According to legend, Till Eulenspiegel was in Magdeburg, and there are even two stories about him. So it’s not surprising that you also meet Till Eulenspiegel in Magdeburg.
We were on the trail of the fool in Magdeburg.
The sagas of Eulenspiegel in Magdeburg
… how Eulenspiegel wanted to fly from the town hall dormer…
When Eulenspiegel came to Magdeburg, he was already quite well known. The citizens of the city asked him to do something adventurous and unusual. He didn’t have to be asked for long and announced that he wanted to climb onto the town hall and fly from the bay window. What an excitement in the town, the crowd gathered in the market place to see how far he would fly.
There Eulenspiegel now stood on the bay window and moved his arms up and down like a bird. The crowd cheered and cheered him on. Then Till laughed and shouted: “I thought there were fools in the world except me. Now here I see the whole city full of fools. How could I fly? I am neither a goose nor a bird!”
He descended from the bay window and left the people behind. A few realised how true Eulenspiegel had spoken.
…how Eulenspiegel pretended to be a doctor ….
In Magdeburg there was a bishop named Bruno who invited Till Eulenspiegel to Giebichstein Castle. Bruno and his court servants were delighted with Eulenspiegel. The personal physician did not like fools and was of the opinion that only educated people should have something to say at court: “Fools to fools and wise men to wise men! If princes had wise people with them, wisdom would always be before their eyes. If they keep fools with them, they learn folly.” The knights and courtiers did not like this attitude and snooty behaviour. They went to Eulenspiegel and asked him to think up a prank that would show the doctor his limits. Of course, Till liked this idea very much and came up with a plan.
He heard that Bruno’s personal physician was often ill himself and took a lot of medicine, so he disguised himself as a doctor and moved into the castle. Eulenspiegel’s accomplices announced him as an excellent doctor and so it happened that the personal physician asked him for help. Till, not stupid, answered as a doctor did. He pretended that he could only make the diagnosis if he could lie with him for one night. From the night sweat he would recognise what the personal physician was missing. The personal physician responded.
Before nightfall, Till gave his supposed colleague a pungent laxative, without telling him what he was taking. Before they went to bed, Eulenspiegel also secretly placed a container of excrement under the bed so that the personal physician had to endure the smell all night. The doctor suffered greatly from the stench and tried to turn over. No sooner had he turned his face to Till than the latter let out a fart and the smell was horrible again.
Till made fun of the doctor half the night. Then the laxative took effect. The doctor couldn’t hold on to himself and contaminated himself. He stank terribly.
Eulenspiegel looked at him and said: “How now, worthy doctor? Your sweat has stunk abominably for a long time. How is it that you sweat such sweat? It stinks very badly! Lie still, I will fetch a light and see how you are.”
The personal physician felt so ill and miserable that he did not move from his bed. Eulenspiegel ran to the castle. In the morning the doctor followed and when he met the bishop and the courtiers, he could hardly speak to them because of his “illness”. When asked how he was, he stated that he had been taken by surprise by a rogue whom he had believed to be a doctor. The listeners laughed and told him that it had been Eulenspiegel who had made a fool of him. They said: “You did not recognise him and believe him; you were deceived by him. But we, who put up with his foolishness, knew him well. But we did not want to warn you, especially since you wanted to be so wise. No one is so wise that he should not know fools. And if there were no fools anywhere, how would one recognise the wise?”
Where do we meet Eulenspiegel in Magdeburg?
The Old Market Square is located in the old town of Magdeburg. On the west side of the market square is the Eulenspiegel Fountain.
Heinrich Apel, a sculptor from Magdeburg, created the fountain in 1970 to commemorate the story of Eulenspiegel.
In the middle of the fountain on a pillar stands the jester and looks laughing in the direction of the town hall. On the pedestal is written in golden letters “HIC FVIT”, which means “here he was”.
If you are looking for more Till Eulenspiegel clues, you should go to the market square in the direction of the town hall and take a closer look at the beautiful medieval bronze doors at the entrance. This door was also designed by Heinrich Apel, and with a little searching you will find what you are looking for. A small picture shows the jester attempting to fly from the town hall.
Not had enough of the folly yet? Then head for Magdeburg’s Roland statue, which stands directly in front of the town hall. Not immediately visible at first glance, an image of Till Eulenspiegel has crept in there too. If you walk around the Roland, you will find a small figure on the back, under the inscription Roland ano 778 died. Eulenspiegel is here meant to counter the serious military appearance of Roland.
Do you know any other Eulenspiegel towns? We have already been on the trail of the jester in Bernburg an der Saale.