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Once upon a time there lived a handsome prince in a hidden valley in the Dolomites. His life was comfortable and happy but he was tormented by a strange desire to travel to the moon. Night after night he roamed the woods near his palace, gazing up at its surface pale and out of reach in the heavens.
One night whilst out in the forest, he heard voices and following them came across two old men seated in a cave. They were explorers from the moon, they explained to the astonished prince. After much pleading, the men agreed to take the prince back with them to their home. There he was introduced to the beautiful daughter of the moon king and instantly fell in love and presented her with red alpine roses that he had brought with him. She was delighted as on the moon all flowers were white and soon she too had fallen in love.In the weeks that followed the prince lived happily with his new love in her father's beautiful white palace, but gradually his sight began to fade as his eyes became overwhelmed by the bright white world all around him. He told his love that he could no longer stay and begged her to return with him to earth and she agreed. Together they flew back, she bringing with her the white flowers of the moon as a reminder of home. The flowers still grow in the mountains today and the inhabitants called them edelweiss - 'noble white'.
At first the princess was happy on earth, but before long she became melancholy and unwell. The world of the deep valley where she lived with the prince was too dark and the huge grey black mountains all around her blocked out the bright light she needed to thrive and be happy. So the prince returned with her to the moon but still unable to bear the brightness of her world with great sadness he had to return to earth without her.
Devastated and alone the prince turned away from the world, roaming the forests of his father's kingdom at night, gazing up at the moon and dreaming of his lost love. One night whilst wandering through the high forest the prince came across a dwarf resting in a cave and they set to talking. The dwarf introduced himself as the King of the Salwàns, explaining that he was seeking refuge for himself and his exiled people after a terrible war in their homeland. In turn the prince told the dwarf king his story and after the prince had finished, the dwarf king clapped his hands and exclaimed that he had a scheme that might save them both. He explained that his people the Salwàns came from far in the east where the sun rose and so possessed the magic art of weaving light. If the prince gave them refuge, the dwarf king would summon his people to weave light into the dark mountains of his kingdom and lure back his beloved from her bright home on the moon.
So it happened that the Salwàns came to the prince's valley kingdom to work their magic, night after night delicately plucking moonbeams from the sky and weaving them into the rocks of the the entire mountain range until it began to glow pale white. From her palace on the moon the moon princess saw the transformation and overjoyed flew to earth to the arms of her waiting lover. The couple lived happily ever after, the Salwàns made the mountains their home and the pale mountains of the Dolomites have kept their white colour to this day.
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