THE LAND OF FABLES

Paznaun is a really bloodthirsty part of the world – at least, Paznaun as it appears in local legends. A place where women possessed by the devil get up to mischief, poor workmen make pacts with Satan, and witches meet up to dance at night.

Episode 1: The not so bloody legend of a kind of Alpine Sisyphus

A herdsman in the Paznaun valley had been having problems for some time with one of the cows he tended. The animal kept getting separated from the herd, trotting away and getting lost in the high pastures. When the cow disappeared once again and the shepherd had to look for it for hours, it all became too much for him.

As usual, when he found the cow, he gave it a beating – but this time he went a step further. The herdsman laid down tree bark over a deep ditch near the herd, making it look like a solid bridge. When the cow came to this place the following day and wanted to walk over the bark, it broke, of course – and the cow plunged to its death. Because the farmer who owned the cow suffered great damages as a result, he placed a curse on the herdsman from that time on.

A while later, the herdsman died unexpectedly. Since then, he has wandered the mountains as a ghost, and is forced to carry a cow out of the ditch – where his runaway fell to its death – up to the top of the mountain each day. But every time, just before he reaches the top, the cow escapes and runs away. And so it starts from the beginning all over again.