THE Tyrol, the land of glory and tradition, the wonder-garden of the world, so often visited but so little known, forms the theme of the following volume; and in dedicating it to the public the authoress feels certain of a fair share of their approval, perhaps, even, of their thanks; for many are the dangers which have been incurred in its production, and many are the days of weary walks and severe trials that it has cost.
There are no railroads in the mountains, and even cart-tracks are “few and far between,” and those who wish to see the almost hidden beauty, must, in passing through this enchanted land, undergo all the authoress has undergone, and share with her the pleasure as well as the pain.
All that is grand and beautiful, all that is gorgeous and sublime, all that is shocking and terrible, is to be met with at every step in the Tyrol; and the following legends are but a poor illustration of the old proverb, “There are finer fish in the sea than ever came out of it.”
The strange dialect of the inhabitants of this curious country, renders it almost impossible for any foreigner unacquainted with their language to understand what they would so willingly recount; and, in consequence, thousands and thousands of sight-seers yearly pass through, perfectly at a loss how to gratify their curiosity, except in the natural grandeur and beauty of the mountain world. The authoress has often noticed large parties of English and foreign visitors wandering aimlessly through a valley, round a ruin, or on the borders of a lake, whose history they have vainly tried to discover; for however willing the poor honest peasants are to explain all their visitors would wish to know, yet their kindly efforts are of course unavailing, and these foreigners go away back to their own countries, having passed over, and perhaps seen all, without knowing anything.
This little work, then, written first for the pleasure of its authoress, she now places in the hands of the public, trusting that it may not only be a useful guide, but a pleasant companion in the mountains in which it took its origin.
How lovely the land of those beauties unseen,
Which touch on the borders of Nature’s fair soul!
How bright are those landscapes, so soft and serene,
Which kiss the sweet homesteads of my own dear Tyrol!
MARY COUNTESS A. VON GÜNTHER.