Excerpt from Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche: Selected and Edited With Notes, Vocabulary and Exercises
Till was the son of a peasant, and as such he exhibits the typical shrewdness of the peasant. Whenever he can play a trick on city-folks he is delighted. It is his point... to execute all commands literally. When he is scolded, his usual reply is: You told me to do it, but I can't satisfy you. It seems as though he wanted to teach his fellow-men that the 'letter killeth. And this deeper underlying truth is perhaps the reason why the book has lived through four centuries. In a crude manner Till shows some resemblance to the fools of Shak spere, and it is certainly interesting to imagine what Shakspere might have made out of such a character.
Till cannot be credited with nobility and refinement of mind. Some of the jokes perpetrated by him are coarse and cynical. But his age was coarse and vigorous and not easily Shocked. There was little sentimentality and prudishness in those days. And so the humor of the people was bold and direct.
At the risk of some repetition, the following interesting pas sages are offered to supplement this brief sketch. An English author writes of these stories.
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