In the circle of print lovers and collectors, the present work was long known as Eulenspiegel ('Owl-glass') after the protagonist of a popular folk-tale. The name of this notorious trickster was proverbial from the 16th century onwards, and used to denote someone with a wily nature. The term 'to play Eulenspiegel's flute' meant to talk rubbish or to take someone for a ride. The owl on the shepherd's shoulder makes reference to this, and acts as a symbol of the night. Ostensibly he is playing the flute (in itself a fairly unambiguous allusion), but in reality he is absorbed in less high-minded pursuits. The herd of sheep and goats to the right take advantage of his distraction and fight to get at the water.