FOR centuries past it has been the custom that on the Brenner Alp a tailor should live, for the purpose of mending the clothes of the teamsters who pass along that deserted road, on their way to or from Italy. Not long since, one of these men who occupied the hut left it to go and set up business in the inn, called ‘Schöllerwirthshaus,’ about three miles distant from the Brenner post-house. When not otherwise employed, he occupied his time in rolling heavy stones down into the valley below, knocking to pieces the carts of the teamsters, and killing the horses or men, so that the poor fellows were generally forced to stop at the inn, and when on their arrival, they complained or lamented about their misfortune, the tailor sympathized with them, while taking the occasion to cheat them the more in selling them bad cloth, instead of good, and at much higher prices than were to be had at Brixen or Stertzing, saying that the higher they went up the mountain, the shorter was the wood, as they could see on the trees, and so it was the same with his tailor’s yard.
This tailor died suddenly, and, as penance for his crimes, he was obliged to walk in ghostly form between the Brenner post-house and the Schöllerwirthshaus, and even as far down as Gossensass, where he practised many a cruel trick, and still made stones roll down upon the road. At last the harm he did was so great that the teamsters found themselves forced to apply to some Capuchins of Stertzing to banish the ghost. The Capuchins ascended the mountain, and banished him for the winter to the Zirock Alp, while for the summer they consigned him to the mountain called Hühnerspielspitze, which is plainly visible from Stertzing, and from whose peak he often cries so loudly that he is to be heard in the whole valley down below, “Ah! is then the last day not yet near? Ah! if only the last day would soon arrive.”
The ghost is forced to roll a great number of stones down into the valley, and every one of those stones he is obliged to carry up again on his shoulders. One day an old herdsman placed upon one of these stones a stick, upon which he had cut a cross, and when the ghost found it he threw it on one side and rolled the stone on. When the herdsman found his stick again, several days afterwards, there were five finger-marks burned into it.