Castle Berge – The innocent Knight

Lord von Berge, as was demanded by custom, held court to settle disagreements and accusations. One of his knights, Engelbrecht von Boltenberg, had accused another, Gerlach von von Steinbach of murder. Von Steinbach was accused of ambushing the knight called Gerlach von Schwerven and killing him and his party. Outraged, von Steinback called him a liar and swore that he had defeated the other knight in a fair duel. However, one man after the other, all in the empty of Engelbrecht von Boltenburg, who had ambitions to enrich himself, joined the call and swore under oath that they had witnessed the foul deed. There was no choice, but to pronounce the unlucky knight guilty. 

Frank Vincentz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gerlach, in his fury, demanded to duel with Engelbrecht, who coldly replied that he would not do himself the dishonour of fighting a condemned man. On hearing this, Gerlach jumped on his horse  and proclaimed that if nobody was willing to believe him, he would put his trust in god. He drove his horse to the edge of the cliff and jumped. The other men rushed to the cliff edge and looked down, expecting that the knight and his horse had perished but the horse had managed to jump into the river many feet below and survived. As the knight and his horse emerged at the other side into the river far below.Gerlach von Steinbach proclaimed that god had saved him and cursed the assembled knights and lords: ‘What was once green shall rot. The castle will crumble and nothing will show that it ever stood tall. This is how you will know god’s judgement’. An indeed, to today, the locals avoid the area, knowing that nothing useful grows and the castle is long gone, with no even ruins showing this once proud stronghold. 

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