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Lord Erich's Pledge

     On the Klochterhof at Friesdorf near Bonn, a nobleman once lived, who was well known in the whole Rhine valley as a great tippler.

     Once Lord Erich had indulged with great relish in the noble sport of the chase in the forest that surrounded the neighbouring town of Godesberg. The day was hot, the chase unsuccessful and rather tedious for him, as he was more than usually tormented by a mighty thirst.

     The sun had set and his last golden rays were glittering on the waves of the Rhine, when Lord Erich shouldered his blunderbuss and turned homeward with a small bag, consisting of one fat hare.

     In those days one small inn (now they can be counted by the dozen) stood on the margin of the large forest of Godesberg. There Lord Erich entered to rest his tired limbs, but principally to quench his great thirst. He gave the hare to the landlady, that she might prepare it with skilful hands, and ordered a flowing bumper of golden Rhine wine which he emptied at one deep draught. I am sure that the juice of the grapes must have been far better then, than it is now-a-days.

     The landlady soon prepared the game and placed the tempting meal before the hungry hunter, who enjoyed it thoroughly. But he appreciated still more the delicious, cool wine offered to him.

     One glass after the other was swallowed by the thirsty Lord of Klochterhof, and the landlord marked just as many charcoal strokes on the door-post.

     When night approached, the noble hunter began to think of returning home. Sitting there had been agreeable and comfortable, but he found it very difficult to get tip and walk.

     The landlord, perceiving his guest's preparations to take his leave, came forward and said in rather a rough tone, being an outspoken fellow: "Twelve bottles, my lord, don't forget to pay before you go."

     Lord Erich who was standing very unsteadily on his legs, muttered in a thick voice but very good-humouredly, "Dear landlord, I could pay you if I had loaded my blunderbuss with money, but I did not."

     With this cheerful response he turned to go. The landlord was exceedingly aggravated at this careless answer. His face grew quite purple with anger. "If you have no money, my lord, I shall keep your trousers till you are able to pay for the twelve bottles." So saying he took hold of the tipsy man. Whether he liked it or not, Lord Erich was obliged to leave his inexpressibles with the inexorable landlord, and to walk home without them.

     The firs in the wood shook their heads in disapproval at such a strange attire.

     It is not known if Lord Erich ever came back to the inn to redeem his nether garments.

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