Friday, March 1, 2013

Did William Tell rescue dogs?

On the shores of Lake Lucerne, just south of the village of Sisikon, lies a chapel dedicated to William Tell, Switzerland's quintessential folk hero.

The Chapel marks the spot where William Tell jumped off the boat of his captors as it was getting ravaged by a storm, as shown in one of the four frescos by the Swiss painter Ernst Stückelberg that are inside the Chapel.

I hope William also rescued the dog on the boat.

William's captors worked for Gessler, the Austrian overlord who had forced William Tell to hit an apple placed on the head of his own son with a single shot. After William's success, Gessler noticed a second arrow in William's hand. "You were supposed to hit the apple with a single arrow. Why did you need two arrows?", Gessler asked. "If I had killed my son, you would have been next", was William's honest reply.

Gessler got very upset, visibly riling up his dog.

Enraged by William's words, Gessler had him arrested and ordered his men to take him to his castle across the lake. As a massive storm broke out, the crew freaked out and unchained William so he could steer the boat to safety. That's how William managed to jump off the boat and, I hope, save the dog.

Note that the dog on the boat is different from the dog in the apple-shot scene.

Dachshund Daddy's travel note: the Tellskapelle, or Tell's Chapel, can be reached with a quick scamper from the Axenstrasse between Sisikon and Flüelen. You'll most likely use the Axenstrasse if you ever drive across Switzerland north to south. A much better way to visit the Chapel is to use the lakeside trail from the village of Sisikon. You can also take a ferry from Flüelen or Lucerne to the landing dock right by the Chapel...but check the weather forecast first and be sure no storms are expected.


  1. Very interesting. We've heard the William Tells story, but not about the dog. But then, behind every great man there's a dog, so we should have.

    XXXOOO daisy, Bella & roxy

  2. Oh my goodness, I love this post. Didn't know any of that about William Tell the folk hero. Love the paintings they have to depict the story what a lovely place to be able to visit.

  3. Oh oh oh, you know how excited Gail gets at any mention of the Lucerne area. She thinks the best way to the Tellskapelle is definitely by boat from Lucerne. May be one day she will take me there.....
    I live in hope. Thanks for the super post anyway.
    Toodle pip!

  4. Loved this. I had no idea about the dog. MOM says she knows so of William Tell but the dog part was new. Love the pictures.

  5. The only thing I knew about WT was the arrow in the apple. Everything else in this post is new! Love it. The dog looks the same to me? If the story doesn't mention a doggy rescue, could that mean... :(

    Is DD doing this post or are you posting on the road Tootsie's mum? x

  6. G'pa and I are trying as we speak to recall which stanzas of Rossini's overture describe the dog and I think its da de dum, da de dum, da de dum - dum - dum.......etc.

  7. I love the William Tell story! I'd never heard of the chapel though - beautiful!

  8. How great to hear the William Tell story and see the frescoes from the chapel!

  9. What a treat to read about - thanks!

  10. Your title threw me. I wondered what William was telling rescue dogs. I've never heard anymore than the briefest tale of William Tell. Thank you for filling that out and sharing the frescoes!

  11. I believe Mr. Tell would have saved the dog. He was a good man, and he wouldn't have let an innocent dog drown.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...