Legends of the Dolomites: La bipera dal melaur by the Istitut Cultural Ladin “Majon di Fascegn”


Legends of the Dolomites


Thanks to the contribution of the Istitut Cultural Ladin “Majon di Fascegn”,

we are bringing you the fourth legend:

La bipera dal melaur

This legend is set in the rye fields at the foot of the Sas de le Strie rock and is brought to us today by the Istitut Cultural Ladin “Majon di Fascegn”. It tells of times when the environment and its animals were an integral part of the life of local people who interacted with them with the promise of prosperity. As with our previous legends (The German Witches, The Scales of Orsola Baranza and The “Reduoia”), we are presenting the story in the original language: Ladin from the Fassa area. This language is protected, spoken and handed down to the new generations thanks to the Istitut Cultural Ladin “Majon di Fascegn”. The Istitut is one of the cultural institutes which represents the Ladin community and is part of the Autonomous Province of Trento; it was set up in 1975 and its head office is in San Giovanni in the municipality of Vigo di Fassa. Its objectives are to collect, organise and examine materials regarding the history, economy, language, folklore, mythology, customs and traditions of the Ladin people. Its extensive ethnographic research led to the founding of the Ladin Museum in Fassa, whose new headquarters were inaugurated in July 2001, the starting point for an ethnographic journey to learn about the culture of the Fassa area (Local museum).



La bipera dal melaur (Hugo de Rossi)

Na uta l’à vedu na beza na biscia, che aea na raza de corona sul ciaf. La se à sperdù de bel, ma ampò la é jita a pe de chista bestia, per veder che che la à sul ciaf. Te chela la bipera é sciampada te n busc ite, mo la se à perdù la corona. La beza se la à coet sù e la l’à metuda te garmial. Ruada a ciasa la aea l Garmial pien de or.

L Melaur (Giovanni Bernard de Cechinol, adattamento a cura di Istitut Cultural Ladin)

N’outa l’era na pera vedova con cater picioi, i ge dijea Toratìa de Fin; per mantegnir sie picioi la jìa duc i egn uraa d’aisciuda a grazèr cà, a jerjenèr dò, a remonèr, a ge dèr tera, a grazèr patac e a seslèr; l’uraa più valenta che i podea ciapèr, la jìa te ciamp de duta bonora, fin net tèrt e la fajea ence la mamana. Con dut chest struscièr la se tirèa inant penamai sia familia.

Na dì che la seslèa te n ciamp, na picola biscia ge sutèa tras dintorn la sesla. La femena ge disc:

“Vatene, biscia, che no te tae!”

Ma no contèa nia dir chest tant, la biscia la era semper dintorn la sesla. Toratìa no la la volea mazèr e la ge disc:

“Vatene, picola biscia, che canche i te porta chi piciui vegne pa ben a t’i tor sù”.

Sentù chest, la biscia la é se n jita e no la l’à più veduda. Vegn d’uton e na sera, dò che l’èa metù si picioi a dormir, Toratìa se à senta jù apede fonestra, canche l’à vedù vegnir su per strèda na lum e la se disc:

“Chi sarèl pa mai che vegn cassù co na scì gran lum?”

La speta mìngol, enscin a canche la lum ruèa semper più apede cèsa e l’à vedù n picol om co na gran linterna sul cef che vegnìa su per scèla. Canche l’à sentù bater te usc, Toratìa sperduda l’à domana chi che l’era e i ge à responet:

“No aer paura, Toratìa, che no te fae nia. Son chela picola biscia che te jìa dintorn la sesla e te me èes emprometù che se me n jìe te vegnìes a me didèr. Ades fossa ora, te pree gei, che per nia no te farès”.

La femena se à tout na fascia e dotrei picola robes e la é se n jita con chest picol om, el dant con sta gran linterna sul cef e ela dò. I é passé fora per na bela strèda e ju enscin Sas da la Stries. I é jic ite per n picol usc e i é rué te na cambra olache l’era n bel fon net e doi picui lec coi lenzei bienc che i saea amò da lesciva. Te let l’era na picola femena che ge à preà a Toratìa de ge tor sù i picioi che cognea nascer. Te n sènt e amen co l’aiut de Toratìa l’é nasciù doi jomelins.

Emben chel picol om ge à dit che l’era ora de ben la paèr e che no l’aessa più abù brea de cainèr. I la envìa sora desch olache l’era dededut, chel che chi egn i saea far da bon: supa da liènies, ciajoncìe, grostui, tortìe e ence fortaes. Amò apede l ge à enjignà na gran sportola con ite de bona speisa da ge portèr a sie picioi famé e l ge disc:

“Toratìa, detelpai ben fort, te me ès fat n bel servije e te voi paèr belimpont. Te dae sta picola siessena biencia: chest l’é l Melaur, se te l metes te la farina da sera, da doman te n’arès pien crigna, se te l metes te la bièva dadoman, da sera te n’arès pien èrcia e con dut coscita. Ma recordete ben e bel, no sacramentèr, no biastemèr, percheche se te l fèsc, l Milor l te sciampa e no te l ciapes più!”

