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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Eulenspiegel’s Pranks (Current in the 15th Century)

Paying with the Sound of a Penny

Murner’s Version

EULENSPIEGEL was at a tavern where the host did one day put the meat on the spit so late that Eulenspiegel got hungry for dinner. The host, seeing his discontent, said to him:

“Who cannot wait till the dinner be ready, let him eat what he may.”

Therefore Eulenspiegel went aside, and ate some dry bread; after that he had eaten he sat by the fire and turned the spit until the meat was roasted. Then was the meat borne upon the table, and the host, with the guests, did feast upon it. But Eulenspiegel stayed on the bench by the fire, nor would he sit at the board, since he told the host that he had his fill from the odor of the meat. So when they had eaten, and the host came to Eulenspiegel with the tray, that he might place in it the price of the food, Eulenspiegel did refuse, saying:

“Why must I pay for what I have not eaten?”

To which the host replied, in anger:

“Give me your penny; for by sitting at the fire, and swallowing the savor of the meat, you had the same nourishment as though you had partaken of the meat at the board.”

Then Eulenspiegel searched in his purse for a penny, and threw it on the bench, saying to the host:

“Do you hear this sound?”

“I do, indeed,” answered the host.

Then did Eulenspiegel pick up the penny and restore it to his purse; which done, he spoke again:

“To my belly the odor of the meat is worth as much as the sound of the penny is to you.”