The History and Legends Behind the Manneken Pis

Many cultures and countries all around the world have decorated their cities with beautiful fountains. Many of these fountains feature beautiful design work and elegant sculptures crafted by some of the most famous names in all of art history. While many of these fountains are world renowned for their beauty, some are more famous for the controversy and legends they have inspired. One of the most talked about fountains in the world is the Manneken Pis, which literally means “Little Man Pee” in a particular Dutch dialect called Marols. This particular fountain is uniquely designed to be both beautiful and yet still elicit a slight chuckle from those who come to view it.

The basic design of Manneken Pis is that of a little boy urinating into the large basin that makes up part of the fountain. The original designer of the fountain was Jerome Duquesnoy, and it was put up in 1618. The world famous fountain is located near the Brussels Town Hall. The statue of the little boy is around 24 inches or 2 feet in height. One of the most interesting facts about this particular fountain piece is that it has been stolen on numerous occasions. As a means of stopping the thefts, the original statue was removed in 1965 and replaced by a copy.

There are many legends that surround the history of the Mannenken Pis fountain. One of the most popular legends that deal with the fountain focuses primarily on a man known as Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. The story goes that when Leuven was around two years old, the troops who technically belonged to him were at war against Berthouts. The legend states that his troops placed him in a basket and put the basket on a tree limb to give them courage in battle. From his basket perched high on a tree, the young boy urinated on the opposing troops, who eventually lost the battle.

Another popular legend of the Manneken Pis is a tale about a missing boy. The story involves a mother who was doing all of her shopping in the shops located in the middle of the city. While she was shopping the little boy slipped away from her. When the mother noticed the boy was missing, she flew into a panic and began searching for the boy. Many people helped conduct a search for the boy who was eventually found urinating on a street corner.

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