The Dancing Mountain-dwarfs

The story comes from Brixen, located in South Tirol of Northern Italy. This region was once under German rule. Bavarians captured the area from Romans in the end of sixth century and in tenth century it became Bishopric till it’s annexation by Austrian empire in 19th century. Post-world war boundary settlement differed but German remained first language of the region.

The old inhabitants of the city claimed the story to be authentic. It happened in the village named Glass, an hour’s drive from Wunderberg and an hour from the city of Salzburg.

A wedding was taking place in the village. A mountain man came down from Wunderberg to join the celebration towards evening. He exhorted all the guests to be sincerely cheerful. He demanded that everyone should be happy to honour the wedding celebration, and to express the happiness everyone should dance with him. None said no to him as well. He performed three dances with the bride and each of all young ladies with an extraordinary merriment, which all the guests at the wedding observed with sheer amazement. After the dance he thanked all and gifted all young ladies three gold-coins from an unknown land. Each coin would value hefty amount in the currency known to the village. Everyone understood that the coins would assure a happy and peaceful life of a Christ follower which would help ladies also baptize and educate all their children for a good pious life. The mountain man announced that the blessed people would hardly face any distress in life if the coins were used for money; only thing they would have to ensure was to live the life of a Good Samaritan, not turning too ambitious but always share their abundance with the neighbours.

That mountain man stayed with them till nightfall, and took a little amount of food and drinks from everyone so that none gets disappointed. After the celebration was over, thanking everyone again he requested the host that a boatman should take him towards the mountain across the river Salzach. Johann Ständl was a boatman who came there as a wedding guest eagerly accepted his proposition. They started sailing together. After reaching the destination, the boatman asked for reward and the mountain man humbly gave him three pennies. The boatman disdained that very little amount. However the little passenger told him not to be annoyed but keep the little amount instead. In future, those pennies would save him from his impious habits. He also gave the ferryman a small pebble saying, “You will never sink in water if you keep this tied in your neck.” The boatman came back that day. What a wonder! The pebble proved its power in the same year when the boat met an accident in the river.

The boatman followed the pious path and lived a happy life thereafter.

A medieval tale obviously created after the advent in Christianity in the mentioned region. Many of this kinds of stories praising the path of Christ and importance of following Christianity are scattered in entire Europe – giving an idea how the religion influenced people in remote villages once by proving its magical strength.

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