Legend: A bad encounter in the dark – Coulmian meadows, Massello

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Today I’m telling you about a legend set at altitude. We are near the Coulmian meadows, in the territory of Massello, in Val Germanasca, where it’s possible to breathe a pleasantly crisp air even during Summer.
I recently discovered this pasture walking on the beautiful Arturo Genre path, a ring-shaped trail which, starting from Maniglia di Perrero, encounters beautiful forests and small and gracious hamlets.

Two men from Campo la Salza frequently made hay near a hill in the area. They were far from home, and so they often used to spend the night there in order to start to work again early the following morning. A night, worn out by their effort, they laid down on two hay piles. As soon as they were falling asleep, the two men heard a voice from the top of a pole: «Vilhelm! Anrì! Vilhelm! Anrì!». Looking up, they saw a beautiful bird that was calling them.

 

Right after that, a fox arrived in a hurry, and anxiously shouted them «Scapà-ou! Scapà-ou!», that is «Run away! Run away!».
«Incredible!», said the man who was trying to sleep on the highest pile of hay, «speaking animals! They must be fairies who are trying to warn us about something». His companion, on the contrary, simply turned over saying «what nonsense, you’re dreaming this!» and continued to sleep just as nothing was happening. After some minutes, from the height of his pallet, the first man glimpsed a huge black silhouette getting close to the other farmer, who was snoring loudly. When the unknown animal arrived near the man, it laid down near the sleeping man. In that moment, the first farmer understood that it was a lynx taking the measures to eat his companion. Then, the beast stood up and went away, probably because it judged that it couldn’t hunt the two farmers alone, and so it went away searching for backup.

Immediately, the farmer woke up his companion in order to run away. When they were more or less in the middle of the pasture Coulmian, they heard a sudden hubbub with yells and shouts. Frozen by the fear, they continued to run towards the closest village without wasting any time.

The following day, the sunlight gave them back a bit of bravery, and so they went back to the hill. Arrived there, they noticed that near their pastures the pole had fallen, the haystacks were no more piled, but scattered everywhere. There were undeniable signs of struggle, locks of fur, pieces of bones and stains of blood. It was clear that the lynxes, irritated by the failure of the past night, had avenged themselves on the good and poor fairy-fox, who saved the two farmers.

If you remember, I’ve already told you another legend in which the lynxes tried to have two farmers as a nibble. Like in this story, also in that case the animals took the measures. Have you ever heard about this legendary behaviour?

How to get here
I suggest you to reach the base of the wide Coulmian pasture by taking the Arturo Genre path. You’ll need to be a bit trained, because it takes more or less 5 hours and a half to complete the ring, but the experience’s worth the effort! Following this link you can find the PDF with the detailed directions.