Monday, May 17, 2010

Visiting Rosemary's Castle

Well, with Rudi & Renate, we did three local castles and a cloister yesterday, all within easy driving distance of Berlin, and were rewarded with the first day of brilliant sunshine in more than a week.
One of the castles has a fantastic restaurant in the courtyard, and there, in Burg Rabenstein, we enjoyed a superb lunch (and could play a natural wood xylophone on the way back down).
So you may all know what sort of place this was, here, in a quickly rendered translation of the text on the back of the postcard-sized admission ticket to climb to the top of the castle tower, is the legend of the castle.

The Legend of Rosemary
A knightly couple that once dwelled in the Castle "Rabenstein" had a daughter named Rosemary. One evening, on Saint John the Baptist's Day, she was sitting at her window looking towards the village of Raben and noticed how much fun the village youth were having playing games and dancing. The desire to take part in this joyful activity grew ever stronger in her breast. Rosemary put on simple clothes and sneaked off to the village and mixed in with the common people. She didn't notice how time passed. Suddenly, the clock struck midnight and the horns sounded from the tower of the castle. That meant that Rabenstein's gates were being closed. The maiden was shaken by fright and rushed back to the castle. But she came too late. Only after much pounding on the door was she let in by the tower guard, who of course reported the incident to the Knight. Rosemary's parents ordered her to appear in the chapel before them and all her ancestors. There, she was accused of serious misconduct and her punishment was pronounced. Rosemary was banned to the tower, invisible for everyone, and had to make twelve shirts from the linen given to her. Upon completion of the shirts, her misconduct would be atoned and she would be free again. However, she was only allowed to sew one stitch every fifty years, unless a bold young man managed to climb up the outside wall of the thirty-meter high tower without any aids whatsoever and unite with her.
Rosemary has now been sitting in the tower for hundreds of years, as young and beautiful as ever, though invisible, and wanders through the castle at midnight.
Once a year, in the night of St. John the Baptist's Day, Rosemary's ancestors arise and gather with her in the chapel to reproach her again and again for her misconduct.

We neither saw her nor tried to free her, but the steak béarnaise in her restaurant was delicious, the xylophone was fun, and the pictures below will show you how much fun you can have on a sunny May day visiting castles just west of Berlin.

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