Fritzl Alberchtsberger built Rookscroft to remind him of home. It is rumored that he stalked the grounds wearing lederhosen and drinking his home brewed beer from a giant stein. He loved the forest and the mountains, but there were two things he missed terribly from his childhood. The first was the red deer, (especially the bucks with their huge velvet covered antlers) and the second, the bristly black wild boar who rummaged through the underbrush looking for truffles. Poor Fritzl, missed them so very badly that he created a small zoo of sorts behind the main house and in the early 1900's had his beloved animals imported at great expense. They arrived in crates marked "dieser Weg" and "leben Sie Wesen, kann beißen" which I believe means "this way up" and "live creatures, may bite" (parts of the crate are still in the old carriage house).
Unfortunately it is said these wayward beasts were players in the story of his ultimate demise...but that's probably a tale best left for another day.
It is rumored that old Fritzl lost the plot towards the end. He was always in fine spirits...the life of every party in fact, until by degrees he began to shun his human friends and claimed to be spending his time with a host of creatures he had met in the woods. He would often go missing for days, that and the fact that he was the only one who had actually seen them, led to considerable concern for his welfare, although his wife Isolde did not seem to mind. Carved likenesses of many of his woodland cohorts can be found around the house to this day...the wild gypsy bears are my favorite.
Fritzl and his wife Isolde, spent their lives making legendary beer that they crafted with the fresh spring water they found high up on the mountain. To have a ready supply, they fashioned a deep pond, now home to several huge catfish and some wonderful frogs. I found this picture of the old pond, in an old shoebox in the attic.
A view of the pond today in the early morning mist. The water is very cold clear and sweet and is pumped to the house for drinking and washing. The water bubbles up from an underground spring that is under the house and is directed down to the pond through a series of old Victorian pipes that end in a cascading waterfall.
A very fine catfish enjoying a day in the pond, this particular fellow is a favorite. There is a little dock on the pond and I love to sit there on hot summer afternoons and dangle my toes in the water and he always pops up for a visit.
The limestone that Fritzl used to build the house was mined from a quarry on the island. This picture shows my favorite room, the lovely bedroom on the second floor with it's views all the way down to the sea far below. I love the view through the leaded windows, the old glass slightly distorts the scene outside and makes it seem even more magical.
A view from the bedroom (through the open window) all the way down to the sea. You can see the cluster of wonderful islands, and the snow capped mountains beyond. At night the scene sparkles with the lights from passing boats and the little villages that dot the coast.