When King Charlemagne lived in Zurich in the house called Loch, he had a column erected with a bell on top. Attached to this bell was a rope, which anyone desiring justice on a certain matter could pull. Every day when the King sat for his noon meal, he made himself available to those seeking fairness and just treatment. One day it happened that the bell rang. The servants went outside but could not find anyone ringing the bell. When they returned inside, the bell rang again. Now the King commanded the servants to go out and find the source of the ringing. Following his command, they found an enormous snake wrapped around the rope, ringing the bell. The servants, who were deeply dismayed, reported the situation back to the King. He immediately got up from his meal and insisted on speaking justice for the creature, like he would for any human being. After the worm reverently bowed before the monarch, it led him to the banks of a body of water, where, on its nest and its eggs sat an enormous toad. Charlemagne examined the state of things and decided the dispute between the two animals by damning the toad to fire and conceding the snake was right. This judgment was spoken and executed. Several days later the snake returned to court, bowed, and turning toward the King’s table, raised the cover of the goblet standing there. It took from its mouth and placed a costly gem into this goblet, bowed again and went its way. At the place where the snake’s nest had stood, the King erected a church and named it Wasserkilch. But the gem he gave to his dear wife, whom he loved dearly. This stone had the secret power of attraction and the King was now irresistibly drawn to his wife. When he was not in her presence he felt only sadness and a deep longing for her. That is why at the hour of her death, the empress placed the stone under her tongue, knowing that if it came into the hands of another, the King would soon forget her. The empress was now buried with the stone but poor Charlemagne could not take leave from her corpse. He had her body disinterred and carried it around with him for eighteen years. In the meantime a courtier had heard about the hidden powers of the stone. He searched the corpse and finally found the gem lying under the empress’s tongue. He removed the stone and kept it hidden on his own person. Immediately the King’s love was transferred from his dead wife to the courtier, to whom he now was irresistibly drawn. In indignation the courtier threw the stone into a hot spring on a trip to Cologne. After that no one was able to recover it. The King’s fondness for the knight did indeed cease, but now he felt himself miraculously drawn to the place, where the stone lay concealed. Here he founded the city of Aachen, which became his favorite place of residence.
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