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Dunderberg






Category: THE HUDSON AND ITS HILLS

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Dunderberg, Thunder Mountain, at the southern gate of the Hudson
Highlands, is a wooded eminence, chiefly populated by a crew of imps of
stout circumference, whose leader, the Heer, is a bulbous goblin clad in
the dress worn by Dutch colonists two centuries ago, and carrying a
speaking-trumpet, through which he bawls his orders for the blowing of
winds and the touching off of lightnings. These orders are given in Low
Dutch, and are put into execution by the imps aforesaid, who troop into
the air and tumble about in the mist, sometimes smiting the flag or
topsail of a ship to ribbons, or laying the vessel over before the wind
until she is in peril of going on beam ends. At one time a sloop passing
the Dunderberg had nearly foundered, when the crew discovered the
sugar-loaf hat of the Heer at the mast-head. None dared to climb for it,
and it was not until she had driven past Pollopel's Island--the limit of
the Heer's jurisdiction--that she righted. As she did so the little hat
spun into the air like a top, creating a vortex that drew up the
storm-clouds, and the sloop kept her way prosperously for the rest of the
voyage. The captain had nailed a horse-shoe to the mast. The Hat Rogue
of the Devil's Bridge in Switzerland must be a relative of this gamesome
sprite, for his mischief is usually of a harmless sort; but, to be on the
safe side, the Dutchmen who plied along the river lowered their peaks in
homage to the keeper of the mountain, and for years this was a common
practice. Mariners who paid this courtesy to the Heer of the Donder Berg
were never molested by his imps, though skipper Ouselsticker, of
Fishkill,--for all he had a parson on board,--was once beset by a heavy
squall, and the goblin came out of the mist and sat astraddle of his
bowsprit, seeming to guide his schooner straight toward the rocks. The
dominie chanted the song of Saint Nicolaus, and the goblin, unable to
endure either its spiritual potency or the worthy parson's singing, shot
upward like a ball and rode off on the gale, carrying with him the
nightcap of the parson's wife, which he hung on the weathercock of Esopus
steeple, forty miles away.





Next: Anthony's Nose

Previous: Pokepsie



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