The Curese of Nagele

 

 

When the Zuiderzee was still a sea and the fishermen still went there for tasty herring and tender flounder, they always steered clear of one part of it as one avoids malaria or the black plague.

This was a stretch But the fathers warned their sons and the sons warned in turn their own sons.  So it went from generation to generation and if there ever came a novice, he soon would be informed: "You should never go and fish on the Nagel. eThere is a cemetery on the bottom of the sea and on the old tombstones you will rip your nets to pieces.

You can sail over it, but only as fast as you can. But never throw your nets out. Then you will be sorry, because Nagele it is cursed."

And when the unseasoned fisherman would ask, 'why not?'  Then the sad story would be told: a story of drinking and fighting ; and the punishment that followed.

Nagele used to be a prosperous fishing village. The fish of the fertile Zuiderzee where brought in by the cart-load. It was always the best fish, nice and fat with a delicious taste. The  people of nagele knew the best fishing grounds of the Zuiderzee. The people of nagele established quite a name for themselves as fishermen and their fish had an even better name .  

But as human beings the people of nagele  didn'thave  a great reputation. You might even say that they had a bad reputation. This is often the case when a man is rich - He loses the unpretentiousness of mind and behavior . The people of Nagele - it may well be said here- were monsters. They caroused as heretics and then fought like animals.

On a Certain stormy day, it was happening again. The wind did not only shake wildly the trees of Emmeloord , but also the bodies of the people of nagele

Group of ruffians had gathered in the tavern at the northern tip of Schokland. A beer mug was never empty on the table. In one gulp it was thrown backwards, the gushing beer disappeared, and so did the gin. Where people are drinking, the argument lies lurking under the table. The wild anger, the insults and curses jumped up against the smoked, brown ceiling.

The knives were pulled out. Two raging fishermen were closing in on each other. The blades flickering in the rough, hairy fists. Murder shone burning in their eyes. None of them wanted to yield to the other. Both were equally strong. The knives were looking for a Goal. Death looked upon them grinningly. The priest entered the tavern and was warned by the innkeeper. Without a moment's hesitation he had put on his cassock, grabbed his prayer book and threw himself between the fighting fishermen. His admonishing voice rose above the din of battle. He pleaded with his hands to the sky, "Peace be with you . No murder for God's sake. Throw away that knife. Killing is a sin, a big sin. No man shall kill. “But the fighters growled at him, didn’t even let him speak. One of the fighters, furious because he had come between them, jumped towards the priest . Up went the knife and back down again. It cut through the robe and pierced the heart of the holy priest, who sank to the ground. With his last strength, he raised up his hands. Almost suffocated by the approaching death, he cursed Nagele so that it would perish. The sea would engulf the unholy place and fishermen for generations to come would avoid the place as if it was hell. On the stones of Nagele they would tear their nets and curse the village for ever

The curse of the Schokker priest has become a reality. The water came and swept Nagele from the earth. Nagele was no more. For centuries the waves were clashing over. People say that at very lowtied  in 1772 the father of Brown Visser from Schokland caught a church candlestick in his nets. Even the baptistry in the church of Emmeloord is said to be fished up there, as well as heavy

Gray gravestones and gritty rubble of houses, walls and towers. They are all memories of the curse which drowned Nagele. The curse caused by the killing of a priest. This is what happens to ruffians.