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Different Views of the Mountains

by Theresa König last modified 2007-11-08 09:41

The description of Mount Vallüla by Mr. Battlogg and the legend about the whirlwind reflect two different ways of looking at the mountains.  The first report shows enthusiasm and admiration for the mountains.  Alpinism had started to set in, in Battloggs time and the mountains no longer portrayed a desolate and dangerous no-mans land.  Instead they encouraged adventurousness and courage from certain people.  Here we are talking about the real point of mountain climbing where nature is visited just for itself. 
The legend about the Zamang Alp, on the other hand, shows us a completely different perspective.  Here, the mountains are a part of the life of the farmers who know the mountains through their working on them.  On the other side, the mountain is a treacherous place full of dangers but where they had to work.  There was no place here for aesthetic contemplations.  Weather phenomena and other natural occurrences for which there were no logical explanations were therefore explained by connecting them to the devil‘s work, demonic activities or, as in the legend, witch‘s dances.
The following dialogue shows the unusual, and under certain circumstances, horrible ideas the townsfolk had about having to climb up to the peak of a mountain, and maybe even having to do it at night.

Franz Josef Battlogg relates a conversation between a student and his God-father while they are walking in the mountains:

Student:  Godfather, aren‘t we going to turn off to go to the Vallüla Alp?  Time is marching on and I don’t relish the idea of taking the path at night.
Godfather:  No, son, we are going to the peak.
Student:  What?  To the peak?  But Godfather, you didn‘t say anything about that!
Godfather:  That doesn‘t mean I wasn‘t thinking about it.  I have been wanting to do this for a long time now.
Student:  But nightfall is coming and the peak is dangerous, isn‘t it?
Godfather:  The night is what I wanted my boy.
Student:  Well, at least there is a full moon tonight and it promises to be light.
Godfather:  Moonlight can be tricky.  The precarious places can be left in the shadows…
Student:  Do you mean that you aren‘t going to descend again in the dark?
Godfather:  Certainly not.
Student:  In that case I have to presume that we are going to spend the night under a cliff.
Godfather:  Exactly, and right at the peak.
Student:  And we will stay at the peak until the morning?
Godfather:  That‘s right.
Student:  That‘s a terrible thought! (his face goes pale)
Godfather:  That‘s what‘s the most interesting about the whole thing.
Student:  But Godfather, we don‘t have any warm clothing with us.  No blankets or coats.  No fur hat or gloves.  What will happen to us?
Godfather:  We also don‘t have any wine.  But there is a bit of wood up there.
Student:  And what happens if a storm blows up.  If a thunderstorm surprises us and puts out the fire and pushes us over the peak?
Godfather: Well, my boy, we will just have to hope for the best.
Student:  And what if we freeze to death - what then?
Godfather:  Before we freeze to death, we will jump all over the peak and clap our hands together and stamp our feet.
Student: Oh! What a night this is going to be!


P07-3_Different Views.mp3

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