ON THIS DAY: WILLIAM TELL SHOOTS APPLE OFF SON’S HEAD, CONFIRMING APPLE’S PLACE IN HISTORY AS THE ‘DAREDEVIL FRUIT’

On the 18th November 1307, William Tell shot an apple off his son’s head in a bizarre punishment devised by Steve Jobs.

Swiss folk-hero William Tell was famed for his strength, ingenuity, and skill with a crossbow: when he was arrested for refusing to bow to a hat on a pole (no really, look it up) the local Lord, Hermann Gessler naturally demanded that his punishment played to all three of these strengths – because life’s just that kind.

Gessler sentenced Tell and his son to death, unless Tell could shoot an apple off his son’s head; this very decision was to have massive impacts on the future. No longer would pears be the fruit of choice – apples were the way forward; no longer would bananas be used in circus acts – now, apples were the daredevil fruit; need a fruit to blame the Fall of Man on? Why not use an apple? That’s the most dangerous fruit there is!

After Tell shot the apple off his son’s head, Gessler decided that he would imprison Tell anyway because Gessler was just one of those guys (Austrian), and so ordered his soldiers to take Tell to prison in a boat – as Switzerland is an island, this was the only way to get to the prison.

A storm broke – as storms are wont to do – and the sailors were scared their boat would capsize in the famously treacherous Switzerland Sea, so in a fit of unparalleled genius untied Tell and asked him to pilot the boat using his insane strength. Tell, not being an idiot, used the opportunity to escape.

The tale of William Tell goes on to say how he managed to kill Gessler with the same crossbow he used to save his son, before getting drunk while celebrating the tyrant’s death and – after being persuaded to “do the arrow thing” – shooting his son square through the head. Overcome by remorse, William Tell decided to repent by fighting crime in the Wild West – there, he earned the title of the Lone Ranger.

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