Besides a railway line that joins the MontreuxBernese Oberland line at Chamby (5 m.
A considerable legend has attached itself to Nicholas through the persistent but mistaken identification of him with the mysterious "Friend of God from the Oberland," the "double" of Rulman Merswin, the Strassburg banker who was one of the leaders of the 14th-century German mystics known as the Friends of God.
In Merswin's Story of the First Four Years of a New Life, he writes: "Of all the wonderful works which God had wrought in me I was not allowed to tell a single word to anybody until the time when it should please God to reveal to a man in the Oberland to come to me.
Thus "the great unknown" from the Oberland is the ideal character, "who illustrates how God does his work for the world and for the church through a divinely trained and spiritually illuminated layman," just as William Langland in England about the same time drew the figure of Piers Plowman.
A third hypothesis is that advanced by Karl Rieder (Der Gottesfreund von Oberland, Innsbruck, 1905), who thinks that not even Merswin himself wrote any of the literature, but that his secretary and associate Nicholas of Lowen, head of the House of St John at Griinenworth, the retreat founded by Merswin for the circle, worked over all the writings which emanated from different members of the group but bore no author's names, and to glorify the founder of the house attached Merswin's name to some of them and out of his imagination created "the Friend of God from the Oberland," whom he named as the writer of the others.