At the time of the Hussite Wars, the Lord of Hartenberg took the field against the Hussites, never to return to the castle. He left behind his daughter Zdeňka – a fair and courageous maiden, as proud as her father. By and by, the Hussite army gathered around Hartenberg Castle. The maiden Zdeňka decided to defend the castle; she sent valorous men to the bulwark and ordered the drawbridge to be raised. The brave maiden succeeded in defending the castle against the Hussite warriors commanded by the hetman Petřík. It was no wonder because "hart" means hard and the defenders of the castle were indeed hard to defeat. The castle long resisted the enemy and the Hussites therefore decided to starve its inhabitants to death. When only one smoked leg of pork was left in the chimney, the proud maiden Zdeňka appeared at the tower yelling at the Calixtins that they were wasting their time by attempting to starve the castle out and she threw the last leg of pork at the furious besiegers. To avoid needless bloodshed, she resolved to let the army in the castle on condition that her people would be free to leave. The Hussite hetman agreed providing that Zdeňka would await him at the castle. The defenders took all jewellery and gold and set out toward the west. Meanwhile, Zdeňka was waiting in a castle cellar. Upon entering the cellar, hetman Petřík was instantly paralysed with amazement. Before him stood the lady of the castle in a spectacular gown. She was standing in the middle of the arched cellar with a blazing torch in her hand, which was pointing to a barrel with gunpowder. Just as the hetman yelled at the maiden to halt, a deafening clamour stormed into the cellar from the outside. Chaos and turmoil broke out beyond the castle walls as long-awaited help finally arrived at the castle and the Hussites beat a retreat.
Hartenberg or Hřebeny Castle is a medieval castle built on a steep spur above the Svatava River. It was later rebuilt into a chateau. The Lords of Hartenberg are first denoted in historical resources in the 13th century. Historical records also indicate that the castle was won and plundered by the Hussite hetman Jakoubek of Vřesovice in 1426 during the Hussite Wars.
Adapted from: Hulpach, V: Báje a pověsti z Čech a Moravy. Karlovarsko (Legends and Tales from Bohemia and Moravia. The Karlovy Vary District), Libri, Praha 2002 Němec, V. – Machytka, Z.: Bylo – Nebylo. Povídání o pověstech a básnících (Once Upon a Time – Of Legends and Poets), Okresní muzeum Sokolov (Sokolov District Museum), 1988
Literature: Durdík, T.: Ilustrovaná encyklopedie českých hradů (Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Czech Castles), Libri, Praha 2000