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Bexhövede 1 (Chambered Tomb)

taken from Eberhard Michael Iba, Hake Betken siene Duven, Das große Sagenbuch von Elb- und Wesermündung 1999

The dwarfs of Dünenfähr

The tomb Bexhövede 1 and two nearby barrows at Dünenfähr were inhabited by dwarfs. In general they were kindly and also known to be skilled blacksmithes. When farmers placed there broken agricultural equipment beside one of the barrows it often was repaired the next morning. But they often used metal for repair, which they stole from the farmers. They particularly liked to lurk along a path that led past their homes and stole the axle nails from passing horse and carriage.It was reported that the dwarfs were even able to remove the linchpins of carriages driving by on the track leading along the barrows.

One day a servant came with his horse cart along the track and let his whip crack. Then suddenly a dwarf became visible, for the servant had torn his cap off with his whip-bang.
The dwarf approached the farm servant: Return me my hat!
But the servant responded: I will not return your hat until you refund all the stolen linchpins!
The dwarf answered: The linchpins are all already melted-down, we cannot return them. But I promise you an adequate reward on your way home, if you return me my hat anyway!

The servant then returned the hat, but found only a dead horse on the way back. He first thought the dwarfs had tricked him, but then cut a piece of meat out of the carcass as dog food. When he reached the farm, he suddenly realized that the meat had turned to pure gold. He immediately returned to the place where the horse had lain, but this had disappeared without a trace.

Körbelitz (Chambered Tomb)

taken from Heimatheft der Gemeinde Körbelitz, 1997

From the giant lineage based in Nisselheim
At Körbelitz, two giants arrived.
They built two castles nearby,
so that they see each other quite often.
They lived in peace and unity,
Until a while ago, a giant woman entered.
Since they did not have any women yet,
Both committed themselves as spouses.
Now the cause was given to the fight,
Which should embitter their life.
Gone was the unity
Immediately the wild quarrel began
And the warriors, the brave ones,
Were very strong as a giant.
The one throws a boulder into the castle,
The other one also used such stones.
So they hurled the stones from castle to castle,
Smashed the towers, through the walls.
One of them was hit and fell down
And soon afterward struggled with death.
Then the remorse returns to the other,
With compassion, he enters the castle,
He still meets his friend alive
Give him the hand as a noble man
And promises, as the friend had told him,
The last honor to prove him.
When he gave up his spirit,
First he digs a shallow grave for him.
Then he brings huge stones,
To cover the bones of the dead.
He erects the stones to a chamber,
Put in jar and hammer,
Rest the dead in it '
And cover them with big stones.
The castle sites are empty and desolate,
The tomb still exists today.
And whoever makes a stop in the village,
Can still hear from this legend.

Steinfeld (Chambered Tomb)

The Hunebed near Steinfeld

In the distant past lived in Kläden and Steinfeld ever a giant. They were so comfortable with each other that they even had a communal oven, in Kläden. On the agreed days, the Kläden giant had taken charge of heating the stove, and if it was hot enough, he simply struck the baking trough with his dough knife. As often as the giant from Steinfeld heard this, he took his baking trough on his shoulder and went to Kläden. For a long time, the baking had gone quite well, until suddenly "de Pott broke," as they say. Once again, the certain baking day was there, the giant from Kläden wanted to clean his oven before heating.
In the course of his work, a fly always tormented him, which always came back, even though he drove it away so often. Finally he sat down quietly on the baking trough. "Wait," thought the giant, "now I want to take revenge," took his dough knife, took out and beat the fly with a heavy blow dead. But the stroke had been so strong that the giant from Steinfeld believed his huge colleague in Kläden have given him the agreed sign that the oven was hot. Although he was just about to knead the dough, he hurried, quickly picked up the bread and then hurried in huge steps for Kläden.

But how was he amazed when he saw that the giant baker from Kläden was still sitting comfortably at his breakfast, still had not put his hand on his dough and had not put a single firewood in the oven. As the giant from Steinfeld thought nothing else than giant from Kläden had wanted to fool him, he became angry, overwhelmed him with the greatest slanders, and there was nothing wrong with having put his baking trough with the bread dough over his head. Full of anger he ran back to Steinfeld; but the giant from Kläden, who did not want to put up with the rascally, always in the back, to take revenge. Shortly before Steinfeld, the two giants began to beat each other terribly, and when they had brawled each other, they began throwing each other with big stones that suited their huge hands. From this stone fight the huge stone blocks of the Hunebed have remained in Steinfeld, where they can still be seen today.
This megalith tomb is the largest in the Altmark and measures 50 meters in length. The capstone of the stone chamber is known as the "sounding stone" because it gives off a bright, sonorous sound when struck.

