The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book II Chapter 16

Ulenspiegel being at Ghent in the barley month which is October, saw Egmont returning from revelling and feasting in the noble company of the Abbot of Saint Bavon. Being in a singing humour, he was absentmindedly allowing his horse to go at a foot pace. Suddenly he saw a man who, carrying a lighted lantern, was walking alongside him.

“What wouldst thou of me?” asked Egmont.

“Good,” replied Ulenspiegel, “the good of a lantern when it is lit.”

“Begone and leave me,” replied the Count.

“I will not begone,” rejoined Ulenspiegel.

“Wouldst thou have a stroke of the whip then?”

“I would willingly have ten, if I can put in your head such a lantern that you might see clear from here to the Escurial.”

“I take no stock in thy lantern nor in the Escurial,” replied the Count.

“Well, for my part,” answered Ulenspiegel, “it burns in me to give you a good advice.”

Then taking by the bridle the Count’s horse, rearing and kicking:

“Monseigneur,” said he, “think that now you dance well on your horse and that your head dances also very well upon your shoulders; but the king, they say, means to interrupt this fine dance, to leave you your body, but to take your head and make it dance in a land so far away that you will never be able to overtake it. Give me a florin, I have earned it.”

“The whip, if thou wilt not be off, evil newsmonger.”

“Monseigneur, I am Ulenspiegel, the son of Claes, that was burned alive for his belief and of Soetkin that died of sorrow. The ashes beating upon my breast tell me that Egmont, the gallant soldier, might with the gendarmerie in his command oppose the thrice-victorious troops of the Duke of Alba.”

“Begone,” replied Egmont, “I am no traitor.”

“Save the countries; you alone can save them,” said Ulenspiegel.

The Count would have beaten Ulenspiegel; but he had not waited for this and fled away, crying:

“Eat lanterns, eat lanterns, Messire Count. Save the countries.”

Another day, Egmont being athirst had stopped in front of the inn In ’t bondt verken, the Piebald Pig – kept by a woman of Courtrai, a pretty piece, called Musekin, the Little Mouse.

The Count, rising up in his stirrups, cried out:

“Bring me to drink!”

Ulenspiegel, who was in Musekin’s service, came up to the Count holding a pewter tankard in one hand and in the other a flask of red wine.

The Count, seeing him:

“Are you there,” said he, “ill-omened raven?”

“Monseigneur,” answered Ulenspiegel, “if my omens are black, ’tis because they are ill washen; but will you tell me which is the redder, the wine that goes down the throat or the blood that leaps out of the neck? That is what my lantern asked.”

The Count made no answer, but paid and departed.