THE Norgen were a mighty folk in olden time in Tirol. In their span-high bodies resided a power which no child of man, were he ever so stalwart and well-limbed, could resist. But they were also for the most part a peaceable race, and more inclined to assist than to obstruct the industrious inhabitants of the country in their labours; so long as they were treated with respect and deference they seldom interfered with any one. Then they were generally scrupulously honourable, and strict keepers of their word. A service rendered one of them was sure to be repaid a hundredfold. An injury brought a corresponding retribution, and scorn, contempt, or ridicule roused their utmost vengeance; while some there were who entertained a true spirit of mischief, and indulged in wanton tricks which showed their character was not altogether free from malice.
They were most often to be met in lonely paths and unfrequented fastnesses of nature, but a solitary Nörglein could also occasionally stray within the haunts of men, at times asking hospitality at their hands, and at others getting into the bedrooms at night, and teasing the children in their sleep, hence the common proverb--
"Shut the door closely to,
Or the Norg will come through ."
And at other times, again, they would take part in the field and household labours, as if they found it sport. The name of Norg was chiefly appropriated to them in South Tirol; in Vorarlberg the analogous cobbold went by the name of Rutschifenggen. Every locality, every valley, every hamlet, and almost every farm, had its own familiar dwarf whose doings were handed down as household words.