A DEAD CHAMOIS OR REALLY A COW?

Paznaun is an historical region, full of wild stories about clever people, forward-looking deeds, figures of good and evil – and the devil is never very far away. At least not in the legends. Today, a hunter shoots a chamois and has a serious problem as a result.

Once upon a time a hunter, exhausted from the hunt, returned late in the evening to an empty hut. He laid his booty, a fat chamois, on the roof so that it would stay fresh. He sat down by the fire, but then suddenly heard a voice from outside, which was wailing: “Our cow is lying here! Oh, our cow! She’s dead!” The hunter opened the door and in came a terribly wild-looking woman dressed in white. She screamed at him, “You’ve killed our cow! I’ll rip you into pieces, you marauding marksman!”

The hunter wanted to defend himself, but the wild woman raised her hand – and the hunter was immediately frozen to the spot. He begged, and he said over and over again that it was a cow he’d killed, not a chamois. The wild little woman looked at him and said, “Now, this time you will be spared from this threatened punishment, but if you ever shoot one of our cows again, then you’ll be sorry! But so that you can recognize our cows forthwith, come to our stable, where you can see the cows clearly, and also the place where the cow got away from us.”

So the wild little woman took the hunter with her, and climbed higher and higher up the mountain with him, and at some point turned off with him into an underground cave. There were mangers everywhere, with a chamois attached to each one. All except for one. The wild woman pointed this one out to him and said, “Look, there is an empty space at that manger, this is where you shot one of our cows. Go home now, and do not harm our cows in the future.”

The hunter went away, and did not understand anything anymore. What had he shot then? He was definitely not allowed to shoot any more chamois in the future. This all upset him so much that he died soon after.