Previous story (11) - Till Eulenspiegel - Next story (13)
The twelfth story tells of how Eulenspiegel cleared out the merchant's house in Hildesheim
After they completed their journey and returned home, the merchant's wife asked him how the trip had been. "Strange enough." the merchant replied, "but we managed to get back." Then he called Eulenspiegel and said to him: "Pal, this night you may stay here but tomorrow clear out! I don't want you anymore. You're a deceitful trickster, wherever you may have come from." Eulenspiegel said: "Dear God, I do everything you tell me to and still get no thanks. But since my service does not please you, I will do as you bid and clear out tomorrow and wander off." "Yes, do that," said the merchant.
The next day the merchant got up and said to Eulenspiegel: "Eat and drink your fill and then begone. I'm going to church. Let yourself not be seen again." Eulenspiegel said nothing. As soon as the merchant left the house, he began to clear out. Chairs, tables, benches and anything else he could carry or drag, he took out into the street; even the copper, tin and wax. The neighbours were puzzled and wondered what would come of the fact that they were bringing all their belongings out into the street.
The merchant got wind of it. He swiftly came and said to Eulenspiegel: "You reckless serf, what are you doing here? Why do I still find you here?" "But, Sir, I wished first to fulfil your will, because you told me to clear out and then to wander." And he continued: "Give me a hand, this drum is too heavy for me, I cannot handle it alone." "Let it lie there," said the merchant, "and go to Hell! All this has cost me too much to just throw it in the dirt." "Dear God in Heaven," said Eulenspiegel, "what wondrous things happen. I do everything I'm told to yet still can earn no thanks. Tis true: I was born in an unlucky hour." So Eulenspiegel departed and left the merchant to drag inside all he had cleared out, and kept the neighbours laughing for a long time.
Translator's note: This story is based on the German verb "räumen" which, in the context, can be interpreted as either "to clear out" as in "to depart" or to clear out as in remove objects from a location, the point of reference in both cases being the house, which is mentioned in the German text but does not translate well as a phrase.
English translation created for E2 from the original by Hermann Bote at the German project Gutenberg.