The Ghosty Bridegroom by Bill Bowler

The Ghosty Bridegroom by Bill Bowler

Everything happened many years ago. In Odenwald, the south of Germany, the von Landshort Castle stood beside the river. The owner of this castle was a proud aristocrat. His father, a famous warrior, left him this castle. The Baron took care of his home as best as he could. Many other rich German families built comfortable modern houses in the valleys, abandoning traditional fortresses. The baron had another treasure – a very beautiful daughter. At the age of eighteen, she knew how to read, dance, play the guitar and sing beautiful love songs. Her skills were amazing. The girl never left the castle.The baron’s daughter was raised by her aunts. They had always convinced her that she needed to be afraid of men and not to talk to them.

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The Ghosty Bridegroom by Bill Bowler

A long time ago, on a mountain in the Odenwald – that forested part of southern Germany where the Main river meets the Rhine – Baron Von Landshort’s castle stood. These days nearly nothing is left of it, but in those days it looked down on the country around it – like its owner.

The baron was a proud man from the Katzenellenbogen family. His father, a great army man, had left him the castle, and the baron took care of it as well as he could.

Other old German families had sold their uncomfortable castles in the hills and built more comfortable houses in the valleys. But the baron stayed and continued with the old family ways. This meant he often argued with his neighbours, because his ancestors had once disagreed with theirs.

The baron had only one child, a beautiful daughter. Two unmarried aunts cared for her when she was a child, and taught her all the important things a young lady should know.

By the time she was eighteen, she could read without trouble. She could also write her name without forgetting a single letter – and big enough for her aunts to read without their glasses. She could dance, play the guitar, and sing severed beautiful love songs from memory, too.

The Ghosty Bridegroom by Bill Bowler

Her aunts, who had lived for love when they were young, always kept a careful eye on her, and made sure she never got into trouble. She never left the castle alone, and had to listen to endless talks about the importance of politeness.

‘You must always obey your father,’ one aunt told her.

‘Never get close to men, and never believe a word they say,’ said the other.

Her aunts felt sure that, although other young women might make mistakes in matters of love, this would never happen to the baron’s daughter.

‘Without her father’s approval, she won’t look twice at the best-looking young man in the world, even if he’s dying at her feet,’ they thought.

Plenty of other people lived in the baron’s castle with him. He had many poorer relatives who often visited him for big family parties paid for by the baron.

They always told him after a few drinks, ‘There’s nothing more enjoyable than our visits to your home.’

The baron was a small man with a big heart. He loved telling stories about the brave old Katzenellenbogen fighters who stared down proudly from their pictures on the castle walls. His special favorites were ghost stories. Each story he told was always listened to happily by his poor relatives, even if it was the hundredth time they’d heard it…

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