The Legend of Edelweiss
Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) is the flower most commonly associated with the Alps, thanks to that memorable song from The Sound of Music. It usually grows in the inaccessible regions of the Alps and is a protected species (don't pick it). The unique beauty of the white flower is a symbol of purity in Bavaria and a plant shrouded in myth.
As the story goes, high in the Alps lived a hauntingly beautiful queen with a heart of pure ice. The queen's melodious singing lured many forlorn shepherds to her cave. Since her frozen heart was unable to love, she soon tired of them and ordered her loyal gnome slaves to throw the hapless men to their deaths. One day an ordinary shepherd found his way to her cave and the queen fell in love with him. The jealous gnomes, fearing their mistress would marry this mortal and abandon them, threw him into a valley where his heart was crushed. When she learned of the tragedy, her heart melted enough for her to shed one tear. That tear became an Edelweiss.
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