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Ritter Bibo and the Devil


Knight Bibo was a powerful warrior who lived high up in his castle "Felseneck" or "Rock Corner". He had many foes and was surrounded by enemies and perils. But nothing in this world could withstand him: he fought, hit out, stabbed and cursed, blows raining down from all sides. Worst of all was his cursing. He called on the devil at least a hundred times a day. "Hey there - the devil thump it and take it! Devil, thunder and lightening!" Such abuse resounded at all times of the day and night up on "Felseneck". - "Hey you, serve the food, the devil confound you!" He ate and drank till the rivets in his armour burst, and woe betide anybody who disturbed him at his meals, as the knight let fly at the slightest provocation. His neighbour, his worst adversary and enemy, did not enter into an open feud with him, but got the better of him by means of stealth and craftiness whenever he sensed that there was booty to be had. If our warrior descended from the heights down to the valley in order to extort a toll from a merchant using the road, the unfortunate victim was bound to have been already robbed by the neighbour. Knight Bibo then produced such a torrent of curses that the trees on either side of the path writhed in agony.

But what annoyed him most was that he never even got to see his malicious neighbour face to face, not to mind get hold of him and give him a thrashing that he would never forget. Having brooded gloomily for days, our knight finally decided to offer his opponent the hand of reconciliation and invite him to go bear-hunting. And he came. He was a long, thin streak of a man with a pointed face. The knight took an intense dislike to him. - Picture 126. Bear-Hunt with Snuff The hunt began. After a feast to fortify themselves, they rode off into the forest, facing wind and weather, to kill a bear. The bear had already been cornered in a hollow under the rocks when Bibo took a pinch of snuff before delivering the final blow. But the wind - may the devil confound it! - reached into the snuff, and scattered it so that both the guest and the pack of dogs all sneezed so violently that their noses hurt, and all at once they vanished together with the bear without a trace. Knight Bibo was on his own. "May the devil take them, cowardly crew, thunder, lightening and rockets!" Scarlet in the face with fury, his sword unsheathed, spurs rammed into the flanks of his horse, he tore off at full gallop, snorting with rage. Threatening clouds hung over the tall spruce trees. Knight Bibo heard loud mocking laughter coming from behind. He looked around. His skinny guest was standing among green moss-covered stones, holding his sides laughing. Blind with anger, Bibo leapt over the yawning abyss to run his sword through his hated tormentor."You accursed robber baron!" shouted the warrior - but his sword had got stuck in the boulder. Next to it stood a revolting monster with the head of a boar and long green moss-covered horns. Picture 127. The Green DragonKnight Bibo knew no fear; he threw himself with full force on to the new enemy. But it at once jumped up over the knight and changed itself into a horrible little gnome lurking among the ferns and grasses of the gloomy forest, laughing himself sick. The knight tried to crush him under the hooves of his horse - but all at once the gnome was just a hard, knotted branch of a tree. "The devil, lightening and thunderbolts!" Knight Bibo started, and looked around for a victim to give vent to his anger. At last! Down below he saw a dragon crawling along in a deep gorge. Hey - devil, death and doom! Forward! Lightening flashed, thunder rumbled, rain cascaded down in torrents; Knight Bibo cut and stabbed, sparks flying from his sword. What a merry battle, the devil take it! - "Yes indeed: the devil!" the dragon hissed, spitting out such a huge jet of fiery flame that sword and armour began to glow at the edges. Knight Bibo was steaming like game on the spit and would have died of the heat had a downpour of torrential rain not saved him. Picture 128. A Gothic Flame-Spewer There was a peal of loud mocking laughter. Instead of the dragon, the knight saw his neighbour, that hateful skinny creature, standing in the gorge laughing. Now Knight Bibo of Felseneck realised that he was fighting with the devil. He fled at once into the darkness and the roaring storm; by the time he reached his castle, his beard and hair had been scorched. The castle was illuminated by the light of torches. The devil had been there for quite a while and and was celebrating with Bibo's hunting companions, feasting and revelling. That was too much. Knight Bibo sat down on a stone and cursed. The devil within heard him at once and he too began to curse, so Knight Bibo and the devil entered into a cursing competition with each other. The ramshackle walls of the castle began to sway; they split and fell to pieces. Castle "Felseneck", many hundred years old, having survived many generations of stalwart spruce trees, now collapsed with a rumble and a grumble, with a flash and a crash, with cats and rats, so that even the devil himself shuddered with horror - and it buried Knight Bibo under its ruins. That was in 1513.

Bibo outdoing the devil at cursing