From an email that BB pal Ben Cosgrove sent me:
I was recently looking up some information on my all-time favorite
nose-less astronomer, Tycho Brahe, and came across this information in
Wikipedia. I include it here, unedited, because 1) it is entertaining,
and 2) it reads like something written in one language, translated into
another, and then quickly rendered back into the original by someone
distracted by a shiny object. Completely insane:
Tycho was said to own one percent of the entire wealth of Denmark at one
point in the 1580s and he often held large social gatherings in his
castle. He kept a dwarf named Jepp (whom Tycho believed to be
clairvoyant) as a court jester who sat under the table during dinner.
Pierre Gassendi wrote that Tycho also had a tame elk (or moose) and that
his mentor, Landgrave Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel, asked whether there was
an animal faster than a deer. Tycho replied, writing that there was
none, but he could send his tame elk. When Wilhelm replied he would
accept one in exchange for a horse, Tycho replied with the sad news that
the elk had just died on a visit to entertain a nobleman at Landskrona.
Apparently during dinner the elk had drunk a lot of beer, fallen down
the stairs, and died.
Tycho Brahe (Wikipedia)