The Shower Maidens

Once there were seven sisters which are now well-known to farmers as the “Shower Maidens”. They lived peacefully together and made a living from herding their goats. One day seven noble knights were passing by into the direction of the Harmer1). The knights asked them for something to drink, which the sisters were happy to oblige, for they had their milk kegs in their hands.

From this time onward the sisters left their herds, became silent, searched for lonely places in the forest, and yearned for their knights. They no longer looked after their goats, and wolves ate one after another. The knights separated as well, and each sought out the maiden who had offered him a drink. Over time, each couple found each other - one at the Kressenbrunnen2), another at the Bärenriegel3), one more at a moss-covered cave, and so forth at different places. There they lived and loved each other. Soon, apple-cheeked boys smiled from their beds of moss and delighted in the shining armor of their fathers.

In this way they lived for several loveful years. The knights hid the women so that they could lead them to their castles after their fathers' deaths. Their fathers, however, wanted them to marry rich noblewomen, and when their sons refused to bend to their fathers' wills they strove to discover the cause for this.

There was a diviner in the region who was able to give them instructions on how they could capture the seven maidens. The grim lords mounted their horses and searched the forest. Once captured, they carried the maidens with their boys into an old ruin and imprisoned them there so that they would starve. Then they ambushed each of the knights when they were alone and wanted to bring food to their lovers and children. They were then chained to the walls of the ruin where the maidens were jailed with their children.

When drunken farmers accompanied by their wives (who carried cakes and mead in their baskets) returned from the local Kirchweih and passed near this terrible place, the knights pleaded for food for the starving women and children imprisoned within. But the farmers made crude jokes: “The mice are singing beautifully today!”, toasted to the health of the old lords before their eyes, and then moved on, plotting how to take possession of the home and property of the seven maidens.

Once the maidens and their boys had passed on, the old lords came and released the knights, as they assumed they had broken their wills. But in this they were mistaken, for the sons now attacked their fathers with their short swords. The fight went on for a long time until finally everyone had perished.

Then a great storm arose, and the angered heavens released hailstones as large as pigeon eggs so that all grain on the fields of the drunken, hard-hearted farmers was pounded into the ground and their goats and sheep perished. The stones of ice even struck through their roofs and killed their children in their cradles!

Since that time hail appears and destroys the harvest of the farmers because they are the descendants of the hard-hearted people who denied food to the starving. Furthermore, since that time the fathers will no longer live in peace with their sons. However, because of the sin of their forefathers Christian men will surrender themselves into their fate. For the seven maidens and their boys nourish themselves from the destroyed grain, but they are always hungry and will never be satiated. However, when a farmer who is cutting his grain leaves a small sheaf of grain behind, he will be spared from the showers. For this reason, the seven maidens are called the Shower Maidens. If a farmer can hear the knights fighting with their ringing weapons, he knows it as an ill omen for his harvest.

Source: Panzer, F. Bayerische Sagen und Bräuche. Beitrag zur deutschen Mythologie. Erster Band, 1848. p. 86.

Notes & Commentary: Ghost Stories: The Shower Maidens

The German phrase used here seems to imply that this might be a local mountain, but I haven't been able to identify it.
I was likewise unable to identify this location, but by implication it is either a well or (more likely) a spring of some kind.
This is the only location in the story I was able to identify - it's one of the summits of the Hohe Bogen mountain ridge in Bavaria. It is part of the municipality of Rimbach in the Upper Palatine.