The Cart Drivers Witness a Mirage

Once, several cart drivers drove their carts filled with wine along the royal highway from Gotha to Frankfurt that leads past the base of the Hörselberg mountain. Dusk had broken just before they had reached the village of Schönau (where they usually rested for the night) when they beheld a strange apparition. For at a spot where there had never been an opening before, the mountain opened up. Curious, they stepped closer to see what was burning inside, as a fiery blaze seemed to be shining as brightly as that of an iron foundry. But they were frightened greatly when they now beheld a multitude of both living and dead people in a sea of flames. Some of these people were familiar to them, and these included many of the rich wine traders who had frequently given them cargo. They were now punished with fire for mixing wine with water, or even sweetened the wine with poisons. The cart drivers were overcome with dread, and one of them screamed at the top of his lungs: “Oh, may God deliver us!” Then everything disappeared at once, and the cart drivers made the sign of the cross and blessed themselves, and drove their horses to hurry so that they would get away from this uncanny location as quickly as possible.


Source: Bechstein, L. Der Sagenschatz und die Sagenkreise des Thüringerlandes. Erster Theil. 1836, p. 149f.