It was the sweet, acetous, lovely smell of fresh earth and after the first flowers in the air, the Pilgrim loved. He felt it would be another good year.


Anywhere in the settlement, people were trying to repair the snow and wind over the heavily battered in winter forest huts with fresh branches. The dull -sounding blow of the ax, the creaking and groaning of the trees when they start slowly in a certain direction to move and fall, and the rhythmic sound of the saw, the shouts and voices of the people, boisterous laughter of children and the blocks of the sheep is Pilgrim for a familiar sound. Since childhood he goes every year in the forest.


He had always spent time in the woods together with Marzon, the healer, the last few years. He was there when the sick were healed, or animals were sacrificed to the gods to vote gracious.
Much Marzon had taught him, and he, Pilgrim was an apt pupil. This year, wanted him Marzon not have with him, he should build his own hut, he was now old enough.


While Pilgrim was busy with the last work came Marzon before his hut. " Pilgrim, I have passed on to you the last few years in the forest my knowledge, now it is time that you make yourself alone on the way to receive in the mountains of the gods the power for your future work as a healer. Go and seek your totem animal. When the moon begins to fill the second time it's break time for you. Until then, stick to what I have taught you, fasting, sacrifice, and prepare your body and your mind on this path before. "


Pilgrim was surprised, never previously had Marzon so clearly spoken to him. He felt pride and fear at the same time rising in his chest, how should he do it all alone to find his totem animal? Up there where so many dangers lurking.


The longer he went on his way inside, collected his thoughts through fasting and sacrifice, the safer he felt, to take the strain on yourself. In his mind he went the way to the first place of sacrifice, and then the steep climb to the mountain sanctuary, again and again, again and again. He knew he would be a special trip, a journey that will change his life, he knew when he returns he will be equipped to me the powers of the gods.


Never before has he seen so intense the change of nature, every day he looks at his environment intensively. He can feel the change in the nature in itself as part of the whole. It's all natural.
Marzon is not one of them, but he can think of in the clan since Pilgrim. The ancients tell Marzon had come over the mountains, they respect him very much even though he is not one of yours.
As for the second rises this evening the moon times since the invitation of Marzon as sickle behind the big Göll comes back Marzon him at the hut : "I see you're well prepared you, you're ready for the path to the gods, it 's time. Here I have a protection for you in this pouch sewn in, it will give you strength and I keep everything for what is to come. Here are a piece of bread as provision for the climb. When you come you'll be someone else, you're going to take my place in our family once again. Take the time of silence and find your totem animal. I wish you strength and happiness on your way and a safe journey home, we wait for you, but only you know the time of return. You will determine it. "He once locked him in his arms and went back without a word.
The next morning he began his journey to the gods, heavily laden, he rose early in the morning before sunrise on the way. All were still asleep. The path to the sea, he knew very well.
The paths are familiar to him, he feels the dewy plants, smelling the musty smell of the coated mushrooms and lichens old giant trees. First mist run through the damp forest, a sign of the lake he will reach soon. As he begins his way with him thousands of birdsong in the morning. They welcome the new day. Each tone carries him and takes him into a completely different world.
When he reached the lake he sees a beautiful old deer with his magnificent antlers. The majestic stag turns him on his head. The animal remains motionless for a moment, then turns and moves gracefully into the forest.


This time of year the hunters have not yet been broken for deer hunting, nor have the animals fear not lost. For Pilgrim the deer was sacred, it was a good sign for the beginning of his way.
With great force he draws a dugout into cold water. Mist wafting across the lake. He puts out to sea, the arrow-shaped bow waves propagate silently over the surface of the lake.
This early in the morning, the high rock walls seem even darker, more frightening as usual Completely lost in thought he rows out to the wide long lake. Surrounded by the huge mountains its transience is aware it.


His thoughts circle back to its starting point. Since his childhood he moved with the transhumant each year in the forest. Here you can find the animals enough to eat, here they are left to live their lives. No sir was interested in whether they were free or unfree.


In his mind's eye he takes Virgil true with his rough raspy, loud and unintelligible stammering words. His misshapen round head, his wide -set eyes and his big hump exactly what make it a mockery of the people, but here in the forest he could supervise a small herd and he was eating. He saw Virgil's eyes widened and his laughing mouth he wanted to say something to him but Pilgrim could not understand it. The face vanished from him.


