For generations there have been many legends shared among the inhabitants of the Dolomites always routed in the beautiful land and mountainous terrain surrounding them.
It is no wonder: the Dolomites are magical mountains and it is easy to spy an enchanted castle between the peaks, to confound the sun’s reflection in a mountain lake with a treasure, and to hear the singing of a lady in the wind.
One of the most beautiful and well-known legends tells how the Dolomites have come to their special, particularly pale colour:
Once upon a time, in the south of the Alps, there was a rich and fortunate kingdom. Its inhabitants lived a happy and carefree life – except for one, the king’s son, who was tormented by an ardent desire: he wanted to go to the moon.
One day, during a hunt, the prince lost his way in the forest and came across two very old men – inhabitants of the moon. They took the prince with themeselves on the moon.
Everything on the moon was a radiant white. The prince was taken before the King of the Moon, and when he saw his beautiful daughter he immediately fell in love with her. But soon he noticed that the intense silver light of the moon was damaging his eyesight, and he had to return to Earth. He took the beautiful Princess of the Moon with him as his wife. The princess was delighted with the colourful beauty of the meadows and the intense blue of the mountain lakes. But the dark and dismal hue of the high peaks was such a burden on the princess soul that she fell seriously ill and had to return to the moon.
There she was soon gripped by longing for her husband, while down on Earth the prince pined for his wife. He spent a lot of time in the forest, and one day he met the King of the Dwarves there, who told him the sad tale of his people, who had been driven from their land by invaders and now had nowhere to live. In turn the prince spoke of his lonely suffering. Suddenly the King of the Dwarves jumped up and cried, “Cheer up, Prince; we have found the answer. You give us permission to live in your kingdom, and we will ensure that the dark rock faces become radiant with the light of the moon.”
They shook hands to seal the agreement, and in the following nights the dwarves caught the moonlight ray by ray and laid it over the dark rock of the mountains. Then the princess returned to Earth and happiness to the realm of the Dolomites.
Adapted from the “Dolomite Sagas” by K.F. Wolff