Baron Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen, was an actual baron living in 18th-century Hanover famous for entertaining his guests with outrageously-embellished tales of his wartime exploits—so much so that his nickname in German is Lügenbaron, or “Baron of Lies.” When Rudolph Eric Raspe, a writer and scientist living in England, heard of the Baron’s tales, he wrote his own versions centered around a fictional Baron Munchausen.
While the real Baron wasn’t amused to have his name attached to a silly character famous for his bald-faced lies, Raspe’s tales became hugely popular, reprinted for hundreds of years and illustrated just as many times. These very short tales were originally intended as contemporary satire, but their outrageous silliness is still entertaining today.
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