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The Mermaid of Lake Carezza

" Ella , wake up! It's time! Today we can finally go and look for the mermaid of Lake Carezza," Lio calls to his friend, the magpie. Equipped with bicycles and a packed lunch, they take the cable car to Frommer Alm. An old legend says that a beautiful mermaid lives in the mountain lake, often seen in autumn sitting on the shore, braiding her blonde hair, and singing beautiful songs.

Once they reach the top, Lio pedals with joy. The gravel path is easy for him to handle, as he has practiced many times in the bike park. Passing by Ochsenhütte, they head towards the Karer Pass. While Lio pedals busily, Ella ensures that Lio doesn't miss any special views along the way. Then the path becomes steeper downhill. Lio cheers with joy, as he loves the feeling of the wind on his face. After a right turn, he sees something sparkling ahead: Lake Carezza. The friends find a lovely picnic spot by the lake. From there, they have a good view of the water's surface, just in case the mermaid appears.

Fortunately, it's not too busy around the lake, as Ella and Lio worry that too many people might scare the mermaid away. Constantly watching the lake is tiring, especially after cycling, and Ella has caught Lio almost dozing off a few times. Suddenly, Ella's sharp magpie eyes catch a glimmer on the other side of the lake. A peck on Lio's forehead wakes him up immediately, and the two quietly observe the strange sparkle. On the opposite shore, there is indeed a beautiful girl with long blonde hair, gazing at the water. The two observers hold their breath, afraid of scaring the mythical creature away. They watch in awe as she dips her feet into the water. "She doesn't have a tail," Ella says, amazed. Lio whispers, "Of course, she only has a tail when she swims in the water."

Suddenly, loud noises come from the right. A group of hikers is approaching. After glancing towards the noise, Lio looks back to the opposite shore. But the mermaid has disappeared. "We saw her!" Lio cheers, and he and Ella do a happy dance together. Radiant with joy they start their journey home. Lio skillfully navigates the curves down into the valley. Soon, the two friends burst happily into Hotel Maria. But at the reception, Lio stops in his tracks, thunderstruck. Right in front of him is none other than the legendary mermaid! "What, ... who, ... how is this possible? Who are you?" Lio stammers. The girl begins to laugh softly and says, "You two look like you've seen a ghost. I'm Liana, and I'm here on vacation with my parents. And who are you?" Lio and Ella burst into loud laughter and explain the misunderstanding.

In Search of King Laurin's Roses

"Today we're heading to King Laurin's Rose Garden in the Catinaccio Massif!" Ella excitedly flutters around Lio's head. "And I get to accompany you while you climb!" Lio is also very excited, even though he is already an experienced climber. Over the past few days, along with some other children, he has learned the most important knots, securing techniques, and rappelling. But today is about tackling a via ferrata, and Ella the magpie will be flying alongside her friend.

On the way to the starting point, the mountain guide retells the story of the dwarf king Laurin, whose realm was in the Catinaccio Massif - back when the area was teeming with dwarves, giants, and other magical creatures. Besides his gold, shimmering jewels, and magical invisibility cloak, King Laurin's greatest pride was his beautiful rose garden. The most magnificent roses bloomed there all year round. No one was allowed to pick even a single one.

After listening to the story they begin the ascent on the via ferrata. They pause frequently along the way to admire the pale rock walls. Lio enjoys the climbing immensely, and Ella flies around, loudly calling to draw attention to the most beautiful views. However, Lio repeatedly wonders where this famous rose garden might be. All he can see are rocks and, only occasionally, a small tuft of grass. When they reach the highest point of their climbing tour, after a more challenging section, they stop, and Ella whispers into Lio's ear: "I can't find the rose garden either. And I’ve flown a few rounds at the top." So, they ask the mountain guide about the roses.

He smiles mysteriously and explains, "Well, you don't know the end of the story of the dwarf king yet. Despite his invisibility cloak and a belt that gave him superhuman strength, the dwarf king was defeated by knights. But before that, he managed to curse the rose garden: neither by day nor by night would a human eye ever see the magnificent garden again. But he forgot one thing: the time of twilight! So, we must be patient a little longer."

