Archive | March 2015

The Two Brothers of Idar-Oberstein

courtesy wikipedia

courtesy wikipedia

It was in times of yore,

that this story did take fold,

High above the Rhine in

the town of Idar-Oberstein.

It is but said there lived two brothers

who never had a fight.

They lived within their castle ruin

both day and night.

Then one day the eldest brother

took for him a wife,

more beautiful than a flower was she

He would love her all his life.

But as fate would have it,

The two would soon be parted.

The husband would become a crusader

not to see his wife till much later.

So in his brother’s care

he did leave his wife

For he trusted his brother

and felt this would be right.

many years did go by and

the younger brother became a man

living with his brother’s wife

was too much for him to stand.

No word was sent to the castle

from the brother who had departed,

it was soon believed that he was dead

so his wife was taken to bed…

And through their union they did find

there love did grow just like a vine,

until one day when darkness struck,

the brother returned, life was amuck.

From his guilt the young brother did please,

for forgiveness for his misdeeds.

But his brother was not thrilled and thus,

the younger brother was killed.

Over the cliff he was thrown,

where he landed would forever be known.

For all the town could surely see,

how sorry the eldest brother had grown.

For where the body had laid,

a chapel was made.

Out of the side of the cliff it did perch,

and it was her that forgiveness the brother did search.

All in the town below did witness,

the sadness of their lives,

the love that had been lost

between two brothers and a wife.

            V. Smith  4/7/87

When I lived in West Germany as a teenager, I remembered how intrigued I was by this story and the castles…especially the church on the side of the cliff. In 1987…before the internet, I wrote this poem for a creative writing class. I just came across it and decided to look up the real story on the internet to see how close I was in my are the facts according to wikipedia:

The Legend of Idar-Oberstein

Felsenkirche (“Crag Church”), a legendary church and symbol of the town

According to legend, there were two noble brothers, Wyrich and Emich, who both fell in love with a beautiful girl named Bertha. The brothers lived at Castle Bosselstein, which stood atop a 135 m-high hill. Bertha was from a noble line that occupied the nearby Lichtenburg Castle.

Neither brother was aware of the other’s feelings for Bertha. When Wyrich, the elder brother, was away on some unknown business, Emich succeeded in securing Bertha’s affections and, subsequently, married her. When Emich announced the news to his brother, Wyrich’s temper got the better of him. In the heat of the moment, he hurled his brother out of a window of the castle and sent him to his death on the rocks below.

Wyrich was almost immediately filled with remorse. With the counsel of a local abbot, he began a long period of penance. At this time, Bertha disappears from the historical record. Many romantics feel that she died of a broken heart.

As Wyrich waited for a heavenly sign showing that he was forgiven, the abbot suggested that he build a church on the exact place where his brother died. Wyrich worked and prayed himself into exhaustion. However, the moment the church was completed, he received his sign: a miraculous spring opened up in the church.

Wyrich died soon after this. When the local bishop came to consecrate the new church, he found the noble lord dead on its steps. Wyrich was later placed in the same tomb with his brother.