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Wild wolves used to be common in Europe, and with them tales of werewolves.

They were often talked of across Northern Europe and deep into Russia, but on occasion were mentioned all across the Continent going back to ancient Rome.

Prague back in the time of Rudolf II not only had wolves in the Stag Moat at Prague Castle, but also, according to legend, a werewolf. Most people take their werewolf knowledge from Hollywood films, but full moons and silver bullets are seldom featured in the real tales. The Stag Moat story is simple and unadorned. Rudolf II was a great collector of all things and at times had various wild animals, often very exotic, in and around the castle as well as in several large parks under royal patronage.

A pair of grey wolves lived in the Stag Moat, and were overseen by a royal gamekeeper and his nearly mute assistant named Janek. At the time, people considered him simple-minded, but he seems to have just been a bit withdrawn from the human world as he had nothing in common with it. While he almost never spoke, he did start to howl with the wolf family and soon spent almost all of his time with them. The gamekeeper punished him for neglecting his other duties, and Janek was so ashamed he ran away. Or did he?

The Stag Moat at Prague Castle

The Stag Moat at Prague Castle