Well known are the myths and legends around the Grettenberg – where the Hutstein rock is a part from – close to the villages of Oberkappel and Hutstein.
Holzmännlein and Holzweiblein
When I first visited the ‘Hutstein’ I was told by an old lady sitting in front of her house in the hamlet of Hutstein that I should take care of the ‘Holzmännlein’ in the forest there, which she already met.
Male and female dwarfs, inhabitants of the forest, of whom there are countless, can still be found today, as the inhabitants of the area assure.
For example, a farmer once saw an ancient woman, barely half a meter tall, collecting spruce and pine cones in his huge humpback basket. Suddenly, however, she turned to the farmer and ordered him to carry the basket and follow him. But the peasants took fright, and he ran away as fast as he could.
The next morning, however, his hayfield was littered with thousands of cones, which he had to laboriously remove before he could dry and bring home his hay. It remained enigmatic how the little woman had scattered the countless baskets full of cones across the meadow. Certainly the whole little people of Grettenbergwald had helped him.
When I visited last time I was told that the cave at the Hutstein is still existing nowadays and that it was used no so long time ago, i.e. last century, by an elderly women who was said to live there and steal hens around this area.
The fact that the Grettenbergwald near Oberkappel is not quite scary is something the kids already know, and how much more so are the elderly. A whole series of stories tells of strange things that have taken place there in the high, mighty mountain forest and even still carry on. The forest extends far over the ridge towards Kollerschlag and thus directly adjoins the Bohemian rocks with its dark, towering forests. Far scattered farms and mountain inlets are characteristic of him.
Wild-romantic it looks in the Grettenbergwald also. At the height of the mountain, when you come from Oberkappel or from the village Grettenbach, there are countless rocks, moss-overgrown, some covered by raspberry bushes with wonderfully large and sweet fruits. These rocks, however, are sometimes piled on top of each other as if by a giant hand, round like loaves of bread and as smooth as they are: ancient rock. In some of them are small caves and in them live goblins, gnomes, but also evil creatures.
It was not so long ago that wolves used to live there, and the glow of their eyes may have given risen many ghost stories. The fox is still in autumn and winter almost daily guest in the lonely mountain farms.
A slap with consequences
At the turn of the century, the house “Fuchs” in Hutstein was owned by the Falkner family, house name “Petern-Poldl”. There were several sons who preferred to relax rather than work. At a dance event in Pfarrkirchen they came up one day with locals in dispute. One of the “Petern Poldl” boys hid behind a tombstone in the cemetery. But the persecutors found him. Then he tore out a wooden, heavy grave cross and struck out. He met one of the guys so hard that he died. After the imprisonment, the “Petern Poldl” came back to Hutstein and one day after a long stay in the tavern in Oberkappel only about midnight on Osterwasser went back through the forest to Hutstein. In the middle of the forest he suddenly had the feeling that someone was standing next to him, but he could not see anyone. Suddenly he felt a huge slap in the face and he knew it had to be from the ghost of the slain guy. Fearfully he ran the rest of the way home quickly, told a brother and later had an oak cross erected at this point.
The golden latch
Once a farmer went to cut short his way, not on the street – the beautiful, wide street that today leads over the Grettenberg, is not yet built – but through the forest. It was around the advent season and thin mists of fog moved between the tall trunks.
Suddenly a man came along a narrow path. He was a stranger the farmer had never seen, wore a strange, wide coat around his shoulders. He went next to him and asked kindly where from and where to, the farmer informed and also asked for his part. He did not have a long way to go, he would be home in five minutes, said the stranger. The farmer was astonished to hear such a thing, for there was no home or yard here, far and wide. He had grown up here, he knew it.
“Yes,” the stranger replied to his astonished question. “You do not have to live in a house, it does a palace too,” and he laughed brightly.
The farmer felt very uncanny, but he finally said that there was no palace here either.
“Yes, yes, good man, but people do not see him, because they close their eyes to the goods of the world and think only of heaven, which is so uncertain,” said the stranger.
In this moment the farmer knew who his companion was.
Suddenly the forest became light and dazzling white walls shimmered through the trees. The farmer’s eyes and mouth opened and the stranger laughed again.
“Do you see that there is a palace here, for there is a small gate in the wall, take the latch in your hand and open it.”
The farmer did as he was told and already held the handle in his hand, but then God and his soul came to mind, shouting loudly in his distress: “God and mercy!”
Then there was a terrible thunderclap, stunned, the farmer fell down, and around him was nothing but the dark forest. No trace of a castle, no trace of a white wall or door. He thought he had dreamed, but he was holding the handle in his hand. It had all been true.
The farmer, his heart pounding, hurried to his destination, bathed in sweat he arrived home and told his adventure. The handle, it turned out, was made of pure gold.
The farmer brought it to the pastor, who consecrated the gold, and it was made a narrow, fine frame like for a relic of a saint. For a long time, this relic brought luck and blessings to the yard.
During the turmoil of a war, the picture was lost, in what way later no one could say, and it never reappeared.
During road construction
The construction of the road at the Grettenberg also had strange things about which people still have a lot to tell.
That it was not right for the eerie, mostly invisible beings who inhabit the Grettenberg-forest, through which a beautiful, wide road leads nowadays, and they tried to prevent the construction of the road – and as they did not manage it they wanted to delay it.
Already in the first days of the construction the invisible ones became noticeable. Every morning part of the previous day’s work was destroyed, so it took hours and hours to reconstruct, and from the very beginning there was a great delay. Since one finally could not believe that a person would be interested in preventing the work, one soon thought of the uncanny ones of the Grettenbergwald. And right! They tried holy water, which was blasted over the last work in the evening, and the next morning they found the work, how it had been abandoned and in order.
Then the uncanny moved to another means: when it was twelve o’clock noon and the workers did not immediately stop working to eat, a mighty call sounded from the forest. The workers looked up in astonishment, but did not put away shovels and staples immediately. Then suddenly a gust of wind came down from the forest and it stood on a rock, which rises in the middle of one of the mountain fields, a man, wrapped in a dark coat, and shouted with a mighty voice:
“It beats twelve!” and he disappeared again.
There they stopped for lunch.
The same thing happened at five o’clock. Then they knew that the evil would not tolerate, if they worked even a minute longer than was prescribed. The uncanny could not prevent the construction of the road, but they delayed it seriously.
But since the road is finished, the man in the coat has finally disappeared, he never showed himself again.