Tearaway (Dedalus European Classics S) by Johann Grimmelshausen

Tearaway (Dedalus European Classics S) by Johann Grimmelshausen

Author:Johann Grimmelshausen [Grimmelshausen, Johann]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781909232679
Publisher: Dedalus Limited
Published: 2014-03-21T04:00:00+00:00

Chapter 13

The changes in fortune through which Tearaway became first a musketeer with the Swedes, then a pikeman with the imperial forces and finally a trooper

At this Simplicissimus’s old Ma, who had been listening to the story together with his Da, broke in saying, ‘You old swine, you were one of those bastards who made the farmer’s life a misery, you sly old chicken-thief!’

‘What mother?’ Tearaway replied. ‘A chicken thief? Do you think I wasted my time on childish games like that? They had to be four-footed beasts, and hefty ones at that, before I could be bothered to appropriate them. Old cows were the worst thing I would condescend to purloin, and yet in my time I’ve rustled and helped to steal so many that if you tied them in a line, horns to tail, they’d reach from here to your farm, even though they tell me it’s four Swiss miles away. And how many horses, oxen, pigs and fat wethers do you think I’ve stolen? With all those large beasts do you think I had time for your little hens, geese and ducks?’

‘Yes, yes,’ said Simplicissimus’s Ma, ‘that’s why the good Lord put a stop to your devilry, took off one of your legs so you couldn’t go a-soldiering and plague honest farmers no more, and sent you round begging as a punishment for your thieving ways.’

At this Tearaway laughed out loud and said, ‘I think you’ve said enough, mother. Your Simplicissimus was no better and he still has both his legs, which shows that what I did to the peasants was not a sin for which I lost my leg. Soldiers are there to persecute the peasants and any that leave them in peace aren’t doing their job properly.’

Ma replied that they’d get their due reward from the devil down in hell, for once a father, in his goodness, has punished his child enough, he usually throws the rod in the fire.

‘No, mother, you’re wrong there,’ said Tearaway. ‘Don’t you know the old rhyme of the honest soldier? It goes like this:


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