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Today's post is another fun case of truth being stranger than fiction. Taillefer was the jester of William the Conqueror, and the first man to be killed at the Battle of Hastings. He was out in front of the troops, reciting, according to legend, the Chanson de Roland, when a Saxon soldier ran out to challenge him. Taillefer killed the attacker, and was in turn cut down by more Saxons. You'd think this would guarantee him a spot on the Bayeux Tapestry, which famously depicts the story of the conquest, but if he's on it he has not been identified.

The story doesn't end there though. The Battle of Hastings happened on October 14th 1066, which also happened to be the birthday of the American General Eisenhower in 1890. Taillefer left Normandy for England, and Eisenhower embarked from England, landing on the beaches of Normandy in WWII. Lastly, both "Taillefer" and "Eisenhower" can be translated as "hewer of iron". Fun coincidences, no?


  1. I should ammend my post to say that Taillefer beat, but did not kill his opponent, and was himself the first person to die at the hands of others.


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