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News from the Tux Giant (legend)

A very long time ago, when the Alps were still the hunting grounds of wild animals like wolves and bears, a terrible giant came to the North Tyrolean Tux Valley from far away Italy. The farmers of the region, who barely had enough to eat for themselves and their families, had to provide food and drinks for the monster. The giant even threatened to eat some of the children, if he did not get enough to eat and drink. And he really was enormously hungry!

It happened that he ate an entire mountain sheep with antlers, bones, skin and hair all at once. And he needed bucketfuls of the lukewarm water that just came out of the mountain. But the worst was that the beast was not even thinking about leaving the region. Quite on the contrary: he dearly enjoyed the view to the glaciers and up the mountains.  

Moreover, he took great pleasure in bathing his feet in the warm spa water for hours. Much to the despair of the Hintertux people, he decided to stay for ever and asked for even more. He wanted the best and most beautiful of all Tux cows to be served as feast.

He commanded two young boys to take the noble animal down from the mountain pasture to the village. So they went on their way past "Kaiserbründl", "Schrauben-" and "Kesselfall". When the two came to pass the mysterious “Wale Mouth”, a giant rock, something scary happened: the forest ground next to the narrow path opened up and three “wild Mademoiselles” stepped from a cave.  

These "Saligen" had often helped the farmers and cured their sick cattle. It was believed that they lived in an ice palace deep in the glacier. Only once every hundred years they allow good-hearted people to see them. The boys were frightened and fell on their knees in front of the beautiful women. The "Saligen" promised to help them. They advised the two boys to hide the small cow-flock in a cave behind the big "Kunerfall". And as suddenly as they appeared they vanished again. Only the “Frauenhöhle” (“Women Cave”) remained.

The country boys returned and told the giant that the cows had disappeared without a trace. The beast got so angry that the earth beneath its feet began to tremble. He hit the opposite mountain so hard that a massive rock roared down the valley! The cloud of dust could be seen all through the valley. The rockslide can still be visited today ("Schmiedljoch")!

But then the giant started looking for the cows. He walked up the Wandspitze Mountain because from there he had the best view over the valley.  He looked across to the waterfalls, glanced at the glaciers and discovered something sparkling – a huge deep black rock crystal. Out of curiosity he approached the crystal. The closer he got the greedier he became. He had to own this black crystal, because it was said (and is still said) to have mysterious powers. Right when he was about to grab the jewel, the icy ground started to crackle and a gaping abyss swallowed the monster!!!

One last cry of agony was heard …. Weeks later the first autumn snowstorm swept over the glaciers and the crater disappeared for good.  Since then time has passed by, people have come and gone, but this story has been handed down from generation to generation.

Today, thousands of years after the event, most of the people believe that the enormous ice masses of the Hintertux Glacier are the remains of the Tux Giant. Some recognise shape and mind of the giant in the snow figure at the Lärmstange Mountain. Does he want to tell us that unkindness, blind rage and terror will finally lead to catastrophe?

Author: Roman Erler

Source: Zillertaler Heimatstimme, 64th volume, edition no. 24, 20 June 2010