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The Devil at Castle Hugstein
The ruins of Castle Hugstein are situated at a short distance from the little town of Gebweiler ill Alsace. The last owners of this stronghold were two brothers who were both terrible robber-knights. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood lived in great fear of these men who were supposed to have given themselves up, body and soul, to the Evil Spirit. It was said that once at a great banquet these two robber-knights had taken this solemn vow, and since then the Devil had rewarded all their doings near and far with great success.
But the Evil-One had not lost sight of his own interests during this time, and was looking forward to the moment when this pair would be his own.
Disguised as a merchant, the Devil one day came to the valley near the castle with a small waggon laden with costly goods. The two noble brothers perceived the innocent traveller from their stronghold, attacked him, seizing his horse and merchandise, and at last threw the disguised demon himself into a dungeon. The Evil One was greatly pleased with the success of his plans, only in the evening when a servant brought him some bread and a pitcher of water, he was not content with such frugal fare.
He ordered the servant to inform his noble masters that such short commons rendered him very melancholy, and that the loneliness of his prison was not gratifying to him, as he had always been accustomed to spend his time in lively society. Therefore he wished to know if these noble gentlemen would kindly allow him to visit them after supper.
The two knights, who were just enjoying the luxuries of a well-spread table, laughed heartily at the peculiar request of their prisoner. Being at the moment in a very good humour, the knights felt inclined to grant this strange request, and ordered the prisoner to be brought in. The Devil proved himself a most entertaining guest, and amused his hosts with wonderful juggling tricks.
When midnight rang out from the clock on the tower, the juggler proposed to perform a trick which would crown all that he had already displayed. The two intoxicated knights were looking on from their high stools.
The Devil thrust his hand into his vest, and pulled out a little bottle which he placed on the table. He then murmured some words, and the next moment the table cracked and broke into a thousand pieces, the ceiling collapsed, and the walls tottered.
Uttering a loud scornful laugh, the Evil One seized the two wicked robber-knights and fled with them through the air. The next day Castle Hugstein lay in ruins.Click to go to the next section of the Legends of the Rhine