The Reclused of Nonnenstromberg

The Reclused of Nonnenstromberg
The Reclused of Nonnenstromberg

This legend takes place in the time of the crusades, around 1195. Like many other knights from the Rhineland, Buchenhard, the Lord of Ölberg, had taken the cross and left for Palestine with Emperor He was reported missing. In those days, Eichenhild was Lady of the Castle on the Ölberg. The Count, her husband Buchenhard, was missing. Eichenhild and her young son missed him terribly.

One day, a knight arrived on the Ölberg. He wore Buchenhard’s armor and looked like him, and so soon news spread that the Count of the Ölberg was back. He appeared somewhat strange, but that was blamed on the hardships he had endured in the war. Eichenhild, however sensed that the man who was with her was a stranger. Prudent she was, she did not let her suspicion show, she feared for the safety of her child and those loyal to her. Soon she found out that a plot was hatched: the stranger wanted to sell the castle as soon as possible, and run away with the money. There were enough potential buyers. But Eichenhild and her young son were in his way. In a moment when Eichenhild could not hide her rejection, he saw his chance: he openly accused her of being unfaithful, and he bribed some servants to testify that they had seen Eichenhild with another knight. That very night Eichenhild fled with her young son and his nanny on the Nonnenstromberg, to Jupp, the dragon. Jupp, usually a good-natured, easy going old dragon, was outraged by such meanness and immediately offered his help.

The next morning they made a plan. The boy and his nanny would stay with Jupp, they would be safe there. The dragon hurried as quickly as he could and fetched Eichenhild’s sister Eibenhild who lived on another castle. Then Eichenhild and he got to work. She knew a lot about plants, and he knew quite a bit about brewing .. they found herbs that loosen a person’s tongue, and ground and mixed them into a fine powder that you could hardly taste. In the next foggy night Eichenhild disguised herself as old woman, Eibenhild wore an elegant travelling garment, and off they went.

So it happened that on this very evening two strange women knocked on the door of the castle on the Ölberg – a noble young lady and her nanny who had lost their way in the fog. They were let in and introduced to the false Count. Impressed by the young woman’s beauty, he offered them accommodation right away, and secretly was looking forward to a night with her. But first he had a good dinner served. Musicians played and wine flew like water. When the false Count dedicated his entire attention to Eibenhild and nobody was watching the alleged old nanny, Eichenhild, quickly put the powder into his wine. He drank heavily, told stories and bragged .. Eibenhild made conversation with him, laughed at all his jokes and asked him to go on and on .. and in his rapture, the false Count drank more and more. When she was sure that the powder had taken effect, Eibenhild went for it. “Oh dear Count,” she sighed dreamingly, “I do envy your lady. She’s got you, and your magnificent castle ..” The false Count burst out in laughter. “Ha, that pretentious bitch rather sleeps on the floor now, if she is alive at all,” he sneered, “her own people liked my money more than they liked their lady!”

From one moment to the other silence fell. Eichenhild took off her disguise and went towards him, a determined look in her eyes. Horrified, the false Count shrank back and wanted to flee, but he was quickly surrounded by some loyals and brought into the dungeon. After a while he admitted what had happened: He had met the Count of the Ölberg in Palestine, and had seen that Buchenhard was wounded in a fight and taken prisoner. Quickly he had taken his weapons and had fled. “My husband will judge you and your ruthless companions,” Eichenhild decided, all Lady of the Castle.

But when she came to Jupp the next day to fetch her boy and the nanny, she was very depressed. “Oh dear Jupp,” she said, “what is going to happen with us now? Of course I will take care of the castle and raise my son, and Eibenhild will stay with me for a while, but how could I ever live without Buchenhard?” The dragon felt so sorry for her. “Don’t lose hope,” he said, “a man like Buchenhard does not die so easily, not if he has a wonderful wife like you and such a dear boy. It is right, the Saracens have re-conquered Jerusalem, but Sultan Saladin is a man of honor, and as it is said, he has set a lot of prisoners free. Your husband will come back, too, and until then, we will all be with you.”

Some months later again a knight arrived on the Ölberg. He did not wear an armor with his coat of arms on it, and he was very thin .. but there was no doubt, Buchenhard was back.

Free version of an old theme.

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