The Wildemann legend

The legend of the wild man

At the time of the "old man" - as the period of the first settlement of the Upper Harz is known - miners came to the area of today's village of Wildemann. Here, they discovered fresh human footprints in the mud of the Innerste riverbed. Because they thought that they were the only people anywhere nearby, they followed the footprints. They soon discovered two unknown people, a man and a woman. Both of them were frighteningly large and as clothing they were only wearing wide belts of leaves and caps of moss on their heads. As a weapon, the man, who had a wild beard right down to his belt, was carrying in his right hand a fir tree that had been ripped out of the ground together with its roots.

As soon as the wild man and woman saw the miners, they ignored their friendly greetings and ran off into the thick forest. In the time that followed they were often seen, but even when the miners went hunting for them, they were unable to catch up with these nimble forest dwellers.

Only after many failed attempts did they finally succeed in getting close enough to shoot an arrow, which injured the man in the foot. But even now, there was a hard fight. The wild man attacked the hunters with his fir tree and the woman, as agile as a lizard and as strong as a giant, defended herself with her fists and teeth against her pursuers until she managed to escape. The wild man was outnumbered and was tied up and captured. The miners even discovered the cave where the forest people lived and from the reserves they found there, saw that they had lived on only berries and raw meat from wild animals.

They asked the wild man who he was, where he came from and many other questions, but he gave no answers, only looking towards the area where the cave that had been discovered was located. They gave him food and drinks, but he ate nothing. They wanted to force him to help with the work, but he flatly refused. Whether he was unable to speak or was just pretending could not be determined.

The miners therefore decided to take him to the Duke in Braunschweig, who should decide what to do with him. But the prisoner died on the way. At the moment of his death, the first ore vein was discovered in the cave. The miners thought that the wild man had kept quiet about the ore until then. They named the first mine after him "Wilder Mann". At the place where they caught him, they planted a lime tree in his memory. It can still be seen today in front of the Hotel Rathaus.


It is said that the wild man hammered the tree aggressively into the ground himself whilst fighting with his hunters. At least this is what it says on the board attached to the lime tree in front of the Rathaus.