THE HILL-MAN AT THE DANCE
OLD people have positively asserted that some years ago, at the celebration of a wedding in the village of Glass, a couple of miles from the Wunderberg, and the same distance from the city of Saltzburg, there came toward evening a little Hill-man out of the Wunderberg. He desired all the guests to be merry and cheerful, and begged to be permitted to join in their dance, which request was not refused. He accordingly danced three dances with some of the maidens of good repute, and with a gracefulness that inspired all present with admiration and delight. After the dance he returned them his thanks, accompanied by a present to each of the bridal party of three pieces of money of an unknown coin, each of which they estimated to be worth four creutzers. Moreover, he recommended them to dwell in peace and concord, to live like Christians, and, by a pious education, to bring up their children in goodness. He told them to lay up these coins with their money, and constantly to think of him, and so they would rarely come to distress; but warned them against becoming proud, and advised them, on the contrary, to relieve their neighbours with their superfluities.
The Hill-man remained with them till night, and took some meat and drink from each as they offered it to him, but only very little. He then renewed his thanks, and concluded by begging of one of the company to put him over the river Satzach, opposite the mountain. There was at the wedding a boatman, named John Ständl, who got ready to comply with the dwarf's request, and they went together to the water's-edge. As they were crossing, the man asked for his payment, and the Hill-man humbly presented him three-pence. The boatman utterly rejected this paltry payment; but the little man gave him for answer, that he should not let that annoy him, but keep the three-pence safe and he would never suffer want, provided he put a restraint on arrogance. He gave him at the same time, a little stone with these words: "Hang this on your neck, and you will never be drowned in the water." And of this he had a proof that very year. Finally, the Hill-man exhorted him to lead a pious and humble life, and being landed on the opposite bank, departed speedily from the place. [a]
[a] This tale is given by MM. Grimm, from the Brixener Volksbuch. 1782.