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In the Swiss canton of Basel high above the village of Ettlingen there once stood mighty castle called Fuerstenstein. One of the most upright and decent men to ever live there was the Knight Hans von Rothberg. He was known throughout the land for his good and noble deeds.
One day the knight rode out to the city of Basel to visit friends. Before he left, he said a prayer and commended his wife and children to the protection of God.
Because it was a beautiful day, the lady of the castle left the peace and quietude of the fortress and took her little daughter for a walk around the deep walls. Wandering a bit with the child on the green meadow, the two had a good view of the mountains surrounding them and the valley below. When the mother found a bit of shade under tall trees, she sat down amongst some ferns, a bit tired and sleepy from the thousand different aromas emanating from the woods and fields. With tired eyes she gazed upon the zig-zagging flight of the butterflies. The humming of bees and chirping of crickets had a calming effect and the lady found herself nodding off from time to time. Her drowsy bliss was punctuated by the laughter of the girl when she came running with a basket full of alpine flowers to show her mother. In her search for the most beautiful flowers, the girl was drawn farther and farther away. Soon she was climbing into some brush that stood at the end of the precipice.
All at once the mother sat up abruptly. A terrible cry came from the direction of the brush. The lady rushed toward the sound and fell to her knees. Not a trace of her daughter was seen. She must have fallen through the brush and down the cliff. The mother, terrified, called her child’s name a hundred times. But it was all for naught, there was no reply.
She hurried as fast her feet could carry her to the path leading into the valley. Breathless and with her hair flowing wildly around her shoulders, she arrived below.
But abruptly she stopped dead in her tracks. There she saw her child, whom she believed had been smashed to bits from the fall. The girl ran toward her beaming and her little basket was full of strawberries. She called “Mother, Mother, here I am!” But the mother was speechless. With her heart beating wildly, she pressed the child to her breast. She looked up at the jagged rock and could not believe that her daughter had survived the horrible fall. She tried to regain her composure as the child told her what had happened. As the mother slept, she ventured out too far because she could not see through the brush and how precarious the spot was. All at once the ground vanished under her feet and she fell. Suddenly a beautiful woman appeared, took her in her arms and gently brought her to the valley below. Afterward they picked the strawberries that were now in her basket, which they would now bring to father.
Now the mother knew that it was the Virgin Mary who had saved her daughter. They went home and the grateful mother anxiously described what what had happened that afternoon. The father was so moved by this miracle that he had a chapel built at the site. Later they built the convent Maria Stein.
Read more fairy tales about the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Or about Saint Boniface/Wilfried: