An alternate version of “The Silver Rose.”

(I translated this a while back and posted it to the site, just never got around to posting it to the blog.)

 

Auguste Stoeber’s version of “The Silver Rose” folktale, from the Revue d’Alsace collection:

La rose d’argent. – The king of the dwarves who headed the exploitation of the siver mines of Sainte-Marie and of Eschery, once so abundant but today abandoned, held a great friendship for the habitants of those lands who saw him as their master teacher.

One day, at the very moment he left the mountain grotto to breathe the air made sweet with spring flowers, he saw the daughter of the miner whose work he had longtime favored. Captivated by her charms, he offered her all his riches if she would consent to love him and to follow him into his mysterious abode. The young girl, a little wary of living out her days in the depths of the earth and becoming the companion of a dwarf, frankly refused his offer.

In the days following, the powerful spirit, seeing his love disdained, collapsed his vast tunnels, shut away the rich veins of silver, and retired to the interior of the mountain, cursing the ingratitude of men.

Nevertheless, tradition adds that the dwarf, wanting to leave the young girl a token of his love, emerged from his retreat one last time and gifted her with a silver rose, artistically wrought; then immediately disappeared.

This rose, which has remained till this day in the possession of the descendents of the miner’s daughter, has the virtue of blooming every time a happy event must take place within the family and closing if some misfortune must strike.

Sometimes, at the back of the mountain, the hammerstrikes of the king of the dwarves can still be heard, and the inhabitants of the valley maintain the conviction in their hearts that a day will come where the spirit, reconciled to the human race, will reopen the source–too long withdrawn–of their prosperity.

Final note in this collection:

The disappearance of the giants and dwarves marks the end of the “fabled time” of the Alsace region.

Although the region’s traditions are still aware of an infinite number of fantastic beings, such as faeries, white ladies, sleeping knights in the ruins of their manoirs, the feral hunter, spirits of the damned wearing the body of some animal or appearing in the form of a “wild flame”: all these fantastic beings which still prick the imagination of the people in our day, belong to a time long past. They are the heritage of the Celts and Germanic tribes, our ancestors, and of the religious myths they melded together, much later, with the superstitions that arose from a christianity disfigured or misunderstood.

-Auguste Stoeber, regent at the College of Mulhouse, 1851

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Laura Christensen is a French-to-English translator of all things fae, fairy, and fantasy. Check out her website and read more French folktales and fairy tales at www.littletranslator.com

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