Manuscript illustration of crows eating the eyes from a corpse (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 1951)

This episode we conclude the story of the peasant lad who spurned a humble farming life to go off live the high life with a robber knight and, as we shall see, did not ultimately get the life he expected. Here is the final part of Meier Helmbrecht.

You can get a sense of the landscape surrounding the location identified (by some scholars) as the site of the Helmbrecht Farm through this Google Street View link:

Today’s Text

  • Wernher der Gartenaere. Meier Helmbrecht. In Peasant Life in Old German Epics, translated by Clair Hayden Bell, Columbia UP, 1931.


  • Bastow, A. “Peasant Customs and Superstitions in Thirteenth Century Germany.” Folklore, vol. 47, no. 3, Sept. 1936, pp. 313-328. JSTOR,
  • Dobozy, Maria. The Saxon Mirror: A Sachsenspiegel of the Fourteenth Century. U of Pennsylvania P, 1999.
  • Jones, George Fenwick. Honor in German Literature. U of North Carolina P, 1959.
  • Lewis, Charlton T. A History of Germany from the Earliest Times. Harper & Brothers, 1874. Google Books.
  • Nordmeyer, George. “The Judge in the Meier Helmbrecht.” Modern Language Notes, vol. 63, no. 2, Feb. 1948, pp. 95-104. JSTOR,
  • Price, Arnold H. “Early Places Ending in -heim as Warrior Club Settlements and the Role of Soc in the Germanic Administration of Justice.” Central European History, vol. 14, no. 3, Sept. 1981, pp. 187-199. JSTOR,

Audio Credit: A Clockwork Orange. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Warner Bros., 1972.

Image Credit: Manuscript illustration detail of crows eating the eyes of a corpse (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 1951). From The Medieval Bestiary:


  • 00:00:00: Introduction
  • 00:23:04: Text: Meier Helmbrecht, ll. 1463-1934
  • 00:43:06: Commentary
  • 01:05:00: Riddle
  • 01:05:46: Outro