Winterfeld (Passage Grave)

taken from the information board:

When Christianity finally found its way into the area of ??Salzwedel and took root, churches were to be built in the two villages of Jeggeleben and Winterfeld. When the two communities had agreed with a competent and busy church architect on the costs, he gave the construction of the church of Jeggeleben his journeyman and the church to Winterfeld his apprentice. Both the journeyman and the apprentice understood their craft and immediately began to build in sacred competition, according to their master's commission, each of them animated by the desire to do their best and most beautifully execute their church. The apprentice had a clever mind and far exceeded the journeyman in the construction. So it could not fail that the Winterfeld church received a much more beautiful appearance than that of Jeggeleben, and the church tower to Winterfeld soon surpassed that of Jeggeleben by a considerable amount.
When the journeyman saw to Jeggeleben at his work the beautiful church tower of Winterfeld, and he had to hear how people could not sufficiently praise the apprentice because of his church architecture, the envy stirred in him, and he threw a grim hatred on him young master builder to Winterfeld. The evil thoughts were halfway to action: When one morning the journeyman again saw the towering Winterfeld church tower, he could no longer restrain himself, but he reached for the large blocks of granite which he still wanted to obstruct, and hurled them furiously high in the air in the direction of the church of Winterfeld, in order to smash it and, if possible, to crush the apprentice whom he hated. The journeyman possessed enormous physical strength, and so it was not difficult for him to throw away the big stones.
When the apprentice saw the first stone from Jeggeleben approaching the church he had built, he could easily imagine by whose hand and in what way he had thrown it. For his part, he was not lazy either, and at once began to throw stones, as those of his structure were left, and selected the little ones he could lift and throw. Thus a fierce stone battle arose between the journeyman and the apprentice, and large and small granite stones rushed, hurled with force and fury, meeting each other through the air. If the apprentice was also considerably overrun to the journeyman in the art of church construction, the journeyman was far superior to the apprentice in terms of physical strength and thus also in the skid of the stones. The apprentice's stones flew well in the direction of the Jeggeleber church, but they fell down a long way before the village.
On the other hand, the large stones thrown by the journeyman's massive fists flew all the way to Winterfeld; but fortunately they did not meet the church and the apprentice, but rather did not fall far from the church, in the garden of the local parish. In the parish garden of Winterfeld, the large granite blocks are still united to the Hunebed today as a beautiful monument from ancient times. Many parishioners have already played on the Hunebed stones and will still play there; because that ever a pastor will destroy the monument, is probably not to be feared.

Nettgau (Chambered Tomb)

There used to be an exceptional stone on this megalithic tomb, the "Hexenstein" ("Witch stone"). The following legend has been handed down:

A beekeeper from Gladdenstedt wanted to bring his bees into the heath and had his boy with him to help him unload. When both came with their team to the witch stone, the horse was suddenly quiet and was unable to get out of the spot. When his father got off the carriage, to his astonishment, he saw that the horse was getting a foal. The boy was now also curious, got off the carriage and looked. At that moment, the horse struck and hit the boy so badly in the forehead that he fell dead to the ground on the spot. As a reminder, the father had the hoof of a horse and a foal and a cross cut in a large stone.

Alfred Pohlmann: Sagen aus der Altmark. Stendal 1901

Stöckheim (Chambered Tomb)

When the giant Goliath was no longer able to endure it in his grave in the holy land, where he was teased there as a bigmouth, which had ultimately been defeated by a small shepherd boy, he decided to look for another resting place. At some point he came to Stöckheim, where he liked it quite well. He collected a few large stones, which he set up to fit his grave. He then went back to retrieve his tombstone and his golden coffin. He took the coffin under his arm, wrapped a golden chain around the big stone and tied it to his back. On its long way back, the chain was constantly rubbing itself deeper into the stone. That's the reason for the rill, which is still visible on the stone today. Arrived in Stöckheim he put the big stone on the prepared support and lay down to rest under it. But he did not really get any rest either, because on every New Year's Eve the giant Goliath climbs out of his golden coffin and scrapes three round holes in the stone, which are just as big as the wounds the shepherd boy David caused with his slingshot. The village has long held the opinion that the three holes formed on New Year's Eve form the shape of a triangle and close again when new holes are formed next year.

Alfred Pohlmann: Sagen aus der Altmark. Stendal 1901

Bierstedt 1 (Chambered Tomb)

Many years ago a maid named Ilse served on a farm in Groß Bierstedt. Despite the pleadings of her mother, a poor widow, she was seduced by the farmer's oldest son with the help of a false wedding vow. When the consequences became apparent, the farmers chased the girl out of the house. Ilse, however, was so desperate that she hanged herself. The farmer family buried her near a well and rolled three large stones on her grave. The farmer's son was killed in the same night by an accident, Ilse, however, is said to have haunted for years as a ghost at the well.

