NEAR the village of Buchenstein rises an enormous Ferner, or glacier, on the borders of which the neighbouring parishes, especially the farmers of Sottil, Sottinghäzza, and Roucat pasture large herds of cows. Only a small valley separates this spot from the village of Ornella, which, on account of its position, from November to February is devoid of every beam of sun. The aforesaid Ferner, which is above 11,000 feet high, is called the Vedretta Marmolata, and where now its icy fields extend there used once to be the most beautiful Alpine meadows and pasture grounds.
A peasant of Sottil on one Assumption Day had brought down from these meadows a cart-load of hay, and was about to ascend the mountain again for another, when his neighbours set upon him, and upbraided him for working on such a great fête day. But he laughed and jeered at them, saying, “What will Heaven care if even I make hay on a feast day?” And, saying this, he set off up the mountain.
Just as he was on the point of loading his cart, he noticed that the dolomite rocks above began to assume most extraordinary forms, and even to move about from place to place; dark mists began to rise, which at every moment became more and more dense, and then a heavy snow fell, which buried him and his cattle, and froze them into blocks.
On the following morning there was nothing to be seen but a glacier, and the peasants say, “There above are the cart and cattle, master and meadow, which have been changed into that Ferner.”