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LEGENDS OF MANNEKEN-PIS

1. Godfrey III and the Battle of Ransbeeck

Godfrey III and the Battle of Ransbeeck

There are a lot of legends concerning Manneken-Pis.  The one about the Battle of Ransbeeck is perhaps the least incredible of them all.

Godfrey III was a little baby when his father the duc of Lorraine, died.

Some of his subjects thought this might be a good time to take up arms against their young sovereign.  Godfrey's mother Lutgardis, requested the help of the nobles.  They agreed but their armies wanted the presence of the young duke on the battlefield.

Lying down in his cradle the young duke left at the head of his troups.  On the battlefield they attached his cradle to a branch of an oak.  The battle raged and his soldiers were pushed back.  But the sight of the young duke upright in his cod relieving himself gave them renewed courage and they eventually won the day.

A fountain was erected in Brussels to commemorate the event and the oak from which had hung the duke's cradle was replanted next to the fountain. And to this day, the road where Manneken Pis stands is called Oak Street.
 

2. The bishop baptised with...

The birth of Manneken-Pis is said to have taken place in the VIIIth Century. Vindicien, bishop of Arras, came to Brussels to preach and the lord of the region invited him on his domain vint prêcher à Bruxelles et le seigneur de la région l’invita en ses terres, not without ulterior motive: he had no heir.
Vindicien promissed to intercede for him with the Allmighty. Nine months later his wife gave birth to a boy whose first manifestation of his presence was to pee so high that the beard of Vindicien en fut éclaboussée.
The kid was then called Manneken-Pis.  Shortly afterwards Vindicien passed away. Where could the kid be baptized and who would now perform the ceremony ?
The lord's wife thought of Gudule the goddaughter of Gertrude who lived in Ham Castle.
This great honor flattered Gudule.  She came, blessed the child, kissed his mother, greeted his father and returned to Ham.
Seduced by the charms of Gudule, the lord left his home to go to the abode of Gudule who didn't suspect his intentions and welcomed him.
But when the future saint discoverd his real motives she was very angry and declared: "Your son will never grow up and he'll never stop peeing".
 

3. Julien and the hermit

In the 8th Century a child knee-high to a grasshopper, ran away "to see from closer by" saint Vindicien; the small fellow called Julian who father was in love with Gudule, releaved himself unashamedly against the door of the cell of a saintly hermit.
Suddenly confronted with a very tall person with a beard he was miraculously changed into a statue in stone and condemned to forever pursue his act.
At this point opinions diverge.  For some the legend ends here.  Others pretend that the father came to embrace the statue and that the boy then came back to life.  Ici les avis divergent, certains mettant fin Ă  la lĂ©gende, d’autres prĂ©tendent que le père est venu embrasser la statue et qu’ainsi le garçonnet retrouva la vie. The grateful father then commissioned a statue, a look-alike of this little boy.
 

4. The young nobleman

In the time of the Crusades there lived in Brussels the count of Hove, his wife and their son Godefroid.
Coming back from the Crusade the armed men stopped in front of the residence of the count who offered hospitality. The next day he sent out his 5 year old son to welcome the soldiers.  But the little fellow didn't stop spraying the parade.
In order to redeem himself for this indignity the count and countess ordered the erection of a statue of atonement.
 

5. The son found back

During popular rejoicing un wealthy citizen who went there with his one and only son, lost the little boy in the crowd.
The father searched the streets of Brussels for 5 long days and eventually found his son back on the corner of Stove Street  and Oak Street in the position one can imagine.  Dad was so happy he installed on the same spot a statue of a little boy in the same position.  And they called it Manneken-Pis.
 

6. The savior of the city

Juliaeneke, a small city kid, saw that the troops attacking the City dug a hole at the foot of the wall surrounding the city and then proceeded to put kegs of powder in it.  A fuse was then lit by the ennemy but our hero put out the flame before it could reach the powder kegs. The besieged put the little boy out of harm's way and then chased the ennemy away.

A statue was put up to remember the heroic deed.
 

7. The child and the witch

About 1540, (during the reign of Charles V) a child peed against the door  of the house of a witch who lived on the corner of Stove Street  and Oak Street.  She was so furious she condemned the little boy to continue for ever his act.  And then what happened?

A kindly old man came, carrying in his arms a statue of stone which he substituted for the little boy whom he accompanied back to his home and his parents.
 

All about Manneken Pis
The official website of the Order of the Friends of Manneken Pis


Most recent update: 18 February 2017

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