Hoensbroek is originally situated in a swamp area. Woods and fields were up against the hills, but in the valley was a swamp, crossed by little streams. The cache location is close to one of the oldest streams called the Auvermoer.
The origin of the name Auvermoer, which is nowadays called Caumerbeek, can be found in the degeneration of the Dutch words, Alde-moer, alde-moeder, oude moeder. The last 2 words mean old mother. A different explanation of the name Auvermoer recalls the stories about the Auvermoermenkes (the Auvermoer men) who lived in the Auverberg (Auver hill). The word part moer points to the Dutch word for swamp: moeras.
The stories about the Auvermoermenkes were told everywhere in Limburg. The Auvermoermenkes were gnomes who lived under the ground and were very shy. In the night they came out of their caves to borrow furniture from the rich. The borrowed objects were returned in optimal condition en the copper and tin shone like gold and silver.
These Auvermoermenkes did chores, but not only in return for borrowing the furniture, also in return for snacks. A lot of people in Limburg put vlaai (typical pastry of Limburg), rice milk or other snacks just outside their front door. Additionally, they put their repair and cleaning work next to it and the next morning the food had disappeared and the chore was done.
However, the gnomes were not as innocent as it may look. They were very shy and they did not like it at all if they were secretly watched. Late in the evening there was knocking on the windows so the people knew they could put out their furniture for the Auvermoermenkes. Used pots and pans were put outside the front doors en the little men came to pick them up. The next morning everything was back, well cleaned and shining. On a day one of the villagers wanted to know more about the Auvermoermenkes. After the knocking, his mother put some pans outside and the man hid himself behind the door and looked through the keyhole. One of the little men saw him and he blew in the keyhole very hard. He blew the eye of the man right out.
The funny servant
Something similar happened to a servant, who tried to trick the little men. He replaced the pieces of gingerbread in one of the pots with worn leather patches. After that, he went laughing to the hayloft and secretly spied on the gnomes, while eating the gingerbread. The little men came and started to eat, but it did not taste very well. "These pieces are very tough today!" one of them shouted, "Well", another one said, "This must be a joke of the servant". They followed the crumbs on the ground and found him on the hayloft. Suddenly one of the Auvermenkes shouted: "There he is! Blow his light out!". The next day the servant was found with one eye missing.
Also, it is said that these Auvermoermenkes discovered the stone coal. In one of their passage ways under the ground, they found a type of black stone, which started to burn when in contact with their wood fires. This forced them to light their fires at night outside of their homes to cook dinner. The smart gnomes onderstood immediately there was some kind of fuel in those stones that caused them to burn longer then wood. This is why they started to collect the stones and bring them outside to keep their fires going. The villagers saw the fires from a distance and checked it out. As usual the Auvermoermenkes fled when they saw the villagers coming and this is how the people of Hoensbroek discovered the burning rocks, stone coal. From this point onwards they started to use it on their fires at home.
Nowadays most of the Auvermoermenkes are gone. It is said they left because of the many church bells. They could not stand the sound. Sad, but true. The people of Limburg need to do their dishes and all mending and repair works themselfs now. But maybe, in this quiet part of Hoensbroek, you might encounter them, so look around en maybe they will help you!
This story is part of the legends of Kasteel Hoensbroek
Castle stories, Kasteel Hoensbroek