Once upon a time there lived a young man in Vienna, his name was Hans Puchsbaum. He was a very talented architect; he was very ambitious but not yet famous.
Hans was in love with a beautiful young woman; her name was Mary and she was the daughter of an honored and rich citizen.
That time St. Stephen’s was still under construction. The nave and the South tower were already completed. Only the North Tower which should mirror the one on the south side was not built yet.
The city council had given a contest to transfer the work to the ablest architect, who would complete the tower in the shortest time and at the cheapest cost.
So it came that Hans Puchsbaum applied for the job to build that tower. He thought when he could get fame and honor; he could acquire the hand of his beloved Mary.
Hans promised to build the tower within half the time of his competitors; and so – he got the job.
In the beginning everything worked well, but soon some troubles appeared; the materials were delivered too late, the calculations of the construction were not exactly enough, and too many days the builders had to stop their work in cause of bad weather.
Hans Puchsbaum recognized that he couldn’t finish the tower in the time he had promised.
One evening he stood lost in his thoughts in front of the church and looked up to the unfinished tower. Suddenly a little strange-looking man in a green suit stood on his side.
”Oh, what a pity,” the little man said, “things don’t look good for you, eh?”
Hans Puchsbaum told him about his sorrow.
”Ah, don’t worry; I can help you. And with my help you can still complete the tower in time. There is just one little thing I ask you to do.”
“What is it?” Hans Puchsbaum sounded very interested.
“You are not allowed to mention the name of God, Mother Mary’s name or any other name of a Saint. This is all I want.”
“Ha, of course, that’s a deal!” Hans said although he had noticed that he had just made a pact with the devil.
Since that day the North tower grew faster than ever before.
Hans Puchsbaum was happy; he saw his goal near; he could finish the tower in time and finally marry his beloved bride.
One beautiful day he stood high above on the scaffolding, he looked down on the square and watched the people moving. He smiled, “Just a few more days …”
In that moment he discovered his bride in the crowd. Full of joy he called her name, “Mary!”
Suddenly a hollow mocking laughter echoed through Vienna, the scaffolding started to sway and with an incredible noisiness the whole construction broke down and drew Hans Puchsbaum into the depths.
For a few moments a gigantic green figure with a grinning face was seen.
Then the people dared to remove the debris. But the dead body of Hans Puchsbaum couldn’t be found and remained disappeared.
The plan to build the North tower of St. Stephen’s was given up that day and was never taken up again.
Copyright © 2011 Ingrid Prohaska
Special thanks to JRD Skinner and the Flash Pulp Crew for putting the legend on their 'FlashCast 020 - Flashers' !