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Witches’ Walk on the Kreuzjoch, The

NEAR the village of Mieders, in the Stubaythal, lies a little side valley, in which in dreary solitude stands a small wooden hut opposite to an old, half-ruinous farm-building. In this hut there lived, some fifty years ago, a wicked woman, called Töglas Moid, who was originally married to an honest peasant of the neighbourhood, who, however, died soon after through grief at the bad practices of his wife. After his death she led a yet worse life, and was in consequence everywhere dreaded as a witch; for she was known to have done, and to still do, endless harm among the cows. She had chosen five other women of her feather to be her companions and helpmates, and often the whole six of them set out from Mieders to the Telfes mountain, where at certain times they have been seen by the herdsmen carrying on their unholy Sabbath.

               At last it seems that they went to such an extent that they entered into a compact with the Evil One, and then the destruction which they caused in the surrounding country was so great that the villagers were forced to apply for the aid of the Church, according to whose decree they had to appear before the tribunal, where the five companions of Töglas Moid confessed everything, and from that time began to lead a new life; while she who had led them on in all their wickedness became worse and worse every day, and carried on her diabolical practices alone during yet another five long years, until at last the measure of her iniquities was full.

               On the 24th of June, 1823, St. John the Baptist’s Day, a fearful thunderstorm broke over Mieders, during which the mountains were splintered with the lightning, and huge masses of rock fell down from every direction into the valley.

               On the following morning some peasants passing by the hut of Töglas Moid, looked in to discover if the witch was there; but she was nowhere to be seen. But close by the Witches’ Walk the most fearful screams were heard, which so terrified both man and beast that one of the herdsmen ran down to the village for help; for the cows were panic-stricken and beyond their control. When the terrified herdsmen arrived with a crowd of villagers upon the witches’ ground, they found her cut into pieces, which they collected and burnt upon a pile of brushwood; and during this operation such fearful noises were heard in the valley and on the surrounding mountains that every one was seized with fear and trembling.

               The parish of Mieders erected in gratitude for the riddance of this witch a large stone cross upon the Witches’ Walk, to which every year, on the 24th of June, a great procession takes place. This spot is called the “Kreuzjoch,” or cross yoke, and from it a beautiful view is obtained of the valley villages of Telfes and Stubay, and of several magnificent glaciers.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Witches’ Walk on the Kreuzjoch, 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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