The Castle Hill at Wolfratshausen

There once stood a castle near Wolfratshausen inhabited by three maidens, but the castle has long since sunk into the ground. A treasure is hidden within it, and once a brave man was able to take as much with him as he was able to carry.

He first took the precaution of carrying an amulet dedicated to the Lord God and the Virgin Mary so that the Devil would not be able to harm him. Then he approached the site and came to a black dog with fiery eyes sitting in front of a cave, but the dog did not bar his passage. He entered a room and saw three maidens lying in three beds. One of the three maidens, with a white upper half and a black lower half, was awake while the other two slept.

As he admired the fine bed linen, the half black, half white maiden told him to touch it with his fingers, but a fire arose that burned his fingertips. He did not let that deter him from his goal, however, but walked towards two chests filled with money. On one of the chests there was a snake with a key in its mouth, which he was able to take without any problems.

He opened the chest, and the half black, half white woman told him not to take more than he was able to carry, which he heeded. He was able to get out of the cave without any problems, but he was greatly harassed on his subsequent way home. The Devil appeared to him in all sorts of forms and attempted to hinder him. At one point he was thirsty and the Devil offered him something to drink. However, he didn't take any - for all of it was just illusions conjured to distract him from his goal.

The three maidens themselves were once very rich women who wanted to divide their wealth between each other. Two of them were blind and were cheated by the evil, half black and half white maiden. The money was measured with a measuring cup. Whenever she distributed her own portion she filled the cup entirely. However, when she measured her sisters' portions she turned the cup upside down and covered only its bottom with money. She then let her sisters touch the bottom so that they could feel that the cup was full.

Because of this betrayal she is damned. The Devil whips her with sticks until her skin hangs in tatters. At midnight he throws her on her bed, where she heals immediately. This punishment will continue until all money is carried away.


Source: Panzer, F. Bayerische Sagen und Bräuche. Beitrag zur deutschen Mythologie. Erster Band, 1848. p. 36f.

Notes & Commentary: The Three Maidens Part 2 - Further Tales