Legends from Unterwalden


Legends are orally communicated stories concerning incredible occurrences, many of which are rooted in real events. Long ago, before radio and television dictated how we whiled away the evening hours, people would gather round to hear these fantastical stories. Tales about guilt, atonement, God and the devil – here are three examples from Nidwalden:

The devil and Dallenwil Bridge

Many years ago as night was falling, someone stood there. No one knew who he was, so no one dared cross the bridge. One day, a few lads from Dallenwil decided they wanted to find out...

The witches' stone of Emmetten

In Emmetten's Kohl valley, the witches up on the Oberbauen alp wanted to demolish the newly built Chapel of the Holy Cross. A strong old witch carried the first huge stone down the slope on her shoulder with mighty leaps. On hearing the chapel's little Ave Maria bell, the witch lost her magic powers and her heavy load thrust her into the ground, where she still lies under the stone...

The cemetery cave

The emergence of water from the cave system at Ennetbürgen is impossible to predict. Anyone disbelieving of the power of the mountain spirit and calling for water at the entrance of the cave – as once a gypsy woman did – will not be able to escape the flood of water that sweeps them into the pool and buries them in the deeps...

Link to the stories

  • Stories from Unterwalden (German only) (462 KB)