In Baden there is a forest named Stollenwald,
and in this forest, atop Stollenberg Mountain, are the ruins of an old castle. Stauffenberg Palace stands nearby. In this
palace there once lived a magistrate's son who took great pleasure in capturing birds. One day he went into the woods to trap
titmice. There he heard a beautiful voice descending from Stollenberg mountain. Following it, he saw the most lovely image
of a woman, which called out to him:
Redeem me, redeem me!
Just kiss me three times
"Who are you then?" called the youth, and the
Melusina is my name,
The daughter of heavenly
Early in the ninth hour,
Fearlessly kiss my mouth and my cheeks,
Then I shall be redeemed,
And be with you,
my beloved bridegroom!
Looking at the miraculous being more closely,
the youth saw that Melusina had a marvelously beautiful face, blue eyes, and blond hair. Her upper body too was wonderfully
proportioned, but not her hands and feet. Her hands had no fingers, resembling instead small open bags, and she had no feet
at all, but rather a snake's body. Nonetheless, the youth fearlessly gave the specter the first three kisses. She expressed
joy in this, like the maiden in the heathen's cave with her first kiss, and then she disappeared.
The next morning the lover returned and followed
the seductively sweet song that sounded toward him. Finding her, he saw that she now had wings. Her snake's body was speckled
green and ended with a dragon's tail. But Melusina's eyes and face emanated such beauty, and her mouth was so seductive, that
he was overcome by desire, and he again gave her three kisses. She quivered with lust and desire, flapping her wings about
That night the youth could scarcely close his
eyes. All his thoughts were with the glowing, sensuously beautiful figure. Before daybreak he went into the woods and followed
the sweet songful voice. But alas! Where was the lovely angel face? It was transformed and looked just like the maiden on
the toad-chair, for Melusina now had a toad's head, and the lover was supposed to kiss it as though nothing had happened.
But instead, he turned his heels and ran away as fast as he could. Behind him he heard a rushing sound and cries of anguish.
He never again went to Stollenberg Mountain. On
the contrary, he became engaged to a girl who, although not as magically beautiful as Melusina, nonetheless did not have a
toad's head and a snake's body.
The wedding feast at Stauffenberg Palace was ready,
and everyone was celebrating, when a small crack opened in the ceiling. A dew-like drop fell into the serving dish, but no
one saw it. And anyone who took a bite onto which the drop had fallen fell down dead. And from above a small snake's tail
emerged through the crack in the ceiling.
That was the end of the wedding celebration.
On another occasion Melusina appeared to a shepherd
girl. At length she led the girl into Stollenberg Mountain. Showing her underground treasures, she told the shepherd girl
that they would be hers if she could bring about her disenchantment. The girl was unable to keep this secret, and the priest
threatened her with church sanctions if she continued to commune with the specter. This silenced the shepherd girl, and the
disenchantment was not fulfilled.
A double fir tree growing from a single root still
stands near the place they call "the twelve stones." It is called "the Melusina tree."
In keeping with this Swabian legend, the name
Melusina refers not only to water sprites but to mountain and forest sprites as well.