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Countess, and her husband asked what sort of punishment a mother deserved who murdered eleven children.

She replied, that such a monster ought to be cast into a caldron of boiling oil.

"Thou hast pronounced thine own sentence !" returned the Count, opening a side door, whence emerged the eleven boys, and he then related the whole history to his guests. The Countess fell at his feet imploring for mercy, and as all the guests joined in her entreaties, the Count relented and pardoned his guilty wife.

The twelve boys, with the miller and his wife, are depicted on the town hall at Altdorf, and an oil painting within likewise commemorates the incident. Moreover the Count ordained that in perpetual memory of this event, his family and descendants should henceforth bear the name of Welf. The race flourished under this denomination, and became for a time one of the most powerful parties in Germany, under the leadership of Henry the Lion, Duke of Brunswick. We know from documentary evidence, that all the country above Augsburg was in their possession, as far back as the sixth century. The wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines are a household word in history, and the former faction has a peculiar interest for English people, as our own Royal Family can claim descent from this illustrious lineage.

A custom still exists at Memmingen in the Swabian Allgäu, called the "Kings' Festival," and it was formerly celebrated on a very grand scale.

Every year the three children at the head of the school, were dressed up with crowns, sceptres and nosegays, and were called Kings and Queens; they were accompanied by the three who had filled the same position the previous year, dressed in a similar manner, and likewise three others, called "Gesangführer" or "Songleaders." The expense of the costume was considerable, and the masters consequently found some difficulty in inducing the poorer inhabitants to incur it; so that those children who most merited their honours did not always bear them. Of late years the ceremony has been greatly simplified, and it now only consists in parents taking their children on the Thursday in Whitsun week to an inn outside the town, where the teachers prepare a treat for them on the grass.

This Festival is said to have originated at Kempten in the eighth century. Kempten, though now, like Memmingen, belonging to Bavaria, was in former times one of the old Swabian Free Towns, and as such

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of considerable importance; but when Swabia became merged in Würtemberg, several of these towns were given over to Bavaria. Karl the Great once paid a visit to his spouse at Schloss Hilarmont, near Kempten, where she was engaged in superintending the erection of the Monastery, the first stone of which had been laid by the Paladin Roland.

During the repast, after the Emperor's arrival, one of the three young Princes, a spirited boy named Pipin, turned to his mother and said: 'Tell me, dear mother, when the Herr Vater goes to heaven, shall I then be king?"

The other two Princes, Karl and Ludwig, did not approve of this suggestion and loudly protested, for each wanted to reign. At last Hildegard ended the dispute by commanding each of the brothers to fetch a cock from the peasants at Kempten. He whose cock was victorious in the fight should be the future Sovereign. Ludwig's cock gained the victory. As the Princes passed the school, the scholars were just coming out, and they therefore accompanied their young lords to the Castle to witness the sport. The amusement pleased the Princes and the schoolboys, so it was repeated in the following year, and all walked in solemn procession through the town.

When schools were afterwards established in the hamlets around Kempten, such as Memmingen, which then bore the name of Grünenfurth, the practice extended thither and was used to incite the school children to diligence, as the three best scholars were always selected for the posts of honour. By a strange coincidence the cocks proved true prophets, for Ludwig, surnamed the Pious, being the only son who survived the great Karl, was actually elected Emperor.

In the year 1024, Conrad II. sat on the throne of Germany. He was a stern ruler, and any subject who broke the peace was sure to forfeit his life. Leopold, a Swabian Count of Calw, committed this offence, and when the Emperor approached his Castle, he fled into the Black Forest, where he took refuge in an uninhabited mill not far from the Monastery of Hirschau. He was accompanied by his wife and a few faithful servants. It so happened that the Emperor was hunting in that neighbourhood and came close to the mill; the Count recognised him at once, and escaped into the forest. Meanwhile a son was born to the Countess, and the Emperor as he halted by the mill, heard a voice proclaiming thrice: "This child, O Emperor, shall be thy sonin-law, and heir!" Conrad was alarmed at this prediction, as he took

for granted that the child must be the offspring of a low-born peasant couple, and he pondered how he might escape such a relationship. Accordingly he despatched two armed men to the mill, having made them first swear that they would slay the new-born infant and bring him its heart in token that his orders had been obeyed. The servants tore the child from its mother and carried it into the woods, but there they relented from their cruel purpose, and merely placed it in the cleft of a tree that it might be safe from wild animals. Then they killed a hare and took its heart to the Emperor, who richly rewarded them for their supposed obedience.

Shortly afterwards the Duke of Swabia when following the chase, found the child and took it home to his wife. As she was childless, she consented to her husband's proposal that the beautiful infant should be declared to be their own son. They had him baptized by the name of Heinrich and everybody considered him to be the young Duke of Swabia. Fifteen years after this event, the Emperor visited the Duke at Ravensburg and being greatly struck by the boy's gallant appearance, he insisted on taking him away to his own Court, where the youth soon became an especial favourite.

All went on smoothly until some one whispered to the Emperor that the lad was not really the Duke of Swabia's son, but only a foundling adopted by him. Thereupon the Emperor bethought himself of the forest mill, and his mind misgave him lest Heinrich should be the identical child. Accordingly he despatched the young man to the Empress at Aachen, with a letter containing the following injunction, "As thou dost love thine own life, O Queen, cause the bearer of this letter to be put to death forthwith !"

