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  4. The pale mountains

The pale mountains

Did you know that the Dolomites did not always have their current color? If you don’t know, then read here, what happened many centuries ago.

Once there was a sad and desperate son of a king. He had everything you can imagine, but he still had just one cherished wish: He wanted to travel to the moon. The people on earth of course couldn’t fulfill his dream and so the prince was deeply unhappy. One night he got lost in the wood. Suddenly he heard some voices, so he followed them and finally he found two little old men in a shiny metal box.

The old bearded men proclaimed to come from the moon, so the prince begged them to take him to the moon, too and after a while they agreed. Once arrived on the moon, the prince was happier than ever and immediately he fell in love with the gorgeous daughter of the moon king. The moon princess was so delighted by the brilliant red rhododendrons, which the prince brought as a gift, that she immediately fell in love, too.

On the moon, you must know, all the flowers were white – just like everything else. First, the prince was thrilled, but then step by step his eyes began to go blind from too much white. He could no longer stay on the moon and so he took the princess down on the earth. She brought some white flowers as a gift and began to plant them everywhere. The inhabitants were enchanted by the bright shining color of these flowers, so they called it edelweiss.

At the beginning the moon princess liked it to live on earth, but it didn’t take that much until she felt ill. She went back to the moon, because she feared that the huge black mountains around her would come closer and mash her. The prince wasn’t able to leave her, so he flew to the moon with her again. Just before he went blind, he had to return to earth – this time without the moon princess.

Now he was sadder than ever and so he left all the people and went into the woods, where he met a dwarf in a cave. The dwarf, who appeared to be a king, explained that he was looking for a country to live with his nation, the Salwàns, and he promised to reward the prince richly, if he would grant him a country. The prince told him his story and the dwarf king assured him to know a solution.

And so it was: One night all Salwàns climbed the black mountains and began to spin the moon. They plucked little shining threads of the moon and wrapped them around the whole mountain – until it began to glow white. This made it possible to the moon princess to come back to earth and the two lived happily ever after. And the Dolomites, the "Pale Mountains", kept their white color to this day.

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