Among his many accomplishments Frederick the Great also happened to introduce potatoes to Germany. He thought they were a great idea, and made a big production out of eating potatoes and smacking his lips enthusiastically at state dinners. Sometimes, when not fighting Austrians, he would visit towns and pass out potatoes. His endorsement worked, and potatoes became a staple crop in the nation.
So that’s why people put potatoes on top of his grave.
In addition to a militaristic bent, Frederick Wilhelm also aimed to inject a decent work ethic into Prussia. He used to wander around Berlin with a cane beating people he thought were acting lazy. He would deliver his rallying cry, “Prussia needs you– now!” along with a sharp whack to the head. Then lecture the aggrieved about how they ought to be knitting, or that young men should be marching or taking guns apart and putting them back together instead of sitting around playing cards.
On one occasion a peasant saw him and ran the opposite direction, so Frederick Wilhelm chased him down and asked why he had run away. When the man replied he was afraid of the king, Frederick Wilhelm shouted “You should love me!” and proceeded to beat him senseless with a cane.
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