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THE COLOUR SPLENDOR OF THE LAKE OF CAREZZA

On the water-mirror of the lake of Carezza, one sees all colours. Other lakes are blue, or green, or black, but the lake of Carezza shows blue and green, side by side, with gray, yellow and red glimmering between them. Some think this is due to the brightness of the jewels hidden on the bottom of the lake, but this explanation is not correct, because what one sees on the lake of Carezza are not the sparkles of jewels but the colours of the rainbow. Accordingly the lake of Carezza was called "rainbow-water" by the Dirlinger, and they said the rainbow was dissolved in the lake, for in the earliest days of the Dirlinger it happened as follows:

In the lake of Carezza there lived a beautiful water-nymph who often sat singing on the shore, but dived hastily into the water if anyone came near. In the big forest which leads up to the Latemar dwelt a wicked sorcerer who, one day, having seen the water-nymph, determined that she should become his own. Each day he came to the lake, and when, the little water-nymph, seeing him, vanished in the water, he began to curse in a terrible manner. Some times he became so wrathful that he brought up dreadful thunderstorms behind the Latemar and flashed dozens of lightnings into the lake. But the water-maid did not care, and she laughed at his furiess. After a while he realised that he could achieve nothing in this manner so tried other means, By using his black magic he transformed himself into an otter, and on the next day, at noon-time, he crept cautiously across the f orest, for he knew that the water-maid was sitting on the shore in the sun. Soon he could hear her song and he thought: this time you will not escape me again. But, as always happened. when the nymph sang, many birds came and perched upon the trees nearby to listen and to learn from her song, and they saw the otter creeping insidiously along. They, therefore, started to chirp loudly and fluttered anxiously around, for they loved the little nymph and saw the great danger she was in. The little maid, seeing the birds so troubled, suspected mischief, and dived. The sorcerer immediately jumped after her, swimming across the lake to catch the fleeing nymph. In the water, however, she was quicker than he, and all his otter speed could not help him. He was furious with the birds for having warned the nymph, and he contemplated cutting down all the trees and taking them away so that the birds could sit there no more; but then he saw that this would leave no *covering for himself, and that he could be seen by the nymph if he did so.

Being angered and irritated by everything, one day the sorcerer went up to the Rosegarden to a cave where dwelt a "Stria del Masarè" (witch of the boulders). He told her all, including his trouble. The witch laughed, saying:

"You pretend to be a sorcerer, and you are not even able to manage a little nymph. A child that's what you are not a sorcerer."

At this the sorcerer became angry, intimating that the matter was not quite so simple. He had also consulted two other sorcerers, but they knew no more than himself.

Then the witch laughed, more pleased than ever, and said that she would advise him.

"The little nymph", she said, "has never seen a rainbow. You must make a beautiful one on the towers of the Latemar and let its foot rest on the surface of the lake of Carezza. As soon as the, nymph sees the glittering rainbow she will be curious to know what it is. In the meantime you must transform yourself into an old dealer, with a long white beard, and carry on your back a sack full of golden bracelets and tinsel. Then you will come down the forest and approach the lake shore, not creeping slowly, but with firm steps and apparently without any set purpose. Catch the rainbow in your hand, saying, as you do so: "Oh, look, are not these the exquisite tissues from which the incomparable air jewels are made?" Then you will cut off a piece and put it into your sack, and in doing so, you will let the gold and tinsel fall out. The little waternymph, who possesses no such things, will be unable to control her curiosity and will try to speak to you.

You must keep quite calm and composed, and tell her about the princesses who have ordered airjewels from you. You must tell her that you have all kinds of jewels with you, as you are a dealer, and finally you must, invite her to look at your goods. After that the nymph will not be able to resist any longer and will come to you."

It was clear that the sorcerer believed this, for he was very glad. On that very same day he climbed up the Latemar-towers and let down a beautiful rainbow over the forest as far as the lake of Carezza. The little nymph swam up and looked wonderingly at the splendid colours. Full many a jewel lay on the bottom of the lake, but they were covered with sand and the nymph had never seen them. The sorcerer, watching down from the height of the tower and seeing the nymph so fascinated by the rainbow, thought he was now sure of his ground and ran down the forest. In his excitement he forgot to assume the appearance of a dealer and he went along in his usual shape. As he approached the shore of the lake the nymph heard him coming, and looking at him, she recognised him and dived down.

The sorcerer became terribly enraged; he tore up trees and hurled around large boulders. Finally he seized the rainbow and thrust it down into the lake. Then he went up to the mountains and was never seen again.

The rainbow dissolved in the water and its colours spread themselves over the surface of the lake. That is why the water, on the lake of Carezza, glimmers with such wonderful colours. They are not the colours of water, but the colours of the rainbow which swims on the mirror of the lake.

By some Ladins, the lake of Carezza is also called "Lek del ergobande" (rainbow-lake).