Monday, August 8, 2011

Legend of the Day...The Bell in the Tower of the Týn Church

leg·end [lej-uhnd]  
A nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.

The Bell in the Tower of the Týn Church
Church of Our Lady before Týn, Old Town Square

In Old Town there once lived a rich but wicked noblewoman.  She was such a tyrant with her servants that none of them stayed in her service for long.  One day a sweet and quiet rural maid entered her service.  She tried to please her ladyship in everything, but without success.  Like all the others, all she received for her pains were insults and blows.  One evening the noblewoman was preparing to go on a social visit, and the maid was helping her dress, when the bell rang in the tower of the Týn Church to call people to evening prayer.  Hearing the bell, the girl stopped attending to her lady, knelt and began to pray as she was accustomed to do at home.  The noblewoman erupted in fury, "I pay you to work, not to pray, you lazy hussy!" she shouted, and, beside herself with rage, she flew at the wretched girl, caught her by the throat and squeezed and cursed until she realized she was shaking a lifeless body.  Only then did the lady come to her senses.  She quickly called the other servants to her aid, but to no avail.  The girl could not be revived.

The lady was called to answer before a court, but because she was rich, she managed to bribe the judge and avoid punishment.  She thought she would soon forget the whole business and live the same carefree life as before.  But every time she heard the bells ringing from the Týn Church, they reminded her of her wicked deed.  In the end her conscience tormented her so dreadfully that she gave all of her property to the poor and entered a convent, but first she had a small bell cast and hung it in the tower of the Týn Church, where it would ring in memory of the dead girl.