The Merry Month of May

The Merry Month of May
Favorite Fairy Tales of All Time

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Carefully aimed bolts of lightning determine fate and a ghostly woman in white haunts the castle.

Grimm's Saga No. 10 The Ghost of Boyne Castle

In olden times, three sisters lived together at Boyne Castle. One night the youngest dreamt it was God’s will that one of the three should be killed in a storm. In the morning, she told her sisters about the dream and when it was mid-day clouds filled the heavens, looming larger and blacker. By evening a mighty thunderstorm darkened the sky. Soon it was completely black. Thunder could be heard coming closer and closer. Lightning struck from all sides like fire and the oldest sister said: “I shall follow God’s will, for I am the one for whom death was foretold.” She carried a stool outside and sat there a day and a night waiting for lightning to strike her. But it didn’t. On the second day, the second sister went outside and said “I shall follow God’s will, for I am the one for whom death was foretold.” She sat all the second day and second night, but the lightning did not harm her either. But the weather also did not improve. Then the third sister spoke on the third day: “Now I see it is God’s will that I should be the one to die.” She called the priest, who administered the Blessed Sacrament, she wrote out her last will and testament and ordered that on the day of her death the entire community should be given a hearty meal with wine. After she had done all this, she went out reconciled. She sat down and after a few moments, lightning struck her down and she was dead.

Some time later, when the castle had been abandoned, she often appeared as a benevolent ghost. Once a poor shepherd had lost all of his possessions. The next day his very last possession was to be seized. This shepherd was grazing his animals by Boyne Castle. He saw in the bright sunshine a snow-white woman standing at the castle door. She had spread out a white cloth and in it lay clumps, which sparkled in the sunlight. The shepherd was amazed to find a maiden in such a lonely place. He walked toward her and said “Oh, what beautiful things are lying there!” He took a few in his hand, gazed at them and put them back on the cloth. She looked at him kindly but with sadness in her smile and said nothing. The shepherd became frightened and withdrew without looking back, driving his herd away with him. But a few of the clumps had fallen into his shoes when he stood there. On the way home, they pressed him so that he sat down, took off his shoes and wanted to shake them out . Five or six gold pieces fell into his hand. The shepherd hurried back to Boyne Castle, but the woman in white had vanished with all of the clumps. But with these gold pieces he was able to clear all of his debts and set up his household again.

Many treasures lie hidden in the castle. One man was lucky and found a compartment within the wall; he pulled it out and found it was full of gold. Once a widow had only one cow and goat and because bright nettles grew there, she went to cut some for her cattle. But when she had picked a bouquet, she slipped and fell down a deep crevasse. She screamed and called for help but there was no one in such a remote place. That evening, her children who were frightened came searching for her and they heard her voice. Lowering a rope, they pulled her up and she told them how she had fallen down below onto a metal screen but behind the screen she had seen a table loaded full of riches and silver.


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