The Legend of the Flora Maiden in Ekeren

A Forbidden Love: In the quaint town of Ekeren, near Antwerp, Belgium, a legend whispers of a love story gone awry. The lord of Veltwijck, master of a magnificent castle, had a daughter known for her gentle spirit and love for the castle's vibrant gardens. But fate intervened when she met a kind-hearted servant tending to the very flowers she admired. Their bond blossomed into a love deemed forbidden by the lord, consumed by the fear of his daughter's sullying by a man of lower standing.

Picture by Harry Fabel

A Desperate Escape: Blinded by his societal constraints, the lord separated the lovers, locking his daughter in a solitary tower and banishing the servant from his lands. The daughter, heartbroken and yearning for her lost love, succumbed to despair. One fateful night, unable to bear the weight of separation, she flung herself from the tower window, her lifeless form finding its final rest in the castle's pond.

Picture by Harry Fabel

A Father's Remorse: Consumed by regret, the lord sought solace in a monument to his beloved daughter. He yearned for a statue, not bearing her likeness, for his shame ran deep. He envisioned it as an embodiment of her passion for flowers – the Goddess Flora. Placed far from the castle, it served as a silent reminder of his folly.

A Fading Memory: Each year, a solemn procession honoring his daughter would weave through the castle grounds, passing beneath the gatehouse where the bell tolled in her memory. But over time, the tradition, like the memory of the lord and his daughter, faded away. The last procession echoed through the park in 1966, leaving behind only whispers of a forgotten love.

Haunting Echoes: Yet, even today, a peculiar phenomenon lingers. Though the bell was removed years ago, an ethereal chime continues to resonate from the gatehouse, a ghostly echo of a bygone era. And in the heart of the garden, the Flora statue stands, its ageless gaze seemingly searching for the love that was tragically lost, a silent testament to the enduring power of love and the enduring sting of regret.