SAGAS FROM THE ALPSTEIN LAKES

 

Above the village of Sax, at the foot of the east Alsptein chain of mountains, the ruin of Hohensax castle can be seen high up on the castle mound. Over the centuries, strange stories have been told about this ruin, including the following tale.

 

The Count of Sax once ruled not only over a part of the Rhine valley, but also over the most beautiful meadows in the Alpstein mountains. He gave these meadows as a wedding gift to his son Heinrich when he married Elisabeth von Werdenberg, a countess' daughter.
 
One sunny day in late spring, the young couple left Hohensax castle on horseback to pay a visit to the summery meadows behind the Kreuzberg chain of mountains. The ride was long and steep, past Gadöl up to Gamadür, where the count owned a hunting lodge directly underneath the Saxer Gap. Here they stabled their horses and spent the night in the lodge.
 
The following day, they climbed up to the Saxer Gap on foot. There they sat down and enjoyed the views right down to Alp Fählen. Projecting rock formations rising up from grassy turf made the view out over the valley and over to Mount Altmann memorable. The young countess began to weep tears of joy; these flowed down to the ground, finally becoming a small stream, which slowly began to fill the valley at her feet – this is how Lake Fählensee came into being. When the overspill poured down over the Stiefel path into the valley of Sämtis-Alp, the torrent of water flowed round to a wooded rock below Alp Sigel, where the water again collected, forming Lake Sämtiser. This lake reflected the Widderalpstöcke mountain and the steep limestone rock face of Mount Dreifaltigkeit.
 
As the Countess' flood of tears slowly ebbed, she began to wonder what landscape might await discovery opposite, beyond Marwees ridge. Thus the couple climbed down to the Sämstis Rhine valley and steeply upwards to the Bogarten Gap. There they could scarce contain themselves as they gazed down on the idyllic landscape between Marwees and Säntis for the first time. Far below them, behind a rock plateau, lay a hollow which stretched all the way to Rossmahd.
 
At this sight, the countess once more began to weep tears of joy, which flowed down and filled the hollow slowly but surely: Lake Seealpsee was formed. For a long time, the couple admired the peaceful mountains and their reflections in the water. Then they tore themselves away in order to return to the hunting lodge behind the Saxer Gap before darkness fell. This is still, as it was then, the most arduous, but shortest access route from the Rhine valley to the summer meadows in Alpstein.