HRAD STRAKONICE : CASTLE GOSSIP

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386 21 Strakonice
tel.: 383 700 848
www.strakonice.eu 


GPS: 49°15'29.579"N, 13°54'4.320"E

 

 

Expozice muzea hradu uzavřeny 30. 6. 2018, provoz kapitulní síně a ambitu bude ukončen 31. 8. 2018 z důvodu rekonstrukce 2018-2021 v rámci 52. výzvy IROP.

 

Castle gossip

Legends and tales from ancient times tell stories of the walls, courtyards and the inhabitants of the castle in Strakonice. Now you are about to read some of them.


The Bread Dough Shoes

Once upon a time, a castle warden lived in Strakonice Castle with his conceited wife. The woman always wanted something new, something the other ladies did not have. One day, she went to the church in shoes made of wheat dough, from which wafers are made, and sat down in the family pew below the pulpit. When everyone knelt down, she kept sitting, which proved to be a fatal decision. A loud bang reverberated through the castle, the stone floor broke asunder and the vain women disappeared under the ground. People were frightened and ran away. When they returned, they saw a great black hole with an endless bottom. They began to fill it up but without much success. The grand prior therefore decided that someone must descend there and determine the cause. The only volunteer was a criminal imprisoned in the castle’s Rumpál tower. When they pulled him up into the light again, they managed to fill the hole and the criminal told them that he had seen a lady in white dress, sitting on a log, crying. Her torture is to come to an end when an unplanted rowan grows on the wall by the western gate – the entrance to the castle garden – and a carpenter makes a crib from it in which a little baby will rock.

Once upon a time, a castle warden lived in Strakonice Castle with his conceited wife. The woman always wanted something new, something the other ladies did not have. One day, she went to the church in shoes made of wheat dough, from which wafers are made, and sat down in the family pew below the pulpit. When everyone knelt down, she kept sitting, which proved to be a fatal decision. A loud bang reverberated through the castle, the stone floor broke asunder and the vain women disappeared under the ground. People were frightened and ran away. When they returned, they saw a great black hole with an endless bottom. They began to fill it up but without much success. The grand prior therefore decided that someone must descend there and determine the cause. The only volunteer was a criminal imprisoned in the castle’s Rumpál tower. When they pulled him up into the light again, they managed to fill the hole and the criminal told them that he had seen a lady in white dress, sitting on a log, crying. Her torture is to come to an end when an unplanted rowan grows on the wall by the western gate – the entrance to the castle garden – and a carpenter makes a crib from it in which a little baby will rock.



Honey Gruel

According to a legend, the White Lady, the daughter of Oldřich of Rožmberk, would appear in Strakonice as well as in many other mansions of the lords of Rožmberk. If she appeared smiling, it meant luck for the castle’s inhabitants, but if she was sad, someone of the Rožmberk family died. In her memory, gruel flavoured with honey was handed out to the poor at a stone table in the castle’s courtyard. Later, the owners of the castle – members of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem – altered this tradition a little. Once a year, the day before the feast of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (15th August), the poor were each given a pound of bread, a pint of beer and a kreuzer (a silver coin). In 1784, the order put 213 guldens into the city’s treasury to establish a land foundation – the site is still called Na Medové kaši (At the Honey Gruel). From that time until the First World War, the city used the interest yielded from this money to provide help for those most in need. The tradition of giving out honey gruel in the courtyard of Strakonice Castle definitely ended in 1788.

According to a legend, the White Lady, the daughter of Oldřich of Rožmberk, would appear in Strakonice as well as in many other mansions of the lords of Rožmberk. If she appeared smiling, it meant luck for the castle’s inhabitants, but if she was sad, someone of the Rožmberk family died. In her memory, gruel flavoured with honey was handed out to the poor at a stone table in the castle’s courtyard. Later, the owners of the castle – members of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem – altered this tradition a little. Once a year, the day before the feast of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (15August), the poor were each given a pound of bread, a pint of beer and a kreuzer (a silver coin). In 1784, the order put 213 guldens into the city’s treasury to establish a land foundation – the site is still called Na Medové kaši (At the Honey Gruel). From that time until the First World War, the city used the interest yielded from this money to provide help for those most in need. The tradition of giving out honey gruel in the courtyard of Strakonice Castle definitely ended in 1788.



