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Fables about the castle

For a long time the Roman and Czech crown jewels were kept in the Great tower of Karlstejn. If anyone wished to enter the Chapel of St Cross he would have to obtain an approval from the provincial assembly. In the chapel the jewels were guarded day and night by The Whole Army of Heaven. No wonder that simple people saw Karlstejn as the “thirteenth chamber” and created a lot of myths and rumors.

A feminist misunderstanding on Karlstejn

Once upon a time no woman could enter Karlstejn. This myth goes even into present times and still some people believe so. They have a comedy play on their side. In “Night over Karlstejn” (Noc na Karštejně) by Jaroslav Vrchlický no woman could really enter the castle. However it is not historically correct. Women had the same right as men to enter this castle as well as any other. This confusion was made by Václav Hájek z Libočan. In his chronicle a castle named Karlík is mentioned. It used to stand not far from Karlstejn and serve as dormitory for women who visited their men on Karlstejn during the daytime. The truth may be found if we look at the founding scroll of the canonry. The document reads: “With this scroll we forever prohibit ourselves to sleep or lay with a woman in any tower of Karstejn which would be dedicated to hold a foreseen chapel”. Women roomed freely around the castle. The only place prohibited to them was one floor of the Great tower. This floor was the seat of the defenders of the precious treasure.

The Czech hant (Evil wife of burgrave)

NThe most horrifying of all stories is actually based on a real event. In the sixteenth century Kateřina Bechyňová, a wife of a burgrave lived in the castle. She murdered fourteen people in a truly terrifying way. The sadistic lady tortured mostly young maidservants. Varlets and animals did not escape her anger either. A servant who did not fully fulfill her wishes was thrown into a dungeon without a rope. A cat who torn her laces was hid alive. The first to inform the chamber court in Prague was Vaclav Hájek z Libočan who was those days a dean of Karlstejn. The Czech hant was sentenced to torment to death by hunger. In consequence her husband had the Chronicler expelled. “Hájek was tied under a horse as some villain when they brought him from Karlstejn to Prague” so stated a knight of Čáslav – Václav Halaš. Two days after the decease of Kateřina suddenly died the presiding judge of the chamber court. It may have been the last victim of the evil wife of burgave. The myth continues that the murdered maids ghost in the castle up until present days as hants – Ladies in White.

The blind musician

One of the most popular myths of Karlstejn is the one about a blind musician. The story says that he was followed everywhere by his loyal dog and that he used to play his lute in the castle. Those days a baron of Brunswick with his treacherous servant was visiting Karlstejn. The servant tried to poison his master on a banquet. He passed the poisoned goblet to the noble, who offered it to the musician. The Baron very innocently thanked with the drink for the lovely musical performance. When the simple musician raised the goblet to his lips, a dog jumped onto his lap and swallowed all vine. Understandably in a couple of moments the dog passed away. The blind men stroke his dog for the last time and said: “Noble Lord, the wine was poisoned and it should have brought death to you”. What punishment was given to the treacherous servant was never revealed to the musician. He met his fate a few days later, because of the grief for his dog.

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