How that hat got on top of the
[Published in Banater Post,
Dec 10, 2010]
Translated by Nick Tullius
Unfortunately, not much of this majestic organ sound, as the chronicler described it, is left today, although some registers still produce particularly nice sounds. We are talking about an organ with mechanical play- and register mechanics. What is special about this organ, is that the keyboards are in the front housing, a sort of front positive which, however, has no prospectus. The lower keys are white and the upper ones are black. Both manuals can be connected to each other by means of a sliding belt.
It happened still
in the good old days, perhaps on a Kerweih, or at one of those big weddings.
Vetter ('cousin') Michl in Schanndrhaas (Alexanderhausen) once again had
visitors from another village. They went to church and then strolled through the
Rondell (round market place in the center of Alexanderhausen) to take a good
look at everything.
In the evening, after supper,
Vetter Michl and his visitors, Vetter Hanns and his people, were still sitting
around the kitchen table, enjoying a few glasses of wine. Then Vetter Hanns
said: "Listen, Mischko, what is that hat doing on top of your church, mounted on
that support between the two steeples? There must be a story behind that? "
Vetter Michel, who was well
known as a storyteller, agreed: “Yes, sure, there is good story behind that, and
I am going to tell it to you right now. As you know, our village of Schanndrhaas
was only built in 1833. People came from the surrounding villages, from Billed
and Bugarisch (Bogarosch), from Grawatz (Grabatz) and Tribbswettr (Triebswetter),
even from Lenauheim, which was still called Tschaddad (Csatad) in those days.
They had to build their own houses, and they managed to do it, because all their
relatives came to help. After they finished their houses and moved in, they
wanted a church. You know: What is a Swabian village without a church?
It goes without saying that
they wanted to build their church in the Rondell, but they could not agree, in
which quarter of the Rondell to place it. One day, the Richter (reeve or mayor)
and the representatives held a meeting in the village hall, to determine the
place of the church. Once again they failed to reach an agreement. When evening
came, they went to the main village inn to get something to eat and to drink.
Later on, when they left the inn, everybody was in a pretty good mood. The
Richter removed the hat from his head and said: "People, I am going to throw my
hat way up in the air, and wherever it falls down, there is the spot on which
God wants us to build his church.
The hat fell down in the
middle of the highway, exactly where the main street crosses the street towards
Ujhel and the street towards Warjasch. At first, the representatives argued that
one could not build a church smack in the middle of that street, because it was
a segment of the main paved highway between the cities of Temeswar and Szeged.
But the Richter persuaded them, the church was built, and the highway had to
make a detour around the church.
Because the Richter's hat
had helped them to finally find the best place for their church, the people
decided that it should find its permanent place up there between the two
Vetter Hanns liked the
story, and everybody went to bed. Next morning, when Hanns had just hitched his
horses to his carriage, Vetter Michl told him: "Hanns, I sure hope you did not
take that story about the hat seriously? The truth is that the metal hat is part
of the coat of arms of our erstwhile noble landlord, Alexander of Alagowitsch,
then bishop of Agram (Zagreb). The big hat is a bishop’s hat and the eight
tassels on each side indicate that he was quite an important bishop. The mitra
and crozier are religious identifications. And the white coat of arms says
something about his noble family."
As I write down the story
of Vetter Michl, I would like to just add that in that coat of arms the sun is
rising in the East, and the crescent moon is descending in the West, just like
in our Danube-Swabian coat of arms (meaning that the Turkish occupation is over
and Austria reigns). And the crow, the one with the ring in its beak, is called
Corvus in Latin. It could be that the family of our bishop rose to nobility
under the Corvin kings - that is not impossible.