copyright, Kellscraft Studio
(Return to Web Text-ures)                                             
Click Here to return to
Legends of the Rhine
Content Page

Click Here to return to
the previous section


The House of the Condemned

     For several centuries a most peculiar custom prevailed in Strassburg. When an evil-doer had been condemned to death, he was conducted from the prison some days before his execution, and was escorted to what was called the "House of the Condemned," where he was entertained in the most profuse manner. This house was a large old-fashioned building at the corner of two streets, one called Renngasse and the other St. Johannisstaden. Happy contented people once gazed out from the now grated windows, for this remarkable building once belonged to a well-known family of high rank.

     The master of this house enjoyed an important position in one of the Imperial Cities. For many years he lived happily with his beloved wife, even though a child had been denied them. But after some years their heart's desire was fulfilled, and a son was born to these parents, who received this blessing from the Almighty with thankful hearts. The boy however, as he grew up, developed into a wild unbridled youth.

     Misled by wicked companions he went from bad to worse, until at last the venerable old house of his father was one day filled with mourning and weeping; bailiffs came and led the wretched youth in chains to prison.

     During a fit of intoxication he had committed a murder, and was condemned by law to death, in vain the unhappy parents implored the judge and the magistrates to have mercy on their miserable son. All their entreaties were in vain, the magistrates remained firm. One favour however was granted them, which was, that their wretched son might pass his last days in his own home.

     Soon after the execution the disconsolate parents died of grief, and their house fell into the hands of the town.

     In memory of this fatal event every condemned person henceforth was sent to this house a few days before his execution, and there was lavishly treated, being allowed to eat and drink to his heart's content. From this building which has ever since been called the "House of the Condemned," the criminal was led to the place of execution.

Click Book Chapter Logoto go to the next section of the Legends of the Rhine