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Amos and Bertha, the dragons of Mount Pilatus

A local legend about dragons on one of Switzerland's best-known mountains, MountPilatus near Lucerne, has been the inspiration for a new book for children: Amos and Bertha, the dragons of Mount Pilatus.

This content was published on December 3, 1999 - 15:48

A local legend about dragons on one of Switzerland's best-known mountains, MountPilatus near Lucerne, has been the inspiration for a new book for children: Amos and Bertha, the dragons of Mount Pilatus.

Published in English and German versions, the book is about what happens to 12-year-old Seppi when he climbs Mount Pilatus alone and meets two dragons.

The book was written and illustrated by Irene Ritter, who for the past 25 years has been writing about Central Switzerland as a freelance for English-language
publications.

"Time and again, the stories of Mount Pilatus kept cropping up in my work, and this particular legend fascinated me because of the dragons," she said.

Fate took a hand two years ago, when after a change of management, Mount Pilatus Railways adopted a new logo featuring a flying dragon. "That made me think I could now do something with these dragons," said Ritter. "And the idea came of developing a legend of just a couple of paragraphs into a story for children."

The result is a richly-illustrated book in which the dragons turn out to be loveable beasts, rather than the monsters of legend.

Its author is more familiar than most with the mountain's forbidding appearance. "It has a very special aura of mystery," she said, "and I'm familiar with its many changes of mood." Little wonder that sinister legends have been passed down through the centuries.

From the windows of her home on the shore of Lake Lucerne the mountain dominates the view. When Irene Ritter opens her eyes in the morning, she sees it in close-up from her bed. While at her desk writing Amos and Bertha, all she had to do was raise her eyes and it was there, filling the window: "It's a mountain which is kind of part of my life."

"Amos and Bertha, the Dragons of Pilatus" is in hardback. The original English version was translated into German and both versions are on sale in Swiss bookstores and from Mount Pilatus Railways. You can even buy a copy at the top of Mount Pilatus and at kiosks on the way up to the summit.

By staff member Richard Dawson.

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