THE OLDENBURG HORN
IN the time of count Otto of Oldenburg, who succeeded his father Ulrich in the year 967, a wonderful transaction occurred. For as he, being a good sportsman, and one who took great delight in the chase, had set out early one day with his nobles and attendants, and had hunted in the wood of Bernefeuer, and. the count himself had put up a roe, and followed him alone from the wood of Bernefeuer to the Osenberg, and with his white horse stood on the top of the hill, and endeavoured to trace the game, be said to himself for it was an excessively hot day, "Oh God! if one had now but a cool drink!"
No sooner had the count spoken the word than the Osenberg opened, and out of the cleft there came a beautiful maiden, fairly adorned and handsomely dressed, and with her beautiful hair divided on her shoulders, and a garland on her head. And she had a rich silver vessel, that was gilded and shaped like a hunter's horn, well and ingeniously made, granulated, and fairly ornamented. It was adorned with various kinds of arms that are now but little known, and with strange unknown inscriptions and ingenious figures, and it was soldered together and adorned in the same manner as the old antiques, and it was beautifully and ingeniously wrought. This horn the maiden held in her hand, and it was full, and she gave it into the hand of the count, and prayed that the count would drink out of it to refresh himself therewith.
When the count had received and taken this gilded silver horn from the maiden, and had opened it and looked into it, the drink, or whatever it was that was in it, when he shook it, did not please him, and he therefore refused to drink for the maiden. Whereupon the maiden said, "My dear lord, drink of it upon my faith, for it will do you no harm, but will be of advantage;" adding farther, that if the count would drink out of it, it would go well with him, count Otto, and his, and also with the whole house of Oldenburg after him, and that the whole country would improve and flourish. But if the count would place no faith in her, and would not drink of it, then for the future, in the succeeding family of Oldenburg, there would remain no unity. But when the count gave no heed to what she said, but, as was not without reason, considered with himself a long time whether be should drink or not, he held the silver gilded horn in his hand and swung it behind him, and poured it out, and some of its contents sprinkled the white horse, and where it fell and wetted him the hair all came off.
When the maiden saw this, she desired to have her horn back again, but the count made speed down the hill with the horn, which he held in his hand, and when be looked round he observed that the maiden was gone into the hill again. And when terror seized on the count on account of this, he laid spurs to his horse, and at full speed hasted to join his attendants, and informed them of what had befallen him. He moreover showed them the silver gilded horn, and took it with him to Oldenburg, and the same horn, as it was obtained in so wonderful a manner, was preserved as a costly jewel by him, and by all the succeeding reigning princes of the house of Oldenburg. [a]
[a] Given by Büsching (Volks-sagen Märchen und Legenden. Leipzig, 1820), from Hammelmann's Oldenburg Chronicle, 1599. Mme. Naubert has, in the second volume of her Volksmärchen, wrought it up into a tale of 130 pages.
The Oldenburg horn, or what is called such, is now in the King of Denmark's collection.