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(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

1) The Ulenspiegel site offers.....
The intention of the site is to enhance interaction between people interested in Till Ulenspiegel, being e.g. authors, scientists or collectors. We offer five topics:
--About the background and development of the Ulenspiegel story
--Collectors of Ulenspiegel and other Ulenspiegel-maniaks, including Ulenspiegel societies
--Online book catalogues and searches and offers of private collections
--Links to other Ulenspiegel sites
--Funny Ulenspiegel and his great game

2) Links to other Ulenspiegel information. Many plays, magazines,
restaurants, hotels, organisations have a link to famous Ulenspiegel.

3) Musical Story Demos — Till Eulenspiegel (notice change in spelling)

4) Text of Til Ulenspighel (notice change in spelling)

5) Fabulous, fabulous site! Over 96 stories, full text.

6) Short bio:

7) Tim Sheppard wrote:
I have a copy of Till Eulenspiegel, trans Paul Opppenheimer 91,95, in OUP's World Classics series. It says that because it has always been censored, it has never been fully translated into English. This is the first translation of the earliest known complete edition of 1515, with interpolations from previous fragments. It also comes complete with all the original woodcuts - nice! And there's a bibliography, mostly of German books, and detailed contextual notes on every tale.
ISBN 0-19-282343-4

The book has 95 tales. Every tale has an explicit summary of the plot or the subject in the contents. Many places are named, but all in Germany, which calls into question the reference to Holland and Spain. The Christmas Thief does sound like Eulenspiegel though, so I suspect it could be part of a Dutch version, if there was such a thing.

The book above has 21 pages of scholarly introduction. The biblio mentions Stith Thompsons' The Folktale, so check that too.

Eulenspiegel is viciously satirical, wildly bawdy, and relentlessly scatalogical (the closest comparison is with Afasanyev's Russian Secret Tales, banned in the West until very recently). But for many years his tales have been 'selected', censored, toned down, and reduced in satire and power. Much speculation has produced some theories about the author, but little is known. A third of the tales have proven prior sources, and the author claims only to have compiled tales already circulating. Eulenspiegel is rumoured to have been a real person, but practically nothing is known about him apart from that his death was supposed to have been in 1350. But the tales have been very popular, yet studiously ignored in recent centuries because of their nature.

He is not simply a fool, but a rogue who makes sure he causes trouble. He goes about everyday town-life around Germany and upsets virtually everyone by his contrary ways, foolish misinterpretations, and pranks.

8) Tyll Ulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, by M. Jagendorf
Illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg
1958: Vanguard Press


a) Just to give some short information. There exists a second print , illustrated by the emigrated Jewish artist Fritz Eichenberg: The Vanguard Press, New York. 1946.
Georg Ewald 1/30/11

9) I just read a story by Jay Williams called The Christmas Thief. It's about the famous thief, Tyl Uilenspiegel, who, during a war between Holland and Spain, tricks the Spanish soldiers into shooting cannons filled with food from their Christmas feast into the starving town they have besieged, so that the Dutch townspeople can celebrate Christmas after all. Obviously, Tyl Uilenspiegel (Eulenspiegel?) is a folk character, but does anyone know if this particular story is based on a real folktale about him, or did Jay Williams invent it? Has anyone come across other versions of this story? I can't find it in either volume of the Storytellers' Sourcebook. I found the story in The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury, selected by Alice Low, which is almost entirely literary tales, although it includes one story labeled Russian Folk Tale and a few traditional rhymes. There is no suggestion in this book that The Christmas Thief might be based on a folktale, but Tyl makes me wonder. I'd like to tell the story, but I worry about copyright.

10) Tyl is indeed Till Eulenspiegel (owl mirror), translated into English as Howleglass in the three tales about him in Derek Brewer's Medieval Comic Tales.
ISBN 0-85991-485-2

11) From the old standby -- Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend: "Till Eulenspiegel: Hero and title of a 16th century German chapbook, a collection of satirical tales pointed at certain class distinctions of the period and region. Till Eulenspiegel, son of a peasant, was born in Brunswick somewhere around the turn of the 13th-14th century, and died at Moelln in 1350. The tales recount a long series of jests and pranks showing up the superior wit of the clever peasant (often under the guise of thick-headedness) over the typical townsman: tradesman, shopkeeper, innkeeper, even priest and lord. The jokes are scurrilous, sometimes cruel. Although Till Eulenspiegel is best known today through Richard Strauss's piece of program music written around his pranks, he has been known to every German schoolboy since the Middle Ages, as a personification of peasant wit over bourgeois dullness and smugness.

