(ALSO TIL & TYL)
(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)
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
--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
4) Text of Til Ulenspighel (notice change in spelling)
5) Fabulous, fabulous site! Over 96 stories, full text.
6) Short bio:
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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,
web page updated 8/9/03)