THE practice of the medical art is even now in the higher parts of the Tyrol rather in a primitive state. Those who are ill send a common messenger down to the doctor, to whom he has to explain all the illnesses of those who have sent him, and, therefore, he has to consult sometimes for twenty or thirty illnesses at a time. The doctor listens to his explanations, and gives to one patient a potion, to another a tisane, to another an unguent, etc., and hands the whole lot to the messenger. Happy it is if, in the confusion of his ideas, the messenger does not change the medicines, but gives to each patient his own. In this manner used the peasant Vögele to cure, who died in 1855, in the hamlet of Matrai, in the Under Wippthal. From early morning till late in the afternoon his farm was overrun with the sick, or their messengers.
But the arts which the weaver of Vomperberg, near the village of Vomp, in the Inn valley, practised were unknown to human doctor, for they were supernatural. It was generally reported that he was in league with the evil one, and eye-witnesses have even certified that the devil once caught him, but that the clever magician managed to slip through his fingers. This weaver, who died in 1845, once sold a herd of pigs to a peasant on the opposite side of the river Inn. The purchaser was driving his pigs over the bridge called Nothholzerbrücke, and, as they arrived in the middle, lo! they all disappeared. All those to whom he recounted this called out, “The weaver is a cunning fellow, he has got the money, and no doubt he has bewitched the pigs back again to his sheds.”
In his anger the peasant, after drinking a few bottles of wine, and when his head was rather hot, returned to the hut of the weaver, who was lying on a long plank, warming his feet against the stove. The indignant and half-drunken peasant threw himself upon the man, and, in his anger, tried to drag him out of the hut by his feet, but oh, Heaven! he had scarcely touched the feet, when they both came off in his hands. Trembling with terror and fright, he dropped the feet on the floor and ran off, and has never dared again to say one word about the loss of the pigs.