Picture this: The year is 1567, you’ve been elected mayor of your picturesque hometown for the sixth consecutive time and you’re sporting the longest beard in the world. That’s just how great life was going for Hans Steininger. That is until his own epic beard killed him. Hans was adored by the residents of Braunau am Inn, a small Austrian town on the border with Germany. They loved him so much that they elected him the town’s Governor six times in a row. In the 1500s that was the equivalent of what we might call a mayor today. Hans was a six-time mayor! He happily padded through the village with his four-foot beard rolled up and tucked neatly into his pocket, greeting his constituents and enjoying this comfortable little life he’d built for himself. Regretfully, that life would be cut short, unlike his beard. On September 28th, 1567, a fire broke out in the town, and our hero kept to his feet to be of any help he could. He was the mayor and his city was at risk.
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Can you imagine growing into adulthood, only to have your father hand you a four-foot disembodied beard and declare, “this is yours now, son. Take good care of it!” No wonder someone eventually tired of the tradition and gave it to a museum! That’s definitely bucket list material for the travelling beardsman in Europe, right? Vatican, Eiffel Tower, Hans Steininger’s homicidal beard, Big Ben and so on. If you do end up finding yourself peeping a 400-year-old beard in Braunau am Inn one day, you can also see a relief carving of our man Hans on the side of St. Stephen’s Church. Sounds worth the trip to me. There is, of course, a moral to this killer beard tale, a lesson for all beardsmen to take from this, and that is to never skip a beard trim. In fact, don’t neglect any part of your beard’s care. You never know when it might turn on you!