Legend: The bird fairy – Ribba, Prali

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I’m here again to tell you a new legend, tragic and magic at the same time.
Today I’ll show you the photos I took at Ribba, a small village above Prali, in Germanasca Valley.
One time, this small group of houses wasn’t located here, protected by the steep mountains, but in another place, just near a big pinewood. But why it has been rebuilt here? This story will explain it…

After a short walk Valdesina arrives to Ribba
After a short walk Valdesina arrives to Ribba

In a summer afternoon like many others, the inhabitants of the hamlet, which was far bigger than now, were cultivating the looms. A woman, who was preparing the soil, heard her son calling for her.
«Mom! Look! – said the boy pointing at the sky with much of his surprise – there a bird with giant wings! Is it an eagle?» The mom, a little bit exasperated for the standstill, looked up at the sky and… surprise! Over their heads there was a bird bigger than every other seen in her life, with enormous black wings and a pointed beak which was moving up and down.
Keeping their eyes out, they managed to hear a voice saying «Fuià, fuià, lou laou ‘d la Carotto s’ê larjà!», that means “Runaway, runaway, the Carrot lake spilled over!”. It was the voice of the bird!

Well, now I want to take a small break from the story to tell you something about this small lake, which actually exists. The Carrot Lake is one of the 13 lakes which compose a plateau above Prali, full of beautiful mountain lakes. Today the Carrot lake, whose name is due to its shape, is hard to fine. Effectively, today it’s a peat bog, with small water and full of greenery similar to grass.

Imagine how the basin looked like after the ruin carried on by water!
Imagine how the basin looked like after the ruin carried on by water!

But I think you can’t see the time to know what’s the ending of the story!
The people of the village, hearing this alarm from the giant bird, layed down their instruments and ran home in a rush. Everybody immediately understood that the talking bird was a good fairy which wanted to make them safe. Well, everybody but an old stubborn woman, who didn’t believe in fairies and thought that the warning was a bad joke made by a sorcerer.
«You all are dumb, you can’t believe in that stupid feathered animal! Nobody will make me leave my house!». Her neighbours tried to convince her, but without results, and then joined the caravan which was leaving the village. Everybody tried to carry away the most precious things they had, and of course the animals. The children tried to help putting into their baskets the chicks, the kittens and the other puppies to bring them in a safe place on an high ground near there.

Valdesina looks at the sky: no winged harbinger over there?
Valdesina looks at the sky: no winged harbinger over there?

Immediately after, the magic bird descended towards the villages of Ghigo and Villa to repeat the warning, and also the people from that hamlets ran away going to higher grounds. For a while nothing happened, and the night came. Now, you should just try to imagine how terrible night they could have passed, away from their houses, with all the attention turned to the minimum noise which could resemble the flow of the water! Suddendly, in the morning, they heard a terrible rumble, and a tempestuous river passed through the valley trailing behind their houses, their prolific soil and all their goods. But the most important thing was, of course, to be safe and alive!
And wat about the stubbord old woman, who had decided to remain in her house despite of the warning of the winged fairy? Well, she came to a bad end, overwhelmed by water while milking her cow.
How to get there
From Prali go to Ghigo hamlet, then to Giordano village running along the Germanasca creek. Leaving the river on your right proceed towards the valley floor on a dirt patch until you reach Ribba hamlet.

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?