The Brno wheel
Old Town Hall
My name is Jiří Pirk or Birk – take your pick. I come from Lednice. You must know it. It’s a tiny town almost fifty kilometres, or about 30 miles, from Brno, and these days we’ve got a great minaret to shout about. I work in Lednice as a wheelwright. That means I make wooden wheels for carts and coaches. I make a reasonable living, can’t complain.
After work, I always pop into the pub for a beer. Clears the head. One time, me and my friends were on our eighth tankard. I suppose, by now, the beer’s talking and I’m getting a bit boastful, but for whatever reason, I bet that in a single day I could cut down a tree, make a wheel from its timber, and roll that wheel by hand all the way to Brno. So I get up next morning, wondering how I’d got home to bed, and I suddenly remember this mad bet.
What a numpty! I quickly pull on my trousers and set off for the forest. Around half seven, I’ve got the tree in the workshop and have started to make the wheel. It’s completed exactly when the sun is directly overhead. Oh dear, I’m running really late. I roll the wheel out of Lednice, people gawping at me like they’ve lost their minds, and it’s off we go. In Židlochovice I manage to scoff down a couple of sausages – there’s not even time to chew. I hurry on my way to Brno. Now I can see
Špilberk ahead in the distance. It’s already after seven, and I still have a fair way to go. Phew, I just about manage it. They swing shut the town gates right behind me. The next day I get the town hall to issue a confirmation that I’d won the bet, and I leave the wheel there – I wasn’t going to roll it home!
Well, the pockets of my Lednice neighbours were a few gold coins lighter, and I swore to myself that there was no hurry to ever repeat such a wager. And the wheel? It still hangs in the Old Town Hall till this very day.