The legend of King Laurino
Laurino was the king of the Dwarfs, a people of industrious miners. He was a powerful wizard who ruled over a kingdom in a magnificent garden amidst the Dolomites.
The valkyrie Sittlieb secretly fall in love with the king. In his service as a knight, she created for him in his garden the most beautiful rose garden that had ever been seen.
But Laurino had fallen in love with Moena, a young noblewoman who was so beautiful that her father, to give her away, organised a tournament. Laurino, however, was excluded from the competition because he was a dwarf.
Not being able to renounce the woman that he loved so much, Laurino put on his invisibility hat, stole unseen into the house of the nobleman and abducted Moena. He brought her to his castle and enclosed her in the beautiful rose garden. King Laurino showered Moena with attention and eventually she fell genuinely in love with him, giving him three children.
Sittlieb fled with a broken heart and went to see a sorceress to have her cast a spell so as to be able to become like a man. But the charm involved a condition: that, if she were ever to return again to the garden that she had made so beautiful, she would lose her life.
While Moena was in Laurino’s rose garden, Hartwig, a knight who had protected her once when she had got lost in the forest and who had fallen in love with her, left to liberate her. When he entered the castle he encountered some nymphs who told him that only a child or a joker would ever be able to enter the garden and that they expected to hear from him a song. In fact, the garden was surrounded by a thin golden cord, and if anyone were to touch it, he would bring upon himself all of King Laurino’s guards. Hartwig recited a poem for Moena and afterwards he was told the real reason why she had been abducted.
Not being able to do anything for her, Hartwig decided to return to his master and tell the truth: that Moena would be liberated only if Laurino was given the chance to participate in the tournament with the impartiality that was due to all knights.
In fact, Moena was very happy, and every day she improved her arts, becoming an excellent and extremely good fairy.
In the meantime Sittlieb had entered into the court of King Teodorico as a king’s warrior. The spell and the fact that she never took off her helmet allowed her not to be recognised as the valchyrie that had worked for the king of the Dwarfs.
The count, Moena’s father, indignant at what he had been told, decided not to accept the participation of Laurino in the tournament all the same, and Hartwig found himself obliged to ask King Teodorico for help to “free” Moena. Teodorico agreed. He thought that it would not be difficult to penetrate into the kingdom of the dwarfs and liberate the young lady even though he knew that Laurino possessed magic powers such as a belt that gave him the force of twelve men, an impenetrable cuirass and the hat that made him invisible, thanks to which in fact he had been able to abduct Moena.
The entrance to the Rosengarten (the Garden of Roses) was known to be impassable but the knight with the helmet said that he had already been there. King Teodorico decided that he would be the one to guide them and he obliged him to undertake the task even when the knight, foreseeing his own death, raised objections.
When they arrived at the rose garden, Teodorico cut the golden cord that surrounded it. Immediately there appeared before him King Laurino himself, who began to engage him in a duel to the death.
King Laurino made himself invisible and as such had a great advantage, but King Teodorico managed nonetheless to get a hold on him and, stripping him of his belt, his head-covering and his arms, he pinned him down.
After she was freed, Moena recounted that King Laurino was a man of noble spirit and that he had always treated her with respect and love. She begged King Teodorico not to humiliate him any further and to let him go. Thus, the king shook hands with Laurino and offered him peace. A huge banquet was organised in the dining hall in the hollows of the mountains.
But after midnight, when everyone had gone to bed, a miner woke Laurino, because one of King Teodorico’s knights was moving about in the rose garden with the idea of penetrating into the mountains with malign intent.
Immediately the dwarfs confronted him but the noise disturbed King Teodorico who suspected a trick and he in turn had his own men take up arms. At that point Laurino assumed the there was an agreement between Teodorico and the knight opposed to the peace and so hostilities broke out again.
Once more King Teodorico’s men won the upper hand, but the knight with the helmet demanded that King Laurino have his freedom even arriving at the point of challenging King Teodorico himself to a duel. After being wounded, the knight’s helmet was removed and it was revealed that he was in fact a woman, the valchyrie Sittlieb, who had remained loyal to King Laurino and was now dying in consequence of the spell.
In this way the war in the rose garden came to an end and King Laurino was brought as a prisoner before King Teodorico.
After a long period of imprisonment, Laurino managed to escape and to return to his beloved mountains. There, no longer finding his loved ones and overcome by a deep sadness, he transformed the rose garden into rock. Pronouncing a magic formula, he transformed the garden into the inaccessible peaks that today form the Dolomites, for in this way the roses might no longer be seen either by day or by night.
But King Laurino had forgotten about the twilight. And so, since that time, at every sunset, all the roses reappear colouring with pink the mountain, known in fact as Rosengarten.
This is the famous “Enrosadira” (the “becoming pink”): the magical moment of the garden of roses.