Every town has to have its own tales, the more frightening the better. In Vienna, you can hear several such stories. One of the most known is the story about the basilisk.
It was in 1212, a baker Garhiebl lived in a house in downtown. One day he sent a maid to bring water from the well. Very soon she returned without water. She was frightened because a bestial stench and very strange sounds were coming from the well. An apprentice climbed down into the well. They pulled him up, he was unconscious. When he awakened, he babbled something about a monster with the head of a rooster wearing a crown with bright red stones, with the body of a toad and the long and scaly tail of a snake. The baker sent the maid for the scholar Levi. He explained: “When a rooster lays an egg and the egg is hatched by a toad, and the offspring is reared by a snake, then the result is such a monster. A basilisk! Its breath stinks of decay and a glance in its eyes kills (which was true, because the apprentice, who was in the well, had already died). Only when the beast is confronted with its own ugliness it will die. Nothing else can destroy it.” There was another apprentice – Hans, who was in love with the baker’s daughter Anna but he couldn’t get his agreement so far because he wasn’t an adequate marriage for a baker’s daughter.. He said to Garhiebl: “I will try if you allow me to marry your daughter.” When the baker agreed, Hans took a mirror as a shield, they covered his mouth and ears with a scarf to avoid suffocation by the stench and they dripped wax in his ears to avoid becoming deaf by the dying scream of the horrible monster. And so it happened, the basilisk saw itself in the mirror, he was dismayed and exploded. People filled the well with stones and didn’t use it anymore. The brave Hans married Anna and he got eternal fame. Crouching behind a mirror he looks at you from the facade of the house Nr. 7 in Schönlaterngasse street. On the house, you can also find the mysterious creature, but no bread is baked here anymore. Nowadays, instead of the bakery, there is a restaurant, which is offering typical Viennese specialties and good wines.