Rudis Sylva - watches & reviews

On the 17th November 1384, Imier finally gave in. It was late, he had heard and he had listened hard.

Listened to the passionate appeals of one Jean Ruedin, who had come straight from Cressier – Le Landeron, on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, to seek a tax exemption for anyone willing to undertake the task of clearing the trees up on the mountain.

A mountain, or rather a vast plateau towering 1,000 metres above sea level, covered by rugged firs which no-one had ever dared tackle.

The king of forests - as it was known to those who lived around its edges - commanded the high ground, and no tool or effort of man had thus far come close to conquering it. The fir reigned supreme, lord of the pasture, home to fox and wolf, its branches creating an arena for winds and rains. The fir was king, and none had yet ventured to challenge its supremacy atop the Hauts Plateaux of the Jura.

But Jean Ruedin and his friends had defied the decrees issued by the Bishopric of Basel. Imier de Ramstein, Prince-Bishop of this vast territory, had granted a complete tax exemption to inhabitants of the heavily forested region.