The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 5

Last night it had been cried at the doorway of the Townhall that Madam, the wife of the Emperor Charles, being great with child, all men must pray for her speedy delivery.

Katheline came to Claes’s house all trembling.

“What aileth thee, gossip?” asked the goodman.

“Alas me!” she replied, and spoke brokenly. “Last night, spectres cutting down men as reapers mow the grass. Girl children buried quick! The hangman danced on the corpse – Stone sweating blood nine months, broken this night.”

“Have pity upon us,” groaned Soetkin, “Lord God, have pity: ’tis a black foreboding for the land of Flanders.”

“Sawest thou that with thine eyes or in a dream?” asked Claes.

“With mine own eyes,” said Katheline.

All pale and weeping Katheline spake again:

“Two boy babes are born, one in Spain, the Infante Philip, the other in the country of Flanders, the son of Claes who will in after days be surnamed Ulenspiegel. Philip will become a butcher, being engendered by Charles the Fifth, the murderer of our country. Ulenspiegel will be greatly learned in jests and pranks of youth, but he will be kind of heart, having had to father Claes, the stout worker that knew how to earn his bread in courage, honour, and simplicity. Charles the Emperor and Philip the King will ride roughshod through life, working ill by battles, exactions, and other crimes. Claes toiling all week long, living by righteousness and law, and laughing instead of weeping in his heavy labours, will be the ensample of all the good workers of Flanders. Ulenspiegel ever young, and never to die, will run throughout the world without ever tying himself to any place. And he will be churl, noble, painter, sculptor, all together and at once. And through the world will journey in this wise, praising all things good and lovely, and flouting without stint all manner of folly. Claes is thy courage, noble Flanders folk, Soetkin thy valiant mother, Ulenspiegel is thy spirit; a darling sweet girl, Ulenspiegel’s mate and like him immortal, will be thy heart, and a fat paunch, Lamme Goedzak, will be thy stomach. And up aloft shall be the devourers of the folk; below, the victims; aloft the thieving hornets, below, the toiling bees, and in the skies shall bleed the wounds of Christ.”

This much having said, Katheline the good spaewife fell on sleep.