The Monk on Helgoland Island

In the year 1530, our king sent a man to Helgoland who used to be a monk in order to preach the new teachings of Luther. But the people of Helgoland held fast to their old beliefs, mocked the devout man, and wanted to force him to become Catholic again. But, after he stubbornly refused to do so, they finally threw him down from the rocks. They did so at the spot where there used to be a cliff rising out of the waters until a few years ago. This cliff clearly looked like a monk and was thus named this way.

But, on the very first night after his sad end, the ghost of the admonisher showed himself on this cliff. There, he preached the new teachings with a thunderous voice in a manner that caused many people to turn away from the papacy. Soon after, all others followed, as the ghost could find no rest until everyone had been converted. His threatening voice was often heard later on as well, especially when an evil person on the island was about to commit a foul deed.

(Oral tale.)


Source: Müllenhoff, K. Sagen, Märchen und Lieder der Herzogthümer Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg. 1845, p. 125f.

Notes and commentary: Ghosts of the Reformation