Tales and Legends of the Tyrol | Annotated Tale

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Adasbub, The

ABOUT sixty years ago there lived at Lengenfeld, in the valley of the Oetz, a man of enormous height, called generally “the Adasbub,” who was a perfect monster, besides being a thief, glutton, sot, and fighter. He had been among the soldiery, and fought in many wars, from which he had returned still more savage and wild than ever; he had brought home large sums of money from foreign countries, which he had stolen and extorted from people, and now he bought a farm of his own, which he began to manage, though more like a pagan than a Christian. He never went to church, but was always to be seen in the village inn, where he boasted the first in Lengenfeld about his velvet jacket decorated with buttons made out of old pieces of silver money. The young fellows of the village soon became ashamed of their clothes, and wished to imitate the vain ideas of their paragon. [1] The Adasbub was besides of enormous bodily strength, and had already at once defeated fifty men, who had attacked him; and he who offended him had to fear lest this dreaded man might go, as if by accident, and turn a mountain torrent upon his farm, or roll down huge snowballs, with most likely rocks hidden in them, upon his roof.

               His whole pleasure and only occupation was to swear, drink, bluster, and injure his neighbours; he surrounded himself with a gang of fellows who suited his tastes, and was their leader in carrying out the most fearful outrages. They tore the doors of the peaceful inhabitants from their hinges, and carried them away into the forests; hoisted the farmers’ carts upon the roofs of their houses; stole the wine from the sacristies, which they drank to the perdition of the priests; shut up goats in the little field chapels, and pulled down the crosses in the cemetery, which they stuck upside down in the ground over the graves, and boasted in their wickedness that they were making Christendom stand upon its head.

               A newly-concocted villainy was to be carried out in a farm, which stands upon the Burgstein, above Lengenfeld, and it had reference to the farmer’s daughter; but the farmer came to hear of it, and determined to defend his home against the outrages of these cowardly villains. So he sharpened his axe, and as the Adasbub entered the house, he brought it down with tremendous fury upon the head of the monster of iniquity, who fell dead at his feet with a split skull. On seeing their leader receive this unlooked-for welcome, his companions took refuge in flight, and there was an instant alarm throughout the country. People from all parts swarmed up the Burgstein, and thanked the farmer for having delivered the country from such a wretch.

               They cut off the head of the Adasbub, and dragged the body to the edge of a precipice, from which they pitched it down on to the road, which passes by a now much frequented sulphur bath, called the Rumunschlung. The head was thrown into the charnel-house of the cemetery of Lengenfeld, where it still lies, a terror and warning to all wicked men. The skull is nearly cloven in two, and from time to time, at certain midnights, it gets red hot all over, and is then horrible to look at. Many people say that when it is burning, it rolls from the charnel-house into the chapel, in which it turns round and round in a circle, and then jumps again back to its place, where it slowly cools, and next day it looks again just like any other skull.



[1] In the Tyrol it is the custom for the peasants to have their jackets and waistcoats decorated with rows of silver buttons, which are sewn on in such a manner that they overlap each other. These buttons, of which they are very proud, are all made of old silver money, and each row contains from fifteen to twenty of them.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Adasbub, The
Tale Author/Editor: Günther, Comtesse Marie A. von
Book Title: Tales and Legends of the Tyrol
Book Author/Editor: Günther, Comtesse Marie A. von
Publisher: Chapman and Hall
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1874
Country of Origin: Austria
Classification: unclassified

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