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Story of How the Key to Riga Was Saved

Riga has always been like a beautiful maiden ― there were many of those who wanted to conquer her. Who knows where the key to the city would be now, if three brave fighters, Andris, Peteris and Ermanis, did not rise up to defend the Riga City walls back in the 17th century...

When both Swedish King Gustav and Polish Prince Radziwill simultaneously aim to obtain the key to Riga, the inhabitants of Riga rise up to defend their city. However, Superintendent Samson, wishing to take a higher post, has promised General Svensson that he would open the city gates and transfer the key without a battle. Samson accuses the three fine defendants of Riga, who do not want it to happen, as devil’s servants. Luckily, three brave maidens Ruta, Anna and Lene lead the young fighters away from a church through a secret passage, thus rescuing them from the anger of the crowd. Yet, according to a verdict of the city rulers, the young men are arrested and locked up in Peitava Tower. The maidens ask the holy prioress for help. She has her own secrets: the prioress asks for sleeping pills from natural scientist Daniel Rebus. While guards are asleep, the devil’s servants get out of the tower. All what is found by a hangman are three mice scampering along in the hay...

When muscleman and big eater Ermanis succeeds in winning a German baron during eating race thanks to his own wit and help from his friends, the devil’s servants get the baron’s carriage, horse and coachman’s clothes. While travelling to Riga, they again need to fight and by overcoming the enemy’s superiority, they return to the city as heroes, bringing along two captured Swedish lords of war. Those who once chased and judged the gallant fighters are now forced to reward them for bravery.

However, intrigues from Superintendent Samson’s side have not yet finished. Holy father steals the city fortification plans, sends them to General Svensson and attempts to kidnap Daniel Rebus. To his great surprise, it is the holy prioress that has been kidnapped instead of Rebus. He refuses to believe to what she tells that one of the chased young men is prioress and his own son, and, when the three brave fighters have rushed a group of stripped and unarmed Swedish soldiers to the city, he treacherously closes the city gate just in front of them. The lads fall into captivity by the Swedes and are brought to the gallows. Without General Svensson’s weakness for beautiful women and maid Ruta’s ingenuity, this story about the three devil’s servants would end here. However, the General’s own started exciting game has a sad ending: while Svensson is locked naked in a chest, Ruta manages to bring to the punishment site a pardon granting document for the three young men.

Superintendant persuades Riga city council to return the key to an envoy of King Gustav. It would happen indeed if, at the very last moment, the devil’s servants would not steal the key and hide it in Devil’s Mill. City rulers are now thinking of how to diminish King Gustav’s anger before their own heads have been chopped off. Samson makes Daniel Rebus to forge a new key for giving it to the King’s envoy as a real key, while others search for a key similar to the stolen one. Holy prioress sends her beautiful sister Veronika, through a secret passage leading from the monastery to Devil’s Mill, to recover the key. However, some gypsy woman to whom General Rosencrantz has promised release of her lover Jeske turns out to be more successful: Ringla steals the key from the Mill.

In order to retrieve the key, the devil’s servants capture King Gustav’s envoy with his daughter and thus disguised they go to Riga pretending to be the envoy. The ball is in full swing and the burgomaster is already passing the key over to the false envoy when suddenly the real envoy arrives and the brave fighters have to get to their swords again and save their lives and Riga.

Infuriated Swedish and Polish troops head to the Devil’s Mill to deal with those canny devil’s servants. However, Daniel Rebus comes to help the rebels also this time. When enemy arrives, there are only fake opponents and various traps waiting for them at the fortifications, but the brave Riga defendants meanwhile have already returned to the city through a secret passage and are welcomed as victors.

This story about the brave defenders of Riga is treasured in the old city walls and street cobblestone. No one knows anymore these days ― what was the truth in this story and what was fiction. The only thing certain is that the key to Riga has not been given away to a foreigner up to this day. Whenever someone would seek to get it, three men will rise up again to battle...