A sylph, or female air spirit, used to haunt the place at
one time and, as a Neuwied journeyman tiler was lying
in bed at night, the sylph pushed open the window
and entered his room in the shape of a long, thin ape,
which sat on his body and threatened to suffocate him.
On his speaking to his master about it the next day,
the latter told him to shout for him if the nocturnal
spook reappeared. Sure enough, the same thing hap-
pened on the following night and the journeyman im-
mediately called his master. The two of them then tried
to seize and detain the nocturnal spirit after the master
had closed and stopped up every chink and crevice in
the room. The night-prowler defended itself, scratch-
ing and biting, but was unable to escape because the
whole place had been tightly sealed and, eventually, it
took refuge beneath the bed.
When the two men got down to take a closer look at
this rare apparition under the bed, they did not find
a repulsive ape but an extremely pretty young girl,
who proceeded to pour out her troubles to them, tell-
ing them that she had come from far away after being
turned into the ethereal state in which they saw her
by a malevolent fiend. She said that she had been look-
ing for nothing more than shelter for the night in
question and that that was why she had intruded into
the room. Her tears and words affected master and
man so much that they decided to keep the young
creature with them and things soon reached such a
pass that the master married the young woman.
Nevertheless, he could never quite bring himself to
trust his young wife, although she seemed so loving
and trustworthy. Every evening he stuffed the open-
ings in the windows and doors not wishing to lose his
"treasure." His wife used to smile at his odd behavior
but did nothing to prevent him.
Little by little the loyalty and love of his wife allayed
his fears and, one night, he left the bedroom keyhole
unstoppered. When he was ready for bed, he heard a
hissing and fizzing sound somewhere near him but of
his wife he saw nothing more. The open keyhole had
given her the opportunity to return to the unsettled
existence of a sylph :(
Stories about the misalliances of humans and water
spirits are legion, and it was this which persuaded
Paracelsus that the water spirits are our nearest
relations. The air spirits, on the contrary, have an
aversion for us base-born sons of clay.
They are "proud" as the Celestials say.