|The remains of the Sint Jans Geleen castle farm in Spaubeek.|
|Also Known As||Jacob Martens|
Vaar-Köbke was a man who contracted with the devil so that he could use magic. His real name was Jacob Martens and he lived in Spaubeek just under Sittard, a city in Limburg where he worked at the farm of Sint-Jans-Geleen castle. This castle has been in very bad shape since the mid 19th century and was eventually taken down in the 1930's, though the courtyard and buildings that accompany it are still around. Because of Jacob's profession as a carter combined with his small stature, the nickname was coined where "Vaar" means to drive and "Köbke" is a bastardized version of Jacob. His magic was always performed by demons which he would summon but nobody else could see.
The Steep Hill
Vaar-Köbke once crossed an unfamiliar farm wagon pulled by 6 horses. The wagon had a hard time going up a hill and the farmers aboard pleaded for Jacob to help out. Jacob reacted indifferent. He told them he did not wish for his pretty horse to pull their carriage. The farmers aboard mockingly responded, making note of the horse's age and lack of teeth. This did not sit well with Jacob and he answered them with the wild claim that his old horse could carry their cariage up the hill on its own. The farmers gladly accepted this challenge and switched horses. Meanwhile Jacob drew mysterious figures in the sand and waved his hat around. Eventually he sat down and drove the cart effortlessly to the top of the hill. When the farmers came around to ask how this was possible, Vaar-Köbke told them his horse would have pulled a payload that was 10 times heavier because for each spoke of the wagon he had summoned 7 demons to push the wagon along. After making a sign of the cross they asked Jacob if he was Satan, for if he was not, he must be Vaar-Köbke whom they had heard so much about. Jacob responded. "Oh, I'm only Vaar-Köbke."
Jacob And The Werewolf
In a tavern Jabob heard townsfolk speak of a werewolf roaming the area. He was fascinated by the local tormentor and claimed that he would like to meet this wolf. By chance he came across the beast the very same night on his way home to the farm. The tormentor jumped right on his back and wished to be carried, but this didn't faze Vaar-Köbke. He kindly told the wolf that he was welcome to tag along. The restless werewolf did not respond in kind however. The beast wished for Jacob to carry him faster and faster until his host finally lost patience and shook the beast off of him with an unusual lack of effort. Vaar-Köbke switched places and rode home on the werewolf's back. On his arrival to the farm, he got off and warned the beast to never come close to him again. Then he kicked the wolf into a ditch. Never again did Jacob see the werewolf.
All servants on the farm wished to attend the fair in Spaubeek but none could leave until all bean plants were tied up to a stake. Vaar-Köbke volunteered to do this all by himself so that everyone could go to the fair. By himself, he traveled to each corner of the field to tie a single bean stalk to a stake. Then he waved around his hat while he commanded "Roetsj! Roetsj! Roetsj! Allemaal zo!", and invisible demons all at once copied his exact movements. With all of the bean plants tied up to stakes, the servants were free to attend the fair.
The Excorcism Of Vaar-Köbke
When the pastor of Spaubeek heard of Vaar-Köbke, he often tried to compel him into breaking his deal with the devil. Jacob didn't want to at first, but the pastor eventually managed to convince him. After coming to an agreement, Jacob conversed with the devil and was told the terms at which their contract would break. Jacob then explained that he and the pastor were to ride a wagon to Weert and back again to Spaubeek. The pastor agreed to these terms and both departed that same night, fully knowing that Vaar-Köbke's cart flew over closed gates and who knows what else? After getting in the cart, it immediately lifted off the ground and a storm started to brewing up in the clouds. The more steadily they rose in altitude, the more tumultuous it started to thunder. All the way to Weert, the air was filled with the smell of sulfur and the sounds of profanity. But the pastor held on tight and prayed for Jacob's soul, until eventually they landed on the town square in Weert. On their way back, the storm became even more severe but the pastor kept praying for Jacob's soul and the devil grew increasingly uneasy. As a result, he smacked their cart against Sittard's clocktower, causing the pastor to bang his head against the bricks. He didn't fall out of the wagon though, as it bounced off and landed in a sandpit. The devil had lost the deal and flew off like a comet, illuminating the sky. Vaar-Köbke had lost his magical abilities since that night and died a peaceful death many years later.
- Jacques R.W. Sinnighe: Nederlands Sagenboek