Today we are back in Angrogna Valley for a tale of fear… but you have to know that on the book where I read this story it is also reported that people used to tell this story in an amused way… which means that they did not believe that much to the tale!
We are in a hamlet near Serre d’Angrogna, more precisely at Ruà d’Aval, where it is said that long time ago a woman was hurrying to reach the house of some friends for the traditional evening vigil, taking her newborn son in a very small cradle with her.
Climbing up the path (that she knew as her own pockets), suddenly the woman felt a presence behind her and, turning around, she saw an owl staring at her insistently resting on a branch. The mother shivered because strange stories were told about those birds… she held the baby closed to herself and speeded up her pace, but always feeling the animal flutter over her, just as if it was chasing her.
Suddenly a ray of moonlight lit up the branch and the perched bird seemed to scream: “Douno-m’lou!” (“give him to me!”)… the girl began to run, with the screams of the tawny owl resounding behind her… “Douno-m’lou! Douno-m’lou!”.
Finally she reached her destination breathlessly and, at the door of the friendly house, she foolishly replied to the last scream of the owl in a defiant tone: “Pillho-t’lou!” (“take him!”).
Once she had gone into, she told her friends about what had happened, and she was glad that the baby hadn’t woken up despite her running in hurry; but as soon as someone lifted the blanket to check… the baby was not there!
This story intrigued me for two reasons.
The first one is that, in the book which I drew the story from, it is said that the woman used to live in Pouià, a hamlet that lies between Ruà d’Aval and Pount Aout, and – if you remember – this last place is familiar to us because of a similar story (you can read it here). Do we therefore have to think that in that area it was believed that there were some mysterious beings that kidnapped children?
The second is that the bad reputation of nocturnal birds of prey (the owl upon all) is well known: in all European folklore this animal is considered a messenger of death, and to hear its call at night is a sure sign of misfortune. It is not surprising therefore that in this ancient tale of terror an animal so similar to the poor owl was chosen as he gloomy protagonist!
How to get here:
the road to reach the township is forbidden to transit in the last part.
I therefore advise you to concentrate on the hamlet of Serre, where you can enjoy a beautiful view and from which you can go for various excursions (look among my adventures for those with the label “Serre d’Angrogna” … After all, the meaning of the place (“ruà” means a large hamlet, “d’aval” means towards south, facing the valley) makes us understand that these two hamlets are closely linked to each other!