The Legend of Ulenspiegel by Charles de Coster Book III Chapter 17

Ulenspiegel came to Namur in March. There he saw Lamme, who having been seized with a great love for the fish of the River Meuse, and especially for the trout, had hired a boat and was fishing in the river by leave of the commune. But he had paid fifty florins to the guild of the fishmongers.

He sold and ate his fish, and in this trade he gained a better paunch and a little bag of carolus.

Seeing his friend and comrade going along the banks of the Meuse to come into the town, he was filled with joy, thrust his boat up against the bank, and climbing up the steep, not without puffing, he came to Ulenspiegel. Stammering with pleasure:

“There you are then, my son,” said he, “my son in God, for my belly-ark could carry two like you. Whither go you? What would you? You are not dead, without a doubt? Have you seen my wife? You shall eat Meuse fish, the best that is in this world below; they make sauces in this country fit to make you eat your fingers up to the shoulder. You are proud and splendid, with the bronze of battle on your cheeks. There you are then, my son, my friend Ulenspiegel, the jolly vagabond.”

Then in a low voice:

“How many Spaniards have you killed? You never saw my wife in their wagons full of wenches? And the Meuse wine, so delicious for constipated folk, you shall drink of it. Are you wounded, my son? You will stay here then, fresh, lively, keen as an eagle. And the eels, you shall taste lad. No marshy flavour whatever. Kiss me, my fat lad. My blessing upon God, how glad I am!”

And Lamme danced, leapt, puffed, and forced Ulenspiegel to dance as well.

Then they wended their way towards Namur. At the gate of the city Ulenspiegel showed his pass signed by the duke. And Lamme brought him to his house.

While he was making their meal ready, he made Ulenspiegel tell his adventures and recounted his own, having, he said, abandoned the army to follow after a girl that he thought was his wife. In this pursuit he had come as far as Namur. And he kept repeating:

“Have you not seen her at all?”

“I saw others that were very beautiful,” replied Ulenspiegel, “and especially in this town, where all are amorous.”

“In truth,” said Lamme, “a hundred times they would fain have had me, but I remained faithful, for my sad heart is big with a single memory.”

“As your belly is big with innumerable dishes,” answered Ulenspiegel.

Lamme replied:

“When I am in distress I must eat.”

“Is your grief without respite?” asked Ulenspiegel.

“Alas, yes!” said Lamme.

And pulling a trout from out a saucepan:

“See,” said he, “how lovely and firm it is. This flesh is pink as my wife’s. To-morrow we shall leave Namur; I have a pouch full of florins; we shall buy an ass apiece, and we shall depart riding thus towards the land of Flanders.”

“You will lose heavily by it,” said Ulenspiegel.

“My heart draws me to Damme, which was the place where she loved me well: perchance she has returned thither.”

“We shall start to-morrow,” said Ulenspiegel, “since you wish it so.”

And as a matter of fact, they set out, each mounted on an ass and straddling along side by side.