Roze of Turaida
The legend says that there was a beautiful maiden in Turaida castle named Maija who loved the Gardener from not-too-distant Sigulda castle. Every eligible bachelor, including a Wicked Foreign Soldier, sought for Maija's hand – but she loved only the Gardener from Sigulda.
One night, in order to trick her, the Wicked Foreign Soldier forged a note from the Gardener asking Maija to come to Gutmanis cave (a rendezvous point between the two castles). There he planned to rape her and force her to marry him. She arrived expecting a loving embrace and kiss from her beloved Gardener but instead found a deceitful ambush and a trap. The Wicked Foreign Soldier brought a companion and together trapped Maija helplessly in the cave. When she saw that there was no way out and that the men intended to take from her the only thing she had to give her truelove – her purity – she made a clever, yet costly deal with the foreigners.
From her pocket, Maija removed a delicate silk handkerchief saying: "This handkerchief is magical. If your sword can swiftly pass through its silken threads without stopping, you may have me forever." With that statement she sealed her fate and wrapped the handkerchief around her neck. The naive Soldier, thinking he had easily won, withdrew his sword and with a swift stroke passed the blade through the handkerchief – and Maija's neck – thus killing her. The Soldier's moment of triumph turned to instant defeat.
Maija's devotion to her truelove is remembered in Latvian legend and folk songs.
Centuries later civil documents were discovered in Sigulda's archives which proved the historicity of this tragic event. According to these documents, the Soldier was eventually caught, tried and hanged for his crime.
Yet this could never bring back Maija... The Rose of Turaida.
© 1998, Kārlis R. Zikmanis, all rights reserved.