Seeing the local archery club practising made me wonder just what made William Tell shoot an arrow off his son's head. Thank goodness for Google.
I wasn't even sure if William Tell were a real person or a Robin Hood figure so I consulted the History of Switzerland. The very first sentence on the page assures me that Mr Tell is the Swiss National Hero of Liberty. With such a grand title he must be real.
Then the second sentence throws doubt on his ever having existed at all.
There are monuments to him; he is on the back of coins; a poem relates his daring deeds and there's even an opera. (Although I can't sing along to the overture without lapsing into the Lone Ranger theme.) Not to mention the television series I watched avidly as a child. How can he not exist?
Anyway, back to the apple shooting. He refused to bow down to a hat on a stick so he was made to shoot the apple off his son's head. Then because he'd prepared an extra arrow with which to shoot the figure of authority if anything happened to his son he was arrested and taken in a boat across a lake - where there was the inevitable storm and almost shipwreck from which only Tell escaped.