Mostly musicology will be a new set of posts of music history stories that I find amusing. The first entry is John Abell (1653-?). Scottish composer, countertenor and lutenist. The Groves dictionary has this wonderful story.
“Upon his arrival at Warsaw, the king having notice of it, sent for him to his court. Abell made some slight excuse to evade going, but upon being told that he had everything to fear from the king’s resentment, he made an apology, and received a command to attend the king next day. Upon his arrival at the palace, he was seated in a chair in the middle of a spacious hall, and immediately drawn up to a great height; presently the king with his attendants appeared in a gallery opposite to him, and at the same instant a number of wild bears were turned in; the king bade him then choose whether he would sing or be let down among the bears; Abell chose the former, and declared afterwards that he never sang so well in his life”
Sing for your supper. Sing or be supper.