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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:25:22 pm »

The whole history of Rothenburg might have been changed had not the Pokal, the huge state beaker, which was filled to the brim with the town's best wine, been brought in at this moment. The drinking vessel, which held three quarts, was quaffed again and again by Tilly and his aides, who passed it from hand to hand around the table. Some of the liquid still remained, even after repeated draughts.

    Then Tilly suddenly had an idea: If there was a Rothenburg man, he declared, who could drink the contents of the goblet at a single draught, and who would be willing to do so, knowing that the wine was poisoned, that man could save the council members from hanging!

    A deep hush fell over the room. Finally the silence was broken by Georg Nusch, an ex-burgomaster, who volunteered to accept the challenge.

    The story goes that Georg Nusch, in the presence of the amazed General Tilly and his companions as well as his fellow Rothenburgers, drained the three-quart Pokal and then fainted. According to recently discovered documents, the wine was not really poisoned; but the brave Nusch, willing to sacrifice his life for the councilmen, believed that it was.

    It was the ex-burgomaster's heroic exploit which saved four men from hanging and Rothenburg from occupation. The historic event, which now has become almost a folk legend, is reenacted each Whitsuntide, and once or twice during the summer, in the ancient town of Rothenburg.

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