Ten years after Weber composed the highly successful 'Abu Hassan', he found a libretto he felt he could use effectively. He had always been attracted to the common Central European tale of the 'free-shooter.' It concerns the man who makes a pact with the devil in order to obtain magic bullets or arrows that will always find their target. No one is safe from them, not even the evil one from whom they came. The free-shooter is a damned soul, avoided by his fellows, unhappy, and his end is always violent. This is the Schirmer edition of the Libretto, in the original German with an English translation by George and Phyllis Mead.