THE MAIDEN OF WASSERAUEN AND HER POT OF GOLD

In the lower meadow just beyond Schwende, a spring flows out of a rock, steady as a stream. The name of this spring is Tschuder.

 

Did you know that people born on a quatember fast day can see more than the ordinary person does? Hans-Ulrich, who was a quatember child, once journeyed into the Äueli Alp with two of his servants on Good Friday to see that all was well. As they passed the Tschuder spring, Hans-Ulrich saw a stunningly beautiful maiden sitting on a herdsman’s pot, which was full to the brim with gold coins. “Did you see what was on that rock?” he asked his servants. Nought but scrawny shrubs, they replied, and continued on their way. “I will follow you later; I want to take a closer look first!” Hans-Ulrich called to the two men. Then he went up to the rock and proffered the maiden a friendly greeting. Seen at close quarters, she was even more beautiful, with long hair that shone as brightly as the gold in her pot. So graceful was she that Hans-Ulrich asked, turning very red as he did so, whether she would become his wife. She agreed and added that he should return to the Tschuder spring the Saturday after Easter to collect her. But if there should be a storm, he must not turn to look over his shoulder, no matter what might happen behind him. If he should look back, he would no longer be able to release her, and she would remain a spirit for a further hundred years. Also, he must on no account fail to bring a Capuchin monk with him to pronounce a blessing; the monk would then also receive some of her gold.

 

Hans-Ulrich could barely await the day. He could think of nothing but the beautiful maiden and her pot full of gold. And then he thought to himself how good it would be to keep all the gold for himself; and when the day came, he did not take a Capuchin monk with him.
 
As soon as he came around the rock, a thunderstorm broke loose, with lightning and hail and thunder, but he walked on with singleness of purpose. The closer he came to the Tschuder, the worse the storm began to rage behind him. When a bolt of lightning crashed through the air right behind his back, he gave a start and turned to look. Then a large rock broke away from the slope and crushed him on the spot. For many years, people heard the maiden crying by the Tschuder spring every Good Friday.