|“||A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.||„|
|~ Springfield motto|
Hans Sprungfeld (generally known as Jebediah Springfield) is a character in the animated series The Simpsons. He is the founder of the city of Springfield, and although widely regarded as a hero by its citizens, he was actually a vicious pirate, as revealed in the episode "Lisa the Iconoclast".
When the kids are assigned to do essays on Jebediah Springfield for the city's 200th anniversary, Lisa goes to the historical society to learn more about him. While checking out his possessions, Lisa tries to play his fife, accidentally discovering Springfield's secret confession, which exposes his true colors. It reads as follows:
"Know ye who read this there is more to my life than history records. Firstly, I did not tame the legendary buffalo, it was already tame, I merely shot it. Secondly, I have not always been known as Jebediah Springfield. Until 1796, I was Hans Sprungfeld, murderous pirate. And the half wits of this town will never learn the truth, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I write this confession so that my infamy will live on long after my body has succumbed to my infectious diphtheria."
He also tried to kill George Washington but was defeated. Lisa comments these facts with her parents, but only Homer believes her while Marge refuses to accept this. Next she explains that Sprungfeld got his tongue bit off in a fight with a turk and replaced it with a silver one. Lisa and Homer go on a mission to tell the citizens the truth, but instead of believing, the Springfieldians get upset at them. Both Simpsons are then taken to the local authorities and manage to convince them to dig up Sprungfeld's grave to find out, but once there they don't come upon any silver tongue.
Lisa seems to give up, but thanks to a dream she goes back to the historical society and finds the tongue, which Hollis Hurlbut (historian and head of the foundation) confesses having hid after opening the coffin. She also shows him that Sprungfeld's confession was actually written in a strip from the portrait of Washington that is kept at the society, which got stuck in Hans' boot as he was leaving after their fight. Hurlbut finally agrees to reveal the truth, so he goes and interrupts the parade so Lisa can speak to everyone, but she realizes that the myth of Jebediah Springfield has value since it brings out the best in the townspeople, and that they would lose hope and morale if the truth is to be revealed to the public. As such, she limits herself to saying that he was a great man, to which the crowd applauds, and the parade continues.
- Sprungfeld was known to be a former partner of Shelbyville Manhattan, who formed his own town Shelbyville (the rival city of Springfield) out of anger against Sprungfeld on the ground of forbidding marriages with cousins.