The Elixir of Youth and the Makropulos Case
Karel Čapek found his first job at the Chyše Chateau where he was hired by the Lažanský family as a private tutor in 1917. His stay at the chateau significantly inspired his literary work. Most of Čapek's works inspired by his stay at Chyše Chateau are based on the events experienced by him during his stay. One of his works, i.e. The Makropulos Case, is based on an old legend passed down by the castle servants from generation to generation. A friend of his, Jiří Foustka, joined Karel Čapek at the chateau to work as a private P.E. teacher – to put it in simple words. One day, they were walking through the castle and they discovered a third room in the tower. It was accessible only from the attic but it offered a remarkable view of the countryside. They asked the old count's permission to let them move into the room for a few days. One of the maids, Mařenka Havránková, who allegedly had taken a fancy to Karel Čapek who in turn returned her affection, asked him: "Are you not afraid of staying in the tower, Doctor?" As Čapek did not know why he should be afraid, the maid told him the legend of the chateau pertaining to the times of the reign of Emperor Rudolf II. The legend was about a ghost of a noble lady haunting the chateau. Yearning for eternal youth and immortality, she drank an elixir of eternal life. Naturally, she died of old age, yet her spirit could not find peace due to the magical elixir. Her spirit had been haunting the smaller chateau tower where she once lived.
In case the story is true, the noblewoman yearning for immortality belonged to the first inhabitants of Chyše Chateau rebuilt from the older castle in Renaissance style by Mikuláš of Lobkovicz.
Adapted from: Resource documents provided by Vladimír Lažanský
Literature: Kuča, K.: Města a městečka v Čechách, na Moravě a ve Slezsku (Cities and Towns in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia), volume 2, Libri, Praha 2000