12) Don't know about the story you are asking about, but this info might be interesting. There are Pennsylvania Dutch stories of Eileschpijjel from Thomas R. Brendle and William S. Troxell's Pennsylvania German Folk Tales, Legends, Once-Upon-A Time Stories, ETC. This is the "Fool Owlglass" (Till Eulenspiegel) from German and Belgian tradition. His stories were recorded by a Belgian writer Charles de Coster. He reminds me a little of our Appalachian "Jack"...sometimes a fool, sometimes clever.

13) I've got two books on Tyl Ulenspiegel in my collection. Tyl Ulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by M. Jagendorf. It's a children's book published by Vanguard Press in 1938, too old for ISBN, but the library code is J 398.2J300. Tyl Ulenspiegel by Charles De Coster. It's more of an adult historical novel, also too old for ISBN, published by Pantheon Books in 1943. It seems that there may have been a person by that name, but there is a much larger body of folklore attributed him making him a larger than life character. The Christmas Thief is not listed in either of my books, but there is a large volume of Tyl stories out there. He was a prankster who befuddled the authorities and ridiculed the mean folk of the world.

14) There is another paperback source: Oxford World Classics, 1991, 95: Till Eulenspiegel, tr. by Paul Oppenheimer (with a scholarly introduction). However, I love the M. Jagendorf Tyll Ulenspiegel's Merry Pranks.

15) A children's version: The Merry Adventures of Till Eulenspiegel by Thomas Yoseloff and Lillien Stuckey. New York: Bernard Ackerman, Inc., 1944. It has some fun illustrations, but is not as good a book as M. Jagendorf's.

16) This is in a Cricket Magazine from 1974. One of the things that puzzled me is that I remembered (and most of you, have confirmed) him as German, but in the story, he is from Holland. How widespread is his range?

Comment: Good point. However, when I re-read the story, I realized that Williams set it in a particular place in Holland - Sterkdam, which was besieged by the Spaniards. This may have been an attempt to historicize a legend by tying it to a genuine town affected by a genuine battle. In the story, Tyl fills the Spanish cannons with food stolen from the Spanish camps (after removing the cannonballs), and then tricks them into firing the cannons over the wall into the town on Christmas eve, so the townspeople were bombarded with roast geese, ducks, chicken, beef, cheeses, cakes, candies, and Christmas puddings.

17) I did a search on abebooks.com on Jagendorf and was surprized at all the collections of stories he has written. I found this bio on the Univ of S. Miss. de Grummond pages:

Abebooks has about 300 books of his available in its vast consortium of used bookstores. Us storytellers owe Moritz a lot for his contributions. Moritz Adolf Jagendorf was born in Austria on August 24, 1888, and at the age of fifteen moved to New York to live with his father. He began Yale Law School in 1907 but transferred to Columbia University to be near the theater. He received a D.D.S. from Columbia in 1916. Jagendorf's writing career began during his years at Columbia. While a sophomore, Jagendorf experienced his first literary success with Pierre Pathelin, an adaptation of a medieval French play. He became a theater agent and producer, as well as the director of the Free Theatre, the Children's Playhouse, and the Washington Square Players. During the 1920s and 1930s, he devoted most of his time to writing plays, puppet shows, and pantomimes for children, including titles such as Fairyland and Footlights (1925), Pantomimes for Children's Theatre (1926), Pie and the Tart (1930), and Plays for Club, School, and Camp (1935), but when Jagendorf heard his first American folktale, he lost interest in plays. He began to concentrate on the retelling of popular legends and folk stories for children.