It was as though Virgil to tell him something important but he could not understand him.


Marzon has passed him in the last few years all his knowledge of the ancient fathers. He should continue to wear it and complete.


As he rowed so lost in thought was the headland is visible from where the trail then lead him to the upper mountain sanctuary. With a dark, dull thud, the boat anchors ashore.


Before he embarks on his journey, he picks some flowers that grow along the way. He goes with them to the stone circle, the very outside on the promontory, it is the point of a last glance releases to the familiar surroundings of the mountains, very far back.


It is the place to visit the shepherds before they leave with their animals in the solitude of the mountains. It is the place where they celebrated when their hunters have again killed a bear, who had torn their sheep. He remembers the fire of solstitial top of the Feuerpalfen, he suddenly sees the flickering flames, hear the blaze of fire and quite unexpectedly he is aware of Virgil again, his large eyes, a scream ripped open mouth and then e could not understand anything. He does not know what it meant this. Was he in danger, or it was Virgil who needed him?


He asks the gods for their protection against wild animals and then embarks on his way to the mountain sanctuary above the lake.


The rise appears to him more onerous than usual Often he perceives the dull pounding of his heart on his temple. Clouds gather, the sky is overcast, it cools down noticeably.


Again and again he must seek the way, here is the molehill is there the Finke head further back he sees the big stone man, he's on the right track, he summarizes new courage.


His sack hanging on the floor and the load pushes hard on his shoulder.


Based on the walking stick he climbs the steep path to the top. He knows the way, the roaring waterfall. Above the water cascade he crossed the brook traveling on a fallen tree. As if drawn by an invisible hand takes him under the water seems to speed in order to further bring down a few feet in depth.


When the other side is reached, he breathed with relief. For him, it is one of the most dangerous parts of the road. The path leads him further up, it has become quiet in the forest, it whistles no more bird, it's almost oppressive, it's cold, the clouds hang low.


A little later, he opened this lovely rock landscape that so fascinated him because of the bizarre forms. Each rock there can tell its own story.


Expands on the great depression of the countryside, a very steep climb lies ahead now. Previously, he makes a short rest in order to strengthen and gather his forces.


The sun coming through the clouds and transforms the dark forest suddenly into a lovely landscape, smells unfold. A miracle happens. He pulls the sun into itself, it is quiet except for the birds in the round that are reawakened to new life.


He drinks from his water bag, it 's so good.


He remembers the loneliness, and feel fear come up in itself. Left and right of him are dark and high vertical rock walls, we must now ascend, where he will meet no more. If something happens to him here, no one can help him. Painfully, in unending expanse of effort he drags himself up. At the top he has to cross a wide snowfield, it's still early in the year. From up here, he has one last look back to the mountain where they always at the solstice fire. Further back, he knows the place where his village is not visible but deep down for him now. He knows that he will not see it for a long time.
Up here, nature is much further down in the valley, here just the beginning of spring.


After the steep climb in between the two cliffs, he feels the small broadens and the sink as unspeakably beautiful and liberating. He sits down on the grass, watched the butterflies and bees that do their job. He can appeal from the plants, they tell him what they help. He keeps it as it had taught him Marzon.


The clouds move over, white, gray, in a variety of ever changing forms. He tries to understand her character. He sees many images come and go. Again, unexpectedly, unexpectedly reappears Virgil the boobies, clearly he perceives it in his inner, again had eyes and mouth open to scream. He believes loud audible screams " woman ", then melts the picture and he is back in the here and now to hear him as he is.


He breaks again, the boulder field goes back further up, he goes the old animal paths, animal exchange. The animals are his brothers, he always looks are what. You show him the way to the top. At the top of the path is more cumbersome, snow from last year has accumulated in the pit.


For a moment he is startled, he looks at the way the imprint of a bear's paw. He knows exactly how dangerous an encounter with these animals can be.


He slipped in the snow during traction, must now stop the fight, he tires easily, this time the way harder for him as usual falls, he feels dull, powerless. He has the feeling of an impending disease would show up. He still does not have the rides, the trembling, the hot skin, yet he can go, he knows what it means if he does not go any further now, if he now ill. Up here he is alone, no one would help him.
He makes breaks and he continues to move through the labyrinth of stones of no return, as they call the people in the forest below. They are, in fact, for the uninitiated, the uninitiated. But he knows the characters by which it can be directed.


