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Long centuries ago in the country between the Rhine and the Meuse a horrible dragon is said to have lived.
This animal was the terror of the neighbourhood. Man and beast alike fell victim to its greed, and every living creature sought in great fear a sure hiding-place whenever the monster, yelling with the pangs of hunger, rushed over fields and meadows. Its terrible cry had some resemblance to the word "Gelee". Many a man had emigrated with his family and his belongings into safer districts.
At that time a noble, called Lord of Pont, lived in the Rhenish lowlands, who was renowned as a knight of invincible bravery.
Under the great emperor, Charlemagne, he had already in his early boyhood performed heroic deeds with his sword, and since then his weapon had never rested for long in its sheath. He called himself with pride the father of two sons, as brave and valiant as himself.
When Wichard and Lupold, (these were their names) were grown up, they made up their minds to rid the country of this terrible monster, The old knight, far from withholding his sons from such a daring enterprise, gave them his blessing, and the youths set out hopefully and with stout hearts to kill the dragon.
They were shown the place where the beast had its den by some peasants. A huge pear-tree was growing there, covered all over with mistletoe, behind which lay the hole wherein the monster dwelt.
The two knights had not long to wait, for from the depth of the den a howling cry like "Gelee, Gelee!" was heard, and soon the horrible beast crept forth on its small crooked legs which ended in long ugly feet with sharp claws. Its greenish body, covered with huge impenetrable scales, ended in a long tail like a serpent. As soon as it perceived the brothers, it darted furiously towards them.
The younger knight grew pale and stepped involuntarily backwards, but the elder cried out "Be of good cheer!" and murmuring to himself a short prayer, he took up his spear. At the very moment that the beast opened its enormous jaws to devour him, he thrust his weapon with such vigour into the gaping cavern, that its point came out at the other side of the dragon's head. The beast drew back, reeling and writhing in great pain. On seeing this the younger knight took courage again, and sent his spear deep into the animal's flanks. With a terrible cry it fell to the ground, and died after a desperate struggle.
Great joy was felt everywhere in the Rhenish lowlands over this glorious victory. The grateful inhabitants of the province chose the two valiant brothers as their lords in gratitude for what they had done.
Wichard and Lupold erected in the place where the dragon had been killed a large stronghold, which they named "Gelee," after the cry of the monster. By and by a town grew out of the small settlement round the castle. Its name was Geldern.
In the town-hall at Erkelenz the old chronicle of Geldern is still preserved. On its title-page you can see the picture of an ugly dragon, and out of its mouth proceed the written words, "Gelee, Gelee!"Click to go to the next section of the Legends of the Rhine