Widow of Stavoren

The sagas and legends of Urk

A rich widow from Stavoren in Friesland commanded a sea-going captain to bring her back "something precious ". When he returned from his voyage with a cargo of wheat, and said: "I have brought wheat to please you, the most perfect we could find" she was furious. She threw the precious cargo of wheat into the sea and then, screaming hysterically, she also threw her ring into the turbulent waves. "Only when the sea returns this ring to me will I be poverty stricken. Therefore, I will never see this ring again." But, alas for this ungrateful woman, her ring was found in the stomach of a fish that had just been caught in sea. For, it so happens, she had just asked someone to catch a fish for her and, just as she was about to take a big bite out of the fish, she saw to her horror her own ring. From that moment onwards all her ships were lost at sea, she was robbed of all her possessions, and the widow died a beggar. Nowadays a statue of this ungrateful woman can be admired by all! The statue, a female figure in fifteenth century dress, is to be seen, gazing over what used to be the Zuiderzee, on the quayside of the main harbour near the old, restored lock in Stavoren.

The sagas and legends of Urk

Urk has many "dubious" tales. The inhabitants of this one-time island know many tales, among which the following:

In Urk they used to tell the naughty story of the beachcombers on the island of Urk who were not welcome in heaven. In order to get rid of them, the "inhabitants" of heaven used to shout out loudly, "Ship aground, ship aground". When the beachcombers heard this, they dashed to the gates of heaven, which had already opened, and out they went.

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