The Lovers of Castle Rheinstein

This legend dates back to the 13th century, when Castle Rheinstein was called Castle Vogtsberg, a name that was dropped later. It tells the story of Gerda, the daughter of the local lord Sifrid. Sifrid had been a well-known knight in his youth, but had finally settled down to a more peaceful life, having married a foreign beauty on one of his many journeys. However, after his wife died during childbirth, Gerda became his great joy. She grew up to be a beautiful woman and many who had known her commented on the likeness to her mother. 

Castle Rheinstein
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Many local lords and knights proposed marriage but Gerda was not interested in any of them, for she had fallen in love with a knight called Kuno of the Castle Reichenstein. Whilst he also loved Gerda, he was from an impoverished family and had very little to offer her. In order to be in a better position Kuno left for war and returned with a beautiful white horse, which he had trained himself. When he handed the horse to Gerda, it bowed and offered its back to her and the two were soon the best of companions. 

Knowing that he still did not own the funds necessary to marry Gerda, Kuno approached his uncle Kurt of Castle Ehrenfels for a loan. His uncle was not unsympathetic to his nephews’ predicament and rode out to speak with Sifrid himself. Arriving at the castle, he saw Gerda though and immediately fell for her charms. Instead of offering to pay for Kuno’s and Gerda’s wedding, he proposed himself and considering the rich holdings, Sifrid had no choice but to accept, knowing that his daughter was sure to obey. Gerda was desperate and begged her father to break the engagement, but he was adamant. Gerda was to marry Kurt. 

On the morning of their wedding, Gerda rode out on her white horse. She had prayed all night for devine intervention but alas, none had arrived. When she was about to board the barge that was to take her to Castle Ehrenfels though, the horse turned and without her being able to gain back control started galloping away. Kurt and Sifrid followed, but were unable to keep up with the magnificent beast. It was clear that the horse was running towards Rheinstein, where Gerda could spot Kuno on the battlements. As soon as she had arrived, she jumped off the horse and fell into his arms. Without losing time, Kuno organised the defence, as he expected to be under attack any moment. However, only Sifrid arrived, knocking meekly on the gates. Kurt had fallen off his horse and had died and Sifrid had nearly suffered the same fate. He accepted now that love had won the day and Kuno and Gerda were married the very day and lived happy and long lives. 

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