Toratìa la ge disc telpai, la augurea amò la bona fortuna e la se n va a cèsa. Sobito la ciola l Melaur te n bech de n fazolet, la và jù te cèvena e la l met te l’èrcia mesa veta de la bièva. Dotrei dis dò la va jù a vardèr te èrcia e… marevea! No la podea creer a si eies, la no èa mai vedù tanta bièva duta te n’outa! Duta contenta, la se ciarea trei sté de sièla e la va te molin a fèr majenèr, ma da la gaissa la se desmentia de tor fora l Melaur. L molin scomenza a majenèr la sièla e majena, majena, sta sièla no la fenìa più. L molinè l’era maraveà de duta chela farina e canche rua Toratìa l ge disc:

“Ma sacranon, vèrda dintorn, l’é trei sté e vèlch, duc i fons piens, duta la moutres pienes, duc i vajui piens e amò un marudel te n piz de molin. Ma corpo de diaol, che èste metù te sta bièva? Sarèla fosc strionèda?”

No l’èa nience amò fenì de dir chesta paroles che l molin scomenza a sclindernèr, glin, glin, glin… e fora per usc de roda da molin sgola demez n picol ucel bianch.

“Madre santa, mio Dio te ès biastemà, sciampa l Melaur, me sciampa l Melaur!” ciga destrametuda Toratìa.

Ma l’era massa tèrt, l Melaur no l’era più da veder, Toratìa no la lo aessa mai più vedù e mai più l’aessa abù richeza e bondanza.



La bipera dal melaur  (translated by the Istitut Cultural Ladin)

Toratia de Fin was a poor widow and mother of four. She lived in poverty and, to make ends meet, in the spring she worked in the fields as a labourer. She left the house at dawn and was never home before the sun went down. She was also an excellent washerwoman and, when the need arose, she worked as a midwife. Despite her sacrifices, she barely managed to provide for herself and her children.

One day, as she was reaping a field of rye, she noticed a small snake slithering between the ears of rye; Toratia desperately tried to drive it away but the creature was having none of it, quite the opposite, it tried to wrap itself round her sickle.

“Go away, serpent, or else you’ll end up getting cut”! she said.

It was useless, the snake had no intention of going anywhere and just stayed there, clutching the sickle. Toratia did not want to hurt the animal so, in an attempt to get rid of it, she said:

“Go away, let me finish reaping and I promise that, when the time comes for your children to be born, I will be there!”.

With that, the snake vanished among the rye. Summer went by and autumn arrived. One evening, after she had put her children to bed, Toratia was standing at the window when she saw a light in the distance getting closer and closer to the house. Someone knocked on the door. Frightened, she asked who had come to her door at that time of night and a voice answered:

“Don’t be afraid, Toratia, I won’t hurt you. It’s me, the snake that was slithering around your sickle. Follow me, the time has come for you to make good on your promise. Come with me and you will be rewarded”.

The woman gathered her things together and followed the creature who, with a large lamp on its head, led them to the rock, Sas de le Strie, which had a small crack in it. They went through it and found themselves in a beautiful house that was clean, neat and tidy. In the bedroom was a woman about to give birth. Toratìa wasted no time and set to work and within a short space of time, the woman gave birth to twins. The strange animal then gave her a lovely dinner, serving up all sorts of delicious food, the poor woman had never seen such abundance in her whole life. When Toratia finished eating, he gave her a basket of food for her children and a golden marble, saying:

“This is the Melaur, it gives wealth and plenty to whoever owns it. If you put it in your flour in the evening, the next morning the drawer will be overflowing; if you put it in your wheat chest, it will fill up! But you must do as I say: remember not to curse or swear, otherwise the Melaur will fly away and you will never get it back!

Toratia gratefully took the snake’s gifts and returned home to her children, happy. She wrapped the marble in a handkerchief and placed it in the half-empty box of rye she kept in the cellar. She went to bed. The next morning, when she woke, she could not believe her eyes, she had never seen such a huge amount of wheat! Overjoyed, she took three bushels of rye to the miller but, in her excitement, she forgot to remove the Melaur. The mill began grinding. It ground and ground, but the rye never finished! A couple of days later, Toratia went to the miller to get her flour. The miller, amazed by such abundance, said:

“Look how much flour there is! Good Lord! What on earth did you put in that rye?”

The words had hardly left his mouth when the mill began to clank and ring louder and louder and a small bird with golden wings flew out of the window:

“Oh my God, oh my God – screamed Toratia – you swore and now the Melaur is escaping!”.

But there was nothing they could do, the Melaur had vanished. Toratia never saw it again and never knew abundance or prosperity again.