His first collection of folktales was Tyll Ulenspigel's Merry Pranks (1938). This led to many more collections of European and American folklore including compilations of regional legends such as New England Bean-Pot (1948); Upstate Downstate (1949), tales from the Middle Atlantic states; The Marvelous Adventures of Johnny Caesar Cicero Darling (1949) from New York's Catskills region; and Folk Stories of the South (1971). Jagendorf served as president of the New York State Folklore Society and vice- president of the International Folklore Congress. He also practiced dentistry part-time.

Jagendorf married Sophia Sokolsky in 1920, and they had two children, Merna-Paula and Andre-Tridon. Jagendorf died in 1981 shortly after the publication of The Magic Boat, a collection of Chinese folk stories. He was the author of over 40 books.

18) I have done a bit of surfing Google on Tyl (Till) the German Jester with the jester's cap to see what's there. Understandably, much is in German. There is an opera by Richard Strauss Til Ulenspiegel's Merry Pranks Theatrical groups, performers and puppeteers (mostly involving painted faces) named after him. Discos and nightclubs and restaurants also named after him Satire sites - and a (East) German Satire Magazine called Eulenspiegel And (a warning) there is a TES: The Eulenspiegel Society online that is into Bondage and Sadism in NYC.

As for sites with stories, not a lot, but here are a few links of interest:
This site has the stories in German and a good list of links. Probably the most useful link I found.
Did you know 2000 was his year? Here is a museum site mostly under construction. I figure on adding him and Nesreddin to a Hatter's Books page on "noodleheads" with both books and internet links - Do you all have any other candidates for "wise fools" from storytelling traditions I ought to add to this page?

One last bit on Tyl ---
Jagendorf says his name means: "Owl - Mirror" (or "Owl Glass"). Obviously - the Mirror because his life was devoted to showing people themselves, foibles and all. The owl suggests his seeing through people (Owls appear to never slept - some have patterns on their eye-lids that make their eyes appear open when they are not) and also for some reason "wisdom" has been attached to owls as well. According to Jagendorf, he signed himself with an owl and a mirror. Ulenspiegel is the Flemish name (so our hero is likely a Dutchman - hence the story of the cannon); and Eulenspiegel the German name. Supposably he originated the jester hat with the floppy "ass ears" and the bells. (Though the style was characteristic of some medieval hat styles).

19) Here is a Google Translation of
hence the awkward English.

Till Eulenspiegel (or in the down-German "Tyll Ulenspiegel") was mentioned around 1510 in a book by H. Bote. The book describes a rural hero and processes probably older Schwaenke. In the following years became the shape eulenspiegel in further publications admits, which were read also in other European countries.

Till Eulenspiegel most likely really lived. It was born allegedly in Kneitlingen (Braunschweig/Lower Saxony) and 1350 in Moelln (Schleswig-Holstein) died. At least there a gravestone with its inscription

Eulenspiegel pulled at that time the countries through and attained its admittingness by numerous capers, which it played the urban craftsmen. In numerous other cultures it gives persons, who are similar to the Till Eulenspiegel. Like that is in the Jewish from a "Hersch Ostropoler" (Jewish: Hershele Ostropolier. It lived in the today's Ukraine at the beginning 19. Century) and in the Turkish of a "Hodscha Nasreddin" (this probably already died around the year 1284) the speech.

As a large owl mirror fan I had naturally also some years a Abo of the East German satire magazine eulenspiegel , which created it fortunately to save itself from the GDR over the turn. Pure-look is always worthwhile oneself for friends of the biting satire. There are some older articles from the eulenspiegel here.

Stories eulenspiegel were energizing and gladly by other artists were always already taken up. So also of Vaslav Nijinski to its ballet of the same name, whose music originates from the feather/spring from Richard bunch (Strauss). from Kathleen Mavournin Not that this sort of detail ever stopped a good storyteller, but I think the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands occurred well after 1350, the year Tyl is said to have died. So it's unlikely to have been a act of the 14th century fellow who (maybe) gave rise to the legend. Moreover, I suspect that the foodstuffs described would have been considerably the worse for wear after being fired out of a cannon. Particularly the puddings.

20) He is all through the western part of the Germanic world, at least.

(This web page updated 8/9/03)


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