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Hrubá Skála and the Black Knight

Černý rytíř

Once upon a time, in the middle of the green forests of Český Ráj stood a great castle whose reputation was famous all over the country. It looked like the nest of a bird of prey; it had been built on the highest rock and looked over all the valleys in the region. It was also covered by tall trees that defended the castle from the attack of enemies. It was called Hrubá Skála. 

The castle was the seat of the wise King Beneš, who helped everybody according to their merit. He had one daughter, Svatava, and he wanted to find the right husband for her; he did not want her to marry a young, poor boy. Who would be that man?

This legend will tell you.

One morning Beneš woke up startled. He looked out the window and saw a Saxon army. He acted without delay. “Muster the troops of Hrubá Skála!” He called. “We will defend the honour of our country!”

Svatava was afraid. She could not imagine that a foreign army would attack such a strong castle. She sent a message to her beloved Vojmil: “We need help in the battle!”

As soon as Vojmil got the letter, he mounted his horse and galloped to Hrubá Skála. He was received by Svatava, who had not told anything to her father. Beneš was not too fond of Vojmil because his pockets were not full of gold.

The Saxons were approaching the castle. Beneš and his troops got ready to defend it. A battle broke out, fiercer than anyone had seen in centuries. Victory was almost in the hands of one side, then the other. But the Saxons had the upper hand, and they were already celebrating their victory when suddenly, a man in black riding a black horse appeared out of the woods. Without speaking a word, he bravely engaged the enemy in battle. The Saxons were terrified by the Black Knight and ran back to whence they came.

But before leaving, the leader of the Saxons raised his sword one last time, declaring: “Our defeat is certain, Beneš, but for you, this day will be your last!”

Beneš saw the Saxon's extended arm and sharp sword falling on him. But suddenly, the Black Knight galloped and the Saxon sword fell on his. There was a crash, and the Saxon froze, surprised. He then mounted his horse, and disappeared in the forest.

“Thank you,” said Beneš, raising his eyes to the knight, humbly. But he had already vanished.

The battle had finished, Hrubá Skála remained unvanquished and Beneš was still the king. All thanks to the Black Knight.

“I must reward the Black Knight,” Beneš declared in front of Svatava, “and I've decided that if he comes back within a year and a day, he will marry you.”

The following day, a stocky jolly man came to Hrubá Skála, holding firmly in his hands a broken black helmet.

“That's him!” Exclaimed Beneš, “you shall take him as your husband, my dear Svatava! And he will rule as wisely as I!”

Svatava looked at him from tip to toe, and tiny tears rolled down her cheeks. “It's not him, father. He's not the Black Knight.” She knew very well who had been inside the black armour, and how much she wanted him, the real Black Knight, to be her husband.

But then, the courtyard echoed with the sound of hooves and the wind started to blow, as if the forest itself wanted to tell truth about the brave Black Knight.

Svatava suddenly smiled and ran to the window. “Father! That's the Black Knight!”

Beneš could not believe his eyes. A man riding a black horse was in the courtyard, waving a broken helmet at Svatava. For a moment, he vacillated: “Which of these two men is the real Black Knight?”

And then he noticed a scar on the head of that young man. It was proof that Vojmil, whom Svatava loved so much, was the Black Knight, who had helped him in the battle against the Saxons.

There was a wedding, and Beneš smiled, satisfied. He understood that money cannot win battles. The love between Vojmil and Svatava became a strong bond for the whole kingdom. And every time a foreign army thought of attacking Hrubá Skála, they were reminded of the Black Knight and turned around.

If you go through the forest from Valdštejn to Hrubá Skála, you will see the Black Knight, the patron of Hrubá Skála, who protects the beautiful nature of Český Ráj. And you can see the legendary battle between Beneš and the Saxons in a big painting in the Český Ráj museum in Turnov.

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Created 16.6.2005 13:22:53 - updated 26.3.2020 12:48:18 | read 5859x | Jan