Tales and Legends of the Tyrol | Annotated Tale

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Fräulein von Maretsch, The

AT MIDNIGHT there is often to be seen in the old castle of Maretsch the spirit of a young lady, who wanders about, crying and wringing her hands, as though in the most terrible grief. Her long soft hair is blown wildly about by the wind, her beautiful face is deadly pale, and her eyes are fixed and staring. This is Fräulein von Maretsch, the only daughter of the Baron von Maretsch, and once noted as the most beautiful girl of the whole country.

               Although scarcely sixteen years of age, she was passionately enamoured of the young and brave Baron von Treuenstein, who under Frederick the Red Beard, together with all the Tyrolian nobility, took part in his crusade, for the purpose of gaining the glory of knighthood in fighting against the infidels, which, according to the promise of the old Baron von Maretsch, should entitle him to his beautiful daughter for a wife.

               Two years had already gone by since the hopeful young warrior had left the country, after having received the blessing of the old Baron, when one day a pilgrim from Palestine craved admission to the castle, and recounted the bloody battles of the Crusaders against the Saracens. In the course of his narrative he came to speak of the young Baron von Treuenstein, and said that he had conquered large districts, and at last had married the daughter of a rich Pacha, and thus made himself happy for ever.

               On hearing this, Kunigunde turned deadly pale, and sank swooning to the ground; her attendants carried her senseless to her room, for the news of this dreadful infidelity had broken her heart.

               Directly the young lady had left the room, the pilgrim sprang joyfully up, pressed the old Baron to his heart, threw away his pilgrim’s garb, and in bright armour appeared before him as the Baron von Treuenstein, who had masked himself in this manner to prove the fidelity of his bride. “Let us now quickly go to my dear Kunigunde,” said he to the father, “to dispel the grief and pain which I have caused her;” and with high beating hearts they crossed the corridor which led into the young lady’s room.

               But the room was empty, and the window open; and as they looked down into the ditch which surrounded the castle, they saw the unfortunate girl lying smashed and blood-covered in the depth below. The untimely grief had caused her to lose her senses, and in this condition she sprang into the arms of death.

               At that sight the young Baron became speechless. He rushed away to the battle-field, and nobody ever heard of him again, while the poor old father died soon afterwards of grief; and since that time the spirit of the unhappy girl is condemned to wander about in the ruins of the ancient castle of Maretsch.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Fräulein von Maretsch, The
Tale Author/Editor: Günther, Comtesse Marie A. von
Book Title: Tales and Legends of the Tyrol
Book Author/Editor: Günther, Comtesse Marie A. von
Publisher: Chapman and Hall
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1874
Country of Origin: Austria
Classification: unclassified

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