He notes how it is different this time as usual, perhaps the nightmare already laying on his chest. He gets scared, the sun is drawing to a, it is quiet, eerily quiet.


The sun disappears behind a wall of clouds. It runs behind the rocks a gray wall along it cools, freeze his hands. At one provided with engravings sacrificial stone he puts into it a handful of dried berries, for a good return.


Him suddenly steals a inexplicable sadness, the landscape is changing, everything seems so dark.


He is filled with an inexplicable sadness. His usually cheerful nature has changed, as an unknown heavy load pushes it to him. He can not explain this change
He wanders further and come to a steep path to a bend in the road he sees the lake, which relief spreads in it.


The sky opens up again, the sunset bathes the cliffs around the lake in beautiful bright brown-red.


The lake is calm, down in the valley floor, in the water surface reflects the mountain round. Slowly, the last ray of sun disappears, the first harbingers of the night appear, it dawns.


Within a small radius it looks dry branches for a fire around his body has cooled to warm. The fire is vital to collect for him to forces and to protect themselves from the wolves that wander back through the woods. He had seen their trail while climbing.


Long he turns with his hands the firewood until finally glimmers of tree sponge and catches fire. The fire will burn badly, it smokes strongly. The wind drives him the acrid smoke into his eyes, he coughs. But the fire is the sun of the night for him, he can feel the warmth on the front, and the cold of the night in his back, he takes the smoke like to purchase.


Slowly, the humidity of the night comes., He sees the stars begin to twinkle bright and clear over it. First one, then more and more until there are countless points of light, which extend over him. A screech owl calls. He hears the wolf howl afar. Is he on his trail ?


He crawls under a rocky outcrop to be protected from the weather, if it is inaudible sneaking in the night.


The forces of darkness take him, take possession of him, from his heart, he falls asleep. In the dream, he encounters Virgil again, he comes shuffling step toward him, takes him by the hand "come with me, to a woman, come with me to wife," he refuses to follow the boobies, but he grasps tightly to and drags him along to above. Pilgrim wakes up startled. He puts back some wood on the coals, and sleeps in the light of the flickering fire again.


The cold wakes him up before the sun comes up over the mountains. It's morning. Still a little groggy from sleep and thoughtfully the dream of today's night, he stokes the fire one last time to warm up. When he is fully awake, he sets out to prey on the mountain sanctuary. A stone circle is a spiritual space, a grove which he enters. There he performs the rites of his ancestors. Then he goes back to the camp strengthened.


He takes a piece of bread, chewing it, down by the lake, he takes a sip of cold water, he feels completely cooled down, he trembles, he feels bad, sick, yet he wants to follow today the path that has long been irritating him, he wants to go high, where none of them was. Maybe there's a place of power that can protect all his family. The people in the village who once told Marzon had come over these mountains, maybe he finds his destiny.


As the sun with all its power and beauty comes over the mountain and warms him his back, he feels again strengthened its laborious way to continue to climb uphill. Packed heavy he continues.
A deer emerges from the forest into the clearing, for him it seems a good sign.


He feels every step, in a daze, he drags himself uphill. The Rise of him falling even harder today than yesterday. He has to draw the impression the ghosts start at him and tug, will not let him into their realm. He already feels his grip on his body, he can only with difficulty breathing.


The landscape is changing for him, he looks forward builds on itself, he 's afraid. Is it the Watze come get him ?


Hard he holds the amulet from bones in his hands, ds has given him Marzon along the way, he knows it helps against the savage fellows, Laurin will not come to get him into his kingdom. With the characters he has power over them. His dwarves will not be able to pull in the mountain him.


He overcomes his fear and so penetrates further into a world completely unknown to him. He passes through a valley where walk marmots, he hears their shrill warning whistle.
He takes the environment no longer true. He is hot, he has the feeling to turn. Suddenly he hears behind him a whistle, he turns and sees a white marmot. He is frightened, that was for him a special sign. It is his totem animal, he feels it, he knows for sure. Now nothing goes wrong. He knew that he is now on the right track. Strengthened by this experience, he continues on his way. Mountain spirits speak to him in the delirium. Dream and reality begin to merge. He rushes back and it is Virgil, the crazy bends laughing loudly over him.


***


The day started with a great sunrise. For them, it's always a new gift to take their lives into their hands.


