Among the ancient Alpine legends
“According to the judgment of Michelet, who loved the Alps so fervently, there is no other chain of mountains in Europe that can equal them in the imposing beauty, in the admirable variety of landscapes, in the majestic aspect of the peaks rising in defiance of clouds and lightning (…).
When all the legends still remaining among the inhabitants of the Alps are collected, I believe that we will have an admirable document of what can be imagined as poetic, great or suave by the popular imagination, about the ancient myths and the historical deeds of the ancestors ( …)”
(“Leggende delle Alpi”, Maria Savi-Lopez, 1889)
Winter is the season of spirits, even more so in the mountains.
Once, in the long and cold winters, the pleasure of gathering around the fireplace, listening to ancient scary stories, was a moment of great charm.
Among the legends born in the Alps, stories were told of a mysterious place in Valchiavenna, on a glacier of Pizzo Stella, called Mortée. According to a very ancient belief, it is there that was confined the spirit of those, who to serve their punishments, were forced to continue in the afterlife the profession practiced during their earthly life, until they were dispensed according to a pre-established rite. So there was the baker, the butcher, the seamstress, the blacksmith, the innkeeper with his tavern inside a cave.
Always remembering that … the characters populating the legends are often figures that really existed, but over time have been mythologized by the creative power of the imagination.
“Quando gli Spiriti Abitavano ai Mortée. Leggende della Vallespluga” Enrica Guanella (Edizioni Progea, 2016)