Tales and Legends of the Tyrol | Annotated Tale

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Jaufen-Fairy, The

UNDER the summit of the Jaufen, a mountain in Passeier, about 8000 feet high, used to reside a fairy who fell passionately in love with a young Baron of the castle of Jaufenburg, which lies at the foot of the aforesaid mountain, and was formerly the residence of the lords of Passeier. But whether the heart of the Baron was no longer free, or whether the fairy’s love frightened him, cannot be said; but he never responded to the attention of his fairy admirer, who took his coolness so much to heart that she pined away and transformed herself into a beggar woman, in which form she wandered along all the lanes and passes through which the Baron generally took his way, the image of injury and grief. One day she hid herself in a chalk-burner’s hut at which the Baron often stopped, as the man had been his former servant. When the young nobleman arrived and asked for a draught of water, the transformed fairy brought it to him after having dropped a pearl into the glass. While the Baron drank, the fairy assumed her real form, and now she appeared to him most beautiful, for the pearl had bewitched the water so that it coursed through his whole frame like fire, inspiring him with a never-before-felt sensation. The beautiful cup-server who stood before him seemed the acme of his ideal. He set her before him on his charger and galloped off to the Jaufenburg.

               But a wonderful thing came to pass; his beautiful bride suddenly disappeared from his side, and he could not imagine where she had gone. He rode day and night and never reached his castle. The poor exhausted charger at last fell beneath the weight of his infatuated master, and died. Then the Baron sought his home on foot, but without avail; he found himself in a strange country where he knew nobody and nobody knew him. He became so poor that he was obliged to sell his rich attire, and at last was forced to beg his way through the country. Miserable, weak, and ill, he reached one evening the hut of the smith in the Kalmthal, where, half dead with hunger and exposure, he fell down upon a heap of straw.

               The fairy now saw good to bring to an end the hard penance which she had imposed upon him for his first slighting of her. She appeared to him again in all her grace and splendour. All his magnificent attire was restored to him; his charger stood waiting for him at the door of the hut, and all the hardship through which he had passed appeared to him but as a dreadful dream. He now conducted his fairy bride back to the Jaufenburg, united himself to her for ever, and lived happy and blessed, though without any heir. After his death the fairy disappeared, and the Jaufenburg descended by marriage to the family Von Fuchs, and, later on, the beautiful castle fell into the hands of a rich peasant and crumbled to ruins under his keeping.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Jaufen-Fairy, 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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