On July 3, 1876, three 8-year-old girls, returning to the village of Marpingen in Germany from picking berries, saw a figure in white whom they identified as the virgin Mary. After some initial skepticism, the girls' families and neighbours became convinced that the Mother of God had, in fact, come to their village. She appeared several times thereafter, identified herself as "the Immaculately Conceived", and performed miraculous cures. The villagers piety and deep devotion to Mary, combined with their pride in being chosen for this holy visitation and their growing sense of its commercial possibilities led them to hope that Marpingen could be the German equivalent of Lourdes. The local innkeeper telegraphed his beer supplier with a request for 150 gallons: "Marian miracle in Marpingen. Enormous pilgrimage. Send several hectoliters immediately!". Isn't that the stuff playwrights (and theatres) used to dream of - at that long gone time when they were still allowed to tell stories that were tragic, comic and metaphoric at the same time?