IN THE Volder valley, out of which rises the Glunkezer, and where now stands the sheep Alp, called Tulfein, is a very picturesque mountain meadow, in the middle of which, some centuries ago, a peaceful King had built his palace, in which he lived with his four daughters, of whom each was more beautiful than the other. Round about the palace was a magnificent garden, full of Wonder-Flowers, and large expanses of meadow-lands, upon which tame Alpine animals browsed in large herds, and of these the four daughters of the King were very fond. They went also very often down into the huts of poor herds-people, to whom they did all sorts of charity, and all around they were honoured and reverenced as protecting genii.
This quiet happiness was troubled, and at last destroyed, by the arrival of a wild giant in this Alpine paradise, who built himself a cavern on the top of the Glunkezer, from whence, during the night, he roared so dreadfully that the mountains trembled, and huge masses of rock rolled down into the valleys. After he had caught sight of the four daughters of the King, he determined to try and gain one of them for his wife; so he decorated his bearskin mantle with enormous new buttons, tore up a fine tree for a walking-stick, passed his long finger-nails a few times through his shaggy beard and hair, and set off down to the Tulfein to pay his addresses. The King’s heart trembled with fright as he saw this pretender to the hand of one of his daughters, and replied that his daughters were perfectly free to choose their own husbands, therefore, if one of them would accept him, he should have no opposition to make.
Upon this the giant made himself as small as possible, but that was not very much, and did not bring him in much either, for one after the other of the girls refused him. This enraged the giant out of bounds, and he determined upon the most terrible vengeance, which he did not tarry in executing as quickly as possible. In the following night, rocks as large as a house rolled down upon the Tulfein, hurled against the palace, which they carried along with its inhabitants into the Wild-See, into whose depth it disappeared, and which was almost completely filled up with the tumbling rocks. The little of its dark waters which is still left, now bears the name of the “Schwarzenbrunn” (black spring), and round about it is a “death valley,” for nothing will grow there.
After the vengeance of the giant was satiated, repentance came over him, and he mourned for the murdered innocent father and daughters, he sat for whole nights on the borders of the Wild-See, into which he gazed, and howled and cried so incessantly, that even the stones had pity on him, for they became quite soft, and his cavern trembled and fell to ruin. At last he bewitched himself and became a mountain dwarf, while the King’s daughters were transformed into fairies or mermaids, and appear often on moonlight nights, floating over the water. There then sits the small grey dwarf, stretching longingly his hands towards their light forms, which however dissolve in mist; the dwarf then plunges again into the See, with a noise so great that it seems as though a large rock had fallen into it, and cools in a cold bath the agony of his remorse.