The sun is high in the sky, the warmth brings the plants to grow, the animals move again in search of food through the undergrowth.


After the long winter they appreciate it very much to raise fresh grass and forest plants.


Leoba, watching them graze. She is glad that the weather has improved, too long did the winter up here this year, a few weeks longer and you would be the fodder assumed for their animals, they had been lucky. It also could end otherwise, how long it will still persevere, how long will their power ?. It was this year was the third winter in the desert.


Your animals drives them after some time back in the fold, nor was the winter up here not quite over, she wanted to be careful and not lose any of the animals. Having the animals kept, she goes in search of medicinal herbs, can be sold to the people of Salafelda. No one in the valley below, the effect of plant knows as well as she. You know is very much appreciated by the settlers in the valley below.


creaking she opens the door of her hut blackened wooden beams and bring her leather bag. With it, she always goes for collecting herbs. She had noticed that the knowledge of her adoptive father.
She makes her way down to where the plants were already on, where the warm air has already returned the herbs rather the power of life. Carefully, she walked down the narrow path down. Since the time since she has decided to up here to live here, she knew up here every step must be correct. No one can help her. You are on your own.


As the path leads to a ledge, she suddenly sees an elongated fur pile, a dead animal. When she comes closer she recognizes a man behind, he crouched motionless on the ground, he was dead ? Carefully, she steps closer, she looks around if he is alone. She saw the cold sweat on his forehead, he had closed his eyes, breathing heavily. You touch him, and she is frightened, he was quite hot. She must now act quickly.


She grabbed his arms and put it over her neck and tried dragging and pulling to get the way to the top, back to the hut. He seemed to her terribly difficult, but she knew she lets him lie it is his death.
She puts him on her bed of old lichen, moss, hay and twigs, about a sheep blanket. She goes again the way back to fetch his covenant, he will certainly need it if he survives his illness.
Cleverly they kindled a small fire on the open hearth with the remaining embers.


She cooks the strange man a decoction from the dried linden flowers she has collected last summer in the village down and gives him something to drink.


In the vicinity of your cottage, it has a Steinkuhle that she uses from time to time as a wash tub. Will pick you up from the source water, it fills in the hollow rock. In addition, they make a fire and throwing large stones into the fire and waits until they almost glow, then she rolls with a big branch the rocks in the cold spring water and heated it so. She prepares her foreign guests a spa. On the rock beats Laces branches so that the needles break and release their fragrance. The mountain pine needles and the hay from last year they are in the hot water.


The hot hay she brings in a basket into the house and putting it on the skin of the stranger. Cover him with blankets and furs. The hay now unfolds the power of the sun, it has gathered over the years. He begins to sweat.


She puts her hands on his head, closes his eyes and prays. She asks God his strength should return to the young body. You feel a tingling in your palms and she is sure that he will come back on its feet.
After some time she will bring a sheep rug, removed the hay and wrapped it again, for a moment she considered completely lost his beautiful young body. How long ago was it that she lay in the arms of a man ?


She cares for him, cook him a simple soup with water, grated barley from the valley and salt. While they handled over the fire he wakes. "Are you the fate of woman? " She laughs ! "Are you a demon? What has happened to me? "" No I 'm not a destiny woman, no demon, I live here in solitude, because I can not bear the proximity of people, its falsity. What is your name ? " " Pilgrim called me. " " I am the Leoba. For women like me will soon be no more room. Now you ruh and sleep for a while you need it! "


There is the new moon, the landscape is quite shrouded in black. Differ only with various dark shades of the mountains - about the star- covered sky. The lake lies there still, it stirs no sound. A moaning, shrill sound tears at this moment the silence. After a short break again it sounds almost warningly, plaintive tone. After that, silence again. Now sounded muffled drum beats through the night, they get lost in the darkness. From the valley floor appears a procession. Preceded by two flag bearers, they are accompanied by six musician with lurs, follow them as many drummers. again lead the musicians these long, tall as a man, winding old bronze Instruments for Mouth, again penetrates the deafening, tinny sound of these horns the silence. The darkness is lit by torch-bearers. swaying in uniform step carry six wrapped in black robes a dead man to the lake shore. The death follows a long funeral procession.

Lakeside arrived the torch bearers line the shore. the torches illuminate it dimly, drums beating and sound of lurs the dead man is brought by the carriers on a boat lying on the shore. The stretcher is in the boat on a large layered wooden sidewalk space.

