Once upon a time, a long time ago, back when people still believed in fairy tales, there lived in the Dolomites the legendary Fanes people. With the help of the marmots, they built an empire that ranged over mountains and valleys, through forests and meadows. But that was not enough for the king of the Fanes: he wanted to become the most powerful king in the world of the mountains. For that reason, he allied himself with an eagle that had golden talons and a beak of fire. In order to seal the alliance, the king promised the eagle his children as pledge. Shortly thereafter, the queen bore twins: the two girls Dolasilla and Luianta. Since the queen had learned of her husband’s diabolical pact, she handed Luianta over to the care of the marmots and in her place, she had a white marmot placed in the cradle which, a few days later, the eagle carried off.
Meanwhile, Dolasilla grew into a clever, courageous woman who accompanied her father on his adventures. One day, they reached the Silver Lake above Canazei where, so the story goes, a treasure lay buried, watched over by dwarfs. And after a long search, the king and his entourage came upon a chest made of silver, with a snow-white fur and grey powder inside. The dwarfs pled with the king to leave them the treasure. But to no avail. Dolasilla, on the other hand, showed herself to be merciful and gave the chest back to the dwarfs. In gratitude, they gave the princess the snow-white fur and taught her how to make armor out of it. “It will protect you,” they told her, and then they added in warning, “If the fur ever turns red like the Dolomites at sunset, then do not go into battle!”
At the bidding of the dwarfs, Dolasilla sprinkled the grey powder from the chest into the Silver Lake, whereupon reeds of silver soon began to grow. The king’s servants cut the reeds and made arrows out of them which were extremely strong and hit their mark. With her miraculous armaments, Dolasilla was crowned as a warrior maiden on the Kronplatz and appeared to be invincible.
Among her greatest adversaries was the old sorcerer Spina de Mul, named after the skeleton of a mule into which he transformed himself whenever he carried out his sorcery. With great cunning and many lies, the sorcerer convinced the prince of a neighboring people to battle against Dolasilla. The name of the prince was Edl de Net, which basically means “Night Eye”. When Edl de Net and Dolasilla faced off against each other on the battlefield, they were not able to raise their weapons against each other. But the sorcerer shot at Dolasilla in an ambush and severely wounded her.
Dolasilla had suffered her first defeat in battle, but in her heart, she had won: with Edl de Net, she had met the man she loved. The prince, who shared her feelings, resolved to protect Dolasilla in the future. He had a shield forged by the dwarfs who lived on the Latemar, and he was the only one capable of carrying it. From then on, he protected Dolasilla with it in battle. Though it was not only in war that the prince wanted to be at Dolasilla’s side, but also in love, and he asked the king for her hand in marriage.
Alas, the couple’s happiness was only of a short duration. The king, obsessed with the greed for promised gold, allied himself with the neighboring peoples against his own countrymen and promised that Dolasilla would not fight in the next battle. In order to implement his plan, the king expelled Edl de Net from the land in the hope that Dolasilla would go search for him and forget her obligations. The young woman was torn. Should she place her personal happiness above the destiny of her people? In despair, she wandered around the Armentara meadows. In the end, her consciousness for her duty prevailed. But then her armor turned red, and Dolasilla remembered the warning from the dwarfs. Yet there was no going back for her. Dolasilla went into battle –and did not survive it.
The destiny of the Fanes was sealed. And for the king who had betrayed his own people, a severe punishment awaited instead of the gold: at the Falzarego Pass, named as the pass of the falso ré [false king], he was turned to stone. His daughter Luianta, who up until then had been in the care of the marmots, was finally able to return home.
Since that time, once a year during a full moon the queen and Luianta travel in a black boat over the waves of the Lago di Bràies-Pragser Wildsee lake and wait for the sound of the fanfares that will announce the return of the realm of the Fanes.