Best Shot at Burg Sooneck

On the middle Rhine near Burg Sooneck, there are many castles. Where there are many castles, there are often many quarrels. In the early days, disputes often led to tragic results. This was true for Burg Sooneck regarding the disagreement between Siebold of Sooneck and Hans Veit of Furstenberg. While the bickering began over nothing of great importance, Siebold held a grudge against Hans and refused to end the quarrel peacefully.

Burg Sooneck


Most quarrels at the time were settled with a challenge. However, as Hans was known to be the best bowman in the land, any archery challenge would result in a victorious Hans. Siebold, who was larger, stronger, and a better swordsman than Hans, challenged him to a hand-to-hand fight to the death.

Hans fought bravely but was no match for Siebold's strength. Nonetheless, Siebold had no intention of killing Hans as he wanted to prolong the suffering of his nemesis. Instead, Hans was taken to Burg Sooneck, where his eyes were burned out. "Now that you are blind, no longer are you the best shot in the land!" Siebold angrily shouted at his enemy. Hans was then taken to the dungeon and nursed back to health, only to live as Siebold's captive. For months, Hans suffered in the dungeon.

One day, Burg Sooneck held a large party, with laughter filling the knight's hall. Siebold, who was partaking in the festivities and being cheered by all in attendance, decided this was the perfect occasion to humiliate Hans. Siebold brought Hans to the knight's hall and began to mock him in front of the crowd. "There he is, the master of all bowmen. He who could shoot a swallow in flight and hare in full run. Let us see how skillful you are now!" Then Hans was presented with a new challenge. Siebold offered to free him if he hit a goblet in midair with an arrow.

The servants provided Hans with a crossbow and arrow. After a short pause, Siebold tossed the goblet and yelled, "shoot!" A split second later, the arrow raced across the hall and pierced Siebold in the neck. Siebold immediately fell to the ground and died. Not knowing who would be next to fall victim to the "best shot in the land," everyone immediately fled. Hans lowered the crossbow and began to cry. Some say the tears resulted from pride or joy of being free, while others say he longed for the lost pleasure of shooting his bow.