And so the climbers and Ella begin their descent. When finally they are at the bottom of Catinaccio, they can't believe their eyes. There are no real rose blossoms with green leaves, but the setting sun makes the rocks glow with the radiant golden red of rose petals. Fascinated, the two watch the unique spectacle. And as King Laurin's curse states, the magical moment ends for Lio and Ella with the setting of the sun.

Help for the Snowman

The snow in the ski area is perfect and the slopes are still not very crowded, so Lio and Ella the magpie keep gliding down the beautifully groomed runs with practiced skill—and, in Ella's case, with outstretched wings. Eventually, they head to the Ski Center Latemar to rest their legs and wings for a bit. Lio unfastens his skis and watches the younger children in the Kid’s Park. Suddenly, he hears a faint sobbing, but none of the children look sad. So the two friends follow the sound of the crying. They find the source in a somewhat hidden spot and stop in astonishment. In front of them stands a snowman. But this snowman can move; he is rubbing his button eyes desperately and sobbing.

"Why are you so sad?" Lio finally dares to ask. The frosty fellow looks up in surprise and awkwardly wipes his carrot nose. "Oh, you heard me? I didn't mean for that to happen. But I can't help it, I'm sooooo sad. A few kids built me here two weeks ago. It was a wonderful feeling, and I was overjoyed to watch them in their fun. And they kept coming back to play with me for several days. But this week, I've been all alone, and no one has come to visit me. I can only hear the people skiing by below and in the Snow Park, and I would love nothing more than to stand there and watch them. Besides, crying isn't good for me," he continues to sniffle. "With all these tears, I'm starting to melt."

Lio and Ella try to comfort him. Maybe they can think of something. Ella fluffs her feathers and chirps loudly, "I've got it! We'll take each and every piece of you and transport you down to the Snow Park piece by piece, from there, you'll have a great view." "That's a wonderful idea. Would you really do that for me?" asks the snowman, and Lio and Ella immediately set off to work.

Carefully, the snowman is taken apart. They start with the largest belly ball, as it is the hardest to transport. Together, they place it in a nice spot and then head back up. It is heart-warming to see the snowman growing bit by bit down below. Each time they reach the top, the snowman’s head eagerly asks about the state of his body and can't wait to be brought down. Finally, the time comes for the last part—the head—to be put in the backpack. The zipper is left slightly open so the snowman can see the descent, and he cheers loudly with excitement during the ride.

Once at the new spot, Lio places the head on the body, and the snowman is complete. "Thank you, I will never forget this!" the snowman rejoices happily. And who knows, if you look closely, you might spot him on your next ski day!

The Monster of the Latemar Labyrinth

Lio and Ella the magpie are sitting at the breakfast table as usual. But today, they are excitedly listening to the conversation at the neighbouring table, where people are talking about a monster that is scaring hikers in the rock labyrinth of the Latemar.

The decision to defeat the monster is soon made, even though the somewhat timid Ella has a few objections. A final sausage lands in Lio's pocket as a snack for the road, the backpack is packed, and the two friends set off. They walk along the wide forest path towards their destination, only interrupted by people coming the other way who are fleeing from the loudly howling, fearsome monster and trying to persuade the two friends to turn back. Ella becomes increasingly nervous, but Lio's thirst for adventure is unstoppable. They continue up a path until they finally stand before the mighty rock walls of Latemar, in the midst of the impressive, rocky landscape. Now, they can hear the eerie howling and growling, which gives them goosebumps and ruffles Ella’s feathers.

At the entrance of a rock tunnel, they can already see the mighty shadow of the monster with its long teeth. Lio starts to feel a bit uneasy too, but curiosity wins over fear. After some convincing by Lio, Ella finally agrees to fly closer to the monster while staying within sight, while Lio distracts the creature with loud noises. Lio excitedly awaits his friend, who returns after a few moments, shaking her feathers and reporting. The monster is a dog that has gotten its tail stuck between two rocks. Lio and Ella quickly decide to help the animal. To calm the howling dog, it gets half a sausage from breakfast, while Lio and Ella use the rope they brought to move the rock and free the poor creature.

Happily, the three make their way back, and the "monster" tells them how it ended up in this predicament. At the Mitterleger, a small alpine hut, the dog says goodbye, and the adventurous duo returns to Hotel Maria. In the evening, Lio falls into bed tired, while Ella takes her usual spot on the bedpost, and soon both fall asleep and dream of the next adventure.

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