22 October 2013
All because of a deal between the Devil and the King: him and his kind renounce the light of day; in return, he shall find as much gold and as many precious jewels as his heart desires.
A metaphor of our modern times, perhaps? No, “les stories de Fanes é pö tröp plö vedles”, the Fanes legends were passed down orally from the very first people living in the Dolomites. Take ‘Auròna’ for example, one of many legends, stemming from a magical kingdom of a time long lost.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Karl Wolff, carrying nothing other but a notebook, set out on a journey lasting many years to trace the Dolomite legends. He patiently listened to the stories old Ladin people still remembered and duly wrote them down. This is how these legends found their way on paper and took on a wholly new shine.
To this day, people still disagree on the meaning of the word “Fanes”. Traces of “Mount Fanes” go as far back as the years 1002-1004. The plateau of the Fannes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park stretches out between Marebbe, Dobbiaco, Cortina and Badia. It is not your typical green pasture, a scraggy and rocky table, with lakes and wonder aplenty. Yet despite the long hike needed to reach it, curious excursionists and hikers are still attracted to it.
According to legend, right at the top, way up high, between Hoher Geisel and Cunturines, there once was a densely populated Kingdom and the Fànisburg, its fortress, lies atop the Cunturines and the groundhogs were its guardians.
But when the last King distanced himself from them the kingdom fell: he was its undoing. Today, you can still hear the whistles of the groundhogs, sitting in the shade of the Lagazuoi, between the cold rocks and warm, blinding rays of sun piercing the still, autumn air; as if the wind were trying to tell us something, tell us about the past splendour of the Fanes Kingdom, when man and nature were one.
Source: 2009, Karl F. Wolff, “Dolomiten Sagen” (Spectrum, Verlagsanstalt Athesia Bozen)