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The Nixies of Magdeburg

There is a spot on the Elbe River in Magdeburg where nixies often have been seen while they drag swimmers into the depths. Once an accomplished swimmer struck out across the river on a wager for money. When he got near a certain spot, however, he disappeared under the surface.

The water from the wells of this region is hard to boil, but the water from the river is of a better quality. Therefore the city fathers decided to build a water pipeline from the river to the city. They began the project by driving great piles into the river floor, but suddenly a naked man rose up in the stream, forcefully pulled out all the piles that had been driven and hurled them in all directions, so the construction plans for the pipeline had to be given up.

[No. 57, adapted.]

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The Dream of the Treasure at a Bridge

A long time ago, a man in Regensburg had a dream that if he went to the bridge in that city he would become rich. Therefore he went to the Regensburg bridge every day.

After fourteen days, a rich merchant saw him and asked what he was doing on the bridge every day, and what he sought there. He answered, "I dreamt I should go to the Regensburg bridge and find my fortune there."

"Oh," said the merchant, "what is all this nonsense? Dreams are flimsy. I too had a dream - that there was a kettle of gold buried beneath that large tree," and he pointed to the tree. "But I paid it no heed."

The other went at once to the tree and began digging beneath it. There he found a great treasure that made him very rich. Thus, his dream was confirmed.

[Legend 212 retold]

The is also reported to have taken place in several other cities, such as Lubeck (Kempen), and the type of story (ATU 1645) is also found in Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Scotland, England, Persia and Turkey. [◦D. Ashliman]

In the Lubech tale, a baker's apprentice dreamed that he would find a treasure on the bridge. He had been going there every day for some time when a beggar addressed him and asked why he came to the bridge all the time. After he told his story, the beggar said that he too had dreamed that in the cemetery in the town of Molken a treasure lay buried beneath a linden tree (also told about the town of Dordrecht, beneath a bush). The baker's apprentice offered the beggar to swap dreams, and at once went to Milken, dug beneath the linden tree, and found the treasure.

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The Three Maidens from the Lake

In the town of Epfenbach near Sinsheim, three lovely maidens dressed in white used to come every evening to the village spinning room. They always brought new songs and melodies with them, and they told marvellous tales and taught many new games. Their spindles and bobbins were special, and no other woman of the village could spin so fine and nimbly as they.

However, every evening at the stroke of eleven they rose, gathered up their distaffs, and left. No one knew where they came from or where they went.

The village youths liked to see them and they fell in love with them, especially the son of the schoolmaster. He never tired of listening to them and speaking with them. Nothing saddened him more than to see them leave so early every evening. Then he got the idea of setting the village clock back an hour to make them stay a bit longer. No one noticed it, but when the clock struck eleven it was actually midnight. Then the three maidens got up, folded their distaffs, and left.

But the next morning, people walking along the lake heard whimpering noises and saw three bloody spots on the surface of the water. From that time on the sisters did not return to the spinning room, and the son of the schoolmaster began to pine away. Shortly afterwards he died.

[No. 307]

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The Farmer and His Kobold

A farmer had a little kobold sprite who was always up to mischief. And no matter what the farmer did, he could not get rid of him. At last the farmer was advised to burn down the barn, since the kobold had his home there. First, the farmer carted all the straw out of the barn. Then, after carrying out the last load, he locked the spirit inside and set the barn afire.

When the whole barn was burning, the farmer glanced around - and here was the kobold sitting on the back of the cart, saying again and again,

"It's about time we got out of there!
It's about time we got out of there!"

The farmer understood that he had been ill advised, returned to the house and could not get rid of his kobold.

[No. 73 retold]

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The Snake Queen

A shepherd's daughter was wandering along a trail through some cliffs when she came upon a mortally ill serpent that seemed near death. Out of pity, she gave it her milk pitcher, and the snake drank the milk eagerly. After a while the snake was able to crawl on. The girl then left the snake..

Soon afterwards it came to pass that the one she loved, began to court her. But he was too poor for her proud, wealthy father. He rejected the youth with much mockery, telling him to come back only when he had as many herds as he himself.

From that time on, the old shepherd met nothing but misfortune. People claimed they had seen a fiery dragon above his grazing lands at night and soon all his property had been laid waste.

During this same period, however, the poor youth prospered and became quite wealthy. He once again courted the girl, and this time she was granted to him.

On the day of the wedding, a large serpent came into the room, and riding on the snake was a splendid maiden. She said, "Once when I lay helpless and starving, almost dead, the shepherd girl gave me milk so that I could recover." Out of gratitude she took a dazzling crown from her head and laid it in the bride's lap. She then disappeared.

Thereafter, the young couple was blessed with great fortune and increase in their flocks, and they soon became very wealthy.

[Legend 221 retold]

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