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|Tegelstein on the Lake of Boden
Flowers for the Dead
The ruins of the castle of Ingelstein which raised its proud head near the lake of Boden, have long since disappeared. The legend however about its haughty mistress, Mechtildis, a member of the race who lived in this castle, is still related by the folks of the neighbourhood.
This great lady was an extremely beautiful woman, but so uncharitable of heart that the poor and needy kept away from her, never venturing to beg for her bounty. Heaven had presented her with one son and three daughters. Wonderful to relate the youth had a loving good nature, always having pity and compassion on those in want, whereas his three sisters had inherited their mother's haughtiness and coldness towards others.
One day a farmer's wife from the adjoining village appeared at the castle asking to see the great lady; she was dressed in mourning and seemed to be in great affliction.
"My only daughter died yesterday," said she weeping bitterly, "she was seventeen years of age and was the one joy and happiness of my life. I would so much like to make a wreath of white roses for her hair, for now she has become Heaven's bride. Noble lady, let me go into the garden of your castle where the flowers are so plentiful, and pluck some roses for her."
"You may weave a wreath of nettles for your daughter," was the answer, "roses are only fit for such as we, not for common people."
"Then may your roses adorn your daughters on their death-beds!" exclaimed the woman who had been so scornfully rejected, turning to go away.
Haughty mistress Mechtildis laughed disdainfully, abusing these beggars who came about the castle.
But the words of the farmer's wife were fulfilled. A year had hardly passed, when the three proud daughters of the castle fell ill and died. Each one wore a wreath of white roses from the garden as she lay in her coffin. Mistress Mechtildis' grief knew no bounds, and she murmured against her fate and against Heaven for having sent it. Her soul, however, had to do penance for her many sins. When death was threatening any female member of this family, the spirit of mistress Mechtildis was always seen at midnight sitting in the garden of the castle, weaving a wreath of white roses.Click to go to the next section of the Legends of the Rhine