Great belts of blue gentian hang like a zone on the mountain slopes; masses of yellow globe-flower star the upland pastures; nodding heads of soldanella lurk low among the rugged boulders by the glacier's side. No lowland blossoms have such vividness of colouring, or grow in such conspicuous patches.
Likewise the globe-flower has been designated the troll-flower, from the malignant trolls or elves, on account of its poisonous qualities. On the other hand, the Bavarian peasant has a notion that the elves are very fond of strawberries; and in order that they may be good-humoured and bless his cows with abundance of milk, he is careful to tie a basket of this fruit between the cow's horns.
Out of a low cave of rock, at the foot of a limestone crag, the great fountain rose, quelling, and bubbling, and gurgling, so clear that you could not tell where the water ended and the air began; and ran away under the road, a stream large enough to turn a mill; among blue geranium, and golden globe-flower, and wild raspberry, and the bird-cherry with its tassels of snow.
Every here and there the sides were glowing with patches of the deep golden, yellow globe-flower; a little farther on, there was a deeper spot with a patch of the great glistening leaves of the water-lily, not yet in bloom; and as he stepped down into the water, there was a flutter from a bird seated on a dead twig, and a flash of azure light gleamed over the river, as the disturbed kingfisher darted upstream, to be watched till it disappeared.
The little multeberry was in blossom; the ranunculus, the globe-flower, the purple geranium, the heath, and the blue forget-me-not spangled the ground, and on every hillock the young ferns unrolled their aromatic scrolls written with wonderful fables of the southern spring. For it was only spring here, or rather the very beginning of summer.