The Devil and the Bisalta

The Devil and the BisaltaThe Devil and the Bisalta. Two seemingly distant images that find a great meeting point thanks to a popular legend.

La Bisalta (or Besimauda) is a mountain over 2200 meters high that dominates the Cuneo plain.
Its trapezoidal shape makes it particularly recognizable thanks to the presence of two peaks, distant from each other, on the summit.
Its name bis alta, means “twice high,” but it is said that once this mountain had a single peak. The birth of the second, which occurred later, would have “diabolical” origins, according to what is told in a traditional tale.

The legend.

It all began, as far as we know, one day when a peasant went to the market of Boves, a village in the province of Cuneo, to sell some cheese.
Business went well that day, enough to convince him to stop at a tavern to celebrate before going home.
“Do not start your journey if your mouth doesn’t taste of wine”: this is what a well-known proverb says, and the man followed the advice to the letter.
When he left the tavern, in the darkness of the night, he was completely drunk. Moreover, the only peak of Bisalta, screened the light of the full moon and made it even more difficult for the peasant to return home. Soon the man began to lose his orientation and fell several times to the ground, because of drunkenness and darkness.
After another tumble, he started cursing against Bisalta and, facing the mountain, said: “I would sell my soul to the devil just to make your peak collapse!”
At that point, Satan himself appeared in front of him. The peasant was more surprised than frightened, and at first, he doubted that the image came from his imagination and the large amount of alcohol consumed.
But when he looked up at the mountain, the drunkenness disappeared instantly. What he saw was a group of devils busy demolishing the summit of the mountain with shovels and picks. The plain soon filled with large rocks rolling down from the summit, and the highest part of Bisalta took on the shape we know today with two peaks at the ends and a lower central part.
Then, the Devil gave the peasant pen and paper to sign the agreement and give him his soul. However, the man was illiterate and signed in the only way he knew.
He drew a cross on the paper that made Beelzebub shudder. The earth, immediately after, opened up swallowing Satan and his demons and sending them back to hell.
The man managed to return home, thanks to the new shape of the mountain that allowed the moonlight to illuminate the way.
His ignorance had saved him.
As he approached his home, behind him, the Moon seemed to smile between the two peaks of Bisalta.

The Devil and La Bisalta is a well-known legend in the Cuneo area.
And, like any respectable legend, it might have a grain of truth.

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