The town of Bad Säckingen (the Bad was added to the name in 1978) is in southern Germany on the banks of the Rhine, between the Black Forest and the Swiss border. In 1854 von Scheffel published his epic but it was not until some years later that it became popular. By 1884 it had been turned into an opera with music by Nessler and in 1918 a silent movie had been filmed using over 200 local people as extras. The opera is still performed today at the open air festival (Festspielgemeinde) in the town. There is also a museum devoted to Scheffel and the Trumpeter.
So who was the Trumpeter? Franz Werner Kirchofer was born in 1633, of common birth, who fell in love with Maria (Margarethe), the daughter of a noble family that resided in the town’s castle. Against all the family’s wishes the couple were finally married in 1657, raising five children. Their gravestone beside the cathedral tells the story of their love – a truly romantic tale and one with a happy ending. The castle still stands, now owned by the town, and is surrounded by public park and gardens, it also houses the Trumpeter museum.
A trip to Germany now seems probable at some time in the future so that I can see the castle that I first came across fifty years ago but only very recently knew existed. The power of the internet, as we all often mention in our blogs, never fails to throw up surprises. And it led me to the town’s interesting website where much of this information has been found. The postcards, by the way, which aren’t shown in any particular order, date back to 1910.
I leave the last words to von Scheffel: it seems appropriate to print it in its native tongue. If you want the English version or more verses, Google it!
Das ist im Leben häßlich eingerichtet ♦ Daß bei den Rosen gleich die Dornen steh´n ♦ Und was das arme Herz auch sehnt und dichtet ♦ Zum Schluße kommt das Voneinandergehn ♦ In deinen Augen hab ich einst gelesen ♦ Es blitzte drin von Lieb und Glück ein Schein: ♦ Behüt dich Gott, es wär so schön gewesen ♦ Behüt dich Gott, es hat nicht sollen sein