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Legends & witches in the Schlern-territory and South Tyrol

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Legends in the Sout Tyrolean Schlern-territory

The Schlern-territory in Sout Tyrol is full of mysterious legends and stories.

First and foremost the “Schlernhexen”, who are supposed to do their mischief on South Tyrol’s local mountain. On the long back of the massive, the dark figures meet, brooding out storms and other misdeeds. The Kachler Hans, a sinister companion, is said to be a bad sorcerer and dance together with them at the Hexenberg. The herbalists conjure the dawn on the face of the sick with miraculous remedies. The Salingen, delightful females, were transformed into beautiful flowers by King Laurin and are condemned in the autumn months to become cruel figures.

Many mystical places tell to this day of the dark beings from the legends, which one told oneself in South Tyrol.

The city Siusi

In the old days the village Seis represented a big city. An old, poor man came once looking for a hostel, but no compassionate heart opened a door him. So he moved on to St. Valentin, talked  to a farmer in a farmhouse and got himself a “trowel” with water. He poured it out the window and in no time the big, proud city was flooded. In the church of St. Virgil [St.Vigil], the saint of that name with his “crutch” (shepherd’s staff) commanded the scrape and scabbard that raged there, and the wild element obeyed him. So the church of St. Virgil remained – The first office on Easter Sunday is still held in the filial church of St. Valentine in Seis, because it is said to have stood on the site of the parish church of the Seiser city. (Castelrut, Prof. Th. Wieser.)

Source: Legends from Tyrol, Collected and edited by Ignaz V. Zingerle, Innsbruck 1891, No. 631, p. 357f


Tresures at “Hauenstein”

Oswald von Wolkenstein out of jealousy left his wife and children at “Hauenstein”, which was so poorly supplied with food that his wife died of hunger, and when he returned he found only one child alive. Later a woman was often seen sitting in front of the castle gate, combing her hair. She often told good people that came to the castle about a treasure thats supposed to be hidden in the yard. Larger fires were often seen there, lights can be seen even more often at night, which often mislead the hikers.

Once a farmer from Siusi went up to the castle and wanted to dig out the treasure. But all the trouble was in vain, he found nothing but broken windows. Miraculously, he took some of those pieces of glass with him, and when he got home they had suddenly turned into shiny gold pieces.

Another time a farmer from Seis went up to the castle to find the treasure. But his search was in vain; he only  foundy a few big feathers in front of the gates. Then he took one of them and put it on his hat. Coming home, he found a silver spoon on his hat instead of the quill! (Castelrotto.)

Source: Zingerle, Ignaz Vinzenz, Tales from Tyrol, 2nd edition, Innsbruck 1891, No. 525, p. 296


The wild men on the Schlern

The Schlern seen from Kastelrut.
One of the most striking and bizarre Dolomite massives in South Tyrol is the Schlern on the east side of the Eisak between Ponte Gardena and Prato Isarco. But the hiker or railroad traveler saw little or nothing of it; only a few times, the Schlernen towers look out through the canyons that they are pulling to the Eisak, that’s all. Anyone who really wants to see the imposing stone structure must climb higher, to Kastelrut, Seis or on the Ritten. Almost the most magnificent is the view of the same from Kastelreut, from where the picture enclosed here has been taken. Source: The Alpenfreund, Monatshefte for the dissemination of alpine history among young and old in popular descriptions from the total area of ​​the Alps and with practical waves for enjoyable touring the same. Dr. Ing. Ed. Amthor, 4th volume, Gera 1872, p. 375.

Once again on the Schlern the snow has melted, and a new “Schwaiger” came up and set himself up in the chalet. As night fell, he crawled into the haystack and made his cozy nest in the sparse hay that had remained there from last year. He was barely asleep when the door opened and in came a savage man. The “Schwaiger” acted as if he was not there and remained quiet as a mouse.

The savage went straight to the stove, lit a fire, and made a pear or pulggen of ashes and water, as the people called it. The right “Pulggen” is cooked from black flour (heath) with water. The “Schwaiger” secretly watched, and he was a little afraid too.

When the ashmousse was cooked, the savage waved to the dairyman to crawl out of his hiding-place. He did not dare to resist the savage, so although he was verry scared, he crawled out of the hay and stopped in front of the stove. The savage began to eat and beckoned to “Schwaiger” to keep up; he did not want to, but when the other man waved his hand a second time, Schwaiger shoved a piece of “Pulggen” into his mouth in the name of God. It will not have been much. The savage grinned and was content that he only ate. And so it went a second time. When they had both eaten the mousse, the savage man went away again.

If the “Schweiger” had not eaten, the savage would have torn him to pieces.

Source: Heyl, Johann Adolf, folk tales, customs and opinions from Tyrol, Brixen 1897, p. 352

The Hazel Witch

A farmer’s servant in Siusi secretly observed the stable-brain, which was in the name of witchcraft, when she was rubbing the oven fork with an ointment in the kitchen, and on it with the familiar saying:

“Everywhere
And nowhere! “

Through the “Kemat” (fireplace) rode. As she had left the ointment pot, the servant took the opportunity, smeared it on the kitchen broom, then straddled it and said

“Everywhere
And nowhere!”

also by the fireplace. He had heard the saying wrong. Armed, he reached the roof; he had bounced everywhere with his skull.

It went through the air, but now easier, and so he came right to the Sciliar, where the witches already danced quickly. The servant danced too, and when the dance was over, some of them dragged the stables, slaughtered, and roasted. Then they sat down in a circle and kept good feast. They threw down a roasted rib to the servant, but it disgusted him and he did not eat the rib, but pocketed it.

When the witches put together the bones and the dirts brought them back to life, the rib that the servant had planted was missing, and instead they put in a rib of hazel wood. They said that if someone called the prostitute a “hazel-witch”, she would immediately fall dead. So everybody went home. The next day, when the servant and the stables were eating, the servant said to the farmer, “There is a witch in your house.” But the farmer answered angrily, “What in my house is there to be witches? Do not tell me that a second time! “Then the servant said,” yes, in your house is a hazel-witch. “For the moment it rattled from the chair, and the whore lay dead on the floor, broken limbs.

Source: Heyl, Johann Adolf, folk tales, customs and opinions from Tyrol, Brixen 1897, p. 435 f.

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