In Germanasca Valley, going towards Massello, you can see an ancient root canal on a rockface on your left. This structure is called biâl dâ Diaou, literally “Devil’s canal”, and this legend explains why.
A man had three daughters and, when he had to divide up his goods, the most beautiful of them received the Bessè hamlet (lou Bëssè). At that time, this hamlet was just a little more than a farmhouse, and, because of its position, it was surrounded by rye fields, really poor because there wasn’t any way to properly irrigate them. If you needed to carry some water you had to climb down the precipitous bank of the Germanasca river, risking to take a bad tumble.
The peasant decided to build a canal which could permit to take the water until Bessè, and commited it to expert workers. These ones worked hardly for days and days, but almost at the end of the job they encountered a precipitous rockface, which was almost impossible to scratch and which forced them to stop and leave the job half done. The peasant didn’t want to give up, and so decided to consult a fairy.
At midnight he met her and she, listened the story, started to walk up and down the room mumbling strange magic formulas. Suddendly, and with great astonishing for the peasant, the devil in person appeared! «What do you want?» said the devil. «Could you complete the water canal, which these peasants can’t do?» asked the fairy. «Yes, I can do it – answered the devil – but at the and of this work the beautiful heiress of the Bessè will be mine!». «Ok – agreed the fairy – but you have to complete the job in a week, within Sunday morning, before the cock-crow».
The father of the heiress, scared to death, flared up at the fairy. because she had promised to the devil his beautiful daughter. But the fairy told him to not be worried… she had already arranged a plan!
The devil worked hardly during the whole week, and Saturday night his job was almost done. A few hours before the daybreak, when there was anything but some rocks to remove before the water could flow, the fairy got into the henhouse with a lantern. The light, even it wasn’t the Sun’s one, woke up the rooster, which began to crow at the top of his voice.
The devil heard the cock-crow just when his job was almost at its completion, and he got so angry that he throwed himself into the Germanasca river and never came back.
How to get here
From Pinerolo go towars Perosa Argentina. From there turn in the direction of Perrero. At the crossroad to Prali take the road on the right towards Massello/Salza. Go on for 2.5 Kms on this road and at your right you’ll see the root canal.
Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?