The half-light filtering down into the chestnut forest, the branches crack underfoot and there’s sound of rustling in the undergrowth. The adventure begins at Thurnerhof, where an ancient, hollowed out “Keschtbam” (chestnut tree, in South Tyrolean) conjures up games of ‘hide-and-seek’. Just the kind of place where timid forest fairies and mischievous trolls would hang out. Stefan Kröll from the Oberpircherhof farm in Verdins fashioned the sculptures out of wood using a chainsaw. Working throughout the winter on his graduation project at the Fürstenburg School of Agriculture and Forestry in Burgeis/Burgusio, Kröll created giants and devils, Nörggelen elves as well as a scale-model church entirely carved out of Swiss pine. "I discovered my passion for chainsaw carving while messing about in the forest and it was later that I signed up for a course to learn the rudiments”. He adds, “I still find it quite amazing how you can create something precise and imaginative with such a blunt device". The wooden sculpture of Martin Luther standing in the parish garden of the Meran/Merano Protestant Church is another of his creations.
Stefan took six legendary figures from the Schenna/Scena village book as his subjects. Among these are: St. Oswald under the Ifinger mountain (St. Oswald unterm Ifinger), The Nörggele elve from Talle (Das Taller Nörggele) and the Devil fetching the perjurer (Der Teufel holt den Meineidigen).
With the help of Ingeborg Schgör, his German tutor, Kröll fashioned these literary legends into wooden figures, with eye-catching captions in German, Italian and English.
Some of his sculptures might be quite scary – even macabre, and less suited to younger children. But the kids always seem to enjoy them, reacting and projecting onto them in different ways, sometimes even inventing their own story around them.