Švanda the Bagpiper

A long time ago, a bagpiper lived near Strakonice, whose bagpipes made everyone dance, laugh and cheer as if it was charmed. Once, while he was returning home from a dance in the middle of the night, he sat down to rest. Suddenly, a strange man in black appeared in front of him and asked him if he could play to his friends in a pub. He took him into a room full of men dressed in black. Švanda began to press the bellows and a dance he has never seen before began. He had never got so many ducats in his cap. When the happy bagpiper thanked them, as was his custom, “The God will pay you off, dear lords”, the ground shivered, the lights went off and the petrified Švanda was all alone.

A long time ago, a bagpiper lived near Strakonice, whose bagpipes made everyone dance, laugh and cheer as if it was charmed. Once, while he was returning home from a dance in the middle of the night, he sat down to rest. Suddenly, a strange man in black appeared in front of him and asked him if he could play to his friends in a pub. He took him into a room full of men dressed in black. Švanda began to press the bellows and a dance he has never seen before began. He had never got so many ducats in his cap. When the happy bagpiper thanked them, as was his custom, “The God will pay you off, dear lords”, the ground shivered, the lights went off and the petrified Švanda was all alone.

In the morning, the people passing by heard the sound of his bagpipes. They approached nearer and saw Švanda sleeping under the gibbet. When he woke up, he realised he had played to devils and that he had fallen into the clutches of evil. After that, he couldn’t take pleasure in anything. Therefore, he went to the castle church of St Procopius and felt immediate relief the moment he hung his bagpipes behind the altar. The enchanted bagpipes disappeared, and every year, on the anniversary of the devils’ dance, they resound behind the altar.



Strakonice Bagpipes

The grand prior Jan of Rožmberk wanted to boast of something special to his guests, the visitors to Strakonice castle. Therefore, he ordered the largest bagpipes ever to be made, of an unheard-of size. Matěj Vácha, a shepherd from near Hubenov, used twenty goat skins for the bellows, then attached eight wooden pipes and three metal blowpipes to it. Four strong men were needed to move the instrument onto the carriage to bring it to the castle. There, eight men plied the bellows, allowing eight bagpipers to play.

The grand prior Jan of Rožmberk wanted to boast of something special to his guests, the visitors to Strakonice castle. Therefore, he ordered the largest bagpipes ever to be made, of an unheard-of size. Matěj Vácha, a shepherd from near Hubenov, used twenty goat skins for the bellows, then attached eight wooden pipes and three metal blowpipes to it. Four strong men were needed to move the instrument onto the carriage to bring it to the castle. There, eight men plied the bellows, allowing eight bagpipers to play.

The guests in the courtyard of Strakonice Castle were surprised and thrilled with the instrument and grand prior Jan was delighted. In order to satisfy the curiosity of the inhabitants of Strakonice, he ordered the bagpipes to be carried around the city and played at various places. People are reminded of this famous event by the melody: "The Strakonice bagpipes, heard at all places, around the big city, even in Stráž, tee-dee.” Soon, the rumour of the large bagpipes began to spread all over the country and raised admiration and envy as well as mockery. Thus, the nickname Dudákov (Bagpiper Town), of which the city of Strakonice was sometimes rather ashamed, yet in other times proud, was created in the time of the grand prior Jan of Rožmberk.



The Miracle at the Weir

On 22nd February 1718, Rosalie Hodánková, an eight-year-old girl and daughter of the Strakonice castle warden, fell into the weir of the five-wheel mill that used to be opposite the castle. Her rescuers found her under the ice after two-hour search; the girl was not showing any signs of life. After a moment, she regained consciousness and, completely fit, told them that after she fell into the water, John of Nepomuk appeared and told her that she would not drown. This supposedly happened in right front of her mother’s and other villagers’ eyes.



Sources:     
Po troskách české slávy, kolektiv, Praha 1913
Pověsti českých hradů a zámků, Josef Pavel, Praha 2004
Strakonicko v pověstech a bájích, František Pecen, Strakonice 1939
 

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