The Dwarves of the Wolf Caves

(From Récits historiques et légendaires de l’Alsace, Robert Wolff, 1922. Originally posted on Patreon in September 2022).

Not far from Férette, one can see some tall and wide boulders that hide an extensive cave system. Once, several centuries ago, a dwarvish people lived there.  They were small and graceful, but they wore long robes that reached the ground so that no one could see their feet. They did not know death and remained eternally youthful. Their voices were clear and bright, and their eyes shone like stars. Their tools for housework gleamed in much the same way for they were made with silver. Sometimes these dwarves left their cave to help mankind with their work. This would happen especially during haymaking and harvest. They went out by twos into every house and brought their own tools. The dwarves were the most dedicated to the work, and when they departed from the men, they always left behind extravagant gifts. The inhabitants also adored them and rejoiced at their coming. They showed themselves grateful and invited the dwarves to their festivals.

Only one thing displeased the inhabitants.  It was that they never glimpsed the dwarves’ feet. In order to at least learn their footprint, some young girls, before dawn one day, spread sand on the ground at the cave’s entrance. They thought the dwarves must infallibly leave prints of their feet in the sand when they went out to walk in the forest. 

As soon as the dwarves had passed by, the girls inspected the sand and saw the print of goats’ hooves. Seeing this, they laughed so loudly that the dwarves heard them. The dwarves became angry and returned to the grotto. And from that moment on they were never seen again.

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