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THE ALPINE PASTURE OF SIUSI AND THE PROMISED TIME

Legend remains faithful to itself. Generations change

(Chamisso: German national legends: The Peartree.)

King Laurin of the Rosegarden possessed, towards the north of his kingdom a large hunting forest which contained white deer and shining pheasants. The forest was formed by needle trees and in their cones were good nuts. Hundreds and hundreds of chamois grazed all around upon the mountain slopes, right up as far as the gaping clefts, and a man named Partschott was keeper of the wide hunting region. He mowed the meadows on the edge of the Rose­garden and kept the hay in sheds in order to feed the hungry deer and chamois in the hard wintertime.

Thus Partschott worked for many years and the deer over which he watched were increasing more and more.

Then it happened that the King changed the wonderful Rosegarden into stone, moving down with all his court to the deepest rock halls, and only the poor huntkeeper outside, was forgotten by the king. When Partschott came out in the evening from the thicket on the meadow, he saw with astonishment, instead of the fragrant Rosegarden, wild towering rocks. No amount of calling and searching in all directions was of any help; the cold stoneworld lay dead out there, and Partschott was obliged to remain on his meadows.

The good old man did not grow irritable on that account; he built a hut on the Dosso Grunes, where the chamois ran about in large numbers, and he continued to do his work as he had done it year in, and year out.

After a short time, however, he was troubled by strangers who impudently broke into the forest and hunted the beautiful deer. In addition they soon drove their cattle on to the meadows, and behaved generally as if they had always been the lords of the place. The poor, abandoned Partschott tried to get on with the people as well as he could, but he constantly besought them not to extirpate the game. When they took possession of his haysheds and burned down large tracts of forests in order to enlarge the meadows, he became angry, never spoke a word to the people and avoided their company. But the people cared little about him, brought still more cattle there and kept on driving back the forest, building new sheds and huts. So, little by little, the hunting-region of the king of the Rosegarden became a large mountain-pasturage, and the faithful Partschott wandered restlessly around, mourning for his vanished game. Of the white deer only one was left, and it had fled to the forest of Hauenstein. The last golden pheasants flew up to the high rock-tops, which are called "Denti del Cavallo" and there, today, they are still to be seen, fluttering around when the evening sun is playing with the jags. Of the beautiful needle-forest only a few strips remain.

At last, the people forgot old Partschott altogether, and afterwards when they saw him walk through the forest they thought he was an evil spirit and feared him. In time he became more and more retiring, and now he is never to be seen. The old shepherds, however, know that he is haunting the place, and they all call him: "the spirit of the Alpine pasture of Siusi."

In autumn when the cattle are up there no longer, and only the wind is blowing across the lonely pastures, the bearded Partschott comes up in the early morning, goes slowly to the Dosso Grunes and looks about the deserted mountain. He sees that he must still wait and he goes forward silently and vanishes in the Sciliàrrocks.

And once every autumn he will have to make this journey, and he will have to keep on making it, for longer than very old people can remember. But after a vast number of years, when in the dawn the faithful Partschott again steps across the silent autumnal mountain-pasturage, up to the Dosso Grunes, he will see the singer, Oswald von Wolkenstein, standing there in full armour. Then old Partschott will cry out exultantly, and from the mountains all around, a thousand calls will sound.

The promised time has now arrived when everything becomes as it has been in the past. Oswald von Wolkenstein begins to sing his songs which were long since dead, the Rosegarden arises in its old splendour, the vanished mountainpalaces again appear, from Lusia to the Pitia, and all the ghostly queens, princesses and spleeping dwarfs awake to a new life.

The cembra-pine forest will extend itself and cover the mountain-pasturage of Siusi as far as the Dosso Grunes, and on King Laurin's newly-rosed huntingground old Partschott will watch the deer, as once he did in the gray old days.

This is the legend of the alpine pasture of Siusi.