The Wives of Weinsberg

Love is the only gold. Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It happened in Ger many, in the Middle Ages. The year was 1141. Wolf, the Duke of
Bavaria, sat trapped inside his castle of Weinsberg. Outside his walls lay the army of
Frederick, the duke of Swabia, and his brother, the emperor Konrad.
The siege had lasted long, and the time had come when Wolf knew he must surrender.
Messengers r ode back and forth, terms were proposed, conditions allowed, arrangements
completed. Sadly, Wolf and his officers prepared to give themselves to their bitter enemy.
But the wives of Weinsberg were not ready to lose all. They sent a message to Konrad,
asking the emperor to promise safe conduct for all the women in the castle. They also
asked if they might come out with as many of their valuables as they could carry in their
ar ms as they left.
The request was freely gr anted, and soon the castle gates opened. Out came the ladies—
but in startling fashion. They carr ied not gold or jewels. Each one was bending under the
weight of her husband, whom she
hoped to save from the vengeance of the victorious host. Konrad, who was really a
generous and merciful man, is said to have been brought to tears by the extraordinary
perfor mance. He hastened to assure the women of their husband’s perfect safety and
freedom. Then he invited
t hem all to a banquet and made peace with the Duke of Bavaria on terms much more
favorable than expected.
The castle was afterwards known as the Hill of Weibertreue, or woman’s fidelity.