Chapter i. : HOW A GOOSE AND A GANDER WERE MATED
So 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”1 (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 stamp on the floor, and have now betaken themselves hither to behave in like manner, and bring thee to thy death.
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.
Chapter ii. : CONCERNING THE MERITS AND VIRTUES OF A GOOD BATH AT THE PROPER SEASON
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 therin 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 well-nigh 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 bed and pack out of my house, , lest I come with thee 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 halteth.
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.
Chapter iii. : HOW THE OTHER PAGE RECEIVED PAYMENT FOR HIS TEACHING, AND HOW SIMPLICISSIMUS WAS CHOSEN TO BE A FOOL
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 cause 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 conduct.
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 wormwood2, sage wine, elecampane3, quince4 and lemon drinks, with hippocras5, 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 the 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 tiered 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 happening 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 enchantments6 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 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 dad 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 basket7 and there soundly trounce: 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 camto 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 ensign.”
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 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 there.”
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.
Chapter 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
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 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 Vogelsberg8,
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.
Chapter v. : HOW SIMPLICISSIMUS WAS BY FOUR DEVILS BROUGHT INTO HELL AND THERE TREATED WITH SPANISH WINE
Now when the Commissary had gone the above-mentioned pastor bade me come secretly to him to his lodging; and then said he, “O Simplicissimus: for thy youth I am sorry, and they 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 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 body.”
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 mountebanks9 and twelfth-night10 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 pretended.
Then said they, “Drink lustily; for thou must for
ever abide with us: but if thou wilt not be a good fellow 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 the 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 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 sleep11:
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 on 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 id 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 al. And what they did further with me I know not, so gone was
I from my senses.
edited by: Matthew Menefee