Ringing of the bells on Petrov
This was during the great siege of Brno.
The Swedish general, Torstenson, arrived at the city and decided besiege it. If he’d been successful, then the Swedes would have had victory over the Emperor within their grasp. Lay siege to Vienna and the war would have been done and dusted. But the general had made a slight miscalculation, however.
Brno’s walls were strong, and its defenders resolute. Every inhabitant of the city organised to defy the enemy forces. The siege was harsh. Many people died and many homes were destroyed by canon fire. But the townsfolk did not surrender.
We too, people from the surrounding villages, suffered in our own way. We had to cart hay to the Swedish camp for their horses, food for their soldiers, and above all else – wine. From these trips it was clear the Swedes were faring poorly. Sickness and rage were rampant among the troops. One day I overheard Torstenson, yes, I’m sure it was him, say: “Tomorrow I’m ordering the last attack. We can’t carry on like this. If we don’t take the city by noon, I’ll give the order to retreat.” Well gentlemen, for such intelligence Brno’s councilmen would pull my arms from their sockets for joy.
I knew very well the location of the secret gate granting access to the city. I ran to it as fast as my heels could fly, and told my news to all of Brno’s citizens. The next day, an attack did indeed take place, more ferocious than any of its predecessors. And when it looked as if the city would not hold out, I recalled Torstenson’s words.
I hurried to Petrov and explained all to the sexton. Up the bell-tower steps we ran, two at a time, and when we reached the top, we started ringing the bells for noon, even though it was only eleven o’clock. And would you believe it? The ruse worked!
From the Swedish camp we heard the trumpets sound the retreat, and two days later, not a trace remained of the Swedish encampment.
And so it was that I, a simple peasant, saved the celebrated city of Brno.