A Legend of the finding of the Erzberg
The legend of the “Wassermann”
Near lake Leopoldsteinersee, next to the main road leading to Hieflau, there is a small cave full
of bitterly cold water, known as “black pool” by locals. In this pool there lived the creature called
“Wassermann”. It looked a little bit like Poseidon, Greek God of the sea, earthquakes, storms and
horses. Often seen by locals coming out of the cave and lying in the warm sun, the Wassermann
was rumored to have tremendous treasures. So, the locals made a plan to catch this creature.
As it was shy and as slippery as a fish, you wouldn’t catch it with your bare hands. Therefore, the
locals had a cunning idea.
On a sunny and warm morning some men put meat and wine near the entrance of the cave. Then
they put neat clothes there as well. These clothes were smeared with tar, though. Hiding behind
trees in a safe distance they waited for the Wassermann to come out of its cave to swallow the
After a while, the Wassermann came out of its grotto. It saw the meat and ate it. Then it drank the
wine. As it liked the clothes, the Wassermann put them on. Being a little bit drunk, it started to
dance merrily. Soon it got tired and fell asleep. The locals did not waste a minute and tied it up.
The Wassermann woke up and desperately tried to free itself. It was in vain, though. The locals
intended to carry it to the village.
When they arrived at the place where you can spot the Erzberg for the first time, the Wassermann
started to protest vehemently. Finally it gave up and promised its tormentors incredible treasures.
But they had to choose wisely.
The Wassermann said to them:
“Anon, chooseth well what I thee giveth:
Gold thee can has’t, but ’twill only last for ten years.
Silver for a hundr’d year thee and thy people can enjoy.
Iron at last I offer thee, if’t be true you so desire.
An eternity ’twill last this iron hat!”
The men did not hesitate a second and chose the iron hat. The Wassermann raised its arm and
pointed to the Erzberg.
” ’tis here, behold the mountain which on thee
bestows merrily iron for eternity.
Anon, taketh me back to mine own grotto.”
The promise of the Wassermann – “iron for eternity” – would still be true if mining on the Erzberg was
done like centuries before. The Wassermann could never have known that mining techniques would
improve that fast over the last few centuries. As we dump low-quality ore, which cannot be sold,
at the Erzberg, the Wassermann was not lying – if you look it that way!