The legend of the Lindwurm

The legend of the Lindwurm

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In the era when Duke Karast ruled the land from high up on Karnburg Castle, the area stretching from Lake Wörthersee to the River Drau was covered in damp moss, wild bushes and lots of trees. Up in the mountains countless numbers of cattle grazed, while people rarely set foot in the eerie and impenetrable darkness below – as no one who dared to go there ever returned. Sometimes cows disappeared without a trace only to be looked for by the herdsman, but never to be found again. No one had ever seen the sinister strangler who took both humans and animals, because there was usually a great deal of fog covering the area. Only sometimes could a dull snarl or terrible howl be heard in the distance.

The Duke thus requested the bravest of his men to find out where this monster lived and to kill it, but in vain! Fear had conquered the hearts of even the most daring of men. This hidden monster could only be lured out of its lair by being outwitted. A sturdy tower was soon erected on the fringes of the swamp, the fortified openings of which enabled detailed observations of the approaching enemy. A courageous group of labourers entered into battle lured by the prizes the Duke had announced would be granted on winning: “The very man who dares to take possession of the monster by cunning or power will receive both the tower and riches; the whole country from one river to the next, and the land where this monster’s greedy fangs now rule will belong to the winner; he will be set free if he is now a slave!”

A fat bull was tied to a chain by the labourers and a barb was further attached to the chain. The sound of the frightened animal filled the air and it wasn’t long before the swamp started to bubble, sending big chunks of mud up towards the sky. A hideous winged worm covered with a skin of armour shot out like a bolt of lightning. Its claws grabbed the animal and its fang-filled mouth opened to devour the beast. Then its soft gums gripped the bended iron. Writhing angrily, the monster swung its tail and pierced the bull’s stomach with its long, pointed claws. At this point, the labourers jumped up and managed to kill the monster with their spiked iron clubs. The body of the serpent writhed once more before everything was over and the country was freed from the menace of the Lindwurm monster.

A peace-loving village grew on the spot where the fight against the Lindwurm took place and the Duke built a castle where the tower was once situated. Over the centuries this castle and tower developed into a town, the current capital of the region, the attractive and pleasant city of Klagenfurt.

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