The Haunted House

Siebengebirge tales, The Haunted House
Dragon Jupp

In this new fairy tale from the Siebengebirge, Dragon Jupp of Nonnenstromberg faces a haunted house. Don’t worry, this haunted house does not really exist, we shouldn’t take dragon Jupp’s stories literally. This dragon with the classic Rhineland name lives in a cozy barn on Nonnenstromberg.

Dragon Jupp

Unfortunately, this barn is usually not visible. Jupp is a good beer brewer and also likes to drink his own beer, maybe that’s why he has his red nose. He loves to tell stories, and every so often you don’t know what’s true and where his imagination runs away with him. But one thing is certain: they all come from the heart.

A tale from the Middle Ages says that Saint Bernhard of Clairvaux once visited Himmerod abbey. Nightingales were singing all around the abbey, and that annoyed him greatly. He got so angry at the birds that they left Himmerod and found a new home in a beautiful valley in the Siebengebirge, the “Nightingale Valley”. Probably that went through dragon Jupp’s mind when he told the following story.

The hidden valley

One evening, when I came from a pleasant beer evening, I missed the turn to my house and suddenly found myself in surroundings that I did not know. I looked around and suddenly, it dawned on me. That had to be the hidden valley in which the haunted house was located. On the quiet people were talking about a princess locked up in a haunted house, but nobody knew anything for certain. Indeed … through the dark pines I saw a gloomy house. My heart was pounding, but then I thought: what if a poor creature is captured inside there?

A gloomy house

Carefully I approached the house. From close up, it looked even gloomier. The gate was locked, and it seemed as if no light had come through the dark window panes for many long years. I went around the gloomy castle and the more I saw of it, the more I felt uneasy. Probably to encourage myself, I began singing. Not beautifully, but loudly … suddenly I heard from within the lamenting song of a nightingale. That made me really angry. Had the poor animal been locked inside for such a long time? Had it never seen the sun, nor another animal nor another human being?

I took a deep breath and spit fire upon the gate. There was smoke, crashing and creaking, sparks flew around and then the gate broke apart. A bit later the fire burned out, and a couple of nightingales flew out into freedom, and after them, a beautiful girl came out. Coughing, and with tear-filled eyes, she run towards me and gave me a big hug. “Thanks to you, I’m finally free. Many years ago, I was singing in school, and that idiot of a principal got so mad at me that he yelled, ‘I wish you’d get lost and spent the rest of your life singing to the walls’, and suddenly, I found myself locked up in that house.”

Think before you speak

“The poor girl,” said one of the children who had been listening to Jupp’s story, “that was downright nasty. But be honest with us, Jupp, did this haunted castle and the girl really exist?” Jupp shook his head. “No,” he said, “‘not really. But it is true that some people just talk and talk and don’t even think of what mess that can make with their bad thoughts and words, and that makes me very sad. Yes, I do wish they would think before they talk!”

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