Myths and Legends of All Nations Famous Stories from the Greek, German, English, Spanish, Scandinavian, Danish, French, Russian, Bohemian, Italian and other sources

Page: 126

Now it happened that a sister of the princess Libuscha Vyched lived at the court. She entreated the princess to settle the quarrel according to law.

The princess yielded to her wish, and decided that the brothers should either inherit their father's estate jointly or divide it into equal shares.

All the lords of the country assembled to hear the rendering of the decision—brave knights from far and near. Chrudis and Staglow, of course, were present, very curious to hear what their princess would decide. Pungel of Hadio, proclaimed far and wide as the bravest of all the knights of Bohemia, was also among the company.

The princess herself rendered the decision, standing in white robes before her people. The two brothers stood near, and scarcely had the last word been uttered when the knight Chrudis, who, as first-born, claimed the estate for himself, sprang excitedly to his feet, mocking and insulting the princess. "Poor people," he said, addressing the assembly, "I am sorry for you who have to be ruled over by a girl."

A woman dressed in white robes stands, surrounded by other people.
Two men stand in front of her. One, his cloak thrown to the ground, gestures

Deeply grieved, the maiden-princess Libuscha rose, explaining[Pg 249] that she would no longer rule alone. She commanded the people to choose her a husband.

"No matter whom you choose," she declared, "I will abide by your decision."

Thereupon the assembled subjects cried out that they would have Pungel of Hadio as prince; and Libuscha, stepping toward him, extended her hand to him in token of her agreement.

Thus did Pungel become the liege lord of the Bohemian nobles.

No one knows how long ago all this happened, for the manuscript that tells the story was very old when it was discovered in the year 1817. It had lain for many, many years among other old documents in the great chests that lined the walls of the courtroom in the ancient Castle Grünberg in Bohemia. The manuscript is now in a great museum in Prague, and perhaps, some day, when you go there, you will see it for yourself.

[Pg 250]


The trumpets sounded and the army went on its way to France. The next day King Charles called his lords together. "You see," said he, "these narrow passes. Whom shall I place to command the rear-guard? Choose you a man yourselves."

Said Ganelon, "Whom should we choose but my son-in-law, Count Roland? You have no man in your host so valiant. Of a truth he will be the salvation of France."

The King said when he heard these words, "What ails you, Ganelon? You look like to one possessed."

When Count Roland knew what was proposed concerning him, he spake out as a true knight should speak: "I am right thankful to you, father-in-law, that you have caused me to be put in this place. Of a truth the King of France shall lose nothing by my means, neither charger, nor mule, nor pack-horse, nor beast of burden."