Little Moss Men on the Kahleberg Mountain Near Altenberg

Many people have lost their way on the midnight side of the Kahleberg mountain. This occurs because of the little moss men, who roam in this area and, on certain days, are prone to playing pranks on the woodcutters in particular. One woodcutter once saw such a little man. He was small, and his face was covered by moss. But the woodcutter could only see him when he glanced at him from the side. If he hurriedly turned around to talk to him, the little moss man was gone. But he saw it repeatedly to his side when he walked further.

The Wild Hunt was also heard frequently at the Kahleberg.

Note: German legends, including those from the Bohemian side of the Ore Mountains, likewise tell us of little moss women, which frequently merge together with little forest or wood women. For example, little moss women live in the Harz mountains in the region surrounding Wildemann. They are described to us as friendly and lovely, and they supposedly had feet like those of geese. Like the little wood women, they were pursued by the Wild Huntsman. One way that the memory of the little moss people is kept alive in the Harz region is that, during folk festivals, little boys don disguises where they are covered with moss all over. They then carry a fir branch in one hand and a money box in the other, and ask for donations. (Heine, Sagen etc. aus dem Harze, p. 29.) A similar, dim memory for these mythical beings can be found in the Vogtland area. In certain communities, such as Reichenbach, it is customary to put little moss people on the table around Christmas time.

Source: Köhler, J. A. E. Sagenbuch des Erzgebirges. 1886, p. 149.

Notes & commentary: The Forest People