A. Pohlmann: Sagen aus der Altmark. Stendal 1901

Süntelstein (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The Legend of the Süntelstein according to J. Sudendorf (1853):

When the first church was built in Venne the devil still lived in Vehrte Bruch on the other side of the hills, where “Devils Baking trough” and “Devils Oven” are still to be seen. He disliked very much the sacred work of church building. In order to block the door to the church he got a big granite boulder around midnight, wrapped a thick chain crosswise around it and carried it on his back uphill. But the stone was so heavy that despite his enormous strength he started feeling the heat like hellfire. Sometimes he just stopped to catch his breath.

Time passed by and dawn approached. And just when the devil reached the top of the hill the first rays of the rising sun shot towards him from the east and a wakeful cock crowed from Venne valley its morning greetings. This put an end to the devil’s nightly deed. Furiously he took the boulder at the top end and slammed it with all his might into the hard soil of the hill.

Since then the devil has left the area. The stone is still in the same position where it had been rammed into the ground. The hard crash has left its traces though; where the chain surrounded the stone in the middle and from top to bottom cracks appeared and chain marks are noticeable at the outer rim s of the cracks. And the devils body imprinted visibly on the Venne facing side of the stone, because his infernal body heat melted the granite where he had touched the boulder.

Every morning ever since with the first rays of the rising sun the stone turns three times on its own axis. To commemorate the saving of the church in Venne by the sun which destroyed the devil’s nightly deeds the stone is named "Süntelstein".

Düwelsteene - Heiden (Passage Grave)

Today, the name of the Düwelsteene is linked above all to the legend of a cunning cobbler, to whom a monument on the market place of Heiden is dedicated. According to this, the devil carried a sack full of heavy stones on his back and was on his way to Aachen to destroy the cathedral of Charlemagne. Near Heiden he met a cobbler carrying twelve pairs of worn-out shoes. Asked by the devil, how far was it to Aachen, the cobbler pointed to the shoes: It was far away that he had torn all these shoes on his way from Aachen to Heiden. He had recognized the devil at once by his horse's foot and had suspected evil, so that he gave this clever answer. His information led the Devil, already worn out by carrying the heavy stones, to pour them out of the sack in the act of rage and then pull them away. These stones were called from then on the Düwelsteene.

taken from Kerstin Schierhold/Bernhard Stapel, Die Düwelsteene bei Heiden, Kreis Borken. Megalithgräber in Westfalen 3 (Münster 2018)

Visbeker Braut (Long Barrow)

In the middle of the Ahlhorner Heide was in the old days a large farm. The owner was proud and greedy and would have liked to have his only daughter married to a wealthy farmer's son from the area. But the girl loved a poor shepherd who had been her teenage plays. The hard-hearted father did not care about the requests of his child, but set against the will of the girl's wedding day.

On wedding mornings, a procession of festively dressed people moved across the heath to Visbek. The bride and groom embarked on a walk with their parents, followed by the retinue of relatives and neighbors. The bride was deathly pale with tears in her eyes. Closer and closer she came to the village church; the bells of Visbek were already ringing. Then, in desperation, the girl turned her eyes to heaven and called imploringly: "Help, O God! I would rather turn to stone on the spot than belong to a man whom I can not love". As soon as she uttered these words, the bridal process froze. Where men of flesh and blood had just moved on their way, mighty stones rose in two rows next to each other. The myrtle wreath, the flowers and ribbons turned into gray lichen and mosses. The bridegroom's procession also suffered the same fate and turned to stone. The mighty boulders there give witness to it.

(taken from: Etta Bengen, O Wunner, o Wunner. Wat ligg hier woll unner? Großsteingräber zwischen Weser und Ems im Volksglauben. Oldenburg 2000)

Feaghna (Bullaun Stone)

The story of the Rolls of Butter is that a woman in the locality stole the milk of her neighbour's cows on May morning. She was making butter with the stolen milk when Saint Fiachna came upon her. The good Saint, being as adept at cursing as he was at praying, petrified (turned into stone) the butter rolls she had made. He then pursued the woman across a nearby river where she suffered a similar fate!

She still stands, as a large upright stone, in the townland of Gearhangoul, beside a bush that sprouted from a buairicín (wooden buckle) at the end of a short rope she carried for tethering the cows, intended by the Saint as a warning to sinners.

Taken from the Folklore and Legends section of the Bonane Heritage Park website
During my first trip to Ireland back in 2006, I was bitten by the 'megalithic' bug and since then I seek for every opportunity to visit as much sites as possible, with a bias for stone circles.

As I live in the southwest of Germany (not an area famous for megaliths), I rely on my holidays to be able to visit these sites.

My TMA Content: