“.. But over the hills where the seven dwarfs dwell, Snow White is still alive and well” the fairy tale reads. But where exactly is “over the hills”? The Brothers Grimm don’t reveal it.
From river Wisper
The dwarfs’ homeland was the valley of river Wisper which flows through the Taunus mountains and meets river Rhine near Lorch. Deep in the forests they searched for gold, silver and precious stones. They were skillful goldsmiths and well known for their beautiful silver tableware.
But one day the young dwarfs felt drawn towards the big wide world. They sneaked onto a ship and off they went. Their first stop was Koblenz where they lived in cellars and vaults, and acquired a taste for wine.
The goblins in Cologne
Some of them moved further upstream on river Rhine to Cologne. There, still today a legend is told about the “Heinzelmännchen”. These goblins were curious and diligent little guys who sneaked at night into the workshops of bakers and craftsmen and set to work – until they were trapped by a curious tailor’s wife and never came back.
Presumably this legend dates from the beginning of the “time of the Frenchmen” when the Code Napoléon brought freedom of trade and with it the end of the guild system. Already back then many people of different origin had found a new home on the banks of river Rhine, and it was also a varied dwarfs’community that came into the Rhineland.
The dwarfs on Mount Breiberg
In the Siebengebirge, the dwarfs settled on Mount Breiberg, back then “Briberich”. Here a legend similar to that of the goblins is told. The dwarfs of the Briberich came at night to a baker in Honnef and baked bread, but when the baker’s wife sewed clothes for them and put down for them to wear, they stayed away. But maybe they settled on the Briberich because it was closer to the vineyards and wine caves?
And yet, there is no dwarfs’ cottage on the Briberich, not even a ruin. And so our question from the beginning remains open. Where is “over the mountains where the seven dwarfs dwell?” Is there really is a house in which the dwarfs live until today? Or did they long sneak onto another ship, onto new shores and new adventures?
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