Showing posts with label Charlemagne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlemagne. Show all posts

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Fairy Tale of Charlemagne and Thassilo in Lorsch

A fairy tale by Ludwig Bechstein: Thassilo in LorschLudwig Bechstein: Deutsches Sagenbuch 56. Thassilo in Lorsch

Now it happened  that Charlemagne came into conflict with Thassilo, the Bavarian Duke, who was his close relative. Through incitement this Thassilo became adversarial causing Charlemagne to take terrible revenge and issue severe punishment. He had the Agilolfinger Duke blinded by forcing him to gaze into a shield made red hot by fire, until the light of his eyes went dark and then vanished entirely. His long hair was then cut before the throne and per the Kaiser’s edict, he was taken to live in a monastery as monk.  

There after many years, it happened that Charlemagne rode out toward Lauresheim, which is the monastery Lorsch. He had long forgotten Duke Thassilo and was compelled to spend the night in the cathedral and pray. So he was astounded that a monk, who was blind, came walking guided by a radiant messenger of God. The Kaiser recognized the old man’s movements but could not remember his name.  The monk was led from altar to altar, prayed and then retreated with his celestial guide.  

The next morning Charlemagne called the abbot of the monastery and asked him the name of the monk who was served by an angel. The abbot was amazed and did not know how to answer. Following the Kaiser’s command he waited with him the next evening to watch.  

And so it happened like the prior night: a blind monk came again led by an angel. The Kaiser and the abbot followed the monk and his guide back to his cell, but there only found the monk. The abbot knew the monk by his monastery name but otherwise nothing about him.  The abbot addressed him and told him to state what he had been in his former worldly life; he should not not conceal or hide anything because it was his master and Kaiser who stood before him. 

The blind monk fell to the Kaiser’s feet and spoke: “Oh, master! I have sinned against you and my penance has been long. I was called Thassilo before.”  The Kaiser now mercifully raised him to his feet and spoke: “Your atonement has been great and harder than I would have liked. Your transgression is forgiven.” The blind old man kissed Charlemagne’s hand, sank to the ground and died. His dust now rests in the Lorsch monastery. 


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Legend of Charlemagne and the Snake

Grimm’s Saga No. 459: Charlemagne and the Snake

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.

To read another tale about Charlemagne:


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Legend of Charlemagne and the Strong Bonds that Bind Us

June is the month of brides and rings and the ties that bind us.

Grimm’s Saga No. 458: A Legend of Charlemagne

The Ring in the Lake near Aachen

Petrarch, on his trip through Germany, heard a story told by priests in Aachen. The holy men purported it was true, for the story had been circulated by word of mouth for many years. In ancient times Charlemagne fell in love with a woman of lowly birth. The Kaiser’s love raged so violently for this woman, that he forgot all his worldly affairs and dropped all earthly pursuits. He even neglected his own body and appearance. His entire court was soon in disarray and many of his subjects became embarrassed by his passion, which showed no signs of diminishing. The beloved woman soon fell ill and died. The people now hoped that the Kaiser would abandon his love for the woman, but these hopes were all in vain. Instead he sat for hours with her corpse, kissed and caressed it and talked to it as if it were still alive. The dead body began to smell and decay but the Kaiser would not take leave from it. Finally Turpin, the archbishop, realized that some sort of magic must lie behind it all. When Charlemagne left the room the archbishop therefore carefully ran his hands over the corpse of the dead woman to see if he could not discover the source of the enchantment. Finally he found a ring in her mouth concealed under her tongue and he secretly removed it. When the Kaiser returned to the room he acted surprised, like someone who had just awakened from a deep sleep. He asked:

“Who carried this stinking corpse in here?” and in that very hour he ordered its burial. This was also carried out immediately. But instead of alleviating the problem the king’s strong affection was now re-directed to the archbishop, whom the Kaiser now followed incessantly. When this wise and pious man noticed the change, he recognized the power of the ring and feared it might fall into the wrong hands. That is why he threw it into the lake near the city. After that, the Kaiser loved the place so dearly, he could no longer find it in his heart to leave Aachen. He had a royal castle and cathedral built and spent the remainder of his days there. It was also in Aachen that he desired to be buried. He decreed that all royal successors would be anointed and inaugurated in that city.

To read a tale about Charlemagne and the Snake: