Today I’d like to tell you a story about Lucas. He was seven years old and lived as a page at Fort Felsenstein. In the Middle Ages, a page was a young boy in the early stages of becoming a knight.
So let the story beginn.
Lucas and the Castle Gate
Lucas hurried down the castle tower’s stairs. He was late and on his way to go jousting with his friends in a nearby town.
Lucas shoved the last piece of bread he had for breakfast in his mouth, sheathed his wooden sword and ran down the castle tower. However, he didn’t get far.
In the courtyard of the castle were gathered a crowd of agitated people. It didn’t take long for Lucas to realise something was wrong.
The big wooden door at the fort’s entrance was clamped and wouldn’t open. No one could get in or out of the castle.
The old gatekeeper was at a loss. For years he punctually opened Fort Felsenstein’s big entry gate every morning. Nonetheless, today the door simply wouldn’t budge.
„We need reinforcements!“ shouted the gatekeeper. „Otherwise, we’ll never get the gate open.“
„Call Knight Konrad!“ cried a man in the crowd.
„Yes, strong Konrad should come. He’ll certainly get the gate open,“ agreed someone else.
Knight Konrad was the strongest man in Fort Felsenstein. He was even named Konrad the Strong. Small Lucas admired him a lot. When he grew up, he wanted to be just as strong and brave as Knight Konrad.
„Get out of the way, little one. You won’t be of any help here.“ Lucas got pushed aside and ended up all the way at the back. He had to stand on a bucket to be able to see something.
Then came Knight Konrad in his glittering armour. He pressed against the castle gate with all his might. His face got red from all the effort. Yet, no matter how hard he pushed and shoved, it didn’t want to open.
„Everyone, push together!“ commanded Konrad.
The other knights came running. „Heave ho! Heave ho!“ With all their might, the knights all pushed against the castle gate.
But it didn’t even budge a centimetre.
Eventually, the crowd became restless. „Are there another door?“ someone asked. There wasn’t. Fort Felsenstein was built to protect everyone inside. So there was only one way in: the big wooden door at the entrance. There was no other way into the high-walled castle.
„Don’t you want to let us in?“ is called by someone outside. Outside the fort, some merchants were waiting to enter the castle and sell their goods. But no one was able to open the door.
„We could try using the horses,“ Knight Konrad proposed.
Lucas thought this was a great idea. After all, horses were far stronger than people.
The knights all brought their horses. They were hitched to the door with thick cords. Then Knight Konrad gave the command, and on „Go“ all the horses pulled together.
The crowd, as well as Lucas, waited anxiously for the gate to open. Unfortunately, the door did not move.
Baffled, the old gatekeeper scratched his head. „Go home, everyone,“ he said. „When even the strongest knight and the best horses can’t open the door, then no one can. We are trapped.“
Disappointed, everyone returned home.
Once everyone had left, Lucas got the opportunity to examine the gate closer. The door consisted of sturdy wooden boards that were locked in the middle with a massive bolt. The latch was thrown, so it couldn’t be that. The iron hinges that fastened the door to the castle wall looked fine as well.
But then Lucas saw something unusual. At the bottom, under the wooden door, was a stone. It wasn’t a big one. Perhaps only as big as his hand. However, it looked like the stone was wedged under the door. It was the stone that was blocking it.
Lucas unsheathed his wooden sword that a page always has with him. With the sword, he managed to remove the stone from under the door. He lifted it and pocketed it.
Then he slowly pushed against the door. Indeed, now that the stone was gone, the door easily opened.
The gatekeeper couldn’t believe his eyes. The small Lucas managed to open the closed door on his own, after all.
„I need to hurry,“ said Lucas. „My friends are definitely waiting for me by now.“
„Thank you, Lucas!“ the old gatekeeper called after him.
But Lucas didn’t hear it. He was already too far away, rushing to meet his friends in town.