THE WIESBERG KNIGHT

Paznaun is an historical region, full of wild stories about clever people, forward-looking deeds, figures of good and evil – and the devil is usually never very far away. At least not in the legends. Today, a knight from See hunts Christians through Paznaun, and must atone for his sins for eternity.

On a sunny hill at the entrance to the Paznaun valley stands Wiesberg Castle. In the dim and distant past, a knight lived there, and he was rather an unpleasant soul. He was a bandit, and always ready for any mischief, because his fortress was impregnable. As a reckless bandit, he was immeasurably rich. So he had a long vault cut into the rock below his castle – for a skittle alley, where he played with golden bowls and silver pins. At the very time the Wiesberg knight was making trouble, the first apostles of the new Christianity were abroad throughout the land. They brought the new faith into the region over from Vintschgau and Oberinntal, but the knight prevented the Christians from settling in Paznaun. He tracked them down and persecuted them horribly, their priests especially so. And he was particularly wild in the days and nights which the Christians celebrated as holy days.

When the evil knight died and his body was carried to the tomb, his behaviour was avenged. He had to roam all night long as an unhappy ghost through the passageways and halls of his castle once more. And sometime he also mounted his death horse and rode through Paznaun. He chased after hunters and hikers so long that they took the long way round to avoid coming near him. Often you can see the wild knight burning as a fiery high fir tree in the wood – but only ever at night. As soon as the dawn breaks, he withdraws to the castle, descends into the deep and plays skittles with his equally evil knights. And he is so loud that you can still hear him in certain parts of the mountain.

Or so the story goes.