International Urban Legends: Switzerland

Today we head into Switzerland – hey it took a while to work our way through the Alps – and check out this country’s legends. Sorry, no chocolate-covered sweet legends to be found here.

The Devil’s Rock

Switzerland has its own Devil's Bridge legend.

The Devil’s Rock in the Canton of Uri in Switzerland

Apparently, you can’t trust the Europeans, especially if your Lucifer. Recall our stopover in France where we encountered the French version of the Devil’s Bridge? They trick the Devil into building a bridge in exchange for a soul. Only the soul turns out to be an animal’s and not a human’s.

Yeah, well the Swiss went and did the same thing in the Canton of Uri. Legend says that villagers wanted to build a stone bridge. Lo and behold a stranger appears with an offer to build it for them. The stranger is, of course, the Devil. All he wants in payment is the first soul to cross the bridge.

The bargain is struck and three days later the bridge is done. And the villagers send across a goat for the sacrificial first soul. Needless to say, Lucifer is displeased at being tricked – apparently for the second time – and chucks a huge rock at the bridge.

But his aim is even worse than his ability not to get tricked into stupid deals and the rock tumbled into the canyon below. If you travel to Göschenen you can see that rock today. The bridge? Long gone. Looks like the Devil might have gotten his due on this one.

The Matterhorn

Oh, you thought that the Matterhorn was just a ride at Disneyland, did you?

The Matterhorn in Disneyland is much smaller.

The Matterhorn – the real one – in Switzerland

The real Matterhorn is a mountain in Switzerland and legend says it was created by a giant named Cervin. But mountain building wasn’t an intentional act by the giant. Seems one day he was romping about and fell on a very large mountain.

So large was Cervin that all that remains of that mountain is the bit that was lying in the space between his legs when he landed. At nearly 4,500 meters in height – that just under three miles – that will give you an idea of just how big this giant was.

 

 

About the author

Richard Paolinelli


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