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  • Writer's pictureVacances à Moriani

Corsican Tales and Legends (1)

In winter, the peasants return early to the village because the days are short and night falls quickly. The tools are stored, the plough abandoned in the field and the animals are sheltered. Do not linger on the way because we are afraid of this darkness which is the universe of mazzeri (sorcerers), steghe (witches), murtulaghji (revenants), diavuli (devils) and other demons.

We hurry back to the house to prepare the vigil that will gather everyone around the fucone.. After having dinner, we go to the house of a neighbor, a relative or a friend to join the vigil (veghja) that everyone organizes in turn. So, in this atmosphere, in the depths of the dark night, the stories are content and listen to each other.

C'era una volta… (1) Once upon a time

The Fairy of Ulmeto

Once upon a time there was a shepherd named Ghjuvanni who lived in a small house not far from Ulmetu, near Propriano. This shepherd was burdened with worries because of the drought: it had not rained for several months, the grass of the plain had become dry straw and his animals were weakening... Ghjuvanni, had to take his sheep further and further away in order to make them eat.

One morning, while he was near the small river almost dry, the Bàraci, he noticed that it had disappeared under a hot, thick and smoking mud... Curious, the shepherd comes forward and notices, in the middle of the mud, an elderly woman who seems annoyed... Taking off his big studded shoes, Ghjuvanni shouts :

"Wait, I'm coming to help you.." And the shepherd rushes into the surprisingly warm water. Ghjuvanni approaches the old woman who has remained silent until then...

"That's it, here we are... Take my hand and shake tightly...

My name is Demoiselle and I thank you for your kindness, dear Ghjuvanni... »

The shepherd, more and more astonished, can then not restrain himself...

"But... How do you know my name and what do you do here?

I took a long trip to see you... Let me catch my breath and I'll explain everything to you... »

Out of the mud, Ghjuvanni and Demoiselle let go of their hands. The old lady then turns into a beautiful young girl... With her big blue eyes, black hair and gold-embroidered garment, Demoiselle lives up to her name...

"Don't be afraid of Ghjuvanni," said Demoiselle... I am a fairy and I wanted to test your compassion. You are brave, you have come to my rescue... So you'll have a nice reward... »

With her outstretched finger, Demoiselle points to the water and the fange that tremble and smoke...

"Here is a hot spring that will do good for animals and humans alike. To the animals, she will give a tasty herb and rich in flowers of all kinds. For men, it will offer the opportunity to treat various conditions such as diseases of the lungs or skin. This water is a great gift for you, for your children and your children's children... Be careful to keep it well, clean and always healthy... One day, it will represent your great wealth... Keep it a secret and don't tell anyone anything."

The shepherd promises to keep the secret, bids farewell to the good fairy who suddenly disappears... He returns to his house with his sheep. The next day, the promised grass, green and drue, covered the surroundings and the shepherd, content, laughed.

Thus, today, in addition to its magnificent landscapes, its beaches and its renowned olive oil, Ulmetu offers everyone, local residents and visitors passing through, its great natural wealth: the thermal water of Bàraci, gift of a fairy and source of well-being. A real delight for those who know how to enjoy it..."

The legend of the white bull

It is the story of the miraculous return, on the beach of Ajaccio, of a young man, named Ghjuvanni, after 20 years of slavery in North Africa.

His first words when he arrived in Corsica were: "E Cristu chi a m'a savatu" (Christ saved me). Ghjuvanni decides to erect a temple to Christ, his savior.

The elders, according to custom, decide to find a place at the sanctuary to release a white bull into the maquis, and choose the place where it will stop.

The liberated bull gallops into the mountain and, suddenly, stops sharply on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple. The elders are convinced: it is necessary to build a temple for the new God whom Ghjuvanni calls Cristus and abandon the ancient cults.

Thus, according to this legend, the chapel of SAN LUNARDU would have been built and Christianized celavu.


A monk had once seduced and kidnapped a nun.

They were both fleeing to Propriano, when just before

to cross the Rizzaneze River, God petrified them.

These are the menhirs called U Frate è a Sora.

(The monk and the nun)

The greatest is the man, the other is the woman.

The legend of Calcagnetta.

A long time ago, the raging sea carried to the coast of Padulella, three boats with white sails.A shepherd who kept his flock nearby, approached and after a long wait, saw inside the boats critters in the shape of large white and red ants the size of a cabri.

The news having spread to the hamlets of the Murianincu valley, the men of Reghjetu, Cioti, Serra, Serrale, Tribbiolu, Piazze, Coccula rushed to the place indicated by the shepherd. But the boats were gone.

They searched for a long time and finally found, scattered near the mouth of the Buccatoghju, the large ants sought.

They realized that they had a human face and that they were guarded by three black men armed to the teeth, to whom the men of the Murianincu offered cheese and milk.

A pact was made between the two groups. The young could marry the dwarfs except the most beautiful, "Bellafiora", who was their queen.

Thus were celebrated these marriages and it was only songs, balls and music until the day when a young man of Coccula accompanied by his father, madly in love with "Bellafiora" abducted her by tying her on a horse.

Arrived at a place called "Malanotte" (cursed night) and before crossing the river, the horse stumbled and drowned in a water hole at the same time as "Bellafiora" who had time to shout before sinking: "Let them be cursed!"

