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William Tell Day

Sunday, November 18, 2012

William Tell Day

When: Always November 18th

When I was younger, I remember hearing about William Tell. He shot an apple off his son's head with an arrow. I thought he was just demonstrating his excellent marksman ship. I didn't realize he was trying to save his son's life!

The legend as told by Aegidius Tschudi (ca. 1570) goes as follows: William Tell, who originally came from Bürglen, was known as a strong man and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht (or Hermann) Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village's central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.
On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and so was arrested. Gessler — intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship, yet resentful of his defiance — devised a cruel punishment: Tell and his son would be executed, but he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son, Walter, in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow.

We don't recommend that you celebrate this day by shooting an apple off of someone's head, but have a slice of apple pie, or a glass of apple juice.
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