Sunday, November 18, 2007

William Tell and the apple

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1307 On this day, according to tradition, William Tell (Wilhelm Tell) famously shot the apple off his son's head. One aspect of the tale is defiance of authority; another is the strong bond between a father and his child. I suppose that it why I and so many people like it, and why this simple story has survived the centuries.

The legend as told by Sabine Baring-Gould in Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (London, 1866) (Source): In the year 1307, Gessler, Vogt (local governor) of the Emperor Albert I of Hapsburg (c. 1255 - 1308), German king, and duke of Austria, eldest son of King Rudolph I of Habsburg, set a hat on a pole as symbol of imperial power, and ordered everyone who passed by to salute it. On this day, tradition has it, a mountaineer of the name of Wilhelm Tell boldly passed by the symbol of authority without saluting. By Gessler's command he was at once seized and brought before him. As Tell was known to be an expert archer, he was ordered by way of punishment to shoot an apple off the head of his own son ...

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