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Hojsova Stráž


A button, lynx and a reeve of Hojsova Stráž

Life in mountains was never easy, let alone life in deep forests of the Královský hvozd. The Šumava Mountains, today a common resort for admiring nature beauties, skiing or trips, used to be a tough and dangerous region. Every now and then, the Czech princedom was threatened by an attack of German troops. That is why “Králováci” settled here to guard the safety of merchants and pilgrims travelling through this borderland. The Czech population intermingled with the Germans over the years. They were living together in one community – some were better, some were worse. The language difference does not matter in such tough conditions anyway. It is the personality of a man which is more of an importance.

A young reeve once lived in a village called today Hojsova Stráž. His name was Čestislav. He was a well-built chap whose wide shoulders carried a clever head on a strong neck. No wonder he was respected by everyone. As not even the strongest and cleverest man of all wants to live alone, Čestislav fell in love with a beautiful Adelheid, a daughter of a button maker from a nearby Prenet. Her father, a man of a thickset figure and round cheeks, came to like Čestilav very soon and showed him how to make buttons from shiny nacre. The reeve was quick-witted with skilful hands, no wonder he wanted to try it out himself. One of his works he then gave to Adelheid as a promise that he would soon give her a ring and make her his wife. It was a nice Indian summer back then. They were looking down the hill where couples in love would come from far away to meet (hence the name of the hill Milec which is derived from the word “lover”).

It happened in May when the last snow was still lying in the shadow of deep forests while the neighbouring hills were already green, meadows in full bloom, beautifully smelling, a joy to look. Before the sun got up from pink blankets, Čestislav set off his usual way to check whether the Czech land was free from danger or whether the paths between the Czech and Bavarian lands were not ruled by wickedness and bad intrigues. For some time he had had suspicion that a group of smugglers were doing wrong just in front of his eyes. He walks in the woods, breathing deep all spring scents and hears the voice of Adelheid´s smile in his ear. His eyes are alert, gazing in the distance to the trees so as not to miss anything. At once he has the feeling he has seen something in between the trunks. He walks off the path, treading carefully. He stops at a big oak tree, hides behind its trunk and tries to see what has brought him here. He smiles: all he saw were not soldiers, neither smugglers but two does which are moving slowly through coppice heading off the forest. The reeve follows them for a while, watching their graceful movement. He comes to a narrow path leading along an edge of a steep precipice. The does keep moving forward. All of a sudden, there is a crack behind his back. He turns his head and can see three shadows which promptly disappear in a bush at the path. Čestislav hides behind a tree waiting. After a while two of the shadows get off the bush and walk the path, a sack over their shoulders, as if nothing happened. A flash of the third one runs through Čestislav´s mind. At that very moment he feels a bad pain at the back of his neck. He goes black falling down. He falls on the ground. He feels terrible pain. Unconscious, he can see a big lynx in front of him. That is the end, he thinks. And then nothing, only blackness and dark. The sun was very high and the reeve would not get back from his round. There was a rush for him in the village. Some documents were to be signed, soldiers paid and two neighbouring women needed an arbiter to determine whose egg was the egg laid at a doorstep of one of them by a hen of the other. Men set off to see whether Čestislav was not in danger. However, they got back without much success. The news carried quickly and reached the button-maker´s house in Prenet. Adelheid met a couple of gossipers on her way home who told her that her beloved one must have been torn into pieces by a bear or attacked by smugglers. Adelheid´s eyes filled with tears, she threw a scarf over her shoulders and ran out of the house. She was running not knowing where, down the hill, up the hill, through a meadow, through the woods. When she stopped and wiped away her tears, she noticed that she was standing at the top of Milec Hill where she had spent more than one nice moment with her love. The sun was descending in the west, its pink rays kissing the spring grass. Adelheid sits down on a stone sad, staring at the lands in front of her. It is a long way to get home, she cannot manage to get back before the sunset. Perhaps she could overnight at someone. But what off it, she can die in here. When Čestislav disappeared, her life lost its meaning. “Why such black thoughts, girl?” she hears a voice saying. Adelheid turns her head and sees a big lynx. Her blood ran cold. Then she breathes in and says: “Something really bad has happened to my beloved one. He set off for a round this morning and did not come back.” “The mountains are cruel. But people are crueler. Should you have anything that your love gave to you out of sheer love, put it here on the stone. And go home fearing nothing. Do not worry about your reeve,” said the lynx. Adelheid did not waste a minute to think, she tore a button off her shirt which Čestislav made for her, laid it down on a stone and ran down to the village. She begs for a place to stay overnight, telling her story. She says it to everyone she meets and so the story soon reaches the three men who make their living by smuggling goods from Bohemia to Germany and back. Before the sun went down, they ran up the Milec hill. They were just stretching their hands to grab the button when a large lynx appeared in front of them. “What did you come here for?” he asked in a voice that makes all limbs freeze and all mouths dry. “For nothing” mumbles one of them. “For nothing, really” jabbers the other one. The third one holds the button tight in his palm. “Oh, so it is the button you felt like having” replied the lynx. Before the three managed to say a word, the lynx swept his front paw and hit their faces. He swept the other paw and hit them again from the other side. Blood comes out of deep wounds. They wipe it on their sleeves, however cannot stop it from bleeding. They suffer from great pain. And when they look at each other, they can see that they have been greatly scared by that strange lynx. “The reeve is back! They have brought back the reeve!” Rush, cry and a gathering crowd made other sleepers get out of bed. It was in an early morning when a carriage entered the village steered by a man who lived in the forests hunting animals. It was not a stag, nor a boar or a hare that he was carrying this time. There was a reeve lying on furs. “I found him in front of a precipice yesterday” he tells to everyone. “I am walking in the woods when I see a lynx spoor. You see, it is unusually large, so I say to myself: what a piece. I follow the spoor – when all of the sudden it disappeared, right at the body of this poor man. I took him to my house and gave him a treat. I can tell you, it did not look good with him at all. He was badly injured, bruised, sleeping or being delirious. I did not give him much chance. Then all of the sudden, short before sunset, as if a miracle happened. He is getting better, his wounds are healing, his gashes are disappearing. Now he is only weak” the hunter says and the reeve is trying to get up in the carriage. At that moment Adelheid arrives. She embraces Čestislav so that she almost pulls him to the ground. The reeve recovered completely after a few days. At Pentecost, a big wedding took place. Everyone was happy and cheerful, dancing, singing and crying:” Hojsa hojsa hojsasa, hoja hoja hoj!“ And all people from far away having a big wish or sorrow come to the Milec hill and carry a love present with them. Sincere and deep wishes come true. Anyone who would like to steal the love presents, though, will be punished.

Grain of truth: The first hamlet was established in the area of today´s Hojsova Stráž in the first half of the11th century. Its original name is not known. It is later called Eisenstrass, or rychta Hojsovská. Its first inhabitants were border guards, so-called Králováci. The first customs was set up at Prenet in times when trade was growing between Bohemia and Bavaria and the people were travelling here and there. A button-maker produced buttons from nacre. The hilltop over Hojsova Stráž carried the name Liebs Berg, today Milec. The view of the Královský hvozd mountain range you can enjoy today was called Liebeshöhe.

GPS position

N 49° 12.719', E 13° 11.441'



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