that the author meant it to be
subsequent to the inn episode, in which Simplicissimus' family and
friends all meet. Most likely we have here the latest addition, in
point of composition, to the legend.]

[The following is given as a specimen of the nonsense of which the
various continuations are made up.]


"Continuatio," _chap. xiii._: HOW SIMPLICISSIMUS IN RETURN FOR A

Now the evening before this I had lost a certain catalogue of those
special arts which I had aforetime practised and written down that I
might not forget them so easily: yet I depended not on this to remember
how to perform them and with what helps. For example I do here set down
the beginning of this list:

So to prepare matches or fuses that they shall give out no smell,
seeing that by such smell musqueteers be often betrayed and their plans

To prepare match so that it will burn though it be wet.

To prepare powder so that it will not burn though red-hot steel be
thrust therein: very useful for fortresses that must harbour much of so
dangerous a guest.

To shoot men or birds with powder alone so that they shall lie as dead
for a while and yet rise up again without harm.

To give a man double strength without the use of carbine-thistle or
other such forbidden means.

If a sally from a fortress be checked, so to spike the enemy's guns in
a moment that they must burst.

To spoil a man's gun so that it will scare all game to cover till it be
again cleansed with a certain other substance.

To hit the bull's-eye in a target more quickly by laying the gun on the
shoulder and firing backward, than if a man should take aim and fire in
the accustomed way.

A special art to provide that no bullet may hit thee.

To prepare an instrument by means of which, specially on a still night,
a man can in wondrous wise hear all that sounds or is spoken at an
incredible distance (otherwise clean impossible and supernatural); very
profitable for sentries and specially in sieges, etc. (bk. iii., chap.

In like manner were many arts described in the said catalogue which
mine host had found and read: so he came to me himself into my
chamber, shewed me the list, and asked whether 'twas possible that
these things could be done by natural means; for that could he scarce
believe; yet must confess that in his youth, when he served as a page
in Italy with Field-marshal von Schauenburg, it was given out by some
that the princes of Savoy were proof against bullets: which the said
Field-marshal desired to make proof of in the person of Prince Thomas,
whom he then kept besieged in a fortress; for when on a time both sides
had agreed on a truce for an hour to bury the dead and to confer
together, he had commanded a corporal of his regiment, that was held to
be the best marksman in the whole army, to take aim at the said prince
while he should be standing on the parapet of the wall for a parley,
and so soon as the hour agreed upon should end, to fire at him with his
piece, with which he could put a lighted candle out at fifty paces:
that this corporal had taken careful note of the time and kept the said
prince under observation the whole time of the truce, and at the very
moment when it ended with the first stroke of the hour, fired at him:
yet had his piece, contrary to all belief, missed fire, and before the
corporal could make ready again the prince was gone behind the parapet;
whereupon the corporal pointed out to the Field-marshal, who had
likewise come to him on the trenches, a Switzer of the prince's guard,
at whom he aimed and hit him in such fashion that he rolled over and
over; wherefrom it plainly appeared that there was something in the
story that no prince of the house of Savoy could be hit or harmed. Yet
whether this was brought about by such arts, or whether perchance the
said princely house enjoyed a special grace from God, being, as 'twas
said, sprung from the race of the royal prophet David, he knew not.

I answered, "I know not either, but this I do know of a surety, that
the arts here specified be natural and no witchcraft." Which if he
would not believe, let him but say which he held to be the most
wonderful and impossible and I would at once to satisfy him (provided
only that 'twas one that asked not long time but only such means as I
had then at hand), make trial of it, for I must presently be a-foot and
pursue my journey. At that he said this seemed to him the most
impossible, that gunpowder should not burn if fire were put to it,
unless one should first pour the powder into water; which if I could by
natural means effect he would believe concerning all the other arts,
though there were over sixty of them, what he might not see and before
such trial could not believe. I answered, let him bring me quickly a
charge of powder and also a certain substance which I had need of, and
fire also, and presently he should see that the trick would hold. This
being done, I caused him to follow my process and then set light to the
powder: yet could he do no more than burn here and there a grain though
he worked at it for a quarter of an hour, and accomplished no more than
that he cooled a red-hot iron and quenched matches and lighted coals in
the very powder itself. "Aha!" says he, "the powder is bad." But I
answered him in act, and without much ado, before he could count a
score, so worked it that the powder blew up when he had scarce touched
it with the fire.


