William Tell

Over the course of the last year, we’ve undergone a bit of a change. I’d say the transition we’re making right now is more from fairy tale to legend. The stories, the culture, the history of civilizations. When we began themed photo sessions, every one was purely fanciful and magical and began with, “Wouldn’t it be cute if we dressed the kids up as ___” or “We must buy this toy! I’m sure we can work it into a photo shoot!”Now more of our photo shoots start with “Kids, would you like to learn about ___?” And it’s becoming one way of connecting them to this crazy world we live in. Not that we’ve given up on the fairy tales (Star Wars is gonna happen, baby!); just that there’s a bit of a bigger purpose rising out of this hobby, and both we and the kids are loving it. The costumes and pictures are becoming just a bit more gritty, and the locations are– as much as possible– authentic (at least for now, while we live in Europe).

Enter William Tell. The story goes that the tyrannical Austrian overlord in Altdorf, Switzerland had a pole erected with his hat atop and forced all the townspeople to bow to it (There’s an ego for you!). When strong, brave, legendary crossbowman William Tell refused to bow, he and his son were sentenced to death unless– in a sick stunt devised by the overlord– Tell could shoot an apple from the head of his own son. Fortunately, he was as great with a crossbow as everyone said he was, so he succeeded and saved his son. The story goes on with more great feats he accomplished in the fight for eventual Swiss independence.

True story? I don’t know. What I do know is that these are the kind of stories that belong to every culture around the world, and are inextricably linked with history and civilization. Learn them, and you learn about people; teach them, and you give your kids the whole world.

Our middle son loves bows and arrows. He has ever since we did our first Robin Hood cosplay three years ago, so we thought it would be fun to try him out on a crossbow.

I made a simple tunic and a hooded cowl for the William Tell costume, which I paired with leggings and a bit of rope for a belt. I added a cape to create another layer (and keep him warm). For my younger son, I made a similar tunic and cape. Stay tuned, because I am hoping to make a tutorial for both tunic and hooded cowl in the future, as they have been very useful pieces. We used them again for a new Robin Hood cosplay in the summer.

We drove three hours south to Altdorf, Switzerland for this photo shoot. It was a great opportunity to visit the Zurich and Lucerne Christmas markets, since we haven’t spent much time in Switzerland. If you’ve ever wondered how we travel around with three kids, this is what the Families with Toddlers category of Tour de Europe looks like:

A collapsible wagon was one of our best investments as parents. It's like a rolling playpen, and we can bundle the kids under blankets when wanderlust calls in the winter!
A collapsible wagon was one of our best investments as parents. It’s like a rolling playpen, and we can bundle the kids under blankets when wanderlust calls in the winter!

 

We found William Tell in Altdorf!
We found William Tell in Altdorf!
"What are you doing, Dad?"
He wasn’t so sure about the apple at first

We drove to Altdorf early in the morning for our little LARP, and begged the sun to shine and the thermometer to rise to no avail. The clouds came down and covered the mountains and rain sprinkled down, and when we finally scoped out a good place to take pictures, the kids decided they were really hungry. We had brought some snacks and treats for afterward, but we’ve learned our lesson regarding keeping kids fed before we take their pictures, so as soon as we had them dressed up, we gave them lollipops. Which meant that before we even began playing pretend and taking pictures, both boys had sticky fingers and faces, and costumes, and the one-year-old had a huge sticky drool stain on his shirt. But, boy, were they happy! The rain paused long enough for us to take a couple of fun pictures of the boys pretending, and everyone took a nap on the long drive home. And they slept happily ever after until they woke up hungry again.

 

Finding Storybookland WIlliam Tell
Finding Storybookland WIlliam Tell

Finding Storybookland WIlliam Tell

Finding Storybookland WIlliam Tell

 

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