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Keller's Statue

     A young land-owner from Keller belonging to the retinue of the Margrave Christopher, inhabited the old castle of his forefathers. He was captivated by the beauty of a noble lady whose father, as high-steward to the Margrave, lived in Kuppenheim, which at that time  –  about the .end of the fifteenth century  –  was still a town with ramparts and towers. An easy road of which no trace is now visible, led from the old castle at Baden to Kuppenheim. The enamoured young nobleman, under pretence of following the chase, might have been seen every day wandering along this path.

     One clear moonlight night he happened to be on this road when he heard the watch at the castle announce midnight. Suddenly there appeared to the nobleman a veiled maiden's figure sitting by the roadside. The young man hoping for an adventure walked boldly towards this apparition; but the nearer he came the more undecided became the outlines of this figure, and as he was about to stretch out his hand towards her, she disappeared in the glittering moonlight. The young noble shrugging his shoulders continued his way.

     The next night, having purposely chosen the same hour, he again took: the path through the forest.

     Again the veiled figure was sitting by the wayside, but this time the veil was thrown back, and a woman supporting her head on her hand, her hair flowing about her, gazed silently at the late wanderer. Greatly startled he first paused, and then walking towards her greeted her with chivalrous courtesy, but the apparition again vanished in a mist. The next day the young landowner from Keller disclosed his secret to the old steward, from whom he learned that on the spot where this apparition had appeared, a heathen temple had stood years ago; the place was of ill-repute among the people, and no one dared to pass that way at night.

     The old man's words only roused the nobleman's curiosity, and he caused the spot to be dug up. A Roman altar was found which, according to its inscription, was dedicated to the nymph of that grove, and some steps further a mutilated marble statue was discovered, the arms and the lower part of the body of which were wanting. The remainder which was still preserved was the bust of a maiden of wonderful beauty.

     The nobleman caused both the statue of the nymph and the altar to be set up again, hence the name  –  Keller's Statue.

     This beautiful marble nymph had filled the youth with wild and insane love. He thought the night would never come when he might have the bliss of seeing her again.

     This time his steps were not directed to the high steward's daughter but to the place where he had already twice seen this marvellously beautiful maiden. He stood there full of expectation beside the marble bust which was flooded with the pale rays of the moon, his heart beating and his cheeks glowing.

     A courageous page whom the high steward had sent after the nobleman, saw him at midnight with his arms round the lovely woman, who had now wakened up to life from the cold marble.

     The eavesdropper who had hurried back to the castle full of horror, related what he had seen. The next morning the luckless nobleman was found dead at the foot of the altar, and the marble statue had disappeared. The altar was then demolished, and in its place a stone cross was erected which still stands on the old road leading from Castle Baden to Kuppenheim.

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