The inn in the Spessart

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Circle smith and goldsmith on the way to the hostel (late 1869)

Das Wirtshaus im Spessart is the framework story of the third volume of Wilhelm Hauff's fairy tale almanac, first published as the fairy tale almanac for sons and daughters of educated estates for the year 1828 in Stuttgart. Hauff did not live to see the publication.


The novella Das Wirtshaus im Spessart , written by Wilhelm Hauff in 1826, deals with the topic of robbers and tells the story of the journeyman hike of the goldsmith Felix.

During this hike, one evening he and the blacksmith go to an inn, where he meets the student and the carter. This inn is located in the Spessart , which is notorious for robbery. The four men decide not to go to bed so as not to be robbed. So that they are not overwhelmed by sleep, they tell each other four fairy tales. Around 10:00 p.m. a countess comes to the inn with her hunter and her lady-in-waiting. The men inform the hunter of the impending danger. That is why the countess goes to a room with her lady and the hunter joins the men in order to have a better chance of defense in the event of an attack.

After midnight the robbers actually come. However, they are only targeting the Countess. The robbers want to kidnap her so that her husband has to buy her out. The young goldsmith, who is small and has no beard, is disguised as a countess instead of being “kidnapped”. The hunter and the student let themselves be captured with the goldsmith and accompany him.

While the countess drives home unscathed and the carter continues, the three prisoners are brought to the camp of the band of robbers. After they stayed there for five days, the robber captain came to them and explained how serious the situation was. The count does not pay the ransom, which is why the captain is forced to inflict pain on the countess. However, it seems impossible for the robber captain to put the countess in danger, since he respects her very much. He therefore suggests that the prisoners flee with them as soon as it gets dark. So the goldsmith, the hunter, the student and the captain wander through the night. When it gets light, the refugees meet five soldiers. Among them is a major who recognizes the hunter. The major brings the hunter and his fellow travelers safely to Aschaffenburg , where the count resides. On the same day, the hunter, goldsmith and count drive to his castle, where the countess is waiting for good news from her savior. Accordingly, the joy is great when she sees the goldsmith. She asks him to keep his clothes and the sack with which she disguised herself in order not to be convicted as the true countess by the robbers. He allows her to do this. However, he asks to be allowed to keep his godmother's jewelry, which he has never seen before. He wants to give this to her personally on his hike. The countess looks at the jewelry and is very surprised when she recognizes it. These are the precious stones that she herself sent to her godson, who is also a goldsmith and which he should work for her. Therefore, there is none other than her godson, who saved her life. The countess takes her godson into the family as a thank you. When he returned from his hike, she furnished him a complete house in Nuremberg .

Background and reception

Hauff wrote the story on the basis of older, trivial robber novels . Embedded in the story are the stories Die Sage vom Hirschgulden , The Cold Heart (in two sections), Said's Fates and The Cave of Steenfoll .

The Vossische newspaper published on 18 November 1927 travelogue The Spessart Inn by Kurt Tucholsky under its pseudonym Peter Panter.

As early as 1923, Adolf Wenter filmed the subject in the film Das Wirtshaus im Spessart .

The director Kurt Hoffmann shot the feature film Das Wirtshaus im Spessart based on Hauff's story in 1957 , which premiered on January 15, 1958 and became one of the most successful German films of the 1950s. With Liselotte Pulver in the female lead, the film was a sensational success. This was followed by the films The Spooky Castle in Spessart (1960) and Glorious Times in Spessart (1967), also with Liselotte Pulver. These films were no longer based on motifs by Wilhelm Hauff. The Soviet fairy tale film Fairy Tales in the Night Told , released in 1981, combines the fairy tales The Cold Heart and The Wirtshaus im Spessart in the form of a narrated fairy tale and a framework.

Old post office in Hessenthal

Performances of an adaptation for the theater take place at irregular intervals on the open-air stage at the Wasserschloss Mespelbrunn near the original location. As a template for the tavern in the story, the Alte Post inn in Mespelbrunn- Hessenthal is assumed, where Wilhelm Hauff probably stopped on his journey from Nördlingen to Frankfurt in 1826. The description as "long but low house" is also appropriate. The pub in Rohrbrunn , which was also traded as a model and had to give way to Autobahn 3 , had not been a post office since 1820.


  • Wilhelm Hauff: The tavern in the Spessart. Illustrated by Frantisek Chochola . Fleischhauer & Spohn, Stuttgart 1978 (= The small gift library. Volume 5); 2nd edition, ibid 1980, ISBN 3-87230-018-0 .


  • Andreas Böhn : Economic knowledge in Wilhelm Hauff's cyclical framework narrative "Das Wirtshaus im Spessart". In: ZfGerm. NF 16, 2006, volume 3, pp. 504-512.
  • Robert Gernhardt, Gerhard C. Krischker: The inn in the Spessart. Kleebaum Verlag, Bamberg 1996, ISBN 3-930498-10-3 .

Web links

Wikisource: Das Wirtshaus im Spessart  - Sources and full texts