Ages ago there lived in Tannenberg Castle on the mountain road a knight whose name was Conrad. He had a wife named Ann-Els who was as beautiful as she was pious. One time she became seriously ill, and he vowed that if she should recover he would make a pilgrimage to the Holy Grave and there battle against the infidels. And lo, Ann-Els recovered soon thereafter, and when her health had fully returned, the knight made himself ready to depart on a pilgrimage. With many tears he took leave of his wife and journeyed to the sea, where together with companions he had met underway he boarded a ship.
At sea the ship was attacked by pirates. He and his companions were taken prisoner and sold as slaves to an eminent Turk.
Year upon year passed, and his wife received no news from him. Because she was wealthy, she received many marriage proposals from neighboring knights, but she was interested in none of them and rejected them all, which caused a great deal of hate and animosity toward her.
Then one day she heard from another pilgrim who was returning home from the promised land that her husband was languishing as a prisoner among the Turks, and she resolved to rescue him, cost it what it may. Dressing herself in men's clothes, she took her harp, which she could play very well, and journeyed across the sea to Turkey. Arriving there safely, she sought and inquired after her husband until finally she discovered where he was. Then one day she approached the Turk who was his master and played such beautiful melodies on her harp, and sang with such charm, that the Turk said she should name her own reward, that he would give her anything she requested.
Then she said, "I ask only for a slave to serve me," and from among the slaves she selected one -- her dear husband. However, she did not identify herself to him, but kept him away from her. After the sea voyage was successfully completed and they found themselves again on Christian soil, she left a sum of money for him, then secretly slipped away and hurried home as fast as possible.
Not long afterward Conrad too arrived at Tannenberg Castle and was joyfully and festively received by his wife. All the knights from the surrounding area came to the castle to wish him well. While they were eating Knight Conrad told them of his adventures, how he had been captured, mistreated, and so miraculously rescued.
Then several of the knights whose marriage proposals Ann-Els had rejected whispered into his ear that in the meantime his wife had been traveling about the land dressed in men's clothes and leading an indecent life.
Upon hearing this Conrad jumped up angrily, drew his sword, and attempted to kill Ann-Els, but she fled into her room and barred the door so that he could not harm her. Not long afterward she returned to the hall carrying her harp and wearing the clothes in which she had freed Conrad, and she played a melody. Then Knight Conrad jumped up and fell into the singer's arms. She threw off the clothes and stood there as the faithful Ann-Els.
It is not necessary to say how happy Conrad was, nor that the gossipers disappeared as soon as they possibly could, not letting themselves be seen again, and that the festival ended even more joyfully than it had begun.
- Source: J. W. Wolf, "Conrad von Tannenberg," Hessische Sagen
(Göttingen: Dieterichsche Buchhandlung; Leipzig: Fr. Chr. Wilh.
Vogel, 1853), no. 238, pp. 147-149.
- Translated by D. L. Ashliman.
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