A new legend from the Middle Ages in the Siebengebirge. Thanks to a dragon lady, Christmas on the Drachenfels is a happy occasion in the midst of worries and hardships. It takes place in the time of the crusades. Many knights from the Rhineland taken the cross and followed Emperor Friedrich I. Barbarossa to Palestine. Some of them had not come back yet.
No maroons for Christmas
“Please, Milady, only one!” a bright voice begged. Brangwen, the Lady of the Drachenfels, looked up from her ledgers. There stood Harti, the youngest among her squires on the castle, looking at her with large eyes, “only one more sweet chestnut.” Brangwen forced herself to smile and said, “I’m sorry, but I already gave you the last one I had. But as soon as I am finished with the books, I’ll go into the supply cellar and search again thoroughly.”
A little merrier Harti left the room. Brangwen, however, was desperate. She didn’t have to search, she knew just as well that she would find any more sweet chestnuts. They had hardly supplies on the castle left, and to make things worse, the ledgers in front of her proved that they run out of money.
Crusaders and family at home
Yet, Christmas was right around the corner. Brangwen’s husband and many other knights were fighting in Palestine, leaving behind their families and friends. Brangwen cared for the people on the castle and in the surrounding villages. It was a severe winter and their situation had become even worse after a storm had taken roofs off, swept away huts and heavily damaged parts of the castle. Brangwen had the damages repaired as best she could, so that the people had at least a roof over their heads. But despite of all her efforts, only a few parts of the castle were secured and warm, and they had no more money.
The dragon lady
Suddenly, she didn’t bear being in her kemenate (ladies heated apartment on a castle) any longer. She ran outside into the forest, deeper and deeper, until she came to a small lake. There she sat down on a tree stump and cried bitterly. But then she looked up in surprise. It seemed as if lights in all shades of red were dancing on the surface of the lake. Brangwen stepped closer and observed the red lights dreamily. “Whatever it is that flickers there,” she sighed, “it is beautiful. I wish the fires in the castle and in all the houses around would flicker like that, and it would be cozy and warm everywhere.”
“Er, um” came suddenly from behind her. Brangwen looked around. There stood an elderly dragon lady who looked at her somewhat embarrassed. The red lights on the lake were the reflection of her fiery breath. “I beg your pardon,” she said, ” I didn’t mean to frighten you”. “But you didn’t”, Brangwen soothed her, “why should you frighten me? You look very friendly.” “Thank you, that is very nice of you,” the elderly dragon lady said, “but the last time I had contact with you humans, it was very, very different. They were afraid of me and thought that I ate humans, particularly young women like you. I would never do such a thing. I live from what I find in the forest. Most of all I like sweet chestnuts.” “Like Harti”, escaped from Brangwen’s lips.
And then she told the elderly dragon lady all her worries. How desperate things were on the castle and in the villages, how lonely it was, and that she did not know from what to arrange the celebration on Christmas Eve.
Brann’s Christmas miracle
“Maybe I can help,” said the elderly dragon lady, “if you want, I’ll come with you. I’ll quickly get some sweet chestnuts from my supplies, and then we can go. By the way, I am Brann.” Together they went back to the castle. “Let’s see what an elderly lady can still do,” said Brann, and spit a little fire here and there. And wherever her fire met the nature, miraculous things happened. Strawberries and other fruits grew from the snow, and on the trees hang delicious things. Brangwen cheered jubilantly and couldn’t believe what was happening.
The friendly way of the two even draw the usually shy elves out. They followed them and so a little later a cheerful bunch, loaded with good things, arrived on the castle. There, a joyful hustle and bustle began: repairing, sweeping, baking … and at night the elves, who are skillful craftsmen, still found time to conjure gifts from old things. Brann went from house to house and ensured that the fires very burning nicely everywhere.
So it happened that Christmas on the Drachenfels was a happy occasion. All had come to celebrate on the castle, also Brann and the elves. Late in the evening she wanted to say good-bye. “Please, stay with us,” Brangwen asked, “we all have grown found of you!” “I also enjoy being with you,” Brann answered, “thank you. But I’m an elderly lady, and iI need to must save my strength. And I have another gift for you. You know that we dragons guard the beginning and the end of the time, and therefore I can tell you that in spring your men will return. And then we’ll come together again and celebrate!”