The ribbon and the curse – Cournilhoun, Massello

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Here I am with a new, very special legend!

Today I’ll bring you into the high valley of Massello, in a place called Cournilhoun, a woody ridge near the Eidût hill country. It is said that once upon a time in this place lived some fairies (also called fantine) in a cot under a rock. They spent their days picking flowers and herbs, in perfect harmony with nature. Many people recounted of wonderful treasures which were scrupulously guarded in huge chests by the beautiful fairies.

A young man from Pradidiè, which stands in front to Cournilhoun, on the other side of the valley, was wondering if all the rumours about the fantine were truth or not. Finally, a night he took the decision to go and see where was their house. When he got to the cot he saw the lights from the windows, and, when he watched inside… What a wonder! He saw three beautiful girls around the firelight. Taking courage, he knocked at the door and then entered to meet them. He spent all the evening in company with them chatting and joking.

 

It seems that there are some small footsteps!
It seems that there are some small footsteps!

Coming back home he was feeling like he was flying… He couldn’t stop to think about the stunning eyes of one of them… He fell in love at the first sight! After that first encounter he began to visit her more and more, and she appeared to reciprocate his love, covering him by kindnesses. A day, the mother of the boy discovered the reason of his night escapes, and she wasn’t happy to discover that the love of his son was for a fantina! The fantine weren’t well–judged by the inhabitants of the valley, because of their magical powers. And so, she began to forbid him to go out at night, totally sure that sooner or later he would have abandoned that unreasonable crush.
But the love refuses to listen to reason, and so the boy succeeded in escaping on the sly to go and meet his girlfriend.

 

What a great outlook from here!
What a great outlook from here!

A night, desperate because of the difficult situation, he talked with the beautiful fairy, and she told him: «No problem! If your mother doesn’t want that we get married, I’ll convince her with magic. Tie this red ribbon around her neck and you’ll see that she’ll change her mind!»
The boy, overjoyed by the idea, took the ribbon and started to run breathlessy towards home, but near Ciancoutan, just below Pradidè, he had to stop to rest. Worried about what he should have told to the mother to excuse his night escape, he decided to try to tie the ribbon, with the intention of make a nice bow to show the gift at its best. So, he tied the tape around the trunk of a larch. But in an instant the flames flared up around the tree, which in a few minutes got charred! The boy, amazed by the fright and misty–eyed thinking about what he could have done to his mother, ran to home.

When the fairies, who observed the scene from their home, saw that their bad intent had been discovered, they flied off the handle! Furious with the young man who betrayed their confidence, they packed up their things and got on their chests full of trasures. Because the chests were magic, they used them to descend the valley passing over the river, destroying everything they crossed and pledging to never come back to that valley.

The Rio Rabbioso (Riou Rabioûr), the way from which, probably, the fantine descended the valley
The Rio Rabbioso (Riou Rabioûr), the way from which, probably, the fantine descended the valley

They only spared the destiny of the bridge of Masselli, near Pomaretto village, because there was an old man passing by there, who said: «Beautiful fantine, low your heads and spare the bridge!». Because they weren’t indifferent to praises, they decided to not destroy that bridge, and followed their descent towards the valley floor to go away and never get back.

The bridge of Masselli
The bridge of Masselli

How to get there
From Pinerolo go to Villar Perosa, then follow the indications to Perrero, overstep it and follow on the Strada Provinciale 170 to Massello. Then go straight on for 1.5 Kms until your reach the Gros Passet hamlet. Here you’ll have to leave your car and go by feet taking a trail just above the hamlet which runs along Rio Rabbioso. You’ll find the Cournilhoun hamlet on your left.