By John Ritchie
In an ancestral castle in Germany a priest was offering Mass in the private chapel on the feast of Corpus Christi. A band of marauding soldiers broke in, slew the priest and made off with the sacred vessels, at least so it was thought.
Shortly afterward, "the sweet little boy" began to appear in the castle halls. He had golden hair, bright, beautiful eyes, and was dressed in a long white robe fastened at the waist. His smile was kind and gentle, but he never spoke.
Who was this boy? When asked by another lad in the castle, the stranger merely pointed to a hallway near the chapel. Another youngster wanted to force the stranger to speak, but he disappeared into thin air. Experts could not solve the mystery.
One Christmas Eve, "the sweet little boy" appeared to a group of young men in the castle's dining hall. When they asked him to tell what he wanted, the lad beckoned them to follow. He led the group to a confessional on whose wall was a wood carving of some grapes. The "boy" put his hand on the grapes and disappeared.
After much pressing and fumbling, the young men found a secret door which led down a pitch-black stairway.
Down the steps they hurried, lighting the way with only a candle, to be met by another heavy door locked with a heavy latch. A strange feeling of reverence and awe came over them, as though they were on holy ground. Pushing it open, they beheld a startling scene. In the center, emitting a thousand brilliant rays in the light of their candle, stood a golden monstrance, and through its crystal center gleamed the pure white of a Sacred Host! Near the monstrance, on the same shelf, was a ciborium covered with silk.
Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament was the mummified form of a boy with golden hair, dressed in a long white robe -- "the sweet little boy!" He looked just like the lad who had been appearing in the castle. In his hand was a roughly written note, yellowed with time.
"Look!" one of the young men cried, as they stood in speechless awe. "Something is written here." And this is what they read:
"I, Michael Holzbauer, alter boy of the castle chapel, carried the monstrance and ciborium with the Blessed Sacrament to this hidden room, to save it when the soldiers struck the holy priest down. But in the darkness I pushed against the secret door in the confessional and the lock snapped into place and locked me in.
Now I must die. But God be praised that the soldiers did not get the Blessed Sacrament! I will therefore die gladly and without complaints! Pray for me when I am found. A.D. 1627, on the Feast of Corpus Christi."