Dedicated to the children disappeared into the waters of Vajont, October 9th 1963, at 10:45 am... I would like to persuade myself the went asleep, without noticing death had come to take them. (Mauro Corona)
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time.
So every tale begins, except to the village of Sassi Lassù, where fear spread; when, in the evening, grandmothers, winded round in their big black scarves, sat around the fire and told so terrible histories they do not call tales, for tales don't cause fear.
They told histories like all that tell prophecies do, and the terror from the mouth arrived till the ears and then to the hearts; and from the hearts came down to the steps caught lingering on the paths, in the woods, in the clearings, al sunset, running towards home.
They told that the Schola del Bonduhuãc sliding out the cemeteries, flew with cries and whispers through the valley, passing villages, roads, fields. A procession of white faces that dragged house by house to drive out the preys and, whistling, west down upon the calm and sinister water asleep in the valley bottom, ready to devour everybody breathing.
Those caught, did not have escape and could only pray, ask for mercy like they wouldn't have done in their life. Sometimes, by chance or by destiny, the Schola del Bonduhuãc didn't reach to bring away the soul of the incautious caught in the evening shadow, but in the village fears added up to fears, awakened by those poor dead obliged to be bad for the eternity...and the more deep the night, the more fear infected everything...
...and runs, runs the little girl towards the cosy home, towards the fireplace light, towards grandmother's arms that can save her...outside the shadows' army rocks between the trees and starts knocking... TOC... TOC... TOC...
grandmother Giacomina finishes to tell. October fogs, outside, lullaby the mountains, fringe to pieces and creep up, up...till the still lake
TOC... TOC... TOC...outside you may hear a continuous dripping and the shadow awaiting for months upon the peaks becomes larger and darker : for the dark lady it is ready for a great harvest and, like a scythe, she is taking the last slice of the Moon.
TOC... TOC... TOC...the owl cries, calls the night, slams on the glasses and wants to come in. But that shadow over there is so big and darker, her hood now covers the whole mountain.
TOC... TOC... TOC...the drops beat on the glasses more swollen, cross the glasses with claws made of tears, and now a wind comes down from the mountains and rumbles like a thousand thunders, grows like a wave and unhinges the bolts, breaks the windows, enter the houses and wrap up things and persons with his cry of darkness.
Grandmother, little Gran, what a fear, what is this angry water?
Grandmother, little Gran, help, water kills more than stone
Grandmother, little Gran, farewell, the bad water brings away us little children, it throws away in the wind, it seeds us in the mud.
And the mud does mix everything the evil water, men and animals. Cats, kids and young calves with children and grannies, with the last summer fruits, the grapes of the vineyards and the first chrysanthemums of the gardens.
The shadow takes it all, to the night birds their wings are not enough to fly away...a cry eats the shouts.
Then silence, grannies drowned in their own black scarves do not prey anymore, they don't sing anymore, they do not tell no tales. The shadow eats, swallows and gulps down the last sparks of those little lives that turn of like fireflies in the storm. When the dark shroud rises there isn't anything left: long rows of dead without grave goes alone and there are not enough paths and woods and clearings to receive them when the shadow throws out them in an endless winter.
To the Schola del Bonduhãc now joins a void infinite, in the solitary villages and down in the valley the nights are darkened by that void.
For years and years of darkness dozens and dozens of shadows every night creep out from the liquid mass that for them continuously falls down and rises again, runs and spreads out like a black veil, in a night without rest and without sleep.
Only the trees have mercy of that nothing without rest. With their roots the suck the death and the fear from that black wave, then sprout and give back life to the forgotten valley. The mercy of the trees takes the children, keeps them in the warm of the trunk, it rocks them between the domestic branches while other years pass quick and somebody starts to return...
TOC...TOC...TOC...and the chisel takes away the soft wood that kindly leaves itself to caress
TOC...TOC...TOC...and the cheeks, hair, eyes, mouths that emerge by the veins take life and start murmuring
TOC...TOC...TOC...pulsate the wounds that comes out, with the faces, in the wood
And from branch to branch, from frond to frond, the wind rocks a new tale.
"A dry and amazed boy, of stone and wood, grown away from the valley, in the painful knots of the wood knows how to separate knots and roots, caresses the veins, makes them beat and creates a great wooden fresco, in its clefts leaves open our wounds"
"A stone and wood boy sentenced to remember, and always must tell our little meat, blood, hair and feathers lives"
"A stone and wood boy that know how to listen to the voices of the wood, he knows how to see the life that our trunks hide, only he understands our voices and recognizes our shapes"
Look at him,
in the hot he gives us back a body, the one the shadow took from us, there we can recognize and rest
Look at him,
Our new body made of stone in which we will be kept and protected; there won't be water or wind to take us away
Look at him,
He'll remain with us not to forget what happened, to go back and tell, growing tree, climbing walls
that false wall above, a long and skinny gravestone, firm barrier of no use to save us. The wounded mountain rests and so rests the infringed lake.
We rest in new and old plants speaking our languages, reading our veins. the shadows we pose now on earth are quiet: the Schola del Bonduhuãc do not emerge anymore from the graves or from infinite darkness; now our voices are the delicate whispers of the night.
TOC...TOC...TOC...the chisel caresses shoulders and thighs, draws faces and hair, takes away and frees
TOC...TOC...TOC...the chisel takes away and frees and we grow sweet, strong, pensive, bad, strong, delicate...like the wood we are made of, we live a new life
The owl now flies on the infringed valley and calls the night for the few that have returned, for those that do not want to forget. Calls the night and her call is not a death call anymore, but is silence that falls down to embrace the sleeps. For the shepherd of the trees, now the owl is a friend, and stays up in silence on his wood shoulder.
...from all those dead emerge the faces of the children disappeared in the Vajont waters.
And sadness, in her perennial dance round the facts of the cursed evening, passes to visit us bringing with her the smile of those children and the memory of their last summer
Mauro Corona (il volo della martora)
La Schola del Bonduhãc:
5 plates: 4 little format + 1 (50x70)
Fairy tale, illustrated with an unpublished text.