Especially common in South German folklore, the Three Maidens are a common element who can play many roles. They were sisters, they were noblewoman gifting their inheritance to the public, they were saints, they were damned souls, they were faeries. Any of these might be true in any given stories. Frequently, the third one was considered to be “evil” and was described as “black” - not in the “African heritage” sense, but haven taken on the color of midnight due to her sins. Sometimes only part of her body was black (either the lower body or her limbs), and sometimes she simply wore an item of black clothing (such as a black veil). The other two usually wore white dresses, though the second one sometimes wears a red dress.
Translation note: The term usually used to describe the Three Maidens in Germany is “Jungfrauen” - literally, “young women”. While one possible translation would be “virgins”, within the context of these stories a better translation would be “unmarried women” - thus, I feel that the term “maidens” fits best.
The Three Maidens at Leutstetten
In the cellars of the castle ruins on the Karlsberg to the northwest of Leutstetten, three beautiful maidens have been imprisoned by sorcery, and there they wait for release. During the Holy Night people have seen lights on the hill and heard the maidens sing. There are three large iron chests in the cellars beneath the castle, one of which is filled with gems, the other with pearls, and the third with copper pennies. Treasure hunters have frequently attempted to unearth this treasure, but they were always driven away by evil hauntings.
Commentary: It is unclear whether the three maidens were cursed while still alive - and perhaps even remain alive to this day - or their souls were bound to this place after death.
Translation notes: “Holy Night” refers to the night from the 24th to the 25th of December - i.e. Christmas Eve.
Once a farmhand went to the Karlsberg because he wanted to gather nuts. On the way there he encountered a beautiful woman. He told her: “I will kiss you, I will hug you!” The maiden replied: “If you kiss me three times, I will give you so much money that both you and your children will never lack anything as long as you live.” The first kiss went well, since she still appeared as a beautiful maiden. But when he tried to kiss her a second time, she appeared as a snake, and he was too startled to kiss her. The third time she appeared as the Devil himself, and the man became so frightened that he ran away. For this he received a huge slap in the face, and the maiden proclaimed: “Because you broke your word, you will get nothing at all.”
Commentary: This seems to be one of the earlier recorded instances of the practice of “catcalling.” And while there are plenty of other stories where a mysterious maiden puts someone through a test of bravery in exchange for wealth, the end goal in those seems to be to break some curse the maiden is suffering under. No such curse is mentioned here - so it is quite possible that the maiden decided to prank some guy who was sexually harassing her. And being tricked into gay makeouts with the Devil does seem like suitable ironic punishment.
Translation notes: The original word used for “slap in the face” was “Maulschelle” - one of those famous German compound words which could be translated as: “Hitting someone so hard in the face that their mouth starts ringing.” Who says German isn't poetic?
On a further note, the original phrase “als der Teufel selbst” strongly implies that “the form of the Devil” used here is male - and since the German language uses gendered nouns, pretty much all mentions of the Devil imply the masculine. The few exceptions tend to use the phrase “ein Teufel” (“a devil”), suggesting some kind of lesser spirit without indicating gender. There are stories where the Devil takes on a female form, but at least from the point of view of the narrator the Devil is male.
The three praying sisters Ainpett, Gberpett, and Fürpett came from the West, during a time when the strife between tribes would not allow them to find a place they could call home there. They built a small house for themselves with the assistance of a few local faithful which was located directly opposite the Petersbrunnen spring. This house came to be called “Einbetl”. Each sister had her own cell and their own entrance, for each worked on her own. They occupied themselves with religious contemplation within their chamber and preaching and solidifying the teachings of Jesus Christ among the local people. They subsisted on roots and herbs and small amounts of bread donated to them.
They also assisted the locals in other way, such as by healing and assisting the sick. But it took them aback when one of them was mistreated by soldiers passing through the region, and when they heard of the state of affairs in the Orient they left this place. No trace of them remained other than the faithful remembrance of the local people. Eventually even the chapel which was built in remembrance at the site of their home was gone, and all that remains is their representation in the church in Leutstetten.
This image displays the three maidens at their center. To the left a pilgrim is depicted carrying a rosary and staff, below him a bishop with a church in the left hand and a crosier and an axe in his right. To the upper right there is a bishop with three apples in one hand and the crosier and a goose (?) in the other, and a monk below him.
The three maidens all wear crowns. The middle one holds an open book in her left hand and a laurel wreath in her right; the maiden to the left carries a laurel wreath and an arrow and the one on the right carries a laurel wreath and an arrow in her right hand and an arrow in her left hand. Above their heads the following is inscribed:
“S. Ainpet, S. Gberpet, S. Firpet.”
 The German text states: “...und eine gans (?)” Yes, including the question mark - apparently the original collector of this tale was not certain either.
Commentary: This shows the three maidens in their role as Christian holy people. It is unclear which particular strife in the west caused their arrival near Leutstetten - there are simply too many wars to choose from. Likewise, the events in the Orient likely refer to one of the crusades - but it cannot be determined which one this story refers to.
I will leave the symbolism in their depiction as an exercise to the reader.
Translation notes: “Einbetel” might be a derived from the words “Einsiedelei” (hermitage) and “Beten” (praying).