The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book I Chapter 55

Clad in his pilgrim’s garb and duly and well absolved of his sins, Ulenspiegel left Rome, tramping ever straight on before him, and came to Bamberg, where the best vegetables in the world are.

He went into an inn where there was a jolly hostess, who said to him:

“Young master, would you have victual for your money?”

“Aye,” said Ulenspiegel. “But for what sum does one eat here?”

The hostess answered:

“You eat at the nobles’ table for six florins; at the citizens’ table for four florins, at the house table for two.”

“The most money is the best for me,” replied Ulenspiegel.

So he went and sate down at the nobles’ table. When he was well filled and had washed down his dinner with Rhine wine, he said to his hostess:

“Goodwife, I have eaten well for my money. Give me the six florins.”

The hostess said to him:

“Are you making game of me? Pay your score.”

“Dear baesine,” replied Ulenspiegel, “you have not the countenance of a fraudulent debtor; I see in it, on the contrary, so great a good faith, so much loyalty and love of neighbours that you would liefer pay me eighteen florins than refuse me the six you owe me. Those lovely eyes! ’tis the sun blazing on me, making the madness of love spring up higher than couch grass in a deserted garden.”

The hostess answered:

“I have nothing to do with your madness or your couch grass; pay and be off.”

“To be off,” said Ulenspiegel, “and never you see again! Far rather would I die on the spot. Baesine, gentle baesine, I am little used to eat for six florins, I, a poor young man wandering by hill and dale; I am stuffed and full, and presently my tongue will hang out like a dog’s in the sun: be so good as to pay me, I have well and duly earned the six florins by my hard jaw work; give me them and I will caress you, kiss you, embrace you with so great heat of gratitude that twenty-seven lovers could not all together suffice for such a task.”

“You are talking for money,” said she.

“Would you have me eat you for nothing?” said he.

“No,” said she, defending herself from him.

“Ah!” he sighed, pursuing her, “your skin is like cream, your hair like pheasant roasted golden on the spit, your lips like cherries! Is there any woman more dainty than you?”

“It becomes you well, nasty ruffian,” said she, smiling, “to come still demanding six florins from me. Be happy that I have fed you gratis and asked you for nothing.”

“If you only knew,” said Ulenspiegel, “how much space there is still!”

“Go!” said the hostess, “before my husband comes.”

“I will be a lenient creditor,” replied Ulenspiegel; “give me just one florin for future thirst.”

“Here,” said she, “bad boy.”

And she gave it to him.

“Will you kindly go away?” said she.

“To go kindly would be to go to you, my dear, but it is going unkindly to leave your beauteous eyes. If you would deign to keep me with you I should eat no more than but a florin every day.”

“Must I take a yard stick?” said she.

“Take mine,” replied Ulenspiegel.

She laughed, but he must needs be gone.