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The seven maidens of Oberwesel

Long ago, seven sisters lived in Schönburg Castle. Their fame grew as bards sang in courts far and wide of their beauty and sweetness. At the same time, these bards did not forget to mention that the sisters were immensely rich and virtuous.
Many knights of noble family, and great wealth and courtesy, deeming themselves worthy to claim one of these sisters as their bride, therefore made their way to Schönburg Castle to capture the hearts of one of the sisters in storm, or win them by patient courtship.
This task, however, grew increasingly difficult as more and more rivals appeared on the scene. Soon the castle was filled with a lively hustle and bustle. Soon, tournaments were held with all manners of weapons; there were wrestling matches, and contests in singing, playing stringed instruments, minnesong and telling adventuresome stories. And often it seemed as though the heart of one of the sisters was beginning to favour one particular knight. But these preferences rarely lasted longer than a day or two. Sooner or later, each suitor had to admit that the confidential whisper, the secret squeeze of the hand during the dance, or the small piece of embroidery was not the token of love which he had imagined to be the sign of approaching victory. Thus many suitors left, angry and disappointed, to try their luck at a different castle. But the seven ladies retained their independence and their spotless reputation. Nor were they ever bored.
As time passed, however, people began to say that the seven sisters were only making fools of their many suitors. The suitors therefore decided to bring the time of waiting and hoping to a forceful end. They informed the damsels of their dreams that they intended to lay siege to the castle until the ladies’ pride was broken and they were each ready to choose a sweetheart.
At first, the beauties appeared to be worried by this message. But how could the seven sisters have resisted such imaginative wooing for so long, if they did not always keep one step ahead of their suitors? And thus they announced to the herald of the suitors that they were ready to end their game.
Ah! How the suitors groomed themselves, how they adorned themselves in their most gorgeous clothes, and showered the ladies-in-waiting and varlets with gifts to gain an advantage over their rivals!
But when the hour of decision came, the sisters announced that their fate was to be decided by the casting of lots. The lots were distributed, and by some strangely inexplicable cunning of the maidens from the Rhine, the lot fell to the ugliest and most despised of all the suitors. Immediately, the unity which had so recently dominated the atmosphere was broken irrevocably. Resentfully, the suitors awaited the following morning, when the chosen ones would claim their brides.
But it was not to be! The next morning, the pages threw open the winged doors to the great hall, allowing the successful suitors and their unhappy rivals to enter. But in the lavishly decorated hall, on seven thrones, and dressed in the clothes of the seven graces, sat - seven straw dolls.
And down in the valley, sailing away down the Rhine river in a boat, the seven prim maidens waved mischievously back at the castle.
Legend has it, however, that the maidens did not get very far. An unusually large wave capsized the boat just past the town of Oberwesel, where the Ross stone pokes up out of the water. And where the seven maidens sank beneath the surface of the water, seven rocks grew upwards. Today, when the water in the river is low, these rocks can still be seen, serving as a warning to all young women not to play with the hearts of earnest suitors for too long. And thus these stones are still popularly known as the “Seven maidens of Schönburg Castle”.