Tales and Legends of the Tyrol | Annotated Tale

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Village on the Boden-Alp, The

AFTER traversing the valley of the Almajur, which sends its waters into the river Lech, one arrives at the Boden-Alp, which, together with the mountain called Almajur, belongs to the village of Stanz. Upon the Almplace of the Boden used to stand in days gone by a beautiful village which had become, through the neighbouring silver mines belonging to it, immensely rich. The inhabitants in course of time grew so luxurious that they did not know what to do with their wealth, and it came into their heads to fill their houses with all sorts of utensils of gold and silver. They even kept their windows shut during the day, for the light of God’s beautiful sun was not good enough for them, and preferred in their iniquity to burn candles in massive silver candlesticks. The patience of Heaven regarded this crime for very long, hoping, perhaps, that the folly would outwork itself; but as it only increased the more, the Lord proceeded with his just punishment. The whole village with its church and people sank beneath the earth, and the once flourishing valley became a desolate wilderness.

               About forty years ago a herdboy of Boden went about in the underwood seeking for a lost calf, when all of a sudden he ran up against a large iron cross which was standing out from the ground. This was the cross on the tower of the sunken church. He tried to drag it up and cleared away the surrounding bushes; there he discovered the coping stones of the tower, on which the cross was so firmly planted that he could not move it; and when he returned on the following day with several other people to dig it out, it was no longer to be seen.

               Not many years ago a peasant of Hegerau in the Lech-Thal, whose name was Klotz, passed by that mountain and entered into a sort of tunnel through the rock, where, on account of the bad weather, he took shelter. He lighted a torch to discover the depth of the tunnel, and in walking on he suddenly found himself in the sunken church. The high altar was gorgeously lighted, and the candles stood in large silver lustres. The peasant walked about in the church, and found a man sleeping on one of the benches, who as he awoke him inquired the time, and when the peasant told him, he sighed and said, “Ah! it is still far from the time.”

               What he meant by these words remains still an enigma, but the peasant seized one of the silver lustres from the altar and ran off in terror. He arrived home late at night carrying the lustre, and would have believed all as a dreadful dream, had he not the lustre with him as witness. He went to rest, and on the following morning he was dead. His wife ordered the lustre to be carried back to its place, but it was impossible to find again the entrance of the underground church.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Village on the Boden-Alp, 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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