Tales and Legends of the Tyrol | Annotated Tale

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

Klausenmann on the Kummer-See, The

IN THE Hinder Passeier lies the village of Moos, about which, on account of the frequent accidents that there take place by people falling over the adjacent precipice, the following saying is common in the Tyrol: “At Moos even cats and vultures break their necks.” [1]

               In 1401 a part of the mountain standing about a mile from the village fell down into the valley, buried the farm called Erlhof under its débris, and caused the water running through the valley to collect and form a large “see,” or lake, which through its inundations created so much Kummer or grief in the valley that it received from the inhabitants the name of “Kummer-See” (Lake of grief).

               The legend goes that after the mountain by the will of God had been cloven, and the Kummer-See formed by the power of the Evil One, a “Klausenmann,” or sluiceman, was set there to look after the lake, and warn the neighbours in time, were it impossible to let the water off. But for this work a pious man was needed, whose prayers alone would keep the swelling waters within bounds; for the devil used to bathe in the lake, and made such a fearful noise that he could be heard even as far down as Moos. The villagers made frequent pilgrimages for the purpose of being preserved from the calamities caused by this dreaded See; but as after a time they omitted this practice, the most fearful inundations ensued, leaving everywhere behind them ruin and desolation.

               The Klausenmann, too, became so corrupted that he forgot all his religious duties, never went to church, and always worked on Sundays and fête-days; so the Demon of Evil once more gained power and there was another terrific inundation which transformed the whole Passeier-Thal into a vast ocean, entered into the Etsch-Thal, and destroyed a great part of the village of Meran. In this flood the wicked Klausenmann perished, and after his death his wretched spirit was consigned to wander about on the shores of the See, which has since dried up, and in its place now stands a desolate swamp.

               The modern traveller meets on his road round the former site of the See, a rock called z’ Gsteig, upon which pious hands have erected a chapel. There, as evening falls, fearful groans are often to be heard, while the terrible shade of the Klausenmann rushes by the sacred spot.



[1] Zu Moos zerschellen selbst die Katzen und Geier.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Klausenmann on the Kummer-See, 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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