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Folktale Week: smoke

It’s said that in Val Pellice, in the Italian Piedmont Alps, no one could succeed in bringing water to the houses of the Roussenc hamlet. One evening, the inhabitants were gathered in the stable, when a stranger entered and promised to bring the water to the village before the crowing of the cock in exchange for the marriage with the most beautiful girl in the area. The man, who was not taken too seriously, immediately started to work.

Within a few hours, one could already hear a roaring nearby: the stranger was succeeding in his effort! The girl promised in marriage, frightened, ran to ask for help from her astute grandmother. The woman said to her “That man has hooves instead of feet, he is the Devil himself! But I know what to do”. So, she went into the chicken coop and knocked her distaff to the ground forcing the cock to woke up, so it emitted an annoyed “cock-a-doodle-doo”. The mocked devil went on a rampage and, after destroying the built aqueduct, disappeared in a cloud of smoke and sulfur.