Barely Told

This story exists with many different versions of the story and punchline. A different version was by Joel Oppenheimer in “Bred Any Good Rooks Lately?”

Two friends, Count Jan Schweik of Czechoslovakia and Sir Hugh Lowndes of the UK, were hunting in the Austrian Alps. Having spent most of the morning hunting unsuccessfully for the fabled mammoth Austrian brown bear, they decided to rest and enjoy the lunch packed for them at the inn where they were staying. The sat down upon a log and opened their knapsacks. Suddenly, a huge brown bear rushed out of the woods straight toward Count Schweik, grabbing him before he had time to react and tearing him to pieces. Sir Hugh, being somewhat of a coward and not wishing to suffer the same fate, immediately ran from the scene, unfortunately leaving his gun behind, and climbed as high as he could up the first tall tree that he found. He watched in horror as the bear proceeded to devour every last bit of his friend, Jan. The bear then sauntered off into the woods. After waiting several hours to make sure that the bear would not return, Sir Hugh climbed down the tree and ran back to the inn to report the terrible event. The next morning, Sir Hugh, the innkeeper and several other villagers set out to find and kill the bear. After several hours, the hunting party came upon a large clearing containing three bears — two females and a male. As the hunters entered the clearing, the bears scattered, running in three different directions. The innkeeper looked at Sir Hugh and said, “Which way do we go? Did you recognize any of the three bears as the one which ate your friend?” “Yes, follow that one!” Sir Hugh immediately replied, pointing to the male bear disappearing into the woods. The hunting party ran into the woods following the bear. One of the hunters was able to get a shot off as the bear went over a ridge. Luckily, the bullet hit the bear in the head killing it instantly. The hunters immediately opened the bear’s stomach revealing the remains of Count Schweik. The innkeeper turned to Sir Hugh and said, “How did you know for certain that this was the bear that ate your friend?” Sir Hugh replied, “As soon as I saw the three bears, I heard a voice which said, “The Czech is in the male!””

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  1. wALLACE

     /  March 4, 2015

    Alternate story: King Adelbert was sponsoring a tourney and the greatest knights of the land were in attendance. Many knights from other lands also entered, and wagering on which would win was heavy. On the last day of the jousting, the King asked who was competing, and was told that Sir Hoffman of Germany and Sir Masryk of Czechosloivakia were expected to be the finalists. Two knights entered the lists, one clad in plate and the other in chain armor. Although each carried a spear emblazoned with their home country colors, the King was confused. “Which is Sir Hoffman and which is Sir Masryk?” he asked his Chamberlain. “Sire”, replied that worthy, “the Czech is in the mail.”

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