Take St. Basil's Cathedral (1561), aka that building people keep thinking is the Kremlin. According to a story that's widely repeated to this day, Ivan the Terrible rewarded architect Postnik Yakovlev for this feat of engineering by blinding him. If that's the case, Yakovlev must have been an even better architect than Ivan imagined, because he went on to design other buildings. And yet the myth has continued to spread, probably because of how well it fits in with Ivan's nickname.
This isn't the only tale of a European ruler paying his contractors by mutilating them. Supposedly, after Master Hanus finished Prague's famous astronomical clock in 1410, the city's councilors paid a group of goons to sneak into his bedroom late at night and blind him with a piece of iron. Again, there's no truth to this (the clock was built by Mikulas of Kadan and Jan Sindel), but every part of the story, down to the weirdly specific method of blinding the guy, is still repeated today. Why, there's even a jolly stop-motion film about it:
Skip ahead to 8:41 for the most horrifying stop-motion puppet show since the last one we showed you.
Lest you think this is strictly a European myth, the Beiteddine Palace in Lebanon (1788) has the same story. Emir Bashir Shihab II had the place built as the Lebanese version of the Playboy Mansion, with a grand apartment, a harem, and a guest house that dwarfed many castles. To make sure no other ruler copied his style, the emir reportedly ordered that the head architect's hands be cut off. The architect wasn't blinded, though, so at least he could see his brand-new stumps.