LEGENDARY GIANTS AND ELVES

 

Appenzell legends not only tell tales of fairy-like mermaids and men and women with healing power, but also of giants and elves. You are sure to have heard the legend of the Säntis giant with his sack full of farmsteads, who was responsible for creating the scattered settlement.

 

Those who visit Locher brewery and, watch production processes, and observe how hardworking experts use natural ingredients to create products, can’t help thinking of the good elves of yore, who once used to come out at night to help folk. Elves once populated Alpstein too, as our next legend relates.

 

Between Ebenalp, Chlus and Chalbern, the northern tip of the Schäfler, there is a wide valley, walled in on three sides by almost sheer vertical faces of rock. This is the Gartenalp. Many, many years ago, this is said to have been on a level with Ebenalp. Back in those days, the caves in Alpstein were populated by the ‘little people’, as were the caves near Wildkirchlein. The Wildkirchli cave, however, was said to be merely the entrance into a far larger, subterranean cave hall, far larger even than the town square. And there was even a mountain lake inside this cave, which drained away somewhere unseen, into dark crevices of rock. Around the lake, the gnomes quarried rock and smelted ore, filling baskets full of green and blue crystals and pure gold. The adjoining caves served as living quarters and store rooms.

 

One day, as the elf king lay dying, he called his elf sons to his bedside and said that whichever of his sons managed to find the most crystals within seven days should be his successor. The sons thus began to dig wildly, their friends helping them as best they could.

 

Now it had always been the rule that not so much as a fingernail’s breadth was ever to be scratched in the rock face supporting the roof of the cave. But when the oldest brother began to use his pick on this wall, the other brothers soon followed suit, one after the other. And so the inevitable happened: by the middle of the week, large sheets and blocks of rock began to thunder down from the cave roof. The elves screamed and ran into the adjoining cave tunnels to save themselves, as the entire roof came crashing down, burying the elf kingdom and the subterranean lake forever under itself.

 

When, after many years, grass had grown over the site, and the Alemanni began to move into Säntis, they discovered between Ebenalp and Schäfler the beautiful Gartenalp, framed by mountain pines and alpine roses.

 

Do you know what other delights await discovery on the sunny veranda of Ebenalp Inn, besides mountain pines and alpine roses?

 

From behind, Mount Säntis, topped with blue snow, smiles a welcome; directly opposite, high over Lake Seealpsee, is Marwees, and to the left, the long mountain ridge of Alp Sigel. Here you will look in vain, however, for the rock faces of Mount Dreifaltigkeit – unless you’ve had a drop too much of a good thing, like Säntis Malt, Marwees Malt, Sigel Malt or Dreifaltigkeit Malt. Mount Dreifaltigkeit lies behind Marwees from this direction.