I come from one of the most ancient and honorable families of North Germany-famous for its valor and love of adventure. One of my ancestors, when just entering the twenties heard at his father's table one morning, that England's great King Coeur de Lion was about to lead an army against the infidels. "Gracious parent," cried the young man starting up from his seat, his eyes on fire, his cheeks ablaze, "May I join the Crusaders and aid in the destruction of the enemies of our holy religion?"
"Alas, poor boy!" replied his father, casting a pitying glance at the youth, who, through some strange freak of nature had been born armless, "thou wert not intended for terrible conflicts such as await our cousin Coeur de Lion. Thou lackest every means of wielding the battle sword, of couching the lance. 'Twould be murder to set thy defenceless body before the uplifted cimeter of the merciless Moslem! My dear son, banish such thoughts from thy mind and turn thee to poesy and philosophy, thou shalt add new lustre to our family name by thy learning." "Nay gracious parent, hear me!" urged the youth with eloquent eye: "true, nature has denied me arms, but she has not been so cruel as might be supposed for, as compensation, she has given a giant's strength to my lower limbs. Dost not remember how last month, I slew a wild boar with one blow from the heel of my hunting-boot?" "I do," answered the grim old Baron with a smile, "but-" "Pardon my interruption noble father" came from the young man, "I shall go into battle doubly armed, for to each stirrup shall I affix a sword and woe betide the Mussulman who dares meet me on the battle-field."