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Folktale week: home

Once upon a time, in the mountains of the Val Pellice, in Piemonte (the north-west region of Italy), in the meadows around Barma d’Aout, there were the houses of the fantine, as the fairies are called here. They were slim and industrious women who lived by raising cattle. In time, they had become friends with men, and when a poor man was in trouble they used to help him.

Barma D’Aout and the grotto where the fairies lived

. They were the ones who taught the shepherds how to make butter and cheese, and sometimes they even let some humans into their homes to show them the gold and silver tools they owned. One day, however, a boy who was in love with a fantina but had been rejected by her, entered their homes and stole their precious utensils for revenge. The fairies got so angry they left their homes and went to live in hidden places, far away from our eyes. It is said that, together with them, a secret they were ready to reveal to men went away, too: the way to get honey and wax from whey.