The Dwarf Türliwirli

A man from Oberems married Türliwirli, the daughter of a dwarf. The woman asked him one day to never call her by her name, which he promised. In June, he went off to do his share of the communal work at the alpine meadow, and when he came back late in the evening, his wife told him that she had had a tough time that day. For the next night there would be frost, and thus she had cut the unripe grain stalks and put them between fir branches. The man got upset and shouted: “You stupid Türliwirl!”, but as soon as he had said this, she was out of the door and had vanished. During the night there was frost, and the seeds of the neighbors died off.

The man had three children, whom he left at home whenever he went away for work. After he had left, the mother appeared every morning, and washed and combed them. In this manner, whenever the man returned home, the chamber was cleaned, and the children were washed and dressed properly. Then he asked who had been doing all this, since he had locked the house and hidden the key. The children exclaimed that their mother had visited and taken care of all of this. The father had a great longing to see his wife again, and he would have liked to apologize to her, if only she had shown herself. Thus, he told the children that they ought to ask their mother how she managed to get into the locked house.

When the children questioned the mother about this, she replied that she knew very well where the key was located. The distressed father now asked a friend to watch out for her, and, once the woman had stepped into the house, close the door and call for him. This was accomplished, and the father joyfully hurried into the house and asked the woman for forgiveness. After that, they still lived together happily for many years.


Source: Jegerlehner, J. Walliser Sagen. 1922, p. 65f

Notes & Commentary: Loving the Fey