German Legends, no. 493

The Women of Weinsberg

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

When King Conrad III defeated the Duke of Welf (in the year 1140) and placed Weinsberg under siege, the wives of the besieged castle negotiated a surrender which granted them the right to leave with whatever they could carry on their shoulders. The king allowed them that much. Leaving everything else aside, each woman took her own husband on her shoulders and carried him out. When the king's people saw what was happening, many of them said that that was not what had been meant and wanted to put a stop to it. But the king laughed and accepted the women's clever trick. "A king," he said, "should always stand by his word."

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Revised March 1, 2009.