Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Family Legend

About the year 1300 the King of Prussia and his courtiers, when out hunting, were wont to rest at a tiny hamlet beside a small lake.

As they all mounted their horses to resume the hunt, there would be a certain amount of jostling as everyone strove to get a place near to the king.

My ancestor usually won the most coveted position and, as a result, received quite a lot of jealous teasing and some uncourtly behaviour.

One day, just as they were all setting off after their break, another courtier  pushed his horse forward beside the king, forcing my ancestor’s horse to swerve aside into the lake where it stumbled on a submerged log, tipping it’s rider into the pool.

Everyone laughed to see the king’s favourite so humbled: except the king himself. He dismounted and held out his hand to help the soaked courtier back onto dry land.

Then, drawing his sword, he said, ‘Kneel.’

My ancestor knelt before the king who touched him lightly on the shoulder with his sword, saying, ‘Henceforth your name shall be “Bred” (which means log of wood) and it is here that you shall build a castle.’

This was the start of the family Von Bredow. The little hamlet grew around the new castle to become a town, Bredow, sitting beside the Lower Oder in Pomerania, near Stettin. And the family crest has a circle, pierced by a log of wood, over the motto Nunquam Retrorsum ( Never Again Retreat).

My great uncle had an ancient ring with this crest, which he always wore. It must now be somewhere in Argentina where his daughter lives.