18 Nov: William Tell’s Apple Adventures

Switzerland’s most famous archer shot fruit off his own son’s head on 18th November, 1307. Or did he? 

‘Chronicon Helveticum’ by Aegidius Tschudi, from which the date comes, claims to be a serious historical account, but was written roughly 200 years later – and not published until nearly 200 years after that. And the myth bears remarkable similarities with the Danish folklore of Palnatoki, recorded in print centuries earlier.In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly recount the improbable beats of Tschudi’s tale; consider the small casting pool for 1950s swashbucklers; and marvel at how the story has come to represent the (genuine) Swiss resistance of the Habsburg army…

Further Reading:

• ‘A Brief History of the Legend of William Tell’ (The Culture Trip, 2017): https://theculturetrip.com/europe/switzerland/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-legend-of-william-tell/

• ‘Shooting an apple off one’s child’s head’ (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_an_apple_off_one%27s_child%27s_head#Palnatoki

• ‘The Adventures of William Tell: Opening Theme’ (ITC, 1958): 

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