“Black Ghost”

Hey, has anyone ever told you a legend about me, the ghost of Klaipėda Castle? No? Then come closer and listen, and I’ll tell you my cautionary tale. It will take you back to the time when the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Masters of the Teutonic Order were fighting for control of the city, and the city was ravaged by fires.

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Once upon a time, when a wooden castle was built on the South Rage of the Danė River, the city of Klaipėda began to emerge. The locals called this wooden castle Memelburg, after the German name for the Nemunas River, which is now known as Klaipėda Castle. It was the end of the 16th century when Hans von Heide, a soldier from Ditmarsch, was on guard at this castle; I saw it and decided to scare it away… I gathered all my earthly strength, raised the bridge over the castle moat, and built it up to the rampart. However, the bridge was not just any bridge – it was made of riveted iron and decorated with chains, which attracted people’s eyes and was soon nicknamed the Bridge of Chains by the locals. Standing by the bridge, I took a step towards the young man standing by the castle with my long black cloak billowing in the wind.

I said in a strong Saxon dialect: “What are you standing here for?” The soldier replied: “I am standing here by the will of God and my most gracious master.” I retorted: “God told you to say that,” and I listened: “Do you still have room to fill your belly there in your fold?” Hans replied: “Yes, thank God, we have enough to eat and drink.” Then I said: “But you will still be short of grain and firewood.” With these words I waved my cloak and jumped down – I disappeared in an instant, and I could still hear the defensive fortifications crumbling. The soldier remained standing in his place in amazement and stared fixedly at the one point where my silhouette had been a few seconds before;

Weeks went by, but Hans couldn’t get my long and frightening coat out of his head. As he did every night, Hans von Heide did his duty on guard duty at the castle. Suddenly, I came out of the water and said: “Honourable soldier, the last hour of your kingdom has dawned. Henceforth my prophecy will be fulfilled and the flock will be scarce….” Before I could utter the fatal curse, I felt that my voice had disappeared and my body was shackled.

This is how God punished me for spreading darkness in the world. I watched the city come to life, the port flourish, and the people of Klaipėda saw no more trouble – every day, the citizens of Klaipėda flocked to me, admiring the bridge I had created, where boats pass by in peace; And so I remained standing here until the end of time. I can assure you that I am not to be feared, but to be befriended. If you befriend me, I will become a harbinger of your success and prosperity. And maybe one day God will forgive me.