11. The William Tell Story is a Myth
William Tell reportedly strode through Altdorf, Switzerland, with his son, one fine day in 1307. There, an agent of the ruling Habsburgs, Albrecht Gessler, demanded that all passersby remove their hats as a show of respect. Tell kept his hat on, and was dragged before Gessler. He ordered an apple placed above his child’s head and decreed that he would let father and son live if he shot the apple with a single bolt from 120 paces.
Tell shot off the apple and Gessler freed him. However, he asked why, despite the challenge of specifying a single bolt, he had placed a second bolt in his jacket. Tell replied: “If my first bolt had missed, I would have shot the second at you and I would not have missed“. The incensed agent ordered Tell locked up in a dungeon. However, the hero freed himself, killed Gessler, and triggered a rebellion that overthrew the Habsburgs and led to Swiss independence. Awesome story. Unfortunately, it is a complete myth.