Among the burgraves ruling at Loket Castle, Margrave Vohnburg enjoyed the worst reputation. He mercilessly forced the peasants into drudgery; he had no mercy for the poor or the sick. He was just as cruel when it came to collecting tax from the serfs. Anyone who could not pay tax in time was remorselessly arrested by the catchpoles and taken to the castle where they were imprisoned in the darkest dungeon cut into a rock.
A poor woman lived in a small shabby cottage on the bank of the Ohře River who had to repay a large debt to the burgrave. Her husband fell ill and died. The woman too fell ill and hardly recovered from the illness. All she had left were her hungry children, an empty cottage, and a miserable life. Thus, all she could hope for was help from the Lord and the mercy of the margrave who could maybe defer the repayment after learning of her misfortune…
On a very hot Sunday in August, the poor woman set out to Loket to pray in the chapel and to beseech the burgrave for mercy. With her child in her arms, she entered the castle, wiping sweat from her forehead with almost every step as she was exhausted by her illness and poverty. As she was walking by the large hall of the palace, the burgrave entered a bay window in the palace to look down on his people cringing before him. The woman plucked up her courage, fell on her knees in the dust before the margrave, beseeching him. Barely listening to her, the burgrave resentfully waved his hand: "Vain are your words. You must pay or else you will end up in prison!" With a heart-breaking voice, the woman lamented and begged the burgrave to have pity on a miserable woman like her for mercy's sake. Seeing that his heart was unmoved, the desperate woman shook her finger at the burgrave at cried out agitatedly: "I hope you yourself will turn to stone for having such a heart of stone!“
Suddenly, a black cloud covered the castle. Thunder crashed and the mountain shook. Lightning struck the bay window where the burgrave was standing. People who were on their way to church fell to the ground, fearing that the end of the world was coming and with it, the judgement day. Presently, the sky cleared, the cloud dispersed and there was no trace of the storm. Only smoke smelling of sulphur floated near the ground below the palace bay window and a large hot stone stood at the bottom of a hole in the ground.
"The burgrave has turned to stone!" the horror-stricken people yelled and crossing themselves, they rushed to the church to thank the Lord for ridding them of such a cruel master.
Contrary to this story, historical resources explain the origin of the stone differently. It is quite certain that a meteorite of the size of a horse head struck Loket. Its fall is associated with 1422. In the past, magical powers were attributed to the stone. During the Thirty Years War when the Swedish army foraged our country, the Loket burghers threw the stone in the castle well in fear that it would be taken away. When peace finally came, water was drawn off and the stone was lifted from the well at some time in 1670. Unfortunately, the meteorite has not survived to our time in its original size. It was cut for scientific purposes and its pieces are currently located in museums all around the world.
Adapted from: Němec, V.: Pověsti. Brána do historie Sokolovska (Legends. A Gateway to the History of the Sokolov District), Sokolov District Museum, 1987; Burachovič, S.: Pověsti Karlovarska (Legends of the Karlovy Vary District), Median, Karlovy Vary 1992