Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Flying Ship

a story known as a curiosity of Vienna

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      Vienna, June 24th, 1709 - It was very big tumult yesterday morning approximately at nine o'clock. Everyone was alerted, the streets were full of people and the ones who were not in the streets stood at their windows. Everyone was asking what to do but noone knew an answer. Some people ran around crying the last day would be near, others felt a big earthquake to come, and some supposed that a large army of enemy besiegers stood before the gates of Vienna.
Finally more and more arms showed towards the sky and one saw an indescribable amount of bigger and smaller birds flying around a very big bird and it looked like as if the flock had a fight with this very big bird.
Then this odd flock moved further down and closer to earth. It turned out that the alerged big bird was an object in the form of a ship with expanded sails. The people could figure out a man on the ship dressed like a monk who announced his arrival with several gun shots.
The air ship moved in circles several times. It was now obviously that the air rider was looking for a suitable place to land.
Passarola (Big Bird) from: Wienerische Diarium, 1709
Unfortunately an unexpected wind arose and prevented the man from his undertaking. It came even worse. The wind led him to the spire of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral; the sails got tangled up at the tower top, so that the machine got stuck in it.
This incident caused a recent uproar among the common people, who all ran to St. Stephen’s square now. It is reported that twenty people were crushed to death in the huge crowd.
The man arrested in the air wasn’t helped by the staring people, he cried for helping hands. But the air ship was so unluckily entangeled that it wasn’t reachable.
After a couple of hours the man in the ship lost his patience. He took a hammer and some other tools he had with him and started to demolate the tip of the spire. He worked till the uppermost part of the tip fell to the ground. Thus he came back into flight and after some panning around he skilfully brought his airship to a halt at a place near the Imperial Palace.
Protected by a company of soldiers – otherwise he possibly would have been scrunched by the crowd of people – the pilot was brought to the tavern “The black Eagle”. There he rested for a couple of hours.
Then he told his story. On June 22nd at six o’clock in the morning he left Lisbon in his newly-invented air machine in order to bring some letters to the here resident Portuguese ambassador.
His travel was a big challenge and he had many fights with eagles, storks, paradise birds and many other unknown birds. He said if he hadn’t had his two double hooks and the four shotguns with him he would have lost his life without any doubt.
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Copyright © 2011 Ingrid Prohaska

Special thanks to JRD Skinner and the Flash Pulp Crew for including this curiosity in their 'FlashCast45 - Just the Tip' !

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