The body is wrapped and tied in the coat of a freshly slaughtered cattle. Servants bring a drum, knives, bow and arrows, and various jewelry, which underlined the surface of his body.
In each boat a birch resin torch will be lit on the side. The ferryman boards the ship of death and waits until all have risen in the boats. Now he raises to row and sets its strokes wisely. Once in a while the Lurs, they still sound powerful as before. the high rock walls throw back the echo, it takes some time before the ear again perceives the silence.

This does not affect the ferryman does its work. Successively follow the boats silently through the water. They accompany their spiritual leader on his last trip. He was in a time of change, in a time when the traditional values count them companion and a good healer nothing more. He knew what to do when the winter was too wet too long and the summer, he knew the secret sayings and understood the characters in the mountains. He was there when their animals or they were sick themselves.

New religious ideas but in the meantime make wide. Some of her village are no longer there. The traditional is being increasingly called into question. Nevertheless, they hold to the tradition. Pull to the lake and bury her priest as he had taught them.

In a long line of lights, ship for ship, the torches across the lake. During the crossing to silence alternate with the rhythmic sound of drums and the blaring inserts Luri from. You drive along the steep walls of rock almost to the rear end of the lake. The ferryman can now slip the boat. The boat drives a little, then the last bow wave disappears. The first two ships of the procession speed up the oars and come to the dead ship. The now almost deafening sound of drums and lures comes ever closer.

It takes a while until the next two boats left and right have created next to the boat. The new shaman dressed in a long white robe, rises from the boat of the musicians. He wears studded with feathers bovine head mask. Now he walks slowly and gracefully the dead ship. The ferryman will receive a ritual ablution and must then enter the opposing ship. Once it has taken place takes off the boat and falls into the circle of boats that have now collected in a wide Around the dead ship. Only the resin torches to show the position of the ships in the night.

The Lurs and drums have finished their ritual music. The shaman passes the dead gifts the water. He opens the coffin from bovine skin, raise both his hands up and began his religious ceremony. Across the lake resounds his rough voice with the incomprehensible mystical verses, to facilitate the return of the dead man into the eternal kingdom. His monotonous chants from break, he anoints the body of the dead cattle with butter and then leaves the dead ship. The ship takes off and the fan is rowing a bit away from the dead ship.

A shooter at the bow takes a flaming arrow, spanned his bow, aimed and let the arrow whirring safely in a bright red and yellow light track in shallow round flying on the ship of the dead. There, the flames look like wildfire their way. The wood pile is ignited, is to a large fire that consumed the corpse. The roar can be heard up to the boats.

Meanwhile, the shaman returns to the circle of boats. High flames blaze up. Gradually, they cover the whole boat. A huge big flame blazes geh'n heaven and consumed the dead body. Will believe in her as his soul free for the journey to the ancestors. Slowly, the fire goes out, it is smaller, whitish smoke rises. The fire had only briefly rule the night. The water clears the remaining, a long-drawn hiss is heard, as the glowing wood brings short time to boil the water, then a white cloud of smoke, then it is again dark and dead quiet except for the torches of the boats can be seen in the round. These people here have brought home their priests. The water deity has taken him back to himself. The sequel to the Shaman will rise to unsafe ways the next morning in the mountains. he is there fasting spend several days in solitude and character he will carve in the rocks and go on a long journey into the realm of the dead, trance and vocals. There he received last instructions of the deceased.

Without According to the ships arrive almost simultaneously moving again, they slip quietly back. The bow waves roam the fire place in the water where charred wooden parts of the boat bob up and down. Nothing else reminded of this night. What remains is the smooth water surface of the lake.

The lights of the back -propelled boats disappear one by one behind a bend of the rocks of this elongated lake. It's everything again as if nothing had happened. On the horizon, show easily discernible already the first signs of the next morning.

Epilogue:

Venet - a book about a funeral of a mountain people, whose existence has long been forgotten.

Maybe the people in this story have something like this once lived. What remains of them their signs and symbols they have left us in our Bavarian mountains and beautiful, perhaps they even magical places in the rock.

Some of these rock images were transferred to the text pages and mixed with modern characters. The story is fiction, it is very doubtful whether it can ever held in the form described. Nevertheless, I have taken them on my journey back to a bygone era and culture.

Gerd J. Wunderer