TREASURE! This ideal of earthly happiness constantly occupies the mind of the greatest part of the inhabitants of the Tyrol; and many are the men who, once wealthy and rich, now live on the alms of other people, on account of their passion for treasure-seeking. Over this hopeless infatuation they neglected their domestic occupation, and all at once, almost without knowing it, stood on the verge of beggary, at which they were just as much surprised as at having been unable to discover the envied object of their search.
There are treasures in all parts of the country, on the mountains, in the valleys, under rocks and trees, in the lakes, in the cellars, even beneath the hearths, and behind the walls. The ruins of once powerful strongholds generally conceal treasure in different forms, and there is not one ruin in the whole Tyrol that possesses not its treasure tradition.
Those treasures blossom from time to time, especially on the eve of St. John the Baptist’s Day. Near Axams, in the middle mountains, above Innsbruck, on the spot called Zum Knappenloch, a treasure blossoms even in the broad daylight.
The blooming light of these treasures is described to be blue, like the flame of spirits of wine, or green, like the light of glow-worms, and also yellowish-green, like that of phosphorus.
The preceding legends already contain several examples of these treasure-blossoms, and it would be impossible to relate them all, for their number would fill a volume. But not very long ago a fact took place on the post-route from Imst to Landeck, close by the hamlet of Starkenbach, after which it would be utterly impossible to make the inhabitants of the surrounding country believe that the treasures do not blossom.
On this spot several people had noticed, at different times, a green light, which lasted from two to five minutes; but when they approached, it dissolved into mist and disappeared.
Some men of Starkenbach happened to be at work on the very same spot, on the 10th of October, 1854, under the supervision of the road-maker, Tschoder, when one of the men, whose name is Rundl, pulled up a piece of turf, and how joyfully surprised was he when some two hundred silver coins lay at his feet, most of them well-preserved Roman coins of the times of the Emperors, and bearing the inscriptions of Antonius Pius, Septimus Severus, Marcus Aurelius, Geta, Caracalla, Maximinus Augustus; others referred to the Empresses, and bore the inscriptions of Faustina Augusta, Julia Augusta. The inscriptions on the reverse of the coins are almost every one of them different, and relate to notable events of the Roman dynasty in the country, thus, Marti Victori, Fortunæ Reduci, Felicitas, Providentia, Venus Genetrix, and many of them relate to Juno. The coins are all of the same size, and five of them go to an ounce.
“Such treasures,” declare the simple-minded Tyrolians, “are lying in thousands all over the country, if it were only possible to lay hands upon them, as on those Roman coins.”