Armed with this fatal missive, Heinrich unsuspectingly set forth on his journey. He spent the night at the house of a learned priest at Speier, and for safety's sake entrusted the pouch containing the letter to his host, before retiring to rest. The priest's curiosity being excited, he contrived to open the letter without breaking the seal, and was horrified on learning the danger which menaced the youth. He at once resolved to save him, and managed to alter the last words so cleverly, that the change was imperceptible. It now ran as follows: "As thou dost love thine own life, O Queen, cause the bearer of this letter to espouse thy daughter forthwith!" Then he closed it up, and took a friendly leave of his young guest next morning.

When the Empress received the letter, she immediately obeyed its

behest and the nuptials were duly celebrated. The Emperor soon heard the tale, and was at first greatly incensed; but when he found that Heinrich was the son of the noble Count and Countess of Calw, born in the mill at Hirschau, and when he recalled the mysterious prophecy he had heard on that spot, he exclaimed, "Now I see that no one can alter the course of GOD's Providence !"

He created his son-in-law Duke of Alemannia in 1038, and on his own decease in the following year, Heinrich became the German King.

The mill in which the Emperor Heinrich was born is still standing, and is said to be one of the oldest buildings in Hirschau. Its owner receives (ever since that time according to tradition,) an annual gift of twenty loads of wood from the State. Until seventy years ago, a beautiful old chapel, called the "Heinrich Capelle," stood on the spot where the servants had left the Count's child exposed.

The House of Würtemberg derives its name from the following legend. A poor burgher fell in love with the daughter of the Emperor of Austria, (!) and as the two young people saw no prospect of obtaining the Imperial consent to their union, they fled together into Swabia, where they bought a small piece of land, and established an inn. It stood at the foot of a mountain, and its possessor therefore went by the name of the "Wirt am Berg," or the "Landlord at the mountain." One day the Emperor was travelling to Frankfort, and stopped on his way at his daughter's house without recognising her. She knew him directly, and persuaded her husband to make themselves known to the Emperor, and to beg his forgiveness. Accordingly, taking their little son, they all fell at his feet, entreating his pardon, which he willingly granted, as he was overjoyed to find his daughter. Moreover the Emperor created his son-in-law a Duke, but in memory of this occurrence he was to keep his name of "Wirt am Berg," which subsequently became Wirtemberg, or in modern times Würtemberg.

Near Cannstatt, a suburb of Stuttgart, the account varies. The lover is a butcher, and his bride a daughter of Friedrich Barbarossa. He also kept an inn at the foot of the Rothenburg, on which stood the old ancestral castle of Würtemberg, and he called himself "Wirt am Berg." The Emperor alighted one day when passing, and his daughter prepared his favourite dish. Hardly had he tasted it, when he sprang up exclaiming, "Where is my daughter?" Then she came forward, Barbarossa forgave both her and her husband, and made the latter Count of Würtemberg.

At the beginning of the twelfth century, young Count Johannes of Würtemberg was living at the Court of Duke Friedrich of Swabia, with whom he was a great favourite. The Duke sent him to Stuttgart, where Rudolph, Markgraf of Baden, had a "Stutengarten," or Stud Farm, and gave him instructions to ask the hand of Marie, the Markgraf's only daughter, for his eldest son. Rudolph inquired of the Count why he did not demand her in marriage for himself; if he liked to woo her, he might have her, but otherwise she should marry the young Duke. The loyal Würtemberger replied that he had not come to Stuttgart on his own behalf, but on that of his lord's son. When Johannes returned home and reported the results of his mission, the Duke was much pleased with his upright conduct, and said: "As fortune thus favours thee, my beloved faithful friend, neither I nor my son will hinder thee." In this manner Johannes of Würtemberg received the daughter of the Markgraf of Baden in marriage, and Stuttgart as her dowry. They lived very happily together and had two sons, Ludwig and Emich.

We now come to the famous story of the faithful Wives of Weinsberg, without which no account of Swabian History would be complete.

In the year 1140, King Conrad III., of the noble Hohenstaufen race, besieged the strong fortress of Weinsberg, which belonged to Duke Welf of Bavaria. The Duke advanced to its relief, but was beaten back, and the garrison by a mutual agreement surrendered. Conrad with truly royal generosity gave the women full permission to take away with them as much treasure as they could carry on their backs. The goodwives thought more of the fealty owing to their husbands, than of their worldly property, and when the great city gates were thrown open, each woman issued forth, bearing her husband on her back. Duke Friedrich, the king's youthful nephew, objected to this interpretation of the treaty, but Conrad laughed at the women's cunning, and declared that a king's word could never be retracted. Ever since the Castle has been called by the peasantry, "Die Weibertreue," or, "the women's fidelity," in everlasting remembrance of their noble deed.

Very few traditions are connected with Hohenstaufen itself. The peasants say that in bygone ages, heathens and giants dwelt there, and the immense human bones found in making a new road, testify to the truth of this assertion. The two large caverns, called the "Heathens' Caves," are supposed to have been constructed by them. The lower

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