Book III: Chap. I.:HOW THE HUNTSMAN WENT TOO FAR TO THE LEFT HAND
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 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 notable in sieges.But I return to my history.
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.
Chap. ii.:HOW THE HUNTSMAN OF SOEST DID RID HIMSELF OF THE HUNTSMAN OF WESEL
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 which my name practiced 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 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 ever 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.
Chap. iii.:HOW THE GREAT GOD JUPITER WAS CAPTURED AND HOW HE REVEALED THE COUNSELS OF THE GODS
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 go 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 that 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 long.”
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 himself.
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.”
Edited by Anna Grau
 Bandoliers are shoulder belts w/ loops or pockets for cartridges. "Bandoliers," Oxford Concise English Dictionary, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) p. 99.
the souls of the dead are carried by the ferryman Charon.Oaths sworn by the Styx were unbreakable, even
by the gods. Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology (Denver: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1998) p. 285.
Ida, and Zeus developed an affection for the boy and carried him to Mount Olympus to be his cupbearer.When he died he was placed in the sky as the constellation Aquarius.Stories about Ganymede are considered evidence of the homosexual tendencies of the classical gods.Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology (Denver: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1998) p. 137
birth, Paris lived in the hills of Mount Ida among shepherds.There he became the lover of the nymph
Oenone (also called Denone).According to some sources she bore him a son.Paris deserted Oenone when the goddess Aphrodite granted him the love of the world's most beautiful woman, Helen of Troy.Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology (Denver: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1998) p. 237.