This is arguably the most famous of all the Old Town legends. Different versions of the tale have been passed down through generations to such an extent that no two tellings of the story are the same. Here is the first version of the story that I was told…Centuries ago, on a cold winter’s night, a bankrupt hotel owner in Rataskaevu Street decided to take his own life. He had grown increasingly destitute with the sheer lack of custom and had nowhere else to turn.
Just before the fatal moment, as if by fait, there came a loud knock on the door. A man entered and asked the poor owner if it was possible to rent one of the rooms on the top floor until dawn to have a party. The stranger would pay the landlord handsomely but only on the condition that no-one eavesdropped on the banquet.
Later that evening, coaches began to pull up and guests flooded into the hotel. The celebrations were thunderous; the music, fabulous; the singing and dancing, loud enough to shake the foundations of the building itself. Remembering the words of the stranger he was very reluctant to investigate himself but, eventually, curiosity overruled his apprehensions and he went upstairs and peered through the keyhole, recoiling in shock at what he witnessed.
Legend has it that what the hotel owner saw as he pressed his cheek against the door and squinted through the keyhole was the Devil’s Wedding.
Some versions of this story suggest that the owner entered the room the morning after to see a goat-skin bag full of gold and upon touching it, the bag turned to horse dung and the man fell to the floor, dead. Others tell of countless hoof and claw prints all over the floor. Regardless of the details, word that the Devil had appeared in Tallinn spread to the Town Hall and they ordered that the room was to be walled up and the window filled-in so no soul could ever enter again.
Today, in the Old Town, at number 16 Rataskaevu Street, there is a house with a painted image of a window covering the room that supposedly housed the Devil’s Wedding.