FOREWORD TO THE 1ST ISSUE OF HIS "DOLOMITENSAGEN”
as issued by Athesia in 2003, are introduced by a “Foreword
to the first issue” (the present one), by one to the eighth
issue (next chapter, much widened) and by one to the ninth (this
one will follow). About this first foreword, dated 1913, I have
little to add; my remarks are postponed to the next chapter.
now exactly ten years since when I started collecting legends
in the Dolomites*). It becomes more and more
difficult one year after another. Since when Cassan,
a Trading Institute professor in Bolzano, a Fassan by birth, and
old Dantone have passed away, it’s almost
impossible to receive any more informations from the Fassa valley.
(Mr. Hugo von Rossi, at Innsbruck,
is the only man to still owns a lot of noteworthy material, which
with great caution he tries to further increase). In the other
valleys, as far as I know, the hopes to obtain something new are
even smaller. People believe that one is trying to mock them,
when he asks questions about the “veyes ditsh”,
ancient legends and traditions. They even worry denying the existence
of what one had learned in their same village years earlier.
The well-informed reader who should browse this book will notice
at once that I freely revised the legends. I believed being in
my own right to do so, because of the uncompleteness and of the
often striking contradictions that are present in the legends.
My revision is, however, not arbitrary at all, as I always did
my best, although trying to fill voids and level contradictions,
to do sot in the spirit of the inhabitants of the Dolomites. Owing
to my many-years work in the Dolomites, I believe having become
well acquainted with the spirit that pervades the poetry of the
inhabitants of the Dolomites. What I had in my mind was a revision
of the same type that Indian legends have known by Holtzmann;
he, too, integrated and modified, but every time with the strictest
respect for the environment and the conceptual world of the ancestral
With the greatest freedom I revised the tale of the “Great
Passion” [in Italian: La Lajadira”,
Transl.’s note]; here I grouped together five different
legends and tales: “The Great Passion”, “The
Glass Mountains”, “The curse of the roses”,
“The Layadüra” (with accent on ü)
and finally the story of a queen and her subjects. I grouped everything
together. “Glass mountains” means the icy peaks of
the main Alpine chain (see annotations to the tale). The Layadüra
is one of the lakes in Upper Italy, likely the Garda. This legend
on a blessed lake landscape is also common in the Grisons.
The “Salvaria” is the word-by-word translation
of an original text that I exactly transcribed from the words
of a Livinallongo Ladinian. The “Winter Herdsman”
[in Italian: The Hut on the Rosengarten, Transl.’s
note] is also a changeless rendering.
My collection doesn’t stop at the present book: I specially
wish to include the ancient epic of Fassa in a next issue.
remark has been interpreted by one of my critics in the sense
that I only started in 1903 to deal with the tales of the people
from the Dolomites. What is true, on the contrary, is that already
as a child I heard several such tales and they got impressed into
my memory. But in 1903 I started collecting them sistematically
on the purpose of publishing them.