In a valley in the Fichtel Mountains a shepherd tended his flock in a green meadow. Several times it happened that after driving his herd home he discovered that one of the animals was missing. All searching was in vain. They were lost and they remained lost.
Watching more carefully, he saw a large wolf creep out of the forest thicket and seize a lamb. Angrily he chased after him, but the enemy was too fleet. Before he could do anything about it, the wolf had disappeared with the lamb. The next time he took an expert marksman with him. The wolf approached, but the marksman’s bullets bounced off him. Then it occurred to the hunter to load his weapon with the dried pith from an elder bush. The next day he got off a shot, and the robber ran howling into the woods.
The next morning the shepherd met an old neighbor woman with whom he was not on the best of terms. Noticing that she was limping, he asked her: “Neighbor, what is wrong with your leg? It does not want to go along with you.”
“What business is it of yours?” she answered, hurrying away.
The shepherd took note of this. This woman had long been suspected of practicing evil magic. People claimed to have seen her on the Heuberg in Swabia, the Köterberg, and also on the Hui near Halberstadt.
He reported her. She was arrested, interrogated, and flogged with rod of alder wood, with which others suspected of magic, but who had denied the charges, had been punished. She was then locked up in chains. But suddenly the woman disappeared from the prison, and no one knew where she had gone.
Some time later the poor, unsuspecting shepherd saw the hated wolf break out of the forest once again. However, this time it had not come to attack his herd, but the shepherd himself. There was a furious struggle. The shepherd gathered all of his strength together against the teeth and claws of the ferocious beast.
It would have been his death if a hunter had not come by in the nick of time. In vain he fired a shot at the wolf, and then struck it down with his knife. The instant that blood began to flow from the wolf’s side, the old woman from the village appeared in the field before them, writhing and twisting terribly. They finished killing her and buried her twenty feet beneath the earth.
At the place where they buried the woman they erected a large stone cross, which they named the “Wolf Stone” in memory of these events. It was never peaceful and orderly in the vicinity of the stone. The Malicious Messenger (der Tückebote) or the Burning Man (der brennende Mann), in the language of the people, still goes about his dangerous business here.
Source: Hans Sponholz, Der verwunschene Rehbock: Sagen aus Bayern um Wald, Wild und Jagd (Hof [Saale]: Oberfränkische Verlagsanstalt und Druckerei GmbH, 1981), pp. 56-57.
Sponholz’s source: Alexander Schöppner, Sagenbuch der bayerischen Lande: Aus dem Munde des Volkes, der Chronik und der Dichter (München, 1874), II/165f.