Immediately, a thick fog covered the slopes of moriani's pieve and when the day rose, the curse began.

The enterprising young man and his father exhaled, taken by a lightning evil that hit them in the heel.

The same evil affected all men and men alone, struck down by this disease which, because it was born in the heel, was called "A Calcagnetta".

We then saw empty houses, wandering men, corpses devoured by crows. The sick painfully dragged themselves to the point that dominates the valley where the chapel of San Mamilianu stands today, as well as to the square where a mass grave was dug: "l'arca". They were waiting for death. When other sick people arrived, they pushed the dying into the pit and took their place. And so on..

Thus disappeared all the men of the Murianincu, these giants cut for work and war.

Recently, wanting to equalize the square in front of the chapel, the municipality of San Ghjuvanni had a trench dug to build a wall.That it was not his surprise to discover a succession of pits stuffed with skulls and various human bones. An anthropologist from the Bastia region, measuring the shins, concludes that the skeletons belonged to men measuring between 1.72 and 1.78m, giants for that time.

Piana calanches

Satan, the fallen angel, fell madly in love with a shepherdess. He watched him for weeks from the depths of hell, falling in love with it more and more every day.

One fine morning, he came to earth and set out to conquer the beautiful. And now, instead of giving in to the Prince of Darkness, the young woman insulted him, hit him and called her husband. The latter, seized with rage, administered a beating to the poor devil who had to flee with his tail between his legs.

The Devil did not even seek to kill the husband and wife... Instead, he decided to make the place unlivable: He tapped, split, broke and knocked over the rock, to make the place steep, steep, tormented...

St. Martin passed by and decided to bless the cliffs.

Finding that he could not chase away the fury, he called a wave that caressed the rock. Thus was born the Gulf of Porto...


Once upon a time there was a father and a mother who had a very beautiful daughter. They worked by planting onions in their garden.

The king's son, who was passing by, noticed the girl. She was so beautiful that he wanted her as his wife. Her parents, although honored by this request, did not want to separate from their daughter.

But the king's son insisted, and the marriage was celebrated.

A year later, the young woman gave birth to a girl and the king told her : "Kiss her because I will give her as a nanny and you will not see her again."

Thus was done, despite the enormous pain of the young mother.

A year or two after a boy was born and it was the same thing.

She just kissed him, with a big heart at not being able to keep her child, and still didn't say anything. She did everything her husband said.

One day, after 17 years of union, the king said to him: I know a very beautiful girl and I would like to marry her... Since you're old now, you're going to leave and go back to your parents' house. She left with a big heart and returned to her parents, who did not understand but were very happy to see her again.

Then the king announced everywhere that he was going to remarry. Some time later, he sent to fetch his first wife so that she could prepare the feast.

It was an affront to her, but she was obedient, and still complied.

While she was in the kitchen working and the others were partying, a servant came to her and said : "The king asks you, he wants to talk to you, come immediately, as you are!"

Entering the feast room, the king said to him:

"Look at this young woman, isn't she very beautiful?

Oh yes, my king, she is beautiful, very beautiful! Looks like a flower !

Look, because this one is your daughter and this one is her brother, your son.

I wanted to see how far your patience would go...

I took your children away from you and you didn't say anything!

I sent you home and you didn't say anything!

I put you in the kitchen to make the maid and you didn't say anything!

Such great patience, no one could have had it!

So, now we are going to live together, your place is here with your husband and children.

And I never wanted a woman but you."

They brought his father and mother the same day and they lived happily together.

The legend of the 7 mills.

During the Corsican wars, lived near Ajaccio a very wealthy family who had a daughter named Ginébra. The miller of the village had the most beautiful boy in the country named Theobald. Ginébra, was 20 years old when she met Theobald and fell madly in love with him. She wanted to marry him but her father couldn't hear it that way. However, he adored his daughter, so he brought Theobald and promised her his daughter on condition that he make a fortune.

The young man left Ajaccio and returned to his parents' mill. The storm took him on the way. At the bend of a path of the maquis he saw a rich Venetian merchant who was advancing towards him. It was Satan driving out souls. He offered her a pact and Theobald sold his soul for the fortune that would allow him to marry his sweetheart. Six mills rose next to the paternal mill and Theobald quickly amassed a large fortune. Ginébra understood very quickly that the 7 mills were no strangers to this fortune and she will extract from her husband the secret of this sudden acquisition. Theobald confessed to him that he had obtained from Satan six mills that would meet all his wishes. The greedy Ginésia hastened to make her wishes: At the first mill she asked for tons of wheat, at the second a pile of gold, at the third a fountain of diamonds, at the fourth a sumptuous banquet at the fifth a troupe of musicians. Kneaded with venality she forgot her love for Theobald and took as her lover one of her young servants. One day she asked her husband to accompany her to the sixth mill. Arriving on the spot Ginébra leaned forward and inadvertently dropped a medallion containing the portrait of her lover. Theobald, recognizing the servant, was taken by a desperate madness and threw the young woman under the stone wheel before being himself caught by the hopper. From then on, in the maquis it was the great silence .. Followed, suddenly, by a howl of horror that chilled the blood of the villagers.

The 7 mills disappeared in an infernal fire... And instead a statue of the Virgin appeared. It is now in lorétu's oratory in Ajaccio.


To be continued..

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