On the façade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a figure of Christ a so called “Man of Sorrow”.
The Viennese know this figure as “Christ with a Toothache”.
How it came to this name tells the following story.
Once upon a time three jolly fellows lived in Vienna. They often sat together and drank until late into the night and on their way home they used to play tricks on one or the other Viennese.
One night after the curfew of their favourite pub they strolled frolicsomely through the streets of Vienna. On their way they passed St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
In the lamplight they saw that the crown of thorns of the “Man of Sorrow” was adorned with fresh flowers. So that the wind couldn’t blow away those flowers they were tied with a cloth. This ranged from the vertex over the cheeks until under the chin where it was knotted.
It was Junker Diepold, somehow he was the leader of the troupe, who laughed, “Hey, this looks as if the Lord had a toothache! No wonder he definitely stands at a draughty place!”
But that night Junker Diepold couldn’t find a sleep. His cheeks began to burn and a short time later he got a very bad toothache.
He rubbed his cheeks, poked around in his teeth, rinsed his mouth with hard liquor – but nothing helped.
After the sleepless night he consulted a doctor. But that man couldn’t help him either. “Your teeth are fine,” the doctor said, “But it’s an odd thing – you are already the third patient today who’s complaining of a toothache without any particular reason.”
With these words Junker Diepold recognized that he was punished by the “Man of Sorrow” for his sarcastic remarks; and he decided to apologize immediately.
Ruefully and head bowed he tied a cloth around his head and went to “Man of Sorrow”.
Actually he was not surprised that he found his buddies there. He knelt down beside them and begged tearfully for forgiveness.
The penitents were answered and the tooth pain disappeared even in the same hour.
The three fellows had their lesson.
But since that incident this “Man of Sorrow” is known as “Christ with a Toothache”.
Copyright © 2011 Ingrid Prohaska
Special thanks to JRD Skinner and the Flash Pulp Crew for putting the legend on their 'FlashCast 24 - Fade Haircut' !