[Footnote 1: _Lit._, "Bohemian Villages," _i.e._, with unpronounceable

[Footnote 2: William, Duke of Aquitaine, and afterwards a Saint noted
for the acerbity of his penances.]

[Footnote 3: A proverb: on Saint Gertrude's day spinning ceases and
garden-work begins.]

[Footnote 4: Viz. "ihnen den Hintern zu lecken."]

[Footnote 5: The commandments are here numbered according to the Roman
arrangement, but the meaning is obscure.]

[Footnote 6: The hermit.]

[Footnote 7: _i.e._ full of innocence.]

[Footnote 8: Given as an example of a Roman of luxurious tastes.]

[Footnote 9: Refers to an episode omitted in this translation.]

[Footnote 10: Allusion to a cruel practice in use in falconry.]

[Footnote 11: Proverbial: an allusion to a popular story.]

[Footnote 12: Lit. there are folk dwelling beyond the mountains too.]

[Footnote 13: I.e., he was bewitched.]

[Footnote 14: Hessian General.]

[Footnote 15: It is difficult to translate the German expression.
Probably this word, meaning a maritime trader in illicit wares,
represents it best.]

[Footnote 16: Obscure lines: many of the expressions in this chapter
are now inexplicable.]

[Footnote 17: He wrote the words down as he was told as if they meant
the _judge's_ mother.]

[Footnote 18: The cuirass would be well lined to prevent chafing.]

[Footnote 19: Some 120 years before.]

[Footnote 20: Besieged by the Spaniards from 1601 to 1604.]

[Footnote 21: A kind of Eldorado.]

[Footnote 22: The famous cavalry commander of the Imperialists.]

[Footnote 23: The musqueteer supported his piece on a prop or stake.]

[Footnote 24: See chap. iii.]

[Footnote 25: viz. Lippstadt.]

[Footnote 26: The initials only of the name are given in the original.]

[Footnote 27: The pastor was 'Reformed' (i.e. Calvinist).]

[Footnote 28: I.e., at the Antipodes: "at the other end of the world."]

[Footnote 29: Referring to a body of Breton troops sent by Richelieu to
help Guébriant. They turned out worthless.]

[Footnote 30: "Bearskinner" was the troopers' name for a malingerer. It
was taken from a very old legend.]

[Footnote 31: The allusion is to the escape of the robber-knight,
Eppelin von Gailingen, from the Castle of Nuremberg.]

[Footnote 32: In 1063 the retainers of the Bishop of Hildesheim and the
Abbot of Fulda fought in church at Goslar, and much bloodshed ensued.]

[Footnote 33: Act as a usurer or cheat.]

[Footnote 34: He may possibly mean the three old fortifications of
which ruins still remain: Schwaben-, Schweden-, and Alexander-schanze;
all of which are close to his favourite spa at Griesbach.]

[Footnote 35: See chap. xi. above.]

[Footnote 36: This was "Courage," the heroine of some of
Grimmelshausen's later romances.]

[Footnote 37: Unknown.]

[Footnote 38: The jest is now unintelligible.]

[Footnote 39: It was really Christian of Brunswick, marching to join

[Footnote 40: "Goblin" or rather "bogey" lake.]

[Footnote 41: D'Enghien.]

[Footnote 42: A hedge schoolmaster.]

[Footnote 43: Offa. Offenburg.]

[Footnote 44: Baiersbronn.]

[Footnote 45: Literally "a Bohemian ear-picker."]

                        BALLANTYNE & COMPANY LTD
                     Tavistock Street Covent Garden

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