Legend has it that one night during the tumultuous years of 1657-1660, when Sweden occupied parts of Denmark, a local maiden named Karen Jørnsdatter faced a harrowing ordeal as drunken and lecherous Swedish soldiers pursued her through the streets of Odense. Seeking refuge to protect her honor, Karen fled up the bell tower of St. Canute’s Cathedral. However, her relentless pursuers followed her up the stairs, leaving Karen with no choice but to leap from a tower window, meeting a tragic end as she plunged into the abyss.
It is said that upon landing, Karen left an indelible mark on a paving stone, which thereafter was named Jomfruspringet (the Virgin Leap) by the townsfolk. Though the stone has been relocated a few feet from the cathedral since then, its presence today still serves as a poignant symbol of the high price the young lady paid to protect her virtue.
Over time, the legend of Jomfruspringet evolved, incorporating details such as Karen’s alleged final words: “God, be gracious to my soul.” Additionally, there were speculations about the small round hole in the center of the paving stone, with some suggesting it was a remnant of her umbrella. Despite these embellishments, the true origins of the stone remained cloaked in the mysteries of folklore.
Know Before You Go
Freely accessible 24/7, the old paving stone is situated at the corner of Klingenberg and Munkemøllestræde, near St. Canute's Cathedral, approximately a 15-minute walk from Odense Train Station.