Tales and Legends of the Tyrol | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Salve-Toad, The

IT IS a well-known fact in the Tyrol that the Jordan chapel, which stands on the mountain, called Salve, and which is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, has been founded by a widow, who, out of maternal weakness, had been the cause of encouraging her only son in all sorts of wickedness, which he carried so far as to become the chief of a band of robbers and cut-throats. Too late, the infatuated woman discovered the crime of which she had been guilty, and, in deep repentance, sought her son, and, after following him for many days, found him at last on the top of the Hohe Salve.

               She then tried to persuade him to give himself up to justice, but he was obdurate; until one night, in a dream, the ghastly head of St. John the Baptist appeared to him; after which he gave himself up to the authorities, and his head, with those of all his companions, was chopped off. The guilty mother buried all the heads together, on the top of the mountain, sold all she had, and devoted it to the erection of the chapel, which is still standing there.

               Other people recount this legend in a different manner; they say that the brigand had vowed to make a pilgrimage upon the Hohe Salve, if Heaven would only assist him to rid himself of his evil companions, and help him to lead again a good life. But, after having obtained the assistance of Heaven, the brigand forgot his vow, and for that reason he was compelled after his death to crawl up to the top of the mountain in the form of a toad, and to enter into the chapel. After a long time, the poor toad succeeded in climbing the mountain, but at the entrance of the chapel there were always people who pushed and kicked him away. At length, however, he succeeded in entering the chapel, and crawled three times round the altar, after which he was instantly changed into the form of a handsome man, who addressed the people who were praying there, telling them of his brigand life and hard penance, and then he suddenly disappeared from their eyes.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Salve-Toad, 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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