It was in 1144 when it was planned to build a new rectory for the priests of St. Stephen’s church.
Reverend Eberhard and architect Falkner stood together and talked about the plans.
“We must remove the linden tree, I think that’s the best place for the building,” the architect said.
“Oh, please, there must be another way. I love that tree. This tree is like a dear friend of mine. The linden is as old as I am; and I don’t like to see the tree dying before me.”
So they changed the plans in a way that the linden tree could remain standing. And for the priests pleasure it even came better than it was already, because now he could see his beloved tree when he looked out of his window.
With the years the linden tree grew larger and more beautiful. The priest however was getting older, his hair was already white and he was getting tired.
One sunny day in fall Reverend Eberhard sat under his beloved linden tree as he did so many times before in his life. He was already seventy; he was plagued by a bad cough and he couldn’t sleep well anymore.
When he saw the leaves falling he saddened, “The falling leaves are like the remaining days of my life,” he looked at the tree, “Just one more time I want to see your blooming. Then I will agree to die.”
The winter came and the priest’s state of health became worse. Vienna was covered with snow; the linden tree was bare; and spring still far away.
One morning the priest knew that his death was near.
He could hardly breathe, and so he asked his servant to open the window.
”Reverend, it is very cold outside,” the servant said.
“Don’t care about that, I have to see … if the linden …”
The servant nodded and fulfilled the priest’s wish. Then he helped the ancient to the open window.
The both couldn’t believe what they saw – the linden tree was full of blossoms.
Reverend Eberhard smiled, then he lost his last power and he fell to the ground.
Suddenly a wind gust blew through the tree and drove the fragrant blossoms through the open window till the dead man was completely covered.
Copyright © 2011 Ingrid Prohaska
Special thanks to JRD Skinner and the Flash Pulp Crew for putting the legend on their FlashCast 019 - Monster Lessons !