The Legend of the Geiselstein

The Geiselstein is a strange rock formation on the Vogelsberg in the state of Hesse that was formed during the regions volcanic past. As with many such formations there is a famous story, this one suggesting that part of it looks like the face of a local Baron.

UuMUfQ, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A long time ago, there lived a Baron with his wife and 2 sons in a castle on the Vogelsberg. The two sons were known for their spirit and often went on local adventures, much to the despair of their parents, who were worried about them. It was spring and against their parents wishes, they had climbed the highest tower and watched the ravens in the sky. They knew that they could expect punishment for this behaviour as their father did not abide by them breaking the rules. However, it was today that their father would break his fast after a long time and there would be a large celebration. If they waited long enough, they would be able to not only escape this temper, but possibly even sneak out of the castle for more adventures. 

Luckily for them, they could see that horses were being saddled in the court and the Baron and his wife rode out to visit a neighbouring lord to feast and hunt. The two boys, Hugo and Albert, climbed down the tower, took a quick lunch and snuck out of the gate without anyone noticing they had gone. 

After a while, they noticed dark clouds on the horizon and Albert suggested they returned, but Hugo wanted to stay longer and even go tot he lake. Not wanting to be outdone, Albert followed and they arrived at the lake, where Hugo readied a boat. Albert was concerned as the dark clouds had come closer and thunder could be heard. ‘You will perish in this weather,’ the boy shouted to his brother. ‘Look at the lightning strikes. This is too dangerous!’. 

‘Isn’t it beautiful,’ Hugo replied. ‘I will go alone if you don’t have the nerve.’ But Albert did not want Hugo to go alone and despite his foreboding feeling, he boarded the boat and they cast off. 

After a few minutes the clouds covered the sky and the storm had arrived in earnest. The boat was tossed around the water and the boys had long but given up trying to use the oars. Hugo felt guilty now that he had convinced his brother to come with him. There was no rescue and no safe haven, so the young boys started to pray. Suddenly the weather cleared for a moment and they were illuminated in light. They looked up and saw the top of the hill where their father had returned and looked for them desperately. Then, the water swallowed the boat and the boys and neither was ever seen again. 

The castle and lake have long since disappeared, but it is said that the rocks still show the huge face of the baron looking for his sons. 


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