The Ghostly Light

1. A carter had the misfortune that a part of his wagon broke in the dark of night. He was unable to fix the damage even with the aid of the assistant who had accompanied him - namely, to restore the broken wheel, especially since his own lantern had also been lost. As it happened, he currently was at a spot of which he knew that it was supposedly haunted by a ghostly light. Then he spoke in his desperation: “Oh, I wished that the light that wanders around these parts came here and shone for me!”

As soon as he had said so, the light was next to him. Now he put the broken wagon back into its proper order with the aid of his assistant, tied the wheel together as well as he was able, and repaired everything else that needed fixing. All the while, the light faithfully gave him light. Then, it accompanied him along the most difficult parts of the route. Once he no longer needed it, he spoke to it: “I have pleaded that you might come and shine for me, and you fulfilled my wish. Now, by the grace of God, go to the place of rest where you belong!”

Thereafter, he heard a voice which was jubilant in joy, thanked him profusely, and spoke that he had granted it salvation with these words. It had waited for this in vain for two thousand years, for however often it had sought to approach people in confidence, they had always shyly fled from it. And none had spoken the words that would have saved it until he had done so.

2. A baker in Gelliehausen had ground flour in Benniehausen. When he traveled back late in the evening, he saw a light in front of him on the path. He would have liked to walk besides the light, and thus called out to the light that they should wait. At the same time, he walked faster, but couldn’t catch up to them. By continuing to follow them in this way, he eventually became so tired that he laid down next to a haystack. He remained lying there until the next morning, and saw that he was just in front of Gelliehausen.

3. A man from Sebexen had gone to a neighboring village, and was going back home in the hours of darkness. When he reached the so-called Küler (a wood belonging to Sebexen), he saw a light moving around in the shrubbery. He thought that his wife had come with a lamp to meet him halfway, and called out: “Come here, and light the way for me!” Suddenly, the thing jumped on his back, and, with force, steered him away from the right path to the depression of the Helgenholtgrund. When he finally got close to the village to the so-called “Krüzhôligen Weg” (a depressed road where two paths crossed), it left him. Now he tried to grab it, but his hands only closed on moss. He kept this moss as a keepsake for a long time.

4. A fisher from Wulften had frequently fished in the territories of Lindau and Hattorf. For this reason, he must now haunt the region. He appears at the boundary of the Rothenberg forest, walks towards the village green, and then moves up alongside the Oder until he reaches the village boundary. He carries a lantern in his hand, and wears a red frock. This frock has only one coattail, as the other one was once ripped off by a fisher from Lindau when he had fished on that man’s territory. People thus call the ghost “Einschooß”, and he is also given the mocking nickname “Fränzchen”.

When he stood in front of his home, the field warden from Wulften once saw the ghost moving downriver along the Oder in the form of a light. He shouted “Fränzchen!” in order to mock him. Soon, the ghost got in front of his door, whereupon the field warden quickly fled inside his chamber. The ghost was unable to follow him there, but he was aware that the apparition moved in front of the window and noticed how his light illuminated the whole room.

Soon after, the field warden accompanied a traveler to Bilshausen, and returned home at night between eleven and twelve o’clock. Then, suddenly, Einschooß approached him and threw him into a swamp in order to avenge himself. The warden only escaped from him with great difficulty.

Source: Schambach, G. and Müller, W. Niedersächsische Sagen und Märchen. 1855, p. 213f.

Notes & Commentary: Lighting the Way to Paradise