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Ladin legends of the Dolomites

The legend "La Gana of Pecei"

A long time ago people from the Ladin valleys told many tales about the Ganes and Salvans. These were primitive people, who lived in caves, hunted for their food and wore wild animals skins.They talked little and often suffered from hunger. Thunder scared them as much as the devil.

Once upon a time above the village of Colfosco, in the meadows at the base of mountain Puez lived the Salvans and Ganes.
Today there is even a fountain called "the Salvan Fountain". During the winter these people often came down to the village to find some warmth and benefit from the kindness of the villagers. They did no harm to anyone. But woe to those who teased or offended them, because their revenge was bitter and their energy endless. Their favourite pastime was to release the sheep from their barn to graze in the meadows.

One day a very beautiful Gana was at home in the Val de Mesdí. She often came down to the village to the Pecei home to warm herself. Overtime she learned the villagers language. A farmer fell in love with this pretty Gana and wanted to marry her after her baptism.

But the Gana promised him her hand under one condition: the farmer could never touch her face with the back of this hand, otherwise she would have to leave him immediately and never return again.

The famer promised this to his Gana and for a long time everything went well. The Gana was a good wife and a very lovely mum
to her children. But on a Saturday when she was giving her children a bath she felt something on her forehead and said to her husband: "Look, there is something on my forehead, but I don't know what it is".

The man wiped a midge away with his hand, but unfortunately the back of his hand touched his wife's forehead. She stared crying, turned pink, quickly looked at her children and husband and then she disappeared. They never saw her again.

Source: Own translation related to: "Janbatista Alton, Proverbi, traduzioni ed anoeddoti delle valli ladine orientali, con versione italiana, Wagner Universitätsverlag, Innsbruck 1881, pagg. 65-67" 


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