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Knight Erazem and His Cave Castle

The road wound around wooded mountains, past tranquil lakes and cascading streams. Our destination was Predjama Castle. Home of the fabled Knight Erazem.

It's funny to read the different versions of the story from different points of view. But here's the version we got on the tour of the castle.

Once upon a time, In the 15th century, there was a bold knight, (called a robber baron by his detractors) who enjoyed bothering the Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick the 3rd by robbing his tax collecting teams and returning the money to the poor peasants. Here he is, casually posing with his dogs and unwisely positioned sword.

But one day, the King killed a friend of Erazem's and when he vowed revenge, the king's guard was killed by Erazem. That put a price on the head of Erazem. The troops came to the Palace on the mountain in Ljubljana (which was not as inviting in Erazem's day as it is now.)

Ljubljana castle courtyard  from tower in Slovenia
Ljubljana castle in Slovenia

The (obvious) escape routes were all blocked. But the sewer was a hole that slid out the side of the palace wall and formed a nice soft pile at the bottom of the wall. What else could he do? He dropped down the toilet hole and slid down the well-lubricated tube to freedom.

I assume he bathed in the river before travelling the 39 miles to Predjama.

But he continued harassing his hated king and soon the king sent soldiers to rout out the troublesome knight.

The stag and the eagle on the Knight's coat of arms adorning the wall of his palace like a target. The walls are four feet thick, and no matter what they managed to hurl at the palace, they did little damage. The castle is built in the mouth of a cave 50 feet up the face of a cliff. The only visible way in was a drawbridge, and once Erazem made it safely home, the drawbridge was pulled in.

The only solution the soldiers tasked with arresting Erazem could see was to lay siege. Surely it wouldn't take long to starve him out.

Little did they know that Erazem had all he needed:

A cozy kitchen,

All the water he needed from a fine, convenient well inside the cave,

weapons to sharpen and polish,

Torture devices for his entertainment. (these are inside his torture chamber in the castle)

Even maids and servants to keep him company.

The weeks turned into months and the seasons passed. Now and then the generous knight put out the draw bridge just long enough to send a perfectly roasted cow down to the soldiers camped below.

When spring came, long before any fruit ripened in the valley in front of the cave, Erazem mocked the soldiers by throwing ripe cherries down on them.

The soldiers came to the obvious conclusion. Erazem was a wizard. They must destroy his wizarding evil!

In truth, the cave had a passage all the way through the mountain and servants made weekly supply treks to the valley behind. . .where the cattle were fat and the cherries were ripe.

So one day when a mocking gift of food arrived via a servant, the captain offered the man a bribe. All he had to do was put a candle in the window when Knight Erazem went to his toilet. The toilet was a small chamber, separate from the main castle. . .with thin walls and a wide window. (top left part of the photo)

It seems the servants were tired of living like squirrels in a tree. The man agreed. The next night, as the soldiers watched, the candle appeared in the designated window. The archers or the catapult found their mark through the open latrine window.

So it ended as it began. He escaped through the toilet and met his demise a year later. . .in another toilet.

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